Posted in Adoption, Family, General, Health, Work, Writing

NaNoWriMo and life.

So those few who follow my blog (and despite nearly 500 followers I know only a few are regular followers) will have noticed a drastic drop in my output. Since finishing my year of a poem a day I have done very little since. This is despite my promise to myself to keep up the writing.

Well life always has its own designs on our plans. The old reason (excuse?) has been the lack of time. Its been a hard few months. We have been under a lot of pressure from all kinds of angles.

We are still trying to adjust to having a very full on two-year old join our family, and all the knock on effect of that. We love him dearly and would not change our decision but it is taking the wind out of our sails.

Talking it over the other day as we realised that one of the issues that has affected us in a surprising way was his age. When we signed up for adoption we, like many, were envisaging a baby. As you progress through the courses and the process it becomes clear that it is unrealistic, so we opened up our minds to a slightly older child. When it came to it, in our minds age was no longer an issue, and in some respects we could see an advantage in a two-year old. One of the driving forces behind our decision to have another child was as a companion for our oldest – who dearly wanted a brother or sister and had already been deprived of one already. A two-year old would be more ready to play and interact with him.

However the reality has hit us harder than we expected. When you have a baby – as daunting as it all seems, you get introduced to each challenge gradually. So when they are first-born, you have to learn how to feed, them comfort them, change their nappies etc. But their demands don’t go far beyond that – by the time new challenges come along you have just about mastered the first ones.

With adoption of a slightly older child, all the challenges come at once. Not only have you got to learn to change nappies but also how to get them to eat their dinner, deal with challenging behaviour and stop them escaping the push chair Houdini style and make their escape.

Now I hear you crying we don’t have to learn all that as we have already done it once. Well that’s true. But you have to get used to doing it all again, and its a bit of a shock to the system. I don’t envy people who are doing it for the first time.

On top of that, the support we have enjoyed in the past has slowly ebbed away. This is no fault of our support network, they have all had their own plan challenging life changes, and they all support us still in many ways. But the support of having someone there has fallen. For example – we haven’t had a night out together for over a year now. And the nights out alone can be counted on one hand. It takes its toll. On the one hand our sources of stress have bloomed while our outlets for it have wilted. It’s no one’s fault. Just one of those perfect storms of circumstances.

Throw in a few bouts of very bad illness, some natural disasters ( a flood and a maggot attack! Seriously!) and it all adds up.

And then there’s work. We are balancing on a knife’s edge of survival. We have run that knife’s edge for a few years now. It’s a situation of risk, where we could crash and burn or reap what could be ripe rewards. Those rewards draw ever closer but as they do the risk and the pressure increase. Due to my position a lot of the physical responsibility falls on me. No solely but were I to get something wrong it would tip the balance enough to crash it. We are all in that position at work really and after a few years of it, it is tiring. Many late nights home and sleepless nights worrying.

So that I hope is some sort of explanation as to the lack of output.

Two things further to say. Firstly – that all sounds like doom and gloom but it’s not. In all areas we are making progress. A few months ago we felt like we were drowning. A few weeks ago like we were treading water. Now – we are swimming strongly towards shore. It’s some way off – but we will get there.

Secondly. Many people would say that if I had a real passion for writing none of that would matter – that I would make the time to write. Maybe that IS the difference between a successful writer and an amateur. I do love writing – but I also love my wife and kids and I can’t put down my responsibilities to them for my passion. I think that would be selfish.

That said – I have decided to give myself a rather large kick up the arse in the writing department. I am going to try the nanowrimo challenge. (Maybe unofficially if it’s too late to sign up formally.) For those who don’t know it it’s National Novel Writing Month. The idea is to write a 50,000 word short novel in 30 days. (The official website is here http://nanowrimo.org/)

Now I have all the same everyday stresses and challenges but I thought – sod it! I am going to attempt it despite all that – because it is difficult not easy.

Trouble is I am fresh out of ideas! I mean I have loads – but ones I think need longer than 50,000 words.

If it comes to November the 1st and I have nothing still then I will attempt the technique of just starting writing anything and see where it goes. Not something I have ever done before, I usually have a plan, even if it’s very rough.

But in the meantime – if anyone has suggestions or prompts they would be welcome. Maybe a title? Or just a single word? Perhaps a concept to explore? I like combining two disparate concepts into stories, that normally enlivens things. So maybe if I get enough separate ideas I will combine a few of them.

So wish me luck! I need a lay down now to think 🙂

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Posted in Family, Financial, General, Work

Goodbye Goldie

So we have just had one of the wettest weekends we have seen for ages – and of course it was a bank holiday. But we were determined to have fun and relax. Especially after I had a day of total crisis at work – the stress after-shocks of which I am still feeling.

Anyway, we still had our days out. Firstly we took the boys for along the river in Sandwich. Alexander had the rare chance to get on his scooter and scoot free. They both loved it. Unfortunately the fun was cut short when Alexander got badly stung by a stinging nettle. It only brushed him but his whole arm blistered – leading us to wonder if he has an allergy to then? Thankfully it went down again very quickly.

The next day we went to a steam rally. This was a mix of old steam engines, vintage cars and  – the only thing that interested the boys – fun fair rides. We were treated to the sight of Alexander and his little brother enjoying something together for once. L just looked up at him with a look of sheer pleasure and joy as they went around and around on the mini roundabout.

Maybe I am getting old but after paying to get in, paying for three or four rides and having a hot dog each for dinner we burnt through £50! What happened to cheap days out?

Then it chucked it down – we got out just in time. So we went around to visit Nanny Jean and Grandad Maurice. This was L’s first visit to any of our relatives – most have now met him but at our house. Nanny has a new large tropical fish tank which they were both entranced by.

The forecast for the next day was again for heavy rain. Once again were up early – relatively – and ready to go. I found us something to do but I knew if I said what it was it was unlikely to appeal to Rachel. So I declared it a mystery tour. I reasoned that the best place in the abysmal weather would be underground. So we went to Chislehurst Caves. And we had a fantastic time there – reminded us of our Holiday at Wookey Hole a few years ago. L was wide-eyed with wonder all the way through and Alexander thought it was a great adventure.

So it was back to work today and back to reality. Now have the extra project of seeking out a new hosting partner for our web app. The day was further spoilt by the loss of one of Alexander’s goldfish – Goldie. He was very brave about it, Helped me fish her out and bury her. He insisted he wanted a “cemerony” and made up his own prayer – which went like this.

“Oh God! My goldfish is dead. Amen!”

Short and to the point I suppose. I think we will get the reverberations of this in a few days when it sinks in more.

But overall it was a good weekend.

Posted in General, Poetry, Work, Writing

Ants in my pants – well almost

Well another very busy day. Was late to work as Alexander was clinging to me this morning not wanting me to go.

I have decided at work due to the growing list of jobs that keep coming up the dwindling hope of getting any outside help to try to get out of the feeling that I am drowning by getting organised. So listed all the out standing jobs.

Not the best idea. Just highlighted how much more there is to do. Just as I had finished this Tim ring’s up – we have a new deal imminent but to get it we need to implement some major changes. Job number four hundred…..

First task on Monday – project management!

Rachel and Alexander went to one of his play groups today where he had a good time. They came and met me down in Folkestone. We went to our favourite fish and chip show to have a quick meal. While we were there – and they did warn us – we were descended upon by 50 French students.

Now most children – most people – would have been overwhelmed by that many suddenly coming in. Alexander however loved it. He went around to all of them telling them random things like “My Daddy has a Golden Compass!”

He also explained to one of them – and to me – how talking works.  According to Alexander it works like this. Small parts come out of you brain, fall down you throat into a microphone box which then makes words. Not bad for a four year old!

Didn’t get home until late. Alexander was hyper and late to sleep hence only a short poem tonight. Until about 30 minutes ago that was going to be no poem but then a line sprung into my head. Again – it’s one that will need looking at after I have left it for a long time.

Oh and the title – another reason I didn’t have much time on my hands tonight – came home to an ant infestation!

Posted in General, Health

Rachel collapsed

After only two weeks back at work Rachel, who went to work OK and happy suddenly collapsed with what seemed like stroke symptoms. She had spoken to my mum earlier who could tell she was not well so raced to work where there was an ambulance waiting already.

Once at hospital, they assumed she had been drinking! Once they got past that they insisted it was all in her mind and she should go home. Rachel would not accept this and could talk again by this time. Finally it was diagnosed as a Basilar Migraine triggered by Post Traumatic Stress.

Sometimes the NHS is just terrible.

Posted in General, Health

Visiting David and Lois

Went to stay with David and Lois for a couple of days. First night David and I went to the pub and got royally slaughtered. And had a great time chatting like we used to.

Next day we went to flying in his light aircraft. Lois and Rachel and the boys went to a play gym. Rachel was very ill though so in the end we drove home that night.

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Posted in General

Baking Day

Alexander had a fun day baking with mummy, Aunty Charlie and Aunty Carol while I was at work. So came home to quite a treat.

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Posted in General

Leeds Castle

Took a quick trip to Leeds Castle to get our new Tickets. Didn’t stay long a295269_10150982835748452_788220335_n 148940_10150982816608452_1097046497_ns it was cold and we were with Rachel’s parents.