How the other half live

I’m not a massive fan of the phrase “your other half”, but in the case of me and he, its actually pretty on the money. While we’re not quite Mr Chalk and Mrs Cheese, we’re definitely very different. He is cut from a far mellower and chilled out cloth than my inner overachiever would like to admit. I for example was not anseo the day patience was taught in school, although given I am currently enrolled in the bootcamp of patience, aka owning a two year old, I like to think I am getting a little better. Well baby steps anyway. My lovely fella though has it in buckets: he is a Dalai Lamai-esque gentle soul of calm, chilled-outness and easygoing good. Never happier when pottering about or having an aul tinker with something. I on the other hand, am to be found at the opposite end of the spectrum itching and hopping. Genetically implanted ants in my pants worsened by years of corporate conditioning mean if you give me a job, any job, I feel the need to “deliver ASAP” and sadly can’t relax until it’s done. All this dichotomy is making for a very interesting combo for our little project as these long summer months have seen progress peter out to a practical standstill followed swiftly by my patience. I’ll admit there has been times, usually when stuck at home on a rainy day watching two little ladies literally thrash the gaff, where I’ve felt like stamping my feet and screaming “I want it nowwwww”. (This is perhaps inevitable as my VBF and constant companion has just turned two so toddler osmosis was inevitable).

Progress has stalled due to a summer cocktail of reasons including some lovely holiers in Kerry (although not the 7 hour drive part), my personal re-emergence into evening society given the wistful but ultimately liberating retirement of my mammary glands, my eldest Mrs. Woman Baby getting the chicken pox for the second time (yes, that’s a real thing that can happen if you are really really lucky), and if I’m truthful, a large dose of lazy summer sloth encouraged no end by sunny days and BBQ nights.

Claire was finding her couch to 5k v challenging in the hot weather

Claire was finding her couch to 5k v challenging in the hot weather

The main reason though, is with me now entering the latter (and unhappily unpaid) half of maternity leave, we need to wait until I’m back at work to get things going properly at Project Bricking It: we’ll need both incomes firing on all cylinders before we make our planned return visit to Mr Bank Manager and subject the poor man to Part two of the unusual flattery/cajoling/nervous repartee/passive aggressive financial banter that we like to cram into a mortgage application. All this means that to be perfectly honest, zippity zip zip zip has been happening over at our pipe bomb, sorry pipe dream. Or has there?
So yes things been quiet. Very quiet in fact. Too quiet? Hmm. Eh, where is my husband? Can I just say one of the most gassest things for me about our new house is that it takes exactly 12 seconds to walk to it from our current abode. (Yes I have timed it.) We reckon the day we finally move in, we will just rope in some friends and family to make a human moving chain version of Pass the Parcel.

Claire realised too late that she should have moved her underwear herself

Claire realised too late that she should have moved her underwear herself

So say it takes 12 seconds to get to the house and you were just going to check it, I reckon that is a 60 second job max, in and out. Why then has it taken me so long to realise that Daragh’s regular “checks” on the house have stretched and stretched and can now last anything up to an hour. I am so losing my touch. But more’s to the point, what is he doing over there? There is after all, not much you can do with or in a derelict house. Part of me enviously hoped he was just sitting on a bucket under the summer sky, sucking in the silence and perhaps on a sneaky, smuggled in his hoodie, beer? Maybe he’s even gone the full Monty and is stopping off via the corner shop to indulge in everyone’s guilty pleasure aka the Herald for an oul brain-free read while sitting there.

Daragh had perhaps taken things a little far to raise some extra cash for the extension

Daragh had perhaps taken things a little far to raise some extra cash for the extension

I decided to investigate. It has been weeks since I’ve been there. Given the stability of the house walls is more than a little precarious, we decided it would probably be better to not bring any babies we have made over there and given I am seldom to be found with just my own limbs on my body these days, it’s been a while since I’ve crossed the threshold. During the week however I snuck over on my way out. I braced myself. What would I find in his man cave? Beer? Food? A concubine?
Nope, none of the above. It seems my other half has been busy in the…. wait for it… greenhouse.

It says a lot about my powers of observation that I had failed to notice our own little bandy greenhouse had mysteriously disappeared. I’m not quite sure how he managed to transport it: perhaps the human centipede removals chain has already been mobilised behind my back but whatever way, our little greenhouse, helped along by the Stoneybatter sunshine, south facing aspect and Daragh’s sneaky sojourns have produced their own summer cocktail: It’s an Avalon bounty of basil, mint, tomatoes, chillies, and peas and that’s just what he has planted.

Around the garden, the bushes are heaving with all kinds of berries and my mantelpiece is hosting a revolving residency of wildflowers that have been growing like, you guessed it, wildflowers.

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Now don’t get me wrong, it’s still an absolute shambles and any normal person would run screaming but if you stay a while, you begin to see that it’s an abundant, fragrant and tasty shambles and as things stand, not a bad Monday evening escape zone. Yesterday, fuelled by the remnants of too many summer cocktails and nowhere to hide my head from Mrs Toddler baby woman, I grabbed a deck chair and plonked myself in the middle of the sunny mess and very happily passed out for an hour or so. Ahh bliss.

Claire had perhaps napped for a little too long

Claire had perhaps napped for a little too long

Ok so I admit there are times when he is possibly my better half, this being one of them: his ability to literally make hay when the sun shines and enjoy the journey as much as the destination are all leaves I could take from his book. I saw a wasteland, but he saw an allotment so its him I can thank for the giant blackberry crumbles we’ve been eating for the past few weeks. I have decided I’m going to embrace his philosophy of slow and steady wins the race and just relax and enjoy this summer hiatus rather than trying to bulldoze a motorway straight to the end. For the next few weeks at least, I am not going to worry about the ploddyness of the project and instead plan on enjoying the silence and calm before the storm. Come September, we will be ramping up this little project of ours and will be on an all out offensive in the great shortlisting of architects. Till then, I’ll be happily hiding in our urban jungle, Herald in hand, enjoying how my other half lives.

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