Sunday, 23 March 2008

holiday


Very quickly - thank you everyone who has replied and emailed so far. We are off on our holidays for ten days now - no computers, no mobile phones, no baby, no nothing except the two of us and some relaxing and thinking time. Can we imagine that I have already sent you all a postcard?

And thank you, everyone, for all your good wishes over the last couple of weeks. They have been very much appreciated.

Back Wednesday 2 April.



Saturday, 22 March 2008

'Hold on lads, I've had an idea...'

written by B

Whats the only thing cheekier than pimping yourself on your blog?

Pimping yourself on someone elses.

So here's the thing. After the previous post of OMG everythings going

to hell in a handbasket, we've had a long chat. A good deal of which

revolved round how little fun either of us are having with me spending

vast amounts of time away from home. No point in having an idyllic life

in the country that you're never at. The kicker is, that what I do pays

well, so if I stop doing that, then what?

Well, I've had an idea, and thats where everyone else comes in, I need

your help for a bit of ad hoc market research. The idea is to set up a

story writing service. People will pay on a website, then send in /

email in some details of the person the story is about, we then write

it, get a couple of illustrations done and email a finished document to

the customer. Later we could expand this to printing them out ourselves

on nice paper and sending them by post.

Initially, I'm imagining our target audience to be under 6's. Stories

to be about 500-600 words (think 'Very Hungry Caterpillar' length). But

that could change depending on what people want. I know there are

automated 'stick your name in this story what we habe already written

sites'. This would be geniunely written one offs for presents,

birthdays, Christmas etc.

So what I'd like to know from the good readers of this blog are:

1) Broadly - is it an interesting product? Would you buy one for a
child/niece/nephew/grandchild?

2) Cost - what do you think is a fair price for it? What would your
most mad, loaded friend pay?

3) Info - would it bother you to enter details about the child in
question (simple stuff - first name, likes dislikes, pets - nothing
that could identify anyone and any info could be deleted after
delivery)

4) Art - do we know anyone out there who'd be prepared to a few simple
line drawing art work sketches on either a piece work or a percentage
basis?

5) Advertising - where would you go to find something unusual for 'the
child who has everything'? If this product already existed, where would
you expect to find ads for it?

Thanks very much for letting me bother you with this, and for any spare

brain power you could turn to it for us.

Cheers

B

Friday, 21 March 2008

and again


I feel like this again today. We've spent a couple of hours this morning going through our finances - business and personal. Things are not looking great. I am really, really stressed; and probably because of that, I've had 'morning' sickness with a vengeance for the last couple of days, which isn't helping me any.

We are due to be away on holiday for ten days from Sunday and are thus not going to be able to speak to any of our creditors next week. The holiday is already paid for and we both desperately need some time together, resting.

There is no magic wand for this and no running away from it.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

don't wine


Today we are cracking on with repairing the leak - and I am trying to have less time on the computer, as I don't think it's helping my mental health and wellbeing a great deal.

The HUGE, HUGE knock-on disaster from The Leak Incident is that the door to the wine cupboard has become wedged shut against the ruined laminate floor. B ended up wrenching it off last night in his frenzy to get out a demijon of something vaguely drinkable.

Also today - tax return. It is stressing me, so getting it done seems like a good plan.


Tuesday, 18 March 2008

admiration


So. Our caravan set off for home from Somerset at about 3pm yesterday afternoon. As well as B and I and Leo, it contained two half a lambs and a rabbit (all frozen), two different kinds of jasmine and a clematis montana.

Our ETA was approximately 7.30pm.

Just before we reached Abergavenny, it became obvious that B was about to fall asleep - not ideal, since he was driving. So we stopped at a very convenient Waitrose and all had something to eat and some coffee; and one of us had a nappy change. We also picked up a few things to casserole with the rabbit today.

Then the caravan continued on it's way.

About five minutes later, just to the north of Abergavenny on the A40, we were one of the first on the scene of an accident. A young chap had been speeding and had lost control of his car, which had ploughed off the road in to a field and turned over - probably a couple of times by the look of it.

His friend, who had been following more slowly* in another car behind, was just pulling him out of the upside down car** when we got there. There were a few people directing traffic but no-one actually helping; B is a first-aider, so we pulled up and he got out to see what he could do.

They laid the driver down in the field a few yards away from the car and turned it's engine off. Another couple of practical women arrived, one of whom was a nurse. I called the emergency services, who had already got the incident logged but took more details. There were also two girls who had been in the car with him, one of whom was fine and one of whom had minor injuries.

We put a blanket over the driver - his shoulder was hurt and his foot was pretty badly crushed.

After that point there wasn't anything else that I could usefully do at the scene, and Leo had woken up, so I left B and the nurse with the injured boy, got Leo out of the car to stop him crying and went to chat to the two girls, who were pretty distressed.

It turned out that boys were seventeen and the girls were fourteen and fifteen. They were terrified of their parents finding out what had happened, because they had been told not to go in the car with the young lad, who is known as a dangerous driver.

The emergency services didn't take too long to arrive, but it took what seemed like a long time to stabilise the driver enough to get him on one of those board-stretcher things and in to the ambulance. Eventually the girls were persuaded to give their details to the police, so their parents could be contacted.

I was so proud of B. He was really calm and collected during the whole thing. Other people were flapping round not doing anything useful and he just decided what needed doing and did it. It took a few minutes before they were reasonably sure they weren't going to lose the young lad; and he stayed with him until they put him in the ambulance.

Kids think they're invulnerable, don't they?

Then we drove home, very sedately, and found that in our week's absence, the shower has continued to leak inside the partition wall in the bathroom, and the plasterboard is mouldy and soggy and the sitting room below was full of water.

Somehow, it seemed less of a crisis that it would have done before, so we just turned off all the pipes in to the bathroom and went to bed.



*because he'd had a similar accident on the same road a few weeks earlier
**he should probably have left him in there to avoid aggravating any injuries - but they were both seventeen and he didn't know whether the car was going to catch fire or not, so I don't think he did too badly - he kept his head.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

crawl


Cramps a bit easier - nothing else has happened. I spent yesterday in bed and am planning on having an easy day today. B is coming down here, to Ma's, this evening after his show finishes. He's leaving his car in Birmingham and coming on the train - then he'll drive us all home tomorrow.

Thank you for all the kind words. I feel less confused and distressed - I think that the increased medication is probably kicking in and I have had some reiki. Still feel sick, though. Someone remind me how much I hate being pregnant if I ever talk about doing this again, please?

Oh, and Leo has started crawling. He can only go in reverse so far; but that doesn't seem to be fazing him :).


Thursday, 13 March 2008

stop


It sounds overly dramatic, I know; but I just feel like I can't go on coping with everything. Not in an 'ending it all by jumping off a cliff' kind of way, I hasten to add* - but in a "bloody HELL, why am I spending all my time doing all these things that mean that my life is full of stress" kind of way.

I am not enjoying the baby.

Not because he is not enjoyable and not because I don't love him to bits. But because I don't have TIME to enjoy him. I am so stressed about sorting out the renovations to the house, keeping on top of the accounts, chasing payments, issuing invoices, getting together marketing material and worrying about money - the 'survival things' - that I don't have time for the fun stuff.

Playing with him. Enjoying bathing him. Taking him for walks. And I don't have time for myself. I don't have time to sort out the garden. Look after the chickens properly. Take care of the bees. To read. To spend time with B.

All parents have limitations on their time. Of course they do. And I know that many parents hold down a stressful job or run a stressful business whilst being parents.

But I can't do it any more.

We live in a lovely place. We have a big mortgage to enable us to do that.

I want a smaller mortgage. And I want more time. More time with B - who is fed up with working away so much, too - more time with Leo, more time in the garden. I feel like I am not living, that I am just surviving. B is the centre of my life; and currently, we spend more apart than we do together.

Ma says that I should pick myself up, dust myself off and get on with things and that everyone in business suffers this kind of reverse at one time or another. She's right. But you have to ask yourself, "is it worth it?". Is it worth the stress?

And to me, currently, it's not.

These people who are going in to administration owe us just over six thousand pounds. That is a considerable amount for us. More than half of that is owed to other people for kit hire and crew hire for those two jobs. So that is money that we have to find. Luckily our suppliers are prepared to take staged payments.

The shortfall means that we do not have enough money ourselves to convert the end of our house in to the self-contained flat that we were planning to rent out to take some of the financial pressure off of B - so he could spend more time at home.

And the thing that is making me most angry is that we have heard on the grapevine that at least one of the directors from the company has walked straight in to a partnership with someone else, still doing events. How can that be right? I know it's common - I'm not naive. But it is wrong.

I don't know what to do.

I don't know if either of us can bear to go through another attempt at moving house whilst pregnant. Especially not after we have spent the last six months putting our heart and soul in to making the house as we want it. But what else can we do? Less work, which we both want, means less money. Less money means needing to have fewer outgoings. Fewer outgoings means a small mortgage. A smaller mortgage means moving.

I am so confused and stressed. And distressed.

What should we do?


*Although sitting it a nice, dark wardrobe for a bit wrapped in a cuddly blanket might be nice.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

in brief


B is in Birmingham doing a Stan's Cafe show.

Leo and I are in Somerset with Ma again - I'm feeling a bit ropey. Tired, miserable, weepy. I've got an appointment to see their GP tomorrow to discuss the 'upping the anti-depressant medication giving the baby fins' scenario. I can't seem to stop crying. Ma and Sister Natalie are being great, taking Leo when I feel I can't cope, feeding me, taking me for walks, generally being lovely.

We have found out today that the company who owes us money is on the way in to administration. This is slightly adding to our stress.

Gah.

Roll on a) next week, when B is home and b) the week after Easter, when Leo is staying with his Grandma and Grandad for a week whilst B and I slope off to Majorca.

For today, that is all. I leave you, to return to cat-stroking and reading trashy novels.

Friday, 7 March 2008

johari window


By the way, my Johari Window thingy is still up and running - I haven't seen anyone else post about it for a while, so if you haven't come across it before and fancy a bit of personality-digging, have a look/contribute to mine and perhaps set your own up - the results are interesting.



luck


I think that Doris wins. I'm not sure what, though :).

What you can't see from the photo is that the bottom end of the ladder she's balanced on is being held up by Sister Natalie, who is not quite standing in a rather tall American Pillar rose bush and leaning against the flaking asbestos garage. The VERY rickety and elderly wooden step ladder in the bottom of the picture is balanced on only one leg and is being held up by a) the gutter and b) me. Every time she moved, the whole roof bowed alarmingly and I had visions of having to pick her out of the seedlings on the hot-bed below.

As it was, she backed down very gently, dropped her putty-tool-thingy on my foot and transferred herself inch by inch across the rotten plank that the ladder was braced on, on to the step ladder. Then she paused there for Far Too Long as I propped her up, discussing with Natalie whether they were going to take the long ladder up and put it across the pond to divide the water lilies.

Which they did.

Just another day at the ranch.

Ma will be seventy two in June.

In other news, Leo and I arrived home yesterday with nine (NINE!!!) new chickens. Two barnevelder hens and seven chicks, of whom I think that at least three are girls - using my not-always-correct chicken sexing method*, which Kitchen Witch can tell you more about.

Today we cleaned out chickens, planted out a few early peas in a space in the greenhouse, did some invoicing, spoke to the solicitor about taking proceedings against the people who aren't paying us (and now don't even seem to be answering the phone, which IMHO is just ridiculous for a large company). The amount outstanding is quite big and it's going to make a difference to our house-renovation plans if we can't get the money out of them. Gah. The business will be okay - but it really pisses me off that we just start to feel that we are catching up with ourselves and then something comes up that knocks us back again. I suppose everyone feels like that - and I don't mind Acts Of God**, but I resent being screwed over by someone else who is profiting by it.

B is off again tomorrow, for the whole week. I am debating whether to take off to Ma's again, but haven't decided yet. The minuses in this situation would be that often, if I space my visits too close together, the high level of chaos wigs me out pretty badly - and my not-coping-very-well adds to everyone else's stress. The pluses are that Ma and Natalie and even Pa, a bit, are enjoying Leo so much and he them. It makes me really happy to see them all. And also, I get some help with him.

He has started having the screaming hab-dabs EVERY SINGLE NIGHT at bed-time - all the time you undress him and re-dress him, until you start spooning rusk in. I thought at first it was overtiredness - but it doesn't seem to be.

Anyway. That, I think, is all. We're having an early night, because B has to be off at 5.30 tomorrow morning.


* I reckon that generally speaking, the girls grow little back-packs at the top of their wings before the boys, who feather up more evenly. This is not always correct. But as a rule of thumb, eight or nine times out of ten will do it.
** Like the fact that the shower plumbing that B and his dad laboriously put in the week before last is now leaking, inside the partition wall that Vic has so neatly tiled over, and all the tiles on the bathroom floor are now loose. And there was water coming through the sitting room ceiling, until B twigged what was happening and turned the valves off.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

what happened next?



Ma on greenhouse roof

Ma on the greenhouse roof, repairing a piece of glass in an awkward place. Most imaginative (or accurate) paragraph in comments describing what happened next gets a prize :).

Leo and I are staying in Somerset for a few days whilst B is off doing various things in the North West.

So far, we are having fun.