Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Before

Shortly to be followed, one dearly hopes, by The After. Our attention has been focused this last couple of days on clearing the space affectionately known by some as The Dolls' House Room (and known by others as The Junk Hole). We're preparing to turn it into an amazing deep blue and silver retreat for Emily.

Well, that's the plan. Her choice of colour scheme is....brave. We've dithered about it for weeks now, wondering whether to veto it or to persuade Emily to go for lighter colours (it's a very dark part of the house), but finally we decided to trust her judgement. She's not normally wrong :-)

The room as it stands at the moment isn't actually a room - it's a large rectangular landing above the entrance hall downstairs, so it only has three walls. My Dad is going to build a partition wall, no doubt dangling precariously above the sheer drop of the stairs as he does so......Emily doesn't call him her "Angel Who Fixes Stuff" for nothing. He's also going to fix the lighting for us and add some new power points, and build a corner "hair and beauty unit" for Emily with a high work surface and mirror backing, at which she can sit on a bar stool. He and my Mum created one for me when I was a teenager, which is what gave us the idea :-) Meanwhile, Jon's going to take care of the room and ceiling painting, with Emily's help of course.

We've been working solidly to clear the room for the last two and a half days....and we don't seem to have made much progress. For those among you with a strong stomach, here are some "before" pictures........and if these worry you, it's a good job you didn't see it two and a half days ago.

We're going out to buy the paint, new carpet and assorted DIY bits this weekend. Hopefully by next weekend, it will be more or less done, although the corner sofa bed Emily wants may have to wait a couple of weeks to be ordered, given our dire finances. Exciting stuff. Or traumatic, depending on your point of view. We'll go for exciting, shall we?

Education-wise, we've been having a bit of a break. The house is in absolute chaos, which makes it hard to get organised for "work" - besides, it is school summer holidays. Emily normally works through the holidays, so I'm sure it won't hurt to have a few weeks off until we get back into some sort of order. There have been odd educational moments - we're still doing maths every day, and some form of English on most days, and Emily's reading a great deal and writing X-Files scripts every five minutes, lol. She was very proud to have a comment on our last blog post from Nick Green, author of The Cat Kin, saying that he liked her poem, so thank you Nick! I'm being nagged to read Cat Kin at the moment, as apparently Emily would like to do some work related to animal ethics based on themes from the book. I haven't read it yet, but it's on my list :-)

There's been a fair bit of craft and fashion related work going on too, come to think of it. Emily and I made Barbie clothes the other weekend, which was fun. I really need to get our huge craft collection in some kind of order. Clearing out the Dolls House Room today I found an enormous stash of tissue paper - only the other day I'd been running around looking for tissue paper for the festival tree, and couldn't find any. Rolls eyes.

The BBC sent us a cheque in the end. Very late. Again. We've been promised that this month the payment will be early. We live in hope. American Express have taken to ringing me very twelve minutes on the dot. Or should I say, ringing our answerphone. Yep, that'll work. I don't have the money to pay you, but hassling me to that extent will make the money appear faster. Of course. I *would* have the money to pay if the BBC didn't make such an almighty mess up with their payments on a regular basis. Perhaps Amex would like to hassle them.

Took the baby kibbles Voldemort and Severus to the dreaded V.E.T on Tuesday for their booster vaccinations. They escaped. From the basket when it was all over and I was trying to put Severus back into it. Good job the window was closed. V.E.T. lady had to help me and Emily catch 'em. £65 that little escapade set us back....I wonder if they charged extra for the stress factor?? We have to take Romeo and Juliet soon for their boosters too. Cassie-cat's due hers in November, but I think we might leave her be. The stress (for her) of keeping her in all night and then getting her into the basket and in the car and into the V.E.T. is a little bit much at her ripe old age, I think. She's still fighting fit and was playing like a kitten in the garden the other day with Jon........but when considering whether to take her for the vaccination our thoughts inevitably turn to the way her brother, our beloved Merlin, went so rapidly down-hill after his "routine" vet treatment for fleas two years ago. We're convinced that sparked off his rapid and traumatic decline, as he'd been fit and healthy before it. Yes, I think Cassie-cat and "routine" vet treatment are done. She doesn't need the indignity and fear factor at this point in her life, for minimal health gain.

Took this of Juliet a couple of days ago - she was almost completely hidden in the basket, camouflaged against the leopard skin. She's been a lot more loving to the babies recently - she even licked Severus without hitting him!
Work-wise I'm still plugging away at my existing contracts, and Jon's still plugging away writing stuff and working on the online shop. I've been very busy at Best of the Web, where I was very chuffed to be asked to lead an important and satisfying but highly complicated project, which is taking up lots and lots of time. It's all good stuff. And it's nearly my birthday :-))

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