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Monday, 11 February 2013

Tits Up (The Week That Was)

It started on the Monday. A cold, shivery feeling. Sweats; hot then cold. An aching in my joints and back. A feeling of weakening, of becoming rag doll like; floppy limbed. Then an overwhelming desire to lie down, rest my aching self and sleep. 

The rash on my right breast was faint at first, but the area underneath was sensitive to the slightest touch.  By the time the sun rose the next morning, the pain was excruciating. A throbbing, searing pain so bad I could barely hold a crying EB to my chest and cradle him. No. Please no. Not this week. I have too much to do.

I played Google Doctor. Diagnosis; mastitis. An emergency appointment with my least favourite GP at the local surgery confirmed it. I left armed with a prescription for some strong antibiotics and with warnings of delirium and abscesses rattling my already delicate temperament.

All I wanted to do was crawl into bed and cocoon myself safely under my duvet until I felt better. Whatever was wrong with my breast ducts also seemed to be affecting my tear ducts. Not normally one to cry,  I found myself weeping at regular intervals, but with the removals van booked and having made the crazy decision to pack ourselves, I had no choice but to draw on my grit and focus on the task at hand.

There was still much packing to do, an entire house in fact.  The In-Laws arrived to help. After they’d made a 5.30am start to get to London, it seemed only right to feed them lunch before handing them the bubble wrap and the taping gun. 

The oven had other ideas. Clearly it had been listening to our conversations and had decided to protest about the fact that it was shortly going to be consigned to the skip.  The jacket potatoes I’d put in two hours earlier were as hard as if they’d still been sat in frosted ground.  Only a hastily rustled up BLT saved my proverbial bacon with my ravenous father in law.

The builders started work.  Not with full force, more a slow trickle of activity.  Cups of tea were offered and drunk, biscuits were eaten ( as predicted.) For legal reasons, a half hearted attempt had to be made at starting to dig out the foundations for the side extension, until it was decided, they could do no more until we moved out and they could bring in the heavy duty equipment. A molehill sized deposit of broken concrete lay abandoned on the patio - much to Pip’s delight, as he probed it daily with his plastic drill and grubbed about in the toddler sized trench.  Mid week the scaffolding arrived. In the space of an afternoon the house was engulfed by a matrix of metal tubes and pipes. The first of undoubtedly many eye opening conversations then ensued; starting with the issue of encroaching one’s neighbours ‘air space’ with scaffolding pipes.  As night fell it was decreed that all the already erected scaffolding would have to be re-erected the next day with shorter poles. Not the best start.

Pip contracted a vomiting bug.  Rather than packing away fresh sheets I was instead laundering sick stained ones and seeking to dry them as quickly as possible.  Nights were broken as we laid in bed with one ear listening out for a cough turn into something more, and then the helpless cry of ‘Mamma’.  In moments of quiet, I tossed and turned more than I had since late pregnancy, unable to get comfortable thanks to the swollen, pulsating mammary on the right hand side of my chest. 

The In-Laws were very helpful. They took on the challenge of packing us up with almost feverish excitement; which was great until I realised that all the items with which to clean up Pip’s sick were sitting taped inside a brown box somewhere.  I tried hard not to let rising feelings of stress overwhelm me as my MIL; a domestic goddess if ever there was one, set to work packing up our everyday life.   To instead think; you need this help, take it, don’t worry, she’s not judging you, and for the most part, I was successful.

There was a low point when I entered the kitchen and she held up an unidentifiable object. “I found this in this kitchen cupboard; what is it?” A vegetable (possibly a potato) from the broken vegetable drawer had clearly escaped into the back of the cupboard behind. I say possibly a potato, or maybe it was a shallot, it was so shrivelled, I could not tell. From it, had grown lots of fine strings on which had grown tiny beads like things, possibly small onions or potatoes, but again, unidentifiable to a non biologist such as myself. “Erm, I don’t know. Obviously nothing edible.” I joked.  Oh no. She thinks I am a slovenly housewife.  How awful. 

The food cupboard was also helpfully sorted through and quantities of food past it’s sell by date set aside for me to see. (Chinese rice wine vinegar, some souvenir black spaghetti pasta, some pasta sauces, a tin of sardines and various other items from the years 2010/11.) It was a delicate situation to manage, and she managed it well. I was not offended.  It did not however escape my notice that at lunchtime she looked at the sell by date on a packet of crisps she selected from the drawer before she ate them. I wondered if she would ever eat comfortably in our house again. 

By Thursday, the vomiting bug and the mastitis had started to wane.  After being described as ‘pale and wan’ by the architect that day, I headed off to bed early to try and get some much needed sleep, only to be woken at 3am by a loud beeping noise and a light coming from the landing.

Husband was not in the bed. “What are you doing?” I called at 'don’t wake the baby’ volume. “It’s OK - just fixing the smoke alarm” a loud whisper came back.  At 3am?  The beeping continued, but somehow, I managed to return to slumber. The next morning however, I woke to find that something, somewhere was still beeping.

Pip and I played an impromptu game of ‘hunt the beep’ to find that the smoke alarm had been removed from ceiling and had been placed, still beeping, in the lounge underneath every cushion in the house. So, with one week to go, no smoke alarm. The words ‘safety first’ chewed at my conscience all week but I consoled myself with the fact a) we have no oven so that probably limits the fire risk somewhat, b) in the event of a fire we could climb out the bedroom windows and take refuge on the scaffold.
 

Yesterday we discovered the drains are blocked.  It seems this old house decided to have the last laugh.

What a week.  At times I limped, but I made it to the end. Half the house is now packed and we have the other half to go.  The mastitis is under control, EB is feeding nicely and, strangely, I feel that my MIL very much appreciated me letting her pack up my cupboards. Perhaps sharing my imperfections in the domestic sphere has helped strengthen our bond.

Four days until move date I can confirm that packing oneself when you have two small children is indeed, crazy.  Always hire a packer when you move.

Every time I walk into my kitchen I look at this picture and take a very deep breath.  This my friends, is my motto for the week.




Linking up with The Monday Club at Hello Wall.

24 comments:

  1. Oh my word, sounds like a nightmare :( I did have a little chuckle at the stray potato/shallot which freaked out your MIL. Think we've all got one of those lurking at the back of a cupboard! Poor you with the mastitis, I do hope that its improving x x

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    1. It makes me feel better to know that I'm not the only one with growing vegetables in my cupboards - Thank you!

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  2. Good Lord, that all sounds pretty horrendous, and well done to you for allowing the MIL into your domain! I do hope things are on the up and thanks for linking up with The Monday Cub! X

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    1. Yes, I think she appreciated being let in!

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  3. Oh my lord - what a week - poor you - sounds that was quite a struggle to get through. I don't think I had mastitis but I did have blocked ducts on a number of occasions (always the right boobie)which came with a lump and shivers, and I managed to unblock it by rubbing the lump under warm water in the shower - but not the same as mastitis which sounds very painful indeed. Loved 'that thing' your MIL found in the back of the cupboard - made me laugh. And finally, glad your week is getting back on track again! :o). X.

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    1. I never realised what mastitis was - until I had it. I'll be a bit more understanding now when people say they've had it. It's awful! x

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  4. Tough week alright- well done for getting to the end of it! It did give me a giggle though ;-)

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  5. Oh so mastitis hit you as well :( it's not easy at all. I know as I had it twice since I gave birth. But a move and sicky babies on top it must be even worse. Big hugs to you xxxxxx be strong

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    1. Oh poor you, once was enough - twice must have been dreadful :0(. Hope you're ok now. x

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  6. Oh gosh-here's hoping the new week brings a bit more luck and good health! x

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  7. Oh, I really felt for you reading that. What bad timing! Yes, I concluded I was definitely going to hire packers after working into the early hours of the morning trying to pack up our London flat for our move down south with a lively one year old demanding our attention. In the end, our neighbours had to have him! And the mastitis - made me wince with painful memories! Best of luck. xxx

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    1. I should've followed your example :0) Packing yourself with two young children to look after is very difficult. As fast as I'm packing the 3.5 year old is pulling stuff out the boxes, or trying to climb in them!

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  8. hope the mastitis clears up soon, you'll look back on it all one day and laugh, ask me how I know haha!! Hope you're comfy in your new place whilst the builders "do" their stuff, I remember the builders here when they made our bungalow a house, the memories of them tearing off our roof and digging foundations for the extension still make me shudder! xxx

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    1. Hmmm. Yes I'm sure one day I will look back and laugh. But not yet...x

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  9. What a week, not sure I would have made it out from under that duvet. Think I would have found having my MIL around at such a time very difficult, I think you managed amazingly well.Now that week is behind you, thankfully, and hopefully a new more positive one has arrived.x

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    1. Thank you. It does feel like the end is in sight so far this week. x

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  10. You poor thing I'm feeling stressed just reading that - but will all be worth it for your lovely new home. (Where your MIL needn't go near a kitchen cupboard ever again...) x

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    1. Once it's all shiny and new I think she'll be quite happy to go near them. I hope so, I wouldn't like to think I've scarred her for life!

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  11. How awful. That sounds like the week from hell. Mastitis and antibiotics have become my 'friends' too - not nice, not nice at all.

    Hope you're home is a happier and healthier one now and that the move to the new home goes well x

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    1. Hello fellow sufferer, sorry to hear the mastitis has got you too. Awful isn't it?
      Hope things are on the up for you too now x

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  12. I hope your week has improved considerably and that your move has gone well and that you are feeling better? 2010/11? You're an amateur! ;) The rest of us go back way further :) XX

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