Monday, 26 May 2008

Do you still remember me?

So sorry for the length of time between posts!! I've just been crazy busy - you know how it is?!

T's health has taken a distinct turn for the worse - meaning getting him out of plumbing is of high importance and I have finally faced the fact that I should get out of care work and into a job which pays more. Do you remember my previous post about how unhappy he was and how I wondered if I should leave my job to make things easier for him? I really appreciated all the support and advice from you guys and T and I spoke about my staying in childcare but then he got a referral from the doctor to see a specialist at the hospital because they think he has Carpal Tunnel syndrome. This means installing a boiler single-handedly each day, carrying boilers up and down stairs that should be carried between 2 or more people and the constant twisting of his wrists and holding vibrating tools is not only painful in the short-term but also a concern for how it will affect him long-term.

I have seen his character change - he has become withdrawn and so fragile it makes me want to cry at how little I can do to help him. He feels guilty about looking for other types of work, even though, having looked around, I know that I can earn far more than he ever could and perhaps I should. I mean people invested an awful lot of money into the 4 years I spent at university and the skills I developed there are being wasted. More and more, in fact, I am getting frustrated because as an unqualified care assistant I can't do much, can't change things for the better, can't utilise what I know more but just have to "go with the flow". I am beginning to actually yearn for an intellectual challenge as well as a physical one...

You see, when I left university my confidence was knocked. As my dad said - at school I was a big fish in a little pond, then suddenly I was surrounded by some of the cleverest people in the country (Nottingham University was recently ranked number 9 in the country). The standard was so high, the pressure to succeed even higher. I spent a large amount of time there exhausted and ill. My best never felt good enough and I constantly felt I would miss the mark. By the time I left uni I wanted to be rid of that and as I adored care so much that's the route I took.

I adore my job - I love going to work, I love being with the children, I love the responsibility of it all... but at the end of the day I am working 41 hours per week for a mere £12k - where's the fairness in that?! Let's be fair, in the next few years T and I would like to think about settling down, moving somewhere nicer and starting a family. At the end of the day - I have qualifications and experiences that stand me in stead to be on a much higher salary than he could ever earn. I hate that it all comes down to money, but it does... if having the comfort of knowing our bills will be paid, even with a family, requires me to work and T to stay home with the kids then that's a choice I am more than willing to make!

I always thought I would want to be a SAHM and I would love it, truly I would, but more and more I am aware that I would eventually feel trapped. I thrive on challenge, I thrive on being pushed, I actually enjoy being taxed to find solutions and I like the idea of being a career woman - I just always lacked the confidence in my ability to do so. Don't get me wrong, if we do have kids I'd like to work part-time for a while, but would like to have a career I can return to, you know? And I think it's high time I faced my fears - after all before I went to uni I couldn't even go to the local shop on my own and look at me now!! I can do this, it's just gonna be out of my comfort zone for a while...

I'm not rushing into work - I'm applying for a couple of roles at the university - one of which is based in the international office and one is in fundraising - two things I have a real passion for. I like the thought of dressing well for work (instead of in a polo shirt that gets filthy within 2 hours of being at work lol), I like the thought of coming home and having the money to make my home my own without having to scrimp and save (although we've done well so far each decision has had to be carefully made, I'd like once in a while to be able to just do it - to even afford to travel abroad when I have holiday time and not just stay at home because we don't have the money!) And more than anything, I want to be able to stop worrying about money and give T the option to move out of the hole he is in and retrain in something else.

I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason - I know my experiences the past couple of years have made me realise how much I do actually enjoy being stretched mentally. I have no doubt that T's health issues are occuring because we both refused to get him out of a role that was killing him inside but which neither of us could make the decision to get him out. His physical discomfort is so bad right now that it is pushing me to push myself and forcing him to think of his own happiness as well as mine. It's a challenge - and it scares us both - but we know in the end this will all work out.

I will continue posting about the flat and answer the tag Brenda sent me over the weekend - but for now I gotta dash!

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

The bedroom

Thanks for the lovely comments left after the last post - here for your viewing pleasure is the next room (typed up as I sit on my sofa, struggling to breathe through the rotten chesty cough and not puke from the stomach bug I pick up from work *sigh*)
That's the view of our room from the corner where our built-in cupboard and wooden and cloth combination wardrobe and drawers stand guard over the storage heater we no longer want to see!! The door to the room is to the right of the picture (you can see my coat and bag hanging on it!) You might not be able to tell but our bed is literally a mattress on the floor still - I joke to T about it but truly I am so used to it I think sleeping in a proper bed would be weird!

The cabinets you see were put up the night before I took this picture and I spent that morning tying to fit books and things in whilst keeping it looking like a nice display - I truly think every bit of furniture can become a part of the whole display if you are careful. The table is the third one of the set we bought and as it was a much darker wood than our cheaply bought cabinets I covered it in a beautifully hand-embroidered tablecloth my Grandma got from someone she once knew.

Said tablecloth -sorry about the fuzziness of the picture, remember that they were taken on a mobile phone!! Once I get my new camera I will take some closer shots to show how beautiful the embroidery is! The flowers were from T and the candle holder, my gift from his sister and family. There is a little lavender sachet I made in the centre of the table, made with the lavender I won in a giveaway from Ragged Roses last year!

Here's our Reiki table (on top of the bookcase). It now has a chinese bamboo on it as well, which we bought after I took the pictures. The crystals are T's chakra set and the picture one I made for him last year for his birthday with the Japanese symbols for Reiki and the lyrics from a song, rewording the Reiki principles. There's also my little faery trinket box to finish it off and watch over the proceedings with care and attention. Please don't ask me what the long metal thing on the left is though, it belongs to T and I have no idea what it is myself but it looked right there so that is where I left it lol!

This is my version of a bedside table - hehe! My trusty notebook and pen always by my side to jot things down in (you wouldn't believe how many noepads I have lying around the place!) I've also got the latest copy of Country Living that my parents brought dow for me (I really must change the delivery address) and a book I bought because I adored The Nanny Diaries by the same authors. I haven't enjoyed Citizen Girl so much, maybe because I know the world of childcare and could laugh along with the main character of the previous book, but the world of high-flying city feminist workers is not one I can relate to... hmmmm. Anyway I finished the book last night so I need to find a new one to adorn my little bedside shelf.

And whilst I'm in the bedroom I thought I would take a moment to show you my sweetheart's fantastic craft skills. This is the box he painstakingly printed out, cut and stuck (with superglue that melted his bedsheet lol) all by himself so that I would have a lovely first Valentine's Day gift from him. Each rose is delicately folded - I have no idea how he managed it withou going crazy!! And inside...

nestled on a bed of scented fabric rose petals was a gorgeous pearl and red swarovski crystal neckalce his mum made to go with the pearl and silver bead bracelet that was my Christmas present from him. I can tell you I have never been more spoiled in all my life! I'm gonna treasure this box and necklace for the rest of my days.
Incidentally, T's mum and sister are making a lot of necklaces and looking to start their own business in future, so keep your eyes and ears peeled ;o)
I'm off to get another drink and try to flush this bug or whatever it is through my system - take care and speak soon!
Amanda xx

Monday, 5 May 2008

At last

I finally have some pictures of the flat I can share with you. My parents came down this weekend and we had a wonderful meal with them on Saturday (our first go at hosting a meal!) They brought another load of my "stuff" with them, which warranted a trip to Argos on Sunday to get some new cupboards for the bedroom (no bed yet though). We are extremely lucky in that our flat has access to loft space, so most of my books have been stored in boxes up there, as have the spare chairs and suitcases etc.

I discovered I could take some halfway decent photos with T's phone (though not perfect, I'm afraid!), so that is what I did. I spent half of Sunday and half of Monday sorting through boxes of books, clothes and crystals, deciding what to keep and what to donate to charity etc. Then I had the best fun making it look "right" by placing books and things in various places until it all seemed to fit. I have many photos, so thought I would do one room per blog post - so here goes...

The Living Room

So this is the fireplace (which we bought) to add a focal point to our living room. The room is a funny shape with 5 walls and what looks like a chimney wall but in actual fact isn't one at all. We chose to put the tv and bookcase near the chimney wall and create a new focal point on the side wall. The new fire (free-standing and electric powered) is also a great way for us to avoid using the dreaded storage heaters. In fact, we found that all the storage heaters were suitable for was to display other things, as shown below...

That's our manifestation collage, the one I wrote about early this year - we love looking at it and realising just how much we have already manifested and thought it was appropriate to display it, like so!

This is our sofa (can you see how it all fits in? I purposefully took overlapping pictures to give a better view of the room. The sofa stands between the rocking chair and fire and the manifestation collage). We got our sofa (and cushions and throw) for free off gumtree. The man who gave it to us was very generous and the sofa is in wonderful condition and extremely comfortable to curl up on. The coffee table and end table came from eBay - another great find. The wood is solid and a beautiful colour and we only paid about £30 for 3 tables (the third one is in the bedroom). The go perfectly with the rocking chair T picked up for £10!!

This is the view of the room I get when I sit down on our sofa. You can't really see the picture above the tv very well so I will tell you that it is the most beautiful picture of a lighthouse and seashore I have ever seen! T and I saw it in the window of a charity shop just minutes after signing the contract for the flat and had to buy it. It cost us all of £15!! Seriously, I don't know how we managed to fit our flat out with such beautiful furniture and decorations for such good money but I am very grateful to the star that has been shining on us these past few weeks/months!
Our bookcase is jam-packed (although I refused to let T put two layers of books on each shelf which would have meant a lot of our books wouldn't now be stored in the loft! I just think bookcases should be used to display books, not hide them, so I put my foot down on that one!!) But T, bless him, graciously let me get on with doing the girlie, homely thing and then contributed by putting boxes in the loft and then dusting the tables for me :o) I hasten to add, having looked at this picture again, that T is wearing an orange belt - he is NOT flashing his bum!!
Isn't he a good one?! He then also proceeded to give the Tulips some Reiki, as neither of us had thought to check the water level for a couple of days and the poor darlings were beginning to wilt. I am pleased to say that all but one are now standing tall and proud once more, thanks to his gentle care!!
We were overloaded with flowers this weekend, as T bought me some as a surprise on Friday and I used both of the vases we own to split the bunch between the living room and the kitchen. Then my mum arrived with two lots of flowers from her garden and my Aunty came round with the tulips so I had to resort to using tall drinking glasses to store them in!! I'm going to use my next half-day off work scouring the charity shops for some new vases hehe.
Our flat doesn't know what has hit her this weekend, as she is almost free of boxes for the first time ever (we have a couple more to sort through hidden carefully behind the sofa *blushes*) so she is feeling very big indeed today! She is also full of joy at all the flowers, houseplants we bought today and the window boxes that we brought home last weekend for my birthday. Did I mention that our flat has window boxes running round the whole of the outside wall?? Did I also mention that when we moved in we had a nest with some baby turtle doves in one corner of said window boxes?? What a surprise I got the first day I was here when two turtle doves suddenly peered in the window at me - hehe! We saw the fluffy chicks grow into true adults, and now they have left the nest we are able to fill the boxes again!
As a final treat, I thought I'd show you a picture of my very favourite birthday card this year - the one beautifully decorated by T's niece (16/17 months of age) and his sister! Isn't it just adorable??

Thursday, 1 May 2008


I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you to all of you who sent me birthday wishes and/or left such kind and wise words after my last post. I feel very blessed to have such support to remind me to step back and realise a) what I have b) how far I've come and c) remember that just as when I was as depressed and stressed as T is now, I can no more help him than anybody could help me other thank offering an open ear and arms to curl up in. So thank you for that!

I am still concerned and feeling so sorry for him - I feel helpless to help him and I hate that feeling, but I know that only he can make the change to help himself, all I can do is support him as best I can. It breaks my heart to see him suffer so, but I see progress in his thinking - moving towards doing what he feels he needs to rather than what he's been told by others he has to do - so that is good!

I have my half day off work this morning so I am taking some time to relax before going to meet my Aunty for coffee. My parents are coming up on Saturday with the rest of my stuff, so we can finally get the flat sorted. I promise I will have photos of it soon - I got some money for my birthday which I am going to use to buy a new camera!! I have so missed having one since mine died about a year ago, but I just haven't been able to afford a new one until now. I am looking forward to getting more photos on this blog, as well as just enjoying the entire process of snapping things and capturing the beauty around me, especially at this time of year!

I have several projects I would love to take the time to start, and I really must start making time - but at present work is just tiring me out. We are understaffed a bit at the moment and nobody seems to know where I am going to be based, so I am put wherever I'm needed at the moment. This is fine, but it is always nice to have a room and children you are based with, plus it means at the moment I am placed in busy rooms, so I rarely get a quiet day (except last Friday when I had time to go through all the toys, clothes and art supplies in our quiet room and rearrange the whole area!! I have to say that was a relief to get it all clear!)

I have behaviour management next week at our other nursery, which will be good but it will also mean a long week - at least I have Monday off! I'm also supposed to be having my Tiny Talk exam today, so I hope she comes this afternoon, otherwise I will miss it and that will be a real pain! Still, it's not my fault if my nursery plans my half day off when they know the examiner is coming, I'm not going to miss a precious few hours when they can reschedule if they have to - I mean I often do more than my contracted 41 hours anyway so I'm not going to do more than I have to (especially as I don't get any holiday for 6 months!!)

Right, well this is a rambling post if ever I saw one, so I am now going to ramble off and get ready to see my Aunty. Have a lovely day, all. xx