A Trip To Wit’s End

That’s where I am right now. I am at my wit’s end. I don’t get here very often to be honest. I am not a patient person, but I am born problem solver. However, I am all out of ideas.

Last night, for the third night in a row, baby F woke several times. She’s now waking up to 5 or 6 times overnight. Last night it was 10:30 (I was probably asleep by 9:30 I was so tired), 11:45, 12:40, 3:30 and 5:30. She screams each time, and settles when I pick her up and put her back down. At 5:30 this morning that didn’t work. She just cried and cried and cried. But it was toddler crying – more like constant wailing. There were no tears, it was noise in order to protest something (what?? If only I knew what??).

Yesterday was the second of two day’s I’ve spent clearing out my uncle’s flat.


I don’t think I con convey in a photo the extent of this job. I haven’t shown the worst of the dirt and clutter in the kitchen and bathroom, and the blood on the floor where he fell.

Eric was a hoarder and a collector of things. The amount of stuff he had was incredible. There were things in his flat that I remember seeing in my grandparents house when I was a child. A box of lots of old tobacco tins containing nails and screws that used to live under their stairs. Paintings that hung on the wall in my house when I was a child. It was so sad.

My mum is on full benefits and has been having problems with falling over so there is no way she could manage it. I am the only other person Eric has that cares enough to do the right thing.

My uncle died in social housing with no will, no estate and no assets. His rent, at £200 per fortnight, is due from Sunday if the flat isn’t vacated. House clearance companies (I tried three), all said the same – it would cost from £200-£600 to clear the flat and they couldn’t come until the week after the bank holiday.

At about 11:30am yesterday I sat on the floor in Eric’s lounge and felt utter despair. I had already shifted around 20 black bags of clothing down nine floors and into my car, on my own, but the flat didn’t really look any emptier. There were hundreds of china and wooden ornaments that together weighed a lot more than the clothing. I couldn’t even imagine how I was going to get the furniture out.

I called housing, the benefit office and citizens advice. They all took the same hard line – rent is due from Sunday. Citizen’s advice weren’t even offering advice any more because they are restructuring.

Then I googled my situation and of course, the answer was there. With no estate and no means for me to clear the flat, I have to hand the keys back and walk away. The council will then clear and clean the flat, using taxpayers money.

And of course – this is what happens to every elderly person who dies alone with nothing but a house or flat full or possessions gathered over the decades. I felt horribly guilty. So much so that I phoned the housing office and explained I was going to hand in the keys and I apologised and cried.

Yesterday afternoon we closed the door on Eric’s life and walked away. It feels wrong in every part of me not to tidy it away properly, but it would have taken me months, in all honesty, to get everything out of the flat.

The warden for the block said that there are many other tenants with flats full to bursting with stuff. One of the house clearance men I spoke to on the phone said,

That’s just what people do when they get old. They hoard.

It is so sad, and so worrying, that we place such value on things. When I went to the tip to get rid of all the black bags in the car, it was heaving with people dumping stuff.

How can our planet hope to survive when we live in a throwaway society? Where is all this rubbish going to go when the space runs out?

Back to last night. Baby F has been sleeping in with me, her cot next to the bed, since her illness. I thought she would sleep peacefully there because she seems to need me so much in the night.

However, if anything, things are worse! She is waking more than she ever has. I feel like I am dying inside. She’s 21 months old and she has never, that I can remember, fallen asleep and not cried at some point overnight. 

She hates sleep in the day too. She’s tried to push through two days this week without a nap at all. I honestly don’t know how she’s doing it. My 6 year old is pretty much always asleep before her each evening, and baby F is always the first to wake.

Well, as I was saying, I am at my wit’s end. I cannot deal with being screamed at, multiple times a night, for what is turning into years on end. I’ve had enough.

Baby F is going back in her room today. I am going to put her to bed tonight when I am sure she is tired and I am not going back til 6:30am. And that’s what we’re going to do until she sleeps through.

It may sound harsh, but I just don’t think anyone can understand how desperately difficult it is to be woken multiple times every night for almost two years.

This Week’s Goals & Training Log #4

I’ve decided to put everything in one post, since I’m updating on these weekly.

I had a much better week, and managed to knock off a lot of stressful tasks that were really getting me down – sometimes I procrastinate over things that I think are going to be difficult to do, especially work tasks, and then I find I just get annoyed with myself that I haven’t done them. The feeling of actually getting stuff finished that I wasn’t looking forward to doing is always relief. When will I ever learn that procrastination is always the enemy?!

However, although the week started well, I’ve ended up feeling overwhelmed and overworked again at the end of it. Sometimes I literally hate all the possessions in our house. I fantasize on a regular basis about throwing EVERYTHING out. Mum popped in on Sunday morning and she always brings something – toys usually, or clothes (which I prefer) – but you know what?

We have enough.

And that is the crux of the matter. It’s not that they don’t want more toys (what kid wouldn’t?), but we have enough. We don’t need more. We don’t need to be contributing to endless, blind consumerism. I think that too many toys contributes to a lack of focus, an inability to keep things tidy and an attitude of not caring about possessions. Not to mention that instead of building a relationship, my mum is creating an expectation of always providing gifts. I need to tell her this, but I can’t find the right words and I am afraid of offending her. (UPDATE: I phoned her later and tried my best to explain… talking to my mum is so hard when I need to ask her to do, or not do, something. I feel so horribly guilty and un-daughterly. But I did it. I just hope she hasn’t taken it the wrong way.)

Christmas and birthdays are particularly stressful for me, as I see things flood into our house only to be discarded after opening, and lost/broken before they are ever properly played with. It’s not the right way to treat the resources of our planet.

Sigh. One day I really might just gather everything up and be done with it. I know everyone will think I am crazy, but stuff just brings me down, and clutter drives me crazy.

 Goals

From this week onwards I’m taking a completely different approach. Instead of having iddy-biddy piles of stuff that I need to do, and bouncing around from project to project, I’m going to focus on ONE project at a time until it is DONE. In the background I will still be doing all the normal household stuff, working, exercising, shopping, cooking and looking after the kiddos (i.e. life), but if I get any time to focus on a particular job I’m going to prioritise my one goal over everything else.

I’m also going to record the hours that I work on each project (I use toggl).

I spent a long time sorting through my todo list and relegating projects that I get distracted by and I finally decided that the one thing that I’ve been meaning to do for such a long time is get our family photo books printed. I need to do every year from 2010 onwards (omg, I can’t even believe that it’s got this far and I haven’t done them). 2009 is sat nicely on the bookshelf and I really want the later ones there too. The boys especially love to look back at old family pictures, so I think it’s important for them that I do this. It also shows that I care about our memories rather than just letting them sit on the computer ignored.

So, I’ve set myself a deadline of 15 Jan 2018 to get them all done (including the 2017 one). All I will do between now and then is update with hours and progress and pics. Now I’ve actually made the decision to get them done, I’m really glad (and a bit nervous at leaving everything else aside).

Current goal:

Finish family photo albums, years 2010-2017.

How last week went:

  1. Collect together ALL the paperwork scattered ALL over the house and make sure there is nothing urgent in there – Done.
  2. Get back to inbox zero for business account – Not done. Bah. I am struggling with work at the moment. Such a lot on.
  3. Three runs – Done
  4. Completely clear the table and the floor area around it – Done.
  5. Think about moving from Omnifocus to Things 3, because Omnifocus is just not working that well for me anymore – Done. Moved and loving Things 3 so far.

Training Week 12

A good week, although I was tired at the start after last week‘s PBs. I’ve randomly dropped half a kilo (must’ve left it behind on a run, haha), which is a nice surprise as my weight had gone up and then sat there for the last few weeks. I’m not obsessive over the numbers, but I really want to lose the jiggly belly. Three children have lived in there, and at the moment, it shows.

Monday

Rather uninspired 4km run. My heart really wasn’t in it.

Tuesday

Rest.

Wednesday

Met some friends at the park, so did a bit of walking in the 90 mins we were out. Put it down as recovery.

Thursday

10km run! Super exciting to do this! I ran it in 1:14, which is slow, but I wasn’t aiming for speed. I’m just trying to get my body used to running for longer distances as my knee often plays up when I do. No knee pain at all, which I am super-chuffed about and barely any soreness in the leg muscles the next day. It was a hot morning and I really enjoyed it. I’ve gone from nothing to being able to run for 74 minutes non-stop over the course of the last 12 weeks, which I can barely believe when I think about it. Really, really pleased with this.

Friday

Rest.

Saturday

Parkrun 5km, PB 30:59

Sunday

2km walk (tail walker at Junior Parkrun)