Welcome home, part 2

So, how the house is looking now…


Lounge room now. Nope, we don’t have a couch. Nope, those chairs aren’t comfortable. But they were free – the brown one was a gift for my 17th birthday, and the green one we found on the side of the road. The mishmash of rugs are to try and stop cold rising up from the floor. (See also: piles of blankets and pillows.)




Dining room.



The fabric curtain is tacked on the bathroom door because the sliding door is really loud, and there wasn’t really enough room for a hinged door.


Yeah, you know, I’m human and sometimes I don’t feel like cleaning the slow cooker pot right now, ok?


Main bedroom. The walls are purple… It doesn’t get great light because the window is south-facing and the neighbours’ house is pretty close next door. (Please ignore the lack of handles on the cupboards and drawers – I still don’t have screws of the appropriate length.)



Devin’s room. I love the louvre windows, but they are not very practical in winter – it gets quite cold in there. (Yes, yes, pile of washing, Dev was staying at Grandma’s house and anyway I was getting around to it…)



The bathroom didn’t change, except for the shelves Dad built for some storage, because he had planned on knocking out the wall between the bathroom and laundry at a later stage.


And this is the laundry, also unchanged. Also where the shower is. Also I’ve been putting off cleaning Devin’s little sofa.

IMG_5478And the backyard. There’s a little pen down the back left where chickens were at one stage, and we hope to one day make it bigger and get some chickens of our own. I’d like a vegetable garden and composting on the back right, but all the work I’ve done up until now has been clearing rubbish, basically. I guess people used to bury their rubbish? Broken glass and rusty scrap metal and such. Delightful. The house is 80 years old, though.

I didn’t have a picture of the second bedroom, which is Jene’s study, but it’s the same dark grey as Devin’s room in case we decide to switch them later.
EDIT: I have some photos now. The window faces east and looks out to the front verandah, hence the funny light.


And there it is.
At Dad’s funeral, the director asked us if we’d like to take a flower as a memento. I thought for a moment, and declined. I’m living in a memento. Mum’s living in a memento – Dad built that house and all the gardens himself. Now I have to do my best to continue what he helped us start.


Welcome home, part 1

I really have never felt so behind in a year. It’s already almost half over and I’m still stuck back in January. But, it’s time for catching up, so I will start where I left my brain – in the sweltering hot summer when we started sprucing up our new house, beginning with the before and during.

IMG_3280Main bedroom

IMG_3286Lounge looking into dining

IMG_3278Third bedroom/Devin’s room

IMG_3323Second bedroom/study



IMG_3283Dining looking into lounge


IMG_3422The tool centre

IMG_3332Scummy kitchen roof

IMG_3337Paint flaking off all over the place


IMG_3338Terrible spackle repairs to be undone

IMG_3352Scraping paint off the lounge room ceiling – it was over 40 degrees Celsius and the ceilings are high.



IMG_3372The aftermath of sanding the ceiling…

IMG_3391… And the after-aftermath. It took a few shampoos before my hair stopped sticking out on its own.

IMG_3360A casualty.

IMG_3384We had lots of help, including from my sisters.

IMG_3411The best centrepiece for a living room.

IMG_3415Erinn and Dad (Mum not pictured) painting Dev’s room while I stood back and took pictures…


…Because I was doing my best to clean the place. The state the previous owners left it in was ridiculous, and had it been a rental, it would not be acceptable. It seemed to burn more because of the fact that they’d had more than ten weeks to clean and move.

IMG_3490Luckily, I had trusty old Gumption on my side.

IMG_3440Just some of the delightful magazines that were left in the 240 litre  recycling bin. It was so full of them, in fact, that we could barely move it and had to half empty it before we could put it out for collection.

IMG_3487A new verandah roof was put on the back courtesy of Erinn’s boyfriend, Sam.

IMG_3509And, finally, we moved in. And I was so exhausted that the house looked pretty much like this for a few weeks.

How does it look now? Oh, the suspense!

Hot hot heat



This has been our past week. Wednesday was the coolest day we’ve had this month. Saturday was the hottest day on record. (45 Celsius is 113 Fahrenheit.)

I don’t really have much else to write. We’ll be painting and moving into our new house in a few days, but I don’t really want to think about that at the moment. Walking outside today is like stepping into an oven – the wind is unbelievably hot. The general heat is suffocating. I’m sweating just sitting inside in the air conditioning. Much of the country is on fire, figuratively and literally. It’s just… not nice. I cannot imagine how firefighters cope when they’re putting out bush fires in this heat, but I’m very thankful for them.
A ‘cool’ change is coming, which means we’ll have a couple of 32 degree days before the temperature climbs again.

What else? Um. I’ll update again when my brain isn’t melting out of my ears.


Remember December

Goodness, goodness me. I’m going to forge ahead as if I hadn’t just, once again, abandoned my blog for a few weeks.
I apologise for all phone pictures – Devin broke the on/off switch on my proper camera a month ago and I haven’t had it fixed yet.

Devin was not terribly interested in Christmas – when we put up the tree, he ran away and left me to put it together myself, and then when it came to decorating it, he sat underneath like this and played with the one light-up bauble that he has been enamoured with since he was four months old.

I made this felt tree to try to make things a little more interactive and exciting, but he didn’t play with it. At all.

We’ve had gross, suffocating heat over the past month. Very little rain, few breaks in the high temperatures. Before Christmas, I’d feel smug that we had entire sports fields to ourselves while everyone was busy shopping, but we’d all be dripping with sweat after ten minutes and would end up skulking back to the cool retreat of shopping centres, anyway. I stopped to take a group shot after one of our run arounds, and…

I don’t handle heat well. With temperatures in the high 30s and low 40s (Celsius), I’ve given up on the exercise routine I was doing so well with. I feel sick a lot, and my hair is driving. me. nuts. I have to put it up to get it off my neck, but wearing even the loosest ponytail gives me a pounding headache. I can’t afford a haircut at the moment, and I’m starting to contemplate just chopping it all off myself. I prefer my hair longer, but this is painful. (And that’s not purposeful ombre or balayage colouring – that’s just the remains of when my hair was red. Sigh.)

Speaking of hair, Jene’s is super long now. Longer than mine at its longest, I believe. We shaved it all off around January 2009, and it hasn’t seen a pair of scissors since.

I entered a competition on the lmnop magazine blog to win a nanoblock pack… and promptly forgot about it. A couple of weeks later, I received this package in the mail. Being close to Christmas, I wondered how I had accidentally ordered all these nanoblocks (and how on Earth I had afforded it). It took me about five minutes to realise where they’d come from. We gave the drum kit one to a local Christmas toy drive, along with some other things.

Devin finished his third term of music class, and held his record of never cracking a smile at anyone, ever.

I found a rather embarrassed Banana-sans-Pyjamas in the ravaged toy section of Big W.

Our Christmas gift to Devin was a doll (this one – it smells like vanilla and sweet things), a pram and some handmade doll nappies and blanket (made by a friend of Georgia of Documenting Delight). I asked Devin what he wanted to name the doll, he asked me for suggestions, and latched on to the very first name out of my mouth – Patrick. I regret it a little now, because although it was very nearly Devin’s middle name, I’ve come to associate it with Spongebob Squarepants. But, Patrick it is. I also made up the three little felt guys as a last minute addition.
My parents gave him a Slip n Slide and a trampoline (why yes, he is the first and only grandchild, how did you know…), both of which he was initially wary of. I had to show him how the Slip n Slide works, and then we resorted to just holding his hands and dragging him along it. The trampoline was still unassembled on Christmas Day – we showed him the picture on the box and said, “look, a trampoline!” and he responded with, “yeah, can I splash in the pond now?”

My sister gave me this sign, which is pretty much the perfect expression of how I feel about my life.

I managed to see the very last glows of sunlight on Christmas Eve.

And finally, on New Year’s Eve, I rediscovered a nursery that I’d forgotten about, and found that it had become a lovely, peaceful place to wander around, have a coffee and let Devin play.

Although Devin was not happy when Jene place him atop this stump.

Out with the old… gradually…

I know it’s pretty much Thanksgiving in America now (and isn’t Black Friday incredibly ironic), and everyone is being all grateful, but I’m opening with three complaints. Yep, I’m doing it.
My legs are achy and crampy; I can’t stop being addicted to sugar, despite multiple attempts to quit it; and I’m starting to get really cranky at the world because no one ever calls me back for jobs I’ve applied for.
Phew. Ok, done.

Today Devin and I went to Bunnings just to wander around for a while. (Hey, Bunnings, I’d work for you.) He likes standing on the springy trolleys (despite the warning signs – yeah, we’re basically rebels) and I like… everything. But I especially like it now, walking around and saying, “oh, that might be useful at our new house, Devy. Maybe we can get one of those when we move into our new house. Let’s have composting and worms at our new house.” I got a kick out of that.

This picture was taken over a year ago, but is still relevant. Even down to the t-shirt.

I’m really realising now how different Jene and I can be in terms of keeping things. I used to be very ‘keep ALL the things!’, but having lived the way we have for the past two years, I’m seeing how much of my stuff sits unused. When I was going through a stack of magazines (some of which were almost five years old), ripping pages out for Devin to use in future craft projects, Jene asked why I didn’t just keep them.
“Because they’re just taking up space and I never look at them?”
“But you might one day. I would have kept them.”
The difference is also evident in our digital music libraries. If I don’t like a song, I delete it. Even if it means having an incomplete album. Jene keeps everything, he just doesn’t select the songs he dislikes.
What’s that, you say? Cause for future disagreements, you think? Hoho!
… Yeah.

I really will not miss views like this –

And I really hope we pick the right colours…

The tilt of this photo is the same degree as the tilt of my head because of my spine. Evidently, I sometimes forget to adjust. 

Deus ex machina?

“We’re buying a house so that you can rent it from us.”

Imagine all the things that might go through your mind if your average middle-class parents told you that. All the emotions. I’ve probably felt them all over the past month.

For a while, the most glaring one was guilt. I felt (and still feel) awful not only that I struggle so much with life that my parents felt they needed to do this for me, but also that I am clearly so privileged to have such generous and accommodating parents looking after me. (I have long-standing guilt issues with being a privileged Westerner.)

I have always needed a LOT more help than my younger sisters, largely because I… am not good at life.
And I don’t mean in a, “oh, my life sucks, woe is me” kind of way. I just mean, my personality, my mental issues, my disorders… things don’t come as easily for me as they might to others. It’s not something that I generally talk about, because it makes me anxious to think that people might think of me as spoilt and lazy. (But, I also understand why they would. I know people certainly have thought that of me.) It’s kind of a, ‘I wish I could do all these things myself, but I’m glad I have such awesome parents’ situation.

I am also, of course, extremely grateful for this enormous helping hand.
And, since seeing the house that they have signed for, I’m excited.

Tin roof. Wooden floors, carpeted bedrooms. High ceilings. Solar panels. The room that will be Devin’s has louvre windows. The room that will be ours has built-in cupboards covering an entire wall. The backyard is big enough for playing and making a vegetable garden. There’s a built-in display cabinet with sliding glass doors in the dining room and all of the rooms in the house are individual rooms! No open-plan living at all! It’s practically my dream home. In all seriousness.
It’s an old house but in remarkably good condition, and the only thing that needs to be done is painting. (Though, I mean, I guess we could keep the pink and purple walls… )
And, with the mid-January settlement date, it means that I can keep my long-standing tradition of moving house in the middle of scorching hot summer. (When we moved from Armidale to here, it was 42 degrees Celsius.) Hooray!
(All right, that bit may not have been entirely genuine.)

One of the things I’m most excited about is organising our stuff. I’m already having to contain myself, because I just want to pull all our boxes out and sort through them. (Half of our stuff has been stored in the garage for the last two years.) I want to start painting furniture now and buy new hardware for the kitchen cupboards and start packing up the belongings we have throughout this house and, and, and…


I have done something in preparation, though to be fair, I’ve been meaning to make this for months…

I made Devin a doona (duvet) cover using fabric I bought, and an old sheet. Have you seen bedding options for kids? Especially boys? It’s not pretty. An average budget will get you something stereotypically and gaudily ‘boy’. A higher budget will get you something stereotypically ‘boy’. And a ridiculous budget opens up more ‘gender neutral’ options, which most designers seem to interpret as ‘bland and muted’. Anyway, I’m hoping to carry some of these colours into his room.
Of course, I had put this project off for months and months (I already had the fabric waiting), and how long did it take to make? A couple of hours. I just measured a doona cover we already had, and vaguely followed the instructions according to this tutorial. (Managed to make a bit of a mess of the snap opening, but I’ll be the only one to see that part, anyway.)

So. The title of this post refers to both the fact that we suddenly have our own house, and also to the fact that I seemingly need another deus ex machina to solve my money/job conundrum. I mean, two in one year. That’s not too much to ask, is it?


Hairy situation

It’s been ten months since Devin’s last haircut. More and more strangers are referring to him as ‘she’, which is just… I mean, he looks like a boy, doesn’t he? Just because his hair is a little overgrown…

Just because he likes to try my skirts on…

… and wear necklaces to pick up sushi…

Anyway, I just reply, “Thank you, yes, he does!” whenever someone tells me that “she has such a lovely hair colour!”

He rarely tolerates the headband, but these were particularly windy days and his frustrated grunts about his hair were driving me nuts. Even when we say, “see, Devin, it wouldn’t get in your face all the time if you had a haircut…”, his response is always, “No!”
But it’s getting hotter, which means the hair has to come off soon… Man, this hair business is like Groundhog Day.
(I bought the headband from Eeni Meeni Miini Moh, after seeing Georgia‘s adorable daughter wearing one in this video, and crossing my fingers that they came in neutral colours.)

This made me giggle because he looked like he should be in an 80s glam metal band.

So, what else have we been doing?
We went to the town’s city’s multicultural festival, but I guess by the time we got there all the multiculturalism had left, and all the things we saw were blandly… not multicultural. The best we managed was catching the end of the belly dancing.

We also went to the ‘Family Fun Day’, which I guess would have been more fun if it wasn’t just me and Devin. And we had money to do anything.

But we did see a big, talking tree. So, yay?

I need to have more kids to fill those holes…

The weather has warmed up quite quickly, and Devin is wearing the same shorts he’s been wearing for the last two years. Whoever said that kids grow fast? Maybe they didn’t have to buy such ridiculously oversized ‘size 1’ clothes.

We went to the pool with Dev’s new $5 body board, and my new half-price swimmers. It was a little chilly, but he loved it.

(Devin was in the change room with me. He liked the fruits. )

Inspired by Slow Your Home, we made chalk paint and painted the garden rocks. It washed off when it rained a few days later.

We tried to bathe Ruby, but…

And, I pulled out a t-shirt that I wore as a little tyke.

It’s extremely worn and thin, and there’s a running hole near Mickey’s ear, so I’m hoping Devin can get some wear from it before it completely disintegrates. (Actually, I’m hoping to catch it before it does that so I can frame the image.)

And that’s about it. I’m also trying to find a job without resorting to working at the abattoir again.
It’s as delightful as it sounds. The abattoir and the job searching.
But more on that later, maybe.