Archive for September, 2008

Outta here

We’re en route to Queensland for a nice lil holiday. Probably no internet while we’re there so you’ll just have to wait for all our boring news.

Don’t have too much fun without us.

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In the news

We’re featured in a story on the SMH website today.

They used about three words from my interview and there’s no pic on the website so we’re interested to see what’s actually in the paper.


ETA I just googled and the article was also picked up by the Canberra Times, the Brisbane Times, AOL news, a European news site and some newspaper in Azerbaijan!

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And now for something less dreary

I saw this fantastic line in a real estate ad this morning:

There are two toilets, one inside and the extra one outside for the discerning flatulent individual.


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The sting in the tail

A little bit of extra crappiness from yesterday – the MRI place slugged leigh over $500! The first place we went to charged something like $150 so this was a nasty shock. The receptionist claimed to have told leigh the price over the phone but I know she didn’t, because she didn’t speak to leigh, she spoke to me (pretending to be leigh) and there’s no way “That’ll be five hundred bucks” would not have grabbed my attention.

Some days you can’t catch a break.

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Protected: When there’s no prospect of good news

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The renovations have officially begun.

On Saturday, the plumber came to terminate the water supply at the back wall of the house. And at 7.05am today a horde of people showed up and have been clanging and banging and doing who-knows-what since.

Of course, having only had nine months to prepare for this, leigh and I waited till last night to move the last few things from the shed and undercover area. We’d been out all morning (buying the bathroom fittings we need) then went to a friend’s house for lunch. We got home around 4.30 just as a big thunderstorm was rolling in and right before leigh’s mother and sister were about to arrive.

We started lugging stuff in as the rain hit and finished the job trying not to get stuck by lightning and struggling to see in the darkening yard.

We had washed all our clothes that morning, knowing our laundry might be out of contention for a while, then hung it all and headed out for the day. When we got home it was all still wet but it had to come in or it would have been covered in dust today. Our house looks part junk shop, part chinese laundry. There’s a cat carrier in the hallway, a Dora ballpit in the loungeroom and vast amounts of other stuff jammed in every corner. There are wet clothes and towels draped over chairs, tables, wardrobe doors. One of Hunter’s tops is slung from the TV aerial in our room.

And now I learn that the building crew needs access to our house to use the toilet, which means I have to try to organise the mess and actually keep it under control.

One hour down, two months (at least) to go!

Oh, and I realised about 6pm Friday that I was supposed to arrange a council inspection before work started. I didn’t and now I am freaking out about it. I really enjoyed the two minutes’ sleep I got last night.

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We’re on!

Demolition starts Monday!

I feel totally freaked out and nervous. I know exactly why – it’s because I’ve basically cleaned out my account for this and I am panicked that some huge hidden cost will crop up and we won’t have the money for it. I can see us stranded with the back of the house knocked down and the bank refusing to pay the builder because something hasn’t been done right and us with no money to get the job finished.

Yep, I’ve spent nine months complaining that the job hasn’t started yet and now that it’s about to start, I am complaining about that, too. It’s stupid, but my heart is going a million miles an hour. I hope this all works out okay!

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A crappy start to the day


Hugo’s been showing some interest in the potty over the past couple of months, but hasn’t had much opportunity to use it as it’s been too cold most of the time to leave him nappy-less. One the couple of occasions we’ve been able to do it, he’s managed to use the potty, including last night.

So this morning, it was quite warm in the loungeroom between the spring morning and the heater. I took off his nappy and went about getting ready for the day. Hunter was in the loungeroom getting her shoes and socks on and I went to my room to get dressed.

When I came back out, I found Hugo, standing on one of our dining chairs in a great steaming pile of poop. It was over both feet. Up both legs. Mashed into the upholstery of the chair. In blobs on the floor. And on the dining table – which means he picked some of it up, and which leads me to wonder whether he ate any, though I can’t bring myself to dwell on that prospect for long.

I stood there just looking at it for a few moments, wondering where to even begin the clean up operation. I ended up getting Hugo cleaned up first then sent him and Hunter to Hunter’s room while I dealt with the rest of the mess. I’m pretty good at wiping poopy kids’ bums without batting an eyelid, but using wads of toilet paper to pick up globs of still-warm, squishy crap is surprisingly gag inducing.

After I cleared it up as best I could, I took the chair out to the laundry to get the cover off (thank goodness for removable covers!). Unfortunately the covers are secured with vast amounts of the world’s grippiest velcro, and the only way to remove it was to get pretty much face level with the poop goop and wrestle it off. Luckily I’d got to it before anything leached its way through to the cushion underneath. Small mercies, right?

It’s soaking in the washing machine now and I am off to do some work. The plus side is that the day is almost certain to get better.

ETA Forgot to note that it got worse before it got better. Sign on the door at preschool advising parents of several cases of headlice. I’m itchy just thinking about it.

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Why is it so hard

for people to just do what they say they’ll do??

Last time we saw our builder he promised that he’d call us before sending around tradespeople unaccompanied. Ten minutes ago I got a knock on the door from a couple of people here to assess the demolition job for a quote. The builder had not called in advance.

It’s not really a big deal – it’s not like they were expecting Devonshire tea – but really, why say you’ll do something if you’re not going to? It’s been such a pattern with this builder. He says he’ll get an estimate through in a day or two, then takes a week. He says he’ll phone back within 24 hours to confirm something, then never calls back at all. He says he’ll prepare the final quote in a few days then takes over two weeks.

This guy needs to learn that it’s better to under promise and over deliver than the other way around.

And since I am being cranky, I’ll add that our new bank set us up with an account from which to draw our monthly mortgage payment. The mortgage attracts a $10 per month admin fee on top of the very substantial repayment. The account they set up attracts another $7 fee. No thank you! We are having them draw the funds instead from our existing, fee-free account. Of course, that took a phone call and a fax and a wad of paperwork.

Really, why don’t people just do what you ask them to do, especially when you’re paying for it?

And if they’re not going to, why do they have to not do it on a day when I am already grumpy? I had to make two trips to preschool this morning because Hunter forgot her hat first time and didn’t realise till we were a block away. When we got to preschool I somehow volunteered myself to take over a management committee task that I really don’t want. Then I came home to work on an urgent project only for it to be cancelled halfway through.

I just want something – anything – to run smoothly and predictably and with no need for me to hold everyone’s hand every step of the way.

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I think it’s gonna happen!

It seems like our renos are actually going to start before the end of time. In fact, I’m hopeful they may actually start before the end of September.

I emailed the builder on Friday, three weeks after he told me the job would be starting in two to three weeks. He called me back Friday night to say he had a ‘few little jobs to do first’ but could definitely start on September 17. Or maybe 18. But definitely by then.

I let him know I was unhappy with the constant re-scheduling and I think I was fairly clear that by ‘unhappy’ I meant ‘really pissed’ because he called back five minutes later to say he’d be around the next day to show the demolisher through, so we could get the back section knocked down and the concreting done before he started the re-build on the 17th.

Unfortunately, his inexperience showed him up again – the demolisher advised him that WorkCover requires seven days’ notice before removal of asbestos can be undertaken. So demolition cannot begin before Monday at the earliest, and that’s assuming the builder gets his act together and contacts WorkCover today. What’s the likelihood of that?

At any rate, I do think *something* will happen by the 17th because the builder seems to be finally understanding that we’re sick to the back teeth of excuses and postponements.

Yesterday we got the back section of the house and yard fairly well cleared out. Leigh’s father made a surprise visit, so leigh enlisted him to help move the second fridge. We also relocated all the outdoor furniture and the kids’ play equipment.

Most of it is in the top section of the yard (our yard has several different levels as it’s a sloping block – the very back section is above a retaining wall and behind a fence and won’t be affected by the renos). There’s also  stack of stuff along the side fenceline. In all, the yard looks a total mess.

Well, except for the section of fence that leigh decided to decorate yesterday. She figured it was the ideal time to attach some lattice panels and plants some climbing flowering plants, so she spent half an hour reaching over piles of chairs and pot plants and gardening equipment and assorted other stuff. Now that corner looks messy and trashy and pretty.

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