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Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Disconnected

The letter from the electricity board read; ‘ Notice of disconnection’.  As I stared at it I wondered when things had got quite so out of control. I hadn’t set up a direct debit, it didn’t seem necessary for the length of time we plan to be here. As I result, I’d simply forgotten to pay it. I wasn’t surprised, on the adrenalin richter scale it didn’t even bother me greatly; it was just another curve ball thrown into the spiralling chaos of everyday life. 

Trying to keep on top of every aspect of life right now is a plate spinning challenge of Olympic proportions.  Managing a house renovation project and two small young children is proving to be a monumental challenge. Cramped into our small rental property surrounded by boxes that there’s no space to unpack, I feel that I am living in a permanent state of disarray. Piles of paper, (bills that need to be paid) get filed somewhere ‘safe’ and then disappear (get forgotten) under yet more piles of paper. Ditto registration forms for swimming lessons and forms for Pip’s school.  Dust is piling up on skirting boards, since I parted company with our cleaner; our finances are tighter than my pre-maternity tights and it seemed ridiculous to pay for a cleaner that couldn’t clean. 

The architect and builder are becoming increasingly demanding. I am thankful we chose to rent so close to Faulty Towers.  EB regularly gets pushed into the building site, a shroud placed over his pram to protect him from the dust.  Suddenly life has become punctuated by many decisions. All needing to be made yesterday. We’ve been planning this forever, but there is something about finalising decisions; accepting responsibility, that makes me second guess myself and doubt my judgement.  There are many choices, too many choices and they all need to be made at once.  Husband is consulted each night from 9-10pm, when after a late supper I download the day’s progress and discuss any decisions that need to be made.

Annabel Karmel’s recipe book sits perched atop bathroom and tile brochures on the kitchen worktop juxtaposed against pouches of Ella’s kitchen; a reminder of good intentions amidst the benefits of time saving convenience. Every time I look at them, I feel a pang of guilt, that EB’s weaning is not as ‘wholesome‘ as his brothers, who only ate homemade food for the first year of his life. Yet I have to accept I just can’t do it all, I’m struggling as it is;  any free time is taken up with tile showrooms and bathroom shops (much to EB’s disgust). I would dearly like to write about this project on my blog, but there just never seems to be the time or the head space. Some days I find it hard to even remember what day it actually is.  Sleepless nights with a suckling, teething babe attached to my breast coupled with long frenetic days have made my head a fuzzy mess.

Last week we took a holiday with friends.  A crazy thing to do, given our current circumstances and finances, but, it had been booked and paid for a year ago. We hoped it would offer some sanity saving respite, if only temporary.

I had forgotten just exactly how much time it takes to pack up a family of four for a holiday.  The Friday before we left was bedlam, from it’s 6am start we didn’t stop; watching 7m steels be delivered to the house on a crane at 9am I felt that half the day must surely have passed already.  By 8.30pm that evening when the baptism visitors arrived to discuss EB’s christening I was exhausted. My weariness must have been self-evident, they didn’t stay long.  At 10.30pm I finished writing emails to the architect and continued packing.  At 11.30pm I had a shower.  At 1am after making sure we had everything we needed and sending yet a few more emails, I rolled into bed, knowing that a taxi would be picking us up in 4 hours time.

I wondered how many more weeks I could take like that one. Surely the holiday week would be less stressful. 

It was, to a degree. But still the calls came, conferencing with the architect or the builder on Husband’s phone.  And still the adrenalin pumped and still I postulated and deliberated about each decision.  EB decided sleeping at night was for wimps so I found myself up nearly every hour in the night, placating him with breast far too regularly in an attempt to at least keep his older brother asleep.  By the end of the week I was producing enough milk to start a dairy, evidenced by the number of times my friends or husband would whisper; "You’re leaking"  as I sported wet patches on my t-shirt for the umpteenth time.

I returned home no more rested. Both eyes have developed twitches, my head aches.  Stress or brick dust? Who knows. A house to rebuild, a 4 year old birthday and party, a christening, a weeks worth of washing, a leak in the rental property, more unpaid bills. The to-do list seems endless.  I like life to be busy but this is ridiculous. Perhaps the letter from the electricity board was a sign, an omen of some sort.  I need to find a way of balancing things better - before I become disconnected myself.

How do you hold it all together?

24 comments:

  1. OMG I know, I know. We've just had renovations (new bathrooms) and had to move out for two+ weeks. When we came back to chaos it took another month for the ordered wardrobe to arrive. Now finally, I thought, I can put things away and find an official place for everything, clean properly, re-hang the curtains. On the day of the wardrobe delivery I broke my toe - so I'm still sitting in piles of stuff all over the place. And what you said about the piles having no uniform theme or organization - that. Good luck with it all - it will pass. Eventually it will pass.

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    1. Sorry to hear about your toe. The one silver lining I can see in this situation is that you learn to live with less (mostly because you can't find it) which overall, must be a good thing. Our lives will be streamlined through the chaos - eventually!

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    2. LOl - I'v been wearing the same two dresses (with or without leggings underneath depending on the weather) for the past 5 weeks. I don't even need a new wardrobe.

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  2. Oh my goodness you must be exhausted, if it's any consolation Sam hasn't been having half as much home made food as Alex did and that's without me having a house renovated. Have you family nearby just to help you out, even if it's just so you can get half an hour peace and quiet? Good luck x

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    1. No family nearby which is what makes it harder. Thanks for making me feel better about the food thing. x

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  3. I pretty much had tears in my eyes when I came to the end of this post (big hugs to you) - you have so much on your plate at the moment, and under so much stress. I am amazed at how much you are juggling at the moment. I plate spin too... and there have been times recently I thought I was near burn out. Are you able to make a list of your very top priorities at the moment, and then stick with those? (the dust can wait - the washing can be done gradually, blogging could take a back seat until there is a little more order). I know when loads needs to be done, everything can seem like a priority! But it will all get done eventually, and as far as EB is concerned, as long as he is healthy and happy - it's fine if he lives on Ella's kitchen (there are always compromises with subsequent children) - be easier on yourself, and just do what you need to do to keep your head above water. Big hugs and a cup of tea on their way to you. XXX

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    1. I make alot of lists - I've even harked back to my management days and boxed things into urgent/ important vs important not urgent and not urgent. The trouble is..it all seems urgent and important! At least I've got a pretty notepad to write it all in though:0) Thanks for the tea. xx

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  4. You sound very busy and very tired! It's difficult enough when you don't have all your things around you, living the life you want to live at home (weaning), without all the added difficulties and complications of the house renovation. Are you getting many more calls than you thought you would? Is that part of the problem? I imagine if you thought you had everything in order but suddenly it seems that every little thing needs to be gone over and checked again, it must be taking up way too much of your time. You may not feel rested after your holiday, but I'm sure the change of scene will have helped, if only in a small way. Good luck!

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    1. Some of the things are surprises in the sense that until they got up on to the roof/ dug up the floor, we did not know what we were dealing with. The secondary issue is that we are now revisiting and supposedly finalising decisions we made in November last year, when I was heavily pregnant and hormonal, and I'm now thinking..why on earth did we decide that? Thanks for commenting x

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  5. Oh MP. it's the dreaded lack of sleep, I'm sure. When rested, you can take on the world. Sleep deprivation robs you of all ability to think straight or make a decision. Not that it will be much of a consolation to you but CK refused all my attempts at homemade food and was weaned entirely on Ella's Kitchen. He is happy, healthy and has an extremely varied diet now. Let the guilt go. EB might not have as much of your attention as Pip did but he is loved.

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    1. Sleep deprivation is a killer - I agree. I am very happy to hear that CK is an Ella's baby, makes me feel MUCH better. x

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  6. Oh hun, sending you a huge hug. I have no idea how to hold it all together but somehow we get through it. My mantra is 'this too will pass' because after having one child you somehow know it will eventually, even though it doesn't seem like it at the time! Faulty Towers will be sparkly and lovely, the dust will be gone, you'll be unpacked and feeling fabulous. In the meantime, drink coffee, eat cake and write as much as you can to get it all out of your head and onto paper. Good luck! x

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    1. Thanks for your lovely supportive comment. Coffee, cake and writing - that sounds like my kind of therapy :0) x

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  7. Ummm, I don't....please don't feel you're alone in all of this. We're all spinning plates and juggling and dropping them, all the time. I really feel for you, it's such a tough time with all you've got going on. One of the mantras which I cling on to and repeat to myself, a lot, is 'This too shall pass'....don't forget it :) x

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    1. Thanks Suzanne. I know, I just need to hang on in there. I like that mantra - alot. x

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  8. Having just read the other comments, I realise that 'Bod for Tea' has the same mantra - it must work!

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  9. Can I say again, what a great writer you are. Beautifully written post. I really felt for you. I can just imagine, at the end of it, it sounds like you are going to have a fabulous house at the end of it. Ella's Kitchen - organic and nutritious, what more could you ask for? Sending you love at this busy time. x PS Very impressed you have time to write post and read mine at the same time - multi tasking mummy!

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    1. Thank you for your lovely comment.x

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  10. The temporary home and the renovation project would be stressful enough, let alone all the day to day on top of that. Ellas Kitchen is grand - my daughter loved it far more than her brother enjoyed his home cooked fish pie. Dust - forget it - focus on getting through this time without a nervous breakdown and make use of whatever help you can. It's a means to an end. And it will end - you will move on and it will all be worth it. You will look back at this stressful time and shudder - then look around at the wonderful home you have created and relax, be glad you finally made it, and forget xx

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    1. Wise words All at Sea and I am sure you are right. I just need to keep on muddling through x

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  11. MP I do sympathise, I went through exactly the same thing a few years ago, our bungalow was half demolished and another floor built on. We weren't as sensible as you though, we stayed put throughout! I hope some of the tension eases soon, it can be quite debilitating. Hope you can get back to your writing soon xxx ps. I forgot to pay the credit card more than once in that time too, the bank didn't care, they just charged me for it, bless them!

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    1. Oh MLM, I can't imagine living in the house! Poor you - that must have been a nightmare. You are living proof that one does come out the other side though. I'll hold on to that :0)

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  12. I'm so sorry to see you're struggling. I found so many decisions exhausting just when the kitchen was done - with a four year old and a babe in arms, but it passed pretty quickly. I have still never got up straight from it (four years on now!). The children are being baptized in a fortnight, which I've now talked about for eight years! The mortgage bounced again this month. You're not alone. Everything you're going through is hard enough on its own, let alone simultaneously. The fact you can string your words together so beautifully still shows you are still more 'together' than you realise. That no rest at night time is a killer and we've all done the feeding so as not to wake the older child - and the less healthy / more chocolate diet. We all feel terrible about it, but it happens. My ex-partner (the something I still haven't emailed you about, sorry,) said once you're on the fifth child, you let them juggle with knives - joking obvs! As soon as your little one is on solids and you can break that feeding at night habit - get hubby to deal with him for the few nights it will take, then your world will take on a whole new light. So sorry for the essay and to be so behind - but you clearly know how it is! Much love and I will write xxx

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    1. Thank you for your lovely supportive comment Anya. We are weaning now, but I have to say, it isn't helping the sleeping so far. Fingers crossed it will shortly. Love the idea of husband taking him in the nights when we break the night feeding habit. I'll definitely mention that one to him :0)

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