Our weekend

It’s been another up and down-er.

Saturday, well a few good things happened.

The lady lady sent her handyman fiancΓ© down to fix our various issues.


Let us just gloss over the fact that we were given six minutes notice, and that I was still in my pyjamas.


 

So he fixed Nathan’s door handle straight away (though borrowing our tools to do it) but needed to return later to affix the new toilet seat and deal with the bathroom lock*

Which he did, at 17:00 with ten minutes notice this time.

The new toilet seat was equipped, and a hook and eye lock installed – almost out of my reach, so no worries about the children in the main.

He also noted that they were getting in a plasterer to fix H’s bathroom ceiling next month** so if we had any similar issues to report them and they would get them seen to at the same time.

Considering I will be recuperating from major abdominal surgery, how about no to random people in my house doing random crap? Plus H sent her son up two weeks ago and he dealt with the holes in our walls.

We then had Date Night. We saw Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

I liked it. I mean yes there was some sad stuff, and some stuff that could have been better. I wonder what they will do about the next film given Carrie Fisher is no longer with us. But there were some adorable moments.

I want a Porg. And a Crystal Critter. And I used my scary spooky abilities and spotted the actress who played Dr. Ellie Stadler in Jurassic Park.

Which, leads me nearly on to some of the trailers I watched.

Films Which I Now NEED To See:

  • A Quiet Place
  • Avengers: Infinity War
  • A Wrinkle In Time
  • Panther
  • JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM***

There were a few others, but given you cannot have your phone in the cinema, I’ve forgotten some.

So that was lovely. Film was good. Food at the cinema in-house bar wasn’t great but they do good cocktails. We had 45min to spare before the film, so we went to the arcade and played a Jurassic Park shooter – and I didn’t totally suck!!! So that was fun.

Behold the awesome that is reclining cinema seats though!!!

Didn’t get home til half midnight, but the sitter had cable and snacks and the kids hadn’t been evil, so she’s happy to come back next week for our Burns Night shenanigans.

Then came Sunday.

We had a visit from the lovely Libidia, and First and Third. Sadly Second was poorly-sick five minutes from our place, so his daddy took him home and vowed to return to collect his lady and remaining offspring anon.

TT adores Third. However she constantly refers to them as “baby”, which, as they are actually older than her we all find hilarious.

#1 Son gets on amazingly with both First and Second, so he was sad at the diminution of expected guests but they had fun.

However. I learned that I cannot trust him to play in his room at the moment.

During the course of the visit, we noticed three separate small marker pen drawings on the hallway wall. They were too well formed to be TT or Third. And Libidia knows her offspring well enough to know their “lying face”


I wish I did!!!!


#1 Son however not only denied it vociferously but blamed his sister. Now, one of these smaller drawings was a traced handprint. And he had the offending marker on his hand and palm. Yet continued to deny and deflect blame.

So we left that for a bit, until at the end of the visit we went to find them. To be greeted with this:

Now, he was not alone in this. First did assist. Libidia offered to help pay for cost of supplies to repaint.

Fortunately this was not required. Though it did take more than two tubs of wipes to clean off:

And it ruined my poor nails:

So, as you can imagine, neither myself nor the hus-creature were enamoured of our eldest yesterday.

And do not worry dear audience, he did not escape unpunished:

  • No allowance for last week.
  • Costs of materials needed to repaint were to be taken out of his savings.
  • No screens for the rest of the day.
  • I confiscated all colouring materials.
  • I made him tidy his room unaided whilst I scrubbed his walls.

He was not impressed. But he couldn’t, or wouldn’t, tell me why he had done it.

So I shot off a quick email to his therapist, enclosing those photos and asked her to talk to him about it – if she deemed it appropriate.

So that was not a good end to the day.

However, look what I finished:

Yes – IT IS THE SOCKS.

The socks of wonder and joy.

My photo shoot got photobombed!

Despite all the trials and tribulations, I love this kid so darn much πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•


*There was much blathering about the existing one being a Mortise Lock and worry about the kids getting the key and similar.

Look, at this point I don’t frigging care – just get us a damn door lock!!!!

 

**Uh huh – we all believe that.

 

***No, really I NEED to. I regress to being an over-excited 10-year-old whenever there’s a Jurassic Park film involved (well except Lost World, but thatwas due to my disappointment with the book) this is one of my all-time favourite franchises and I cannot wait!!!!!

Career changes

I realised that yesterday was THE BIG DEADLINE for my former office.

Which made me blink in shock and reflect on the last few months. For the first time in a decade I was able to relax over the festive period.

I’m not working 12+ days and 40+ hours of overtime. I was able to visit (extended) family, spend time with my hus-creature and kidlets without feeling guilt.

It felt/feels amazing. My stress levels are much reduced, at least in one way. Yes, my blood pressure is still an issue, and I’ve had/have other stressors, but those are gradually reducing.

I’m happy. I’m missing work, but mostly in the “having my own money” arena and some occasional adult conversation.

I’m going to make a serious attempt at doing something with my yarn skills. I do have my knitting group for at least weekly human interaction, plus the lovely J and H when our schedules allow. I actually planned some colorways last night. I have a specific notebook and I’m writing things down. I also have the hus-creature asking me practical questions, which really helps, as I have a slight tendency to just think about the creative side πŸ˜‚πŸ€£

Six months!

(And two days πŸ˜‚πŸ€£ – but I was busy with MLK stuff on Monday!).

I can’t believe we’ve been on this crazy adventure for half a year!!!

Well it’s not quite as crazy anymore – unless you count the weather!

We’re settling down into something like a routine I think. It’s been a blast, but something resembling normalcy cannot be sneezed at.

So, the hus-creature is pretty settled in his job. He actively prefers being in an office, even with a sucky commute (certainly compared to what it was whilst we lived in Cambridge). He’s happy and stuff gets done, and he has a great work-home life balance, which means I don’t have to get the thumbscrews out.


I mean, if he chooses to work on a sudden brainstorm after I’ve gone to bed? No skin off my nose!


TT is happy. She’s got her toys, access to her favourite films, her brother after 3pm and me. And I come quite high up the list it seems actually – and not just in a “I am bored of this film parental unit, change it”

And it’s been amazing to watch her grow and change.


I do wish she would stop throwing her meal plates and bowls in the kitchen bin though. I know she believes she is helping, but I swear we have lost at least a few that way now!


It’s harder to quantify with #1 Son. He still has moments when he talks about missing England, his old house, his old school, his friends. But he’s getting there. He’s a special boy who needs extra support and he’s getting it. We still have bad school days, but the bad moments at home at least are much less. And the levels of bad at school are overall reduced. We have to remember to adjust our own expectations of him at times, yet the moments when he surpasses or blows right past them make it worthwhile. His therapy will help him, the school are supporting him, and we have documented proof that he’s bright.


I’ll turn cartwheels when he has his first birthday party or play date though.


The cat? She also seems happier overall. She’s eating more, has more places to hide and nest in, and still has human company as and when she desires it. I think this has been as good for her as it has for the children – unexpected bonus.

Me? Again hard to quantify. I’m doing well, I think. I’ve got my operation soon (eeeeep), the Mothership is coming to visit and look after me and the monkeys (love you Momma!). I’ve applied for my SSN, and got my work permit.

My knitting is coming along amazingly, and I have projects planned for recovery and convalescence.

I’m firmly heading down the path to setting up my own dyeing side business. The hus-creature is helping with the practical questions, as I’m still stuck on “what should I call it”. But I can’t put us in the hole to do this!

I’ve got time to sort it. I know I won’t be doing Advent Calendar boxes for 2018 at least.

I’m still going to knitting group – it’s going okay. They are helpful and lovely ladies. One of them bought me a box of Girl Scout Thin Mints cookies as (obviously) I have never had them before! And apparently I should expect casseroles etc to be left on my front porch post-surgery which is amazing.

I do still have bad days. I am still really bad at this domestic goddess malarkey, but I’m getting there. It’s becoming the new normal.

A day of good and bad

So today has been a bit of a mixed bag, so I will divide it straight down the middle.

The Good:

  • SSN successfully applied for
  • #1 Son did all his homework without a battle
  • TT had a nap 🀭😱
  • TT’s insistence on using cloth diapers means she’s now actually telling me (occasionally) when she’s done a wee
  • My beleaguered sock is back on (new) needles, of which I have three pairs so dammit I will finish this bugger.
  • The snow is currently gone.
  • My kettle dyeing mojo has returned and I have 5 more skeins for the next ripple blanket I’m planning.

The Bad:

  • The hus-creature became trapped in #1 Son’s room when the door handle came off in his hand! Which is something I have had concerns about for months. Fortunately it is repaired for now, and will be reported to the landlady*
  • TT is very unsettled tonight and is still not asleep. I may have to concede no naps 😫😞😒😰
  • Snowstorms are predicted. Bye bye clear ground. Hello snow day. Probably.
  • Neither child will accept the toothpaste we have so are both using age 0-2 Aquafresh Milk Teeth until our next weekly shop.
  • The Amethyst dye is not. It is raspberry at best. I am not amused.

*along with reminders about the broken toilet seat and lack of lock on the bathroom door. I will need to ensure that the crayon is off of the walls (again)


The Amusing:

  • TT has learned to apply talc during nappy changes. That got… messy…
  • After #1 Son blamed TT for the (pink) toothpaste in the main toilet, she came toddling through to me, not once but twice to tell me “Nanoo running“. So she is equally capable of dropping him right in it πŸ˜‚πŸ€£

The Yarns:

So from left to right:

  1. Delphinium Blue
  2. Frozen
  3. Amethyst
  4. Berry Crush
  5. Aubergine

On what planet is that Amethyst?!?!? I’ll concede Carnelian (maybe) or even Red Amethyst (yes, that’s a thing) but traditionally, amethysts are purple. To cheer me up, here is a cat with Yoshi riding her:In Soviet Russia, Yoshi ride you.

Martin Luther King Day

I’m not sure whether to wish people a happy one or not.

It’s an important day of cultural significance and I felt it should be marked.

So we had a lovely family day today. We:

  • Went out for lunch.
  • Baked cookie-brownies.
  • #1 Son played with daddy on his computer games.

We think I might have been too enthusiastic with my Kitchen Aid and overbeaten the brownie mix. I’ll learn! The kids enjoyed them anyway, and that’s all that matters. *

#1 Son also had his second full counselling session today. He seemed to enjoy it. He did lots of drawing, and his counsellor was impressed with him.

We do not push or pry with him. Both the hus-creature and myself firmly believe that it’s vital he feels and believes that it is a safe space for him, and that we will only be told what we need to be told, or, what he chooses to tell us.

She will send me notes, hopefully tomorrow, and will send a letter to the school with how she is forming a diagnosis by the end of the week.

She did mention that he was able to accurately depict six separate emotions on faces – I could have burst with pride/relief at that.

If he is still proved to be “on the spectrum” I will deal with it, but if he’s not? Life will be infinitely easier for him. So I cannot apologise for wanting that for him. **

TT continues to alternate between “cute as a button” and “truly demonic“. And it’s impossible to guess where she will fall.

New phrases include:

  • I want it <thing>
  • I get it <thing>

The standard “no”, “my do it” are constant and it’s draining.

She pushes boundaries and rules so much more than #1 Son ever did. She’s bright, stubborn and goddamned exhausting.

And she can count up to eight, and can manipulate jigsaw puzzles on her tablet, and is coming up with names for things.

And has discovered a love of Coraline. Of which I approve.


*I will keep telling myself that darn it.


**But please know I will never love him any less, or be any less proud of him – it’s a complicated set of emotions.

Protein is good for you after all

Sometimes gastronomic adventures are good. Sometimes they are bad.

This country has an interesting fascination with protein. So many adverts have “eat this snack it has Xg of protein in it

I’m not too fussed, I don’t follow any of the diets where this is necessary.

But when the new Wegman’s opened in Malden (and this was big news) the hus-creature discovered something amazing:

Meat. Wrapped. Cheese.

πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•

There are other options but the one on the left is just delicious. Deli meats at that!

To accompany it:

Mead:

Today we purchased Desire and Fling. I may report back.

There is also a local barley wine that I have been happily sampling:

All in all, a good evening.

To the elderly lady at the mall

Who tutted and shook her head at us while we were having lunch.

What I want to say is unrepeatable and certainly unprintable.

I will therefore settle for this:

  • I have a special needs child, probably ADHD. He was sitting quietly with his tablet. Do you have any idea what a goddamned miracle that is?!?!?!?
  • Yes, my toddler was running around. In a circle. Around our table. That again is contained.
  • Yes, she was disobeying me and lying on the floor under her chair. Yes, I could have dragged her bodily out and forced her to sit on said chair. But do you know what? That just might have caused Armageddon in terms of shrieking and other loud-decibel sounds. So I stuck to our normal parenting methods and persuaded her out verbally.
  • Yes, I was *shock, horror* using my smartphone at the table. I can do this if I wish. My children were not being loud (unduly anyway, see point 1). They were supervised and I’m a goddamn adult. These are my children and they were ignoring you. At worst, TT was interacting with the slightly older little girl at the table behind us, who kept coming over to play/chat/stare at other children.
  • I am so sorry that things might not be as they were “in your day” but I’m guessing they didn’t have overstimulating, loud strip malls in your day.

So, with the greatest of respect*

Go and sit on a cactus

And breathe. I feel so much better now.

Overall the trip out goes in the plus column. #1 Son behaved relatively well. The only sticky moment came when he wanted to use allowance money to buy another vinyl figurine like the CyberMan one he bought last time.

Which he has since lost. So we have said that if he can tidy his room to a reasonable state (he’s still only 5 after all) and (ideally) find said CyberMan then he may buy something else.

I went to the mall to track down hair dye, as one of the lovely H’s equally lovely daughters has offered to do my hair. They are both professional stylists so I’m thrilled.

Yes, I will be paying them πŸ˜‚πŸ€£

So this is my current collection:

She will do me full Galaxy/Unicorn 😁😁😁😁

I also went into Hot Topic and came out with these:

And Yankee Candle we’re having a 3 for $10 (plus tax) sale and I have these:

Yes, there are three the same – I love their festive scents so much!

So far a good-ish day. If you ignore the old fart that precipitated this post.


*Not really

Self striping yarn

I am never one to shy away from a challenge. So, having figured out my warping board, I decided to have a play.

Most people would have started on say:

  • Sock yarn
  • In a superwash base
  • Certainly without silk, alpaca, cashmere etc
  • A simple co-ordinating colourway.

You know, what with it being their first attempt and all…

Would anyone like to have a guess at what I did?

Anyone?

  • Worsted weight.
  • Non superwash
  • 80:20 alpaca silk
  • Teal and a self made orange (1/4 tsp each of Jacquard Cherry Red and Sun Yellow). I think I might have gone too heavy on the red but we shall see.

So yeah, not the usual starter probably. But see, I’m knitting these glorious bed socks in 100% baby alpaca. I’m not going to try and sell my first striping attempt, so why not play on a base I can turn into more comfy bed socks for me?

Sister in law – see what you have inspired.

The skein all dyed up and ready for wrapping and steaming.

Okay so it’s a completely clumsy job, but here it is all wrapped and rolled:

Steaming away quite contentedly:

The rinsing process begins:

And now to the drying:

All I will say is that, though fun, and highly creative (since I can definitely see pretty much endless possibilities here)

I CAN SEE WHY THIS TYPE OF YARN IS EXPENSIVE TO BUY

Not counting drying time (which I can speed with the aid of the gas fire) this single skein has taken over four hours to produce.

Oh and it does this to hands:

I did wear gloves while actively dyeing. I just didn’t for the rinsing of the foam brushes… or the skein…

*hides from Na, her nail tech*

A trying week

It hasn’t been great this week. It’s one of those tales that if I’d read on say “Hurrah for gin” I’d chuckle and think, thank goodness it’s not me.

But yeah.

I can’t pinpoint all of it but it has consisted of:

Wall Art:

TT has drawn on the walls almost every day this week. Yesterday, I took #1 Son downstairs to J for her to take him to school. Daddy upstairs on the sofa with TT.

I come back up. SHE HAS DRAWN ON THE WALL. Daddy didn’t see her do it. He was sat in the room! This made me feel so much better as I’ve been feeling like I’ve been going blind or mad not seeing it.


ΒΏΒΏΒΏPorque no los dos???


So, used over half a tub of wipes scrubbing that off.

Then, we had to pick #1 son up from school because our lovely J had an appointment. Ten minutes before we were due to leave, I actually caught her mid-scribble on the same bit of wall.

Incandescent did not cover it. I shouted, raged and made her watch me throw the crayon in the bin.

I then cleared away all of the remaining crayons I could find. Or so I thought…

You know what’s coming right?

This morning I caught her standing up in her bed, with a piece of crayon – and she had drawn all over the two walls.

This time rage didn’t cover it. I have made her stand there watching me whilst I snapped and binned an entire pack of the bloody crayons.

Expensive? Probably (but Santa got some good Amazon deals) Cathartic? Most definitely. Done any actual measurable good? Meh, who knows?

I’ve told the hus-creature that he needs to get something more heavy duty than what I’ve been using. My hands are shot, my nails this close to wrecked, and I’ve used over an entire tub of wipes.

She just came into the room and asked for kee-ons (crayons)

Rooms:

I had gotten all the new Christmas stuff packed away and sorted on Monday. Their rooms were amazing.

By the end of the day? Oh gods.

Then on Wednesday the following:

#1 Son had a half day. When he came home, he was sporting more marker pen on his face. About two hours after he came home, I noticed his palms were blue. I asked why. I got a shrug.

I later caught him trying to turn the sofa into its bed form. I sent him to his room for that one. He knows to leave that alone for safety. After a couple of minutes, I went in to check on him. To be greeted with:

That would be a refill from a Crayola Marker Maker set.

Again, incandescent with fury. Not because it happened – I can accept it happened. But because he had had at least two opportunities to tell me about it and he didn’t.

There’s only so much I will let him get away with – this is not one of those things.

Thankfully, Crayola do not lie when they say “washable”. Ten minutes scrubbing with floor wipes and it is gone. Thank god for wooden flooring.

The snow:

It can bugger off back to Hades now thank you very much. As previously mentioned, I had to go pick up #1 Son from school yesterday. That’s fine think I, the sidewalks have been shovelled, it’s warming up a bit.

Oh no. Puddles. Sidewalk lakes. TT thought it was great. Up until I got the pram (stroller) stuck in a narrow corridor of snow.

More. Than. Once.

Honestly if you are shovelling – make it wide enough for a goddamn stroller. Oh and let’s not talk about whoever shovelled off a crossroads and blocked off the sidewalk. So I had to walk in the road for half a block til we could mount the kerb again.


And everyone who beeped me? May the fleas of 1,000 camels infest your underwear drawer.


My feet were sodden. TT was grumpy, but we got to school on time.

Only to be told he has spent a good part of the afternoon in the principal’s office

πŸ™„πŸ€­πŸ˜’πŸ™„πŸ€­πŸ˜’πŸ™„πŸ€­πŸ˜’πŸ™„πŸ€­πŸ˜’

I’m waiting for an email as to why. But I didn’t get called in, so whatever it was, it could have been worse I suppose…

I have made enquiries as to how we go about registering him in the after school club – it will come in handy for days like yesterday, and give him vital socialising opportunities. Apparently you can pre-register and then, in some manner, drop off on the day. That’s handy.

But it has not been all bad: Today he came home with this:

I’m bloody proud.

And I needed it today. Today (thanks to Timehop) I’m really homesick. I don’t like it, and I need it to feck orf.

Yarn therapy is the order of the day/evening.

School dinners

Are very different here.

Admittedly, it’s really difficult to get out of #1 Son what he’s had of a school day – he tends to forget.

But yesterday when I asked, he was adamant it was cereal. I shrugged it off because it was a half day and maybe he was overexcited. But today he told me he had French toast with syrup.

πŸ€­πŸ€”πŸ˜―πŸ˜¦πŸ˜§

So I thought I would investigate.

10 January 2018:

Now, you know what? This isn’t too bad. I mean, there’s yoghurt and cheese. I’m shocked that he apparently ate Cinnamon Toast Crunch, but hey this is good.

Now for today,

11 January 2018:

This? This I am less impressed with. Again it’s a one off, and most days he has a blasted peanut butter and (grape) jelly sandwich, so as a treat fine.

But it has definitely reminded me that I am in the country where pizza is considered a vegetable. I’m not taking his choice away from him though. He’s eating so much better at school than he was. The agency of choice there is vital.

I’m just going to mumble and grumble about options.