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And just how long have you had this impending feeling of doom?

I do feel this physically, as a massive knot in my stomach, a tension that will not go away or even loosen. I’m even getting tension headaches. What is going on?

I went into Christmas feeling in a relatively good place, looking forward to starting my course again, feeling happy about exercise and continuing that. I was aware that I would be fighting for 2son with the council in January but I was ready. Christmas and the New Year came and went without major incidents so all is well.

Except that it isn’t.

I’m going away for a long weekend towards the end of the month, with two good friends. It’s going to be the maddest, more extravagant thing I’ve ever done and while I know I would never have chosen to do it on my own I am expecting to not stop laughing or having fun for a few days. Sounds awful, does it not? However I am leaving 3son and 4son on their own for the time. I’m leaving on Wednesday and coming back Tuesday morning so they will have to get themselves to school Thursday, Friday, Monday and Tuesday. They are quite capable of doing this and when I am at home if they chose not to go to school I’ve never been able to make them go anyway so it won’t make any difference. I don’t want to be caught out by school as an absent parent but I’m not leaving a six year old while I holiday for a fortnight. They are not going to have a massive party or drink all the alcohol (although I will be careful not to stock up) and quite frankly the worst I can imagine them doing is leaving the gas (oven) on overnight. I’ve warned 3son about the perils of blowing up the house and he does appreciate that this is a sensible concern of mine. They’ll make a mess, not wash up and eat junk but nothing major. I’ve promised them a weekend away of their choice if they behave. I’d like to make sure that no one from social services (for 4son) tries to contact me or notices my absence but what are the chances of that happening? So what is there to be worried about, other than I have never done it before and I feel like I’m being naughty?

I have a work thing that I’ve never had to worry about before. I host a number of websites on a shared server and it got hacked before Christmas. I’ve never had a problem before but now they’ve got in once they keep trying again on a daily basis, sometimes killing off a site in the meantime so I need to ring up (£2 for 15 minutes) and get a backup reloaded. It takes time and patience and the most important site won’t come back and is beyond my ability to repair. I haven’t yet worked out whether I should move them all to a different server (itself a time-consuming process), stop hosting them myself (consequences and a sense of responsibility), or what. I feel helpless because I don’t know enough to sort it out definitively myself. I followed clear instructions for wiping a WordPress site and re-installing a clean version and it didn’t work causing me to ring up once again to get a re-install as they couldn’t see why it didn’t work either. Anyway I’m boring myself with this but I am spending an hour (at least) every day scanning websites and monitoring situation just to make sure nothing is starting up again. This is something that was never a problem before and now is a problem and another anxiety I don’t need. I don’t feel there is anyone else who is reliable that I can pass it onto. So it’s a pressure that has come out of the blue and I don’t know what to do with it or how to resolve it, with no clear cut solution. It’s not a life and death situation but it taps into my sense of responsibility and duty. It’s also incredibly boring.

I am beginning to win the conversation about my parents’ location on their return to the UK, something that only appeared on the horizon last month. It does worry me the idea of having them close to me. Having suggested the south coast with its fast trains (when running) to London and having the proposal dismissed my sisters have now got on board with this idea and are encouraging my parents to reconsider. I do actually think it would be better for them as well as just not wanting them round the corner from me. It’s a subtler pressure but one that is very quietly freaking me out even though I’m being (trying to be) sensible about it.

I was supposed to be looking at schools this month for 2son but haven’t got started on that although it’s really important. I haven’t actually finished the little things I meant to finish before Christmas. I’ve got a leak in the bathroom, mice in the house, car insurance to renew and my bedroom light blew up last night. Niggly things that I have to deal with and really can’t be bothered. I have a job I want to give up because nobody has any enthusiasm for running it but I can’t afford to resign but have to wait and see. 1son went back successfully a week ago; 2son returned to school yesterday and 3 son returned last week to school. 4son is currently off sick which is worrying me more than it should as he was ill at the end of last term as well. I’ve phoned the doctor for a consultation but I expect she’ll tell me I’m over worrying. I do want a day to myself soon!

I have a list of things to do which I am perfectly capable of doing. I absolutely don’t see a reason for feeling as wound up as I do. I do feel better for writing all this out and for discussing it in my ten minute practice session today.

There is also the reality of a new year as opposed to the expectations of better days. Same shit, different year.