Wednesday 26 April 2017

I am so sick of cleaning my house.

They took photos of it today, which involved much cleaning on my part, then a whole lot of ‘hide it out of sight’ while they were actually taking the pictures, then putting everything back once they were done. Hopefully it will be worth all the trouble when the photos bring loads of potential buyers flocking to our house, and they all want to buy it and then engage in a bidding war that reaps us millions of dollars. Ha!

It was craft today and both Catherine and Miffi came, which was good. Between people being sick and school holidays we hadn’t seen each other for ages. I think I’ll miss doing craft with them once we move- we’ve been doing craft together in various places and to varying schedules for probably twelve years now.

I spent my craft afternoon doing my planning for tomorrow, and then doing some knitting on my cardigan, so that was productive. It was also productive in another way, as I have found our chickens a home with Miffi. I didn’t even know she wanted chickens, but when I said we weren’t taking them with us to Ballarat she jumped at the chance. She also said that she’d love to buy our dresser, if it will fit in her house- we were sort of offering it with the house, but if she wants to buy it we can probably work something out. So we’ll have to see about that.

The weather has finally turned cold, and today was freezing. I had to break out my thermals to take Jericho and Emma to hockey training tonight.

Tuesday 25th April 2017

Happy birthday to Great-Nana! Ninety years today…interestingly enough, I also found out today that the first Anzac day public holiday was ninety years ago, the day that Nana was born. (And her brother, as she’s a twin.) We had afternoon tea at her place, which was rather crowded with nearly everyone there. Will, Charlotte and Sophie were with their mum, but everyone else was there, and retirement village units are not exactly spacious. Still, it was nice, and I think Nana really appreciated it. She even made a little speech, which is so unlike her, and which nearly made me cry. I hope if I live to ninety I get to celebrate my birthday with all my family, like Nana did today.

It was a pretty family focussed day really, as we also went to the Anzac day march in the morning. This always feels like a family thing as we mainly go for Steve, who served in Vietnam and marches every year. This year was extra special for him, because during the service they read out a letter that was written by his grandfather to his two daughters (one of whom was Steve’s mother) while he was away at the first World War. That personal connection makes it really matter, but just listening to the letter being read brings it all so vividly to life. It was such a short letter- his girls were little, and he just told them about the balloons that went up and the men who went in them with their binoculars to see what was happening. That was all, but it was so easy to imagine him sitting there near the front lines, trying to think of something in all that awfulness that he could tell his little girls about, and feeling so far away from them. It makes me really see what I have, and there are so few words to adequately describe how much I love my family and how truly grateful I am for what we have.

Before, in between, and after the Anzac march we did things around the house. Troy shovelled and wheel-barrowed stones on the driveway in the morning, while I went through my things in the study and boxed up the non-teaching related stuff since I won’t use it before we move. Everyone went outside to work on laying the gravel in the afternoon, and we did that until it was finished. It was a lot of work (and a lot of money to buy the stones- our driveway from the road to the shed is BIG) but it does look good now that it’s done. I also went into Jericho and Soren’s bedroom and did a quick tidy up and dust of their shelves, just to make the room look a little bit more put together in case they want to take photos of it tomorrow. It was pretty late by the time we were doing this, so Jericho and Soren were pretty reluctant helpers, but I can’t clean their things up without them. To be honest, so much of it just looks like junk to me, but I don’t want to throw out things that they actually want. Therefore, they need to be there to tell me which rocks and sticks and random plasticky things are precious!

The photographer is supposed to come to take photos of the house tomorrow. I hope it actually happens- we saw Bill the real estate agent at the march this morning and he was rather angsty about the idea of taking pictures on a rainy and miserable day. I wouldn’t be all that surprised if he postpones it, but I really hope he doesn’t. I mean, I just want the house listed already!

Monday 24th April 2017

I have two cats and a dog and my house is cleaner than it has ever been before, yet today I spent five minutes watching a teeny tiny little mouse come out from behind the stove and take a little jaunt around the kitchen floor. He was so confident that he even stopped several times to groom his whiskers!

Actually, perhaps it’s that my house is so clean that the mouse came out? Probably he can usually just nip out from behind the stove and find a couple of crumbs in an instant, now it’s an expedition to find anything on my shiny clean floor.

We lost a chicken for a while today. Not lost as in died, but lost as in it took a walk and we didn’t know where it was! Lauren from the real estate agent came by around, and she mentioned to me that she was greeted by one of the chickens on the front lawn. By the time I’d shown her around and then gone out to look for the chicken, it had completely disappeared. I searched the yard and out in the street, but there was no sign of it, so I just had to give up and hope that it came back on its own. It did, a couple of hours later I saw it out under the Japanese maple and ran out and grabbed it, but it was ridiculous. Why would the stupid bird leave the backyard in the first place? It has everything it needs out there! It’s the chicken that is always heading off by itself in the yard…I think she must have an independent spirit, which is not something I ever thought I would say about a chicken.

Lauren is the person who writes the ad copy for the real estate agency. It turns out I’d actually met her before- they used to live three houses down the street and she and I met at the primary school on voting day once. Anyway, showing her around the house was delightful because she loved everything. Obviously writing the ads her job means she HAS to look at the positives, but it was much nicer to show her around talking about all the good things than it was to show Bill around as he mumbles about unrenovated kitchens and old carpets and how much we need to mow!

The photographer is booked in to take photos on Wednesday, so with that and Lauren’s copy we should have an ad up quite soon- fingers crossed! Although, Bill told Troy today that he’s been in touch with the two people who looked at it last week and they’re both still interested. One of them is looking into financing, so that could be promising. I still want to get the house up on realestate.com.au though. The people who have seen it so far are developers, and although in the end we’ll sell to whoever offers us the money we want, I would love to see it go to a family who just want a home and they’re more likely to come from seeing the internet listing.

I spent all morning cleaning it though, since Bill had said he’d try and get the photographer around today. Of course now it’s not happening until Wednesday, so I’ll have to do it all again that morning, especially since tomorrow the kids are home for Anzac day and will no doubt trash the place! Although we’re going to get them to help finish off spreading the stones on the driveway (we got more delivered today), there’s also the march that we might go to, and Great Nana’s birthday afternoon tea. She’s turning ninety tomorrow…that’s amazing.

Sunday 23rd April 2017

Not much going on here today. Troy worked outside a lot, mowing the yard and finishing off spreading the gravel over the driveway. He’s going to go to the garden supply place tomorrow and organise another load of stones, so he can finish it up on Tuesday since he doesn’t have to go to work because of Anzac day.

I didn’t really do much- a lot of wasting time on the internet, some cleaning and a lot of laundry. I went through the blanket box at the end of my bed, mostly because it would not longer shut and so I needed to tidy up the sheets and doona covers that live in there. I discovered that we own an entirely unexpected amount of single bed doona covers- how did we ever accumulate so many? This inspired me to go around and collect all the other doona covers that were on spare bedding stuffed into various places around the house (this netted me two MORE single bed doonas, and a queen doona cover) and wash them all so that I can assess what we own and cut it down. (If anyone needs any, let me know). Although the new house has a giant linen cupboard, so I will probably have enough room to keep everything if I wanted to!

My hands hurt a lot today, so I spent a bit of time feeling sorry for myself about that. I am just so wretchedly frustrated with this constant stream of ailments! I have made an appointment to see the doctor about this one, although I couldn’t get in for another week. I think that it’s actually two related issues – there is the finger that I hurt when I was in Bali that has never come good, and then there is the general aches and pain in my fingers/ wrists/ elbows that may be an arthritis flare. I was diagnosed a few years ago with psoriatic arthritis, which at the time I was a bit iffy about, and then when the pain eventually eased off I just pretty much forgot about it. However now everything hurts too much to ignore it, and I have a couple of other symptoms that match psoriatic arthritis, so maybe he was right after all. I want to talk to my current doctor about it all because she’s really good, and also because what I was previously told to do about the arthritis was take ibuprofen, and I need to check if that’s still okay to do with my liver issues (and the four hundred million other prescriptions I have).

Saturday 22 April 2017

I’ve had a busy couple of days. House, car, kids…it’s all been going on.

I taught Thursday morning, which went well. It was actually a really easy start to the term, because I only had to teach the little ones since all the middle and senior kids had an inter-school sports day. It was lovely to just focus on the small grades for the day, there are some really nice kids in there.

I was glad I had more time at home with some of the classes being cancelled, because I had to run around and primp up the house again for an inspection. Having such a clean and tidy house feels a bit weird- it’s an odd contradiction between loving how it looks and feeling like I ought not be in it and messing it up!

When the house inspection time arrived I went to the office and Troy and I walked round to the garden supply place to order the gravel for the driveway. They were certainly quick with it- by the time Troy and I had grabbed lunch at the bakery and I drove home, the guy was already there with the truck. He dumped it all by the side of the house, and Jericho and Soren had a fun time running up the stone mountain when I bought them home from their sports day.

After Troy finished work, we left his parents in charge of the children while we drove over to Hampton to collect the bed and trundle that I’d bought on ebay. This one is white and will be for Emma, so now we have beds for all four of the children’s bedrooms at the new house. It was a really long drive at that time of day – I’ve almost finished buying furniture now, but I think I need to try and find it closer to home!

We stopped in Lilydale and picked up Andrew on the way home. He’s back in Melbourne for a week, and I said he could sleep in the library for a night or two in exchange for helping us re-stone the driveway. It might sound like a somewhat peculiar situation, having an ex-boyfriend sleeping in our library, but it really just worked out for all concerned. Everything that happened between Andrew and I was so long ago, and I’m so happy and content with Troy, that it’s just a matter of helping out an old friend who needs it right now. Besides, given the hours he spent shovelling gravel around my driveway (in the rain), I feel like I got the better end of the deal! All he got was a lumpy futon mattress in our library/furniture storehouse and a ride to the train station!

Friday I took the boys to school and then drove the car to Blackburn for the service. We were nearly 2000km over the scheduled service point, which sounds ridiculous, but we had to wait almost a month for this appointment and we’ve done a lot of driving to and from Ballarat in that time. Originally I had planned to drop the car off, walk to the train station and take a train to the city to go on a Pokemon walk, but the rain made that a lot less appealing. I had my kindle, so I ended up walking to the Blackburn library and going in and reading for a couple of hours. I walked to the op-shop after that and bought two Paul Jennings books for Soren and Jericho, then the car was ready so I picked that up and drove home.

I picked up lunch and Andrew on the way home, and then Bill rang to say that he had someone call him looking for a property in town with potential for development, he was only in town for one day, and would it be possible to bring him round to our place? I said yes, planning to go home and do a blitz clean, but then the phone rang again and this time it was Kerrie from school saying that Soren had fallen over and hurt his knee and could I come and collect him? So instead of home I turned right onto the bypass and went up to the school.

Soren was lying on the sick bay bed with his leg propped up on a pillow and an icepack on his knee, looking very sad and sorry for himself. He’d been running on the oval and he’d slipped and come down really hard on his knee. It doesn’t sound like anything out of the ordinary, but he’d kind of come down on the top of his kneecap- he hadn’t skinned his knee at all but it was looking kind of swollen and lumpy and beginning to bruise. He could still walk so I knew it wasn’t anything terrible, but it was late enough that it just seemed kinder to let him miss the last lesson and take him home. I was going to take Jericho too, but he had arranged to go to Ethan’s house after school so he stayed while I raced home and cleaned everything like a crazy thing, since I now had half as much time to do it in.

Then I had to hurry even more, because the mum of Jericho’s friend rang me up to say that her car wouldn’t start and she couldn’t get to school to collect them, and since I’d be going up to collect Soren anyway could I possibly get the boys and her daughter and bring them to her place? Of course Soren was right beside me and I didn’t need to go up to the school at all, but I didn’t want to leave her in the lurch so I just said yes and loaded Soren into the car and drove back up to school.

We dropped off three kids at Jericho’s friends’ house, then I went to the office to collect Nicholai and Emma since I’d told them to go there instead of home due to the house inspection. We stayed there talking until Troy finished work, and then we all drove home and I was so frazzled and over everything that I left them all to it and went and hid in a bath.

I got out of the bath and then put the dog into it and washed her. I am paranoid about our house smelling like dog when people come to look at it- both our new house and the Scarborough Crescent house smelled like animals when we looked at them and I didn’t like it, and I don’t want people to feel like that when they come into our house. So along with all the cleaning I’ve been using my diffuser and opening the doors and windows a lot to keep the house smelling fresh, but making the dog herself not smell seemed like it could only help. I might wash her bed too, since her crate is right next to the door when you come in. Although perhaps that’s just a bad choice and I should move the crate?

Today has been mostly about working on the driveway, at least for Troy and the children. My hands have been hurting me too much lately to do something like shovel rocks, (which is part of the reason we roped Andrew in to help) so I was only helpful in a supervisory and ute-moving capacity. But the kids worked on it for an hour, and Troy worked on it for a lot longer, and it’s looking pretty good. The front half of it is completely done, and the backyard is really coming along. This was the last big job we had to do, so we can finish it tomorrow and then the real estate agent can come and take photos and we can get moving on advertising. (Unless one of the two people who have looked at it in the last couple of days come back with an offer- fingers crossed because that would be great!).

I did act as a supervisor to the children in doing the front yard, and I did a lot of kicking stones and spreading them around with my feet, so I wasn’t completely useless. I had to laugh though, Soren was raking and he said to me, quite seriously, “Is this working for the man?” I said that while his dad was A man, he probably wasn’t THE man!

I also laughed tonight when we were doing good thing/ bad thing around the dinner table, and 3 out of 4 children said their bad thing was the blisters they got from working…I think that says something about the level of effort put in by that fourth child! *cough*Jericho*cough*

Wednesday 19 April 2017

You know, I try and be a conscious parent. I try and incorporate values and beliefs into every aspect of my parenting, and something I have always worked at is raising children who are all strong feminists. And then there are days like today, when I wonder what the bloody point of it is when so much of the rest of the world is so totally fucking oblivious.

I took Emma and Jericho to hockey today, and while I’m waiting for them to be done and doing my knitting, I can’t help overhear the conversation of the two women next to me. These are women about my age, basically fairly successful, educated, and professional women. One of them has both a daughter and a son out training on the field, and as she chatting to her friend I heard her say that her daughter was wearing her son’s old hockey club shorts to training, since they no longer fit him. Which is something that would probably not even have registered with me if it hadn’t been linked to her next sentence, which was, “I told her she has to wear her skirt to the games though. I just think they look so nice playing in skirts, I don’t want her wearing those shorts.”

What the fuck?!?!?! These are teenage girls playing hockey, and yet she thinks it’s more important that they ‘look nice’ playing in skirts than that her daughter wear whatever makes her feel comfortable? And the skirts are super-short-hardly-cover-their-asses-sports-skirts, versus the general baggy athletic shorts that the boys (and some of the girls, there aren’t any rules against girls wearing shorts) wear, so it’s definitely not some version of modesty. It’s just…she’s a girl, and so her appearance matters, and it has to match some arbitrary, fucked up standard. And that instead of thinking how well her daughter plays, or what a good team they are and how hard they all work and how much they’ve improved, she (and probably half the rest of the world) are only thinking about the way they look. Ugh.

The house inspection today was cancelled, although it’s been rescheduled for tomorrow. Since I’d already done most of the cleaning and tidying for this inspection (things like kitchen and bathroom that will need to be redone for tomorrow) I was not exactly impressed. But there’s not much to be done about it but shrug my shoulders and do it all again tomorrow. At least I only teach for an hour (the older grades have a sports day) so I’ll have plenty of time to get home and do it after that.

Bill the real estate agent came round for a little bit, to take some measurements to do the floor plan and tell us what we need to do for the photos. He wants us to mow the back yard again, and weed and re-stone the driveway (which we had already had planned). The driveway is a big job but we knew we’d have to do it, so that wasn’t a surprise. Really, I’m glad that’s all it was. Bill wants us to use the maintenance company he uses to weed and do the stones, but I don’t think we have enough money to pay people- Troy has poisoned the grass and weeds (which is actually making it look worse at the moment, as it’s dying off) and we’ll just have to shovel the stones around to cover it up ourselves.

I started watching American Horror Story today. I bought them in Indonesia so I’d have something new and interesting to watch while I did my knitting. I watched two episodes today- I’m not sure that I’m brave enough for this show.