New Kitchen

Couldn’t think of a snappy title for this post so this one will have to do. After three years in our house, our new kitchen is on the way. In a fortnight I’ll have said goodbye to a tiled floor that I curse daily, a giant fridge which doesn’t seem to have enough space, weird triangle shaped narrow cupboards and peeling veneer that I’ve never liked.

In preparation, I’ve started doing this:

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The Ikea storage boxes we bought eight years ago for our wedding and which have served us through two house moves are currently being pressed into service for a kitchen clear out. I had decluttered a lot of stuff before we moved and during what I thought was a ruthless organisation session last year but there is still a lot of stuff. I’ve been weeding out the stuff which I know I won’t use because I haven’t used it in the three years we’ve lived her.

I’ve also started doing stuff like this:

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Clearing out our cupboards of eatables and drinkables is satisfying. I’ve had two bags of coffee beans for a very long time. I found a coffee bean grinder mid clear out and put it to use. The first grinding was only ok, I’ll try the second tomorrow. Either way, the coffee will be drunk as we’re nearly at the end of the stash we picked up on holidays last year in France.

This is a boring yet satisfying process. I’m tempted to leave everything in the boxes for a few weeks, only retrieving what we actively want in a given moment, in order to see how little we actually need.

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New Kitchen

Scents and Sensibility

img_20190301_211655I bought this candle on New Year’s Eve as a little gift to myself. I had avoided scented candles for a long time after becoming heartily sick after an overdose of Yankee Candles. This one has a lovely subtle scent and I’ve learned to light it for a little while and then extinguish in order to enjoy it even more.

I’ve since bought and been given a few Max Benjamin candles, and I’ve liked each one a lot for different reasons. I was out on some errands today and was tempted to buy some new candles, until I gave myself a stern talking to and reminded myself I had a surfeit of same already and so I resisted the urge to acquire more.

I’m going to light the ones I have and enjoy them and not replace them until they’re completely finished. This one deserves to shine this evening as we enjoy the finals of Great British Menu, which makes us very hungry.

Scents and Sensibility

The Worst Boss I Ever Had…

…was, in a way, the best.

When I left college in 2004, I didn’t really have a plan. I was working in retail at the time, mainly because I had a great part-time job throughout college in a large department store. I had a lot of experience under my belt in retail, but a strange lack of confidence in my ability to break into another sector. I don’t know why, because more than one person told me I appeared to have buckets of self belief. At the time I remember feeling annoyed with myself that everyone else seemed to have things sorted and knew where they were going and what they were doing.

With the benefit of hindsight, I know many of my college peers were just as all-at-sea as I was but from my perspective the fact they had office jobs for Major Accounting/Banking/Finance Firm gave them a veneer of success of which I was secretly very envious. I didn’t really want a job in that area, but nonetheless I wanted to appear as though I knew where I was going in life.

I wanted to earn more money and I wanted to progress towards something, so I applied for and got a job in retail management in a smaller store. I didn’t really have a long-term goal in mind so I figured this would do until I had a bit more clarity about my life. I can’t remember what I expected to get out of the job, but I gave myself a year or two in the role to see what would happen.

While I’d worked under what I thought was a reasonably personable boss all the way through college, this was not the case in my first Real Job After College. My boss turned out to be a complete nightmare. She engaged in what I’ve since learned is common, namely, information hoarding. Everything she touched caused stress. I walked on eggshells around her and put up with a lot of what I would tackle head-on these days.

I never knew if taking the initiative was the right thing or would result in a Serious Conversation about how she knew best. I couldn’t change even minor things without her changing them back or having a Serious Conversation about how she knew best. She was demotivating for other staff and I slowly started to plan my exit.

At the time I was conflicted because I enjoyed the role and many of the people I worked with. It wasn’t a dream job – is there ever such a thing, really?! – but it was a step forward in my working life and I learned a lot about what was important to me personally and professionally and what I was able to tolerate and what wasn’t acceptable to me in any way. I grew up and grew into myself quite a lot.

After nearly two years I had gained enough experience to allow me to move on and upwards a little and I thanked my boss in my head for teaching me more lessons during that time than I ever thought I would learn. She was a terrible boss, had no management skills and was entirely unsuited for her role, but in some ways she was the best boss I ever had.

The Worst Boss I Ever Had…

Finally, A Real Orchid

img_20190501_112249This is not the best photo but this is a real orchid which I have managed to keep alive for six weeks. I’ve never managed this before so this feels like a bit of an achievement. Maybe our dark hall and the fact I keep forgetting to water it is helping.

It’s the loveliest colour and shape and I hope it survives for another while because it definitely sparks a lot of joy. Plus, Marjorie would definitely approve.

Finally, A Real Orchid

Reflecting on Repeal

imag0887I took this photo a year ago. I clearly quite like it, because I’ve posted it before.

It was a time that will always be a weird mix of fuzziness and absolute clarity. I was pregnant, I had complications, I was emotional, I was tired, I was restless, I was nervous. I didn’t know how the vote was going to go and I had passed by some pretty obnoxious posters and people on a near daily basis.

I’ve only just started processing the past year properly. I’ve been listening to some podcasts about the campaign and the result and it feels like the campaign only happened a short time ago, but also like I’m hearing analysis of another time and place entirely.

I’m still elated about the result and I’m still really angry that we had to go through this at all. I’m angry that the legislation isn’t perfect but elated that people are getting the healthcare they need. I’m angry that a local election candidate who left his political party because the absolutely minimal legislation in 2013 was too extreme for him sidles past our repeal bumper stickers to look for our vote in a constituency which voted yes by a landslide.

I feel guilty that I didn’t do more and wonder if I was too lazy, and then I wonder if I needed to do more given the result. Then I feel guilty for trying to absolve myself of my guilty feelings. I’m not sure if feeling this guilt is good or bad at this point.

I look at my children and  that makes me happiest of all. All the marches and the chats and the donations and the support and the GIFs and the funny moments and the sad moments and the whole of the 25th of May 2018 when I barely functioned because of the knots in my stomach and the all over shaking when I thought about what might happen. I don’t want to say it was all worth it, but it happened and I can look back on it all in a slightly less garbled way than I would have even a few months ago.

I’m glad I have these memories; they’re part of me now. I’m equally glad that this morning when I moved my box of repeal stuff aside to get at something else in the attic I was able to tell myself that the box is a relic of another time already.

Reflecting on Repeal