After five full days away, Woodoo brought the girls back to us late this afternoon, and we’re not even close to having finished the bathroom renovation!

Because we’re working with an old house that was first built by the owner, nothing is standard. The floor isn’t level, the walls aren’t square, the paint was peeling and the ceiling falling off. We had to reconstruct part of the walls so we could hang the shower, and new tap handles don’t fit onto our decrepit spindles, so we had to buy complete new tap sets.

Even today, while we were trying to fit our bath, we encountered problems with mounting the spa pump, modifying the waste hole for the drainage and even making it all fit into the space we intended for it. It’s been frustrating to make such slow progress in this child-free time when we should be able to speed ahead and smile at our accomplishments at the end of the day.

David, April 2009
This afternoon, we realised that we couldn't install the bath properly without cutting out the wall, so David had to get in there and carefully slice a straight line all around the bath surrounds. The ensuing dust filled the whole house.

So when Woodoo called at about lunchtime to say that they were coming up, I was disappointed. It’s been a real blessing to not have to worry about the kids, not to mention the dust, sawdust and tools we have lying around. I haven’t really missed the girls — there just hasn’t been time to think about it.

In their absence, I’ve been able to get some more things done in the playroom. I put up a curtain to separate Brioni’s bed and hung pictures on the wall. It’s looking really good and is the best room in the house (apart from my glorious kitchen). As soon as I finish covering the toy boxes, I’ll take some photos.

This afternoon I had to whip around the house and tidy up the kitchen (at least!) so the house didn’t look so neglected, and David and I frantically tried to get the bath area finished in time. We still have to install the sink cabinet and countertop, and this afternoon I broke the huge mirror that covers one wall — heartbreaking.

I was just installing the bath’s taps and spout when the girls arrived. Aisha knew what we had been working on in her absence and immediately went to check out the bathroom. (I’m afraid it wasn’t as impressive as it could have been.) Brioni was affectionate, wanting to give kisses, and Calista just wanted to be held.

Of course this evening we had to try out the spa bath, and in my impatience, I turned on the spa too soon and the jets squirted water everywhere! I had three girls crying and none wanted to get into the scary bath. After a while I managed to calm them down and they all eventually had a turn. (I also learned how to turn down the jets so the water didn’t shoot out quite so powerfully!)

Aisha, 4yo, + Brioni, 2yo, April 2009
Once they got used to the water jets, the bubbles were so much fun (and Aisha licked them off her face).

The girls have more freckles and are a bit sunburnt from their time in the Fishers’ pool. They’ve probably watched more TV than I would have liked, but I’m just glad they had a good time. Calista has been taking more tentative steps on her own, so it will be fun to see her start walking properly over the next couple of weeks.

Next week, Manou arrives late on Wednesday night, so David and I can look forward to that time to finish the bathroom (if we haven’t made more progress in the ensuing days).

But for now, it’s business as usual — kid business, that is — books, toys, mess, meals, nappies and naps. Ah, my life. I wouldn’t trade it for anything!