Monday, November 30, 2009

My Little White Flower

Last Monday we lost one of our dogs, as in she has gone missing.  We have looked everywhere for her, letterbox dropped, placed flyers in businesses and on power poles and even placed ads in the paper.  Yet, she still has not come home.  Deep down we believe she is dead, possibly from a dingo or wild dog attack as we have them on the mountain next to us, but it is the not knowing what has happened to her conclusively that hurts the most.  So, for my beloved white Lily, I hope you are chasing fluffy white cats to your heart's content up in doggy heaven.  We love you and will miss you wherever you may be.

We officially put our house on the market on Friday and had around a dozen people come through on the weekend.  So far all of the comments have been positive, but I wish those comments would translate into acceptable offers!  Since losing Lily I cannot bear to see the mountain from our house knowing her body may be up there.  I just want to leave and get away from it.  Our other dog disappeared with her, but came home, and at first she was really scared of any noise and wouldn't leave the house (which is why we believe there was an attack, she also came home with puncture marks in her that could have been from another animal or barbed wire), so she would also love a change of scenery and a new start.  

The weather is certainly odd around the country right now - some places are having massive storms, others extreme heat and others have winter-like weather (well, to me anyway).  Here, in the North Queensland tropics, it's hot for most of the year, but even today was hot enough for me to put the airconditioner on this afternoon.  I cannot wait until next year when we get a pool installed in our new house and I shall probably live in it!  My poor eggplants are struggling to cope with the heat right now, but the passionfruit vine seems to be relishing the heat.  I cannot wait until we get to move into our new house and I can start planning the new vegetable gardens, fruit trees and chicken house. 

a view from the beach

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A home among the gum trees

We have finally found our new home, which, incidentally, was the first property we looked at earlier this year.  Fortunately for us, there was a contract on it (subject to finance) that fell through so we snapped it up straight away.  The best thing was that we got it for the same amount as the other people had agreed to pay - which was a lot less than it was when we first looked at it.  We know the owner of the property and he is happy for us to wait for our house to sell; it goes on the market later this coming week and we will have our first open house this weekend.  It worked in our favour, too, that we have our finance already sorted for another place.  While I am sad to be leaving my beloved house, I'm excited at what the future property will bring to us as a family.  Every time we visit it the children head for the nearest tree and climb.  

There will be work to do on the house to modernise it but it will will be to our taste and for our benefit and enjoyment.  There is nothing we can't live with (or without) for the time being, and it is vacant which is such a bonus for us - no having to find alternate accomodation in the meantime.  There are good paddocks and a small, seasonal creek at the rear of the property which does flood during a bad wet season.  But it comes nowhere near the house and it's fenced off at roughly where the water comes up to.  It is currently 'overgrown' close to the creek and we'll probably leave it like that as we've been told it provides shelter and protection for wallabies.  Snakes are unlikely to come close to the house from there as there is so much open ground for them to cross to risk getting eaten by the predator birds.  Lucky us.  

I am looking forward to establishing vegetable gardens and a small orchard.  I have plans in mind for where the chicken house will go, and hopefully one day I will have some meat sheep and milking or meat goats.  I think it's funny I want chickens as I am afraid of birds!  The nesting boxes will have to be accessible from outside, that's for sure.  But I am sure I will adapt to them over time and who knows, I could love the chickens.  

So for now, our attentions are focussed on making our house an appealing home for another family, while thinking about things we want to change at the next house.  We are looking forward to spending next Christmas there in the pool we plan to put in, and being grateful for everything we have worked so hard for over the years.  We have also organised for some family to come and stay for Christmas 2011 (next year's Christmas had already been arranged to be at the Groom's brother's home).  Maybe I can also convince the Groom to 'name' our house "Tyrrellea"?  One can only hope!

I hope everyone is enjoying the lead up to Christmas - we certainly are and should have a lovely big Christmas present to move into once our home is sold.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I love dogs.  There.  I have said it.  Why on earth did I ever fancy myself as a cat lover when I knew deep down it simply isn't true?  My family always had cats and dogs when I was growing up, but I have discovered (unfortunately after acquiring a cat of my own after having my own children) I'm just not into cats.  So imagine my delight when I was in Melbourne recently and came across this dog statue near Starbucks (on Swanston St, I think?)  I was in heaven.  This is so cute and reminded me of my white Staffy, Lily.  She always tucks her tail in under her legs, she is quite the little lady.  

Today I bought a new door mat for the front door.  A rather ho-hum type of purchase but a symbolic one for me to welcome potential buyers when we come to put the house on the market.  I wonder, will people appreciate the detail we went into when planning and designing our home, or will they not care that all that the handles in the house all match or the tiles are laid on a diagonal on the floor (which costs more to lay than a simple straight pattern)?  Will they appreciate I agonised over the color of the timber blinds in the lounge room because I wanted them to complement the colors and tones of the walls and carpets?  Or will they come in and criticise my taste in furnishings or notice the little dents in the walls where the kids have bumped into the walls with their toys?  

I love my home but I simply want more yard space for my children to run around in.  I want them to whoop and yell and simply be kids, without fear of them disturbing the neighbours.  I want them to create their own adventures outside and climb trees and dig in the dirt.  I want chickens and lots of vegetable gardens and fruit trees.  I want a sense of freedom when I walk outside, where I can't hear the neighbour's television over the distant traffic sounds and hear when the next-door neighbour flushes the toilet.  I want to hear birds, the gentle rush of the leaves in the trees blowing in the wind.  I want my own "Hillbilly Road" as John Williamson sings about.  Warren H. Williams' 'home in the bush'.  I want a simpler life away from suburbia, it's a gentle longing for something I can't quite pinpoint yet.  One day I shall find it.  And I know it will come to me while sitting around a campfire somewhere, staring at the embers trying to figure it all out.  But for now, this is my home and I love it and am slowly getting my head around the idea of sharing it with some other family.  

Monday, November 9, 2009

How embarrassing!

I taught some 12 and 13 year olds "Reproductive Functions" in class today.  I don't know who was more embarrassed - me or them!  I don't do the 'sex talk' thing very well out of the classroom so this was more difficult with 28 young people hanging on my every word or giggling with whatever it is children at that age find funny.  Then came the MYTHS.  "Miss, is it true...", "Miss, my friend has a friend who knew someone who went out with a boy..."  I was probably like that when I was their age I imagine.  But it was funny.

It has been really warm today so for dinner tonight we are having chicken tenderloins and a salad.  Simple and quick.  That means I can make extra for lunches tomorrow.  I like those kinds of lunches!  I'd like to have the time tonight to make some muffins to freeze but I've got so much more to do on the the little things to get the house ready so I think muffins will be given a miss for a while.  

Today I am grateful for another day of work and another day of pay.  I like working as a relief teacher for the variety of subjects and students it offers, and the pay isn't bad either.  I didn't work any days last week so the one and a half days I have so far this week will be very welcome.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Where does it all go???

We are starting to get serious with thinking about selling our house.  We've toyed with the idea on and off for about a year or so now but have now realised we either do or we don't.  The worst part is having to get our house ready for presentation and I think that is what is really holding us back.  That and the whole timing issue of finding a buyer and a seller so we can seamlessly move from one house to another.  We don't want to have to rent and we'd hate to find ourselves getting a bridging loan.

So, we have realised that it is about time to get stuck into the things that need doing around the house.  I confess I am a bit of a 'clutter' person and sometimes don't tend to see stuff that has been lying around.  Or the bits and pieces taking up space on bench tops.  The Groom is of the opinion we should have no flat surfaces in the house and therefore half of my problem will be solved.  Grrr.  Tonight I'm going to make a list of all the little things around the house that need repairs.  The house is only 6 years old and in almost new condition, but the walls have marks on them where things have been bumped or the kids have run their hands along them as they've walked past (why is it that children cannot walk along a wall without physical contact with it?); bits of fence palings that have broken off; edges of doors that need repainting from where they've been sanded if they were sticking during wet weather; fan control knobs that need replacing because they've been pulled off and lost and so on.  It's hard looking at my beloved house, the house that we designed and built ourselves, through a different pair of eyes.  The eyes of a potential buyer.  

I have cleaned the walls and surfaces with Jackie French's "Gloop" recipe which I use for almost everything.  I use it for washing clothes, dishes, floors, bench tops etc.  I add a dash of eucalyptus oil for the clothes and floor mixtures.  Unfortunately, my son's room had that 'bath ring' effect around his bed so I had to use a mix of water and Sugar Soap in a spray bottle and an old towel rag to clean those bits.  I use a vinegar and water mix to clean the windows and the vinegar smell goes rather quickly, luckily our house is almost always open as we have good breezes.  Now I'm soaking the sheer curtains in some "Gloop" with some Bluo and a dash of ammonia because they are really grotty.  It's windy today so it should dry quickly so they can be hung back up before evening.  

I've done so much yet it looks like I've done nothing obvious.  It's the little things that tend to get overlooked when one gets asked, "So, what did you do all day?"  

At least I've got a lovely house to clean and enough equity in the house to allow us to look for another house that is dearer without having to take out too big a mortgage.  I'm thankful for that.  Now, where is the person in the 'bush' who is happy to trade houses with someone in the 'city'?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Today I am grateful for...

I've been quite sad and rather reflective since my grandmother died.  The parcel I wrote about previously was not the one I was expecting.  Instead it was a rather mundane set of replacement number plates.  Oh well.

I am still trying to work out where I fit in this world, funnily enough.  I do not feel I have a close relationship with my mother or my sisters; I have always been seen as the 'odd one out'.  It doesn't really bother me as my values and beliefs are quite different to theirs, and this was really obvious to me after my grandmother's funeral.  What does bother me is the sense of loss in relation to 'connections' and 'belonging'.  Sometimes I feel like I am a bit of a "Nowhere (wo)Man" (John Butler Trio's wonderful song with its title paraphrased by me).  The Groom says that it's okay, we have each other and most importantly we have our own family we have created together.  He is right, of course.

Anyway, today I have been thinking about the things I am grateful for.  I try to do this when I am feeling down or 'sad and sorry' for myself.  So here goes:
  1. A home to live in and to care for
  2. A family to love and who loves me back
  3. Money to buy whatever I need
  4. My red dog who feels comfortable enough to want to lay all over me whenever she can
  5. My white dog who is relatively small enough to still be picked up for a brief hug before I have to put her down again because she is too heavy for me
  6. A nice car that can take me places I need or want to go
  7. The sense of smell so I can enjoy the smell of our dinner wafting through the house as it sits simmering on the stove (it's a stew with leftover vegetables and roast lamb from during the week)
  8. The gift of life for another day!
I sent off my other grandmother's hand made shopping bag and knitted dishcloth/duster last week.  I have also found a lovely doll pattern on AllFreeCrafts for a Sleepy Time Doll.  I am going to make matching dolls for my daughter and a niece.  But rather than fill it with wadding I shall use wheat and lavender flowers so it can be used as a heat pillow.  Both girls are very 'girly' and are looking forward to me getting around to making it!  I am also considering making some pretty bunting for my daughter's window in her bedroom and also a lovely string of fabric hearts.  Considering Christmas is coming up I may even make some Christmas-ey ones!

I love searching for other people's blogs and see what they do and how they live in order to make their lives and the world a better place.  So far I am liking Little Eco Footprints, Frugal Family Fun Blog, and as always, Down to Earth to catch the latest words of wisdom from Rhonda.  In a sense, I consider Rhonda as a kind of mother or grandmother figure for me.  A woman who is dispensing all the sorts of advice my mother ought to have, and the type my grandmothers did but I probably didn't take notice of as I was just a typical  teenager who couldn't be told anything at the time they were trying to teach me things!  

A big hurrah for women around the world who are more than happy to share their knowledge like Rhonda does.  And a big hurrah to you, too, for being who you are!