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.