Unfinished business

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So in June 2012 we moved to the money pit, work started in earnest in January 2013 (…at 5 months pregnant) and the loft extension was completed on my due date, excellent.

Work progressed, with external walls going up, interior walls coming down, kitchen and bathrooms were fitted, curtains went up and there was some painting done…that should really have been the end of it.

However the trouble is it still isn’t finished.  When I went back to work after 14 months of maternity leave it hadn’t occurred to us that the work still wouldn’t have been done, but naturally whatever wasn’t finished then still isn’t finished as being a SAHD doesn’t really lend itself to house renovating at the same time!

I don’t want to moan, but my view is that the real issue why it’s not finished is that the Turk has an aversion to completing a project.  The Turk is of the view that it is my fault because I insisted on doing irritating things like using rooms (ie rather than confining the 3 of us to a 10 meter square area of loft I insisted that we used two of the bedrooms downstairs, kitchen and living room.

Whichever one of us is right, the bottom line is it’s all a bit….well…unfinished.

Yes we have a living room, but there’s a patch of plain plaster on the ceiling which hasn’t been painted, no coving, the whole room needs painting and other than our sofa all furniture is cordoned off one half of the room which we don’t use because it’s too unfinished and therefore unsafe for the boy.

Yes we have a kitchen but it only has around half it’s work surface and a huge damp patch with no sign of either being completed in the near future.

The hallways and stairs are in a complete state of disrepair whilst we argue over floorboards v carpets so I frequently loose items helpfully posted by Jem between gaps and trip over the loose floorboard at the top of the stairs…

The main bathroom and guest en suite both leak, have cracked tiles and need work on the ceilings.

The spare room would be ok if it wasn’t for the tools dumped in there.

The loft has become a dumping ground for everything that can’t be put in the unfinished rooms…

It’s all getting a bit frustrating.  The Turk has suggested that a second maternity leave would be an excellent opportunity for him to complete the work…I’m not enthused about the prospect of another 12 months of looking after a new baby almost completely alone whilst he rennovated…

Spiderly issues

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I don’t really like spiders, I never have and if you ask me I can’t explain to you why.
I notice that when most people write about these horrid arachnids or post about them on facebook they frequently put pictures of the little horrors.  I have opted not to do this.  Primarily because I detest those pictures and find myself immediately unfriending anyone who conducts such an act of cyber terrorism.
My cat disagrees, he likes spiders, in fact they are his favourite prey.  When we first moved to the money pit we found mouse traps all over and the cats were a real bonus as we didn’t spot a mouse at al during the building work.  Recently we found a couple of mice but our cats seem to spend most of their time simply looking at said mouse and waiting for me to move it.  That’s fine, I can cope with mice.   I can’t cope with spiders.
It always happens at the end of summer that for some reason there are literally* thousands of spiders.  As I have aged I have come to terms with even the massive spindly ones, but these are substantial “real” spiders, with big bodies and they bleed*, they cannot be squashed and they move so fast they can escape my Dyson.
I hate these spiders, I really hate them.  The Turk can’t understand why, but it’s not really been an issue for a while, we never seemed to get spiders until last autumn.  We were living in the loft of our house at the time and I couldn’t work out where these blooming massive spiders were coming from, and why they were up on the third story of our house.  I would get up in the night, bring the boy into the living room for a feed and there would be one, lurking, in the middle of the room (usually dead).  Luckily because I am a grown up and the need to not freak out the baby became my highest priority I managed not to scream blue murder, but to place a container over the dead spider so it was out of my sight while I nursed.
One night a live one ran out from under the fridge….that wasn’t a good night.
I worked it out one day many months later, when I caught the skinny cat bringing a large one in and dropping it on the kitchen floor, the two cats then pranced around looking at it for a bit and tapping at it when it stood still….before romping off outside and leaving we and spider to it.  This year after I flipped out at the ginormous creature brought into (and then lost in) the kitchen my cat tried to appease me by bringing the next one up to my bedroom…and the one after that as well.  During the spider month I no longer go to the loft (where the cats sleep) alone.
The Turk has real issues about killing spiders, and I have real issues about not killing them.  This started when on a couple of many many many occasions he would attempt to pick them up in a tissue, drop them, find them, pick them up then drop them but walk over to the window and pretend to throw them out.  I’m not stupid, I know they’re still there.  I now have to be satisfied (from a reasonable distance) that they are well and truly squashed before I am happy.
*not literally, but definitely inside my own mind

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.

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!

The Turk

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For those who have read my profile and/or initial post it may have become apparent that my husband, aka the Turk, is not from the UK.  Unsurprisingly he’s Turkish (hence the name) so I thought I’d take this opportunity to preempt any of the questions (yes seriously) I get asked when people find out I’m married to a Turk:

  1.  No I did not meet him at a bar in Turkey
  2. There was no holiday romance, we met in London at work
  3. No he is not my mail order groom
  4. He did not offer any camels in exchange for my hand in marriage
  5. Yes, major culture difference
  6. I do love kebabs it’s true
  7. He supports Galatasaray (which oddly my computer keeps trying to autocorrect to Taramasalata…my favourite food!)
  8. Yes he speaks English
  9. No, I don’t speak Turkish
  10. No, my inlaws don’t speak English or live in the UK
  11. I realise that the above means I am indeed lucky

It’s an odd thing actually now that we have a child, there’s always been a culture difference (just compare the Turks idea of a good breakfast; a variety of cheese, bread, eggs and green peppers, with mine; full English – extra hash browns and bacon with brown sauce) but this is highlighted when it comes to child-rearing (more on this in a later post).  I often catch myself thinking about what Jem will be like when he grows up, a little bilingual boy with parents who can’t agree on a holiday destination or type of sausage.  I hope that he takes the best from both cultures and fortunately we live in a very multi-ethnic part of London so hopefully he won’t feel out of place when he goes to school, our little Turklish boy!

Returning to work – the plan and how it worked…

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I am a domestic goddess…

I am a supermum…

I can handle ANYTHING….

This is my plan:

Now that we are a few months in I thought I would update you on how it’s going…or not…or maybe it is…

The first couple of weeks went really well, I left work on time, convinced that I would overcome the mahoosive workload pretty quickly, returned home, dinner was on the table and after the boy was in bed I prepared the next day’s meal.

The Turk took to housekeeping like a duck to water, laundry was done, he coped well with Wednesdays (the day he cooks) and after the first fortnight we had a fab first fun Friday (I have every other Friday off work) in the park with our NCT friends in glorious surroundings, sun, and wine 😉

 

My motivation did start to drop off rather, by week 4 the Turk complained that I hadn’t cooked a meal all week, I managed a night out and was staying late one day a week at work.  My formerly flexible employer who had allowed ad hoc working from home and provided a laptop was no longer so flexible.  My workload was as large as it had previously been, which I have no complaints about, but whereas I had always worked an extra 1-2 hours a day I was now pretty much restricted to my working hours, I work through lunch every day and was gaining about an extra hour a day but when I added in the much needed second hour I missed the boy’s bedtime.  By week 6 after finding out that I wouldn’t be allowed a laptop to work the additional hours at home I had my first ‘crying at work’ incident since I was a trainee.  I have no objection to working extra, it’s the nature of my job, but I had relied upon the former flexibility I had experienced.  I negotiated with the Turk that one day a week I will not be coming home and I will need to decide if this is to go out or to stay late at work, it seems fair to me, I know what it’s like to be stuck at home all day.  This relieved my mind somewhat but I still find the unfairness of the decision is so frustrating that part of me doesn’t want to do the extra work, although I know this will put my job at risk.

 

In the Turk’s world he is also finding it difficult, keeping up with the boy is tough particularly when he is so cleaning focussed and wants to do other bits and pieces – it is getting easier as he is able to entertain himself more and more but I know he finds it frustrating.  Jem has developed a real love of CBeebies over the last few weeks which I don’t know if I am entirely happy with having managed to entertain him without tv for the first 14 months…but I know how difficult it is to get anything done.

In short, it’s going pretty well despite the glitches.  I am spending far too much time in the evenings working on my blogs and not enough time cooking, doing housework or with my husband.  The Turk is spending far too much time doing housework and not actually playing with the boy (I’ll tell you about the locking out of the house incident another time).  He is taking him to singing once a week and playgroup every week though which is going really well, he let’s Jem be much more adventurous than I ever would and that’s great.  I don’t have it all, the house is still in the same state as it was in April, I am stressed about work and sometimes Jem misses me.  These are all solvable with a little more flexibility from my employer so I am going to keep working on that and not just give up, nothing ventured nothing gained…maybe I need to become a full time blogger lol!