This led us to a workflow analysis of the Coffee House which concluded that in comparison, people without children could expect to utilise five additional hours in the period described as 'evening'.
And now to the long-winded back-story of why I told you about the woman with the coat. Sorry about this. Did you have somewhere you needed to be?
This week my long-awaited reserved library book arrived.
I have been reading Gretchen Rubin's blog since Susan of Friday Playdate recommended it. Her post coincided with my noticing a general lowness of spirits on some of the blogs I read. Including mine. I could use a Happiness Project of my own.
Chapter 1 starts with getting sleep. And to get sleep, it needs to be dark. D'oh! I've woken at 4am morning after morning as brightness floods through the attic skylight. I needed a book to tell me that the light would wake me up?
I looked on the Velux website and wrote down the eye-watering prices of a small blackout blind, a reachy-pole thing, and a special attachment to the reachy-pole thing with which to close the blackout blind. And then I remembered we needed to pay the mortgage, so I abandoned the idea until I woke up the next morning at 4am and remembered a scene from Frasier where Kelsey Grammar sits up in bed and removes his sleep mask.
Sleep masks were 69p each at Home Bargains. Mr Coffee and I slept like logs. But when we woke, black dye from the cheap sleep masks had come off all over the pillows. Bleaching pillowcases is not mentioned in the book as a route to happiness.
A bit of internetting suggested that making a couple of sleep masks was something even I could do, so at 3.30pm after picking up the Lattes from school I hacked the 69p job up and made a pattern out of it. I got out a bag of bits of fabric and stood in the downstairs toilet with pieces of cloth over my face, turning the light on and off to see if I could see.
I then spent a while going down the stairs to the basement where the sewing things are kept, and fetching things up onto the kitchen table because there was no room in the basement to work because of other people's stuff.
Then I went outside and blew some more air into the inflatable castle on the lawn. And I cut up some melon and put it in plastic bowls and took it into the garden. And I took a tour around the house looking for scissors, all hidden away in Safe Places in the previous weeks after we started finding locks of Littlest's hair on the stairs.
(I chose a manly navy blue fabric for Mr Coffee's sleep mask, because it is important not to emasculate your man by making him sleep with flowers all over his face.)
At that point a small naked doll turned up - attracted by the piles of fabric and the temptingly sharp shiny things. After pulling lots of things out of the bag she insisted that a dress be created for her from a piece of red corduroy, and work on the mask had to be suspended. At the cutting out stage however she heard the television go on in another room and lost interest.
By then we needed to tidy everything away in order to eat.
After dinner - and some disagreements about what would happen after dinner, and after finding everyone's pyjamas and reading stories and taking in the washing from the line and sorting it all into piles so that people had enough socks - it was time to complete the mask.
The Grandmother came around for a glass of wine and watched my progress with that terrible, frustrated face that older people put on when they can see younger people doing something badly but don't want to annoy them by taking over.
At one point I sewed a seam too far from the edge which made the mask too small. I sat down to unpick the demon seam when a voice was heard from upstairs calling for a glass of water.
When I returned The Grandmother had helpfully unpicked the demon seam for me, as well as unpicking a seam that I actually wanted to keep.
I resewed the seam.
Then all the smoke alarms in the house went off and the children woke up and we wandered up and down the house trying to work out why.
At 11pm the first sleep mask was finally finished. And so ends the tale of why I won't be making myself a coat.
But if anyone wants to join me in getting happy I'd be very glad of the company.