Friday, 20 January 2017

One Daily Positive 2017 Week 3 Dogs, exercise and routine.

First full week as a SAH, a housewife. Peter is at work 8am till 6pm every day, so it's just me, Bob and Pushkins. So far, so good. I've established a routine, a daily time table and a list of things to do for the week. In the past when I've been a SAH, it's not been through choice and I've suffered with depression.

The first day of the week in Dubai is Sunday, I tidied up after the weekend, hoovered and put the washing on, after getting dressed I headed off to a local vets to walk a rescue dog, Rory.

Monday was going smoothly, after a few jobs around the house, I set off on a bike ride to the beach, as I posted my photo, I realised the date and had a minor meltdown. I collected Rory for the afternoon and sat in the garden sorting out car insurance. After taking Rory back, I went to the RTA to get the car tested (like a UK MOT) and re register my vehicle for another year. A very efficient process but not easy to work out if you've not had to do it before.

Tuesday and Bob and I went out into the desert, walked round 4-5 lakes and had a picnic breakfast, collected Rory and chilled out in the garden. I walked Bob and Rory back to the vets.

Wednesday had the potential to be a very stressful day, as I had to do the Ejari, which is registering the house contract with the government. I then  In the headed out on my bike to the bank and then for a walk on the beach. In the afternoon I collected Rory again for a few hours. It's nice finding different routes to walk through the streets with the dogs. The evening was spent doing the UK tax return online, as overseas landlord we have to download software off the Government website and after a lot of searching I found another expat in America willing to share her knowledge.

Thursday was my day to get ready for the weekend, tidy, clean, iron and food shop. Now I'm not working I've found the time to shop for what we want to eat each day. I decided to visit the Mall of the Emirates and check the sales out. I've been keeping a close eye on what I'm spending so I can create and stick to a budget of some sorts. I collected Rory again. After posting on my blog about a visit to The Green Planet, Rain Forest, the Project Manager invited me back for a tour to see what else has been added and to explain why certain things, such as seating can't be accommodated.

Friday my friend came round with Jelly for the afternoon and leaving both dogs with Peter we visited Safest Way, an American supermarket I'd heard about. As Jelly's human is American it was a good trip and the cupboards are now restocked. Peter will be working more from home and the aircon in the study isn't the best so we spent the evening, moving his desk and contents into my sewing room and vice versa.

Saturday and my routine is getting interrupted already as Peter heads off to Egypt this evening with work. I'm joining him on Thursday for a long weekend in Luxor and I have Rory till Tuesday, when she is getting spayed, to occupy me and to work on her behaviour. Peter had a hair cut in the morning and we met a friend for lunch.

15/365 Indulgent. Getting things done. 

 16/365 Play.

 17/365 Kiss.

 18/365 Alive. Enjoying living next to the beach.

 19/365 Wake Up. The whole of Dubai was up early and off somewhere.

 20/365 Fur. The cat has been feeling slightly neglected this week with Rory visiting.

 21/365 Little Ones. Celebrating the end of 21 years as a school mum. My Little ones all grown up now.

On the blog this week:
PoCoLo Identifying and managing depression as a SAH
My Sunday Photo Soft Play with Bob
Animal Tales Dogs for adoption

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Dogs for adoption in Dubai with Animal Tales

Late last year I made an appeal in a face book group for donations of old bedding and material so I could make up some dog beds for various animal organisations in Dubai. I'd fostered a couple of dogs for a short period, successfully helping them get their forever homes through some basic house training and social media. But it wasn't something Peter was keen on doing on a regular basis and it was upsetting the cat, introducing new dogs into the family. Bob certainly wasn't put out and seemed to enjoy having them around. So 2017 is going to be a year of supporting the various organisations through social media, walking and socialising foster dogs and collecting and donating items for the organisations to use such as bedding and food.

My mum was visiting and finding the weather too hot she helped run up several dog beds, which have been donated to Dog Walk, Doggies Palace and My Second Home, companies who work with rescue organisations.

I've made a couple of visits to Doggies Palace to walk Pheonix who was rescued back in June but is sadly living in kennels. Bob and Phoenix had a chance to meet in a supervised environment, both on their leads to see how they got on, to see if Pheonix can be integrated into a family with other dogs or whether he must be the only dog.

We left a couple of presents for Pheonix and will be visiting him some more this month.

I haven't been back to see Phoenix yet, as I've been helping out with Rory, she was found a couple of weeks ago, no microchip and around 18 months of age. I can't foster, but I can have her home in the afternoons so she can have some time out of her cage and socialise. She walks well on a lead and travels ok in a car as long as she is secured safely.

Rory would make a lovely addition to any home, with or without other dogs.

 We had a visitor over Christmas the New Year. Jelly and her owners arrived in Dubai in October. They spent the holidays with family, so we offered Jelly a place to stay rather than her go into kennels. 

 After our visit to meet Santa we also attended a carol concert for humans and hounds at My 2nd Home. We've also lined up quite a few other playdates at various locations and I'm looking forward to friday meet ups with Jelly and her owners.

 Bob and Jelly got on very well together and Jelly is certainly missed already. I'm sure Bob is perfectly fine, as is Jelly now they are apart, but having 2 dogs was really nice and they played together none stop as well as constantly looking at me like this, every time I entered the kitchen.

I also took Bob to soft play and there have been trips out into the desert.

There are also a lot of stray cats in our neighbourhood, this one turned up a few weeks ago, I've been feeding her/him, but can't get close enough to check for a microchip.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Trying to avoid depression now I'm a Stay at Home.

I became a SAHM in 2011 after moving to South Africa where laws prevented me from working. I did however immerse myself in charity and volunteer work, not behind the scenes but fully hands on. Working formed an important part of my identity and without a career I felt lost.

On moving to Dubai, I was determined to find a job and I took the first one offered, teaching in FS1. I hadn't taught in this age group or environment, this didn't work out for me you can read more about why I gave up working here.

So now I'm a SAH through choice. In South Africa my visa read 'Home Executive' In Dubai, due to where we live I'm affectinately known as a 'Jumeriah Jane'  however expat coffee mornings are not my style.

Despite living as expats, we've never employed cleaners or maids to help around the home, many people say we're not supporting the local economy, but for me I don't want a stranger in the house, the worry of employment visas, contracts, etc.

After a full on year of 12+ hours a day working and the recent spate of visitors, I'm glad for the time off. Lots of things have been put on hold that really need doing, such as the garden, housework and tax returns, the house and new flat in the UK that we need to sort things out with such as renewing insurances and the youngest child leaving boarding school and applying for apprenticeships as well as helping him find somewhere to live.

We have a trip to Egypt booked for the end of the month to give me something to look forward to and then there are the trips to the UK and South Africa to book.

But I still have to manage the in-between. I don't find it easy to pace myself and am often accused of making myself ill by not resting, something I did last week, trying to get everything sorted asap.

I know what triggered depression in the past, losing my identity, self worth and value as a person, so I know what to avoid and how to avoid it. This time my new identity is my choice, so I am responsible for myself this time, as in there is no one to try to lay the blame on.

Reading through my blog, I've identified that 2013 and the lowest point for me, the posts are a mixture of reflection and the current situation at the time. It was the year we had Tenants from hell and I spent months away from my family and I felt a self imposed guilt of being away for so long, it was the year the youngest child was heading to the UK for boarding school, child 4 of 5 was finishing school and moving back to the UK sooner rather than later, we had lots of visitors, visas were due for renewal and Peter was travelling more.

June 2011 With love and support from my husband

February 2012 When Suzanne says 'fuck it'

January 2013 Losing my identity caused my depression

February 2013 If depression had physical signs and I looked ill

February 2013 Do expats ever settle?

March 2013 Managing my depression

August 2013 Constant changes make life difficult, long spells in the UK, a child leaving home and after the visitors.

June 2015 the importance of having a routine

So now I know what caused the depression, the triggers, now I know how to stay on top of it, to acknowledge it and say 'it's ok to feel sad' to talk about it before, to ask for help and not feel I have to justify it in anyway, I thought I'd share my thoughts on my blog, so I can revisit and remind myself just how far I have come and that, just like a physical illness, it's ok just to have bad days.

I've created myself a time table/things to do on a daily basis and then weekly goals on top:

Wash up and tidy around the house, sort out the days dinner, make a pack lunch to stop me picking on food all day.

By 9am get dressed, including hair and make up.

Go out, even if it's just for a coffee or a food shop. Walk the dog, cycle, go to the beach, blog at the coffee shop, anything just to get me out the house and do this first thing or I'll not leave.

Sundays and Thursday are for housework, food shop, washing, ironing and tidying only. Getting ready for the weekend so when it comes Peter and I can do what we want rather than spending, like we have the past year, doing housework, washing and ironing, then too tired to do anything.

Tuesday are desert days, take Bob for a long walk, pack the camping stove, a book, deck chair and picnic and just chill out. Nearly everyone I've met in Dubai has been through #BobTheDog.

There are projects and crafts I want to do. Finish writing my book, sew dog beds for charity, find a use for the rest of the odds and ends lying around the house. Sort the physical photo's into albums. Work more in the garden, sit more in the garden and enjoy the efforts of my hard work.

I will allow myself down days, pj days and days of eating junk food, that's how we spent the weekend, for the first time in a year, just chilling out and switching off.

And finally, routine. I have to accept it changes, not on a daily basis but when we have an influx of visitors, when I travel to the UK. We've bought a flat near my parents so we have somewhere to stay when we travel, a base, so we're not living out of a suitcase, somewhere we can invite people to come and visit us. Expensive, but so simple. It will make going home now a lot more pleasurable, knowing we can switch off and relax and actually start taking proper holidays rather than seeing it as a chore because we have no down time.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

107 My Sunday Photo F is for fun

Who says you can't have fun after your kids leave home. I just go to soft play now with my dog, Bob, instead.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

One Daily Positive 2017 Week 2 After the visitors

There's a bit of a change on the blog, I'm still Chickenruby and in my 8th year of blogging, I've just decided to drop the words 'Expat' 'solo travel' and 'family life'

I'm not really sure what an expat is anymore, Dubai is just where I live now, like South Africa before that and various places in the UK before that. My youngest child finished school this June, although he left home over 3 years ago now. The solo travel isn't really solo, I stay with friends and family in places where I've lived. The world of the internet is full of blog posts on 'how to pack a suit case' 'best places to visit with kids' I don't need to keep reinventing the wheel.

This month is also the 6th anniversary of us leaving the UK. As well as writing my weekly #Project 365, HDYGG? Animal Tales and My Sunday Photo Photo posts, I will be reflecting quite a bit, as I celebrate 25 years of parenting in May this year.

The visitors have gone, they left on Tuesday. I must admit I am enjoying the peace and quiet, but I know it won't last long. It's hard being an expat, family come and it's an intense few weeks, then nothing till the next trip, which will be me visiting the UK in March/April.

The last few days were busy with a desert safari on Sunday and I managed to get the christmas decorations down on Monday when the kids popped to the beach, followed by a visit to the Aquarium, some last minute shopping and a new suitcase for me with industrial wheels followed by afternoon tea at The Palace Hotel. Peter and the teen spent the evening installing a new TV and sound bar.

It was an early start, 4am on Tuesday to the airport for the goodbyes, it doesn't get any easier. I then spent the day cleaning and blitzing the house. 

Wednesday involved a lie in, food shop and coffee. The decorations were put away, although there is still a set of lights to come down but it's a two person job. I did the ironing, a bit more tidying and then headed off to a friends house where Peter joined me for a pub quiz and dinner.

Thursday morning was spent gardening, then off to work to collect my final salary pay cheque, I opted not to let anyone know I was coming and left some stuff in reception. I called in at the garden centre on my way home, followed by dinner and an early night.

Friday and another lie in, took Bob for a play date, followed by my first proper night out out in Dubai with some of the girls from work, which saw me dancing on the beach, drinking cocktails and getting home at 3.30am. 

Saturday and another lie in, took Bob to soft play for an hour and spent the evening on the sofa with the duvet.

I'm determined to find something new to do with our next lot of visitors.
8/365 Goals.

Afternoon tea at The Palace Hotel with my niece my first visit here and 1st time I've been defeated. 
9/365 New.

Could only find gluten free bread so I'm toasting it in the hope it's tastes better. I really need to start eating more healthily, but it's been difficult with all the visitors.
10/365 Make up

The first time since I left work that I've had a chance to tidy up properly and find a place for everything 11/365 Smells Good.

First meal I've cooked from scratch in ages.
12/365 I'm cooking.

Duvet day in preparation for going out.
13/365 Inspire.

Taking Bob to soft play
14/365 Car.

This week on the blog.

My Sunday Photo 'S is for Selfie'
HDYGG with a visit to Zaabeel, Dubai Garden Glow
And a post about 'why I'm done with being a tour guide' with #PoCoLo