Well hello again little blog

Well hello little blog. I have missed you.

Here I am sitting on a train from York to Edinburgh watching the beautiful late autumn colors roll by.

This time just over a month ago I would be nearly at the end of my work week, juggling too many balls. Instead I am on a three-week adventure to connect with my British heritage of early dark and late sun-rise, dazzling Christmas lights and the promise of snow.

IMG_0455

Those of you that have followed this blog will know that I made the decision to go back to work full-time about 9 months ago. Best work place, amazing vision, the genuinely nicest people. Yet circumstances have led me to reluctantly put that aside (at least for now) and go back to a slightly altered version of my life for the last couple of years.

Turns out just when you think you might be able to commit yourself fully to work, things don’t always go according to plan – now there’s a surprise.

The catalyst was one of our dogs developing diabetes. Diabetes for a dog is the same as Type One diabetes for a human. there is no managing it with diet, it’s straight onto twice daily insulin injections and a pretty intense schedule of working with your vet in the initial period to get the dose right.

It is not an exaggeration to say this changed our lives over night. The injections have to be given as close as possible to 12 hours apart, food must be measured, walks must be strict and the possibility of a diabetic crash lingers closely in those first few weeks.

My wonderful workplace said I could bring him into work with me as he couldn’t be left alone. He was a very popular visitor to the office as he is very cute and loves people. Deep down though I knew this wasn’t a long term plan as he was slightly stressed by the process and it was hard to juggle taking him to various meetings.

So with heavy heart I resigned my position but we developed a two day a week position that meant I could look after Bosco, and still contribute in the form of important but not so urgent projects that needed to be bought on line.

However this catalyst became a domino on the move and I found myself weighing up work with all the other things going on in our lives – a house renovation, travel, my husband’s very full-on job, the birth of yet another precious grandchild and the announcement that there was another due early year. All good things but all that meant that something had to give.

Unlike many  people I am in the weird position of not having to work unless I want to,  so for me the question is nuanced and in some ways more difficult. I have had  several other grandmothers say that if they didn’t have to work, they wouldn’t. Yet we work for other reasons than just the financial ones and that made my decision hard. I like working, making a difference, being part of something bigger than myself, workplace banter, even wearing ‘work’ clothes. But I kind of knew as I went through the praying and thinking process, that for this season it made sense to step down for a time –  maybe permanently – I don’t know.

That was just over four weeks ago and my life has been full of  getting used to having a pet with diabetes, hanging out with our children, their little ones, my friends,  and appreciating all this  in a way I didn’t before I worked full-time for the last eight months. Also time spent catching up on all those things that don’t get done when you are both working full-time!

_MG_3409

Which brings me up to now. The amazing  trip  I am currently on was planned while I was working but I have been able to extend it for another week now I don’t have to fit it into annual leave.

And it is ‘I’ and not ‘we’ as it is a trip to the cold dark  Northern hemisphere winter (spurred by the  promise of a visit to a friend and the desire to see what Christmas is like over this side of the world) that did not appeal to Wayne so he graciously suggested I do it by myself – but more of that in my next entry.

It is a very big solo adventure for me!

 

Buying a mountain buggy

On the countdown now for the arrival of our third grandchild, and our daughter’s first baby. As a girl with  four brothers this makes her journey a bit special (but don’t tell the boys that). Just a few weeks to go so lots of final planning and organising underway. She and her husband have continued what is looking like becoming a family tradition of not finding out the gender of the baby, so there is lots of anticipation and theorising about what the outcome will be.

With all this in mind, this weekend I finally got round to putting a  carseat in my car that will work for our two current grandchildren (who are getting to the stage where nanna can take them out for a hour or two),and the nearly here one.

Well, spending an hour in our sweltering garage trying to decipher instructions worthy of installing a NASA escape pod was interesting. And who would have thought a car seat needed a cup holder?  Or that they now come with expiry dates? However it’s now securely ISOFIXed (thanks Volvo for burying those vital bars so deep in the  bowels of the seat). Driving to worship practice on Sunday morning it felt very strange glimpsing a carseat in the rear vision mirror again after so many years without one.

Carseat checked off, later on Sunday Nicole and I  had fun choosing the all important mountain buggy. As a super fit person she wanted one that was suitable for serious running miles ( she has only just stopped running at 35 weeks pregnant so I suspect she will be back into it pretty quickly).

Have to say I’m a bit envious of all the improvements in  baby transportation from the last time we bought one 19 years ago, and they look like veritable contraptions from another planet compared with the one we bought over thirty years ago (could be 200 years ago they are so different).

Not so envious of the prices. This is a big business once you add on all the ‘essential’ accessories – somewhat of an oxymoron. We had the choice of different types of wheels for different terrains, carrycots, attachable carseats, water bottle holders, food trays, travel bags – these are seriously cool  and very pricey ways to wheel a baby around!  We ended up deciding to buy the mountain buggy second hand and purchased the rather useful carseat capsule that attached to it new.

As we browsed TradeMe at lunch, and then stood in the shop comparing reviews of the buggy cornucopia, Nicole filled me in on all the things she had researched. I realised how wide the gulf between then and now, and yet again marvelled at the wonder and power of the internet. Every model can be compared, both price and specifications, hundreds of reviews to choose from. Even buying second hand is easy through on-line auction sites as opposed to the now forgotten and thankfully defunct classified ad pages. When we had our first baby, we only had the knowledge we could glean from our parents and friends’ recommendations. My mum was great, both in helping choose the right one and financially. There was an awful lot of walking round shops to see  different models, a distinct dearth of choice, and some seriously ugly options in the 80s and 90s!

And  despite all the changes and innovations, on Sunday it still eventually came down to a question from a daughter to her mum – “what do you think?” and we chose together; just like her grandmother and I did all those years ago. The technology may change, baby transport options have definitely changed, but the rituals surrounding your daughter having her first baby thankfully have not.