To shoe or not to shoe…?

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We are in the same situation as pretty much every other penniless parent at the moment, unpaid maternity leave is not fun, I remember the first month I stopped being paid it came as a massive shock that the bank still demanded payment of my mortgage!  RUDE!!!  I may be back at work but the deficit is still felt, we now manage on only my income and the lack of funds is one of the reasons the rennovation of the

Anyway I’ve been investigating other ways of making money (successful ways – ie not playing the lottery) and one of the things I have had some success with is selling unwanted things on eBay.  What things you may well ask?  It started with unwanted building materials, things we had bought in error and not been able to return, then I started hunting round for things we don’t use but have had for ages.  Then I expanded it to my wardrobe (1 year rule…not easy to apply strictly when you’ve been pregnant or recovering from being pregnant for over 18 months).  This worked well…but I became addicted, what else could I sell?

Whilst putting up our wardrobe (Freecycle – thank you again!) and debating whether to buy shoe racks from Ikea the answer became clear…I must part with some of my shoe collection.

NNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOo

Now I’m not obsessed with shoes, I just like them and at 5ft tall finding clothes that fit and suit me is difficult, but let me tell you there’s always a bargain pair of size 3s in every shoe shop sale.  Yes my son’s wardrobe is full of my shoes in boxes, but they’re all “pre-pregnancy shoes” so I can’t wear them.  Cue confused look from the Turk “why can’t you wear pre-pregnancy shoes – your feet didn’t change”.

This is true, they didn’t, but pre-pregnancy I was a 4 inch heel girl, I managed to maintain this through a good few months of pregnancy but eventually just couldn’t take the judgmental looks from other tube passengers when I asked for their seat to rest my pregnancy weary feet…clad in heels.  Eventually I broke and resorted to a smaller chunky heel…then flats.

Pregnancy has completely changed my shoe life, quite recently on a trip to buy a new sleeping bag for Jem I bought 3 pairs of flat shoes – see, I’m growing as a person rather then just wearing heels!

I always thought that post-pregnancy I would simply slip straight back into my heels, but I seem to be broken…they make my feet hurt; they make my knees hurt; I can’t walk properly, in fact it’s not so much walking as staggering (although give me a buggy to hold onto and walking is significantly easier).  What to do?  Well the answer is staring me in the face, so here I go, my finest 2 pairs of heels have already been dispatched to their new owners and all I have left are the photos to remind me…sniff sniff.

Note to self:  In future head directly to the handbag section of TK Maxx rather than shoes.  Can’t grow out of a handbag :)

Dealing with a SAHD

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It’s been strange adapting to life with a stay at home dad.

Whilst I am generally happier at work, I do feel like things are slightly the wrong way round, and it’s hard not to be a control freak about things.  You know things like:

  • Yeah I got locked out today when the baby was inside;
  • I just left him with the neighbours for a few hours, he likes it;
  • He was asleep so I left him in the car and powerwashed the pavement;
  • I can’t watch him all the time, sometimes he’s in a different room

*sigh*

I have to let things be sometimes, but it is a challenge.

I also know how difficult it is to be at home by yourself, so I don’t go out much and struggle to leave work on time so that I can give the Turk some relief at tea time and beyond.

I definitely think that he finds it harder than me in some ways, multitasking isn’t a skill he has so he is really struggling to get anything done, which means that his default position tends to be making sure that the task is done at the expense of supervising Jem.

The upside to this is that the boy is definitely more independent than he used to be, his tolerance for entertaining himself has increased massively, as has his love of CBeebies.

There are some things he finds easier, he is much more patient than me, he takes the time to enjoy play when there isn’t housework to be done, I always feel that there’s something ‘better’ I should be doing.

There is no right answer, there are just words.

Chugging puzzle

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I am a big fan of charity.  I used to chair a board of Trustees and have done several posts about charity jewellery on my ‘proper’ blog…but….there is one thing I really detest about charities.

The Chugger

For those of you who aren’t familiar these are the cold defying people who stand on the street encouraging us to sign up our direct debit details to support whatever worthy charity is paying them to be there.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything other than leading and worthy charities stood up there vying for our cash.  It’s not that I dislike what they stand for, or how they’re going about it.  Ok, so I would never stand in the street and chat with them, but I realise that in the difficult financial situation that charities currently find themselves in it is important to try and capture all areas of the market to raise awareness, and they clearly have success with this method.

Indeed several of my friends have had employment in this field and I even contemplated it myself at one time.

My issue is this.

Why must they congregate in groups?

I am quite happy to smile and say no thank you to one chugger on the 5 minute walk to the tube.  I am less happy to do the same with three of four during the same distance.  I appreciate that sometimes one person may be taken up with a potential funder, but I must admit I’ve never seen more than one occupied at a time, and I kid you not nearly every day in my walk to lunch or the tube, whichever side of the road I walk on, I pass a group of them, and they’re almost always all available.

What frustrates me even more is that some days I will walk past a group huddled together or basically just stood around chatting.

I don’t understand why they are so close together.  Is it for moral support? Safety? So they can monitor each other?

I think that’s what I so resent about this group of fundraisers, turning one down nicely is one thing, but I admit by the time I have passed a few of them I have rather lost patience…

 

A handbag…?

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I don’t have many bags, I keep those I have in a basket (honestly it’s a reasonable amount!)

I may have too many…despite many donations to charity shops and some success on eBay…

The reason I think this is I thought I’d take out a bag I haven’t used for a while…

And I found an old parking ticket in it…

 

It’s from 20 January…no year.

I thought it was odd as I haven’t lived in Horsham since 2000, but when I turned it over I realised that the attached voucher I’d clearly been saving expired in 2001.

Oh dear…

It’s possible I have too many bags…

There’s a mouse in this house…

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We once had a mouse in our first flat, we realised because when I pulled out my bag of flour it was empty…

The next night we could hear the little blighter scrabbling around behind the kitchen cupboards, we sorted it out pretty easily by blocking up the air vent and ensuring that all edible food was in mouse proof containers, we didn’t have any problems after that.

When we moved to the money pit we were convinced there would be mice, on occasions we have suspected that it is their scuttling sending bits careering down the chimney, but this time we were not afraid…we have cats!

Now one of our cats are hunters!  I know this because the little one has a tendency for bringing in spiders, moths and daddy-long-legs in for us (he used to leave them at the top of the stairs and miaow until we came to admire…)  They loved the new house, so many rooms and nooks to scratch and sniff…so many mouse holes!  Paws were thrust down them, floorboards were pulled up and explored behind, we knew there had been mice as one of our first tasks before the kits arrived was to remove the numerous traps lying around (we don’t want paws to get caught in them), but we saw no sign of mice.

For a while…

Then one day I looked at my two cats sat in the hall, nose to nose, looking at a leaf….

…looking at me…

…looking back at the leaf…

…looking imploringly at me….

….back to leaf…

…I came closer.

It was not a leaf.

It was a mouse.

A tiny little triangular thing.

I hadn’t seen them touch it, to be fair they were both effectively asking me in cat to take the scary thing away.

I went back to the kitchen to try and find something to pick it up with, I was newly pregnant so didn’t fancy using my fingers.

The mouse didn’t move.

A journey down the road to the high street in my dustpan and brush still didn’t disturb it and I released it into the wild.

That was two years ago, and this weekend I found my cats playing with a teeny tiny mouse in the garden.  They were much braver this time, little mouse moved so slowly and they would occasionally paw at it trying to tempt him into moving.

Part of me thinks I should have left them to it, it’s good for them to play and catch fresh food.  But I couldn’t do it, I have a fondness for small furry things and yet again trusty dustpan and brush came out and mouse went far away.  The cats were fairly miffed, but wet food helped them get over it!

Turklish travels: Seatbelts & other unsafe methods of travel

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I sometimes look at cyclists on London’s roads and think “really that’s the most dangerous way of travelling ever”

But I am wrong…

On Turkish roads you rarely see cyclists, I can see why, it would be beyond foolish.

Aside from the lax attitude towards seatbelts (the first Turkish taxi I got in laughed at me when I asked why the seatbelts were fastened back to the seats and therefore just “for show”) and car seats, the roads are really crazy.  I will forever have one car journey scored into my mind, luckily it was pre-baby but none the less there were 8 squeezed into a car (2 in the front passenger seat) and I suddenly realised we were in the middle lane.  That might not seem like a big deal but it was a 2 lane road, it’s just sometimes the Turkish approach is to try and squeeze in between the 2 cars actually in the lane…

It was one of many seemingly terrifying journeys in the 12 years I have been travelling with the Turk, winding roads, minimum speed limits, shoddy and poorly maintained elderly vehicles, I’ve seen them all.  It’s one of the things that really panics me about the Turk taking our son to Turkey by himself, usually when I’m there I am the one voice trying to instill some idea of self preservation back into the driver.

I’m no wuss, I’ve tuk tuk’d around Bangkok, I’ve seen cars with dents in their roofs in Cairo, I’ve countered giant rats in Kuala Lumpur, but there’s something about the danger in a country I am intrinsically connected with that makes it more worrying.

The car accident deaths are pretty high, I have always been paranoid about it as there were specific warnings about car travel in Turkey on the FCO website for years until recently.  There were 8,758 road fatalities last year, and that’s around 12 fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants, in comparison with the 3.5 in the UK it seems high, but it’s actually only slightly higher than that in the US, a place where I always feel road safe!

Cleaning guilt

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My husband does a lot of cleaning…I do not.

This is the pattern our relationship has pretty much followed, and although it drives him crazy, and sometimes he nags and nags at me to help out, which is fair enough although I maintain that we split chores pretty much equally in other ways.

Anyway the point of my tale is not our own domestic arrangements, but the peril of staying with your inlaws.  There’s no secret where the Turk gets his cleaning habits from, Mummy Turk  has been a housewife since around the age of 16 and between raising four kids spends the other hours in the day cleaning.  I’m limiting it to cleaning because I feel the Turks and me disagree on what tidying is (it’s actually putting stuff away not simply piling it all into a heap in a corner and then telling me that this is my pile to sort through…it’s definitely not tidying).

Mummy Turk cleans all the floors in their flat (on her hands and knees) every week, vacuuming is daily, windows at least once a week, curtains every month and all carpets are removable so that they can be sent to be cleaned twice a year (and after visitors).  It’s not just the family Turk, I think it’s all Turks….

Everything is ironed…everything (towels – why – it stops them being fluffy).  All white washing is bleached to ensure it stays white so that the neighbours are impressed when you hang them out of the window to dry (I’m not joking, this is the actual reason I was given).

Again I digress.  We always frequently stay with family when in Turkey and this leaves me with a dilemma, technically when we go to Turkey we are on our only ever holiday.  So, do I help with the cleaning?  Part of me feels I should – but she’d be cleaning anyway…

I guess we do cause more cleaning by the very nature of being there, but it is my HOLIDAY…

Just something I think about every so often!