Broken Dreams

Feeling very full of PMT and self-pity which has led to crying jags and a rather hefty dose of the blues.

This means tears at the news reports, tears with music and unreasonable over-reactions to everything (all of which would be less tricky if I wasn’t busy hiding this from parents and other family members).
However, it has led to one particular rather critical realisation/heartbreak. I won’t be moving home any time soon. Despite my father’s promise that my childhood home would become mine he is increasingly reluctant to leave it and I have to face the idea that instead of it being my ‘family’ home and a viable small-holding I won’t get it til we are older/retiring.
Right now I am utterly miserable about this and probably over-reacting and/or misrepresenting the situation but still this is a big deal for me.
I need to re-plan my life and think about what is possible for all of us, stop day-dreaming and just get on the treadmill.

Slob or Domestic Goddess?

Its difficult not to compare yourself to other people isn’t it?

My mother-in-law keeps the most obsessively clean house I have ever been to. Every inch is scrubbed and polished, the kitchen and bathroom are bleached twice daily and dust is too frightened to settle. She must do at least two loads of laundry a day and I feel dirty just standing there.
My house will never be like that.
By contrast I have a friend who seems pathologically incapable of cleaning except before major events. Dishes go unwashed for weeks on end, bins fill up and don’t get emptied, clean and dirty laundry mixes indiscrimately in every room of the house and drifts of paper colonise the floors.There but for the grace of the gods…

So what counts as normal? What do you do?
In my 2 adult, 1 dog (no kids) household with 1.5 jobs, a PhD in progress and a serious predeliction for sleep we manage the following:
Washing-up – everyday [occasionally every other day, more often twice a day]
Laundry – 2 or 3 loads a week
Vacuuming -at least once a week, sometimes every other day
Kitchen – surfaces cleaned once or twice a day, floor washed 5 or 6 times a week, fridge cleaned every couple of months, corners dusted once every 6 months or so
Bathroom – toilet scrubbed once or twice a week, sink cleaned every week, bath scrubbed every fortnight, floor scrubbed every 2 or 3 weeks
Bedroom – dusted about once a year

The house never feels clean or tidy. I feel like I can never get on top of the chores. How do people with full-time jobs and/or children cope?
I wonder if it is a matter of perception.. what should I be doing? what is normal?
I think I need to adjust my expectations and throw some stuff away!

Re-asserting Order after the Chaos

Right Where Am I?
Sorry I have been afk for a bit due to the time and energy constraints of our local beer festival. However, I think I have regained a semblance of whatever it is that passes for normality in my daily life. That is I have removed the swathes of mud from our houses and started trying to catch up on my laundry mountain, we are also beginning to settle back into a weekly routine and I have opened up my thesis for the first time in nearly two weeks…

For someone who prides themself on their flexibility and ability to be accommodating and who consistently fails to adhere to any personal daily routine  I have discovered that my mental and physical well-being is somewhat dependent on some stability.
By which I mean that I quickly become physically and mentally exhausted by trying to keep up with unusual circumstances. I know that working long hours and seeing more people than usual has contributed to my sense of being overwhelmed and fatigued; but I also know that the stress of not getting regular alone time with my loved ones and of household chores and thesis-writing building up while I was otherwise occupied has left me drained.
I am also extra tired out by my continued inability to walk properly, squat or kneel for more than 30 secs or stand for any length of time. The physiotherapist has given me a series of exercises and the threat of an onward referral should the knee have failed to improve by my next visit. I would love to tell you that this spate of exercises for my knee has inspired a renewed vigour in doing my shoulder exercises but sadly that would be a lie – I have yet to successfully incorporate that into a daily routine.
However, as commented above steps towards normality have resumed and most of all I am able to get more sleep/more time in bed each day and more time loving and being loved.

Coming soon: A rundown on the wonderful world of mud and beer; commentary on a variety of medical delights; and Rain and my Garden…


So the xmas season has arrived and it is time to deal with the ritual present-buying, frenzied shoppers and foods and the like..
This year as I contemplate the cost of the december rituals, plan for future jobs etc and shudder over the increasing costs of living I have begun to budget in earnest.

Bus tickets are a big expense – £14 for a week ticket – which covers W working. I can use it when she isn’t but single tickets are £1.80 and £3.40 a return to manage work and back – that adds up fast. So my solution is to set a limit on how much I spend over and above that one week ticket; except in an emergency that means if I don’t have the cash I have to walk and more than that it gives me the incentive to take the extra time in my day to plan that walk. £10 max

  • Transport – £24/week.

Drinks. There is no denying that I like good alcohol and that its expensive. The mrs also has a powerful Rubicon Mango habit. For the purposes of healthy liver and wallet I have set us a budget of c. £3.30 per day. Thats half a pint of pricier bitter each everyday; or a couple of cans of my beloved okocim and a couple of cans of rubicon a day or saved up to one night of a couple of cocktails each

  • Drink – £23/week

Food has been a little more complex. Overall I have been working on getting the 3 of us to do a monthly/6-weekly online shop to share costs on at the very least the delivery but also to let us take advantage of bulk deals that don’t really work so well for small households. This shop usually covers such things as tinned and frozen foods and cleaning products. Unless we have messed up it generally comes to under £100, and I am thinking of introducing a stricter limit on this and a more routine time-scale for the shops. However, B & I are now working to put into place an even tighter regime to reduce casual weekly expenditure on food and snacks. This means planning meals for a week in advance and making packed lunches. At the moment I’m not sure what budget it is sensible to set to cover 3 meals a day for all of us (a total of 63 meals). Today 37 planned meals (7 Breakfasts for B, 6 Breakfasts for Me, 5 packed luches each and 3 dinners each) and the expectation of some left-overs (eg potatoes, onions, cereal) cost £26 – so is £40 going to be enough? Do we need to spend more or get better at low-budget cooking?

  • Food – £30/week?

In total thats £77 per week. So £80 cash in the house a week should cover everything and I can put the remaining money from my wages into my bank account and save enough to cover travelling to see family over the hols..