Disney LIED To Me About Cleaning

I hate cleaning. I especially hate it when hours in it feels like I’ve actually gone backwards. I have the same relationship with tidying up as a 3 year old.

I’ve basically avoided having any form of rational clear out of our room for months. Any time I’ve vaguely contemplated it, we’ve either been too busy or in too much pain. But today, feeling quite perky and with the start of the new school year and the nagging feeling that I want to be organised more prominent than usual, I pulled out everything in my wardrobe and started.

This is basically the physical embodiment of how I feel about everything right now:

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The rest of our room wasn’t much better tbh. The wardrobe was stuffed to the gills with a load of crap I don’t actually need or want, I’m just keeping it there to keep it away from the rest of the house  (which is immaculate… mainly because other people live there. I’m less fussy about my own space, which whilst Mr Geek shares it, I present to the ladies and gentlemen of the jury exhibit a: bits of model plane & Warhammer figures… ’nuff said).

So I’ve spent the majority of the day holed up in here throwing out what I don’t need/want and putting back just the important stuff. As I was going I kept thinking, I’m never going to be able to wear those shoes…. but they stayed. If I can’t wear heels, I can at least look at them.

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If you look reeeeeally hard you can see the hours I spent on that! I added the important bits in there. Like this from Mrs Gypsytree who moved away last week to Ireland. That way I get to see it each morning and am reminded that there’s someone out there who is equally peculiar  (if not more so going by her current obsession with some posh floppy haired actor who looked genuinely terrified in the selfie she took with him). She will of course, remain my Sherlock even if she has buggered off to the middle of nowhere.

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And this Oatmeal poster that Mr Geek got me for valentines this year. This trumps any card with fascist dictators on. He is pretty much the start and end of my world.

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The problem was that moving everything out of the wardrobe sort of eclipsed the bed. And whilst I would normally be totally up for the sweep and collapse style of getting into bed, this would rather negate all the work so far. By this point I was grumpy. Pretty much all major joints were burning and my head was pounding. I did just sit on the washing basket for a bit and contemplate crying Disney style until the forest animals came and did it for me. Apparently, they’re too busy eating each other and pooping to fold my laundry. Selfish bastards.

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So after a great deal of sighing and staring at it all, I got off my arse and kept going.

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Note: I totally didn’t do this by myself. Mr Geek took pity on me and helped me to clear up & make the bed. In my defence I did clean up the floor on my side of the bed which had been thickly carpeted in yarn…

So what actually left the building after all the effort? Well, 4 bags of rubbish and these two bags on ‘not wearing that again’ which include my 2 comfort cardigans that I’ve had since forever. But out with the old…

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My sanity is probably in there too, alongside any joints that were not previously hurting.

A few years back, this wouldn’t even have been Facebook status worthy, let alone a whole blog post. Instead, it’s an unwelcome reminder of which way my mobility is heading. Part of finishing as much as I did was partially being angry that I couldn’t and the pain was slowing me down. The result of that is now laying in a flipping hot bath using my blog app to have a good old moan. That way, I can stick my smile back on and everything can be hunky dory again with lots of ‘never mind!’ and ‘nothing we can do, so hay hoe!’.

Ce la vie! (Did that sound convincing?)

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FlyBaby Day 2

Ooh, it’s been a while. …

Whilst I am a super organised teacher with stickers and systems for marking, I have generally come to accept that this does not extend to my home.

This is a source of utter frustration for my mother who flits around the house with a sponge cursing my clutter.  Recently, I began to wonder why ot is that I can live in a pit, but am super organised at work. I came up with three possibilities:

1. Mum has proclaimed me to be messy since I can remember. It’s a self fulfilling prophecy. (Bit weak. Very Freud)

2. Mum is tidy on OCD levels. Seriously, we’ve found her wiping skirting boards with antibacterial wipes at 5am. I am the yin to her yang. (Again, a useful cop out)

3. Her cleaning freaks me put so I avoid being that person and focus all my energy on being a dusty academic. Literally.

I need to find a happy medium between stig of the dump and mental obsessive germ buster.

Enter Flylady.

30 days to sort put some clutter and start some slightly better habits. But no mental new years resolution big bang stuff.  Baby steps.

Yesterday was day 1.
I wore make up.
I went to pilates.
I prepared a bowl of pasta for lunches.
I got my clothes out ready for this morning before I went to bed.

That last one made one heck of a difference.

Today – Day 2
Clothes will be laid out
Bedding will be changed.
I’m going to declutter one drawer.

What could be easier? Probably a FlyBaby App. Maybe I should offer!

Wish me luck.

FlyBaby Day 2

Ooh, it’s been a while. …

Whilst I am a super organised teacher with stickers and systems for marking, I have generally come to accept that this does not extend to my home.

This is a source of utter frustration for my mother who flits around the house with a sponge cursing my clutter.  Recently, I began to wonder why ot is that I can live in a pit, but am super organised at work. I came up with three possibilities:

1. Mum has proclaimed me to be messy since I can remember. It’s a self fulfilling prophecy. (Bit weak. Very Freud)

2. Mum is tidy on OCD levels. Seriously, we’ve found her wiping skirting boards with antibacterial wipes at 5am. I am the yin to her yang. (Again, a useful cop out)

3. Her cleaning freaks me put so I avoid being that person and focus all my energy on being a dusty academic. Literally.

I need to find a happy medium between stig of the dump and mental obsessive germ buster.

Enter Flylady.

30 days to sort put some clutter and start some slightly better habits. But no mental new years resolution big bang stuff.  Baby steps.

Yesterday was day 1.
I wore make up.
I went to pilates.
I prepared a bowl of pasta for lunches.
I got my clothes out ready for this morning before I went to bed.

That last one made one heck of a difference.

Today – Day 2
Clothes will be laid out
Bedding will be changed.
I’m going to declutter one drawer.

What could be easier? Probably a FlyBaby App. Maybe I should offer!

Wish me luck.

Stig of the Dump

I wrote a blog post the first night we were camping, bit before I could post it the kids ran my battery out. Instead, I’ve left it as a footnote here. Just as a reminder.

I returned home today after 4 days away in the New Forest with what seemed like a million friends. (We numbered 23 at our greatest). As we walked in the door we were dirty, we smelled bad, the kids possibly hadn’t brushed their hair at all. But we were happy. Here’s why.

1. We cooked good food. On an actual fire. And it was shared with masses of us. (Cooking bloggy thing to follow)

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2. We survived some pretty torrential rain. And didn’t give up! ( we got rewarded with lovely weather the last two days)

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3. We had millions of children! (Ok, 14 kids. But we walked them for miles)

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4. The adults grew down. Without phones and emails and housework to do we all chilled the hell out and lived.

By creating a child catapult (it was a seesaw, but given enough leverage…)

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By hanging in trees…

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Or by climbing up a tree and taking teenage selfies!

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5. We lived in a commune.
There was a running joke that between the lot of us we make one competent parent. But actually, there’s a lot of truth in that. Everyone bundled in and as such no one parent ft the need to throttle their child (until they needed to pack the tents up).

6. We got involved. Fishing in the river (aka realising the water is bloody cold and splashing in up to your thighs anyway) wasn’t a parental spectator sport. We were in there with them and having just as much fun.

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7. Some of us are just natural gypsies. (Yes Mrs GypsyTree, I’m looking at you.

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While some of us bring some glamping to the scene (I openly admit to bringing solar fairy lights and saffron, although we don’t have a tent carpet. Yet.)

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8. I have to admit I need LSH, and my tenting skills are properly surpassed by Marathon lady who erected and packed away a 6 man tent by herself. With no help. Hats off to you lady!

(Photo to follow of Marathon lady astride her manhaned tent!)

9. Our collective children are disgusting beyond all description. I’m very proud. This includes, but is not restricted to: toad capture, wasp baiting, throwing horse poo, squishing bugs, putting bugs in hair, chasing teenage girls with snails….

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10. We survived. So much so that we’re going to do it all again next month!

Although between now and then I’m going to get some warmer sleeping bags!

I’m going to end this with a photo of me. I was that chilled out that I smiled for a photo, with no make up on. I totally forgot I don’t like my smile… Except actually, I think I do because this one was really genuine.

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Note: thank you to GypsyTree for taking lots of holiday snap photos. I love that you document my life when I forget to! Xxx

Camping is a state of mind. You leave your warm home with a soft bed to set up house in the woods in a home made of fabric where you try to sleep on inflatable beds (or canvas ones if you’re my kids) with a toggle tapping you rhythmically in the face as the tent fabric sways gently in the breeze….. The breeze which blew in rain. Rain which started an hour after the tent was out up and just about seems to be easing off now we’ve climbed into our beds.

The tent waterproofing hasn’t quite worked completely (there’s a few drips, but nothing major) and I keep singing “it’s raining… Raining in our tent” which isn’t funny apparently.

On the up side, during a reasonable break in the rain we did cook paella for everyone over an open fire. And it tasted ok! And we had beer. The kids are having a brilliant time and after being dried off and wrapped up have gone to sleep with very little fuss. They look really happy snuggled up in a pile of sleeping bag and blankets.

On the down side, my back and hip feel like I’ve been doing a marathon and I’m going to be sleeping with Prince Valium tonight. Not surprisingly, my joints don’t appreciate the damp, nor did they enjoy the car trip with very little wriggle room. But after a ‘this is as good as it gets’ diagnosis, I’m buggered if I’m going to let a few achey bones dictate my leisure time. Anyway, who actually needs to bend forward. It’s like totally overrated.

With all this fresh air, TinyPants may be less inclined to wake up the whole family at 4am as she did this morning, so I may actually get some sleep! And Sunday morning shall be heralded with bacon & eggs over our one ring burner. 🙂

I Am Who I Am! ***Jazz Hands!***

The kids have been away for 4 days now and I’m having a bit of ‘me time’. In a weird bizarre way, I’m actually beginning to enjoy having some space. I’m enjoying being Holly, rather than ‘Miss’, or ‘Mummy’, or ‘wife’, or whatever else. I’ve spent a fair chunk of time with just me today, and I’m really quite ok with that.

I’ve done various things today.

I started knitting the Tom Baker scarf for my Father-in-Law for his birthday. Which isn’t until November, but this scarf is 12ft long! I need a good three months!

I cleaned. I actually CLEANED our bedroom. The rest of the house is immaculate, but good God our bedroom is ignored and left to fester! It’s my nest. It’s where I store my life. It was a bloody tip and I should’ve been on some kind of shame on you, clean your room TV show. So I cleaned it.

And I made it arty.

I’ve also had my nails done (they’re just ready for me to add the detail on… Can you tell what it is yet?

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And helped a friend dye her teenagers hair pink and blue.

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Eventually, I’m also going to cook dinner for LSH who left the house over 12 hours ago to do some on-site client IT consultanty work. I’m still vaguely hoping that he’s up for skating later. It’s already 7.15pm, so looking rather unlikely.

In short, the sun is shining…..the tank is clean…. The tank is CLEAN!!!!

UPDATE:
I did make dinner. And it went rather well!
Recipe here: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/13139/onepan-chicken-couscous
(I added sugarsnap peas, garlic, chillies and soaked the apricots in double the amount of stock, but aside from that…)

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It’s about style, not fashion. (Said no daughter, ever. But eventually she might…)

My afternoon to myself has consisted of sorting the kids clothes into various piles:

1. Too big for beanpole
2. Too small for beanpole, but too big for Tinypants
3. This will fit them this summer if it ever comes
4. Too small for Tinypants

The first three piles have gone into vacuum bags to be stored away, while pile 4 is in a bag waiting to go on to the next child in the line. And of course the cat feels he is helping in his own special way…

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This is a valuable tradition within friends and family of passing the kids clothes on when they haven’t worn holes in the knees. If the clothes are still good, a friend can always benefit from a bag of ‘stuff’. The recipient then keeps the bits they need and passes the rest to a charity shop. When their munchkins grow out of the clothes, the cycle starts again.

We have not yet got to the point where the kids object to the idea of hand me down clothes, and whilst they are developing their own unique styles (even at age 7 & 8!), they already understand the value of upcycling clothes rather than buying new wardrobes every season.

Tinypants possibly has more of an issue with this as she is in a set of friends who are mainly the eldest child from middle class families who are quite focused on their physical appearance (at age 7!!). The poor kid is doomed living with parents who are of the breed who worked out their own fashion and couldn’t give two hoots what people thought. I still happily wear giant flares that I made combined with bright red hair and smartie nails (5 different colours). LSH spent his youth in massive skater jeans combined with some sort of offensive tshirt (this was reigned in a bit once the kids could read) and a giant Mohawk. He ended up a lot more sensible once he landed a decent job, but as he works at home most days while he’s developing SharePoint stuff I cannot claim to understand, he does indulge in some particularly dubious Hawaiian shirts. Poor Tinypants is trying to find her place in the world with very normal friends whilst still being happy in her oddball family. It can’t be easy learning that harsh lesson that girls are often obsessed with the perception of who they are rather than just getting on with being them. Hell, it took me nearly 25 years to work that one out!

So why is the hand me down cycle so important for a child’s mental health? Well, for a start, it is a lesson in valuing those around you by receiving loved items, but also by giving them away. But also, it’s a lesson in making the most of what you have. Not everything is about fashion, but style is important – and stylish isn’t always fashionable. But stylish is you.

Oh, and mummy isn’t made of money!