A Walk In My Shoes

Just for fun this afternoon I wrote down everything I did for the seven hours between 1:30pm and 8:30pm.

  • Change baby F’s nappy
  • Make lunch for me and the kids. F won’t sit in the highchair because of the cat, so I eat my lunch, with her eating her lunch, on my lap
  • Clear away lunch stuff
  • Call coroner
  • Convince all three children to get dressed so we can walk to post office. Bribe C by telling him he can take his remote control car in the lanes
  • Deal with baby F who refuses to get in buggy for first 10 minutes of trip
  • Deal with tantrum from C and take car away as I have already explained he can only use it in the lanes, not on the road
  • Post eBay parcel at post office
  • Walk home, baby F falls asleep in buggy
  • Wheel buggy into house and try to catch up on a bit of work I was supposed to do at the weekend
  • Finish an editing task and email a client
  • Get drinks for the boys
  • Tell the boys there are going to be some changes around here and that Mummy is going to get organised. Okay they say, and run off to play.
  • Shout up to the boys to stop bouncing on the beds
  • Log into eBay and mark parcel as dispatched
  • Hit re-list on a dress that didn’t sell and reduce the price
  • Empty tumble-dryer (we have no washing line, so I am tumble-drying in 25 degree heat), and fold up washing
  • Empty washing machine and put damp load in the tumble dryer
  • Open all the doors and windows as the house is overheating
  • Take the tags off some new winter clothes for the boys and run them through a quick wash
  • Get the now awake baby F out of the buggy
  • Try to take off her shoes but she refuses
  • Put the buggy back in the car
  • Put the shopping bags back in the car from this mornings supermarket trip
  • Enter post office spend in my budget (I use YNAB)
  • Help L find C’s watch
  • Help F put on a thick winter cardigan she has found on the floor even though it is boiling hot
  • I walk away after putting on the cardi, which is apparently the wrong thing to do because baby F immediately has an inconsolable tantrum
  • Bring the washing upstairs while she screams on the floor as she is too angry to hold or to comfort
  • Take the cardigan off because she is sweating and overheating
  • Tell C who is lying on my bed naked to put his underwear back on
  • Put some washing away until baby Fs rage calms to normal crying. This takes almost 15 minutes from start to finish
  • Cuddle her (now she isn’t thrashing against me) and sit and read some picture books with her
  • Move to her room as she wants to play with toys
  • Help L look for his watch. The boys room is so messy we can’t find it
  • Go back to baby Fs room
  • Help baby F try on several outfits she has pulled out of the cupboard
  • Break up a fight between L and C
  • At 4pm decide that the TV is going to have to babysit as I cannot leave the three of them unoccupied and I have to prepare and cook dinner
  • Pick up and put away all the outfits away that baby F has pulled out
  • Change baby F’s nappy
  • Track down the lady who offered to help rehome the cat by going through this mornings call history on my mobile until I get the right number
  • Call her and check I didn’t imagine it, and apologise for crying on the phone this morning
  • Empty the tumbledryer and fold up all the washed and dried bedlinen, some of which has sat on the floor for two days after the boys managed to smash a glass lampshade all over the bed with their lightsabers
  • Put the next load of washing in the tumble dryer
  • Chop up a broccoli and a cauliflower for tonights dinner
  • Get baby F a drink
  • Put the last 40g of a 200g bar of wholenut chocolate that I’ve eaten over the last few hours back in the cupboard. I now have a mouth ulcer
  • Get pots and pans ready for dinner
  • Sit down and watch some CBeebies with the children <– THIS IS MY BREAK TIME 😂
  • Three minutes later answer the phone to the cat shelter who can take Little Bob this evening. End up in tears again over everything. Wonder how I’m going to manage to drop him off without being a sobbing mess
  • The husband arrives home. Pass the kids over and, give him a fun summary of my day
  • Take the last load out of the tumble dryer and fold up the clothes
  • Make cheese sauce, cook sausages, cook veg
  • Wonder, while I am cooking, if my stress levels contribute to how anxious baby F seems to be all the time. Feel guilty. Feel guilty about always having so much to do. Feel guilty about the cat. Feel guilty about everything
  • Serve dinner. L says ‘Yuk’. C leaves most of it. They all eat some yoghurt and apple
  • Feed the cat
  • Break up a fight between C and L over cheating at Guess Who
  • Deal with C’s tantrum over it being too late to get a new jigsaw out
  • C hits me on the back while I am sorting out toothbrushes for L and baby F in the bath. C refuses to get in
  • Finally convince L to let me remove the remnants of the three stick-on tattoos he got over a month ago
  • Get F and L out of bath.
  • Send L to get dressed and read downstairs
  • Read stories to F
  • Get F a drink
  • Put F into cot
  • Get cat box out of garage
  • Go back upstairs and cuddle crying F
  • Say goodnight to C (husband has read stories)
  • Go back and cuddle F again
  • Gather up cat things
  • Get husband to help get cat in cat box
  • Drive to rescue house, leaving baby F still crying, and try not to imagine horrible things happening to Little Bob
  • Arrive at rescue house and discover a wonderful lady in a wonderful house with a wonderful cat “hotel” in her garden
  • Drive home and thank the universe for looking after Little Bob
  • Stop for wine at the local shop, even though I finished the last of an open bottle yesterday and I said I wouldn’t buy any more
  • Get home and tell the husband the cat lady is lovely
  • Go and reassure L, who is still awake, that Little Bob is going to be fine
  • Open the wine and sit down, grateful for a good end to a difficult day.

The Morning I Cried on the Stairs

I’m at home with the three children, and things are crazy. The amount I have to do to sort out my uncle’s affairs and funeral and flat and car seems endless. Plus the all the organising and getting ready for both boys to return to school next week. L is moving up to juniors so there’s lots of new things, including the logistics of actually getting him there and my work days and how it’s all going to fit in with dropping off C and baby F. And did I mention the cat?

My uncle kept a cat in his flat, called Little Bob. Pets weren’t allowed, and my uncle lived on the the 9th floor of a tower block, but never mind any of that. Little Bob has been living with us for the last few days and it has been a total nightmare. He is toilet trained, but a) the kids screaming and playing and shouting is freaking him out, b) my uncle dying in the flat and laying on the floor all night probably freaked him out, and c) coming here and being in a new home is almost certainly freaking him out.

So, as I was saying, he’s toilet trained, but I think the stress is disturbing him because he has weed half in the litter tray and half in the house. He’s pooed in front of the washing machine, he’s weed on the coir mat area by the front door. He’s also knocked all of the (overdue and unsorted) papers from my desk onto the floor and then weed next to them, so they soaked it all up. Nice. God knows what’s in that pile, but it’s probably a ton of things I should have done by now but haven’t.

This morning, after the bank holiday weekend, I tried to ring around and find a rescue home for him.

Oh my god.

What the fuck is everybody doing in the world that each rescue home has 50+ cats on its waiting list? Honestly, why oh why oh why does ANYBODY get a pet without thinking for a second that it’s a decade+ of commitment? Why isn’t the pet industry better regulated? Why is there so much cruelty? One woman told me not to share on Facebook because free cats are picked up for bait in dog fights. I mean, what the actual fuck? She started to tell me about them being tied down and I just spoke over her and told her to NOT tell me any of this because it would stop me sleeping at night.

I called so many places and everyone said there was a waiting list of weeks, or they would just ring me if they could help. There are now five of us and a cat in an 840sq/ft house. We’re all sleeping with all the doors closed to keep him out of the bedrooms (which I hate), and I am not kidding when I say the entire house is covered in cat hair already. It is everywhere. I come downstairs each morning and it’s on top of the fridge, the table we eat from, everywhere. I was hoovering it up yesterday while the husband was sorting out the litter tray and we had taken up the matting by the door to wash it and let it dry in the garden (thank goodness we are in the middle of a mini heatwave), and I had to wonder – why would anyone do this voluntarily? All the extra work, and time taken away from all the other stuff you need to do and time taken away from time you want to spend with your children?

And before I incur the wrath of pet-lovers everywhere, I grew up in a house of animals. I am not a pet-hater. But why add so much more responsibility to an already frantic life? Everyone is always complaining of being too busy. Rescue homes are heaving with abandoned, and neglected pets. Why do people keep buying them??

Anyway, after that I called the funeral policy company. My uncle had one single asset – a policy to contribute to funeral costs, bless him. This was probably the 15th phone call I’d made that morning with screaming, shouting kids in the background, barely able to hear anything. Because I am my uncle’s niece I have to jump through hoops and then some in order to be able to administrate all the paperwork left behind (distant next of kin, no will). I have to fill in forms, get things signed, you name it. At least with my Nan I was executor of her will, so it was straightforward. This time, I could be anyone, and everyone is not very happy about it.

I put the phone down after a particularly trying conversation on a bad line, trying to hear the billion things I needed to do and begging the children to please be a little quieter, and I just cried.

I sat on the stairs (because the kids were all upstairs and they couldn’t be out of sight), and cried. I cried about the inordinate amount of shit that I am currently trying to deal with, and how fucking tired I am all the time, how difficult everything seems and also for Little Bob, who is a poor innocent cat and god knows where he’s going to end up, and for my uncle, who died alone on the floor of his flat and has no one else to sort this out for him. And I cried because the children haven’t listened to me all morning, and because we have taken them out for treats and days out and yet sometimes they are so whiny and ungrateful and they take everything we have for granted, always asking for more and always moaning about wanting to play on the iPad. And I cried because I feel so out of shape and old and horrible and the most basic things of each day – feeding everyone, getting everyone into bed, clearing up – all suck all the joy out of me on a regular basis.

And then the phone rang, and I didn’t even catch her name or the organisation, but someone can take Little Bob. I was so relieved and grateful, I then cried on the phone to her. I am still waiting to hear from the lady who is going to take him in, so I’m not quite convinced yet that I’ve managed to sort something out, but I am hoping.

And then I cried some more and decided that things need to change.

I have three children and I cannot do everything. My inbox is literally bursting with (probably urgent) unread mail. I am behind on some work things I needed to do over the summer. My budget is out of the window. The house is a mess. The boys room looks like a war zone.

Modern life sucks!

There shouldn’t be this much to do all the time!

I hate the fact that at the moment I am reacting to everything, instead of  preparing and planning.

I am constantly in fire-fighting mode and I need to get out of it.

Am I the only person who feels totally overwhelmed by all the things that life seems to need, all the time?

Things are going to change. I need to start getting rid of things and cutting down what we have to do. Everyone is crabby and miserable all the time. Failing a move to a remote ranch in Australia (if only), we’ll have to recreate that as best we can here. I’m sick of fast food and overconsumption. I’m sick of landfill toys and throwaway belongings. I’m sick of constant days out to keep bored kids happy, and too many treats and taking everything for granted. I’m sick of it all.

Getting Back Into It

Boo has learnt to climb up onto the sofa. She fell off head first the other day and has a nice bruise to show for it.

It’s funny, but when I’m happy and content, I find that my blogging inspiration dries up. When things are hard, or I’m suffering with self-doubt, I can write thousands of words – they just pour out of me and onto the screen.

I blame obsessive diary-writing for this as a teenager. All my teenage angst gave me so much practice in writing about emotions like frustration, anger and sadness, that it set me up to be a maudlin blogger for life. Writing about secondary infertility kept me going for three long years – there was so much emotion there I practically burned through my keyboard.

These days however, life is good. And my god I am grateful for it. I think partly I worry about somehow tempting fate to take all the good things away from me if I publicly talk about good things happening in my life. But partly it’s just that I’m happy. And my brain is less busy when I’m happy, which means the need to write (which is very cathartic for me) decreases.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t make for a) decent blogging and b) ever finishing any of the books I have started to write and not finished (because my mood affects my desire to write also, and writing is one of my big loves).

So.

I’m going to try something new.

Firstly, I’m going to write a “On The List This Week” post at the start of each week. I love my lists, and this is a great way for me to be even more accountable to the massive list of things I want to get done. It also means I share what I’m up to and hopefully find other people doing similar things.

Secondly, I’m going to try posting more often, even if it seems like I have nothing to say (omg, I can hear you all clicking ‘unfollow’ now).

Thirdly, I’m going to try to find more bloggers out there like me. I really want to read and share and see what other people are up to. It’s really the most fun part about it. I struggle a bit with the WordPress reader, but I’ve been clicking around trying to find new blogs to follow and have a few new ones on my list now (yes, that’s you I’m stalking, mwah ha ha!).

So, without further ado, this weeks “On The List This Week” is late as it’s Wednesday, but here it is anyway:

  1. Start my tax return (yawn!)
  2. Do not buy any food except bare essentials like milk and bread (I am trying to use up everything in the cupboards/freezer/fridge as part of a money saving drive)
  3. Do two more runs
  4. Ring up and check what happened to my pension (I got a statement and its value had gone down by 20%)
  5. Start sorting out my photos (oh lordy – I am in a mess with these. My phone isn’t syncing with my desktop and everything is all over the place)
  6. List baby carrier and pro microphone on eBay
  7. Think about adding household accounts to YNAB (I am a total YNAB convert – it is the best personal budgeting tool I have ever used!)

That’s it for today!

Me and Boo

I was digging around photos this morning, trying to update all my social media stuff to something more coherent (mainly because I work online), and I found this old photo of me. I had to put it next to one of my daughter. It must be really strange for my parents. The power of our genes!

Genetics and generations

Ch Ch Ch Ch Changes

I’ve been away for so long. Why? I have spent vast quantities of time thinking about social media and blogging this year, and I have done very little about any of it. I’ve finally decided that it all comes down to self-acceptance, and that is not one of my strong points.

Without a decent dose of self-accepance, I will forever have one foot in the camp of self-doubt. And that means that anything and everything I post online is something that might be used to shame, ridicule, embarrass or criticise me. And you know what the craziest thing is? I don’t really mind if this comes from complete strangers, it’s the people that I know that I’m afraid of looking stupid in front of. My family, my friends, the people I used to work with, or go to school with. But the thing is, I truly love blogging. I love to write, my business is the web, and being online today is beneficial in so many ways that there really is no point hiding away for fear of what my old classmates might think of me.

So, I’ve been working on this whole self-acceptance thing, and I think I’m ready to get back out here. I’m spectacularly average at most things, which is something I occasionally find embarrassing (42 years on this earth and I can count my achievements in single figures), so I doubt there will ever be anything here to blow anyones mind, but I have lots of interests, and I like to share. One of the things I love about blogging is the connection with like-minded people. I have some treasured long-distance friendships that exist only because I poured my heart out online. So I’m hoping to be around a bit more now. If you’re reading, let me know!