Tuesday 30 May 2017

I fell off the step stool when I was getting things to pack down from the top of the wardrobe and nearly pulled off half my big toenail. It was already fairly badly damaged from the psoriasis, and now it’s kind of broken and there’s blood and it is just…aargh, so painful and so disgusting! The way my feet are going I think I am going to be wearing socks twenty four hours a day for the rest of my life. I am such a disaster.

After a whole lot of holding onto my toe and rolling around in agony, I did finish packing the box though. Troy went through all those power cords last night (and even threw some things out!) so they were in the bottom of the box and I just kept adding to it.

The one thing I have been enjoying with the packing is finding all those little things that you tuck away and forget about. Lots of letters and photos and funny things like that. I found a letter today that Rhiannon wrote to me and she gave me some swapcards with it, it was adorable. One of the other things I found today was my old wax seal kit- it has a metal stamp of the letter R, and the stubs of two wax sticks. When I was a teenager I used to write a million letters, and I used to use that on the envelope, which kind of makes me laugh when I think about it now. I showed it to Jericho and Soren and they were fascinated.

Troy called his mother in Germany today, because it’s her birthday. They were just enjoying a picnic lunch at a castle, admiring a view of the snow-capped Alps, no big deal…I am so jealous, I do not mind admitting it! We spoke to Nicholai too, which was good. I mean, he doesn’t actually tell us anything, but it was enough to just hear his voice today and know that he’s doing okay.

I also called Ballarat high school today and rescheduled the tour and interview that I had initially set up for this Friday, forgetting that Nicholai wouldn’t be here. The new time is on the day after settlement, so we’ll be able to pick up the keys for our new house that day too. It’s all getting so close!

Fingers crossed that I have sold the bedroom furniture that’s in the loungeroom. It’s been such a mess, but the fourth person I have exchanged messages with seems very keen and is coming by on Saturday. Hopefully they like it, give me money, and then take it away and I can just move on! If this one doesn’t work out I think I will just give up and see if I can get the Salvos or St Vinnie’s to come and take things.

I had the strangest thing happen today. I was doing the ebay ads and chatting to Troy online when my vision went weird- it was as if there was a rippling moving across my field of vision, and after doing that several times it settled into my peripheral vision. The rest of my sight was fairly normal, but the right side of my vision was all rippling and distorted. Even when I covered my right eye it was still there in the left eye. My first thought was that I hadn’t taken my medication, but that wasn’t it, and so I did what everyone does and went to doctor google (because it was either that or go to the ER in case I was having a stroke). My symptoms exactly matched the description of a scintillating scotoma or visual migraine though, and about twenty minutes later everything went back to go back to normal. It was just so strange. If it happens again I will mention it to the doctor next time I’m there, but for now it’s just one of those things.

I love Troy though. I was talking to him online when this happened and although he didn’t say anything, five minutes later he walked in the door just to check that I was really okay.


Monday 29th May 2017

I finally laid down the law today and told the children they are no longer allowed to jump on the trampoline. I was really hoping it would last out the couple of weeks we have left here, but with half the springs missing it had turned into a death trap. I couldn’t even bear to watch them on it – seriously, letting them jump on that trampoline this weekend was the most dangerous things I’ve ever let them do.

We are going to buy them a new one, (a springless one with the highest weight rating I can find) but the plan has been to order it and have it delivered here, then move it in the box it comes in and put it together at the new house. The idea of that was that they could use the old trampoline until the last day, then we’d throw it in the skip, and we’d put the new trampoline together at the new house as soon as possible, to minimise the trampoline-less time. Which might sound a bit mad, but Soren and Jericho are out on the trampoline every single day and I am honestly not sure how they’ll fill in their time without it. Not to mention how cranky they get when rain keeps them away from it for a day! Guess I’m going to find out how they do without it now.

The person never showed up for the bed set yesterday, and messaging today with various other people who were interested has not resulted in a solid sale yet either. Honestly, I am pretty irritated with the whole experience. I just want some money, and to move out all the bedroom furniture that is currently cluttering up my loungeroom!

I was awful today and just spent forever eating and doing nothing. I have to stop eating so much shit – I have not managed to lose very much weight at all in the past year, and I am basically putting every single little bit of it back on because I can’t stop binging and I hate it. It’s stress, I know that, but ugh. It’s difficult, because I do have some meds that are to calm me down that might help, but I’m scared to take them if I have to get in the car and drive the kids home from school. So, I just wind up eating and feeling bloated and sick and fed up with myself.

I did manage to drag myself out of my chair and pack a box this afternoon though, with a bunch of stuff that was in the top of our wardrobe. It was a bunch of keepsakes, and Troy’s Nintendo and a bunch of playstaion and Nintendo games, baseball gloves, my Royal Doulton nativity set – basically a bunch of stuff that will go straight back into the top of the wardrobe at the new house. (If we have a top of the wardrobe? I can’t remember, I’m pretty sure there is.)

I was going to pack a second box, but the rolls of wrapping paper were too tall for the boxes and the next thing I pulled out were two plastic crates of various kinds of power cords and electrical things that I couldn’t even identify, so I gave up. I’ll need to get Troy to inspect all the power cords, but I suspect I’ll wind up just packing a box full of them and taking them all with us- he likes to hang on to his technology. I mean, at one point we had twenty two computers in our shed at the Healesville house, and until a couple of years ago he still owned a dot matrix printer! As long as we have somewhere to put it I don’t mind…as far as husband vices go, I don’t think this one is all that serious!

I’m going to keep trying to pack a couple of boxes each day. As much as possible, I want to avoid having to spend hours and hours packing frantically in the last couple of days. I know that I’ll just want to UNpack everything immediately at the other end too, so I want to avoid having too much pain in my hands from packing to do that.

I’ve finally come up with a possible lesson for my last teaching day too! I wanted to take in some Indonesian food for us to share, but to be honest I just do not like cooking and the idea of having to find an Asian grocery store and shop for ingredients and do all the prepping and cooking just seemed like too much to take on at this point. (Which, I know, is about the most pathetically lazy attitude to have, but really I am pretty hopeless with this.) Also, a lot of the food doesn’t sound like it would be as good served cold, and food handling issues with that many kids are also something I need to keep in mind. However I’ve come up with a solution that makes me happy – soda gembira, which is the aptly named ‘happy soda’ that Emma and I drank all over Indonesia, made of soda water and condensed milk and syrup. It will work so easily for the classroom. I can fill our big esky with soda water and throw a bag of ice in there in the morning, so that we can use that in the drinks. The kids can all have a plastic cup and a straw, and we can just do a little production line of adding ice, spooning in condensed milk, a slug of syrup, then pouring the soda water on. The kids will love it. I have even found an online Asian grocery where I can buy the right syrup.

I also thought I’d buy a couple of Indonesian sauces from the same place (kecap manis and satay and a spicy one) and make some prawn crackers for the kids to dip. This will work well in a classroom- the kids won’t need plates or cutlery; I just need a bag of prawn crackers for each class and a few little dishes that I can refill for each group. Prawn crackers might not be the most authentic, but at least I can make them cheap myself and the kids can get the flavours of the sauces. I will have to check with school if I can do this, but I really hope I can. It would be such a fun thing for the kids to do, and an awesome way to end their Indonesian lessons.

Sunday 28 May 2017

I’ve heard from Nicholai, and they arrived safely in Germany. Over Skype messenger he said he was a little stressed, but doing okay. He must be exhausted though- he left home at 6am yesterday, and when I heard from him at 5.45pm today he said they got to Anne and Basti’s house about an hour previous, around 8.45am (this morning) German time. I hope it doesn’t take him long to settle in, and that he has a really good time.

Troy and I spent a while packing today. Last night I listed our old double bed for sale on Gumtree, and we decided to sell the bedside tables and the dresser (which we were still using) with it. We had someone want it pretty quickly, so today we had to empty out the drawers. I put some socks, undies, pyjamas and painting clothes in a bag and then packed everything else up. So for now I’m using a box and Troy is using a little round stool as a bedside table, and there are three sets of drawers, a mirror and a double bed frame and slats awaiting collection in our living room.

Although the person who wanted them said they’d pick them up this evening and it’s now 7.55pm and we haven’t heard from them, even after I messaged them earlier. So I’m thinking we might have been stood up, and I am not happy about that at all. There’s not much we can do though, so I guess we’ll just wait it out tonight and tomorrow I will contact one of the other people who enquired about it and see if they’re still interested.

We made a dessert today, which is pretty unusual for us. But Jericho was reading a book the other day where the characters were eating ‘flummery’, and he thought the name was so great that he wanted to know what the actual food was. So we googled it and learned that it’s a gelatin pudding. We found a recipe that sounded old-fashioned enough to probably be what the characters in the book were eating – it involved gelatin and eggs and sugar and juice – and we also found an easy recipe that involved jelly and condensed milk…you can probably guess which one we made, ha ha ha! But it was very light and fluffy and good, and the children were probably equally charmed by the taste and by the fact that they were eating something called flummery. A very god end to the day.

Saturday 27 May 2017

I really love seeing all the kids wrapped in my handmade crocheted blankets while they lounge around and watch tv on a Saturday morning. It just looks so cosy and safe and peaceful.

Although for once I was actually up and awake before the kids this morning, because I had to leave at 6am to collect Steve and Jean and take them and Nicholai to the airport. Jericho and Soren were just doing that sleepy walk down to the loungeroom to turn the tv on as Nicholai and I left.

I can’t believe Nicholai is so far away! I can’t keep all the timezones and time changes straight, but I think at the moment he’s probably having a layover in the Shanghai airport. I hope he had a good flight, and I really hope he enjoys this trip. I don’t even know what their plans are, apart from actually going to Anne’s wedding of course, so I can’t even really imagine what he’ll be up to.

I got such a giant hug from him this morning. He was really scared, but doing an admirable job of holding everything together. I’m so proud of him.

It’s going to be so weird at home without him though! It always does feel just a little bit off kilter when one of the children is gone anyway, and Nicholai is not exactly a quiet and unobtrusive personality. I have also never had any of the children gone for so long before- Emma was away in Indonesia for longer than Nicholai will be in Germany, but I was with her so it wasn’t at all the same thing! Apart from that Indonesia trip, the longest any of the kids have been away from home was Jericho’s nine day hospital stay with his burst appendix, and I probably spent about 90% of those nine days with him, so again it really isn’t the same. I suppose I just have to think of it as giving me a little taste of what it will be like at home when he eventually moves out!

I got home from my airport trip just in time to say goodbye and good luck to Jericho as he and Troy headed off for hockey. Jericho’s team has been moved up a division since they were crushing the opposition, so today was a harder game for them and they had a draw, 1-1. Their goal was scored on a short corner after the whistle though, so Jericho was pretty happy with their last minute evening of the score.

Emma’s hockey team has their first defeat last night too, 3-0. So it hasn’t been a very successful sport weekend for them, but fortunately they don’t seem to mind.

Today I went through the Indonesian worksheets that I’ve made up over the past five years, and put aside copies of everything. I’m going to leave them up at the school with the other Indo resources that they’ve bought. If they manage to get another Indo teacher then they might use them, and even if they don’t a teacher of another language might still get some ideas out of them. I’m keeping everything I made and everything I bought for myself though- it’s extremely unlikely I’ll ever be a LOTE teacher again, but you never know what else might come up.

And for once a government department has moved with commendable speed and efficiency, and our Medicare rebate went into our account this morning. So that, combined with the $9.90 refund we got from Bunnings when we returned the wrong size screws, has given a slight reprieve from penury.

Friday 26th May 2017

I had a stressful day today. We are having such money issues, it’s awful. I’ve already had to borrow money to get my dental work done, and then today I didn’t have enough to cover Jericho and Soren’s dental work, so we had to cancel Soren’s appointment and just do Jericho. It was mortifying. Plus then Jericho’s sneakers are falling to bits, so we had to go and buy him a new pair so that he can play hockey tomorrow.

I am not used to this and it freaks me out. We never have loads of spare money, but we’re not usually living like this, waiting for each pay and deciding what things are most important and what has to wait. I am so anxious all the time.

It IS a temporary situation though. I have a timesheet in at work and should be paid soon. The dentist also reminded me today about the Medicare rebate for the kids’ dental visits, so as soon as Jericho’s appointment was over I got the receipts for the check ups the four of them had in January, and the receipt for the seals and fluoride treatment he had today, and went straight to Medicare, so we should get a reasonable payment back within a couple of days. And once the deposit from selling our house is released to us we’ll be fine. It’s just in the meantime that things are so stressful.

I think it has a lot to do with the amount of money I spent in going to Indonesia at that particular time of year, then there were all the back-to-school costs, then we said we’d send Nicholai to Germany. So we had no extra, and then we decided to move and everything happened so quickly. We had to spend money on the driveway here, spend money on multiple trips to Ballarat, and several other things that just cropped up to do with the whole deal. The party place needed a deposit to book our goodbye party. The removalists need a deposit to book the date. The furniture we bought was all second hand and pretty cheap, but it still adds up. Even buying boxes to pack stuff in costs a surprising amount of money.

Then there’s all the money that I have needed for my health issues over the past couple of months. The x-rays were a couple of hundred dollars and I don’t get the full amount back, and on top of my usual medication (which isn’t all that cheap) I was prescribed a sleeping pill and an anti-anxiety pill to take when necessary, and they were expensive to buy. I still have the referral to the physio to do, but I can’t do it until there’s money in the account to cover it. Even with medicare and the PBS and the medicare safety net, it can still be pretty expensive to be such a medical wreck as I am!

Ugh, oh well. Just have to hang in until it evens out a bit. And once we are actually moved our mortgage repayments will be a bit smaller than they are here, so that should cover our increased fuel costs. And I’m sorry for writing this whole panicked screed about our current financial shortfall, but it’s obviously rather occupying my thoughts.

Anyway, apart from freaking out about money today was nice. Jericho and Soren had the day off school, so I got them to help me to do some packing in their room. We had a tea chest for each of them, and we went through their cupboard and sorted out ownership of all the remote control vehicles and Schleichs and Scooby Doos and army figures and other items of war, putting them in the appropriate packing box. This was accomplished surprisingly peacefully, and we also got most of it done, filling up one box each. The Lego and all their books still need to be packed, but they don’t need to be divided by owner and they’re all books that we’ll keep, so I can do that on my own one day while they’re at school.

We caught a mouse today. When I went outside I saw it run across the driveway where Nemesis fairly lazily pounced on it and got it. I didn’t really expect to be able to do anything about it, but somehow I managed to get a hold of Nemesis and rescue the mouse from his jaws. It was the tiniest, sweetest little brown field mouse I’ve ever seen. Jericho and Soren put it in the little pet carry case so that it could recover in safety. We all though it was so cute, until it turned on me and bit my finger so savagely that I was bleeding for ages! Then when we went to release it outside the lid came off the carry case, the box fell down and the mouse escaped and ran behind the dresser. So, my attempt to do good has simply resulted in a mouse living in my kitchen, which is really not what I want!

I also discovered today that Jericho and I have the same size feet. He could borrow my shoes.

Nicholai is going to Germany tomorrow. I can’t believe it’s actually time to see my boy off on his first overseas adventure! I think I am more anxious about this than I expected, since right now I think I am going to get up at 5am and drive him and Steve and Jean to the airport rather than let Troy do it! The Manchester terror attack has not been good for me in this respect – it makes the world feel like a very dark and frightening place. But I want the kids to be brave, and I want Nicholai to push himself out of his comfort zone and be open to all the experiences he can have on this trip. This is another moment when I look at him and just feel so, so proud – he has surpassed almost every single limit that we thought he had. I hope he has a brilliant, amazing time, and can come home and tell me about it.

Oh, and here’s the photo of him that was in the newsletter, for coming second in the quiz. He is crouching down because they wanted to be able to see the scores behind him, but it really just makes him look like a very tiny person.


Thursday 25 May 2017

Why must Jericho start arguing about bedtime every night? It is not as though we have EVER relented and let ANY of the kids stay up after the time we have decreed they must go to bed…why would we start with him? It drives me bonkers because he tries to argue, we tell him we’re not discussing it with him, it’s bedtime and that’s all there is to it, and then he gets all cranky and stamps off to bed in a huff. It’s just so utterly pointless, and it yet it means every day, no matter how nice previously, ends on an unpleasant note.

Teaching went well today. I was prepared, we were all doing some fun stuff, and it all ran pretty smoothly. As of today the school hasn’t managed to find another Indonesian teacher to replace me, so they might just have to take whatever LOTE teacher is available. It will be a bit disappointing if the kids can’t continue to build on their Indonesian, but at the same time they’ll gain a lot by being exposed to another language and culture. And since one of the possibilities is a native Japanese speaker who teaches in a couple of other nearby schools, she’ll be much better than I was so it should be really good for the kids.

Troy and I had to go to the bank and sign loan documents today. Every time I think it’s all settled, something else crops up that requires more signatures or more copies or whatever. Anyway, today was all about the loan we have, the bridging loan that we need for the three weeks between settlement dates, and the final loan that we’ll end up with. They’re all separate loans, which just seems like an incredibly complicated way to go about things to me. However I am not a banker, nor a financier, so I’ll just admit my ignorance of the process and deal with what’s directly in front of me.

Tuesday 23rd May 2017

The Ballarat High school principal rang me this morning, to talk about Nicholai and Emma’s enrolments. I was impressed by how quickly he got back to us, and he spent quite a while on the phone with me talking about the school and their programs, and how Nicholai and Emma will fit in with that. We made an appointment for next Friday to go for a tour and to sort out all the subject details and things like that, but I had completely spaced that Nicholai will be in Germany then. I’ll have to get back to them and reschedule it, which is slightly embarrassing, but what are you going to do?

I did a bit of packing today. Possibly too much- my hands hurt. But I’m almost done with all the books in the library- I still have a little pile for the next box, and there are four shelves that I need Troy to look at and decide what we should keep too. Apart from that there are still photo albums and scrapbooks, but I can’t really reach them because they’re behind a desk and a futon. I packed another box of Nicholai’s books from his room too – at the moment I think I could fill a moving truck solely with boxes of books. I also filled two plastic crates with decorative items, like some of the photos from the wall, the things off the mantelpiece and the dresser, all my Indonesian puppets and masks, and a vase and plastic plants.

I picked Troy up at his lunchtime and we went and bought bolts for the bed from Bunnings (the ones we bought on the weekend were the wrong size, annoyingly) and more book boxes from the self-storage place. So it really did feel like I spent a lot of the day focussed on moving.

Nicholai won second prize in a school quiz, and came home with a giant box of Favourites chocolates. (Which he did a commendable job of sharing with his siblings unprompted!) The quiz was open to anyone, and Nicholai said he was the only person doing it alone, everyone else was in teams, and he was beaten by a team of three VCE students. So he should be proud of himself.

Although it kind of hurt my heart a little that he doesn’t have any friends who would do a quiz with him at lunchtime. It’s difficult at the moment, because for a long time he’s been quite happy with his own company, but now he’s at a point where he would like friends and yet doesn’t quite know how to make it work. I really have my fingers crossed that our move goes well for him, and that he finds his own niche at a new school. I really hope that he’ll find acceptance there, outside of the somewhat insulated bubble of the SEAL class that he’s been part of for the past two years.