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Posts Tagged ‘renovation’

Screen Shot 2017-06-13 at 2.11.35 PMThis morning I went outside and discovered the builders next door merrily bricklaying away at the wall of the neighbour’s house that sits on our boundary, just beside our dining room. Except they weren’t bricking all of it. There was a large rectangular gap where there should have been bricks.

‘What’s that window doing there?’ I asked.

‘It’s not really a window,’ the brickie told me. ‘It’s more of a vent.’

I said nothing.

‘So they can get some fresh air in this bathroom,’ he clarified. ‘It’ll be frosted.’

‘A frosted glass vent that opens and shuts is commonly called a window,’ I said in a pleasant enough voice that nonetheless contained the suggestion that he might like to go get the foreman, Paul.

‘I’ll go get Paul,’ he said. (more…)

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Me, making a to-d0 list. Sketch by H. 

  1. Attend My 20th High School Reunion

This weekend I’m going my 20th high school reunion, an event that simultaneously makes me very excited and want to fake a bad case of gastro.

I’m curious about what the women I went to school with for six years have done with their lives, although a lot of it I already know because of the massive spoiler factory that is Facebook. For many people, the only revelations left will be what everyone looks like without several filters and when viewed front on, and not from an artfully high selfie angle. Speaking for myself, I’d recommend people come to the reunion in extremely high heels, or perhaps stilts, and with one of two extra pairs of contact lenses in, so I will look as svelte and dewy of chops as I look on the Internet. Related to the school reunion is the second item on my to-do list: (more…)

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Sample bookshelf from my parents’ attic: Just one of the many collections of books that tells you probably more than you need to know about my family.

Our renovation is about to begin. We have packed everything from one half of our house and jammed it into the other half. The builders are going to knock out few of our walls, fiddle around with the layout a bit, and put in a new kitchen. The house is very overdue for some care and maintenance, but knowing the renovation was approaching we’ve treated it like a teacher treats their class in the last weeks of the academic year. Gradually everything has fallen apart, and we’ve stopped caring and worked around it. It’s been the domestic equivalent of the teacher putting on a video of ‘Behind The News’ every day for two weeks and reading a book while the class flicks spit balls around and braids each other’s hair.

(more…)

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IMG_6093Each year, the changing seasons bring with them a change of rhythm, and new cycles in the life of a family. Despite the weather behaving like it’s Endless Summer (though in our house there’s less surfing and more skidding on abandoned pyjamas) it seems that we have moved into our typical autumn pattern of all being fucking sick.

Here’s how it goes: the kids catch a cold from school or kindy or licking a parking meter, they spend four or five days being snotty and gross, waking us up many times a night because they feel crappy, which sends H’s and my immune systems into meltdown. We go into panic mode, cramming handfuls of vitamins down our throats, but to no avail. We both come down with it just as the kids bounce back. The crossover point of my downward trajectory and their upward one was Monday, when they both cried ill and I let them stay home from school.

By 11 o’clock they were as fit as fleas, and bouncing off the walls. I tried making them stay in bed for a few hours, but finally the thumping sounds from their room – because leaping from one bed to the other technically counts as staying in bed, apparently, became too much and I let them come down and watch TV, which I interrupted quite often to perform angry retellings of ‘The Boy Who Cried Wolf’ and assure them that only if they were vomiting out of their eyes and ears would I ever let them stay home from school again. (more…)

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compostbin

Hiding in the corner, not doing its job well. Come on, compost bin, lean in.

Hello! Well, Mental Health Week came and went last week, and with it my intentions to write a really great post about mental health. I didn’t, because my mental health got in the way. What a jape! Mental health, you trickster, you.

The last few weeks my mood has been, like the Sydney weather these days, running very hot and cold, with a side of near constant anxiety.

I’ve been anxious about my little girl, who struggled all through the school holidays with the bullying issues she has been confronting at pre-school. She seemed to have read some textbook on being a small child and instead of behaving like a sensible adult about it, as she normally does, and thinking and discussing the problem until it is manageable, she behaved like a four year old and dealt with the problem by drawing on the living room carpet and cutting her own hair. So there was that.

There were also a lot of weeping meltdowns (from her and me), plenty of fraternal envy (mainly her, although I do have a brother living in New York so a low level of fraternal envy is a constant for me), topped off with some sleep regression (both of us). This culminated in a weekend of fevers, just before school resumed, and she now has a terrible cold. On the up side, things have improved at preschool this week and she is generally a lot happier. I on the other hand, have been left in a heap. I’m not as resilient as she is.

We’re also planning a fairly huge renovation of our house, which scares the crap out of me. So much money. So many decisions. So many panic attacks to have in tile shops.

Our plans look so lovely and sensible, and like they will solve so many of the issues the rabbit warren of a downstairs of this place currently has, but I can’t help wondering, when I look at those plans, if the people who previously renovated the house felt the same way when they created all these problems. Did they think it was a really awesome solution to have the main entrance of the house open straight into the toilet? Did they think seven doorways within a two-metre square space was going to look fabulous and lead to a relaxed flow of traffic? Did they have a reason for putting the only phone point so far from a power point, so you have to have cords draping all over the kitchen? Am I just those idiots, with Pinterest?

Basically, my mental state at the moment is precisely analogous to our compost bin. There is a lot of stuff in it, but it’s not breaking down properly. There are too many food scraps and not enough green waste. It’s sort of rotting a bit, in a smelly way, but it’s not turning into compost. And now there’s no room to put anything else in. It really needs to be dealth with: removed from the bin and turned, thoroughly, but ain’t nobody got time for that. So we have squeezed some bought compost in and a handful of worms from my mum’s house and put the lid on and we’re going to ignore it for a while. That’s how my brain is.

I think perhaps I need to write more. For me, writing mixes the eggshells and the carrot peelings with the grass clippings and creates a bit of heat in my head. Maybe heat that will break all this crap down into some lovely dirt I can grow things in. I’ll plant seeds of inspiration and grow a beautiful garden of intensely laboured metaphors. But probably the fucking possums will just come and eat them.

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Yesterday my mum made May Blossom a playhouse out of the box from the new barbecue. By sheer coincidence, it is an exact, full-scale model of our own flat, right down to the squashed grapes and bits of Vegemite sandwich on the floor.

But this squishy little flat will soon be a much-improved palace, because the Michael the Bathroom Man, Saviour of Hearts and Minds, is coming to see us on Saturday. He is going to quote on replacing our Emporium of Mould and Dryer Fluff with an actual bathroom. We might even get a toilet that flushes properly and that doesn’t have a wonky plastic seat so flimsily attached that if you don’t sit down very carefully you skid off the pan and out the door on it like it’s a bobsled. Sheer luxury. And two competing teams of air-conditioning installers (that is almost definitely the pitch for a reality show on Channel 9), are coming to decide who gets the honour of chilling out this little hothouse of ours. (more…)

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H has been a bit under the weather this week, so yesterday May Blossom and I went out to the back garden, a weedy jungle  that has been roundly ignored since her birth, and picked him a bunch of flowers. We managed to find some dahlias, and oregano and mint that had gone to flower. We arranged them using a canny stuffing technique, shoving them into an alabaster vase I bought H home from Italy four years ago as an apology for running away to America and Europe without him for three months. (more…)

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