we’re all in now

July 31, 2009

yesterday i held a cheque in my hand for the largest amount of money i ever have.  despite this being the third time i’ve done this it still scared the bejesus out of me.  it also didn’t help that i was feeling very ill, exhausted and sweaty while standing at the bank teller window asking for said cheque.  i felt sure they would think i was trying to steal it and call the hounds of hell down on me.  maybe nine months preggers women don’t often try to scam many tens of thousands of dollars out of the westpac in newtown, maybe i have a nice innocent face after all, maybe i’m just stupidly paranoid!

said cheque did not keep me company for very long.  i walked the 100 metres to the post office and sent it on its way.  we are now all in on the purchase of our new home down in boonsticksland.  sorry, i meant oyster bay.  it’s not that i really think that anyways.  it’s suburbia, not the inner west and i occasionally freak out about that.  on other occasions i find myself idly daydreaming about vegie patches and chooks and rolling in leaves with my children.  i think of neighbours i can’t see, much less breathe in their cigarette smoke, of cars that will pass my front yard completely unnoticed, of footpaths, of sun and silence…  it calms me immeasurably.

over the past few weeks, because of the delays and the slowness in the purchase of this property there were moments when i thought it was all sort of imaginary.  that someone else would take over from us and tell us that it wasn’t happening after all.  i could fall back into the comfortable groove i know of loving living in erko and whinging non-stop about the things i don’t like about it.  not now.  settlement will take place on wed 30th september.  we’ll move probably the next day.

did i mention we are now utterly broke as well?  having a thousand dollars buffer in the bank does nothing to help us sleep at night.  oh well, that’s what bank loans are for right?  a little chanted mantra that we are doing the best thing for ourselves is somewhat reassuring.  now i think i’ll go and pack some boxes.  if a couple a day get done we might be ready by october!

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percy knows if she wants something or wants someone to do something for her, she has to ask with “please.”  not that it happens all the time but more often than not.  she’s also quite good with “thank you.”  saying ‘good morning’ or ‘hello’ needs some work.  she often appears shy with people she’s know for over a year- ie. her day care teachers.  each will greet her with a “good morning, percy” every day but she rarely responds.  something to encourage her towards.

anyways, what could be the problem with ‘please’?  well when percy doesn’t want something to happen or doesn’t want to do something she now suffixes her sentences with ‘please’.  for example “i don’t want to have a bath, please”, “i don’t want to eat it, please”, “i don’t want to go to day care, please.”  the last one is particularly hard because i still, and probably always will, suffer from mother guilt of putting my child in the care of someone else.  despite the fact she probably has for more interesting experiences, eats and sleeps well, has friends to interact and play with and learns a lot more than she would at home with me, i berate myself for being a bad parent and sending my child off to day care four days a week.  at eight and half months pregnant there’s not a lot i would be doing with her at home anyways- watching far too much tv!

so we’ve taught her that ‘please’ will nearly always get her what she wants and without it she certainly won’t be attended to.  now what do we do when she uses please as the polite way to ask for something not to happen?  even if that thing is in her best interests; like bathing and eating?

difficult week

July 25, 2009

we’ve been having a bit of a shocker this week.  i’m being treated with the same anti viral that swine flu is treated with and while no-one is saying i have swine flu it’s considered prudent.  percy is also battling a head cold, tho seems to be improving and paul is achey and coughing too.  yippee.

it seems tally is tucked up and doing fine.

be back when we’re better…

standards have slipped

July 17, 2009

two weeks ago i was going to write that standards around here are ‘slipping’.  now they are just confirmed as ‘slipped’.

i have been going out in public, nearly every day, wearing track suit pants.  it’s nearly inexcusable.  i don’t care how “trendy” or otherwise acceptable track suit pants are, or that seemly what i’ve been wearing are “yoga pants”, or if  “leisure wear” can be as expensive as a well made suit (yes, in that past life of mine i sold an zegna “leisure suit” ie. flimsy track suit jacket and pants, to a dickhead too stupid to save his money for something more necessary in life) they just shouldn’t be seen outside the privacy of your home!  i fully comprehend the comfortableness of them and the warmth, just find something else if you’re going to subject others to the sight of you.  unfortunately warmth and comfort are now dominating my dressing in this eight  month of pregnancy.  i literally have nothing else that will comfortably span my girth or keep me warm while doing so.  i tell myself it’s only for a short time, and the news services tell me i should be staying home (so not to catch swine flu) anyway!

i wondered why this replusive dressing didn’t bother me with percy’s pregnancy, before i remembered the eight month of that pregnancy fell in march.  my primary concern then was keeping cool, not warm, which i achieved in skirts that mostly were not so hideous as to be needing to be kept indoors.

i also wonder, why am i so vain about this?

july snow adventure

July 16, 2009

last thursday morning we packed the car, lifted a drowsy percy into her car seat and set off for jindabyne at 5:30am.  at 6:30am in campbelltown we pulled into a petrol station and swore at the steam rising hurriedly from the bonnet of the car.  hmmm… not a judicious start to a long weekend playing in the snow.

we had swapped our little hatchback with paul’s parents 4WD for the trip as we knew we wouldn’t be able to fit all the gear we needed to take into the hatch.  plus the 4wd meant we wouldn’t have to worry about hiring and fitting chains to the wheels.  unfortunately the 4WD is old and while in most respects works well enough it has some issues.  primarily (initally at least) in the heating department.  because the heating, and probably cooling of the engine too (remember the most i know about cars is that they generally have four wheels outside, a steering wheel inside and a big noisy thing up front that makes it go) was to all intents and purposes non-existent we spent the first half an hour frantically wiping the inside of the windscreen with tissues so paul could see enough to drive.  there was no warm, let alone hot, air to direct to the windscreen to stop it fogging up.  blasting it with cold air did work but that meant we were wearing our beanies, coats and scarves in the car, with percy tucked up in a warm blanket too.

anyways, finally pulled up when paul thought some dials on the dashboard weren’t giving us positive messages.  a telephone call to his dad (sure he liked that at 6:30 in the morning) assured us that we should be ok.  five minutes down the road and “pop!”, engine died.  luckily we were on a slight gradient and coasted around a corner where even more luckily there was a petrol station with a workshop that we coasted into and pulled up with more swearing.  (and we wonder where percy gets her sailor language from!)

this time even i could see the two inch torn hole in a pipe in the engine.  the attendant told us that the workshop opened at 7:30am.  nothing for it but to wait.  at this time, stefan, our friend and his family with whom we were staying with in jindy called to say they had arrived, would spend the day on the slopes and see us at the apartment when we arrived.  unfortunately for them- we had the keys.  oh dear.  another telephone call to wake some one up.  this some one being my dear friend yvette who owns the apartment we were planning on staying in to ask if there was another set of keys with someone else in jindabyne.  we had concerns that we would not make it at all.  it would be a shame if stefan and his family couldn’t enjoy their weekend because our car blew up.  luckily there was another set of keys in jindabyne and these were safely transferred to stefan.

meanwhile the workshop opens and the mechanic informs us that he can get a replacement hose and fit it in less than an hour.  yippee.  it’s well and truly breakfast time now, second breakfast for me!  we learn there is a local shopping centre within walking distance.  we get percy dressed and in the back pack.  i should point out that she has been magnificent the whole time.  i thought she would continue to sleep in the car seat for a while.  however she was awake from when she was plucked from her warm bed.  she didn’t complain or whinge about a thing.  at the shopping centre we were able to buy crossionts and yoghurt, and disposable spoons which i managed to spread across the entire shopping centre as the bag explosively ripped open.  back to the workshop…  the hose is fitted and the engine is running, with just a modicum of warm air able to be directed into the cabin- definate improvement.  we debate whether we should divert to wollongong and swap back to the hatchback.  the thing is i didn’t pack a thing more than we needed.  there was just no way all our bedding, towels, the portacot and our warm clothes would fit into the hatch.  we decide to press on with the 4WD.

the 4WD has a gas converter thingo fitted as well as running on petrol.  the gas just didn’t seem to be up to the task.  but it ran ok on petrol so we just left it on petrol for the rest of the trip.  and we did make it.  percy fell asleep again for a couple of hours which was great because i think being awake for the whole trip would have made her cranky.

that thursday in the late afternoon we collected all our hire snow clothes and skiing stuff and did a little grocery run.  there are two business, well actually three but the third is kind of a “der! of course” business, that must make money hand-over-fist in jindabyne.  the first is the grocery store.  the queues to the check outs are ten people deep, all the time.  i went past the supermarket at different times during the day and evening and it didn’t change.  the second business i’ll get to later.  (the third, in case i’m being obtuse, is gear hire.)

percy took one look at stefan’s eight year old daughter ella, and fell in love.  she pestered her all weekend to play with her, read her stories, carry her about and build snow mounds (we never actually managed a snow man) with her.  luckily ella is a doll of a kid and was happy to entertain and indulge percy.

on friday we drove to perisher with a toboggan with great anticipation of a day of fun hurtling down the soft snow regaling the world with squeals of laughter.  not quite.  the snow was so hard and iced over a pick was needed to break it up enough to try to build a snow man.  one thing i did neglect to pack was said pick.  also percy didn’t take to tobogganing as we thought she might.  she took one run with paul and watched us go a couple of times but shook her head resolutely when we asked if she wanted to go again.  oh well.  maybe in future years.

on saturday stefan and family also came to perisher.  saturday’s weather was much colder and windier than fridays.  on the up side fresh snow had fallen and was falling as we were there which meant a much softer cover with consequently more fun to be had.  plus percy had her crush with her.  still no toboggan runs but fun lumping the snow together and catching it on her tongue.

sunday was paul’s day to actually do some skiing.  he headed off to thredbo with everyone else while percy and i had a day at home.  we walked down to the jindabyne shops, thence onto the lake.  the lake is pretty empty at present so the water is actually a lot further away than i thought it might be.  we made it as far as a ridge about half way before being beaten back by the strong winds.  returning to jindabyne town centre percy and i hunted for a nice place to have lunch.  it’s something that paul and i lamented about on the drive home.  that is, the service mentality of the town.  it’s virtually non-existent.  we conclude that anything done off-snow is just not that important, it’s just ancillary to getting one back onto the slopes so who cares if the service is poor or people difficult.  i was unable to find a cafe or restuarant that provided table service.  and i was prepared to pay for it by this time.  leaving a toddler at a table while joining a queue to order food is unwise, but so is asking them to stand in the queue with you.  once again percy rose to the occasion and when i did find a cafe that was acceptable she happily remained seated at the table while i choofed off to order.  delish pancakes so perhaps i oughten complain too much.

at around 2pm on saturday i sent a message to paul saying that i was totally exhausted and would he mind coming home to play with percy while i rested.  this last month of pregnancy is really tiring me out.  remember there’s that second business in jindabyne that must make oodles of cash?  here it comes… towing broken down vehicles.  on the way home the 4wd blew up completely, leaving paul stranded about 20km from jindabyne.  poor bastard.  i know he takes very seriously the responsibility of looking after percy so i can get a rest.  the local nrma guy picked paul up and drove him back to town.  he explained that they don’t tow until the end of the day so they can do all the tows together.  cripes, how many can there be?! well in the 20km trip paul took with the fellow there were 3 more calls for tows of broken down cars.  that would certainly suggest there is a hell of a lot over the course of the whole winter.

so now what?  here we are in jindabyne with no vehicle, an estimate of at least a week before repairs can be made, heaps of gear, paul has to be back at work on tuesday, and the info centre, where we might find out about bus timetables etc closes at 4:30pm (it’s 4pm.)  rug up again, chuck percy in the back pack and hustle down to the info centre.  during discussions on the way i suggested we call our dear friend carl in canberra and ask if he could do a mercy run and rescue us.  “of course!” he replies,  “i’ll leave in half an hour.”  how can you thank people that ready to drop everything and fly to your side?  well, there’s the flowers i sent off today but we’ll have to think of something better.

carl arrives with a lovely warm station wagon that we can pile into and whisks us off to canberra.  the 4wd drive is abandoned at the roadside.  not really, i assume by now it’s been towed.  janice has made us up lovely warm beds, one of which we tip percy into, sleeping soundly, lovely hot chicken curry, carl opens both the gin and the wine, a plate of yum cheeses and crackers appears and before you know it i’ve forgotten i was even a little bit worried.

monday morning paul books a hire car, nicely upgraded to a commodore statesman (those things are enormous and go like the clappers!) and we’re ready to come home.  what a weekend.

july snow pictures

July 13, 2009

we spent a long weekend at the snow fields.  here’s some quick pics, adsventurous story to follow…paul and percy at perisher july09percy at perisher july 09percy and ella at perisher july 09

two biggies for july

July 7, 2009

1st: the funny one…  for a short period of time we have swapped cars with paul’s parents.  they get the sensible, little, convenient hatch back and we get the enormous. (insensible?), mostly inconvenient 4WD.  it is very convenient for one thing tho and that is, as percy happily chants; “the little car doesn’t work in the snow.”  as we are off to jindabyne and thredbo on thursday a huge 4wd is a very appropriate car, not just for staying on the road but also to fit all our warm clothes, bedding, food and toddler paraphenalia into.

so we’ve been driving this beast since sunday, all of two days, and already i’ve been convinced i’ve hit something a couple of times, falsely, thankfully, as it turns out.  it takes two ‘reverses and forwards’ to get out of or into our garage and there is virtually no rear vision capability.  but i’m not actually complaining it’s just a matter of getting used to the dimensions and the handling.  this is particularly so because the little hatch for whatever stupid reason does not have power steering but the 4wd does.  so while one can wrench on the steering wheel to surprisingly little effect in the hatch the 4wd responds to the merest touch.

the swap of cars is also to allow us to fit two children into our vehicle prior to buying our own somewhat larger car.  we do have to give it back eventually.

2nd: the far more serious one… we signed the contract to buy our next house yesterday afternoon.  big sigh!  one of the two vendors is yet to sign so no exchange has taken place yet.  plus our conveyancer is going to ask for a few changes to be made.  such as extending the settlement period to 12 weeks rather than six.  in six weeks times, tally will probably be about two weeks old.  i don’t want to move with a newborn.  added to which i don’t think we’ll be ready that quickly.

the house is the beat up old two bedroom thing down in the sutherland shire.  we have doubts about raising our children in such a “white bread” area but in total believe we are doing the right thing.  we better be sure- it’s half a mil that we aren’t getting back!

there you go; a big car and a big debt!  ‘course the big debt means we probably can’t buy our own car any time soon.  hmmmm…. paul’s parents were very insistent that this is not a permanent swap. uh oh.

1. tally has moved into a better head down position, rather than being breech as he was at my last visit to the doctor.  he is however posterior.  never mind.  that i can work with, being breech didn’t leave me a lot of options.

2. percy seems to be over her reluctance to have a bath.  i’m really intrigued if it’s because of our new hot water heater.  prior to having our hot water heater replaced late last week our hot water was an unpleasant shade of rust.  maybe she was more aware of this than we gave her credit for, or perhaps the rust bothered her skin and got into her eyes.  she’s happily had baths this week in lovely, almost-tinged-blue, clear water.  she also seems less fixated on stickers and stamps, and the possibility of them washing off in the bath.  perhaps these two things have coincided to make bath times fun again.  (thank christ!)

last day at work

July 2, 2009

today, friday 3rd july 2009, will be my last day at work for a year.  at times i thought it would never come!  it’s going to be both weird and delightful to wake up on monday morning knowing that my schedule for the day includes; drop percy at day care after a leisurely getting up because i don’t have to get ready for work too, doctors appointment, hair dressers appointment, appointment with the video shop and the ice cream shop and then spend the afternoon on the lounge indulging in high fat icecream and a girlie movie that i wouldn’t normally rent if both paul and i were to watch it.  ahhh.

tuesday i’ll probably spend busily washing and packing for our trip to jindabyne and the snow fields.  but monday i think i’ll do as little as possible.

a little on the mean side; it’s just as well i’m not coming in to the office any more because of our new student planner.  huh?  well he sits at the desk just next to me and he’s a smoker.  the smell and fumes roll off him and pollute my airspace.  it’s just unacceptable.  but not a worry any more!

so i want to finish one memo and the accompanying blah before lunch and i might even sneak out early.  i’m tired already.

for the past two days i’ve needed to remind myself to breathe.  surely something you’d think would be a matter of course activity by the time you get to your mid 30s.  although i’m willing to argue i’m still early 30s- where is that magical line?

anyways, why do i need to remind myself to breathe?  because we are 90% sure we’ve bought another house today.   gaaaaaa!  the real estate agent has not told us our offer has been accepted but our conveyancer has said so.  our mortgage broker is working on getting our loans approved and we are likely to sign early next week.  yes, that is ‘loans’, plural.  we are keeping the erko place to become our first investment property!  yehaw, we’re on our way to being property moguls!  is there such a thing as property moguls?  there surely is such a thing as deeply, deeply laden with debt depressives.  no, actually i’m not depressed; i’m quite elated just in a fearful and nervous sort of way.

the saga of buying this new property is not over yet so perhaps i shouldn’t be celebrating/wringing my hands now anyways.  the vendors are two brothers selling poor old mum’s (now in a nursing home) home, who don’t talk to each other and one has just left for a six week overseas holiday.  apparently some power of attorney is being worked out so only one brother need sign the sale.  i’ll believe it when i see it.

it’s not only having two loans totaling near a million dollars that has the sweat beading on my forehead.  the new place, to be our home for a couple of years at least is far from luxurious.  so far one might say that functional and bearable are the better descriptors.  we are leaving comfortable and modern for “ready to be demolished.”  which really should be looked at in a positive light- the plan is to demolish and bulid a new home.  a home to our specifications, that has all the room and rooms we want, that is private and light filled, that is welcoming and snug, that is friendly and eco-friendly, that may even contain some luxury!  can we have all this?  ‘course we can!  (another nervous giggle.)  the block of land is quite large, even enormous by inner west standards and contains some lovely mature gum trees and lots of undergrowth- that will need clearing.  it runs down to a tidal bay that lets into the georges river.  we are envisaging happy days of running in the bush, finding lizards and beetles, climbing trees and paddling canoes.  what’s the bet both our kids will just want to play computer games instead?

which brings me to the second factor that brings the sweat out; our darling babies.  i’m dreading finding percy a new day care arrangement, new friends, new play groups, new doctor, new playgrounds…  all those things we have well establish here.  of course tally will need all those things too.  “sigh.”  i tell myself to look at the greater good and the bigger picture, and to take a deep breath.

moving will be a trial but i quite enjoy moving.  i like packing and unpacking- weird i know.  i like the opportunity to go thru all the accumulations of life, generally to toss a good many of them out.  i’m not a keeper, let alone a hoarder or collector.  i like empty spaces.  not that this may necessarily be apparent by the way we’ve stuffed things into our home.  it’s mostly books!  i make an exception for books.

so, keep breathing…