Just as we spent Good Friday last year moving into Euphemia, this year we have spent it moving out.
For me, this hasn't come soon enough. While the children have coped very well, I am getting weary of cleaning my teeth at the kitchen sink, preparing dinner without the advantage of a cooker, drying clothes without a clothesline, and spending half my day, bottom up in the air (which is becoming bigger by the day thanks to takeaway dinners), digging around in boxes and bags looking for whatever it is I need.
Our cutlery is currently stored in an old beer box. We have packed and broken so many drinking glasses that we're now down to two - total. It seems in nearly every corner of the house there are little campfire sized piles of miscellaneous items waiting to be packed. A typical pile may consist of a pair of socks, a screwdriver, a copy of Winnie the Pooh, a piece of the vacuum cleaner, some junk mail, and an ipod recharger. All too hard to sort out for this little black duck I'm afraid.
My desk is piled up so high with papers that whenever someone removes something, or deposits something else on top of the pile there is an avalanche.
The chaos is such that just maintaining our usual level of day to day duties has become a challenge. During the week at school pick up time I just happened to overhear a group of mothers talking about what their children were wearing for fancy dress to school....the next day! Apparently, they all had to go in some sort of national dress dependent on your family's own heritage. We also had to take along some afternoon tea, also with an international flavor.
We are English, Scottish and German, however, all I could unearth from the dress up box was a Dutch girl's outfit which I picked up from a vintage clothing fair a few year's ago.
I also got the bright idea of sending along 24 tiny bottles of Italian peach juice, which were a real hit. Another disaster narrowly averted!
I am so thankful for school holidays, that radically reduces my 'to do' list. However, over the past month I have made so many pledges of good things to come for the children, I'm going to have my work cut out delivering them. I've been forever saying, 'no, we can't go there (do this/see that)', but once we move out we can!' The sweet little things have been so patient and tolerant of what their parents are putting them through.
While there is utter chaos upstairs, things have improved a lot under the house. The builders have cleaned up the site, finished the excavation and put in the retaining walls.
Meanwhile, whilst packing I turned up the receipt from the first builder dated December 14th, 1904. I also found the specifications, or instructions, for building the house.
The instructions are concise and precise, and read:
"Contractors are to make themselves certain as to levels of ground, as no extras will be allowed in height of stumps, steps, etc.
The shortest stump to be three (3) feet, six (6) inches out of the ground.
Excavate holes for the stumps to a depth of two feet, six inches. for all stumps over six feet out of the ground...."
And so on it goes, step by step on how to build the house. Towards the end of the document it gives instructions on the drainpipes, taps and bathtub.
The specifications are in very poor shape, but we will see what we can do to keep it in tact.
Tomorrow is my mother's 70th birthday party, and I will be spending most of the day hanging fairy lights, wrapping prunes with bacon and making a birthday cake in the shape of a large pineapple.
Sunday we plan to do some more packing and move out more furniture and then finish the rest on Monday - my 38th birthday.
My husband starts his new job Tuesday, and then by Wednesday we'll be officially out.
Our builder will be sending in a second gang the second we're out the door, and the facelift will begin in earnest!
Happy Easter to all!