I’ve finally (finally!) conquered Mount Laundry after our holiday and come through the worst throes of Admin Valley- although I’ve come to the conclusion that we’ll never really leave that last place entirely. Just to give you a wee example- both Knox and I have quite a few individual bank and credit cards accounts. I think at last count it was something like 17 or so between us. Not all of which are used, of course, but tending to generate a lot of unnecessary paper work. Then we have a joint account which we use for the business accounting. I do everything online with that one, so over the months when the paper statements came, I just chucked them in a pile somewhere in my pit of a home office. The home office destined to become Caveat’s room.
In a fit of mild insanity before leaving on our holiday, I decided we really needed to get going on sorting out that room. Possibly the first stirrings of the Nest! Nest! Nest! instinct. To be fair, it was also partly prompted by my finding an excellent little wardrobe in a charity shop- which had to be bought that moment so as to not to lose it to another prospective buyer who was at that very minute out measuring her car to see if it would fit. To move the wardrobe in, everything else had to shift rather hastily, including the desk and about nine hundred boxes of assorted papers and files, now sitting in various forlorn locations throughout the flat. I bought a couple of tester pots of paint and blobbed the walls with prospective colours.
Then we left on vacation.
Upon our return, I discovered we need to find two particular bits of paper, one of which is a joint account bank statement.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I said to Knox when he asked. “Could be….anywhere”. And so we looked- everywhere. I hoped in the course of our travels we might find the other essential bit of paper that I also need- but no. Nowhere to be found after about approximately 10 hours of searching. So I give up and will just have to order duplicates.
So, as the last vestiges of holiday bliss dribble away, I find myself thinking back to our two weeks in the sun. Our routine went something like this: wake up about quarter to nine. Get Botany up if she wasn’t already awake, throw on some maternity shorts for me and a sun dress for her. Wander squinting in the morning sun down to the restaurant for breakfast. The first week it was cornflakes and fruit and then we discovered that if we got there in time, the chef would make fresh pancakes with chocolate sauce, giving proceedings a whole new frisson of excitement. Shovel in food, finish by 9.30 am. Knox would go off to his first sailing or windsurfing class of the day and I dropped off Botany at the kids’ club, also affectionately known as “beach nursery”. During our stay, there were three other little girls, all Botany's age and she was in heaven as far as her fellow classmates. The blackboard outside the club gaily announced the delights in store for the little people that day, accompanied by the endlessly perky nannies - Kayaking! Tennis! Trip to play park! Playdough fun! Face painting! Speed boat to get ice cream! Nap after lunch! Sailing! Disco dancing! See you grown-ups at 5.30pm!
The first day when all the grown ups were signing up for their activities, I confess I looked out over the inviting blue sea and then wandered back to the hotel room with a trembling bottom lip. Then I pulled myself togetether and decided to make the most of my holiday anyway. Unable to partake of pretty much, well, anything by way of the sports on offer, my plan for the day usually involved getting another cup of coffee and sitting on one of the lounging sofas in the shade with my book by the restaurant until our hotel room was finished being cleaned. Then I would wander back to change into my swimsuit and lather self with sun cream. Waddle to poolside, find lounge chair in shade. Read book and play with iphone, occasionally jumping in water for gentle swim when it became too hot. On calm mornings when I had some energy, I would occasionally take a kayak out for a gentle paddle.
At lunch time, Knox would emerge from the water and the two of us would go back to the restaurant to pile our plates full of salad, fresh fish, pasta, fresh baked bread and a buffet table groaning with desserts. Afterwards, it was usually too hot for me to do anything, so while Knox went off to yet another watersport session, I would go for a little lie down in the room. Sometimes I roused myself for an aqua fit class in the pool- or not. Our room was directly across from the nursery building, so I was able to spy on Botany as she pranced off to her next activity.
Eventually it would be time to pick up Botany from the kids’ dining room where she would be finishing up dinner- and first on her agenda was usually getting straight back in the pool with me for another swim. As the sun started to slope away, we would finally all get chilled and tired, so back to the room for showers and to change into nice summery clothes for grown up dinner at 7.30. Most nights, Botany was content to sit humming on the wall next to our table, picking the flowers or playing quietly with stickers or games on my iphone while we ate. Or we joined forces with the other parents and let all the little girls sit together watching a movie on somebody’s laptopigadgetthing. Some nights there was entertainment in the form of a quiz or live music (at which point all the children would get up and dance wildly) and we’d all stay up late.
Other nights, Knox and I took turns going back to the room with Botany to let the other half stay out even later. Not being able to drink, this would possibly have had less appeal for me than for Knox- but for the very pleasant company of some of the other guests, including one woman upon whom I developed an enormous friend crush. She was charming, sweet and quite literally pantwettingly funny in her story telling. I’d come giggling into the room in the early hours, much to Knox’s amusement.
Other days, beach nursery had a late afternoon start, and we would spend the morning doing family things- mainly more jumping in the pool. One day we loaded Botany into the kayak and we all paddled out to the island across the bay and another time we went into town to do some sightseeing (the one occasion when I came a bit too close to overheating). On those days, beach nursery ran something called "evening sleep club" which basically involved taking Botany over at 7pm in her jimjams and all the kiddies bedding down on little cots with a DVD while we wandered down the beach to a candlelit local restaurant for dinner.
It was, in short, a fabulous two weeks. Aside from a couple of cranky moments, Botany behaved herself in a gold star worthy manner for the entire duration, and with a perfect balance of family/self/couple time, Knox and I relaxed into a mellow glow. There was of course a few minor downsides- the sleeping, for one, remained a low point, and I did feel decidedly unwieldy at some points compared to the bronzed bikini clad sylphs by the pool. But on the whole- perfection. We'd love to go back and probably can't afford to for the foreseeable future, as all that bliss did not come cheap- which made it all the more of a shining moment in time to remember.
And so back to reality- soggy weather, toiling at work, worrying news from home, a business flailing with seasonal flux, a nursery to prepare- all while I survive on increasingly little sleep. I wouldn't have thought that last one was possible, but both nights over the weekend I finally dropped off at a startling 5am. Knox looks at my incredibly haggard face every morning and says this can't go on, but I feel it likely will, for another 12 weeks or so, depending on Caveat's arrival date. At which point I'm not likely to get any sleep either, but at at least someone else can get up to deal with it.