Monday, December 11, 2017

@Regranned from @pregnant_then_screwed - This guy (the big one) left his job so he could spend more time with the kids. Working flexibly just wasn't an option, so he was made to choose between his job and seeing the little humans he co-created grow up. He left and went freelance and now spends Fridays wrestling a 4 year old into his school uniform, whilst single handedly fighting the patriarchy by belting out some nursery rhymes and chasing poo filled nappies at the local playgroup. It makes him feel more manly, not less, because what is more manly than caring for your own offspring? The Fatherhood Institute has today released research which shows fathers are twice as likely as mothers to have a flexible working request refused and they are less likely to be offered any of the same perks and incentives as mothers - such as enhanced parental leave pay. They are calling on the Government to give fathers 3 months properly paid parental leave on a use it or lose it basis so we can start to normalise fathers being, er, fathers. Something that isn't just good for families but it's good for the economy. I will be chatting about this with the CEO of the Fatherhood Institute at 10.20am on Radio Tyne Tees. If we all keep shouting, at some point the Government has to listen #parentalleave #sharedcare #marchofthemummies #pregnantthenscrewed - #regrann


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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

NaBloPoMo 28

Feeling a bit better today. Worked on my emails from bed till noon, then got up and worked from the sofa until it was time to pick up Martin, who's staying with us for a few days. Still feel a bit wibbly, but no more throwing up which is good. Think I might have pulled a muscle under my ribs from retching as it hurts when I breath or move.

This evening, we've made dinner, done a bit of tidying up, and are currently watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Currently getting to the point where I want the kitchen to be done as the rest of the house is in disarray. Need to get some presents wrapped for Christmas as that will make things in the study look a bit neater too. Oh and do all the washing and putting of clothes away.


Monday, November 27, 2017

NaBloPoMo 27

Laid low with a stomach bug today. Threw up at 4am, 6am and 7am, been mainly sleeping or sitting on the sofa. Hoping it will clear up by the morning, feel as fragile as hell.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

NaBloPoMo 26

I got up earlier today to breakfast with Jess and the kiddies, then had second breakfast when the rest of the grown ups surfaced. Poor old Andy was suffering from an upset stomach, so I minded Lara whilst Jess was packing up. We had a lovely time singing and shaking rattles.

The AirBnB people had kindly said we could check out a bit later than the advertised time, so we were able to clean up at a more leisurely pace. We waved the Treharnes off first, finished our cleaning up and then the remaining four of us went off to do the Five Quays trail around Poole.

It was cold, crisp and bright again, so fast walking was in order to keep everything warm! The trail takes you around the five quays of Poole unsurprisingly, and takes in some other landmarks like the lifting bridge, the Two Sails bridge, the RNLI college, some of the old town, and amusingly, the shopping centre and the bus station.

I love a town trail like this, especially in a town you don't know. We did the Great Fire of London trail in the summer and discovered all kinds of things about London then!

A lunch stop was needed, and we had excellent roast dinners and pies at the Angel, which I thoroughly recommend. 

We finished up the trail about 4pm. We'd been in the pub for quite a while, so I think the advertised time of 1.5 hours would have been about right if you weren't stopping.

We said our goodbyes post trail, and on the way home, stopped for Christmas pudding ingredients. The very first thing I cooked in our new kitchen was my Great Auntie Peg's Christmas pudding, which made me happy. Tiles were looking good, still some snagging with the floor.






Whilst the pudding was cooking, we unpacked some more bits into the kitchen, unpacked from our trip, and I composed a ploughmans for supper. We ate it gloriously in front of the telly, before shopping for cutlery inserts online. What rock and roll lives we lead.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

NaBloPoMo 24 + 25 Bradshaw Widows

Another fail but for lovely reasons. A day off yesterday. Spent some time saying goodbye to the mother in law, and talking to kitchen fitters, the tiler and the roofer.

Then we went off to Bournemouth for the boys' Bradshaw planning weekend. You can read their blog about their previous journeys here. They've been going away for a weekend over the past few years to travel a specific bit of railway, and stop at the stops and compare them to Bradshaw's descriptions. They have a planning weekend to get the routes and accommodation sorted.

Due to our kitchen work, we've rented a house on the edges of Bournemouth, and they are planning in evenings. When we arrived on Friday, we went shopping for groceries, bought lots of exciting things, and then toddled off to see Paddington 2 at the cinema. It was a very heartwarming film, and I enjoyed it immensely. Tom and I also had a good mooch on the beach and through the Winter Gardens, grabbing food from the Christmas market stalls on the way past.

 Jess, Andy and the kids arrived about 3:20pm, and we played in the park for a bit, before going to the holiday house.The holiday house is an exciting mix of 60s house, 70s decor and modern rennovations.

We bimbled around playing with the kids, snacking and getting comfy until John and Adele arrived about 7pm. Then it was time for fish and chips, watching Yes Minister and chatting before bed.

 Today we breakfasted well, and drove into town for 11ish. We had a walk on the beach and the pier, lunched extremely well at ASK, then went to try our luck in the arcades. Ethan wanted to dig in the sand for a bit, so we left the Treharnes for a bit and walked down the beach in the other direction. It's been very bright and clear today, making for lovely views of the Isle of Wight.




 We're back home now , and after some tea and bara brith made by Adele, the boys are planning again, and the kids are having their tea. I've got my knitting and my Christmas cards to do.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

NaBloPoMo 23 sound

Very interested in this piece about emotional labour in Harper's Bazaar that Clemmie Telford shared on Instagram

I think Tom and I are slightly better at this than when we first got together due to having lots of conversations around household chores over the years about what we like and don't like to do. He does more cooking, DIY and gardening, I do more tidying, putting clothes away and house/life admin, like gift buying and sourcing quotes. We both occasionally do the washing or spot cleaning, and we jointly decided employing a cleaner was worth it for background everyday cleaning.

For example with the house projects, I've definitely done more towards the arranging of quotes, but once we've decided to employ someone, Tom tends to manage them on site.

I totally relate to the walking over the box in the middle of the room anecdote, and the only thing that can address that is to keep taking about it, and not to be afraid of being labelled a nag. If it matters to you, your partner should be able to find a compromise with you. It definitely comes to learning to talk and debate as a couple without resorting to childish 'well you never put the clothes away' type retorts. We're by no means perfect, but we actively try and practice talking well to each other.

___

After thinking about Mercy the other day, I enjoyed this poem when it flashed up on my Facebook feed.


Today was a go to a team meeting kind of day, and a spend four hours in traffic kind of day. I passed the time on the way home by putting on my Advent Spotify playlist, and singing my heart out.

This evening, the mother in law was visiting, and we went out for dinner at Kupp, the scandi restaurant in West Quay 3. Absolutely religious, slightly on the pricy side, want to go back for open sandwiches at lunch time.

Currently lying in bed listening to the very noisy BT work gang outside upgrading the link box. Don't think I'll be sleeping tonight.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

NaBloPoMo 21+ 22: mercy

First fail of the month, not doing too badly this year.

Was working from home yesterday trying to finish a presentation I was giving today, and we went to dine with Ian and Mel and Baby Eleanor. It was a pleasant bit odd sensation to be discussing mainly babies and pregnancy with such old dear friends.

I've been in London today. Very happy with my presentation, great team audience and response. London was looking fab in the late autumn light.

Off to the Three Tuns in Romsey tonight with Jo

A prompt to entertain you today: Mercy

I remember reading somewhere that:

"Justice is getting what you deserve, mercy is not getting what you do deserve, and grace is getting what you absolutely don't deserve" -Grace Falsani apparently.

I've definitely experienced mercy in my life, where mistakes have been overcome by the generosity or skill of others. And I believe in a merciful God who gives me a fresh start. I try and show mercy to others where I can though I'm sure I still fail.

Monday, November 20, 2017

NaBloPoMo 20

To work and back again, then straight to yoga, where I fell asleep like I always do. Bit of an achy lower stomach today.

Nothing to report about today really. Just a day. Here's a pic of my autumn socks instead.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

NaBloPoMo 19

Happy autumn socks day everyone! Tom and I have ritually given each other socks. Toadstool covered ones for him and dayglo argyle compression socks for me in a bid to beat pregnancy swollen feet. I have so enjoyed the pictures of my godchildren coming in showing off their socks from the fairy sock parents.

Very restful day with the parents, including a trip to B&Q to look at kitchen paint colours and a cinema trip. We want a share of cream and I am always amazed at how many versions of nothing coloured paint there are.

Sadly Paddington 2 was sold out, but mum and dad were happy to rewatch Murder on the Orient Express again. I very much enjoyed the film, especially the setting and costumes. I now want to take a trip on the Orient Express, without the murder, as I love the glamour, the magical interiors of the compartments and so on.

A little bit of tea at the parents and we were off home for an early night.

Here's some pics from yesterday.






Saturday, November 18, 2017

NaBloPoMo 18

Woke up today in a leisurely fashion and had breakfast and a good natter with my mum. When Dad came downstairs we sang happy birthday to him, and Tom appeared as he was opening his presents. I love my dad's childlike glee at birthdays. I'd come downstairs to find my mum icing my dad's cake. I'm very impressed by her tiny icing Scalectrix cars.



We'd bought Dad a new desk as he was turning the small bedroom into a study, and I'd also brought home some Tayto cheese and onion crisps and a bottle of Cidona fizzy apple drink from a recent work trip to Northern Ireland. They had to be a 6 pack of crisps and a small bottle of drink as I was travelling with hand luggage only, and was buying the drink after security, but Dad was suitably pleased with the taste of his childhood.

For the rest of the day, Tom helped Dad move furniture around and build new flat pack for the little study. Mum and I had a brief trip to Wicked so I could buy flooring trim for our kitchen, and then I did a bit of work and knitted whilst watching Gilmore Girls which was lovely and peaceful.

In the evening we went for a meal at the Three Horseshoes in Chapmanslade. The pub has been renovated extensively in the ten years since I last visited. We had some excellent food, and Tom and the French waiter had some good craic over wine choices. We wish cooked up a plan to see

Afterward, we came home to sing happy birthday over cake and candles, though we were too full to eat any. We drowsed in front of Strictly on catch up and now I'm in bed, trying to sleep and decide whether the baby is moving or I've got indigestion.

Oh and for good measure, here's a pic of 3 or 4 year old me decorating my parents living room when we first moved to Westbury. Always loved painting!

Friday, November 17, 2017

NaBloPoMo 17

Off up to London today to support a colleague in a meeting, and had some good phone calls too. Really pleased that some work that I did for a national team as a favour went down well.

Everything had come out of the new dishwasher looking gorgeous, and in my excitement at emptying it I completely forgot my lunch. D'oh!

It was a beautiful crisp late autumn or early winter day in London. I love cities, and especially London at this time of year. Lots of leaves everywhere, and a snap to the air.

On the way home, I read Private Eye and worked out what to pack for our weekend away as we're seeing my parents for my dad's birthday.

By the time we'd packed, had the compulsory compulsive check of kitchen progress and thought about the tiles, it was late enough that we should probably eat before we left rather than enroute as we had originally planned.

So a quick phone call to Laura who had been interested in going out that evening led to a tasty dinner at Pho Vietnam in Portswood, and some great chat. Though Ben and Laura, I do apologise for the great detail we went into over cooker and dishwasher settings. We couldn't contain ourselves, and I swear your eyes were glazing over.

We left Southampton around 8.00pm, and made it to Westbury for 9.30pm ish, and Sat chatting with Mum and Dad. Mum and I managed to stay up very late indeed putting the world to rights. Whoops!

Here's the kitchen updates:


Thursday, November 16, 2017

NaBloPoMo 16

Ran what felt like a successful team meeting today. Then back via a supermarket to pick up pudding and drinks for dinner at the Snooks. Was excellent to see them and the boys, and eat tasty curry.

James introduced us to 'Dinner for One' a 1963 comedy sketch about a butler humouring his mistress, and played on German TV every New Year's Eve. It's also apparently played in a number of other countries too every year, making it the most repeated TV program ever.

Home to find doors on the kitchen cupboards and tried using the new dishwasher too. Getting older has definitely added to the list of things I find exciting. Here's some pics, and one of bump.





Wednesday, November 15, 2017

NaBloPoMo 15

Yesterday evening we had a lovely dinner at Jenny and Dave's house. Jenny had kindly made Tom's favourite pudding, and they were happy to wait till Tom could get away from being on call for us all to eat together. What lovely friends we have.

Today I was in the office all day, and then it was back home for a quick dinner before home group. We christened our new ovens! They'd been wired in today, and it was very exciting to press all the buttons.

I also think I felt my first proper kick from bump today. I was sitting back during the meeting and after a cold drink of water I felt an odd thudding sensation at the top of my stomach, then lower down to one side. My placenta is at the front, so I've not felt much movement. This was a really different feeling to anything I've felt before, almost like when a shoulder or a hip pops.

Here's some pics of how the kitchen is getting on:









Tuesday, November 14, 2017

NaBloPoMo 14: Temporary

Been to the chiropractor and the optician today, and then worked from the church office as home was noisy with the kitchen fitters and the roofers who are looking at our chimneys as well this week. At lunch time, I helped our new church lay reader get her church email set up, and had a very tasty bacon sandwich from the cafe.

Off to dinner at Jenny and Dave's tonight, hope Tom isn't called out where he's on standby, she's making his favourite pudding to spoil him. We are lucky to have such accommodating friends.

Not much else to report lifewise, so here's some thoughts based on a prompt.

Temporary: something you appreciate despite - or even because of - its short shelf life.

When I mull this one over, the first things that spring to mind could not be more disparate. I leapt first to Instagram Stories, the good digital marketer that I am. I enjoy their fleeting nature, the way they're not polished, and the way you feel you're getting an instant peek into someone's life for a moment. I'm not big at posting my own, but I do enjoy consuming others' work. I follow people who live all around the world, so it's fascinating to look at what is culturally different and the same.

The second thing that I appreciate in all their short lived glory are cut fresh flowers. I know they're resource heavy to grow, and that you're spending money on something that's going to die. But I love them. I love how they have to be real ones, and fake ones just don't cut the mustard. I love the smell of them, the way the change over time. I love the way they can look just as glorious as they die - especially tulips that keep growing, and blow and then petals that fall. Roll on doing up the garden so I can have my own cutting patch of flowers to enjoy - but that's next year's job.


Monday, November 13, 2017

NaBloPoMo 13

Up and down the motorway for a meeting today, then pregnancy yoga.

Kitchen has cabinet bases in it today, and lots of plumbing has been sorted. Very exciting!

Tom and I had a nice chat this evening trying to work out what to put in each of the cupboards.

I've also been researching vintage drinks cabinets or trolleys for our drawing room. We're planning to turn the current dining room into a family living room with table and chairs down one end and some comfy chair and a telly down the other, and leave the current living room as the grown up drawing room. And that makes me think it needs a bar.


Sunday, November 12, 2017

NaBloPoMo 12

Off to church this morning, where Tom was reading Psalm 21 as the Old Testament reading, and I was leading the intercessions. I'd found some good prayers in Times and Seasons for Remembrance Sunday that seemed to strike a good balance of remembering service personnel and those who died in war alongside praying for future peace.

Then it was off home for a spot of tidying whilst Tom went to help Laura with putting up a shed and fitting a sink.

Around 1:30pm I drove off to Wickham to meet some former colleagues for an afternoon tea at Lilley's, a lovely little tea shop. We had an excellent natter and catch up, and the tea was so generous that I took home cake for Tom.

Once I got home again around 5pm, the Ben tiger taxi came to pick me up and take me to Ben and Laura's house to meet Tom. This helpfully avoided us having to take two cars to our dinner engagement. I sat and knit and meant learnt about American Football whilst Tom, Jon and Laura worked on DIY, and Ben and Hannah played games.

Soon it was time for us to depart and make our way over to Olivia and Robin's house for dinner. We had a fab time, including some very thought provoking conversations about the future sex education of our children. Dinner was tasty too! Thanks for having us guys!

Work and yoga tomorrow, so it will be the first evening we've had to eat at home since the kitchen project started.

Here's how the kitchen is looking with the drying plaster.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

NaBloPoMo 11

We had a leisurely breakfast at the hotel, and after checking out, stopped in Abingdon to pick up supplies for later whilst on the way home.

I bought some rope for today's remembrance flower arranging. Regular readers will remember that I like to do something unusual. We've rearranged the front of the worship space of late, and that's changed the area I have to work within as I can't block the area used by the projector.





Making a long 6m swag like this, then lugging it up the organ loft stairs with bump might have been a mistake. I was knackered after.

I had a sit down and a snack in lieu of lunch when I got in, whilst Tom watched Star Trek:the Next Generation.

Then it was off to my sister and brother-in-laws for dinner. We had such a lovely evening chatting that we were there till 11pm!

Surprise flowers for the win. Thanks @catherine.p.j.harris 😘


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Friday, November 10, 2017

NaBloPoMo 10 Formal

After getting into the office early so an engineer could retrieve my hard drive, I rushed home to pack.

We'd kindly been invited by our friend Adam to formal dinner at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, where he is currently studying.

It was lovely to see where he's studying. LMH was a female only college until the 1970s, and was was the first college to admit women at Oxford. Whilst the mixture of men and women is about 50/50 now, it was delightful to walk through halls with paintings of eminent women, and see lots of female names over doors. Tom said he found it delightfully and worryingly subversive. Which I suppose shows how ingrained the norm of seeing men and male names in academia?




We had a tasty dinner of spring rolls and noodle salad, salmon with herby cream sauce, and then a trio of mini desserts. I was sat next to a woman who was studying the neuroscience of speech.

After a brief trip to ogle the library and the chapel, and baby's first trip to a college bar, we toddler off, and we're currently tucked up in bed at a hotel feeling all cosy. Thanks for a great evening Adam!

I hope my epitaph is as gorgeous as this:

Thursday, November 09, 2017

NaBloPoMo 9 Huddle

My employer is a client of Mindshare, a media agency.

According to their website they: "exploit the space where data, content and technology collide to create memorable experiences for people and brands"

They run an annual Huddle event where their staff, suppliers and clients get together for talks, workshops and more for a festival of ideas themed around a topic. This year was the post human world.

I went to talks about remembering we're human when looking at data, AI and parenting, the future of food, what if the TV show Westworld was real, the ethics of AI, and how we can use voice search to connect with users.

It was fascinating and totally allowed me to geek out. I shall enjoy writing up my notes tomorrow.

Horribly busy trains due to strikes today.

Went to new pizza joint in Portswood with friends tonight. Very tasty, and amazing space renovated from a bank.

Bayswater pastoral


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It might be grey out but the light on my hotel is amazing today


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Wednesday, November 08, 2017

#NaBloPoMo 8 November poppies by the river.


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NaBloPoMo 8

Work began on the kitchen today. We have a completely missing kitchen now, with new sockets and a gas pipe that's been taken outside and brought back in so that it's no longer on the wall.

Kitchen team were super friendly, and answered all our questions.





When I popped out to get some parcels earlier, I was taken by the November poppies by the river. Very appropriate for this time of year.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

#nablopomo 7: today's inspiration from @bbcradio4. Link in bio


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NaBloPoMo 7

I was in the office again today, and managed to get one of my long out standing tasks finished which was nice.

There was really bad traffic trying to get into Southampton on the way home, most surprising, and I couldn't when out why.

We then went off Salisbury to dine with Tom's mum and step dad. We often meet there as it's a good half way point between Southampton and their home in Dorset. We were eating at the Giggling Squid, a Thai restaurant just of the market place. I had a jungle curry, one made without coconut milk. Very tasty.

Today I was inspiredby listening to this edition of Desert Island Discs - Edna Adan Ismail - @bbcradio4 http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b099w3v2

When trying to concieve wasn't going very well, I would often feel very despondent about what the point of me was when I couldn't perform the basic reproductive tasks assigned to my body parts.

I found Edna's drive to help and create a good hospital and midwifery service very moving. Whilst her own biological children weren't part of her journey, she'd had 22,000 born at the hospital she'd set up.

Life may not always go the way you expect it to, but you always have a chance to make a difference.

Monday, November 06, 2017

NaBloPoMo 6

Today I managed to get up at a reasonable time, did some email from home, then got into the office for 10am to avoid the traffic.

It was a day of emails, tech support, website stats and conference calls. And ringing IT because an engineer hadn't turned up.

Then I drove home, changed my clothes and got a lift from Tom down to my pregnancy yoga class, with a stop for cash on the the way, as it was time to pay for another 4 classes.

We had a returning mum sharing her birth story tonight, and then the usual mix of breathing and stretching. I find it very soothing, and normally fall asleep during the relaxation part at the end.

A brisk, or as brisk as I can manage these days, walk over the bridge home before dinner, then helping unload flat pack bought for my dad's birthday and making packed lunches for tomorrow.

In bed now, enjoying typing on my phone and living in the future whilst what I think is the baby makes my stomach bubble.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

NaBloPoMo 5

Hello!

So tired today after all that moving of things. Off we went to church for the monthly reflective service where lectio divina replaces the sermon. Very peaceful, but I miss singing hymns as we tend to listen to music instead on this service. Lots of the congregation came up to congratulate us on the baby post service which was nice. I had a quick look in the flower vestry as I'm planning my remembrance Sunday flowers, but the stands I thought we had are gone, so I had to come up with an alternative.



After an early lunch at home we went into town, tried lifting a few prams in the relevant shops. With my weak back and arms, most of the travel systems were out. The Quinny range looked good. Then we rushed up the road to the Sea City museum where we were meeting Ben, Laura and Jon to visit the new temporary exhibition on board games.



It's a travelling one from the V&A, and it takes you through the history of board games. I'm not much one for board games thanks to my competitive dad never letting us win as kids, and these days finding Tom and his mates taking them too seriously. But I love a museum, it had a great mix of history and sociology and, the whole thing could be treated as a giant game, with spinners on the wall to tell you how many places to move, and sending you back to the start snakes and ladders style.



We also played on the old slot machines in the museum, went for a mooch in the park and stopped for a drink and a snack at Mettricks. Once we went our separate ways, Tom and I had a brief look in some shops for ideas of what to put on his Christmas list before coming home.



This evening had been very relaxing where I'd caught up with some outstanding work whilst watching Strictly, but then the washing machine stopped working. Tom's been out there taking a look for a while, and it looks like it's the socket rather than the washing machine, so that's sort of a blessing.

Saturday, November 04, 2017

NaBloPoMo 4: friends, fireworks, food

Hello! Well it's been a busy one today. We woke up a bit late, and I trundled off down the road to get some dairy free milk. We needed it to cook with today as some of the helpers coming to help empty our kitchen don't tolerate lactose. Tom and I cracked on with cooking before the helpers arrived about 10am.

Our kitchen project starts next week, and so the Nichols, Laura and Charley came to help us empty cupboards into boxes. They were absolute superstars, and everything was done by lunch time. Ned and Kendra helped by making up boxes and playing with Frieda, the littlest Nichols, and the grown ups packed and carried and sorted. Then we sat down to a tasty lunch of chicken and leek lasagne made to the mother-in-law's recipe.




After the Nichols had returned home to work on their own ongoing DIY project, we fortified ourselves with tea and chocolates and chatter before working up the energy to go for a stroll and an ice cream at the Songbird Cafe. Today's special was the gingerbread and clotted cream - delicious!

Charley left us around 5pm to see another friend, and we returned home for another rest and some online banking. Around 6:30 we drove into town for Ikea tea and to watch the Mayflower Park fireworks display from the Ikea car park because we are cheapskates and we didn't think about fireworks till today. Lots of people had the same idea, and so the Ikea cafe was rammed. Unfortunately, we'd picked the queue where only one staff member was serving hot food, and so everything moved very slowly. We gulped down our dinner, and made it outside just after the display had started. Notes for next year - come early, and park one level down from the top where you can still see, and might get a better view of the lower fireworks.



The display was very good, and I was particularly taken with the ones with lots of colours, and the smiley faces. We mooched on back to car and then went to the Humphries house for a drink and a biscuit whilst we said hello to Ben. Such a lovely chilled out day. I enjoyed all the spontaneous fun that came from many hands making light work of the kitchen packing. It's so nice to get half a day back that you weren't expecting to have.