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Thursday, 31 October 2013

Through The Keyhole: Part Two

 
A digger inside your house. Completely normal.


My sanity is hanging from a thread.   In the past few weeks, I have wondered many times why we thought it was a good idea to start this project when EB was only 3 months old. Eight months in, I am feeling the strain.

You only have to look at me to see it. A cold sore the size of the Grand Canyon under my nose isn’t helping; I’ve never felt so self conscious. Last week, over coffee, a friend started to issue not so subtle tips about how to get rid of eye bags. Lots of sleep she suggested helpfully, will avoid one’s face looking like the Heathrow baggage department. Alas,  sleep is hard to come by for me right now - EB still wakes regularly at 2.30 am and at 5.30 am each morning wants to get up.  I should go to bed earlier, but from 9 - 11pm my evenings are spent researching fireplaces/ tiles/ kitchens/taps/fences. When I do actually go to bed, I lie awake thinking about how long my to do list is, stressing about decisions that need to be made (or indeed second guessing those that have already been made.)  It is all consuming.

Days are spent dashing to and fro from the school drop off, then onwards to the house, or the architect, or to meeting the builder or to showrooms/ shops/ suppliers.  The grandparents have visited and stayed regularly to try and help with childcare for EB and to allow me the odd hour here or there to get things done. They’ve been fabulous, embracing the opportunity to get to know their second grandson better, but alas, EB is getting a tad fed up of it all now. He cries every time I leave the room, wailing ‘Mama, Mama’ as I walk out the door. It’s heartbreaking.  Managing the house project has turned into a full time job - the only problem being, I already have one of those - as a full time stay at home mother.

I had hoped to publish a series about our house renovations here, but the fact is, I barely have the time to write it.  Since I discovered blogging, it has become one of my favourite ways to spend ‘me time’ but, right now, there is no me time whatsoever. A spa voucher gifted for my birthday at the start of the year sits on the dresser past it’s expiry date and with no booking made.  I know I should ring them, to discuss extending it, but it gets pushed to the bottom of the pile as each and every day is spent focussing on the urgent, important must - do tasks.

The rebuild is currently running two months behind. Hopes of being back in our house for Christmas were dashed some time ago and are now forgotten.   Unpicking the house at the start was exciting; the demolition derby a quick process. The rebuilding - not so quick. Unforeseen complications (the collapse of the front gable) slowed initial progress considerably.  A small glimmer of hope has been seen in the past week or so.  Floor boards have been laid, walls are being re-erected, the structural glazing has been fitted in the new extension and the house is now water tight again - thankfully, given the current weather.  The ‘new’ house is coming to life in terms of structure and after so long it is great to see some real progress and (with some imagination) glimpse the end result.

There have been a few difficult conversations with the neighbours;  now commonly referred to as ‘Wall-Gate' and 'Fence-Gate’. As a result of this project I consider myself well practised in the art of difficult conversation, yet, fence-gate threatened to push even me over the edge. The intricacies of fencing etiquette are a minefield. Like everything else, we came through the other side, but resolving these situations in order to try and maintain a happy equilibrium with those around us I have found especially draining. 

Stress now manifests daily in the form of decision making. As we approach the latter stage of the build, there are a host of questions daily about finish and design.  Some have long been decided; flooring. Others; paint colours, designs for fitted furniture and a new staircase, haven’t.  I wish I had more time to consider choices, look at options and re-look. I love nothing more than to procrastinate. Yet I can’t. I simply don’t have time. Once one set of decisions are made, I can’t revisit them, because hundreds more need to be made.  Some days my head feels like it might explode with it all.

Of course, it will be worth it in the end. I know it will, and we are so lucky to be able to put our own stamp on our property. But right now, it feels like hard work. Right now, I understand the grey pallor you see on the faces of individuals featured on Grand Designs.  Right now, it's sapping me of every shred of energy I have.




So, if you’re wondering why it’s been a bit quiet here - now you know. Hopefully normal(ish) service will resume again soon. 

18 comments:

  1. MP I know how you feel, been through it all myself and still it is not finished. We had a bungalow, sliced off the roof, added a floor & also extended out the back the width of the house. Sounds simple, o.m.g. so not! We had to take a break after a family member passed, we lost our puff, then again when Mr J's heart failed a year ago & it has been slow to get going again. We were going to move out but decided against it & again o.m.g. can you say dust and debris! Take good care of yourself, try to go on the spa day, leisurely swim, lunch you didn't have to make, massage and a cocktail is my prescription for you xxx

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    1. A fine prescription it sounds too. I don't envy you living amongst the dust and debris I must say! Thanks for your lovely comment. x

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  2. I had wondered why you had been quiet-assumed it might have been house related! Sounds very stressful, and hopefully the light at the end of the tunnel will come soon enough, I am sure it will all be worth it in the end. I hope you manage to extend that spa voucher and grab a few hours of me time at least xx

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    1. Yes, it's been tough recently - but hopefully we will make it to the end (relatively) unscathed. *said with gritted teeth* x

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  3. Oh heavens. This time will pass, but is does sound hellish at the moment. Just think how simple life will seem once this all consuming build finally becomes a thing of the past xx

    p.s. And if you suffer from coldosores regularly (I do, or used to...) I recommend this http://www.amazon.co.uk/Biostick-Light-Therapy-for-Skin/dp/B000VPJJ6U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1383342039&sr=8-1&keywords=biostick - absolute miracle worker, worth its weight in gold xx

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    1. Thank you. This is actually the first ever cold sore I've had - but boy, was it a good one! Will check out your recommendation x

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  4. You are SO brave to embark on this with such a young baby! I admire your tenacity. We had a loft conversion done last winter, when Gwen was a tiny bit older than EB, and it almost sent me over the edge. If it helps at all, now that it's done, I'm loving living in our bigger house, and feel it was all worthwhile. It must be very difficult to be facing this Christmas without a home, but just think - next year's will be all the more special for it...

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    1. Yes, roll on Xmas 2014...if we're not back in by then something will have gone seriously wrong! x

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  5. Oh my goodness, I have no idea how you have the energy to get up in the morning. I knew you were planning a lot for the house but wow! That's some amazing undertaking. I'm hoping that it passes quickly and that you soon find a bit more time to be kind to yourself. I really look forward to the day that you can share some finished pictures and one of the tea and cake you're enjoying in your new kitchen during a lovely hour that you had some peace, quiet and rest.

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    1. Especially for you 3 years, I will post a picture of me enjoying tea and cake in my new kitchen. (Well, maybe not me, but certainly the tea, cake and the kitchen.) *slopes off to browse the internet for new cups* x

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  6. Oh goodness.... what a stressful year you've had, and now it's coming down to all the small details, and decisions you must make. I'm not surprised you have a cold sore, you're on the go 24/7. Funnily enough, it was probably for the best that you started on this project when EB was a tiny baby because he will have been oblivious to most of it, when between the ages of one and two he may get he might get more frustrated/demanding with you being preoccupied with all the building stuff, if that makes sense. At the very least you are coming into the latter stages of the building work now, probably not that much comfort with how busy you are. I hope you are finding small ways to look after yourself, treat yourself.... And I really hope someone cooks you Christmas dinner this year - you thoroughly deserve it. X.

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  7. Thanks OM. Yes, Xmas at my Mum's this year - and a good dinner she always cooks too. Hurrah for that - because once we do get back into the house I think Husband plans to entertain his (our?) socks off - and I expect I'll be hosting Xmas forevermore! You're probably right about EB - at least I got a few months out of him when he lay prostrate in the buggy and just cooed - alas , no now! x

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  8. Oh I'm so sorry to see this and I had wondered about you being quiet lately. You're right it will all be worth it. At least you're getting to the finishing decisions now - that's progess, right? And you're thing - you're good at that. Perhaps this is where the pleasure can start - together with that from your boys! Try to remember to breathe. Not only will it make the decisions easier, your whole system might calm down xx

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    1. Breathing. I will try that :0) Thanks.x

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  9. Oh my goodness, stress with capital S! Poor you :( I can't think of anything else to say, apart from hang in there, it will get better but I guess that seems more than a little trite right now :( I do hope you find a way to relax and enjoy a bit of Christmas this year. The New Year always brings good things with it. Stay strong! x x

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    1. Thank you. Am still reading your fabulous blog even though I don't get a chance to comment regularly. x

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  10. There will be the beautiful day when it is all lovely and finished. You have taken on a lot as people with character will do. Take very good care of you as you do have very young children and need to be in tip-top shape for them. That sounds a bit preachy but hope you know me well enough to know that I just am concerned for you. Think of you often by the way.

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    1. Thanks Kate. Am regularly checking in to see how things are with you too. x

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