Building, burying and stupid dogs

It’s hard to believe it’s January since I last wrote much on here but I know it’s been too long as I’ve had quite a few people contact me to ask me where I’ve gone. Very flattering, I didn’t know anyone on the Internet even cared!

Of course it probably sounds silly to say that time’s just flown by, but for these last few months life has simply got in the way of life. Or rather, there’s been so much upheaval and mayhem that even sleeping has been something of a luxury recently. Of course everyone gets tired, but you know you’re beyond knackered when you try to take your eye makeup off with nail varnish remover and brush your teeth with Canestone. The first painful mistake was mine, the second disgusting one was that of my rather unfortunate husband.

So what on earth can cause such an extreme form of exhaustion that you’ll strip the skin from your eyelids for several minutes before you even realise what you’re doing?  To break it down: buying, building and burying. With a little near canine death in between.

Back in January we bought a house. We gutted it of pretty much everything that could be removed and then re-built it from the roof down and the floor up. With so much to do and something of a self-inflicted time restraint placed upon us (moving 2 kids, a dog and a house full of stuff into said house a mere 6 weeks after demolition begin) there wasn’t really a day, hour or minute where life didn’t revolve around lists of things to buy and jobs that all involved some type of hardcore machinery and cement.

Over the last few months we’ve pulled down walls and ripped out bathrooms, plastered up stinking rats nests and ripped out old ceilings, rebuilt kitchens, added rooms, changed windows and discovered fireplaces we didn’t even know we had. All, I might add, in sub-zero temperatures with snow falling outside and icicles forming on my nose. So cold was it that I do believe the only time I didn’t need to wear 3 layers, 2 pairs of gloves and a scarf to work on the house was the afternoon I spent stripping wallpaper in a room filled with steam. It was a welcome facial indeed.

The moment the Norfolk ice caps melted and the sun showed the slightest hint of appearing, we moved outside to tackle what was meant to be the garden. We cemented in what seemed like 100’s of fence posts, lugged 9 foot sleepers, dug out vast quantities of earth, shifted 4 tonnes of gravel and 2 tonnes of sand by hand, put down turf and laid some sort of patio.

Yes, all in all it’s been a rather manual time to say the least.

And then, right in the middle of all of this physical exertion, my emotions took an almighty battering. With one short phone call and those dreaded words of  ‘you’d better sit down’ I found out my grandmother was in hospital. A frantic dash across the country to Weymouth followed by possibly the worst night of my life and the worst case scenario happened.

Thankfully death isn’t something we come across much on a day-to-day basis, but the downside of this does mean we’re not really equipped (or prepared) to deal with the fall out. Because, much like love, grief is an extremely complex emotion that unfortunately has to be experienced to be understood. It’s a surreal time when nothing makes sense, the world seems unfair and life is basically nothing but a bitch.

Two weeks later and one rather emotional funeral behind us, I finally returned home to the world of small children, half-finished houses and living. The following morning, before I’d even had a chance to unpack or regroup, Charlie (the rather dim-witted Spoodle of the house) decided to make a bid for freedom. He flattened himself to the thickness of an envelope and somehow squeezed under the wire attached to the bottom of the gate.

Who knows why he felt it necessary to play chicken with the traffic. Perhaps he felt he needed a little more adrenaline in his life that morning, or he’d been watching The Shawshank Redemption and had been digging out the drive with a stick for the previous few months. Either way, bloody stupid dog.

An hour later and I’m speeding down the road in the car with a near-dead dog in my arms, frantically looking for my husband who’s out looking for us. I eventually find him, somewhere between the pavement and the warpath, all ready to kill the escapee dog.

And so we headed off to find a vet in a town that we didn’t even know, with Charlie sneezing blood all over the place and looking like he’d been kicked in the head by a horse. Mainly because he had been, the dim-witted dog. Needless to say he’s still alive, one ambulance, 2 nights in hospital and a rather large bill later. All I can say is thank god for pet insurance, anyone who says it’s not worth having obviously has better trained animals than us.

So there you go, a whole list of reasons why I haven’t had much time to write this blog lately. I’m hoping the second half of the year is slightly easier than the first. I really fail to see how it can’t be, although saying that 6 months ago I had no inkling that any buying, building or buying was on the cards for 2011.

I can’t say I was exactly surprised about the near-dead dog bit though, it’s not the first time he’s thought with his paws instead of his brain and I can guarantee it won’t be the last.


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