Mum’s Manic Morning… 2

Dear friends

So (from part 1) you’ll see what I was facing when alarm 1 went off at 05h45.  My brain was buzzing from dreaming (of my dear husband :)) and of what lay ahead at work (…ask engineers how low the brick wall can be brought down to, how can we ventilate the 8m high ceiling zone…)… so I waited for alarm 2 = 06h00. I quickly roll out of bed when my husband’s alarm goes seconds later, knowing if I don’t make the bathroom first it’ll be a 15 minute wait!!  Back in the bedroom I curl into a kneeling foetus position to pray – much needed part of the day 🙂 I iron his shirt and head down to the kitchen to pack his lunch and prepare honey & lime – he had a sore throat. 
0642h – we arrived at station and I leave him, driving to a local supermarket, ATM and buy newspaper; I end up buying more than a newspaper! Muffins, brunch bars,…
0705h – back home; start daughters lunches; everyone up; Son1 takes care of himself (leaves 0725h); Daur1 takes care of herself and I eventually leave her to finish the lunches (leaves 0745h); Daur2 can’t find sports shorts – I know they are not in the wash basket… I empty her shelf and find them; Son2 has shower but not wanting to wear the red T-shirt from his Grandma – quote: its as long as a dress on me! I dig around in Son1’s clothes to find his old, but much loved, Man United T-shirt (the most expensive I’ve ever bought!). It’s red so I put it on Son2 – a little long but it’ll do.
0810h – breakfast and I’m surprised to find warm milk – Son1 I expect since Daur1 is into yoghurt – but the two youngest prefer toast with various toppings – chocolate spread, peanut butter, honey, jam…
0820h – Son2 and I head to school – if he rides his scooter (or bike) they can make a breakfast smoothie.  So I drop him off – he heads in with a teacher.  It’s only when I got home this evening that I discovered I was meant to stay with him. Oops!!!
0835h – back home, muffin for breakfast, shower, daur2 leaves, dress – what do you wear for work when it’s one of the hottest days?
0850h – I head for bus feeling, phew! what a morning, I must write about that!!

Mum’s Manic Morning… 1

Dear friends (on bus)

I’m not sure when I realised I couldn’t do it.  But I knew last week, when it was suggested, that I didn’t want to do it. Attend a 0930h meeting on site with client, users, contractor, engineer and health & safety ‘coordinator’ about how reinforced foundations are built outside the tenants homes without disrupting the elderly tenants too much!!  Fortunately events this morning have provided me with a reason not to be there…

I should have remembered when the date was mentioned – today is Son1’s introductory day at sixth form college – he needed to leave home before 0730h.
In addition, it’s my husband’s day working in another town – I drop him at the train station for 0646h train.
And then, as I was reminded last night, it’s Sports Day for Son4. What? I thought that was Friday? No, that’s my Sports Day! says Daur3 What? You go to the same school and have Sports Day on different days??
So, it’s 0925h, let’s see if I can email my apologies before 0930h…

Wednesday calm…

Dear friends

You might notice a trend with my posts – I tend to write more on a Wednesday because all are out (youth activities), except our youngest and I can spend time cooking dinner.  Why is Wednesdays child full of woe? I love Wednesdays!!

I’ve spent some time checking the latest blogs from those I follow – there are some great thoughts, images, buildings and blogs out there. Thank you all for sharing a piece of yourself.

I’m feeling more miserable about work than usual; I checked out some job adverts and saw a part time one (in academia) and thought how that would give me the chance to explore some things that I want to.  Although my dear husband sees my misery it’s hard for him to encourage me to change the status quo.  Something is going to have to change!!  I’m not going into detail now but it’s not a happy place to work = 😦

Thankfully back home is a refuge, a busy one, but a refuge. We’ve all got new passports now – that’s an investment in itself – and making plans for our holiday on the continent at the end of July.  A dear neighbour has said we can stay in their second house for a week. We’re all excited – the two youngest have not left these shores!

I feel blessed to find calm and solace in troubled times.  I know work will still be there tomorrow but sometimes you’ve got to let tomorrow take care of itself. Today is now and I want to enjoy the rest of today. The past is done. All I can change is the future and that hasn’t yet happened 🙂

an observation on phones

It’s hard to remember the good ole days, last century, before ubiquitous mobile telephones. 

When you had to find a coin and a  call box to phone if you were out.
When you could ride a bus, or a train, without feeling obliged to say where you are or how long you’ll be.
When you didn’t expect to be contacted at work, unless in the case of an emergency.

It seemed time was a little kinder back then, less intense.  We still lived; life was full; life was fun.

There was time for yourself, rather than being obliged or expected to be contactable at all times, by voice or by the written note, aka txt msg.
There was no anguish of missed calls, cracked screens, low battery, lost contacts, ringtones drifting through the air, and that’s before the smartphone features are considered.

Oh, 1990s!! Come back!!!

last week in summary

Dear friends,

Last week really revolved around the children. I’ll name them (for ease, in descending age order) Son1, Daur1, Daur2, Son2.

Son1 – finished his secondary school exams (GCSEs) with 3 last week – Maths (calculator), Chemistry and Physics; and yesterday I was on chauffeur duty to take him for the county athletics meeting – Son1 was called up to represent our town in the 100m; he came 3rd in his heat, and as I was filming the final, facing the sun, it looked like he came in one from last but then he was handed a letter… i knew that meant he made top 4 and then the town athletic coach is speaking with him and inviting him to the elite sprint training sessions… and that night I ordered a pair of spiked running shoes!!

Meanwhile, Daur1 and Daur2 were sick Monday overnight,  so stayed off school Tuesday.  Daur1 then had a relapse after returning to school on Wednesday and spent the rest of the week off school – Thursday with big brother Son1 and Friday with me (working from home).  I never quite know when to go to a doctor – we are, of course,  blessed to have a surgery and the NHS.  I decided if it continued into this week I would contact the doctor – but the rehydration solution and rest seems to have worked. And Daur2 landed the part of narrator in the school production = Bugsy Malone – remember that strange children’s movie!?

And Son2 had a scheduled trip to aural outpatients for microsuction – sucking the wax from his ears, which seems to have real problems finding its way out leaving Son2 a little hard of hearing, literally!  This is about the 4th visit, same specialist nurse; this time we left with one ear drum clear, the other partial… which reminds me, I must do the olive oil in the latter ear.

So, I’ve started writing a couple of times but get too tied up with things.  I’ll try to do better this week.  I  do love our little family – they are all very funny and individual 🙂

Sabbath delight

Dear friends

Mini holiday was fun! Unfortunately I missed the ‘chilly night’ in the weather forecast which had day temperatures of +20c.  And even though I was sandwiched between my daughters, they’d already chosen the superior sleeping bags, and I kept waking up.  Kayaking was great and relaxing – it’s a sheltered spot on the river – neither of the girls capsized this time.

The rest of the weekend has been uplifting.  There was a special Europe (northern) wide broadcast of a live conference from Edinburgh (my second home!) with Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, an Apostle of the Lord.  What would an Apostle say specifically to the Latter Day Saints in this part of the world?  Well, it was a warning message – this is a time of sifting – wheat & tares, goats & sheep, wise &foolish – but also one of hope – cling to the iron rod, cling to the word of God, cling to the scriptures.  And the following description from Paul of this time was used a couple of times 2 Timothy 3 vv1-5:

1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

But we do not need to fear – we need to have faith in Jesus Christ and know that the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion – if it stands, everything does; and if it falls everything falls; after 185 years of the book, no one has claimed to be it’s author, despite the impact it has on lives and the claim that it’s one of the most important US books.

I have read the Book of Mormon many times – I know it is the word of God. It stands with the Bible as another testament of Jesus Christ. If you’ve not read it, you need to – get a copy and get to know some wonderful prophets of old.


Dear friends

(Imagine Madonna’s Holiday as the backing track to this post!)

Yeah – it’s mother and daughter camp (organised by Relief Society)! OK, it’s not the whole weekend – Friday evening to Saturday lunch, but that’s good enough for us!  I don’t know how long it’s been a tradition in our stake (church area, like a diocese) but the last couple of years it’s been at a site near the airport, on the edge of a river with kayaking!! Last year we bought a 4-man tent and the girls and I stayed over.  Needless to say, that’s the plan for tonight, complete with swimsuits!!

This is the weekend that our youngest child has been dreading – Mum and favourite siblings gone, he’s left with a testosterone filled 16 year old big brother and my husband, who doesn’t quite give the same personal attention to his 7 year old needs as Mum! But, based on last year, I know he’ll cope and Dad will treat them!!

I’ve done the last minute shopping – airbed foot pump (sorely missed by our daughters last year) and torches, they were on special offer and one can never have enough, me thinks! I booked the afternoon off work – the American PM still managed to get a conversation out of me when I slipped in to change out of my site gear – and I’m heading home to cook a dish (pasta salad) for the pot luck dinner. And to call my Mum, who’s already called a couple times today – we have to pass by to pick up the double air bed but her house is on the way to the camp (from ours).

I’ll let you know how the camp goes! There is something great about being with our sisters in the gospel.  I love them all!!  And this is our girls’ holiday!!! 

work – an American and engineers…

Dear friends

We’re on project manager number 5 on a new school project in about 3 months and we’re only at feasibility stage!! Don’t ask!  I feel the project is already doomed  – it doesn’t help that the client has not confirmed adequate funding. This PM is new to the business and is American – his Mum is British. I asked what brought him to the UK – I think it’s not impolite enough to ask when someone says they’re from Manhattan!!  His accent is slight, in a Davy Jones of The Monkees sort of way, so I didn’t ask straight away.  And he’s had some architectural training and seemed familiar with a traditional building procurement process 🙂 that’s refreshing because he may have some appreciation for our discipline rather than tip toeing around us like we’re going to get upset and all passionate about our designs!! Like that ever happens…

I was getting exasperated with the structural engineers.  When I arrived into work yesterday (after outnumbered day 10), I found 4 or 5 drawings for a reinforced concrete foundation and a steel frame for me with a note from the technician – for coordination and comment.  Today, they (their team leader) were already (email) chasing me because the contract administrator was chasing them – the drawings were due to be issued 2 days ago.  So, I red penned their drawings, signed and dated, and emailed their leader back stating – the columns clash with manholes.  Fortunately the technician still speaks with me and came over to discuss the red pen notes, finally saying, oh [leader] said it was much worse!!  Red pen, gets them every time!!! 😉

Give me building services engineers any time 🙂 – that’s the mechanical, drainage and electrical engineers – always so accommodating – of course, Mrs Architect, you can have a large, circular hole in the middle of that floor if you want it, simply give me a decent sized plant room!!  I know structures are keeping the building standing up but they’re always so inflexible – Mrs Architect, allow for 205mm columns on a 4m perpendicular grid with a structural roof zone of 500mm and you should be OK. You mean, you should be OK! And then, they have notes on drawings – like waterproofing to architect’s details – without telling you! So, I guess on the positive side, it’s good that I’ve been given the chance to review their drawings before they’re issued to the contractor.

As for our new PM, I simply hope he lasts longer than the other PMs and he’s met the client now, so if he departs questions will be asked.

outnumbered: days 8 to 10

Dear friends

I am writing this retrospectively, things got busy!

Day 8 – finished clearing out the garage, well, one big card board box left and the single wardrobe occupying the middle zone – we were all pleased with our efforts; my Mum offered to buy us dinner – so that was chicken and chips again – the defrosting meat was put in the fridge 😉  I missed Costco so a quick supermarket shop picking up baguette & melon for the church munch and mingle the next day.  The children asked but no, I haven’t told your father about taking up the hall carpet!

Day 9 – a bit of rain in the morning but we swung into the car park at church with 5 mins to go; inside the chapel was full of cooking smells!!  It was testimony meeting – we have a conference next week – and we filed into one of the back pews in front of a couple of elderly sisters, overhearing their comments on the testimonies shared… who’s he?…I can’t hear what she’s saying… Then our youth class where as we began I noticed one of the class members looking behind me, focused on the wall; within seconds the other class members were looking and one said, is that a really big… SPIDER! I turned to be faced with a large, but slow moving spider. I leapt across the room but amid cries of ‘kill it’, I did rescue it after we got a large bowl by throwing it outside.  Finally back home and I cooked – rice & chicken (yes, we love chicken), cheesy bread rolls, banana bread. Still nothing said about the hall carpet.

Day 10 – I track flight 652 during the day – my last check in places it north Africa having crossed the Sahara desert – 2 hours to touchdown.  A trip to the music store, three books bought, flute-piano-piano, one on order; I resist buying the latest easy Disney and flute Les Miserables.  Back home, I clean the kitchen floor; and all troops are mobilised into positive action.  Children are starting to get nervous about Dad’s reaction to no carpet in the hall. 
It’s raining, windy and cold, when my dear husband arrived back in town – I even turned the heating on for him!  Entering the house, the carpet, it’s great is his response – and I exchanged knowing glances with our children. 

I am grateful to have my dear husband back.  The last week or so has been a great learning time for us all. From Doctrine and Covenants section 122:

If thou art called to pass through tribulation… and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son [my daughter], that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.