Monday, 26 February 2007

In the black!

This evening I sat down with my spreadsheet to work out our new finances, given the updated 2007 charges and the fact that I am no longer bringing in a salary. I do this every year and it always makes me nervous. I could not predict how our utility bills were going to increase with the arrival of Michael so was mildly concerned that we would have enough money coming in. I was very relieved to discover that we are going to be fine and won't have to rob any banks this year (I'd have to do the actual robbing because I can't drive so Phil would have to be the getaway driver).

Given this news, I think it is time to contemplate buying a tumble dryer. For the past 7 years we have hung out our clothes to dry on a clothes horse in the guest bedroom. This isn't practical any more for a couple reasons. Firstly, the guest room is now a nursery (Michael sleeps in our room for the moment but will eventually call this room his own) and the box room is for the cats. Secondly, there is just so much washing to hang out. I can't believe how much clothing one small(ish) baby has, and we go through oodles of muslin cloths a week. It is like painting the Forth Bridge - no sooner have we emptied the linen basket then it is full again.

I also fancy engaging the services of a cleaner. Yes, I know I am home all day but I signed on as a Mummy and not a cleaner. I hate cleaning with an absolute passion. That is odd, really, since my sister enjoys it and considers it therapeutic. She sent me Kim and Aggie's "How Clean is Your House?" and I read with dismay exactly what chores the ladies consider necessary every single week. Call me lazy if you will, but I would much rather spend the time doing something with Michael than cleaning the oven (although I suppose the fumes might be rather pleasant if I didn't ventilate the room properly). I'm trying to coax the lady who cleans for my next-door neighbour into cleaning for us. Fingers crossed!

Thursday, 22 February 2007

Tot dolls to help grieving mums

Tot dolls to help grieving mums

I came across this article when reading The Sun. I can totally understand why a grieving mother would be drawn to such a thing but it did give me chills when I read it.

Sunday, 18 February 2007

Come to Noordwijk...

...or alternatively... don't! Phil took Thursday and Friday off work and we had been planning a trip to Noordwijk at some point. Some point became today. Noordwijk is a lovely little seaside town about half an hour from Nieuw-Vennep. It is very popular with the German tourists and hosts my favourite chocolate shop and Phil's favourite ice-cream shop. We haunted the pancake house in the last few weeks of my pregnancy (very hard to fight a craving for poffertjes under normal circumstances but impossible to resist a pregnancy craving).

Anyway... back to my story. The temperature at Noordwijk was 7°C and the sky was bullet-grey. We therefore assumed the beach wouldn't be too crowded. Wrong!!! The world and his wife, children and dog were out in force. We couldn't find a parking spot anywhere. We got jammed in a car park, looking for a spot, where half the people were camping on a spot and the other half were driving the wrong way. Phil is too polite in these situations so I did the swearing and gesturing on his behalf.

We had to admit defeat and decided to go up to a more remote beach to the north of Noordwijk. We had success parking this time but the place was a total dump! There were steaming piles of dog poop and horse manure everywhere and to top it all off the tide was in so we couldn't walk on the beach (the rough sand was too tricky to push the Quinny very far). We showed Michael the sea and pointed out that England was across the water. He was completely... underwhelmed... and we gave the whole thing up as a bad job and came home to eat cheese on toast.

We shall never speak of this day again...

Friday, 16 February 2007

How much?!?

We knew that our energy bills were going to rise with the birth of Michael but we had no idea by how much. The new water rate is fine but the electricity bill has gone up by 40 euro a month. How much?!? How on earth did that happen?? Nuon must think we have found a money tree or something (our Sims characters have several, but we aren't so fortunate). I think it is time to change our electricity provider... sharpish... Alternatively we could send Michael out to work down the mines or something. Little pick-axe... little hat with a light on... little canary. Perfect!

Thursday, 15 February 2007

Black Wednesday

Today has been a pretty miserable day. Michael's second tooth came through so he was very unhappy and clingy all day long. My dad was in hospital for surgery and I have been worrying about him. I haven't heard from my mother yet so I have to assume that everything went well. I've been sleeping very badly for the past few nights so I haven't had a lot of resources to call on. Phil has taken Thursday and Friday off work so hopefully we can go on a few excursions and recharge our batteries. I would really love to visit the zoo in Amsterdam but it would take a full day to do it justice and Michael is too young for such a trip. If we are out and about then he won't take his naps. It is Chinese New Year at the weekend so we are going to go up to China Town in Amsterdam in the hope of seeing a lion dance. I'm really looking forward to it.

Phil and I had our first ever date in China Town in February of 2000. It started off with us wandering into a couple of book shops off Dam Square and we then made our way through China Town and we have no idea where we went after that. We were enjoying the local beers along the way which at least partially explains our amnesia. We know that we were sitting in the window of a bar that had heated seats at one point but we have never been able to find it again. Now I think about it, we were also in a bar with a fabulous CD collection and handcuffs on the bar. Happy days :o)

Tuesday, 13 February 2007

Introducing our cats

It is probably time for me to give a mention to our 4 cats. Introducing:

This is Ron. He is a 4 year old European Burmese. His pedigree name is Ragtime van Sirimyrhana. As you can see, he is absolutely gorgeous. He's a sensitive soul and you have to earn his love. He's a problem solver and could open doors by the time he was 3 months old. That is the reason why all our door handles are upside down. He is very active and loves to play.

This is Harry, Ron's brother. His pedigree name is Rashidi van Sirimyrhana. He is a sweet but very demanding cat and trouble with a capital "T". He chews everything and likes to howl at 3am, waking the whole household. Phil spoilt him rotten as a kitten which might explain a few things. He suffers from chronic renal failure so will be on medication and a special diet for the rest of his life.

The cat on the right in this photo is Xinx. His pedigree name is Blue Velvet's Xinx. We decided to use his pedigree name because it suits him. He is 1 year old and has the sweetest personality of any cat I have ever encountered. Nothing phases him - not even the addition of Michael to our family. As a kitten, his party trick was to scramble onto any available neck for a nuzzle. He is a tiny cat at only 3kg. His father is a whopping 6kg. He got cat flu from a live vaccine as a very young kitten and that might explain why he is so small. He has never mastered jumping and has an exceptionally high-pitched miaow.

This gorgeous girlie is Zita. We named her after the band, Zita Swoon. She is a 5 year old moggie and is huge at about 5.3 kilograms. She's a bit dense (especially when compared to the alarmingly intelligent Burmese) but we love her to pieces. She is unusual in that she adores water. She used to sit in the sink when she was a kitten and play under the running cold tap. Her favourite thing is to sit on Phil's chest and rub her face over his chin. Phil's solution to this is to remove the cat hair from his face with one of those sticky clothes rollers afterwards.

I was going to post a bit of a rant about how Harry is driving us mad at the moment by howling through the night, but I looked through his kitten photos in order to select one for this entry. It is hard to stay mad when I remember what a lovely little kitten he was. I'll save the rant for another day.

Monday, 5 February 2007

Phew... no flu

Well, it doesn't look like I have flu. It seems to be a sinus infection. This is good news because, although I feel terrible and my symptoms are worsening, it isn't contagious. It almost certainly sprang from an allergic reaction and tree pollen is a likely culprit at this time of year. I'm going to spend the day getting as much tea and sympathy from my family as humanly possible.

Sunday, 4 February 2007


I'm sick :o( I have a low-grade fever, thumping headache, sore throat and aching muscles. I've been feeling progressively worse since Friday. Please please PLEASE don't let this be the start of flu. I don't know how I will manage with Michael if I have flu. He was a bit of a nightmare yesterday and basically chewed his fists and howled from sunrise to sunset. I've given up wondering when this next tooth will appear. By the time we went to bed last night I was having to do things for him in near darkness because the light hurt my eyes. The real problem is that I am severely limited in the medication I can take because I am breastfeeding. I think I am limited to paracetamol. Please let me feel better soon!!