It is the middle of the trade fortnight when traditionally all the tradesmen down tools and go on holiday for two weeks. Crazily, my husband insisted we go to stay with his parents for the two weeks before the trade fortnight. So the joiners didn't do the plasterboarding and the brickie phoned to say he had slipped on a wet slate on the site and pulled a ligament and would not be able to work for four weeks. I did hear reports he was seen walking around without a limp two days later.
He, helpfully, fixed us up with another brickie. It didn't take long for us to learn that the new brickie was not up for the job. "Don't let him near your house," one joiner advised while another's first words were "Jesus Christ! He's horrendous!" So we had to cancel him. Unfortunately, he had already started so it was actually a sacking. Our first one. I insisted my husband did it. He felt terrible and paid him £300 for his work so far. We were seriously ripped off but my husband couldn't see clearly for feeling bad about sacking him. By a stroke of luck our new neighbour is a brickie and on his trade holiday so he is doing the work with my husband labouring for him. It is going to take a long time and we are now behind schedule.
We now have the first fix plumbing and electrics in and when the joiners return they will get on with plasterboarding so we are getting there.
The other major stress has been the drainage. We have to put in a private sewage system so we paid our site agent to design one and submit it for building warrant. We got all the necessary permissions and were set to put in a septic tank and soakaway system. Thankfully, the digger driver, who is like family to me, was sceptical of this system working so we got in an independent consultant who said there was no way it would work and all our waste (i.e. shite) would end up in our garden and in the ground below us. To cut a long story short we have a new solution which involves going in to neighbouring land which the owners are not happy about because they want to sell it but thankfully we have the legal right to do so and can go ahead. Phew! We almost found ourselves in the position of building a house we could not live in or sell. I was very anxious about this. Understatement.
We have also had two family birthdays. My baby boy is now one and he has totally emerged as a boisterous, loving, funny little man. He has also taken his first steps and likes to practice at every opportunity. Especially whilst paddling in the sea. My husband has turned 40. I think I am more affected by it than him. I find myself wondering, "How can I have such an old husband?" and I find myself worrying about ageing and dying and the best years of my life being over with all the wasted opportunities and wrong decisions. What will I be like when I turn 40?
The holiday at the in-laws was not without its stresses. Mainly due to the fact that I was not talking to my husband when we arrived and remained mad with him for about a week. This was because he had dragged us away when we were very busy with the house and put me under enormous pressure to get things done and organised before we left and then on the ferry journey to Ireland he disappeared for over an hour and he had the bag with everything in it. He left me with the kids and no nappies, snacks, no nothing. My arm nearly fell off from holding the baby. It was okay until we got fed up in the playroom and then couldn't find him when we looked for him. "Where is Daddy?" asked my girl. "Is he swimming in the sea?" It got even worse when I realised the baby needed a new nappy and my girl and I needed to use the toilet. Even I, multitasker that I am, cannot manage to hold a baby and a girl on the toilet on a rocking ferry let alone use the toilet myself. Eventually, a mother took pity on me and held the baby while I went to the toilet with my girl. I had to leave my treasured angel of a boy with a stranger. I was fizzing mad. Eventually, as the ferry approached the harbour my husband sauntered over looking rather refreshed. He had been for a sleep. "I'm sorry, I was tired after the drive. Get over it." That was his apology. If it hadn't been for the fact we have two young children and a house to build I would have left him as soon as we docked. Of course, it wouldn't have been an issue if we didn't have two young children.
At least we were going to a city with all its delights. Only it transpires when you have two kids and ageing in-laws in poor health you can't just dump the kids and go off and do your own thing. I have become very familiar with city playgrounds and child-friendly visitor centres. We did manage a couple of meals out and an afternoon at the gaelic football. I managed a couple of shopping forays and spent money on clothes I like but don't really need. I should have left the cowboy boots on the shelf and kept the money for a toilet. Still, there's only going to be one cowboy on our house site and that will be me!