Project Awesome

Making my life more awesome

Future planning and serendipity

Another thing that happened on Friday – I received a text from my mum, who was looking after Big Girl and Small Girl.  It said “Keeping down the dandelions in your yard” followed by this picture:

Not only was my mum hanging my washing out, there was a tortoise in my yard!  She said it had just wandered in and Big Girl was in two minds about it.  I was quite excited.  Maybe it would stay and no-one would ever reclaim it.  I’ve always wanted a tortoise.

Sadly, by the time I got home it had wandered off again.  The next day I saw my neighbour.  He said the tortoise was his and apologised for its incursion. I said I’d quite hoped to keep it and he said he had a baby one which I could have if I wanted.  I said I’d think about it.

And I have been.  I *really* want a tortoise. It would be amazing.  I’m torn between believing this is serendipity (and you can justify anything if it’s serendipity) and knowing that you have to think carefully before taking on an animal which is likely to outlast you.

The thing is, this is a Leopard Tortoise (not a leopard.  That would be ridiculous).  It’s the 4th largest species of tortoise.  I live in a terraced house with a yard.  There’s nowhere for it to graze.  Part of my plan to improve my life is wanting to do things and having a go.  But I’m not willing to take on a pet with significant care needs (and a risk of salmonella) just to make my life better.

So… I’d need to think about where to keep it indoors.  And where it would live outdoors.  Apparently tortoises really do need grass to graze on.  I have none.  I’d have to think about the costs of adequate heating.  Vet’s bills.  And who will look after it when I die.  And how to look after a reptile, of which I have no experience.

I get very enthusiastic about things.  You could probably say ‘obsessive’ and not be inaccurate, as anyone following my facebook posts about West Wing would agree.  So I’ve been looking at books on tortoises, reading stuff on the internet, posting on a forum, asking for advice, looking on gumtree for people selling or giving away tortoises, trying to convince myself that this is a good idea.  But really, in the rational part of my brain, I know I can’t take on the fourth largest breed of tortoise.  I can’t take on any sort of tortoise at the moment.  Ex-Husband and I have yet to agree on the future of the house I live in.  So my plan is to get that sorted, so I know where I’ll be living, and then start planning – make my yard secure, get some grass, work out where the tortoise could live, and get one in the future.

Yes, I have a future-tortoise-plan.  This was another thing I wouldn’t have anticipated a year ago.



Ongoing Awesomeness

If my journey into single-parenting was a pregnancy, I’d be expecting a baby any day now. 9 months ago Ex-Husband left me. While it doesn’t feel that momentous, I notice the date each month – but it doesn’t make me cry any more.

And as far as single-parenting goes, I’ve got really good at managing two children, making decisions for them, living with mountains of washing up and inventing meals from 5 unrelated items in my fridge because I’ve failed to order shopping yet again.

Co-parenting is a different matter. We’ve not got the hang of that yet. Trying to make decisions about your children with someone who has a completely different idea about what they need and no longer gives a shit about what you want is, it’s fair to say, a challenge. Trying to separate out what is best for them from how I feel is really hard – but I am doing a good job.

And what about making my life more awesome? I feel like I’m falling down there. I’m existing, but my life is miserable. Well, I say it’s miserable. A couple of weeks ago I went out for my birthday – drinks and cocktails at The Cornerhouse followed by dancing at Fab Cafe. And this weekend I went to Chill Factore and threw myself down a snowy slope on various different bits of equipment, followed by food and cocktails at Hard Rock cafe. It sounds pretty miserable, I’m sure you’ll agree.

It’s just the other bits. The rest of my life. I blame the West Wing. I’ve become addicted to the passive escapism, the dream of my life being meaningful in the way that only fictional members of a US administration can hope for.

And while my original goals (writing, sewing, climbing, learning) are not some kind of Holy Grail for a satisfying existence, they were things I enjoyed doing. Climbing is on hold – I need to see how my free time will look when new contact arrangements for the children start in September – before I commit to a course to learn how to belay and mess about with ropes.

But sewing – I’m missing the satisfaction of spending a few hours creating something that I’ll then never wear or use. So I’m setting myself a goal. Here are two pairs of jeans which have worn into holes. I’m going to use them to create two new items in the next month six weeks or so – watch this space…



Welcome to Project Awesome

In October, my husband left me.  Shit! Suddenly, unexpectedly, I found myself a single parent to a 4-month-old and a 22-month-old.  So I did what anyone else would do – I cried.  For four weeks, I cried whenever I felt like it: walking down the road pushing a pram and wailing; half way down the stairs in a church building, sobbing – fortunately I’m very good at crying and have little shame about it.

Then I stopped crying and started raging.  This felt better but it was quite tiring, particularly with a baby who liked feeding every two hours through the night, and didn’t like sleeping in her own bed.

Christmas arrived with the gift of laryngitis.  The New Year brought January and 2012 (Olympics! Woo! Yeah!) and the realisation that this wasn’t going to go away, and my husband wasn’t going to come back, and the life I thought I was going to have was probably not going to happen.

So I decided I’d have a good life anyway and after a little help from Psychologies magazine, I set some goals – thought about what I like doing; what I’d like to achieve; what I’d be doing if time and money were no object; what I’d be doing if I knew I’d be a success.

  • I want to get out of the house by myself, do some exercise, get fitter, meet new people.  Inspired by once free-climbing on the Great Orme in Doc Martens aged 17 and not falling to my death, I’d like to try climbing.
  • I want to use my brain again – I love thinking about and discussing ideas. I’m hoping to study something – and eventually finish the masters I was working towards when I found out I was pregnant.
  • I’d like to be more creative and to develop a skill, so I’m going to get out my sewing machine and make things. Probably not very well, as I’m not one for straight lines or anything requiring manual dexterity, but I’ve signed up for Pinterest and I’m collecting lots of inspiring ideas for things I’ll probably never get round to doing.
  • And I used to write. If I could do anything, I’d write a novel. A story that would make you cry and feel your life will never be the same.  If I could do anything, anything at all, I’d be Audrey Niffenegger and spend the rest of my life knowing I’ve written ‘The Time Traveller’s Wife’.  However, as that seems unlikely to happen, I’m going to settle for starting with this blog and seeing where I go from there. I’m hoping that as I get more sleep and more practice, my writing will become more interesting – so bear with me.

So that’s Project Awesome – making my life the best it can be. Feel free to drop in, see how I get on, and maybe share your own ideas about what would make your life the best it can be.  Or even suggest things you think I might like to try – suddenly I find myself with everything* open to me and I think it might be fun…

*Everything subject to the demands and constraints of a toddler and a baby, that is.