rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Today's hospital visit confirmed that round 2 is done and I am starting round 3 of chemo next week, preceded by a clinic appointment.  My bloods are good, no reason to delay, I am all for getting this over and done with as soon as possible.  So I have 6 appointments in 7 days starting next Tuesday, in case I wasn't getting enough of the hospital.

In theory that leaves only one round of chemo left and then the vital biopsy test to confirm "molecular remission" with PCR.  So I'm halfway?


I'm still trying to get a handle on my energy levels: starting at the weekend I had 4ish days where I struggled to do more than lie down and read fanfic, 1 day of getting the OU assignment done on time (turns out, I'm still deadline-driven, even when ill).  Today I had the fidgets after a long time sitting around in E10, so I walked from the hospital to the station cab rank to see if I could.  And yes, I was tired when I got there and had to do a lot of sitting down after I got home, but that's the furthest I've walked since 7th August, and a lot further than anything prior.

If I spend the next four days mostly in bed tired, I'll be less ambitious about walking distances :-)


Change is coming as Louise is going home on 5th November.  Her housesitter gave notice, she has a bunch of things to sort out at home, and I am doing so much better now that I think we will be okay so long as I don't catch anything that sends me back into hospital.   This chemo cycle has gone so much better than the previous one that it makes me feel quite optimistic.  Tony and I will have to put a bit of thought into re-dividing the household labour, but that's not a problem, just a task to get done.  We'll have some help most weeks from my mother, and if it turns out that we really aren't coping even so, we can ask Louise to come back.
rmc28: (wedding)
I fell asleep sometime after midnight.  At some point after that Nico woke up and came into my bed.  Charles woke me up at 5am, but was persuaded to go away again.  And at 6am.  And at 7am.   At 8am I finally felt ready to wake up properly.

Nico got much more into opening his stocking this year; Charles mostly resisted the urge to play with all his brother's stocking-contents as well as his own.  As last year, I put the (excessive number of) presents behind the fireguard in front of the unused fire to keep them out of curious toddler hands.  Mid-morning there was a little present avalanche and the fireguard fell over.  We put it back up up but further out from the fire, and left the presents where they had slid.

I'm wearing a tshirt with Olaf from Frozen, with the slogan "I'm All Out Of Shape".  We've had a mellow morning eating treat breakfasts and too much chocolate, and Nico playing Let It Go and dancing/singing along.  Now Tony has made the salmon-on-bread and poured the bucks fizz.  Charles is wearing a Santa hat and preparing to hand out presents, and all is well with the world inside my home.
rmc28: (wonderfrown)

Our last* non-family lodger left last night. Charles woke up asking about when we could start moving him and Nico into the room, so I checked on the state of it (just fine, no surprises there, thanks to lovely lodger) and we've made a start.

10 things done )

* at least for the foreseeable future, never say never and all that. Meanwhile, if anyone in Cambridge wants short-term, well-behaved, pleasant, pay-the-rent-on-time lodgers, I can recommend the steady stream of interns on 3-month placements with Microsoft Research, and put you in touch with the people there who compile lists of possible hosts.

rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
We put up the Christmas tree on Sunday. It is our second year with it: last year it was Tony and Charles putting it up while I was in bed with pregnancy nausea. This year, Charles put together at least half of it while I vaguely supervised & did the household accounts, Nicholas dozed on me, and Tony cooked. Tony then came and helped Charles finish off and they did the lights, baubles and tinsel together.

Charles was keen to pose for a photo:
Charles & the Christmas tree


Last week I woke up one morning and it was unusually cold in the house. I went to find the wireless thermostat and discovered the batteries in it had died. The heating works by the thermostat telling the boiler to switch on the radiators if the house is below the set temperature. No batteries meant no instructions meant no radiators on. The batteries in the thermostat are rechargeable, but while they charged I raided the tv remote for batteries to get the heating on again, and realised I was effectively moving batteries from one remote control to another. The thermostat read 17 C when I first got the batteries in, which is Too Cold For Me, yes even with a jumper on.

Cannibalising tv remote to power heating remote
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Kate suggested the hole might be the rotten remains of a tree stump that had been turfed over. As it happens, my ex-housemate Keith did indeed hack away at a tree stump until it was below-ground and then turfed it over, nearly 8 years ago.

I did a bit of digging this evening and the sinking bit is really only approx 0.5m x 0.5m and looks like rich soil. I chucked half a recycling box of spare soil from the messy end of the garden and stamped it down and it started to feel more solid so that's looking hopeful.

I picked up the Eglu Go last week, and after chatting to the nice woman at Cambridge Poultry, I also ordered a 1m extension to the run. Tony & I assembled the henhouse part and the first bit of the run together that evening. It was fairly straightforward as flatpack goes and we were still talking when it was finished, which is a good sign. (Flatpack assembly is one of those things where we usually don't play well together, because we have very different approaches.) The extension arrived on Thursday but we had family commitments from then until today.

I got an email over the weekend that the hens were ready to collect, so this evening I stopped playing with soil as soon as possible and excitedly finished the run off. Straightforward but a bit tricky alone and I am very tired of bending the little plastic clips together. Then I ran into a bit of a problem: the very last piece of the run is missing. And yes, if I had checked all the pieces before we started last Tuesday I'd have known then, and it would have been sorted out by now. Normally I do an inventory check first; perhaps I shall blame getting carried away with Tony's enthusiasm last week.

So I now have a lovely hen house and run with a great big gap easily big enough for a fox. Jonny has seen a fox a couple of times in the garden, so the hens are staying on the farm for now.

I have been considering names for the hens, mostly dignified women's names that are not completely out of fashion. I am trying not to name them after any particularly close friends or family members, or anything too "funny". My plan is to have half a dozen names in mind and then match them to the hens as we get to know them. Charles thinks we should call one of them Toothless, which would at least be accurate, unlike his other suggestion, Spot.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
My brother found a patch of the garden that sank under his weight (it never used to). I went and poked at the ground with a bamboo pole this morning and there's definitely solid area and then an area at least 0.5m x 0.5m where the pole goes through the soil down about 1m before meeting solid resistance, and the turf bends under an adult's weight (so I stepped off it again quickly!)

There's a hole under my garden and I don't know what to do about it: who to call, how to get it sorted out. I suppose "dig up the lawn and see what there is" is an option, but I'm not sure I'd feel any more competent looking at a hole than divining its existence. I just hope it isn't BT.

Suggestions gratefully received.
rmc28: (charles-hat)
It started off as a joke at new year, but I now have a document listing every room in the house and we've started adding the changes we want to make, divided into things we can do ourselves and things we need to get someone in for. Every so often Tony & I have a brainstorm and I type up the results manically.

Progress is going to be in fits and starts according to our spare capacity, especially mine. I've not even started on timelines and estimates but I expect it really will be about ten years before we're all done. I'll be looking for some early quick wins, but in the meantime the most-listed "task for us" is "declutter this room". At least this is something I can chip away at daily even when very tired.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
As well as the useful [community profile] unclutter comm, I've also been picking up inspiration this year from [community profile] bitesizedcleaning, which I would describe as "inspired by FlyLady, but rather more inclusive and adaptable". We are thankfully able to afford a cleaner who spends 3 hours a week preventing us from falling into utter squalor, but there's plenty more that needs doing to keep home nearer "pleasant place to live" than "not actively unhealthy", and I can't claim that we habitually manage it.

The first most useful thing I have picked up is the idea of a "touchstone" which if you do nothing else you keep clean and tidy: Flylady's touchstone is the shiny sink, but that doesn't work for everyone. After some thought I decided mine was the dining table, which without attention is liable to disappear under dirty crockery and heaps of paper. So I make sure it's clear before I go to bed, and as clear as possible (Charles may still be eating) before I go to work, and now we (mostly) have a table that people can just sit down to at any time rather than having to tidy it first.

The second thing is the "daily plan": I made a set of lists (for morning, hometime and evening) last year, but I think it needs rebooting. Some things I just don't do any more; some things I'm not getting to very often, which is demoralising, and trying to keep up with the whole list and the decluttering is exhausting me at the moment. (I've not read a book in over 2 weeks, though at least I'm just about keeping up with the Economist.) So I'm going to make the list as minimal as possible and see if I can keep to it more consistently for the next few weeks before adding anything.

Read more... )
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
The boiler work was done by Thursday lunchtime; it took a good 24 hours for the house to warm all the way back up again from really quite chilly, but it seems to be settling in now. I've put in a provisional schedule and am loving modern control systems (oh! the freedom to set hot water and heating separately! and different schedules for each day! and decent one-off override options!).

"Let's get a new TV & DVD player," we decided over Christmas. "It'll just need a bit of reorganising of the shelves." They arrived yesterday, and reorganisation took about 4 hours, as well as sending [livejournal.com profile] fanf for emergency cable shopping. We haven't yet finished the collateral tidying & decluttering.

The upgrade from 15" to 22" TV is a pleasant improvement probably worth all the effort. A small but much-appeciated improvement is the auto-adjustment between widescreen and 4:3 depending on the content the TV receives. We celebrated by watching TRON which was a lot trippier than I remembered.

Jonny has claimed the old TV as a computer monitor and the old DVD player, which was getting highly dodgy, went to the charity shop electronic recycling.

Tony and I find ourselves planning home improvements to suck up the next decade of income and effort. It's probably a new year thing.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
The old nasty not-quite-inefficient-enough-for-scrappage-scheme boiler has been removed, and all the radiators but one (the reference one) have thermostatic valves. The new boiler has been installed, but the electrician needs to come tomorrow to make it work. As the gasman needs access to all the radiators again tomorrow to test they work, the furniture in nearly every room is out of place.

It is surprisingly not too cold, considering there has been no heating since 9am, thank you loft insulation and double-glazing. But I will be glad to be in bed, and we will have Charles in with us. The immersion heater will provide tomorrow morning's showers, if I manage to wake up early enough to put it on.

The gasman is working with my favourite plumber, who has renamed her company Just SO Plumbing following a trademark dispute. I am amused to note that the top Google result for the old name is the new domain name.
rmc28: (charles-summer09)
I spent a lot of the weekend working on a major system upgrade.

Tony took Charles to the playground for ages this afternoon. On return, he ate lots of food and then played on the CBeebies site for a bit. I noticed it had got very quiet:

Worn out

I've moved him to the sofa. I still have to
a) do accounts
b) cook some food for next week

But then I can

c) sleep
rmc28: (rmcf+fcdf-4)
The Lifehacks blog posted an interesting recipe for "one minute bread" the other day, so Charles and I tried it out last night:

Making one-minute bread

We cooked it this morning and it was very tasty indeed:

One-minute bread - the result

Charles is already used to helping us load up the breadmaker, and has a couple of times helped Tony make bread by hand from scratch in the traditional knead-rise-knock back-rise cycle. This recipe is simpler than either and allows him to do nearly everything himself.
rmc28: (finches2)
Last screw going in

This time Tony did at least half the building and I made the requisite blood sacrifice by trapping my finger in one of the plastic feet. Charles was pretty much unstoppable once we got the slide attached.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
So I spent the afternoon building a playhouse for Charles, with Tony's very welcome help after the first couple of hours. Only the last hour was a bit challenging, as the temperature dropped along with the sun. I was nerdish and took photos as we finished each step.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rmc28/sets/72157623573491900/detail/

Charles was incredibly excited and delighted when it was finished and he could see the thing as a whole. Apparently the rule is No Adults In The House, which I think is fair enough.

In fact, this is only half the job: we have a platform with ladder and slide to assemble, onto which the little house will get bolted. Given how long just the house took, I shall start on the platform a couple of hours earlier in the day. Now we just need a weekend when we are home, it isn't raining or too cold to be outside for hours, and no-one is ill.

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rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Rachel Coleman

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