Size

ailbhe 29y6m
I'm a little thinner than I'd like again. I was a size 16, which was nice because I actually WAS a size 16, not a mix of seven different sizes none of which quite fit in any shops, and as someone in her mid-thirties after three children, 16 seemed like a nice even number at which to settle.

But I'm a fraction thinner again now. I can't tell whether it's the stress (my hair is thinning, too) or just that I'm not Astrid's primary source of nutrition any more so I don't need the reserves.

It's much less scary getting thinner when I start off a size 16 than a size 8. I have this niggly "shouldn't I be panicking and planning high-calorie snacks?" feeling, but not the actual panic itself, which is very comfortable.

Rough summary

ailbhe 29y6m
Linnea is nine, Emer is seven, Astrid is three, and the house is bigger.

We had the two ground floor recep rooms knocked through and folding doors put in where the wall was. We also had a little WC put in on the first floor and an attic conversion so now we have a second floor.

There's a new back door and a total of three toilets in the house and lots and lots more light. We've had new floor and plaster and paint, the chimneybreasts on the ground floor were opened up to make space for shelving, and everything in the attic was put into storage units for four months. We have now emptied two of four storage units and not brought any books back yet. Freegle is our Friend.

I'm particularly pleased with the colours of the "new house". I'll take photos if we ever get tidy or clean.

==

Other than that, the Theatre Train classes are still going well and Linnea loves performing in public, the girls love Brownies and swimming, Emer is learning to read things she was afraid to try before, and Astrid has discovered addition. I'm drowning in squalor and housework but at least almost all the builder's dirt is gone now.

We got through the last four months thanks to Netflix, basically.

Letter

ailbhe 29y6m
Sent through a haze of rage to the people who sent my lovely flooring. I don't think contacting CityLink will be useful in any way, based on past experience.

Hi,

My 30sqm of orange flooring was delivered today by a friendly and helpful courier -- but it was too heavy for him to manage alone and CityLink sent it on a lorry with only one person. Neither my builder nor my partner were able to lift it either; it's a two-ablebodied-people job. The driver did get it into the house with my help and a trolley (almost broke the trolley) but I was surprised neither of us was hurt in the process.

It is now obstructing my hallway until we have two ablebodied people to move it into a room (probably the fitter and my partner). It would be nice if you could investigate other couriers who make sure exceptionally heavy deliveries are appropriately handled. I'd be happy to pay a little extra to know that the courier wasn't an abusive employer.

Ailbhe Leamy

Seriously, he was a nice man, and he tried, but it was a completely unreasonable thing to ask. He even said "where do you want it?" and would probably have tried to get it further into the house, but it was not safe.

We went to PARIS

ailbhe 29y6m
The children and I, and some more children and a friend, went to PARIS on the EUROSTAR and it was GREAT but oh my good god in gravy it was exhausting.

There's a little park with a playground near the Eurostar terminus in London, by the way, easy to get to with luggage and hugely useful to shake off the energy before sitting down for three hours.

The Metro is grimly awful with hip problems and a buggy. I managed, but by the end of the 3-night trip I was in constant grinding pain.

We went halfway up the Eiffel Tower! We saw an actual Van Gogh self-portrait in REAL LIFE! Linnea saw Monet's Waterlilies up close and far away! We could see the Sacre Coeur from the window of our sixth floor apartment which was full of arty booky what-hipsters-on-pinterest-aspire-to stuff AND had masses of literature on gender and sexuality and feminism which we didn't discover until it was almost too late.

We ate lunch at a pavement cafe in the medieval streets. We had late-night drinks near the Louvre. We had dinner in a bistro which belonged in a seedy film. We crossed bridges and collected autumn leaves.

We remembered to drink the booze on the FIRST night of the holiday not the LAST.

When we came back there was a delay to the building works which meant we had to stay in a hotel in London but it meant we had an extra night with our friends so that was actually GREAT.

And then it was my birthday, so although I spent it traveling with enormous amounts of luggage and dealing with delayed building work, I did get to wake up in a hotel and have an actual shower, so that was great too.

Like a cold, but slower

ailbhe 29y6m
I - and my family, and half our friends - have been dealing with a virus. It's like a long-drawn-out cold. Sore throat for a week, congestion for a week, headache for a week, stomach upset for a week. It's no fun.

But I accidentally napped for two hours today and it helped the joint pain a lot, which is nice.

I have to find and process my paperwork for my referral to a rheumatologist. Tricky, in the building site.

The builder called last night to say he's not invoicing this week because his subcontractors have been variously prevented from coming. One is off the job entirely with DVT, which was caught early and will not be a long-term problem apparently but is still a bit scary to hear about.

A neighbour vanished and three houses were worried about him but it turns out HE had DVT as well and has been moved to a hospital with which we were unfamiliar. While trying to track him down I met a lovely woman I've only barely spoken to before and it turns out she's a textiles fiend and she SPINS. She gives lessons, too, for free.

I bought a chin-up bar to mount in a doorway and hang a sling-swing from, but the kids are swinging on it without a sling so I might leave it at that. Lidl had them for a fiver, you see.

On Monday I have to go to the dentist to get two fillings, bringing my total, just before I turn 35, up to three. The NHS charge for the check-up and the hygienist and the fillings totals just over £50. The children's appointments were free, including fluoride treatment (there's still no fluoride in the water here, and it really shows).

I got all the melted plastic out of the oven and baked a loaf of bread and two batches of scones.

So it hasn't all been bad.

America

ailbhe 29y6m
They've turned the government off at the wall and won't turn it on again. What?! This was funny a couple of days ago but it seems to be actually true now and it's just weird.

Building

ailbhe 29y6m
The building work continues. Linnea's French lessons continue. The older two's swimming lessons continue -- Linnea has a new teacher, one lesson so far, whom she doesn't much like. We shall see.

We are all having A Cold. It's chesty cough, sore throat, sinus ick, earaches, the whole shebang. It's rattling through us in spirals, only Emer getting off fairly lightly. And Astrid, now that her cough is gone. I'm sure the building dust isn't helping.

We have stairs up to our attic! No banisters yet, so it's still blocked off, but we can climb up with a bit of effort. We're planning plug socket placement and lighting and things now. Rob has a built-in short wardrobe suitable for shirt-hanging, over the stairwell to save on floorspace.

Freegle has been clearing a lot of the waste which would otherwise go to landfill. Especially wood; untreated timber is very valuable to Freeglers with woodburning stoves. The old polystyrene loft insulation went that way too. Even some metalwork and nails, weirdly.

We're also clearing out the stuff which was in storage -- outgrown coats, ancient stained tshirts which had "years of wear in the yet," but are actually more suited to the rag recyclers, that sort of thing.

And we had the trike's gears and main brakes replaced. So it's now much easier to cycle and Rob has been doing recycling and storage runs, between coughing fits.

This coming week is a big one, building-wise -- plumbing, electrical, plasterboard, window-fitting, the final roofing, and maybe choosing and ordering flooring and paint. We have the toilets, sinks and shower already.

I'm trying to work out how to get home ed organised in such chaos. I cleaned the melted plastic out of the oven so Emer and I were able to do some baking, and we managed some acrylic painting one day, but it's pretty tough going.

Argh

ailbhe 29y6m
I really, really want to just GO to my friend and HELP her and it's just not possible for so many reasons.

I was able to do it for someone else recently but that was then.

Sums, sweat, snot, sleep and sawing

ailbhe 29y6m
We're having big work done on the house. Big work. Huge. HUGE work. New dormer attic conversion thingy with shower room, little WC tucked in at the end of the back bedroom on the first floor, downstairs two rooms knocked together to interconnect with a wide folding door, new floors, dining room window replaced with a glass door to the back garden, chimney breasts turned into storage alcoves... we're at the end of week six of twelve and have cleaned up most of the plaster dust and brick dust, but now there's sawdust everywhere, because we had to design the stairs ourselves so that they'd fit and meet regs, and the carpenter has been routing the strings today. Also we're discovering things we need to get repaired in the house before the new floors and ceilings go in as they'll be way harder later. Trivial things like... the drains leading to the sewer. Yeah.

I'm having night sweats.

Oh! I didn't have a stroke! I had a migraine that paralysed me on one side. That was nice. I went in a slow ambulance, not like the one that brought Astrid to hospital when she wasn't breathing. I don't think it even had lights flashing. Just a big bus. After about three hours sensation returned and the stroke nurse said I hadn't had a stroke. So that was good.

I think the night sweats are related to rheumatism but they could just be the cold virus we all have; our chests are goopy and our throats are sore and our tempers are very very short.

Everyone around me is asleep. The children are coping remarkably well with the building work. It helps enormously that we all like the builders and that they are seeing the progress as it happens rather than being startled by any changes. I slept before 6pm this evening so I'm still awake now. Usually I'm still awake now because I'm fretting, but not tonight.

WAIT til you SEE my LOVELY new HOUSE. I know one of the big pluses of this one when we moved in was that it was ready to live in, but we really didn't put our own stamp on it at all. Now? OH we so are.

New shoes

ailbhe 29y6m
So the thing that might be rheumatism makes my knuckles swell, and my knees swell, but the expensive thing is that it's making my feet swell. My size six boots are all too small. I've bought a pair of size sevens and I guess I'll have to keep wearing them.

Meanwhile, our building work is going really well - the new roof is on, and it only leaked badly on ONE night while it was tarped, and we love our builder and all his workers quite madly.

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Visit[ing|ors]

==2009==
HERE
Jan: Linda, Ellises, Ellie, Wags, BfN
Apr: MC?
AWAY
Apr: 12 nights to .se with RLE
Jul: 2 nights camping?
==2008==
Jan: 7 nights in .ie with LE
Feb: 8 nights in .ie with LE
(of which 2 with R)
Jun: 7 nights in .ie with RLE for a wedding
Jul: 7 nights in .ie with RLE
Aug: 5 nights at DWCon with RLE
==2007==
Aug: 4 nights camping with RLE
Sep: 4 nights camping with LE
Nov: 7 nights holiday with RLE
Dec: 2 nights for Xmas
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