I call September, 'Housewives New Year'. This week I've been adjusting back to being a housewife who does no housework and, most importantly, whose children are at school all day! It has taken ten long years to get to this point. Subconciously I think I decided to relish it for a while. So, apart from having to get up at 6am, the adjustment has been rather a pleasant one, especially as I've studiously avoided knuckling back down to any writing work (too much self motivation required). The past few days have been deliciously free to enjoy a lengthy coffee after aerobics, a quick pedicure accompanied by piped music in a peaceful white space, or alternatively a general schmooze around various shopping centres, gazing at things that I have no intention of buying, stopping for the odd Belgian chocolate or cafe latte for sustenance.
At home, I have managed to get around to doing the odd bit of cooking (having second thoughts about the rather frugal choice of 'oxtail stew' I made yesterday, am now panicking that we will now all go down with mad cows disease!). I've done some odd sewing jobs - even got my sewing machine out which is usually a great effort! A fundi has been round to chat about fixing shelves to help with my storage solutions and the cracked glass panels in our 1970s style conservatory have finally been replaced. All in all, life has been rather calm.
The downside, however, is that weekday evenings tend to be frenetic and rather shouty in our household. 'Back from school' time comes as rather a shock to the systme. From 2.45pm it's dashing about in the car collecting children. Uninterrupted Radio 3 on the way to school is only too shortlived. The youngest wants snacks immediately and is invariably hot and tired. My eldest daughter comes home with reams of homework, there's music practise and generally a couple of sets of reading and spellings to do each evening. By 5pm we are all suffering from low blood sugar level and feeling scratchy. It's the same scenario every day but somehow I never manage to produce any sort of meal until at least 6pm. After that, the daunting prospect of propelling all three into bed (having had x 3 baths and stories too) at any sort of reasonable time often seems like its going to be an impossible task - and that's with the long suffering Gladys on hand to help too!
Yesterday a large chunk of the evening was taken up with taking the five guinea pigs to the vet for 'sexing'. Needless to say, all the girls wanted to come along for the ride. Just to add a frisson of stress, I took along our aged fox terrier for her annual vaccinations at the same time. My eldest daughter was convinced that the dog would leap over the car seats and gobble up the guinea pigs at any moment (in fact, the dog did try this once). I also forgot to take a lead for the terrier, so had to hold her in my arms in the waiting room for forty minutes while we waited for a slot with the vet and in the process got my new 'shopping centre adventures' black skirt covered in dog hair. When I foisted the dog onto my middle daughter (in white tennis gear), she stoically put up with it for a while then understandably protested. As I said before, I'm not really an 'animals' person.
The rather unimpressed vet confirmed that our original 3 guinea pigs are, most likely, girls - but the two babies are too young to tell their gender, so we are still not any better off in knowing whether they will spontaneously reproduce again.
I also FINALLY got my husband to clear out his garage a couple of weekends ago - so now the very much onus is on me to get the house in order..