Monday 26th June 2017

The ceasefire between the cats seems to be over. Ootchy just pounced at Nemesis. Although Nemesis hit back, so clearly things are still in a state of flux.

I’m back at my Ballarat house. All by myself, so it’s very quiet! I really wish we had just moved in already though- I’m so tired of driving.

I had a doctor appointment this morning, so I took the boys to school then packed some stuff in the car before I went to that. It turns out that my thyroid levels still aren’t right, so I have to increase that medication again. I also got her to write out prescriptions for all my other stuff, so that I don’t have to rush to make an appointment up here.

I had to drive over to GLN conveyencing after that to drop off some more things Troy and I had to sign. I really don’t remember having to sign and have witnessed and send back so many separate papers last time we bought a house. Since I was already halfway there I went to Costco after that to buy another hoodie for the cold Ballarat weather (although the fact that I am always freezing may be because of the thyroid issues, so maybe increasing the meds will mean I will occasionally feel warm?).

Of course all that meant I had to set the satnav to get me to Ballarat from there instead of going the usual way. I had go on the freeway to the city and through Kew and then skirt the city and go over the Westgate bridge, and although it wasn’t fun (I don’t really like driving places I’m not familiar with) I did it without any great distress so that was good.

Because of all that I didn’t get here until mid-afternoon. Once I’d got rid of the smell of the cats (I really can’t wait until we have a cat flap and they can go and shit outside like they’ve always done!) I started in on unpacking the kids’ rooms. I wanted to get all of their stuff out of boxes before they get here- they can spend the holidays rearranging their stuff to their heart’s content, but it will be easier to settle down here if their rooms are ready for them. I managed to get Soren, Emma and Nicholai’s rooms done, so that’s not too bad. I don’t have to be back until school pick up time, so I will have a bit of time tomorrow to keep on with the unpacking before I have to leave.

I had an unfortunate incident with the cat during my unpacking though. I had left Nicholai’s bottom drawer open after I’d unpacked things into it, and when I went to close it, it wouldn’t close. So of course I just shoved it harder a couple of times. When it absolutely refused to shut I gave up and pulled the drawer right out, only to find Ootchy cat trapped behind it! I’d been trying to shove the drawer closed with a cat squished behind it! Poor kitty immediately ran off and hid somewhere else- I searched for him because I was a bit worried I’d hurt him, but I have (obviously!) not discovered all the possible cat hiding places in this house and he had disappeared. He came out later though, and seemed quite happy as he sat next to me on the couch for a little while.

We can’t get our new lounge suite delivered until mid-July. I knew we’d probably have to wait, but I was hoping it would only be a week or two, not six! I guess we’ll all just have to watch tv sitting on the rug. (When the rug is delivered, since we don’t have that yet either).

Sunday 25th June 2017

It was the Shortest Lunch today – the sixteenth year in a row we’ve gone and done it. I actually don’t think there is anything else in my life that I have done for sixteen years in a row, except get a year older.

Anyway, we had beautiful weather and a lovely day, despite everyone being so incredibly tired! We began with our one constant, the apple pies at Yering Farm , although I said today it’s not as good now that the kids are bigger- when they were little they couldn’t eat all their pie and so I got their leftovers, but now they all scrape their plates!

We went to Wild Cattle Creek next. The kids shared some bowls of chips, Steve and Jean had the lamb shanks, and Troy and I both had a vegetarian filo pastry that was much fancier and more impressive than it sounds. It was so good too- food like that always makes me wish I liked to shop at farmers markets and cook it myself.

Our third stop was Boat’o’Craigo over in Healesville. Troy and Steve ate the paella, the kids and I ate churros with chocolate sauce, and Jean had a cup of tea.

Everyone else was really too tired to do another one after that, apart from Emma who had been hanging out all day to go to Miller’s and eat a chocolate factory brownie! So Steve dropped the rest of us off at the bottom of the driveway and he and Emma kept going.

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Saturday 24th June 2017

We had our goodbye laser tag party today. All the kids had a good time- they got dressed up and armed and then went off to play two games, came back for party food and a break, then played for a bit longer before we all had cake. Most of the kids they invited came- Emma and Soren had two friends each, Nicholai and Jericho had one (Jericho’s second invited friend got sick), and Brett came with his three big kids. So it was a good mix of ages and kids, and everyone went home happy.

I will bitch here though, because I was seriously angry about this and Troy and Jean both just kind of shrugged and said we need to just let it go. But Adam and Susan not only didn’t bother coming, they also didn’t bother to let us know that they weren’t coming until twenty minutes after the party start time. Like, what the hell? They were invited and said at the time that they would come, we saw Adam on a later day and he said again that yes, they were coming, it was on the calendar. Troy rang Susan the other night to try and remind her again (for obvious reasons) and didn’t get to speak to her, but left a message. Like, what else can you do? Jean tried to excuse it by saying that Adam only just got back on Friday or whatever, but I am not in the least bit inclined to be forgiving this time. I mean, this was our goodbye party, the kids wanted their cousins there – this one kind of mattered. And if they weren’t going to be assed to make the effort then they should have let us know, rather than just not turning up. (Which meant we were waiting for them, since it’s the kind of party that can’t start until you’ve got the full complement).

I don’t know, I gain nothing from being mad about this- they’ll never change and no one will ever call them on it. And the party was fun, with all the kids and Troy and Brett playing we had sixteen, which was enough for okay teams even without the extra four or five they would have been. So of course I will just have to let the whole thing slide, but at least I feel like I’ve got it off my chest now!

I didn’t play, but there was a basket of puppies so I had quite a lovely time by myself anyway. The puppies were so cute! I watched them play with each other and attack a succulent planter and took a lot of (mostly crap) photos of them, and then when they went to sleep I played word cookies on my phone and basically froze to death because I was waiting outside.

Everyone was so tired tonight though! After driving back from Ballarat this morning and then having the party I have definitely had enough. Jericho had hockey this morning, before the party, so he was especially exhausted after it. I haven’t heard a peep out of any of them since they went to bed. Troy and I are watching some apocalyptic disaster movie, and I don’t think we’ll be staying up late either.

Although, I have the clothes dryer going and so I probably couldn’t even hear the kids even if they were singing and dancing around. We brought the dryer with us, and although it was very loud at the old house it is about ten times louder here. Whether this is because it’s now sitting on a tiled floor instead of being wall mounted like at home, or because in transporting it and turning it upright again (it was upside down on the wall, you can use it either way) we have jiggled something loose, I have no idea. But a new dryer has moved up the list of priorities in terms of things we need/want to buy.

I thought we had no plans for tomorrow, but it is actually the Shortest Lunch! So apple pies are in my future, and that more than makes up for the day of rest I thought I was having.

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Soren’s friend gave him a goodbye present of a fidget spinner (oh joy) and some jellybeans that have flavours like dog food and spoiled milk and vomit…

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Friday 23rd June 2017

Moving day #2 today, and it went rather more smoothly than moving day #1. I think everything was moved, at least!

I went to our house at 8.30 to meet the movers. A potential catastrophe was averted when I realised that I had forgotten keys for the new house in time for Troy to find them at his mum and dad’s house and drop them off for me. There were only two of them packing the truck today, but with everything they had to pack just piled in the library and garage it was a pretty straightforward job. I played a million more levels of Word Cookies on my phone, and briefly went down to the office to collect some money to pay the removalists.

My drive to Ballarat was frustrating with the amount of roadworks I had to go through- sitting still on a freeway where I SHOULD be going 110kph is hard enough without realising that it was going to cost me $200 for every extra fifteen minutes it took the movers! Vic roads probably cost me $500 today, damn it.

Unloading the truck was uneventful. A lot of it went into the garage and they just stacked it all against the walls, so it will need to be rearranged so that we can park in there (and also so we know where everything is).

I have quite surprised myself with my handiness today too- while the movers were doing their thing unloading, I put Emma and Jericho’s beds together, and later I built Nicholai’s 4×4 cube shelf. I feel so competent.

The non-animosity between the cats appears to be lasting. They are voluntarily sharing the same space- well, the same room, they’re not exactly curling up on a cushion together or anything, but it is a remarkable improvement on the state of their relationship to date.

Thursday 22 June 2017

I don’t whether I’m coming or going. I know moving is ranked right up there as one of the most stressful life events, but I’m definitely starting to feel it.

Yesterday morning Troy and I unpacked a little more at the new house, and then just shuffled furniture and rubbish around so that the spaces that we want furniture to be put in on Friday were clear. We also realised when we had unpacked all our kitchen boxes and only found one frypan and no other saucepans that we forgot to pack a cupboard. So mid-morning we both left in our separate cars- me to go to the chocolate factory and meet Catherine and Miffi, and Troy to go to our old house with a few boxes and pack up everything we’d forgotten.

It was good to see the kids again. I miss them when we’re away, and in some ways it feels weird to be setting up a new family home without my family with me. But I really think that doing the move this way was the best choice we could have made. The kids are a lot more relaxed living here at Grandma and Pop’s house and going to school pretty much like normal than they would be if they’d been in the thick of the move. Steve and Jean being so willing to help and take things on have taken a huge load of stress off Troy and I too. We’re able to coordinate all our activities so that we can all get things done that we want to get done, but also have someone there to collect the boys and get dinner and do the washing.

I decided I needed today to be a day of rest, and as I spent half of it asleep I guess it lived up to its name. I slept in, woke up with just enough time to get to Costco to collect the cake for our party on Saturday and get back for my doctors appointment. It was just to get a prescription, so I went and got that from the chemist and then came home and slept until I had to pick up Jericho and Soren from school. I was probably asleep again by 4.30, and didn’t wake up until 6.30. I was just so tired!

After tea Troy and I took the ute to Bunnings to buy a cube bookshelf setup for Nicholai’s new room. Due to the angle of his door, neither the new bookshelf I had for him or the old bookshelf he had been using could be forced into his room. And given that probably 80% of his possessions are books, I had to come up with something that could hold all his crap and also be constructed inside the room so that we didn’t have to try and get it through the door.

We had our house cleaned today, which is possibly the best moving-related money we’ve ever spent. I had thought I would do the cleaning myself, but since the power is due to be turned off tomorrow that meant I would have had to clean TODAY, and there was just no way. When just the idea of it made me sob the other day, we gave up and hired someone. Troy and I checked it out tonight, after we put the new cube flatpack boxes in the garage for the movers to move tomorrow, and it was so shiny and clean it was amazing. The stovetop no longer has all that stuff that doesn’t come off on it! (Clearly it DOES come off if you do something right). Anyway, the house is beautiful and clean enough for us to get our rental damage deposit back if it were a rental, so that’s good.

Moving day #2 tomorrow. It should be a lot quicker and easier, fingers crossed. But there is obviously not as much stuff as there was on Monday, and it’s all in the garage so they are gathering it from just the one place. I’ll go over to the house in the morning and wait while they pack, and then drive to Ballarat to open up that house for them to unpack.

Nicholai and Emma have tomorrow off school, which conveniently allowed us to schedule their dental work in the morning. They’re just getting some seals on their teeth, so it’s preventative rather than corrective. They’ll go in with Troy in the morning, and someone will bring them back here once they’re done I guess.

Saturday we’ve got our laser strike goodbye party, so I’ll have to make sure I’m back from Ballarat for that. The kids have all had a couple of friends RSVP that they’re coming, plus they’ll have their cousins there, so I think they’re all looking forward to it. At the moment, to be honest, it just feels like another thing for me to worry about, but I think it’s going to be good. And really, although I bought a goodbye cake and some bags of chips, all we have to do is show up- the party place organises everything else.

Sunday has no plans, then next week Troy has two days in the city for work, I have a doctor appointment, all the children are getting a haircut, Emmanuella has an orthodontist appointment, Jericho and Soren have a little afternoon concert, Nicholai has his LGBTetc group, Soren has a sports day, Jericho and Soren both have class parties because they’re leaving, and maybe there is hockey. Or maybe we just leave and go to our new house. Either way, it’s only about one more week and then it will be school holidays and things will finally calm down.

Tuesday 20th June 2017

This house is so big that Troy and I can’t yell from a room and have the other person hear it. Today I had to text him to come into the living room so he could help me.

Benita and Cam came over this morning, which was such a big help. Cam and Troy put the bunks back together and shifted around a few bits of furniture, and Benita unpacked the food into the pantry. Winnie helped me put some towels in the linen cupboard and a few things into the laundry. Poor Dempsey was not feeling well and mostly cried with a very sad face, or strolled around holding bits of cookie or slice or, at one stage, an apple.

The cats also provided much amusement to the children. Actually, I’m pretty amused at them myself. Ootchy (who was not my favourite after he woke me up repeatedly by walking on my head and mewing in the middle of the night) discovered all the window sills, and then spent all afternoon perched on top of a mattress that is leaning up against the wall. Nemesis kept hiding behind mattresses and between bits of furniture and occasionally inside a cupboard, but he did sleep on Soren’s bed for a while and has come out exploring this evening. The most amazing thing though is that the cats are hiding in the same room! At one point I was patting both of them while they sat facing each other on a windowsill, and there was no scratching, hissing, or attempts to injure and maim. I’m not sure how long this détente will last, but I suppose I can live in hope that they will bond over their shared fear of the new house.

Troy and I met the kids in the court this afternoon, which was great. The two from the house opposite were jumping on the trampoline in their backyard when we drove back in from the supermarket – they immediately started jumping higher so they could see us over the fence. I waved back when the boy waved at me, and I guess they took that as a sign of friendliness and came right on over to say hi. The boy and girl from the trampoline are eleven and eight (I think), and they have a five year old sister too. They were with another boy from next door, who is nine, and then his eleven year old sister came along too. They also have a little brother who is five. I asked them about the other houses, and they said that next door to them is another eleven year old and they have a sibling in year 8, but they don’t come out much. Our other next-door-neighbour have two girls, who are in year 8 and (I think) year 5. The ones we met said they all like to come out into the court and play with each other, and they were super excited to have more kids move in. So it looks like Jericho and Soren have some ready made friends. They all go to the Catholic primary school so they won’t be school friends, but in a way I think that’s not a bad thing. It might be good to have school friends and home friends. The high school aged kids go to Ballarat High School though, and the grade 6 boy from today said that’s where he’s going to go next year.

This all feels like a weird, alternate world. This big house and neighbour kids and having a sister nearby to hang out with and this town where everything is so close…I feel like I’m just blinking around me in amazement, waiting for something to feel real.

Monday 19 June 2017

After what feels like the longest day ever, Troy and I are here in the new house.

It turns out we DO have too much stuff- so much stuff that they couldn’t fit it all in their truck. So today is moving day #1, and Friday will be moving day #2.

I have to admit, I thought that we wouldn’t fit everything in one truck, even though we hired the biggest truck they had. But I suppose I just hoped that MOST of it would fit, and we’d be able to bring the rest of it in the van or in the ute over a couple of trips. Well….a great big NO to that one! We had their 8 ton truck today, and they’re coming back on Friday with the 6 ton truck, so that gives you an idea of just how much we didn’t fit in the truck today!

Oh well. Once I got over my embarrassment about the whole debacle, it was fine. The movers were there at 9.30 and spent until 2.30 packing the truck. I spent most of the morning sitting in an armchair out of the way and playing word cookies on my phone. When they were done I packed the cats up from the respective bathrooms they’d been locked in and drove here to the new house. The truck arrived a little while later and then they began the unloading. Troy arrived just in time to see them unload the last few things, and then they left. Apart from having too much stuff to fit in their truck, there were no real dramas- the top of Nicholai’s desk got broken, but everything else seems to have survived intact.

The cats are extremely unimpressed with the whole situation. I had to wrestle Nemesis into his new cat carrier bag; he was like a cartoon cat with his claws out and limbs stretched out, desperately trying to stop me from stuffing him in the bag. I won that battle, but I think he got me back later on- he and Ootchy travelled in their carriers placed side by side in the passenger seat footwell, and Nemesis spent basically the entire two plus hours yowling at me. Being a black cat behind black mesh in a dark footwell he was almost completely invisible, except for big yellow eyes with enormous pupils glaring hatefully at me out of the darkness! I locked them in separate bathrooms here until the movers had left, and at first Nemesis refused to get out of the carrier, and when he did he went and sat in the litter box facing the back wall and refused to look at me. He did come creeping out later, but then he went and hid in Soren’s wardrobe so we couldn’t find him for ages. Ootchy seemed a little more relaxed about things (which is weird, given his generally anxious, over-grooming personality!) but when I patted him before I let him out he purred and rubbed against my hand. However he has not been seen since, so who knows where he’s hiding in the house.

Troy and I went to Woollies for something for tea, and haven’t done much else. There’s been a lot of wandering around trying to get used to the idea that this is our house now! And a lot of looking for cats I suppose. Now we’re just going to make up our bed and go to sleep. As I said, it’s been a really long day and I am so tired now. And tomorrow I’ll get all the fun of unpacking!