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I Am About to Name and Shame Our Plumbers

Who we’ve just fired, but I thought I’d name and praise our gardeners, first!

When we moved into our rental house 5.5 years ago now, it was October and the lawn was dormant.

And then it was spring and it started to grow. And we hauled out the mower and Simon tried to mow. He was not successful.

So we ignored it.

Then my mom and step-dad came to visit and step-dad insisted on giving it a go.

So he did.

Then he left.

And we ignored it.

And then the house next door started having Moulds Gardening Services do their lawn, very surprising as the man who lived there seemed to love doing his own lawn, but whatever!

So I walked over to the guy doing the mowing and asked if he’d have a look and give me a quote to do ours.

I don’t remember what the exact figure was at this point, as it was a bit more in order to tame the wildness of our lawn, but after that first mow, it was £15 every two weeks.

And William and his then very small team (him and another man) started regularly mowing our lawn. I barely saw them, an invoice hitting the matt every two weeks, unless I was home and paying attention, and then I’d pop out with a cheque and for a chat.

Then the weeds went mad and the hedges needing trimming and there was William happily working away, neatly, cleanly and with reasonable prices.

And then we moved to our house that we own. And it was time to start actually caring about the lawn, since it was ours. And William has been right there with us the whole way.

At this point, William has expanded. He has at least two branded trucks and I saw him driving a plain one just today so a third one may be in the works. He has several crews working for him.

And he and his gang of merry men are amazing. They show up when they say they will. They trim and mow and pull weeds and do plantings and are just spectacular.

Our weeds were out of control again and so I sent William an email asking him to sort it. He said he’d be here this past Friday.

And then before the end of the day Friday he sent me an email apologising for not getting to us but we would be done first thing Monday.

 

Our weeded back garden.

How first thing?

One of his men was working on our weeds when Adam and I left for the school bus at 845 this morning.

That’s how to run a business.

Stay tuned for how not to run a business…

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So…What’s The Craic?

First of all, the sharp-eyed among you will realise that the URL of the site has changed. My former web host, aka my brother, decided to shut down his server and so we’ve migrated to a new host (NameCheap, if anyone cares) and given me a new URL. Which is actually my same URL that I’ve used for the company website since I started it seven years ago. Six years ago? Some amount of years ago.

But don’t worry about changing your bookmarks or that you’ll miss something because Leyser.org/TeeBlog will get you directly to designedtoatee.co.uk/TeeBlog. That’s the front page of the entire site now. It’s a nice picture of me, yeah?

Of course, if you don’t care about looking at my working or buying things from one of my shops (And why not? Huh?) you can add a new bookmark. To get directly here, to the blog, you need to use http://www.designedtoatee.co.uk/TeeBlog/Blog.

Or you can come through the front door. That’s okay. 😀

Let’s see, what else…

We’ve purchased and moved into our new house. OUR new house. As in, we own it. Weeeeelll, us and the bank, at least. But we can do whatever we want to it. And we are. And we will. And it is awesome in be here. I’ll be posting some before and after pictures at some point. Major changes coming, actually, starting with a complete bathroom refit.

My mental health is good. My diabetes seems to be under control. My fibro/early degenerative disease/arthritis kicks my ass and steals my spoons on a regular basis.

But I’m knitting. And crocheting. And doing tapestry. And sewing. And being a mum and a wife. And I have just bought a drop spindle and some wool and a book and I am going to learn how to spin.

I wonder if Simon will notice if I put a new shed up in the garden to hold a spinning wheel and a shuttle loom…

Or maybe convert the attic? Image source: http://www.jofirthlacemaking.co.uk/textiles_of_ireland.html

 

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Good Bye 2016!

Well, that was a year, yeah? Good, bad, and ugly, all together.

Personally, it was a good year. I met my two main goals (more on that in a minute), Adam is thriving and only 10 inches shorter than me (eep!), Simon is working hard and enjoying it and I just keep keeping on.

My two goals were buying a house and earning my Driver’s License. Check and check.

The license took longer than expected, but I did it! In my case 6th (I think it was 6th) time was the charm. And passed with flying colours at that point. I had something like 4 minor faults. So yeah. I know how to drive!

The house also took longer than expected that but that was because all solicitors are evil. Weeeel, all solicitors working for other people are evil. Our solicitor was great. The vendor’s solicitor was a dick and a half. But we got there, in the end, moving in on 24th October. And two months later I still get a fission of ‘Oh yeah! This is *our* house!’ at the most random moments.

The other really good thing that happened was the letter from my former California employer informing me that I had a pension I could cash out. A pension I barely remember having. A pension that was now worth a fuckton of money. So I cashed it out. And the cheque cleared a few days before Christmas. And we now have the money to redo our bathroom (which is livable but needs work to be perfect), buy some new appliances for the kitchen and do some other bits and bobs we thought we’d have to wait to do.

And I think most people agree about the bad. A never ending list of celebrities left us this year. Some were just old, 80+. Others were taken way before their time. And the younger ones hit hard. Really hard in some cases.

The personally hard ones were George Michael and Carrie Fisher. No, I didn’t know them. But I admired them. And both of them were with me through my childhood and/or teenage years.  And their deaths were so unexpected. And the last 2 seconds of Rogue One didn’t help me deal with Carrie Fisher’s death. At all.

And of course, the ugly. Brexit. President-Elect DT (I will never use his name. He deserves to be nameless. He gets no respect.).

So 2017 has a lot of stuff coming up. I imagine it will also be a hard year. Maybe not quite so many major celebrities dying. But a total world change with the UK pulling out of the EU, or at least starting to, and President-Elect DT living up to his campaign promises, even though he’s already gone back on several.

A line from the voice-over from Torchwood keeps going through my mind. “The 21st Century is when it all changes.” And maybe we’re already a decade and a half into it, but it is still true. I just wish that what voiceover meant (aliens) was what we were actually dealing with.

Instead, there are shades of The Nazi Party and WWII. Borders slamming shut to the those who need help. The definite ‘smell’ of WWIII in the air, if not actually in progress.

So what are my goals for 2017?

  • Write more
  • Knit more
  • Exercise more
  • Get our house to the state we want it to be
  • Crochet more
  • Sell more
  • Survive

So nothing exactly quantifiable. Or with a completion date.

But definitely achievable.

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As I Buttered Toast and Poured Cereal This Morning

and gave Adam his meds and took my own and cleaned up a bit of a mess and organized school uniform and dug through the clean laundry looking for a matching pair of socks for Simon, I remembered something my mom asked me when she was here:

‘So, do you enjoy being a hausfrau?’

Yes. That’s me. Really.

Source

I can’t say I like the term or the English translation housewife, and I’m not exactly one anyway, since I freelance, but the overall answer is yes, I do.

It’s not something I ever expected to be. Or thought I would enjoy.

I don’t like cleaning, who does? Well, I guess some people do, but I don’t. If we had a few extra quid we’d hire a cleaner.

But I like the overall satisfaction of taking care of my family. Of cooking them nice things to eat and organizing our Christmas and our lives.

I do think it needs a new name, as I am not my house’s wife, and I am also not just a ‘stay at home mom’. Not even people who do no outside work are just that.

It’s my life. And it makes me happy.

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I Do Like It When My House Is Clean

Too bad I have to, you know, actually clean it, to get it that way.

I admit, sometimes it’s pretty gross. Fibro flare usually means cleaning drops right down my list of things to use spoons on. So, yes, sometimes my bathrooms are growing things.

There. I said it.

This is part of why I don’t like people just dropping by. I need at least a few hours notice to run a sponge around the place and disinfect.

I used to not be like that. I used to keep a very clean bathroom and kitchen, at least. Used to hate a dirty bathroom or kitchen.

So what happened?

Depression. Fibro. Three year old boys.

All things that have taken precedence over a clean house.

These days some things are a given. The dishes are all washed before bed. The table and kitchen counters are cleaned. The tub gets rinsed regularly.

Other than that?

Call before you come over.

Okay?

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Finally, The Lawn Is Mowed and The Windows Are Washed…

Am I the only one who realizes there’s a recession on? Because getting the two things in my title accomplished has taken, literally, months.

Why?

Because of people not returning calls, that’s why.

I left messages and/or emails for about four window washing companies. One called me back. They got the job.

I left message and/or emails for about eight lawn service companies. One got back to me and then never showed up to give me a quote. The person who just finished Simon grabbed from next door! He said he’d drop off a quote. He did. He got hired. And will continue to do the lawn every two weeks until the end of August or until I tell him for sure we’re staying in the house.

Which is another group of people who never call me back. Our estate agent.

Is it me? Is it the way I say ‘Hello, this is Robyn Fraser and I am looking for a window washer/lawn mower/if my landlord will renew our lease’?

Is it my accent?

Or do people not want work? Goodness sake, I’m tapping every avenue I have looking for work and these people have me calling and they are ignoring me! I would rejoice if someone called me!

But now the lawn is mowed and the windows are washed.

Now if the landlord would just let us know if we can stay in the house…

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One Thing I Really Like About Our House

is the fact that no one else’s window looks directly into any of ours.

On one side, the house next door is slightly angled so even though our kitchen windows are across from each other, you can’t really see in. They also have that wavy privacy glass, but even if they didn’t you would be able to see much.

On the other side, we have no windows!

In the back, the houses are too far back and also the street behind is slightly angled from ours.

And in the front, there’s the street!

It also means you can’t see into our garden. We aren’t ‘overlooked’ from anyone. There is fencing and wide gardens. Not sure I’d nude sunbathe, but at least no one is staring at Adam and I romping!

I also really like all the flowers that are currently blooming.

Maybe I’ll post some pictures of them soon!

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This Must Be What Normal People Feel Like

For the past two weeks I have been working my butt off, both for work and around the house. My in laws were down this past weekend and so the house needed a tidy, which was on my schedule anyway. The whole house gets cleaned from top to bottom twice a month with spot cleaning in between and last week was my week to do the overall clean.

Usually after I do my overall clean I’m not good for much else that weekend. It’s part of the reason it only gets done every other week. Some may call it slattern. I call it self preservation. It hasn’t killed anyone yet, so I guess it’s okay.

Anyway, usually a week’s cleaning equals at least one day in bed on the weekend. I did wake up feeling sore, tired and headachy on Saturday, but it passed with food and the double aggravation of the late Tesco delivery and trying to get the straps on Adam’s car seat adjusted and the seat into the in laws’ car so we could go out for the day.

Sunday I did spend a fair amount of time resting. I didn’t sleep well Saturday night due to pain and so when Simon didn’t sleep all that late in the morning, I headed back to bed for awhile. And then did the same in the afternoon after lunch.

But overall? I feel better than I’ve felt in ages. So well in fact that I continued with box unpacking and house sorting on Monday afternoon, without resting at all. I can usually do about a hour of unpacking and then need to at least sit down, if not lie down, for an hour or two. Yesterday I started working at 730 when Simon and Adam headed out and didn’t stop until I left to pick up at Adam at 3, which included running some errands. Of course I had some lunch, but that was about 20 minutes!

I am waiting for it all the catch up with me. I am waiting for the day I get Adam to nursery, come home and sleep until pick up time. I imagine it will come in the next week or so.

But I could be wrong. Maybe Adam mostly sleeping through 8 – 6 is all my body has been waiting for.

Fingers crossed…

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Things I Learned About My House Today…

You can attach the hose to either the tap on the side of the house or the side of the garage, but it takes a bit of effort and the removal of bits and bobs on both sides.

The drain in the middle of the patio is actually not at the lowest point so most of the water does not go into it.

The dirty piece of orangey red string attached to the garden gate does have a purpose; it can be hooked over the nail in the side of the house by the back door to hold the gate open.

There is quite an assortment of implements for doing various things inside the garage including; two hoses, several brushes with various heads, a mop, 2 rakes and a manual hedge clipper.

If you open all the windows in the house you get a marvellous cross breeze upstairs and down.

We have daffodils growing in the front and back gardens along with a purple flower I can’t identify.

The more we live here, the more I like it. Especially now that spring is coming and we can start to enjoy our back garden to it’s fullest.

 

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I Am Trying To Write A Very Hard Post

And I’m really stuck. It’s about accepting my physical limitations.

So let’s talk about something else.

Yesterday’s dentist appointment wasn’t as bad as I feared it would be. Adam was scared, for sure, and I had to force him to open his mouth, after the hygienist and I spent quite a bit of time trying to coax him. He isn’t verbal enough yet to say ‘XYZ is why I am scared.’ Maybe next time and we can talk about it and he can get past it. All the hygienist does is look at this point, so really nothing too scary.

He then went into their waiting room and we put CBeeBies on the TV for him and I got my teeth cleaned without a hysterical boy in the corner. Hygienist very pleased with my teeth and my gums are finally improving.

We then and got a treat at Co-Op of crisps and chocolate chip cookies, both to have with our lunch. And then we came home. And had said lunch and a long snuggle on the sofa. Which is how we like to spend most afternoons, after doing things in the morning.

Today he is at nursery and I did some work and am doing some stuff around the house. A bunch of curtain rings broke on our front window curtains so I replaced those today. They look much better now that they are hanging correctly! Also unpacked some more books and dug out Adam’s 3T pyjamas that grandma brought last time she was here.

I knew it was time when I was changing his nappy this morning just after he woke up and I noticed his big toes poking through the feet of his pyjamas! My son, The Hulk! So I pulled the 3Ts out of the drawer and held them up to me. They should fit him just fine now!

And then I had some lunch and then I did some more pottering around the house. Now I’m going to switch laundry over and then I’m going to clean up the kitchen.

And then I am going to chill for a bit and then I’m going to go pick up my son from nursery.

And that’s a day in the life of a SAHM/Freelance Online Media Specialist.

Not all that exciting.

But it makes me happy.