Progress report

Oh dear, is it really nearly two weeks since I last posted? How useless I am. I keep giving myself the excuse that I’m too tired to post, so I’ll do it tomorrow. I’ve obviously done that now for the last 13 days in a row.

The loft is now entirely finished except for one last thing – the carpet. As it happens, the carpet has been the only real stumbling block in this entire process. We ordered it through Carpetright – through force of habit as they have carpeted our last three houses – on the basis that they could guarantee a pre-Christmas fitting. But as Christmas crept closer and closer, they kept making different excuses until we reached the point where had absolutely no faith whatsoever that we would actually have carpet this year. So eventually we cancelled and re-ordered through Allied Carpets, who have confirmed a fitting date of next Thursday. That will be the very last stage of the build, so next weekend we will actually be able to start moving upstairs.

The last couple of weeks have been a triumph of Ursula-esque organisation, with all the painting, plumbing, electrics, tiling, connecting the TV points to the aerial, window cleaning and a thousand other little things all completed within an amazingly short space of time.

I don’t remember if I’ve mentioned the big falling out I had with the boss of the loft conversion company. I’m glad I didn’t post anything on the day that happened, as I’m sure I would have said things I wasn’t proud of. Anyway, it’s all water under the bridge now as the job is officially finished, although that’s just reminded me that we still have sent back the sign-off papers that were the basis for the falling out in the first place. Oops. My computer is currently off at the Apple Store being repaired, but as soon as I get it back, I’ll post some more up-to-date pictures of the loft.

We did the first bit of nursery preparation the other day. The electrician moved the light fitting from our bedroom up into our new room in the loft, so we had to put something up to replace it in our current room which is soon to become the nursery. It looks a bit silly having an ABC light shade over our bed, but it’s quite nice that things are finally progressing. 

It feels like we’ve left things very much until the last minute in terms of actually preparing for the arrival of two new babies. With both previous babies, we’ve been buying up the entire stock of Mothercare from pretty much the second the blue line appeared on the little stick. But this time, because the main thing we had to do was make the house big enough for a family of six, we haven’t really had a chance to think about anything else. When we finally vacate our bedroom in the next week or two, we will at last be able to start preparing properly. And that’s when we’ll realise how hideously unprepared we are. We’ve got boxes and boxes of old baby stuff to sort through, but I’m sure we’ll find we’ve thrown most of the useful stuff out – we reached a point about two years ago when we said we definitely weren’t going to have any more children so there was no point in keeping anything. So I fear there is much shopping to be done in the coming weeks. Anyway, we only ever had one of anything before, and of course now we need two of everything. Oh god!

We have our first cot, very kindly donated by our lovely friends the Pearls, who most irritatingly moved to Cambridge last year. Our other cot (which actually belongs to us) is currently in use by my nephew, so I’m rather hoping his new bed turns up before the twins do, or somebody’s going to be sleeping on the floor.

Ursula is looking like she’s ready to pop. People keep asking her if she’s due before Christmas – her belly is at least as big as a full term belly for a single pregnancy, and there’s still two months to go. In fact if you believe the official measurements, there’s still 11 weeks to go, but I think they’re a week out anyway. Besides, twins very rarely go to term, and according to the midwife, twins can be born at anything from 34 weeks. Which is in about 5 weeks time. Oh my f•••••g god! Ignoring the fact that she is finding it increasingly difficult to move, she also gets extremely tired, and has to contend with regular internal beatings from not one but two babies. The next few weeks are going to be so much fun…



I am slightly disappointed because I will no longer be able to obsess about choosing the right double buggy. A friend of one of the mums from Jacob’s class had a nearly new Maclaren Techno Twin that she wanted to get rid of for the princely sum of £80. A brand new one costs around £210, and they no longer make them in red, which this one is. So we are now the proud owners of said double buggy, so I no longer have to worry about whether we ought to be splashing out 400-odd quid on a PowerTwin Pro. I ought to be grateful really, as we’ve got so much other stuff to be thinking about at the moment, that one fewer thing on the list is quite welcome. 

A friend asked me the other day if I’m freaked out yet (I presume she meant by the prospect of more babies, rather than just life in general). The truthful answer is that I’ve been so wrapped up in loft conversions and car buying that I really haven’t had the chance to give much thought to the actual reason we’re doing all this. In about 2-3 weeks time, the loft will be finished, at which point we’ll be able to move our bedroom upstairs, and start turning our old room into a nursery. At that point, when I’ve got a bedroom in my house with two cots in it, that’s when it will really start to hit home. And I think I probably will be totally freaked out.

Going back to the disappointment theme, I’m disappointed in myself for having done such a bad job of documenting the progress in the loft. It’s all happened so quickly, and we’ve been so busy spending every spare minute of the day organising everything, that I haven’t taken any pictures for ages, and I haven’t got anywhere close to keeping this blog up to date with the daily progress that I intended to when it started.

The main part of the building work finished early last week, just 3 and a half weeks after they started. The rest of the week was taken up with the fiddly work of the plumber and electrician, neither of whom have quite finished yet, but the bulk of their work is done. This morning, the decorators and the tilers arrived, and again the progress has been astonishingly fast. The bathroom is almost done, although we didn’t buy enough tiles so we’ve had to order more and hope they arrive tomorrow or the tiler will have to go off onto another job. The decorating, which is a very big job because in addition to the two bedrooms and a bathroom in the loft, they also have to do the both staircases, the landing and re-do the downstairs hall which has been completely trashed, is due to be finished by the middle of next week. Then it’s just the wardrobes and the carpet to go and the whole thing will be done. Oh yes, and the scaffolding’s coming down tomorrow. I’m never around during daylight hours to take any decent pictures, but I will definitely post some more next weekend.

On the car front, I have spent much more time on the phone in the last couple of weeks to car dealers and finance providers than is healthy. We were just about to go for an ex-showroom model from the Renault dealership, when I got a call telling me the ordering system has re-opened and we can now order the specification we want for delivery in February/March. So I have spent much of today trying to negotiate Renault down to the online price and failing. If all goes well I will finally order the car tomorrow, and I can cross another big thing off the to-do list. 

Also on the disappointment theme, Ursula’s gestational diabetes has returned. No great surprise as she had it with both previous pregnancies, and she’s lucky it didn’t get diagnosed until so late this time. But it means she’s got to keep pricking her fingers to monitor her blood sugar, and worse still she has to be very watchful of what she eats from now on, which is far from ideal when pregnant.

She’s still coping surprisingly well despite her increasingly enormous bump (I really ought to be documenting the progress of that in pictures too) although she gets tired very easily, and who could blame her? It didn’t help her buggering off to Lisbon for the weekend, ostensibly for research for a travel piece she’s writing, but in reality to get plenty of good food and spa treatments in a luxury hotel. All this left me on single-parent duty for the whole weekend, which went surprisingly well. The boys were unusually well behaved, even as I dragged them around B&Q picking up paint samples. I took them to the cinema on Saturday afternoon (Madagascar 2 – totally underwhelming) which strikes me as the perfect way to cope with multiple children with minimal effort. I hope the twins are as into their films as their brothers are. But even so, the thought of ever having to be on single-parent duty when I’ve got four is utterly terrifying. OK, Louise, now I’m freaked out.