every day i’m shuffling

Baby Update: No baby! Well, you knew that. I will tell you when there is one. Well, there IS one, it’s just freeloading off me and my delicious iron. Stop eating all the iron, baby. And the calcium. It’s not manners.

Apart from that, things are fine. I was about to roll into a rant but really, it’s been going pretty good. I no longer run anywhere, or pick up things other than with my toes, and I can only wear about three items of clothing (how can I pack a hospital bag when I am currently using/wearing the things that should be packed?) but Melbourne’s weather has not been overly hot, my feet and ankles have not swollen to prodigious proportions, I can still sleep and I take it on faith that I still have a lower body, even though I can’t really see it. Maternity leave is an odd thing and I have baked many a slice and cleaned out cupboards and sewed stuff and put up the Christmas tree and all manner of things that I had not gotten around to before. I am trying to stop Pulling Stuff Out To Organise, and instead concentrate on Putting Stuff Back So The House Looks Presentable; harder than you might think, considering the tiny house and the sheer amount of stuff I have pulled out. I have a LOT of stuff. A LOT. And that was before the Baby Paraphernalia began marching into the house; a march which I’m sure will only continue at ever greater rates once there is, you know, an actual Baby to be using the Paraphernalia.

Anyway, just thought I’d check in. Hi!

nesting

Thanks for all your lovely comments! I have been meaning to sort the website out and post this for ages, but the closer it got the more tempted I was just to wait a bit longer and then chuck up a dog photo with a random baby in the corner and see if anyone noticed.

I forgot to say that we don’t know the flavour, so that will be a surprise. One of many, I’m sure. Nobody will commit to their predictions on the sex (my mum: “I think it’s a girl from the back but a boy from the front,” well IT CAN BE ONLY ONE, also PICK A SIDE) and I myself have no idea. I thought it was a girl for a long time and now I think it’s a boy. Mostly because Mr. T vetoed my top choice girl name and therefore by Sod’s Law the time I am currently spending on picking another one is bound to be wasted. Other than STOMPING ON MY DREAMS, Mr T has been busy continuing to renovate the house. I have finally given him the ultimate definite deadline date, and one of my major requirements was, “Don’t leave me trapped inside this house all summer with a baby.” Therefore building the deck jumped up the list and is currently underway.

 

AWWW YEAH CHECK OUT MY NEW DECK. ALSO MY FLAT HEAD.

 

Yes the little frog still looks a bit like the victim of an inept brain surgeon, but the hair on his head is growing back. Slowly. I have no explanation for that giant paw sticking out the front of him; he grew that himself. Also you can see the bobcat in the background, which (due to the deck) can no longer get into the back yard and is about to be banished to the front. The frog is terrible with the bobcat, in that he has no sense of personal safety and just walks in front of it and lies down while it’s working. (I’m hoping bobcat translates into other locales… like a little mini digger?) Anyway, as for the deck, that bit under the frog is only the start of it… below is the same subject matter (frog on the deck) but with me standing further back.

 

THAT’S MORE LIKE IT

 

So yes, the deck will be large. The roof/pergola thing over the top will also be replaced at some point, but my main concern now is to have the deck itself done. By the end of the week! It’s only taken, like, TWO YEARS! In renovation terms, a mere blip. And I only had to GENERATE LIFE to get it to happen.

 

we are paving

Apparently I took photos once. These are from February and I just found them on my camera now. Stop judging me! It burns! Anyway, in February we paved the side courtyard. It’s fully enclosed for some reason, including mesh over the sides and top, so we call it the cat courtyard as it’s handy for locking them inside while still leaving them some outside. Previous to this paving it was completely overgrown with grass, weeds and the decapitated corpses of tiny mice. My cats are horrible and do not deserve a nice paved courtyard.

The truck arrives to bring sand. Apparently you need a lot of sand for paving. Also pavers, but we already had those. Luckily for you I am sparing all other equipment photos. Who do you think I am, pioneer woman?

 


HE BRINGS ME PRESENTS

 


YOU LEFT IT UNGUARDED

(Please ignore our ghetto cyclone mesh fencing and gravel driveway. I know the industrial look is in style, but I don’t think this is quite what they meant. Fencing quotes are on the list. It’s a long list.)

 


What? It’s mine now. It was unguarded. Also, apparently, delicious.

 


Paving complete. Sort of. Oh, so the sand goes into all those cracks? Gotcha.

 


Yes, we understand some sort of noisy activity is going on in our courtyard. We don’t care.

 


Fine. THANK YOU. Can we go back to sleep now?

 

the helpering, it hurts

You will be pleased to know that the washing machine, although still outside, has moved undercover. It is now next to the new back doors, which replace the laundry door plus tiny window, now both smashed out of the house with great vigour. This new laundry placement is much better and greatly reduces my risk of electrocuting myself. Now I have no more than 40% risk of death, tops. A bit higher, I guess, if the dog chomps on the cord. Yes, that dog. He is a terrible washday assistant. He can’t even FOLD.

He also likes to sleep somewhere in this vast collection of crap, which entirely fills my second lounge room. It was a big empty space and now I have filled it with the contents of the main bathroom and the laundry cupboard, including but not limited to: tools, electrical leads, gardening equipment, 20kg bag of dog food, reusable grocery bags, non-reusable grocery bags, brooms, frisbees, dustpans, mysterious cables of unknown provenance, 87 mini-shampoos stolen from hotels, dog towels, useful empty plastic containers, 3 vacuum cleaners and any semblance of housekeeping skills I once possessed.

Yes, I have seen Hoarders. [clutching] Don’t make me throw out this yoghurt container! It’s REUSABLE!

Anyway, my original point was that for the past few weeks there has been stuff everywhere, which the dog has slowly decided must belong to him. He walks off with tile grout, electrical tape, bits of plasterboard and various objects of his choice from the pile above. Usually he just takes them outside and admires them, but sometimes he does some renovations of his own.

Well, one thing you can say is that he does a thorough job. Not a quitter, this dog. You’ll be pleased to know he didn’t touch the batteries, which saved him from a vet visit. And no, this remote was not in the pile of crap; it was in the lounge, with all the other remotes, on the ottoman. The sooner I get all this stuff up off the floor, the better.

I will not be disturbed here. He doesn’t play with these toys any more. He plays with all the NEW toys.

al fresco

This renovating thing has some slight drawbacks. For example, if your laundry is spread from pillar to post, you’ll have to find another place to do, well, the laundry.

Step 1: Find a place with both a tap and a power point.

Step 2: Oh, and a drain.

Step 3: This place should not be the kitchen, directly in front of the sink, as the kitchen tiles are not finished and also the kitchen is then unusable for the length of a wash cycle, which is 1.5 hours.

Step 4: Yes, 1.5 hours. This front loader is 10 years old and likes to take its time. I imagine they’ve got faster over the years.

Step 5: The tap and the drain and the power point, remember?

Step 6: No, not the bathroom either, as it’s also being ripped to bits and currently has no taps. Or power points, come to think of it.

Step 7: We’ll settle for just the tap. And the drain. Don’t you have a tap just outside the laundry door?

Step 8: No.

Step 9: Find the outdoor tap. Not that one in the front garden, there must be another one.

Step 10: On the far corner of the house? Really?

Step 11: Far corner of the house, you say. Which is not undercover. And it’s directly in the middle of a rainy Melbourne winter. When I need 1.5 hours of non-rainy weather per wash cycle.

Step 12: It’s not raining right now GO GO GO. Where’s that long outdoor extension lead?

Step 13: Good thing we’ve got this handcart. I’m sure we’ll be going to hell on it soon.

Step 14: No, wait, that’s a handbasket.

Step 15: Enjoy your al fresco laundry experience! In between rain showers.

Is that a black cloud? Oh crap.

helpering

It’s fair to say that during this renovation, I have received a fair amount of help. I’m sure you remember Exhibit A as shown:

And that helpful effort is currently slap bang on the outside of the new front door, ready to greet you as you enter. It’s only the undercoat, but still, a great team effort. However once the door was up, clearly the helpering had to move on. Perhaps some helpering needed to be done under the house?

I was HELPING. OBVIOUSLY.

I don’t know what you are yelling about and I will stare airily in this direction until the yelling stops. Also my face is heavy.

And since the helpering was clearly under control below, perhaps someone could get going on the above?


AAAAH RATS I TOLD YOU THERE WOULD BE RATS


… oh, the flash. Right. Only a ceiling cat, then.

stop helping me

Painting the new front door (inside, because it’s so cold and windy outside it will never dry).


WHY MUST YOU HELP ME?

picture heavy

Why yes, I have been overseas again. I am turning into quite the cosmopolitan jetset traveller. Not by choice, this time, but due to my work’s conference, which was great. Sitting by the pool, day tripping around the country – what’s not to love. I had a great time, right up until the point where people started falling ill left and right around me. And then I still had a great time, because I (miraculously) did not get sick myself. Apparently the Gastro Event Of Extreme Horror I went through last year may have better equipped me to handle similar things in the future. Which is good, because MY GOD I did not want to get that sick again. So I survive, with just the faintest touch of frailty and digestive upset. Then again, the same thing pretty much happened after our USA trip, so apparently a trifling change of diet is enough to upset me. (Mmmm, trifle.) Sorry, sidetracked. Want to see some elephants?

This was amazing, clearly. Watching this many elephants together (about 40 all up) made it really obvious what a social animal they are. Lots of play-fighting, pushing, poking with trunks, and rolling around in the mud and the water together. There were three small elephants that were totally submerged for most of the time, with just their trunks poking out of the water, as they formed and re-formed a big underwater elephant knot. This is an elephant orphanage, by the way, where they’re raised and then released back into the wild. Which is pretty much the other side of the river, to be honest.

What else? Oh, I took this photo on the plane over; it’s my view between the seats in front of me. Unfortunately my sneak photo-taking skillz need some work, but the lady in front of me had been watching Lord of the Rings and then paused it to take a three-hour nap, with the screen tilted in such a way that I could see it. Sadly for me, she paused it right on a scene where Frodo is passed out and staring blankly out of the screen with those big empty eyes, and I kept catching this disturbing image out of the corner of my own eye. Disconcerting.

Anyway, after my trip I returned home to find my laundry being ripped out. Yay! I have been wanting to do this since we walked through the house when considering buying it. Our kitchen has a little laundry room tacked on the end of it, and the plan has always been to smash out the wall dividing them and make it into one larger space. Now that wall is gone, and also the cupboard that used to be the entire end of the laundry room. LOOK AT THAT WALLPAPER. Just look at it.That had been hidden by the cupboard, by the way, so I had only seem glimpses of its magnificence before this. And it turns out that before this was a laundry cupboard, it was actually a toilet (see the roof cornices dividing it off, plus the louvre windows at the end). I can only think you would do your business and get the HELL OUT as soon as possible.

Luckily for us, one of our best mates has a home handyman-type business, so he and Mr. T are destroying the house together. Well, when I say Mr. T is involved, I believe he is in charge of making the coffees and fetching the left-handed screwdrivers. Also keeping the Little Dog out of the way, since he seems to have no sense of self-preservation. He walks into the path of swinging hammers, lies down in grout, sniffs running power tools, and yet is scared of the metal tape measure. Anyway, ripping up the laundry has revealed no less than four different types of tiles/lino under the sub-floor, as well as some rotting floorboards due to water damage, which have been removed to be replaced.

Unfortunately, having holes in the floor makes me morbidly conscious of rats, and having the cats flitting around getting into everything just makes me jumpier. When a sinuous furry thing come slinking out from under cabinets, my first thought is not GET OUT OF THERE CAT but instead a visceral GAAAAAAAH GIANT RAT KICK IT KILL IT KILL IT. My cats are lucky to still be alive, is what I’m saying. I mean, I’ve never seen a giant ginger rat, but there’s a first time for everything.

We are not rats. We are LOVELY.

renovating sucks. It powerful sucks.

Ah, the Simpsons. Now I have been reminded, I can see “powerful sucks” re-entering my lexicon. Does lexicon mean what I think it means? No matter. Oh, speaking of word things, as I published that last post, Blogger popped up a message which said “auto save failed, cannot find content” or some such crap, and I tell you if nothing had published there was no way I was writing all that out again. Seriously. It wasn’t half interesting enough the first time round, and as I have set the bar so low, I see no reason to challenge myself.

Anyway, the carpet guys came on Friday (yes, on a public holiday, but it was their choice) and we were up until 1am the night before painting the lounge while we still had the freedom to drip paint all over hardwood floors. Yes, we have hardwood floors and yes, we are covering them up with carpet. You know what? I hate hardwood floors. I know I am the only person in the Western world who feels this way, but I don’t care. Every person who’s been in here since we ripped up the old carpets have raved about the floors and assumed we are going to polish them up… no no no no no. They are cold, noisy, drafty, the dog has been digging his claws in to prevent sliding all over them like he’s lost control of his limbs, and they require the purchase of multiple rugs which then slide all over the floors and look like shit. I KNOW, I AM HEATHEN. But really, people, they are COLD. They are NOISY: for the two weeks we lived with them, we could hear each other clonking all over the house, and there’s only two of us: we sounded like stampeding wildebeests. They are UGLY: there are replacement boards down the middle of some rooms, there are holes in the floor chinked up with spare bits of pine, some rooms have already been (poorly) varnished and require a complete strip back, and…. even when they’re done properly I don’t even like the look of it. KILL ME NOW I DON’T DESERVE TO HAVE THIS HOUSE. I know, I should be in a brand new 5 bedroom mcmansion in a subdivision. Well, maybe next time. Until then I have taken photos of the floor under this carpet and will keep them until we sell the house, where the next buyer can think of the GORGEOUS things they can do with the floors under the carpet. Better them than me.

Anyway, back to the carpet. I LOVE my carpet. When we bought the house, we thought the original carpet might be liveable – you know when you walk through a house a couple of times, then buy it, then don’t see it again for weeks in which you obsess about just what it is you have actually bought? Yeah, well we remembered the carpet being crap, but when we got into the house we discovered the owners had been extremely crafty with furniture/rug placement and not only did it suck, it powerful sucked. There was two different types of carpet through the house, swapping randomly from one to the other, room by room. The carpet in the lounge was grey shag, which clashed beyond belief with our brown sofas and furniture. The other carpet was blue and looked almost industrial. There were mysterious stains and bits unravelling and my favourite, an iron faceplate burnt deep into the carpet in the family room. So yes, we decided the carpet had to go. Luckily a friend of a friend is a carpet dude, who just happened to have a house lot of carpet that he had started to lay in a million-dollar house, before the lady of the house burst into tears and said she had ordered the wrong colour. It may have been the wrong colour for her, but it is damn perfect for us, just slightly lighter than I would have chosen (and only because of keeping it clean, not because I don’t like the colour). Anyway, we have super-expensive carpet, and super-deluxe underlay, for a nylon-industrial-carpet budget price. I love it so, so much. I may have, in fact, lay down on my back on the new carpet and writhed around with my legs kicking in the air like an ecstatic dog. I don’t have a photo of that, so you’ll have to make do with the below:

The lounge, before. I don’t know what’s on the TV but this is mid-pulling up the grey shag carpet. Note the high-quality foam chip underlay (possibly the cheapest you can buy, if you don’t count egg cartons). The timestamp on this photo tells me this is 9.09pm, which is pretty early in the piece. We probably spent the next three hours pulling up carpet staples and swearing at each other.

This is the same shot of the lounge, but with the TV moved out to the dining room to the left. The hardwood floors don’t look half bad here… believe me when I tell you this was the best room for floors. It also had a fine mist of paint spray around every edge from the last time someone painted the walls (with a paint gun, obviously).

After. Mmmmmmmmm. Carpet.

party like it’s your birthday

Look, I’m never going to write anything if i try to write down everything. I’m going to have to start slow and go from there.

  • My hands are covered in paint as I’m writing this… there are one and a half rooms to go. This doesn’t count the lino-ed rooms (kitchen, dining room, 2 x bathrooms) which will wait for another time. The new carpet is coming on Friday, thus the haste for painting while I can still drip paint on the horrible, horrible old carpet with equanimity.
  • I can’t see the TV because there is a mattress standing on its side between me and it. The TV. Because we’ve been sleeping in the lounge for weeks due to paint fumes. Well, for days due to paint fumes. Weeks, due to laziness to put back up the curtains. It’s not so bad except the dog can walk straight onto the bed and lie down on your throat. Well, he’s only done that once. Twice.
  • It was my birthday. I had cake. It was good.
  • The cat has gone missing, the day of the massive storms in Melbourne. This is not good and I am heartsick about it. We have letter dropped, signs, rung all the shelters repeatedly. We spend hours walking the streets calling. Which is also not good because it excites the dog and he looks around for the cat. Awful. I’m not talking about this any more, and won’t until we find him.
  • Before all this, it was Easter and I went back to New Zealand. It was good and the weather was great. Man, I haven’t written here for a LONG time.
  • I resigned from my job and am starting a new one in three weeks. This will be good but I am sad to leave all the people at my old job. Well, most of the people.
  • I tried on a dress today and loved it, then casually looked at the price tag before I bought it. It was $249. I had no idea and I will not pay that. It was a tough call though, because I have no willpower. But I also have no money. I also didn’t buy green Camper boots, which were considerably more than $249, but they didn’t fit them properly so I didn’t feel so bad about leaving those behind.

I think that’s all for now. I don’t even have any photos. Well I do, but they’re all in the camera. But if I wait until I have photos… I think you know the rest.