Two of the children and I were struck down with a tummy bug, and went to stay at my Mum's to recover. We had to go, really, as the builder was working on the drains, and we had times when he was asking us not to use the toilets - doesn't bear thinking about. So I left Ste officially in charge of the house and the build and everything home related for a day. Twenty four hours, more or less.
And the plumbers came, to move the boiler flue, outside tap and overflow pipes. This involved drilling through the outside wall from the kitchen. Had I been at home, I'd've moved things out of the kitchen, shut the kitchen door to keep the dust from upstairs, maybe covered some of the work surfaces. My darling husband moved his shoes and left everything else.
That night Mum went to check on the work for me (and pick up pyjamas for her lurgy-infested lodgers). She came back and said, 'It's quite a mess. I don't think you can go home till it's clean. You can't cook in there.' She went on to tell me about the dusty fruit, the film on the worktops, the filth on the hob, the stereo with dust in every crack. Then she said, 'But, Abigail, what are those things on the windowsill? They're not fish, are they?'
I suddenly felt sicker than ever. The sea monkeys!
'Well, they were still swimming around,' Mum said, doubtfully, 'But there is dust EVERYWHERE.' I had dreams of choking sea monkeys, and wished I hadn't joked about keeping them alive till the end of the week.
We went to clean today; took two of us four hours of hard non-stop work. The sea monkeys appeared none the worse for their adventures with us, even if the water is a peculiar shade of pink. Half way through cleaning, I spotted the Glamorous Next-Door Neighbour's husband wandering in his garden, back early from their holiday. Those poor sea-monkeys must still be reeling from the speed with which they moved back next door, and I've replaced them with a bunch of flowers from my Dad. At least I only have to remember to top up the water in those.