my hands are clapping, clapping, clapping

We're singing that song alot around here at the moment. Along with a version of this old man that covers bum, poo and wee in the first three verses.... You know trying to not be uptight about the accidents. Still it's all crazy good. I've taken to referring to Grace as mighty sprite, because she's everywhere. Full of energy and excitement. And new concepts. She's been telling a story about Dracula (we have a copy with a picture of Dracula on the front that she's been examing) and anyway it goes like this; Dracula was a bat and he was a bit scary. He didn't like being a bat here it becomes unclear, in some versions it goes and then he turned into a dimosoaur and in others dracula was chased by a dimosaour. Gerard tells me there is also a version featuring Dracula's mother.

Yeah, I've been messing around with yearbookyourself too.  Until I started turning my head upside down and creating absurd permed headed freaks. Quite neat really. If only I had endless hours. I like this one alot though. Wouldn't I love to have a neck like that, and only one chin. But then again, now I have age related wisdom. Of course I should really be in bed right now, this moment. I will need all my strength to help lift our new bath into the back of the car... ooh the excitement.

And yes, I am feeling just so much better. Quite unbelievable really. But there you go. Roll on spring, bring it on summer.

into the big deep hole and out again

I've been in the big deep hole again. Should of have seen it coming but didn't. I keep thinking that it will be better each year, and kind of it is and then again it isn't. I'm out of the hole again, I think, but you know, just need to process. Maybe the coming of Spring isn't the unadulterated joy it once was.

Not last Saturday afternoon, but the one before, I sat for a few moments in the car. Having just backed it in to the driveway of the new house rather badly after a big sunny morning: a garage sale, meeting a neighbour rennovating a house I loved (he's ripped out all the beautifully maintained period features, sigh) but didn't bid on because it's on a main road, scoring (and helping load and unload) another casement laundry window for an idea I have, followed by rushed time at the house, then off in the car to a crowded local bakery where Grace, as is often the case at present, acted very badly just as I needed to complete the transaction (next time I will leave with no cake), then off to a mother's group reunion (very pleasant except that I kept loosing sight of Grace in the playground which makes me nervous) and finally to Nana's for lunch where Grace remained for her afternoon sleep while I returned to the house to do some paint stripping. Anyway, there I was sitting in the car feeling hot, hayfevery and discombulated. I opened the car door and the wind blew in with a certain edge of coolness. Instantly I was transported back to another September Saturday five years ago. The second day after returning from hospital. My family came over for lunch. To be there, with us. I remember it was sunny and almost warm, and I had the lounge room windows wide open and the wind blew through. Up and down the walls. I wanted everything to be bare and stripped back. We had no meat at lunch and I let Gerard be. Saturday before last, sitting in the car, I glanced at my watch for the date and all my emotions fell into place. Like G said, this year sad day crept up on us. Rest in peace Frankie.

I tried to give myself some space for feeling sad, but my emotions felt muffled. Like when I used to smoke alot of dope. So the next few days were tough. I'd prefer to be properly sad, have a cry, then dry my eyes and go on. But it's been hard to feel anything lately, other than excessive tiredness and stupidity. And footsore from constantly swelling feet. Which I've only ever had before in the late stage of pregnancy. I finally came to the conclusion that the extra medication was a big part of the problem. So I did something I've never done before and decided to go back to my original dose without consulting my doctor first. I felt like I was entering a dangerous depressive hole, a floundering place of unformed emotions and strong feelings about things I couldn't name, where monsters gain their power from being unknown and amorphous. It seemed to me that it was getting so bad that there was no way, if I told the doctor how I was truly feeling and thinking, that she would agree to reduce my medication. Indeed, all I could think was that she would try and increase it or change it. And I would sit opposite her with drool pooled in the side of my mouth and my head falling into my lap and have no convincing argument as to why she shouldn't. For the last few weeks I've felt like even the smallest action needed an excessive degree of concentration. As if really, really stoned.  If only I had a brain, I could think myself out of the hole. If I could just do the things required of the day without stumbling.

Last Tuesday, I had a hilarious session at the community health centre having bloods taken for my epilum (ooh just look at the other medication possibilities, what fun I could have, not) levels and liver function. The nurse was asking me if the needle hurt and I kept laughing and saying, I don't care if it hurts. Nothing touches me. We had quite a chat and she agreed that I did seem quite well um, medicated. So that night, as I had planned before, I stopped taking the extra 200mcg.  The impact was almost immediate. My feet are nearly back to normal, my brain is returning and maybe 8 hours sleep a night will be sufficient in the forseeable future. It hasn't exactly been plain sailing, the odd vice like headache, more patches of extreme tiredness, some yelling and some generally feeling rotten. But it feels like coming down not like going mad. And I'm starting to feel alot better, like myself again. Which has to be a good thing.  

Although I keep having this dialogue with myself about whether I'm doing the right thing and about whether I just lack something, strength or courage maybe? The same old, same old. That I don't believe enough and that I could think myself right, even on these brain deadening drugs. Because they're supposed to help.  But too much of this medication and any thought at all wears me out. The rational process of reframing of my thoughts that I've relied on since the 90s just stops working. Under the slightest pressure, I become anxious and frustrated, even the simplest thing is absurdly difficult. Then throw in a 3 year old in a cake shop and I'm mincemeat. Not pretty. How can I find the inner resources to work on the house, do my job, be a good parent if I can't remember what happened yesterday or an hour a ago? And I'd like to enjoy the process too. Today was not too bad, once the headache passed. Actually it was pretty good. So maybe I was right. I'm just going to have to figure out what to say to the doctor. Oh well, we'll see, the worst that can happen is that I'll have to increase the dose again. Right. Bed. Rennovation updates soon.

paint stripping and a strange dream

Blog posts flit into my head as I work on the house or do the dishes or hang the washing out. Then something else happens, the moment is lost. At the end of the day I'm tired, ready to sink into a soft chair and watch an hour of mindless telly before a good solid nights sleep. Except for last night. Today as I strip paint from a bedroom window with a heat gun, I think about the dream I had last night. My mind wanders and before I know it, my hand does too. I crack a piece of window glass. Luckily it's on a pane that's already broken. Although later, after I break another, I decide that chemical stripper close to the windows might be a better idea.

So anyway, I decide to sit down for a few minutes and write the dream down, it's hanging around in my head. Being annoying. I dreamt I was travelling through Europe, on my own and staying in a spacious apartment for two nights with two women (a couple, I think) who are also travellers. They are planning on leaving the next day and I'm welcome to go with them but although I like them, my plans are unformed and I'm a little anxious about that. The apartment has wooden floors like our house, and although the rooms are bigger, the apartment has an austere feel. The strangest thing though, is that one of the showers is in the dining room which is carpeted and I stand on the carpet itself to have my shower. It's like a persian rug, only cotton and the wet rug feels so very wrong under my feet. The water pools around me and I worry about it dripping into the flat below. Everyone tells me that is how this house is and that I shouldn't worry, but of course I do. And I still have no idea of where I'm going to be the next day.

The dream was so strong I thought I was already awake, and I had to get up for a glass of water, but I was really still moreorless asleep and stumbled round the house bumping and hurting my toe. It's clear on reflection, that I'm feeling the need for some direction. It's about time. I've started to finally feel like I'm completely better from the virus and the winter blahs and have been trying to do solid patches of work when I can and not worry so much when there are other parts of our life that I need to attend to. Dad came over to help G with some wiring issues (looks some rewiring might be needed afterall) and it was really good to get his perspective on what we'd done so far. He agreed that it's worth stripping back the the old paint from the wooden areas of the house and that preparation is everything. And he helped clarify in my mind a few things that have to happen next. Like a bath. And heating and cooling decisions. It was also nice to hear that he thinks we've done heaps. Because sometimes when you're in it, it feels very slow indeed!

Myself, I've been enjoying watching the house reveal itself. I've seen green paint in the sitting room and blue paint in the child's bedroom.The wood underneath is beautiful and a part of me is sad that we'll be painting over it again. But then my feet walk on the crackle of varnish bits and I know it had to be done.

blue and white

Work progresses on the new house, slower than I would have thought until I step back and itemise everything done so far. Most of it by Gerard and eventhough I'm on holidays for two weeks*, my role is far more domestic than I anticpated. Yesterday, I was full of bile and resentment about this. The day started badly, and just became worse and worse until naptime. After which it was OK. Possibly, I needed to be reminded of how hard parenting can be and that enabling G to work on the house is a valuable cotnribution. Today has been more pleasant. We've all had a virus over the last week, the one where you aren't quite sick enough to take a day off work, but not quite well enough to be there in full force. So we've all been soldiering on. Until last Thursday. Grace seemed fine in the morning but threw up later at childcare, meaning she couldn't go for two days. Which we still have to pay for. Along with all the extra petrol, running two houses and the way the grocery bill just seems to go up and up each week. Ah money. I knew that we'd be in for an expensive couple of months, we've planned for it, but even so, I don't like it. Goes right against my current nature. Anyway, I'm trying not to freak out and insisted we all took it easy over the weekend. Even G spent some time on the couch.

Which brings me to my bathroom dilemma. Originally I planned just to re-retro the bathroom with an old bath and vanity. Several shopping days and nights (online), a good few salvage yards later and still nothing suitable. And even some of that was very expensive. So I start thinking about all new. Which means all white on our budget. (Perhaps on any budget, when did baths and basins become almost uniformly white?) Which led to thoughts of fancy tiles to joosh it all up and suddenly I am so far from my original vision it was frightening. And anyway, neither of us really like tiles. Then G finds a possible paint solution, which is also white, and I know I just can't do the all white on white bathroom thing. It is so not us. He talks with his builder/designer mates down in tas and the consensus seems to be that the bathroom paint is worth trying, even though we'll have to get it sent down from Sydney. It's cheap enough to risk and if it works, well, we've escaped tiles or vinyl on the walls. So now I'm under pressure to make some decisons about bathroom fittings. So on Saturday, Mum and I do the round of the local yards again, with Grace in tow. At the last one, I spot a vanity, that I don't hum and haw about. I like it. I remember a pep talk G gave me about designing on the fly and decide I really, really like it. Eventhough it doesn't have a matching bath, which even if it did, probably wouldn't be the right shape anyway. Previous baths having been ruled out as too narrow to stand in. I ring G for a quick consult and before you know it, we're loading it in the car. Thirty bucks. Bargain. I remark to mum in the car that I'll proabably see exactly what I was originally looking for on ebay tonight.

And guess what? I do. A yellow pedestal basin and matching bath that looks like the right shape to stand in. G says I can change my mind, but I decide I still like the blue one. That I like it better than the yellow one which has a kind of dated shape for the fifties. I like the blue one's curves and simpler lines and that it's porcelain. I consider looking out for for sixties/seventies glass taps to sparkle in the sun (it is a sunny bathroom) then think they're probably not very ergonomic for small hands. We're meeting with a potential plumber tommorrow so I'm going to have to decide about a bath sooner rather than later. Probably white. I can't decide whether to go for an OK second hand one that I can replace if I find a better one or to get a new one that is the business. There's a model that's designed as a deep long bath with a squareish bit at the end to shower in that I like the look of. I'm picking it's not at the lower end of the price range, but I do like having a bath and I have ideas about handrails for easy of in and out (even when I'm old). I wonder whether it would make the basin look crap, if I can make it all work. Then decide maybe it doesn't matter so much this mixing old and new, because what I save on a basin is what I can spend on a bath. A bit like the new shoes with the opshop jumper philosophy. Yes, that's kind of us. Need to go to the bathroom shop and get prices and check them out etc and of course, the tip shop or the salvage yard may yet yield something unexpected and delightful next visit. Perhaps a green bath in just the right shade and size... mmm blue and green.

In the meantime there are lots of other jobs to do. The carpet is all gone and we filled a skip on Monday. I stripped the grease from the bricks surrounding the stove. G is well into wall preparation and there is a myriad of small tasks awaiting me tommorrow, like starting on the window preparation or removing the paint splotches from the hardwood floor. Gees, I love that floor. I expect to be listening to a lot of radio national. Oh, and I need to go and get some paint samples so I can consider the various shades of offwhite in as many different lights as possible.  Let's hope childcare is a goer this week.

*each year everyone in the office has to nominate the leave they'd like for the upcoming year and then a commitee of mangement and a worker rep decides who gets what and when. It's fair but not very flexible, especially when you're not sure whether you will have bought a house or not at the time.