Mischief Managed

Months ago, Ros told me about a dream she had (‘nightmare’, she says) in which she woke up one morning to find that I had covered the kitchen with chalk board and written to-do lists for myself…

Waking up to a nightmare...

Very big sunflower! Teeny tiny daffodil.

The inside reads, 'APRIL FOOLS!'

The other cupboards were covered, too… After Ros got over the initial shock (she had, after all, only just woken up when she saw it, and doubted that she was fully awake), she thought it was quite funny.

I do hope my previous housemates from Oxford approve…

Sunday evening

A quiet evening at home features Ros marking essays at the table and me knitting in my chair, both of us listening to The Phantom of the Opera (film) soundtrack, and mostly singing along. She sang soprano and I sang tenor (as much as I could, anyway). It was a lot of fun.

On Housework

I veer between not minding housework and hating it. I’m currently in the latter phase and have been for quite some time. Really, tidying the kitchen and taking out the trash and hoovering the floor shouldn’t be all that much, but my heart sank at the effort of it. I did it anyway (well, not hoovering, but I cleaned the toilet), which is better than say, three or four months ago.

It amazes me how much effort is needed to keep up a certain level of tidyness — and yes, I might have a more meticulous standard than most for my own living space, no doubt from living in quite small spaces (e.g., a single room of dwindling size) for six of  the past eight years — especially when one has a full-time PhD, an avid reading habit, choir rehearsals, skype dates, a knitting hobby, never-ending appointments at the hospital, and now my GP wants me to add swimming or running or yoga in. I’m holding things together, just, when really all I want to do is sleep, because holding things together by sheer force of will is exhausting.

All this to say, I haven’t a clue how my friends with families manage it all. Melinda, Rebecca, Casey, and Anna with her menagerie to boot! Keeping up a house is a full-time job in itself, let alone being a parent (or soon-to-be), too. In case no one’s told you recently, you’re incredible and amazing, and not just because you manage to feed multiple mouths and wash dishes. And before you say that some days are worse or better than others, even doing what needs doing is cause for admiration, because heaven (and Ros) knows how difficult I can find even that.

Thank goodness my mum arrives tomorrow. I still don’t have a hang of this whole ‘grown-up’ thing.

Ladies of letters

I fear that our house is quickly becoming the Penguin House:

Not only do we have a poster of Penguin Books hanging in our sitting room; courtesy of Ros’s box of 100 Penguin Postcards (I want one, too!), each of the rooms in our house now has a particular book: Plats du jour (or Foreign Food) by Patience Gray and Primrose Boyd, Dangerous Curves by Peter Cheyney, Civilization by Clive Bell, Mantrap by Sinclair Lewis, and Hotel Splendide by Ludwig Bemelmans. They were put up with a tremendous amount of irony…

Pieces of Christmas

After visiting the German market today at Edinburgh’s Christmas festival, I am now going to associate Christmas with German sausages and sauerkraut. It was standing-room-only on the train down, but the Sharpes and I made it down in one piece (and made it back again, despite our train getting stuck behind a slower one and being 45 minutes late…). It was very good to get out of Town for a day. We wandered around the fair, ate sausages, and warmed up in the National Gallery.

I was excited and surprised to find that a couple of stalls in the German market sold ornaments almost exactly like the ones we had as I was growing up. I guess from our Dutch side of the family? So I bought a few to put on my very own tree. I bought a small nutcracker, too, since my mum loves them.

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A photo of a few of the ornaments on our tree:

And, Morley showing me the penguin he got today:

Miss Greedy

Things that I want:

  • A blender;
  • A set of knives;
  • A hand mixer;
  • My parcels to arrive;
  • My knees to stop hurting;
  • My ankles to stop hurting;
  • My hands to stop hurting;
  • To go into town to look for Christmas things;
  • A Christmas tree;
  • A wreath;
  • A stocking;
  • To make a gingerbread house;
  • A hot-glue gun;
  • Gold glitter;
  • Pine cones;
  • Cranberries;
  • &c.

At home Friday

Some things I have done today:

  • Hoovered the walls and ceiling of the stairwell;
  • Hoovered the tops of light shades in two rooms;
  • Hoovered the light in the foyer;
  • Hoovered thoroughly the sitting room;
  • Washed very dusty curtains;
  • Sorted out some electrical cords and where to put them;
  • Napped in an armchair in the sun;
  • Installed a “new” microwave in the kitchen;
  • Cleaned said kitchen;

and so on and so forth. I also managed not to make an enemy of the rather large spider who has been hanging out on our sitting room wall all day. Why have I been doing so much hoovering? Ever since we moved in I’ve been sneezing — and no wonder, as dust is everywhere. There was even dust in the dining chairs. I really don’t understand how the previous occupants could never have thought to vacuum the cobwebs off the ceiling or how they could have let a centimeter-deep of dust form on the tops of the light shades. Anyhow, I will be very sad to return the Dyson I have been borrowing to its rightful owner. I wish I had £179.99 for a Dyson of my own.