‘Twas the night before rehab

It’s 12.22 in the am, I haven’t had my tea yet, I have a nasty headache, I feel sick with hunger and I’m shaking with tiredness as I’ve just sat down after working solidly since my youngest son (known as BabyB) went to sleep.

This isn’t a new occurrence, every night but three has been like this since I was given the news five weeks and two days ago that the local authority were in agreement that my 12 year old son could return home to his family after four years in foster care.

There had previously been a concern that I would need to move to a larger property before this could happen as there is currently already me, my eldest son, my youngest daughter, BabyB and a hamster crammed into a two bedroom local authority maisonette. There was a real worry about how long that would take as I wasn’t initially deemed a priority by my local authority housing department and my son was starting to struggle with the concept of being able to come home, without being able to come home.

However, after a conversation with my son’s social worker and team manager, and after a weekend of furrowing my brow, worrying, pacing, and furiously sketching out plans…I found a way to make it work.

And…after two solid weeks of clearing, car-booting, Gumtree-ing, eBay-ing, putting-stuff-in-loft-ing, de-cluttering, countless trips to charity shops laden with bags of items for them and rearranging anything that would stand still long enough to be rearranged…

…after a further two weeks of putting up shelves, buying things like “over-door hooks” and key hooks in an effort to save space, building furniture I had bought with the proceeds of the car-booting, obsessing over storage and taking to going out with a clip-on tape measure attached to my jeans, buying screws/grouting tools/hooks/masonry nails whilst wearing a dress and trying to at least appear feminine, gardening (read: hacking at the undergrowth I had let build up for four years whilst swearing under my breath and achieving astonishingly impressive scratches, bruises and rashes), reviving old furniture, getting someone else to come and put the shelves back up that I had put up as they’d fallen down (ditto coat hooks) (ditto DVD storage), a Major Organisation Spree (which included much decanting of items into pots and bags with sticky labels advising the reader of the contents) and the mother of all cleaning sessions (still ongoing…I have a bottle of Flash-All Purpose Cleaner wedged into my waistband at all times)…

…after two tins of gloss paint because I felt compelled to re-do all the gloss work in the entire house lest my son judge me and decide he didn’t want to come home because Mam’s DIY skills left a lot to be desired, a tin of black paint to make old furniture Teenworthy, two tins of woodstain, several tester pots of paint to “touch up” my previously piss-poor efforts at decorating when I moved in four years ago, two rolls of wallpaper “so the fireplace looks pretty” (NB: we don’t have a fireplace), a tin of varnish, five tubs of grout, two tubes of bathroom sealant, the purchase of a “squeegee” so I could wash windows like a pro…

…after taking delivery of a second-hand sofa bed, a second hand corner sofa, a triple bunk bed, a second hand desk (£4 on Gumtree!!) and four IKEA Kallax units complete with 24 boxes, all of which I have painstakingly organised so everyone has room to put their bits in (thank you to North Tyneside Council)…

…after finally being able to do the fun bits like buy cushions, fairy lights, girly pictures and her name in wooden letters with fairies on (note: her nickname, not her full name as the buggers char