Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Moving Check List

Moving house is just an obstacle course isn't it? Reckon it makes the Ninja Warrior course look like a bit of a cake walk. Yeh don't break a rib laughing up a lung dreaming of me hanging like a limpet from the rings, or running face first into the wall thing, just go with the analogy and give me a break, OK?

In my head, I am already living in the wee cottage. I can see where I have popped all my shit, I can see making a morning cuppa and taking Dog off to the park, and I can easily see us all trooping off for a quick meal or to the pictures or to the river or to the local cafes. Yeh it's very exciting.

But the reality is that before we can get there, there is more paper work than enough. I fucking hate paper work!

Today I got well and truly stuck in.

I started with a quick comparison of electricity deals and was feeling very self-satisfied, cos a decision was reached, easy peasy, Ta very much internet. Except that you have to pay the piper huh? And the price for the ease of info is that the I Select people, who were so successfully hiding in the ether, jump out of their secret hidie hole and get a bit of RSI ringing and ringing and ringing some more. I am still not privvy to the actual words which would put a halt to all their attention, but if I work it out, I'll let you know if I ever find out, in the mean time I will just ignore the 03 numbers and hope that they get the message sometime this year, or decade maybe.

I called into the Post Office to adjust the already in place redirection order for mail from the Big House. Silly me, I thought it would be possible to tell the postie to bring the stuff to the cottage instead of the rental, but NO NO NO.

I had to fill in a cancellation order, through squinted eyes cos the spaces on the triplicate form are stupid small and so after only 8 weeks into the 6 month order, paid for in advance of course, that little plan was given the elbow. The cancellation cost about 2 months of the redirection - yeh that's not a typo - it costs more to cancel the redirection than to actually redirect the few letters. How the fuck does that happen? Only in a monopoly. And then I had to fill in another redirection form in triplicate but by now I was completely ignoring those teasingly tiny boxes for each damn letter, just so I could squint a little less, and then I parted with a ridiculous amount of wonga and was pleased that it was something I crossed off our list. Fingers crossed that the mail actually turns up at the cottage.

And then the cherry on my day was calling fucking Optus

4 calls, 3 Optus hang ups, and AN HOUR later, Finally I had confirmation, in writing, of the connection order that was the upshot of more than 2 HOURS on the phone last week. Seriously, it is just fucking remarkable how hard it is to arrive at an agreement to pay a fucking company. And so I have a text message of when the technician is coming to the cottage to install the cable, but I might just about fall about in a death faint if it all goes according to plan.

And yep I am about done for the day. I have some contacts for local removers but that might be a job for tomorrow.


Saturday, 27 January 2018

Packing AGAIN

I am an excellent packer. I am quick and decisive and happy to throw shit away. I am not sentimental about 'stuff', and I have become an expert box / carton makerer-upperer. The tape gun thing is my best friend, but just because I am good at it, doesn't mean that all this whhooo-har is bringing any joy. Nah I am over moving, fucking over packing and I just fancy getting rid of my gypsy leanings once and for all and settle down.

Stevie drew up a scale plan of the wee cottage and I made wee scale cardboard cut outs of our furniture, cos there is a serious limit to what we can take on over there, the rest of our shit is going into storage. And doesn't that just sound like Tinkerbell is gonna waft on in with some magic sprinkle dust and then we will wake up to an empty garage and a full storage shed. But the reality is that Stevie and my Girl are gonna lug all our shit over there on Monday in a hired truck. Space will be at a premium so Stevie will have the packing n stacking down to millimetre precision and this might see a girlie melt down cos she will want to get on and get it done spit spot, just like me. But Monday afternoon should see a lot of stuff stored and some space in the garage, here at the interim dos house.

The truly astounding thing about all this tooing and froing, is that incredible as it might seem, the people who's house we are buying, are the self same people who are buying the place we have been renting, and the settlement day for both sales is the 12th of Feb! Our trucks will be passing like ships in the night.

It would be OK to take a minute and wonder about the ethics and honour of the owners of a house that they would rent it out - unfinished in terms of basic services, gas and comms, all the while they are trying to sell it too. Yeh the to be new owners signed up to buy this place 2 days after we moved in here, and even though there was a contract of sale the owners, our landlords have been chasing us for another 3 months rent in advance. I'm not sure what game they are playing, and we have our fingers firmly crossed that upon our exit, we will see the return of 5 or 6 weeks rent and all of our bond.

In any case the coincidence is bloody amazing, with all the houses to buy and sell, 2 families unknown to each other are just gonna swap! I still find that pretty hard to believe, except that the names on all the contracts tally up. Bloody remarkable.

Oh and we met our to be new neighbour. He's a bit of a proud local greenie - it might be a bit of a shock for all of us.

So it will be another week of  shoving shit into boxes. Ahhh NOT.

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Ordinary Illness

I have been hawking up a lung for almost a month now. It's a dry fruitless fucking shaking of my whole body, and let's face it that could well be the epicentre of a small earthquake. I did see Dr Geoff and mentioned it quietly to him cos I really didn't want him testing and telling me I had a PLEURAL EFFUSION - a swamp of fluid around your lungs which makes breathing difficult. This is a common side effect of the meds and it gets regular mention on the forums from people who front up to have litres of shit fluid slurped off their lungs at a time, and whilst the weight loss sounds appealing, the process sounds scary shitful and I am happy to admit that I am being a coward about it. I have done the wedge my head in the sand.

But about a week ago Stevie could stand the rattle no longer and sent me off to the GP. I described the symptoms and then last thing mentioned the Pleural Effusion possibility. She went a little white and then got stuck in with listening and stuff and finally said that there was no sign of the monster. Yippee!

She figured I had a bog standard dry cough that is going around, and that just to be on the safe side, cos with my fucked blood, anything is possible, I should hawk up a golly and send it off for testing and should take some super strength antibiotics.

But I was so relieved to be told it was nothing serious that I didn't do as I was told. Nah, I kept hacking away, day and night, night and day, until I finally squeezed a tiny bit of shit into the bottle for testing and got me some of those horse pill antiBs.

Yeh I am still coughing, but the cough syrup the pharmacist sold me puts me out at night so I am only noisy during the day. Yeh!

I am not typically 'normal' ill. In fact I would say I am hardly ever unwell, but since we have moved house I have been off to the GP twice. Maybe moving back to the big smoke is making me normal?

An online friend of mine from the US is starting a new round of horrendous sounding chemo and of course I am hoping she comes through the other side well or at least well enough, and as she described the onslaught I am reminded that I am well and if I think otherwise then I am just a bloody great whinger. Fingers crossed Robin V.

Monday, 22 January 2018

New House - Wee House

We sold the Big House without it ever being on the market and guess what, we have bought a wee cottage without it ever making it to the open market either.

Next to a house that I have been calling, 'The place we should have bought', there was a big sign yelling, 'Coming soon' and I didn't think for a minute that was an advertisement about the sex lives of the people living there. So I had been ringing the number on the sign every couple of days since before Chrissie and leaving messages.

Finally in the first week of January the agent bloke texted me back saying that the place was gonna be on the market in about 2 more weeks, but as patience is not my middle name and as there were a bunch of tradies there one day when we were driving by and as I am a pushy fucking Australian, I told Stevie to pull up and I'd ask to see if we could have a little look through.

The painters were more than happy and I looked through and saw what I expected to see cos it is a typical Queenslander cottage, and then Stevie had a look through and he came out beaming. Yep this was the one for us.

We made an offer and it was ignored and then we ripped it up and then made another offer a week later which was accepted and now the sale is unconditional, which means on the 12th of February we are gonna be moving again!

We keep driving by for a quick visit and this morning we took out coffees and the ball thrower and Dog down to the park across the road from the cottage and had a lovely visit with our new place.

The cottage is bijou. 2 and a half bedrooms a stinky sort of bathroom and another which is somewhat strange and maybe a little anxiety causing and then there is a funny wee room for the kitchen and the lounge and the dining rooms, and that's all folks!

But if we raise it up a bit and build in a couple of bedrooms downstairs and pop in a bathroom or 2, knock down a wall and if we are allowed, get a pool in, well it will be just the right size for us. It will be Mother bear size, or is that baby bear size? anyway it will be just right.

Yeh we are aware that we are bucking the trend here because we are not planning to build right up to the fence lines and shove in all manner of 'modern must haves' like media rooms and parent retreats. We just want what suits us and the way we live and we want to adjust this charming cottage to be perfect for us, cos we want to live here til we are carried out in boxes.

Yep we are full of optimism and joy and excitement and more than a little dread at the prospect of packing up again and moving and completing another building project. I keep reminding Stevie that he's been saying for the last few years that he reckoned he had one more project in him, and this is it.

Roll on the 12th.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Real Estate minefields.

I was happy in my Big House bubble. Oh sure there was too much cleaning and the drive up to Brisvegas on the M1 was a bit of a pain, and then there was the fucking noise of the fucking night works for more than a year which is still going on - how long can it take to build a bit of road?, but at least we could close the door to the outside world and not have to interact with people who almost certainly are not gonna be truthful, cos it's the business of lies that pays their mortgage. Yeh I am talking AGENTS.

Over the last month and a bit I have had more than a gutful of Agent double talk. Firstly with finding a rental place, 'Yes - No - Maybe - No Sure' and then settling on a place with no communications possibility even though on inspection it was guaranteed. Hours and hours of shouting and going red in the face to establish what the owners already knew. Telstra were never gonna install the internet cabling. Ho Hum. Come on down the wee Vodafone thingie.

And in this month we have not let the grass grow in terms of looking for a place to buy. We are being very picky right now. There are only a dozen or so streets we want to live in and some of are stupid expensive and some of the houses are hideous and too big or too small or one was soo claustrophobic I had to do a runner. Looking out the bedroom windows all you could see was the neighbour's side wall. I said to Stevie it reminded me of prison, even though I have never been to prison, either as an inmate or a visitor, I was only imagining. The view made breathing difficult.

'What's going on out the back there?' I have asked, to be told 'Nothing at all, just an old people's home and they are very quiet.' We all had a giggle, and then later I found out that said Home was waiting to be demolished to be replaced by a 3 storey oldie home, which probably was gonna wrap all around the house that we had been keen on. Now I suppose you'd get used to the smell of burning tenna lady pads and the occasional siren blasting as Mr Jones' absence was finally noted, but what I had trouble with was the LIES.

I am over completely the second guessing, the trying to translate the Agents' speak, the inspection of innuendo and the motivation questioning.

We have made 2 offers on the same house. We ripped up the first one after some Agent jiggery pokery and the second was counter signed by the owners but now we wonder about the likelihood of being able to do the renos we want cos of regulations and Council shit, so as I am typing there are surveyors hard at it at the house, trying to tell us what's possible before the 5pm deadline. It all just leaves a bad taste in my mouth, cos I am pretty sure that the owners KNOW and the Agent KNOWS what the impediments are and it would be so much easier and cheaper if this info could be shared. Oh sure it might be a deal breaker, but if I were them, I'd prefer to rip the bandaid off quickly rather than edge it off hair by fucking hair. I've twice been to the house now and the owners have got painters working inside and out, and watching the progress I reckon it's all just a tosh about anyway, again trying to con people. Ho Hum.

I fancy being settled and NO I am not being patient.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

The End of an Era

Back in 1991 I was a skinny pert breasted single mum to a wee girl, working my arse off and paying a mortgage and filling my spare time with netball and improvised theatre. I was learning to date as an adult because all my other dating had be teenage romping which I very soon discovered was not at all the same thing. I met blokes who I have now long forgotten, but by far and away my very favourite fella was Dr Geoff.

Being diagnosed with breast cancer as a youngster is very confronting, and my wish for women in that situation is that they stumble across a Dr Geoff, not the wanker at the Mater Hospital who shouted at me through a closed door that no further tests were necessary cos he could see clearly that I had cancer and so had better get onto a surgeon. Yeh he wasn't a prince!

So I cracked on with the help of my Darling Dad's medico mates and found a wee team of people who were gonna help me out. And all these years later Dr Geoff is the only one  I still see.

We have grown up together. Our children have become adults and we have now got the odd grey hair, well Ok, Geoff has more greys than me but then I have put on enough weight for 3 people and he is still at his racing form, so we are different but the same.

He is the standard I set for all doctors. He always runs to time even though he is literally dealing with life and death. He has always taken my frantic phone calls and has always always offered pragmatic sensible advice because he knows that's the way I like it.

When I first met him, it was to discuss the course of Chemo I was gonna endure. The meeting lasted more than an hour and he recorded the whole thing on a cassette player so I could play it back if I couldn't remember it all. - Yeh that's how long ago it was - a cassette! He talked numbers and percentages and then TOGETHER we decided and moved ahead.

Every time I fronted for the Chemo, which was no picnic, he'd pop his gorgeous head in to see how I was going. I reckon I was the envy of all the other baldies cos my doctor fella came to visit me and they suffered along on their own.

Usually people stayed in hospital the night after their first jab just in case there was some problem, but I was young and impulsive and perhaps a little in denial and wanted to continue my normal life which meant getting dressed in something silly and being part of an Impro performance. Geoff wasn't best pleased when I said I wanted to NOT stay but with a bit of argy bargy, we agreed to the offskie with a bag full of 'just in case' drugs and phone numbers to call, from a landline you understand, cos indeed it was that long ago.

So there was the intravenous shit every fortnight, followed by 2 weeks of oral truly awful shit. And we tracked along for 3 and a half months. I had just barely managed to hold it together at work for the 2 weeks of shit  and then enjoy the 2 weeks off, until one morning I woke up, took the oral green pills and was just rendered fucked. I had a little cry and a vomit and another vomit and then I called Geoff. He just calmly said he thought it was time to give it a miss and we laughed cos I had already taken the dose for the day - BUGGER!

The next visit, he reassured me that the very latest research seemed to indicate that 3 months of the regime might well be enough, so since then we have just cracked on together.

I have seen him every 3 months then every 6 months then every year for the last 27 years!

We have laughed that I must be one of the oldest or longest or something patients cos, you know most others have died. I think he likes it that I am tenacious.

He was my advocate when 'My Case ' was being discussed by rando hospital doctors who knew me not at all, when they were making an argument for extra investigation and research which would help them but provide me with nothing. He voted NO to all this extra shit cos he knew ME not just 'the case'.

His pragmatism and honesty are my doctor bench marks, and the fact that he has always treated me, not the disease, makes him my Patch Adams.

Anyway Geoff told me yesterday at our annual 'Get your Tits Out' sojourn, that he is retiring and no-one could deserve a happy stress free retirement more than this wonderful man. He has tried in his inimitable fashion to find a suitable replacement who of course is medically knowledgeable but who also is interested in treating people long term. His concern yesterday was that I would be OK with someone new. 

I am very happy that he will be able to spend time pleasing himself as he has been enabling people to do exactly that for more than 3 decades.

I wish him ridiculously well.

I wish him joy.

I thank him for all he has done for me.

I will miss him badly. 

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Selfie Stick V Mind's Eye.

My Darling Boy is off on a grand adventure. He's in Japan skiing with his Grandfather! It's his first Big Trip. Oh sure he's been on planes up and down the east coast like east coasters do, but he had nerves about how he was gonna manage the long long time on the plane to get to the snow. He was nervous and excited in equal measure.

I can't remember too much about my first Big Trip plane ride. My then hubster ( Zig's grandfather - who has taken him off skiing) and I went to Singapore for a couple of weeks. Yeh people thought that was a little nuts, cos Singapore was just a stop over place good for sleeping away some jet lag on the way home from somewhere fabulous, hardly a destination in it's own right. But I tell you simply it was dead easy to spend a fortnight in that fantastic city. It rained every day at 3pm and we'd walk off the wet and be dry by 5. Of course the touristy spots all got a look in but because we had plenty of time we got to explore the back streets too. I reckon those streets and alley ways are long gone replaced by glass and flash, but I remember the old stuff, and I am pleased to have those pictures in my mind, if not memorialised on Facebook.

I don't remember the plane ride though.

Years later when it was just my girl and me, we took off for the holiday of a lifetime - 6 weeks in Europe. This was back in the day when planes weren't crowded and we luckily plonked ourselves in the back row and she stretched out and slept both coming and going. Yeh I remember that. Oh and I remember that smoking was allowed on the plane! Can you imagine that NOW? It was truly disgusting, and I say this even though at that time I was a stinking smoker.

But the ride to foreign places was only the start. The adventures we had are where the memories were built. Oh sure we did all the touristy stuff and we have real photos on real paper that were developed at the chemist, at great expense,  in a photo album, and then there are the mind's eye memories that are just ours. Like the afternoon we spent on a local bus riding out into the backwaters of Hong Kong and getting out at the terminus with no clue where we were and no idea how to get back and to add to the excitement some bloke with a sinister face started to follow us. No photos of that afternoon, but the suburban food markets and the crowds and this horrid bloke are etched in the back of our brains.
Oh and then there was another local bus ride when my girl threw up and threw up and threw up some more, into my dress and her jumper, and we had to go to the police station to clean ourselves up because in the alternate public loos, her chunder would have been the cleanest most pleasant thing there.

Stevie and I have literally hundreds and thousands of digital photos of our adventures, that we almost never re-visit, but the memories of losing a train in Hungary, or living through the Tsunami in the Maldives, or acting like lunatics to clear a space on the bus in Croatia, and heaps more bits of silliness and strangeness are never far from mind.

I guess my point is that I hope my Darling Boy is taking time to etch some brain pictures as well as give his camera and phone a work out.

The selfie-stick nutcases who have photos but see nothing are just sad cases I reckon. Far more long lasting are the memories of the smell of the salt water spray or the street food, and the feel of the icy wind and the taste of the snow. Just leave the Yellow Snow well alone, walk away from the Yellow Snow.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Colmslie Beach Reserve

There are many of excitement when you move to a new city, even if you move back to the city of you girlhood, cos stuff changes fast and what was there then is gone and new stuff is at every turn.

Our lovely girl Dibley Dog has been a bit discombobulated with the move. The Wee house is now where near as comfortable or interesting for her. She can no longer lie like Cleopatra on her high floor and survey her minion dogs in the park and then high tail it out to the front gate and give them a rousing barking off. She has lost all of her doggie park friends and I do believe she has been missing them. Oh sure we have tried to woo her with treats and extra cuddles but really there just isn't anything quite like going the big sniff of a dog's bum, if you are indeed a dog that is.

So we've been taking her just about everywhere with us, coffee and dinners are OK, but for house inspections even though she is a real consideration about what we can buy, well she needs to stop at home. I mean these places that have signs up saying 'Please remove your shoes.' Well it doesn't even bare asking the question, 'Are dogs OK' The agents would go into melt down and even though I would giggle at the sight, we don't want to push our luck. So at home she stays. She is not best pleased with this arrangement. As soon as I go to grab my bag she starts herding my up. She stands next to her collar and lead. She arse plants herself away from the back door and refuses to leave. It reminds me quite a lot of leaving a toddler at day care, except that when we get home she is absolutely all forgiving as she rushes at us all but knocking us to the ground.

So she has been our driving force in searching the local area for a play spot. Of course she was spoiled for choice at the Coast, even though all we doggie folk whinged about the lack of facilities. There was the park next door, the park around the corner and the best beach in the world. The big smoke is different, and not always in a good way.

The off leash dog areas are hardly parks. They are mostly small barren bits of yard fenced by chicken wire. They house a variety of agility type erections and almost no grass. Sure dogs can sniff and piss on the frames of the slides and stuff, but that just doesn't compare with a wide open space and a new stink under the shade of a lovely tree.

But as the Wee House has a pocket handky bit of grass, we have been scouting something lovely for her,and a couple of days ago we stumbled on The Colmslie Beach Reserve. It's a bloody marvellous place! It feels like it has been there a very long time with an avenue of beautiful mature trees reaching across to each other creating shade for us and sniff and piss interest for her. There is a field where she can play chase the ball, and there is a track along the river, the Brisvegas River and yesterday we were treated to the Tug and Pull of a big passenger ship being turned around and sent on it's way off to the open seas for another adventure. It was all a bit exciting.

I think we have found our place. Sure we have to pop in the car to get her there but she is happy and naturally that is our goal.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018


Happy NEW Year. The abbreviation HNY is a bit shit I reckon. When I see it I think someone is calling me honey and then I have to wonder what I have done to deserve something sentimental and mushy like that, and if I am going for full disclosure, it took me a while to work it out so maybe I just am not a fan cos it made me feel pretty stupid.

I am breathing a sigh of relief that all the formal festivities are done and dusted, and now we can see about finding a groove in the big city.

Except of course Telstra has still not come to the party with any of the 2018 basics, so in that regard we are badly missing the Optus run Big House. I am doubtful that anything will ever get sorted especially as we don't plan to be here for long. I am only hoping that when we find THE ONE, the house of our dreams, it will come with phone and internet lines already up and running. Everything I have is crossed on this. It might even be a deal breaker, cos if I have to speak to one more overseas call centre person I might have to run around the streets - well ok, wobble around the streets starkers trying to drum up attention and protest. The guy in Sydney who staged a sit-in in the telstra shop made some head way, so nothing is out of the question.

The kids are popping in this arvo for a swim and some dinner, and this is the best part of being here. I didn't mind the drive up and back every week before, but it just somehow sort of brought pressure to the visit, cos it required such and effort, but this little pop in is easy and not fraught with expectation. Yippee.

The grass is refusing to grow in spite or all the rain - well not much really, more noise than water, and plenty of attention from me. But we got some stuff to try to kill the nut-grass around the pool so fingers crossed there. We didn't get the NUT BUSTER, stuff my girl who knows all stuff about the green stuff said to get. It was just too bloody expensive to spray onto someone else's nuts. Nah we got some ordinary killer stuff, and now we will have to wait and see.

Stevie has got a plan going for his golf, and Dog is settling in well. That must mean we are getting sorted I reckon.

And we have not missed the fucking TMR noise at all, even though mates in the area have said that it has been terrible, except for the respite over the holidays, so I suppose they must be lamenting the end of the festive time, as it means the bastards will be back.

Yeh it's beginning to feel a bit more like coming home.