I love my family. A favourite thing I like to do though is to stay up late in the blissful silence of them sleeping, getting shit done. Or maybe just reading Facebook. Sometimes, like tonight, I sort through the medicine cabinet and build a pile of expired drugs that no-one needs or is likely to need within the printed expiry date.
Ideally of course, I’d be in a large cosy studio space: able to dabble at will in whatever project has me around the neck and won’t let go. This week has mostly been held in the fading grip of a long-time-sat-doing-nothing blanket project and a fresh nose-dive into Dremelling anything I can get my hands on (so far shells and china smashes) in the periodic vague lurch I make towards jewellery-making. I want/need/crave to be making clothes for myself but it’s too much of a challenge: I need projects which give me quick-fix results within a few hours, not the weeks/months it’ll take me to learn new skills. I even padded out Maud to make her measurements more like mine; Jude’s response “Are you making a fat bird?” “Um, no, that’s actually my size…”
The threads I’m using on the blanket to overstitch the original, unravelling hastily machined joins are all salvaged from a bundle of knotted and tangled tapestry wools which I bought as part of an Ebay lot of old fabrics. It feels good to unify this blanket with more handwork. The circles cover moth holes in the original fabrics and I may embellish them as well at a later date. I’m wondering whether and how to add a backing layer to it to cover the joins.
The downside of my naturally nocturnal predilection is that I am one grumpy mother in the morning and often later on through the day as well. This can easily spiral into a rage of dissatisfaction and frustration with the rest of the family which has the knock-on effect of making them squabbly and irritable with each other, thus continuing the spiral by making me roar at them some more. All because I’m tired.
And I rarely achieve a great deal at night either.
But the bliss…. the mental and physical clear space: free of the demands of anyone under 3 feet tall (apart from possibly tickling Lucky’s ears as he harrrumphs and flops down beside me on the floor) is always irresistible.
Yesterday Jude quit smoking. No plan, just did it. Right at the beginning of the school holidays, just when I am in the middle of a week-long “what the hell is wrong with my head, why am I angry all the time? oh yeah, maybe I should start going to bed earlier” phase. Result? Cross parents, cross kids. Not good. So before bed, the girls and I all sat and played a few games together to try and rescue what had been a bit of a non-starter of a day. Jude had a little pre-emptive bedtime lie-down, to find his inner quiet space that doesn’t whisper sweet nicotine-laced nothings to him, which turned into well, actual bedtime, at 8pm. Who needs reality when it just keeps kicking you in the nuts to get you to start smoking again?
Lellie is slowly emerging from a terrible hacking cough that she has been swimming though for about two weeks now… she is at the ratty tail-end of it: snotty, whingy and argumentative. She will grab and pinch when she loses her temper: Tula is an easy target, ultra sensitive as she is to hurts of any kind.
And poor Tula: she went to Caen recently to be fitted, we thought, wth her new plastic summer brace which Jude and I had talked to her about and even taken her plaster brace off in preparation for. In fact instead she returned home with the plaster brace re-fitted and re-taped shut: hugely disappointed, and I’m guessing, pretty pissed off with us too for not telling her the truth, as she saw it. She was looking forward to having buckles to undo! Jude looked quite grim when he was trying to describe the plastic to me: apparently it has a wire contraption to hold her neck in place and sounds positively medieval. I can’t see her being very happy in it.
So, with all of these elements flying around us as individuals, it has been a hard kind of week. The high point was going to the beach last week: we needed to have a good day out together before Jude starts work again. I’m thrilled to say that a client who had almost fallen for a malicious builder offering a rackety over-priced quote against Jude’s realistic one has finally seen the light and chosen Jude for the job. This is an enormous relief for us; most particularly for Jude, whose sense of moral justice was thoroughly shaken when it looked like he was going to lose out to someone he could clearly see was a swindler. It really has been a struggle for him having to deal with the many crooks he has met since we’ve been in France: he’s been ripped off by clients not paying him for his work as well as met numerous builders who knowingly overcharge and lie to their clients. None of them have been French, I have to add.
So the medicines are re-arranged and in order, my threads are all neatly balled; Jude is scowling and sleeping a LOT and I am aware that I need to slow down again. Sometimes I can feel myself just starting to spin slightly off kilter at an un-maintainable frequency which is usually quite self-destructive. I have a bazillion ideas fizzing around in my head every day and it can feel overwhelming. I’ve signed up to a zen email newsletter for a little reminder of how to make slowing down a little more achievable. Like dress-making, this is a long-term project that I will not be an instant success at, in the way I’d like to be with everything I want to do. But it is always so important to take that first tiny step forward.
I’m tired and feeling a little short on perspective this week. I felt snubbed recently by a comment directed at me as one of the ‘cheerleaders’ of a Project I’m involved with – you may have already read about it here or here: it’s a project I feel enormously passionate about and do my best to be as active and supportive as I can with; not only because of my intense admiration and adoration of Jeanne, the wise and wonderful wonderwoman behind it all, but because of the ideas behind the project, which in a different time and place would have had a massive effect on our family. Of course, there is no reason to be hurt by a tiny, inconsequential comment, but it stung for some reason; as if my support for the work of the people in the group is just somehow tinselly and unimportant. CHEAP, somehow. I know myself well enough to realise that this is just Bad Chloe boxed-in thinking and one of my mental areas most in need of a good de-clutter for everyone’s sakes, not just my mental health.
My goal therefore: to gently untangle and sort through my mental clutter and work on getting it into a better state than it has been for a while. Wish me some quiet, non-tinselled but possibly slightly sparkly good luck, will you? Perhaps I’ll start by getting an early night tonight. Dammit, it’s nearly 3 am already.