And so I begin week two of unemployment and I won’t lie, being out of work is a real worry. Like everybody, we have bills to pay – the biggest of which is Bella’s nursery bill amounting to about £720 a month for three days a week childcare (People, if you were in any doubt, kids are damn expensive!). It’s a real wrench paying it at the best of times, but whilst I’m at home it’s extremely frustrating. Problem is, you can bet your life that if we decided to take her out of nursery to save the money, I’d promptly get offered a job and then not be able to get a place for her again.
Even more frustrating, she is due to go five days a week from September (yep, even more money) as we are finally giving my wonderful parents their well-earned freedom after five years of helping us so brilliantly with childcare. For the same reason Chloe is also down for a full time place at the school breakfast club and after-school club (more money again) which will be about £600 a term.
It is amazing how quickly you adapt to not spending any money though. We are literally thinking before spending anything at the moment and haven’t withdrawn any cash at all since 1st July. We both go through our weekly food shop to determine what is a real necessity and it turns out you can do without a lot when you have to and still eat three healthy meals a day. We think before driving anywhere ‘unnecessary’ and haven’t had a takeaway for AGES. We haven’t been anywhere that costs money – even missing Chloe’s school fete last weekend and Bella’s this coming weekend – which is a real shame, but the kids don’t seem to have noticed; they have a paddling pool and lots of toys in the garden and seem content with ours and each other’s company. I spent £2.40 at the ice cream van today – it was so hot and I wanted to treat Bella for being such a sweetheart all day but I actually felt guilty afterwards! I did discover Solero’s though – wow, are they yummy or what? And less than 100 calories… they may be my new vice. Thank God we gave up smoking.
For me, the biggest wrench is not being able to buy books all the time. No surprise there then. I am a book-collector; it’s what I do. For Jon I think it’s probably not buying beer. I am only surviving thanks to my wonderful ex-colleagues who, when I left my original job at the end of May, bought me lots and lots of yummy Amazon vouchers as a leaving present. Those vouchers have already been turned into books and are ready to be devoured… I have also joined the library and will be toddling along there tomorrow after my appointment at the Job Centre, to try and lay my hands on Terry Pratchett’s The Colour of Magic (I used to have a copy but have no idea where it is), a Nancy Mitford for my Book Group (which I reserved for 50p and am hoping is now in) and a Phillip Pullman – because I’ve tried and failed a few times with him and want to try one last time. I have no idea how Jon is surviving, but he is and I love him for it.
Also, looking at the situation as positively as I can: If it had to happen, it couldn’t have happened at a better time. The sun is shining, and tomorrow is Chloe’s last day at school for 42 days! Being at home means quality time with her and no trying to work out who is having her on which particular day, not to mention the logistical nightmare of getting her there and picking her up again. She is taking in a card and present to say thank you to her teacher tomorrow and is sooooo excited. For those that don’t know her, she isn’t normally cross-eyed, she has just learned how to do it on purpose 😉
All in all 2013 has not been a bad year so far. I finally appear to have kicked my lifelong nail-biting habit – yes, this seems minor to all of you I’m sure but this is a BIG DEAL to me. I can assure you that my darling Dad is reading this with a smile on his face. I wonder if he remembers offering to pay me £1 per nail if I managed to grow them when I was about 10 years old? Suffice it to say he never had to pay up, but 25 years later and I actually CUT all my nails off yesterday because they’d got too long! This is progress indeed – I have not bitten since Christmas (it’s amazing what gastroenteritis can do for you) and am stupidly proud of myself.
I also set out to lose the remaining 10lb I’ve been carrying since having the girls and have actually lost 16lb in total bringing me down to the same weight I was 10 years ago. I’m a slightly different shape now, post-babies (and as soon as I have about £10k spare cash, I WILL be asking a very nice Surgeon to try and correct that) but I’m happy. This week I will put a few pounds of cake on (thanks to hubby’s baking) but next week, I will lose them again. As well as being a Book-collector, I am a serial Dieter. I can do this.
And lastly, despite the fact that it’s hard to remember some days, I did leave my original job for the right reasons. It may now feel like a gargantuan mistake, and it’s true that I still miss all the wonderful people I worked with dreadfully – especially my fantastic team pictured below, but you will never grow or move on if you don’t take some risks in life. I’m not quite sure where I’m headed yet, and it will never be with a better group of people, but wherever it is, it was meant to be.
God, I’d kill for a cigarette!!