Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Spinning Around

Today has been one of those very weird days where it seemed like I was spinning round in circles. I’ve been turning possible scenarios round and round in my head for our upcoming move. We’re lucky to have lots of choices. We could sell the house we live in now as we originally planned, or we could rent it out. We could buy down near London straight away, or we could rent and then buy. We could move at the end of September, or maybe later on in October. AARRRGGHHHH!! There are far too many choices really, although I’m grateful for the luxury of them. It’s just that things are beginning to get just a tad complicated.

You see, this morning, I was confronted with the harsh realities of being a buyer looking strictly at new build homes. The developers really do not care, and despite their reassurances that they will keep you posted on developments (ie. sales!) they really do have far too many people to call to do that. Naively I did not telephone until today, two weeks after we had viewed the two styles of home we really liked in a very nice location. There are (or were!) five possible houses we could have. Now there are two. If I had known that I might lose out on these properties without notice, arrangements could have been put in place to secure them. I was not impressed.

In the end, the only thing that calmed me down was a good run. Although I’ve never been stick thin (except when I was anorexic in my late teens) and tend more towards a voluptuous size 12 figure, I’ve do believe that exercise is the key to keeping fit and controlling one’s weight. Not that I’ve always been fit. I was the kid in PE who was never chosen for games, who got exhausted in cross country running class and who hated sports day. But when I was in my twenties, I discovered that exercise could work all kinds of miracles. I’ve done it all, Jane Fonda, Callanetics, Pilates, Yoga, Yogalates etc etc. Not only do I belong to a gym, I actually go to the classes there regularly.

Recently we even bought a treadmill to have at home. Allegedly it was for all of us to use, but at the moment it is only me who makes use of it. I also found a fabulous book called Running Made Easy by Susie Whalley, Lisa Jackson, and Zest magazine (available on www.amazon.co.uk) It has a programme in it where you start out running for a minute and then walking for a minute and slowly work your way up. It is utterly brilliant and I recommend it highly. I have gotten to the stage where I am run / walking for half an hour at least three times a week. I do a little over four miles each time and have run for as many as six minutes without stopping.

Today was an epiphany though. I ran for three minutes and was ready to do a walking section when I thought, “No, just keep going”. I did, a minute at a time, until I had run for ten minutes solid. I have never in my life run for ten minutes solid. It was incredible. Needless to say, the rest of my workout went amazingly well (and included another section of running for eight minutes plus two five minute runs!). When I finished I was high as a kite. My head had stopped spinning and I felt much more optimistic.

All that stuff about exercise releasing endorphins is totally true. And although A teases me about my muffin top (which is very small I hasten to add!) I have abs of steel from the waist up ever since I’ve started a new pure core class combined with the running. I may have no idea what the heck we are doing in terms of our domestic situation or where we’ll be living in September / October, but I’m fit, strong, and on a good day, capable of taking on the world.

Even if you have never taken any exercise for years, I encourage you to just go for a walk. Take it slowly and build up gradually so you don’t injure yourself or get discouraged. Always check with your doctor if you have been inactive for a long time as well. But do something, however little it might be. You really will feel so much better. Go on, go for it!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

All Change

It’s amazing how much things can change in such a very short time. Once again, the 21st Century Housewife’s household is in the throes of change – positive change to be sure, but change nonetheless. My husband G has been headhunted, and offered a new opportunity, an opportunity he has chosen to accept. Suddenly, unbidden, my as yet un-submitted manuscript is expanding, chapter by chapter, chronicling this period in our lives. I wondered for some time why I did not get my act together and actually submit the manuscript of 21st Century Housewife to the publishers as it seemed it was more than ready. Now I know why. It isn’t actually finished yet. Up until now, I’ve never discussed what it is to take a 21st Century Household and move it which is strange, given the number of times I have done it. You see, the new opportunity is some 150 miles away so I have three months to move our not unsubstantial household from here to there or else face an undesirable period of enforced separation when G is there and A and I are here. This will provide a huge amount of material.

You see, I’ve moved our household before. Not just once, but several times. We have never been folk to stay in one place very long. In fact, this is the longest we have been anywhere. To be honest, we ought to have moved before this to be closer to where G works now. We were held in place by our love of the home we have created here and by our love of our rather wonderful house. The house we are living in now is really my dream house. It is decorated exactly as we would like it to be, reflecting our tastes and lifestyle. It is more than big enough and has some really special features, like a library, which I love. I wonder if I will ever be able to find another home (no matter how palatial) that I love as much as this house.

Our move is further complicated by the fact that we wish to keep this new opportunity secret from some members of the family until we have actually firmed up some very basic things – like where we are going to live, what house we will buy and where A will go to school. I find it is so much easier telling some people things after they have already been organised, as a fait accompli if you like. You see, they will try to help. This is really very kind of them, but it can make an already confusing situation pretty much unbearable. We will be moving closer to several different family members, all of whom will want us to move closest to them, all of whom are actually too far away from where we need to be. They will have ideas of where we should live and what we should do. I do not mean to sound ungrateful, but we have enough of these ideas ourselves already. In fact, they keep waking us up at night.

The hardest thing about keeping this secret is that my mother-in-law is psychic. Not officially psychic, nor a practicing psychic, but actually psychic in the sense that she knows things. My mother-in-law is a lovely lady and I don’t know what I would have done these last few years through my parents’ illness without her listening ear and practical advice. I just wish she didn’t know things the way she does. Don’t get me wrong, she doesn’t push or anything, but we’ve already had a call out of the blue asking if everything was alright in the way that she asks when she knows something is afoot. This makes it hard for her, because she does know something is up, she knows we aren’t telling the truth and she probably worries about what it is. It makes hard for us because I hate lying by omission and also because I know she is worrying which isn’t nice.

Although I have told some people who live further away, we have just begun to tell our friends locally in advance of the For Sale sign going up. How I dread that day. I hate For Sale signs. Suddenly your home is out there on the market. I swear it is like being on the market yourself. What other possession so reflects us as our homes? But if it does not sell quickly, G and I will be apart, and that I cannot face. So sell it I shall, and I shall pray it goes quickly.

I also hate the pain our revelation causes. Although A is excited, relishing this change of scene, his friends are very upset. This morning when one of them called on A to walk to school he barely spoke to G and I. Rather, he just looked at us sadly and reproachfully. One man’s opportunity is another man’s nightmare.

Despite all this, I have to confess to some excitement myself. A change is as good as a rest as they say, and what better opportunity to reinvent oneself than a total change of location? I’ve been listening to Madonna’s song “Jump” recently and I hope she won’t mind if I quote it here – “There’s only so much you can learn in one place.” Madonna is wise about a lot of things and this song is one of the most listened to tracks on my IPOD at the moment.

So watch this space as the 21st Century Housewife and Co. move on to pastures new.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Jazz Cat

My remaining cat, the venerable gentleman Jake, has revealed himself to be a connoisseur of jazz. The other evening whilst Jazz FM was playing on our radio in the family room, Jake made his way in and settled down on the sofa for a sleep. Although we joked that he must be listening, I thought nothing of this until the following day when Jake made his way into the family room, sat by the sofa, and began to meow. I talked to him and stroked him, but still he meowed. I even gave him more food just in case he was hungry. Still he sat by the sofa meowing. I was perplexed.

After carrying on doing various other tasks I returned to find Jake still sitting by the sofa, still meowing. Suddenly I remembered the night before and how we had laughed about the idea of Jake listening to Jazz. I turned the radio on to Jazz FM. Lo and behold, Jake jumped up on to the sofa and settled down for a nap.

This has happened on several occasions since – too many for it to be a coincidence. So Jake is now known as the Jazz Cat, and is spending much of his time further acquainting himself with the joys of Jazz music. What a great way to spend his old age!