TheBrink

Harry

Today I: discovered that my gallbladder and I will soon part company

I wasn't very confident when I went to pick a new puppy.  All I could think of was poo on the floor and yapping.  And then I arrived and stepped into the enclosure where three 6 week old Blenheim Cavalier King Charles Spaniels were playing. I melted.  No idea why I was immediately drawn to Harry, but I scooped him up and that was that, I was his person and he was my puppy.

He sleeps on my head, chews my hair, plays tug o war with the end of my jeans when I'm putting them on, eats my shoes, barks at teatowels, bites toes, falls in the pond (more of a stagnant puddle), hates baths, bugs Sebby, loves to sunbake, hates naps and hoovers up food like a vacuum. 

I'm completely smitten.

Reclaiming

Today I: took Sebby to get clipped, had breakfast out, then nearly died of starvation due to fasting for an ultrasound... damm grumbling gallbladder :( 

I was on Cauldrons and Cupcakes earlier, and today Nicole is talking about self worth and taking back your dreams... She says, "This is a week for reclaiming our joy, and reconnecting with our dreams. Why do we need to reclaim them? ... Because at some stage in the past we were told that we couldn’t have the dream. Or we couldn’t do the thing that gave us joy."

For me, over the last few years, its been my internal dialogue that has stopped me following my dreams.  And more recently, just when I threw everything over and felt like I'd found my path, I stopped myself again... this time taking a job when I knew it wasn't the right thing for me to do at the time.  Clinging to the familiar when everything around me was new and fresh.

The dumbest part of all is that I KNOW what my dreams are, I know what brings me joy.  I'm not searching.  I'm up to my chest in stupid-ass joy and dreams.  For me its in this train-wreck of a house, writing stories, being hilarious on twitter (ok in my opinion), online marketing, getting creative on canva, blogging like a boss... *cough*

So why did I take the job?  Because I never gave myself permission to follow my dreams.  Told myself I couldnt leap without looking, that the risk that comes with following any dream was too much (I dont know what that too much quantifies... risk, stress, fear, failure, success; it was just a dark nebulous roadblock labelled Too Much).

But when I walked away from that job I finally overcame the too much... As Nicole puts it, "When we give ourselves permission to follow our dreams and do what makes us happy all kinds of magic begins to flow in our lives."

Is the magic flowing... well, thus far in renewed passion for writing and reading, home renovating and delight in dumb-ass puppies... but its only been a fortnight...

 

Taking It Back

Today I: bought a stove, got the puppy his jabs, bought a kitchen island, bought a towel rack...

There has been much buying of things.  I've chosen not to blog it because it'd be an endless stream of me dithering about bathroom tiles and laundry lights.  And really... who cares... I'll post when there's some actual progress.

Harry

Harry

Did you notice the puppy reference?? oh yes, we have a little poo monster... he's very cute and has filled my house with laughter and delight.

I left my job.  Not so much resigned as removed myself from a deeply toxic environment.  I am now recovering - yet again, and trying to figure out wtf to do next.  

I had been doing really well, building a new life, being slow, taking time... my too-high heart rate finally made some downward progress... and then school holidays met with a very tricky work place and I went downhill like a brick down a mineshaft.  Stress, overwhelm, sleeplessness, IBS, palpitations, doubt... all the old friends. Work on the house ground to a halt and I spent days off trying to recover from days on.  So I walked away.  It simply wasn't worth it.

I took back my life.

The Roof...

Today I: ticked the first major job off my list...

The roof was in a right old state... much like everything else!  However, it was causing the most concern as the leaking was fuelling the massive mould problem.  It was also so weathered that that the tiles were constantly shedding white cement dust which covered the windows in grime whenever it rained.

The lovely Brody at Rekote Roofing spent two days fixing the roof and replacing cracked tiles, and then painting.  And this is the result...

I chose Charcoal for the roof as in time the colour of the house will be (probably) a dark green, with white accents... I'm aiming for a very cottagy feel for the whole house, inside and out, and really there wasn't any other roof colours that I could see working.

The weather obligingly tested out the roof with 55mm of rain in two days... not a drip, not a hint of dampness.  Its watertight and I'm most cosy under it.

Where to Start

Today I: Figured out a plan and went wandering at Bombo

This mess is doing my head in...

But, rather than focus on moving each ever-increasing pile from one spot to another, I realised that I've got time on my side.   Unpacking means I have to handle and think-about pretty much everything I own, so I've decided to go all Marie Kondo on my stuff.  I mean what better opportunity...

The KonMar method of organising is at its most basic to keep only the things which spark joy.  I'm good at dragging a lot of junk around with me (physically and emotionally) most of which I just keep because I've had it so long I don't really see it any more.  But there's a lot I can let go, and now is the perfect time to do it.

Rather than doing the KonMar thing and sort and purge one object type at a time (i.e. clothes, books etc), I'm going one box at a time.  Thinking over each thing as I unwrap it, and deciding whether to keep it or not.  I've already got a huge pile to be donated, and as the drive is filled with an ever-present skip, I'm filling it up with junk no one is going to want... broken sieve anyone??

So the unpacking stress and overwhelm has abated, and I'm making headway.

Miss 11 has been down for the weekend, and we want wandering to Bombo headland, where there is a Dog-Off-Leash area (and another on Bombo beach).  Result = one happy snoozing dog, well impressed child and exercised mum...

We have also been perfecting our selfie game...

A Big Whinge

Today I: Got over a visit to Wollongong ER

Its been nearly a month since my last update.  A new job, moving and ongoing illness reduced me to such a wreck that there wasn't much to say ... well nothing that would edify anyone reading it!

On Tuesday my darling Sebby got sick.  He was exhibiting all the signs of tick paralysis - to my mind anyway - and given that I lost my darling Ella to a tick (10 years ago now), I completely freaked out.  I rushed him to the Illawarra Vet Hospital, and they explained the symptoms were down to a heart murmur, hip degeneration and an abscess under his tooth.  So he'll be having his tooth out next week - the rest is just because he's getting to be an old fella.  I'd noticed him slowing down a bit, but now I see that he's well into middle age.  I found that a little startling.  Pets shouldn't age (says she who owned the Cat Who Would Not Die... but did after 22 years!).

Then last night I ended up in Wollongong ER with a gallstone episode.  Very painful and it took a lot of endone to get under control.  As a result I'm sat on my capacious bottom feeling pretty ordinary and this means blogging (and making frivolous online purchases... glow in the dark necklace anyone?!)

So last Thursday was the Big Day... I bugged out of Berowra and early Friday morning my goods and chattels arrived in Wollongong.  Just over a week later and I'm climbing over boxes, trying to start six jobs at once, no idea where to put anything, tired, confused and frankly all over the place.  

The main problems are that I've got NO kitchen, NO laundry, NO bathroom, NO cupboards, NO storage, holes in the ceiling, and before I move anything into its permanent home I've got hours of cleaning and scrubbing ahead of me.

I have no idea where to even start.

Update: The Foul Floor

In the last 3 weeks I: got the living room floor to some semblance of liveability

Its best shown in pictures, but I got that vile living room floor to a state where I'd let the kids in the house... using an orbital sander as a scrubber was a sheer stroke of genius on my and the chaps at kennards parts...

It took me all day.  And without the scrubber it could've taken a hell of a lot longer.  When I peeled back the carpet I found both the rubber backing - which was turning to a foul grey powder - and the adhesive were stuck to the hardwood floor.  

Boiling water got them off with scraping and scrubbing, but it was a tedious, filthy, backbreaking job.

So, after some online research into scrubbers, I headed to Kennards and hired a scrubber/sander type contraption.  With a heavy duty pad on it - just a skerrik off steel wool - boiling water and a squirt of floor cleaner the machine turned both rubber and adhesive into a brown slick of filth.  

The boiling water was essential, and I didn't get much of a result without it.  So I worked one kettle full at a go.  After scrubbing I rinsed down the floor  with buckets of water, and sent the resulting mess into the laundry with the broom, where it drained into the floor drain, and out into the garden.  Not pleasant, but it worked.

Once I'd got off every scrap, I brought in the high pressure water cleaner (I have a gerni) and basically hosed the whole thing down.  For good measure I gerni'd the bathroom and hallway floors too.  Then the entire laundry.  Not the most elegant solution but it worked well and cost me about $150 for the scrubber hire as well as $15 for the floor cleaner.

This floor will be sanded back and stained/oiled further on in the renovation.  But for now, it'll do.

Day Whatever

Today I: decided to forget about the whole day counting thing...

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Apologies for the hiatus... in a nutshell I sold my Berowra house way faster than I thought and I've been scrambling to get the Unanderra property liveable before I have to move.  A 3 month task condensed into 6 weeks, 3 of which I need to be in Sydney.

When I am not upsetting gigantic black snakes or avoiding electrocution by utter dumb luck in Unanderra (more on those dramas later), I'm hurtling back and forth on Picton Road, and various traffic clogged motorways.  

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Alas now I have been ground to a halt... yesterday I yanked on a weed and brought a whole retaining wall down. Luckily I was able to jump back and it didn't land on my entire leg - as I really think it would've broken it - but the top edge took out my ankle (just bruised, nothing broken).  So I am in bed, RICE-ing away - was originally using icy poles for the ice component but ate them so now its cold packs wrapped in a tea towel (so boring). In addition to this I've got tonsillitis, a bladder infection and my period is due tomorrow.  I'm kind of getting the feeling the Universe is telling me something??

Yes... its telling me I should drink more...  

Day 56: Sold, sold, sold

In the last 5 days I: sold my house, broke the chainsaw, broke the modem, fixed the modem, cleaned up a tub of gravy spilled in the car, tore up carpets, and swam in the sea.

My kids are exploring the new house; they're messing about in the creek, have found an oval, found a park, are assessing the climb-ability of trees, and sussing out local kids for potential friends.  This is exactly what I wanted for them and exactly what I would've been doing at their age.  Trips to the beach are a daily ritual, and they've discovered that Lake Illawarra is near - both are asking for bikes... my plan is coming together!

My Berowra house sold as of today - barring unforeseen disasters of course.  I had hoped for enough to have a small mortgage - something in the region of $100,000.  But a bidding war between two buyers, and a strong sellers market meant that it looks like I will be virtually mortgage free.  I say virtually because I'll borrow to get the renovations finished - as fixing the roof, the mould, gyprocking the walls, and fitting out a new laundry and kitchen are going to burn through the funds I have in no time.  But that future borrowing is going to be in the region of $30 - $40K (not sure exactly yet), nothing like $100K.  

I'm a bit stunned really, about selling Berowra.  It happened so fast, and I'm not nearly as ready as I'd like to be.  I'm thrilled of course... but I was thinking I had about two months if not longer to get the new house liveable... and now I've got about 4 weeks.  

Reno-wise I've mostly been removing the disgusting carpet.  I'll be hand scrubbing that vile grey carpet backing off the wood floors, so that's going to keep me out of mischief for a bit.

And sheet mulching out in the garden, too...  had a nasty fall; slipped and went over backwards and landed on a tree stump - I forgot how much being winded hurt!  So I've been taking it easy out there. I broke the chainsaw chain too... not entirely sure how, but a new chain is required, I know that much.  Bit inconvenient as I have tree bodies waiting to be dismembered all over the place.

Day 51: A Tree Guild

Today I: had a job interview, bought a fridge and a chainsaw

For the LOVE of GOD do not tell my mother I bought a chainsaw.  Also, if the worst happens I will de-friend anyone who calls me stumpy.

I'm taking a very holistic, permaculture-type approach to the design of my new garden.  "Permaculture-type" is my own shorthand for picking and choosing the facets of permaculture that work or appeal, and not going the full permaculture hog on the place (i.e. orchards, zones, buried horns full of poo etc etc).

One of the principles of permaculture that I particularly like is the tree guild.  Here you take your food producing tree (in my case a macadamia and an orange) and underplant it with a carefully chosen selection of plants.

The Principle of the Tree Guild

  1. Tree - fruit or nut*
  2. Suppressors - or bulbs - this is a circle of bulbs planted underneath where the drip line of the tree will be when it is fully-grown. Eg: Alliums such as chives, leeks and garlic. Also clover, oregano, thyme, columbine
  3. Attractors - These attract a variety of insects to help pollinate the plants and prevents any one species of becoming a problem. Eg: Dill, fennel and coriander plants (these CAN be weeds - check in your area), bee balm, borage, 
  4. Repelers - Plants that repel potentially damaging insects. Nasturtiums are the go-to species for this function.  Also mint, oregano and lavender, marigold, alyssum, daisy, basil, chives.
  5. Mulchers - Plants that naturally provide mulch Eg: Comfrey, artichokes or rhubarb 
  6. Accumulators - These species will increase the nutrient content of the soil. Accumulators are plants that send roots deep down into the soil profile to bring up nutrients such as calcium, potassium and sulfur. Eg: yarrow, chicory or dandelion, fennel (can be a weed), comfrey, vetch
  7. Fixers - These plants that will increase the nitrogen in the soil. Eg: Clover, vetch, peas, beans and alfalfa, chamomile
  8. Habitat Nooks - Besides the plants stones and logs can create habitat nooks that will attract animal species. A pond will do the same, attracting frogs, different bird species, and insects, which will add to the effect of keeping insect populations balanced and protect the fruits of your tree guild.

* If you have a huge tree (like my macadamia), its not unusual to underplant it with three or four fruit trees which then have their own guilds

Links I used in my research...

http://permaculturenews.org/2015/10/23/piecing-together-a-guild-of-your-own/

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/special/organic/how-to-plant-tree-guild.htm

http://jmney-grimm.com/tag/apple-guild/

https://www.regenerative.com/magazine/seven-parts-apple-tree-guild

Day 50: Rainbows and a lot of gold

Today I: became the owner of a whole lot of debt, and saw a rainbow

The scary bit began.  The double mortgage bit.  But, to offset that, I turned down the first offer on the Berowra house - a piss-take offer, not to be taken seriously.  Then this afternoon, on the drive south, the setting sun and showers colluded to provide me with several spectacular rainbows.  I took it to mean all will be well. I mean how can I argue with a rainbow??

I'm very very tired.  I think I'm unwinding.  This slowing down business is hard work and I've been quite the sooky-la-la over the last few days.  This morning I was up at 5am, doing laps of the house and starting jobs and then forgetting what I was doing. After a cuppa I fell back asleep. I dreamed. I rarely dream.  And this one was notable because I nearly ended up on a magazine cover, topless, with a potato squished between my boobs... luckily I persuaded everyone in the dream that the picture of the grey high rise was better.  Hmm.

Other than that I've been doing a ton of planning, and hacking the living daylights out of the weed infested garden.  I don't want to boast but I think I've got every single weed in the Illawarra Weed Guide.  Actually... one I haven't yet discovered is privet... my bete noir up north.  I loathe the stuff and am direly allergic to it.  Please not that!

Aside from the weeds, the garden is full of dumped masonry and dumped wood.  I've got two rules (so far). 1. No herbicides. 2. Nothing leaves the site unless necessary (asbestos sheeting and old carpets excepted). So I'm coming up with some very creative ways to create the garden of my dreams without any more environmental impact that has already been made.  More on this later (oh so much more).

Day 47: All about the floor

Today I: Got down on my knees... a lot

Down south today, and starting to put together a plan to get this reno started.  The main priorities are roof, ceilings/mould issue, bathroom, and those three are being dealt with by professionals.  The rest I will do as I can and call in help where needed.  

So FIVE amazing discoveries today...

  1. I figured out the house is double brick - I'd been told its brick veneer, but when I was peeling back some of the wall panelling I found brick underneath and it dawned on me that either they're massive bricks or its double brick.  This also explains why the house feels 'chunky' and solid, and the reason for the massive steel I-beams that are rusting quietly across the front door.
  2. Got the hot water system switched on ... the fuse box has those ancient ceramic fuses in it... dear GOD
  3. Ikea curtains fit perfectly - with no HEMMING - hurrah... gotta love high ceilings
  4. Totally awesome, mint condition hardwood floors when I peeled back the revolting carpet

3. The foul rubber backing left behind when I peeled up the 'carpet' in the kitchen comes off easily if you pour boiling water on it... as does the adhesive (with some scraping).  I thought that was going to be a nightmare job.

The musty smell in here has improved already with just the small amount of carpet removed, and when it and the mould is gone it's going to be lovely and fresh.  So feeling a bit less daunted and a bit more like it won't be months and months before I get this place habitable.

They day ended with a walk on the beach... That Beach... I searched for the car keys, retraced steps, tried to intuit where they were... didn't work... sigh.

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Day 45: It Begins

Today I: was a cat on a hot tin roof

The house went online today

The first open house is tomorrow at 10, so I have spent the day mowing, leaf blowing, and eating easter eggs (for stress relief purposes).  I'm so glad I'm nearly there.

Day 44: A Shambles

Today I: got driven home by the police in a drunk wagon

Day 44, the kids and I took a much needed day off and headed down to the new house for a bit of chilling out and wanton destruction in the garden.

We met with my bathroom designer and I have an eta of mid July for my bathroom... mid. july.  *weeps.*  And wtf with all this grey that's in at the moment?? Its so bland. I'm thinking a blue and white bathroom.  Clean and fresh. 

I refuse to use the bathroom at the new house.  So, the ideas I've been researching for shower alternatives have been most amusing... you can hire a shower for around $200 a week (like a portaloo only a shower), get a pop up shower tent and camping gas bottle powered hot water heater for outside - around $250 in total... or the pop up tent with a solar water heater for around $60 in total.  I'm actually thinking I might start the laundry renovation first (in terms of diy projects) and rig up some kind of shower situation in there to make do.

I went exploring along the creek that runs behind the property - at the moment its a weed choked mess, but I plan on landscaping the garden down to the creek and clearing it all out.  Miss 11 and I went for a bush bash and found the neighbours have all done similar.  We met Paul, next door but one, who told us of water dragons in the creek.  Looking forward to meeting them.

And Miss 11 and I laid waste to a huge grove of banana palms, morning glory, lantana and bamboo.  Just that made the garden feel like it was breathing better. Very satisfying.

And then it was time to head home.  We found our local dog beach - Coniston Beach and had a glorious time in the wind and watching the setting sun.

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But I had made a mistake, oh internet.  I had entrusted my car keys to Miss 11 - which in hindsight was very much like entrusting them to a demented squirrel - and when we returned to the car and I asked for them... of course... they were gone.

So there I was. In Wollongong, spare keys 157kms away, no wallet (in the car) and 10% on the phone. As we searched the beach in the fading light I called roadside assistance - couldn't help - nrma - couldn't help - local locksmith - couldn't help - another local locksmith - couldn't help - my sister - in the USA - my Mum - in Orange.  

When it reached full dark we headed into Wollongong on foot, I tried to take money out of the atm with my phone - didn't work (thanks ANZ, craptacular as usual) - rang the ex to beg for help and then the phone died.

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So, faced with spending the night on the streets, I found my way to Wollongong Police station - thinking I could use a phone and at least it was warm - we were all freezing by now.  But they took pity on the three of us (and the dog), and gave us a lift to the new house ... in the drunk wagon (not in the back - it STANK of booze) AND we pulled someone over on the way... very exciting!  So the kind cop dropped me back at the new house and assisted us boosting Miss 11 through the window... at last I was inside... only the phone charger wasn't plugged into the wall where I'd left it.

At this point Miss 12 noted she'd put it back in the car.

So... beyond any realm of dignity now... I went to meet the neighbours.  Ian was out the front having a smoke and lent me his phone to call the ex, who had got my spare key and was heading south.  2 hours of charades later and the ex rescued us.  We got home at 11.30pm.

I'm still traumatised.

Day 43: Photos

Today I: Struck a pose

So tell me... good people of the internet... what is the one worst thing that could possibly happen one hour before the photographer arrives to take photos of your house for the online ads??

If you guessed... your kitchen cupboard randomly falls apart... then you would be correct. 

Fixed it with packing tape... sigh

The last couple of days have been manic.  Just running around cleaning and packing and organising.  I cannot tell you how over it I am.  The girls have been amazing.  Working their bums off.  Miss 12 painted the cubby house for me and Miss 11 did an incredible job cleaning the kitchen.  Right now I've only got one Must-Do job left... tiling the front step... and the list of Want-To-Do jobs is pretty short too.

At the same time, I'm full-steam-ahead organising quotes for the new place.

I'm taking tomorrow off, though.  Kicking back with the kids and just doing stuff and things.  I direly need a break from the damm house.

Day 41: Seeking Home

Today I: died of a cold

Despite being sick, the house is nearly there.  The RE agent dropped by, photographers on Wednesday and first open house on Saturday... here we go.

I took the tweens to see Beauty and the Beast and was sobbing by the time we got to the ad for A Dogs Purpose ...

Very dubious about my emotional strength to sit though the whole movie, Marley and Me nearly killed me and don't even start me on Red Dog

I'm useless at dog movies

As my house is about to go on the market, I'm thinking more and more about the move south and the changes ahead.  I've loved Berowra, where I live now, since a trip through it in about 1991.  I'd been working on an Arabian Horse Stud in Arcadia and caught the car ferry across to Berowra to get back home (then mumndad's at East Lindfield), and ended up at the train station, looking at the incredible view across the National Park.  I just decided I'd live here one day.

And so I did.  For 17 years.  In my hilarious shack on Goodwyn Road - with horses living next door - I'd steal their poo for my veggies! (Now four lovely houses stand there) And then in my current home in Berowra Heights.  

I'm going to bid this place farewell very sadly. At this point it hardly seems real.  I've always felt a sense of belonging in this community, and a real pride in the place.

I'm a fan of Cauldrons and Cupcakes, and use Nicole's planner.  The planner involves the use of oracle cards, you choose your card and use its image or message to focus your thoughts.  At the start of the year I pulled the card FOG from my pack over and over.  It was frustrating because I was trying to plan the year, set goals, find direction... and which card was I getting?? Bloody FOG.  FFS.  If there is a card that says cannot see the way forward, that is it.

I eventually took the card out of the pack.  But it still bothered me.

But now my fog card makes sense.  I could not have in any way predicted the tangent my life was going to take.  I thought I had my year planned.  No dramatic changes.  Just ticking along.  

Then one day in late February I saw a job advert, idly had a glance at real estate and there it was, my new home.  Went to have a closer look the next day and made an offer which was accepted mere days later.  

Like me, the house and garden are neglected and overrun.  They are both tired, but are full of promise and have a wonderful solid warm structure that you can sense.  There is so much there that cannot be seen because it is hidden by ugly, invasive weeds, and layers of neglect and overwhelm.   In places the wall is impenetrable, but here and there you can see what used to shine.  It'll just take some work, time and patience to bring it out again.  I know it.

Day 39: Nailed it

Today I: nailed all the things AND used irresistible force on an immovable object

I got my groove back today... had a good night's sleep... despite Miss 11 hijacking my bed (how can someone so small take up an entire king size bed?) and stealing the dooner.

As promised, it was nail gun Saturday.  With this genius invention I fixed the side gate, many many loose panels in the fence, and tidied up the bit that surrounds the pool filter.  I used around 300 nails and can I just say I presently can't feel from my elbow to my wrist from the strain of lifting the gun and firing it.  Am going to be sore as tomorrow.

I have this crazy neighbour... lives alone, spends all day screaming abuse at her two cats... she did not like the noise of the nail gun and told me I was a moron when I pointed out I was fixing her fence for free.  So I threw sticks into her yard when she'd gone inside and couldn't see me.  YEAH.  I did.  Don't mess with me.  

The Hills Hoist is a cultural icon in Australian suburban life.  A steel washing line, it was built to last, and no red brick Sydney bungalow is without one... usually cemented into the ground, smack bang in the middle of a pristine landscaped yard.

Now I'm not a fan.  I think they're ugly, and moved my washing line to a less intrusive spot... hanging off the side of the house... years ago.  Since then I have not been able to get rid of the base of the old hills hoist.  Despite repeated attempts it has sat on the edge of my patio, mocking me and my weakly muscles.

So I was thinking over how to get rid of it, for the umpteenth time.  My initial plan, of hitting it with a sledgehammer was satisfying, but utterly fruitless. I barely dented it.  So I started to wonder about prising it out of the ground, and in a flash of sheer and utter brilliance I realised I could do that with a car jack.

And so I did...

I'm nearly there. A couple more bigger jobs, like these ones, and then the main chore will be making it all neat and tidy.  

Day 38: Ate A Pie

Today I: got overwhelmed again... so napped and ate a pie... and then hired a nail gun

On Day 37 I fought the good fight with the whipper snipper and won.  Its a bugger to start, a bugger to run, gets bloody hot, is awkward and heavy to carry and using it tires me out utterly.  I had to load the string into it as well.  So I resorted to YouTube for instructions on that.  Apparently taking all million meters of string out of the packet was the Wrong Thing To Do... I figured that out myself btw, didn't need YouTube... goddammit.

But whipper snip I did.  It completely died just as I was finishing... because I put old petrol in it... whipper snippers hate old petrol.  I had been told this, but I did it anyway. And now I know.

Then I mowed the lawn.  The turf I laid has gone brown.  3 weeks of torrential rain were too much for it and its all died.  I'm gutted tbh. But not to be defeated I bought some spray on stuff GUARANTEED to make it go green... of course it has gone browner, didn't think it was possible for it to go browner, but it has.  Didn't even work on the dog. (Look he RAN under the SPRAY ok.  I am against all animal testing).

Day 38 was a bit of a write-off.  I didn't sleep... I was well overtired, I'm battling a cold and I went into non-sleep mode.  Mostly I was stressing about the house, in-between worrying about the kids, the move, and my ex who has been contacting his solicitors apparently, sigh. I had a little sob at about 1am, in the dark, all alone, but soon got sick of the pity-party, and went back to worrying, then fell asleep around 3am.  The alarm went off at 5.30am, and I stumbled off to the loo, forgetting on the trip back that I haven't reset the oven clock for the end of daylight savings, thought it was 6.35am and went and woke up the kids for school...

SIGH.

A coffee, a 3 hour nap (during which I dreamed about decorating ffs) and a trip to Bite-Me bakery for a pie (Upper upper north shorans ... its just up from Mt Colah Maccers and their pies are LEGENDARY, do yourself a favour and check it out) and I was much restored.  Had the urge to start rushing about again, but I'd put on Facebook how tired I was - and got the equivalent of ten hugs and some wise advice about rest - and so went to visit the Plant Bug garden centre instead, also at Mt Colah.  This tiny garden centre is my utter favourite.  Not like those huge places that just keep vomiting out billions of the same half-dead white-fly infested plants - this place is packed with unusual finds, and the coffee is tops too.  Some plants for a spot on a shady south facing wall and four bales of mulch later and my miserable night was all but forgotten.

Finally, on the way home from picking up Miss 11 I just had to stop by Kennard's Hire and get me a nail gun... of course my licence was at home (of course) so they wouldn't actually let me take it with me, but I'm heading back tomorrow... nail gun Saturday is a go... what could possibly go wrong...

Day 36: Did Battle With A Palm Frond

Today I: turned an eyesore into less of an eyesore

Day 35 was spent doing much of this, with a book in one hand and my phone in the other

Day 35 was spent doing much of this, with a book in one hand and my phone in the other

Oh how I ache internet.  Having spent most of the last two years commuting or sitting at a computer there are days when all this garden landscaping carryon makes my poor shoulder ache (goddamm pole dancing), my back ache, my feet ache, hands ache... getting up from the couch is a slow process!

But, I took care of the eyesore which was the old bbq.  well more or less.  I turned it into a rustic planter box... well that's what I'm calling it.  And given the state it was in before, I'm rather pleased with it.

I also cleaned the spa (again), fixed up a dodgy looking bit on the shade cloth, fixed the spa lid (god bless duct tape), did battle with a palm frond that had a huntsman on it, and tossed MORE (yes more) chemicals in the pool.  

I'm thinking about declaring next Saturday to be nail-gun Saturday... stay tuned!

Day 34: What Now?

Today I: tried to convince myself I wasn't getting sick

It is a truth universally acknowledged - ladies and gentlemen of the internet - that a hetero middle aged single woman using a dating app is keen to have relations with the girlfriend of any random fellow whom she happns to pass in the street.

Or so it would seem.

I ask you.  

This scenario - that I ravish said man's girlfriend while he watches or participates - has been suggested to me on a stunningly regular basis.  My standard response is to ask if he would mind returning the favour with some random man I'll dig up for us - and this is usually met with a swift 'not on your nelly.'

Well except for Neil. Who was all 'fuck yeah... I'll book a hotel...'  Ahem... 

But what intrigues me about this oft asked question is WHY these men think female sexuality is so much more fluid than male.  Why is there a general notion that a heterosexual women who has not professed any skerrick of bi-curiousness can just toss away their hetero-ness for the night.  Why is it seen as less of a big deal for us, than for them? 

I personally subscribe to the idea that sexuality is not a black and white thing... the Kinsey scale school of thought... and with numerous boyfriends, 2 husbands and close to 30 years of fuckery under my belt, I'm extremely confident about where I sit on that scale.  This is no match for the horny fellows of the internet though...  they seem to think they know me better AND are dead keen to prove it to me. Bless them.

After my marriage ended, several years ago now, I very much felt that I was done when it came to relationships.  Im happy on my own. I've always been happy on my own. Even as a child I had no desire to marry, never dreamed of a wedding.  Just wanted to do my own thing.  In my twenties doing my own thing led to a lot of slut-shaming.  But now, in my forties, I'd dare anyone to call me a slut... I'd piss myself laughing!!  

My latest foray into a relationship only proved this theory.  I was reluctant to go in, found it immensely challenging to cope with, struggled with the change in dynamic in my life, felt pushed to be something I wasn't, did my best, and crashed and burned spectacularly regardless.  A disaster from start to finish.

So what now?  I've installed an app on my phone... thus far the bug eyed Michael, and the unbuttoned shirted Paul (who just wants a girlfriend... a 'special' one... hmm) have shown an interest.  But really, in all honesty, I could not be bothered.

I don't really know what now.  Guess I'll figure it out as I go along.