No matter what time of day one of my neighbours will be using a power tool

I know the title of this post sounds really whiney but it’s so true. As the weather’s been nice for the last week my partner and I have spent a lot of time in the garden in a bid to avoid the kids relaxing. Thing is, where I live the houses are small, the gardens are small and they’re all clustered together. It’s great from one point of view, it’s like a real life version of neighbours (does anyone still watch that?) At any time I can tell you what my neighbours had for dinner, sing the theme tune of the programmes blasted through open windows and what the teenager was yelling at his parents.

All this is just a part of London life and in the 15 years (wow, where did that time go?) that I’ve lived in this house, it’s never bothered me, I’m just really grateful for the neighbours we have compared to some of the tenants of the other houses in the past. What I’m not so grateful for is the power tools. This isn’t specific to one neighbour, it seems like the second the sun comes out most of the 100 houses on my development decide they need some urgent DIY work doing. At 9pm. Great. Some Sundays rather than hear the birds on the riverside lands, all you can hear is a symphony of gardening tools all trying to outdo each other. Fun. Never mind, next weekend I will get my revenge. It’s been 2 months since my partner balded the garden and it’s time to do it again. Knowing his love of power tools, by the end of next weekend our neighbours will know our breaching the peace game is just as strong as theirs.

School dress up days are not great for uncreative parents

I have a love-hate relationship with dressing up days for the kids when it comes to school. One of the issues is that I am not creative when it comes to this sort of thing. Another is that I don’t have the money to buy multiple costumes or get the bits needed to cobble together a costume.

The real reason is the trauma – 32 years ago when, aged 5, my twin and I were cast in the school play (the Wizard of Oz) as munchkins it was left to my (also uncreative) mother to make our costumes. Which she did. Out of tissue paper. Not only did my twin and I have to go on stage, with our classmates and sing a song to all the parents, wearing nothing but our pants and tissue paper, my mother had also sewn bells onto the costumes so that we chimed when we walked.

I think it’s safe to say that if there was a ‘worst costume’ award back in 1986, I’m sure we would have won it.

Therefore, knowing my limitations, when costumes have been needed at school the task has fallen to my lovely friend Kate. Let me tell you about Kate – she’s one of the most creative people I know. She literally can make anything out of paper mache and comes to the kids’ rescue time and again. Luckily our kids are in all the same classes at school so when the weekly newsletter comes out announcing dress up days, I don’t even have to forward the email to her, she just sorts it.

On Monday this week the school emailed entitled ‘important information’. I saw the title and racked through my brains was there anything my kids or I have done (including having to write the f word in that email to the Head) that would warrant that title? Nope. Phew. Ok time to read…… whilst it’s not what I would call ‘important’ they’re probably aware that Amazon Prime can take up to 2 days to deliver a costume relating to the Egyptians. Great – I can already see how we’re going to get value for money out of that costume. I mean seriously, where else can I ever send the kids dressed as an Egyptian? But modifying one of the Avengers costumes would take too much time and skill well beyond my means, I succumbed to the (Egyptian) Gods of Amazon Prime and  received the costume a couple of days later. I also thank my lucky stars that it’s not 1986 and I’m not sending my kids on stage in tissue paper, bells and a few staples holding it all together.

Hay fever is exhausting

Having suffered from hay fever since my early teens, I really feel I should know this by now. However there is always a point in every summer where I’ve run out of anti-histamine or forgotten to take it and think I’ll be fine. It’s not fine. I tell myself it will be and that it’s just a burning/stinging in my eyes. Whilst I can cope with that, the exhaustion is something else. I forgot how slammed I feel when hay fever strikes. Luckily thanks to Asda putting their hay fever medication next to the tills, I now have a 30 day supply. Well, 29 days. The vet said if the dog gets too itchy then I could give him Piriton. I don’t know that she was talking about the one a day kind but that’s all I had. He was driving me mad this morning, scratching and trying to get comfortable so I slipped him an anti-histamine and he’s been asleep on and off, ever since. Clearly anti-histamines don’t wake him up, the way they do for me.

Do not go shopping at weekends

Last Saturday the children were all occupied for a few hours so my partner and I decided to go out for lunch and do some shopping. While it was lovely to spend the time together and eat a meal that neither of us had had to cook or wash up, what wasn’t so nice was being in the busy town centre on an overcrowded Saturday afternoon. Walking was pretty much impossible and people were bumping into us the whole time.

The next morning I had some time to spare and couldn’t put off the food shop any longer so decided, as the kids weren’t with me to run up and down the aisles and cause mayhem, that it was as good a time as any to go to Aldi.

As I said, my kids weren’t with me. It would appear that everyone else’s kids were in that Aldi that morning. I can honestly say I haven’t seen a supermarket that busy outside of Christmas eve. There were some upsides, there was a lovely lady in the 40 minute queue for the tills, behind me and she kept me entertained with stories of where she lived, her children and her grandchildren. As lovely as she was, I can’t time all my shopping trips for when she’s there and given that I now know a lot about her, she’s not even from the area, just visiting (makes sense – Londoners are not that friendly). The only person who was faring worse than those of us who had braved the weekly food shop and queued for so long, was the poor guy behind the till who was battling a hangover and said he’d been out until 2am and was at work at 7am.

Lesson learned – don’t put off food shopping until all there is in the house is an inch of soya milk and half a mouldy carrot. Also, when food shopping, either do it online or go on a weekday.

Moving rooms is hard work

One of my friends, who lives in a similar house to mine, remarked one day that raising children is just moving all the furniture and swapping rooms in your home until they’ve grown up and moved out. I agree. I’ve been living in my house for 15 years and don’t have one single piece of furniture that I moved in with. In some cases, I’m on my 3rd or 4th version of it. I blame the kids and their incessant jumping on sofas and beds. Oh and that cheap furniture doesn’t last.

Last weekend, having thought about it for months, it was time to swap rooms with one of the boys. Having only done this a year ago I thought I was prepared for not only the physical pain of having to shift all the furniture but the anguish of moving his, oh so many, lego sets without breaking them. I’m usually quite careful but seem to become a complete klutz around Lego.

With the help of my lovely friend, Hadi we managed to shift the beds relatively easily (easily for me as he did all the work). I still feel like I spent almost all of the weekend walking between the two bedrooms, swapping over my grown up stuff for my son’s Lego and superhero toys. I’m really glad it’s done and will not be doing it again for the foreseeable future.