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Monday, 2 July 2012

Lost Baggage

I have come to the conclusion that taking time out from the milieu of everyday life is incredibly worthwhile.  Holidays may be luxuries, but in my book they are justifiable luxuries; they’re right up there with a good quality night cream once you reach a certain age. I think both are restorative necessities.

We spent the last week on a Greek Island in the Med.  I can’t proudly sit here and say I saw all the sights or educated myself particularly on the finer aspects of Greek culture. I didn’t. Sample the night life? Not so much, at four and a half months pregnant.   For a whole week, I just relaxed on the beach, played with my little boy, chatted to my husband, sunbathed on a lounger, read my book, ate freshly caught fish and ripe, mouth wateringly tasty tomatoes, and forgot about the strains and stresses of our London life.

Sometimes stepping back from the day to day helps you gain a new perspective.  As I sat on the beach, I thought about all the things on my to do list, and reflected that the stress I sometimes feel about certain things is disproportionate to the value they add to me, or my family, and perhaps it’s better to just let some of them go.  As the monotonous motion of the waves lapped gently against the sea shore, I reprioritised what was important, released my mental clutter and let it sail away on the outgoing tide.

The next six months are going to be a test of endurance for the Plum household.  We have to finalise the details for our house renovation project, tender it to builders, find a flat to rent, manage the project through, and in the middle of it all (minor detail) have a baby.  I’ve always prided myself on being a multitasker, but even I think I might struggle with this feat.  When Pip was born, I couldn’t even finish a cup of tea without it going cold, I was so absorbed in looking after him. By the time baby no 2 is here, I’ll be having to don a hard hat and walk around a building site, no doubt with him or her cossetted in a baby sling.  Do they make hard hats for babies I wonder?

As I reflected about the challenges ahead this last week, I tried to be realistic.  To face the facts. Some things - the house project, and baby, will just happen - because they have to happen.   And other things, will become superfluous, or put on hold until a later date, because that’s the only way it can be.  I really wanted to participate in Nanowrimo this year; to have my plan ready and fingers poised ready to tap away come 1st November. Is that a realistic goal? Probably not.  With a baby due on the 29th, I am sure I will be trying to make a million decisions on the house project before then, in order to buy myself some time in the first few weeks once baby is born.  

Here’s my plan.  These are the things I’m going to focus on, and if I get them done, I might have some time to get cracking on my personal writing project for November. It’s an incentive to get through my list on time.

To Do List.  July - October.
  • Finalise plans and award tender to builder by mid August (preferably to builder that charges only arm - rather than arm and leg)
  • Decide on fittings for Bathrooms and Kitchens/ Floors/ Lighting by end August. (Procrastinating prohibited)
  • Find rental accomodation, pack up / throw out rubbish/ move house by start October. (Be ruthless about chucking out the chinz and plastic toot toys.)
  • Unpack, settle.  (Nest a little - no doubt lament lack of nursery.) Mid October.
  • Start supervising work at house. ( Pull hair out umpteen times.)
  • Have baby. (How hard can it be the second time around?!)

Additional priorities:
  • Finish Pip’s first year photo book. (It would be lovely to compare pictures of him with out newborn on a month by month basis.)
  • Get very early head start on Christmas shopping. Realistically, I’m going to do none in December.
  • Formulate plan for Nanowrimo so I’m ready to start 1 November if everything on the above list is on track. (Accept that this is optimism and if it doesn’t happen, so be it.)

Everything else must wait. (The blog is the exception to this..of course.)

Daunting? Yes, a little. But after our week away, and some ruthless mental prioritisation I’m ready for the challenge.  As I retrieved my trusty red leather holdall from the carousel at Gatwick, I felt enthused and ready for the months ahead.  I’ve left all my other head fluff behind, I’m focussed and ready with my hard hat for whatever the next six months wants to throw at me.  Wish me luck, folks.

13 comments:

  1. Your holiday sounds lovely, just what is needed, laying in the sun and enjoying time with your family! Try not to let everything get on top of you though, it sounds like a VERY busy six months - take everything in your stride and what can and will be done will be! XX

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    1. Thanks Louise. When we weren't getting pregnant, the house was my big 'project' and now I find actually, I've got two big projects all at once. Just like buses....!

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  2. WOW. WOW. WOW. Now there's a plan. I think I would be somersaulting by the stress of it all, but sounds to me like you have it all planned out, and well. Really impressed you are going to enter NaNoWriMo. I was just looking at their website, and I'm thinking, should I give it a go too? I have an idea for a novel, but I was thinking of possibly publishing some short stories first as a basis for the bigger project first, and self publishing those perhaps? Moving into a flat while all the work is going on sounds like a very good plan. Sounds like you had a lovely holiday, and that you are now refreshed and ready to take on the last six months of the year - hard hats willing!

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    1. I am trying not to be stressed and adopting the mantra 'I'm calm and in control'. Haha! I don't know if I can enter Nanowrimo. I'd love to but reading this back last night I was hit with self doubt about getting everything done. Pip does start pre-school in Sept though so I will have 3 hours free every morning which may help. We'll see...

      I definitely think you should give it a go. It's free after all! I see where you're coming from on the short stories, I had a similar idea myself whilst I was on holiday. I wondered if it's easier to do it that way and then link the threads together?

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  3. Your holiday sounds wonderful - I am trying to take time out from everything while staying at home - I find it helps enormously too. I did the builders and baby thing - you'll find a slow cooker a great help because you can prepare food early while you still have the energy and be out all day doing what you have to do or in and sleeping with the baby. Yay!

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    1. Great tip about the slow cooker. I've thought about getting one for a long time and now I have the perfect opportunity! Thanks x

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  4. You lucky thing MP, the holiday sounds so restful, just what I could do with myself! Have you not seen 3 Men & A Baby, the baby has a dinky yellow hard hat!
    I like that "Have Baby, how hard can it be the second time around" LOL. For me, its been easier, there are things you just don't worry about the second time around - you have the t-shirt now! xx

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    1. Yes! 3 men and a baby - I do remember. I loved that film. Always been a bit of a Tom Selleck fan...which is strange because I'd never normally like a man with a moustache!

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    2. I love Tom Selleck too, so happy to have found someone else who does too! I love a good re-run episode of Magnum!

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  5. That's quite a to do list! The time will just fly by with so much to keep you occupied. Packing and moving strikes me as the hardest thing on the list, as you say, the baby will just happen and no doubt just slot right in, hard hat and all. Good luck with NaNo, I had a friend do it last year and she really gained lots from it,just sitting down to type out 1700 words or so every day, it really freed the creative ideas. Polly

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    1. Yes, not looking forward to the packing and moving bit. Feels like I'm still recovering from last time and that was 2 years ago! Do you think you might give NaNo a go this year?

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  6. I obviously am well out of the loop, what NaNo thing?! This is deffo a groovy mums post MP!!

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  7. http://www.nanowrimo.org/

    Fancy unleashing that novel from within in November?

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