For those who missed it…

I am signed off work at the moment, I put a post on here yesterday, but took it down as although I felt better for writing it, having it on the interweb probably wasn’t a good idea.  However, if you want me to email it to you – then please let me know and I will do. 

I have been having so many conversations with one guy at work, people are going to start thinking we’re having an affair.  However, we are not, we just miss each other terribly.  Sad isn’t it, not being able to toddle down to see each other in the office when I deliver the mail or whatever, or when he comes up to the front of the office to get a drink, we are pining for each other.  I’ve talked about my buddy at work on here before, but it is only now that I am out the office we have truly discovered the depths of our friendship.

One of the reasons I am struggling is that my support network, or at least the majority of them, are in the UK.  Some of them are also going through shit at the moment, and I am conscious of that so don’t want to add to their burden.  So when you find someone you feel comfortable in your skin with, as I do with him, you tend to gravitate towards them.  It doesn’t help that we make each other laugh, so hard we can be crying with the giggles, and when you are struggling with work, laughing keeps you going.

I’ve also been told that I need to get out and walk for a minimum of an hour, every day, every morning.  This is in addition to the yoga.  Which as I fell over and wrecked my knee I have been missing, and missing sorely; mind, body and soul.  Tomorrow I am back for the 9:30 class and I can’t wait.  While I haven’t had a breakdown, I am clinically depressed, she is optimistic I will soon be back to normal, as long as I am given the space and room to get my head back together.  So if you are waiting for an email from me, I apologise.  I am working on catching up with my correspondence this week.  But don’t nag me, I am liable to tell you where to put it at the moment.

A Good Days Work

It is mid-afternoon, it is almost as hot in the study as it is when I go to yoga, but Dan and I are ploughing through our piles of filing, of stuff, of all sorts of things. We’ve been busy today, he’s also gone through his wardrobe, found time to watch the rest of the Boxing Day test and I am adding HP to iTunes merrily. Slowly we are finding the study, it already is clearing my head and allowing me to breathe, no matter how stifling it is up here, that we are removing clutter, extraneous stuff, and putting things away properly, my mind is lifting.

It feels great!

Bring out your dead II

Dan went to the doctors today, to be told he’s got a really nasty virus, he’s definitely not to go to work tomorrow and he could do with the rest of the week off. Needless to say, the poor boy won’t get it.

I didn’t go to the doctors, as I am not half as bad as he is, although when the alarm went off for me to get up for work I lay there and thought: earache, check, sore throat, check, bunged up, check. There was no way I could have gone in today. I am aiming for tomrrow, fingers crossed. I am now on my 3rd day in bed, Dan’s on his 4th, I keep dropping off holding my book.

Cooking dinner last night, I burnt my arm when I tried to put the casserole lid down on the stove top and it slipped. Instead of letting go, I held onto it, so my arm slipped against the casserole handle that had come out the oven 30 seconds early. I now have a fetching stripe on my right inner arm, and wonder what pratfall will get me next week? My finger is healing nicely, although the nail looks odd still. Dan asks me if I am qualified to work a teaspoon at the moment. No, in a word.

Spring has sprung, the grass is ris, I know exactly where the birdies is

They are sat in the bushes and trees beside our house, serenading each other prettily. I think some of them are nesting in the bushes in our garden too, I was hanging washing out yesterday and they were charging around, chirping merrily and rustling in the bushes like people looking for bargains in the sales.

We’ve had some pretty weird weather patterns over the past couple of weeks, long periods of blue skies, interspersed with some torrential downpours. We’ve been told excitedly by weather men that we’ve had a whole months worth of water flow into the storage dams in a week! Yes, we noticed. The last couple of weekends though have been dry, allowing me to do load after load of washing. The perils of having people to stay over I guess.

We are officially back to normal now. The last of our guests have left for the UK; bringing to a close a month of people in Australia that aren’t normally here. We’ve enjoyed seeing them all, but we do find it odd seeing friends from the UK, displaced out to Melbourne, the probably thought the same thing with me in the UK in August for Patrick’s wedding though. One of the best things we’ve found is that we can just go out, or go shopping, we don’t have to think ‘Wedding’ in the back of our minds wherever we go. Which, although I am pleased we’re married, it is such a relief it is over and done with.

Likewise with work, the new build at Hubs’ work is nearing completion, the Annual Report and Directors’ Conference is over and done with for me, so we’re both trying to catch up on everything that has been put onto the back burner while the bigger projects took up our time. But it definitely feels like the pressure is off now.

We had a great weekend too, which always helps. Dan wandered into work on Saturday and spent 8 hours tinkering in his woodshed building boxes, and ended up being covered in wood-dust from feet to eyebrows. I volunteered with Interchange, we took some teenagers to play adventure golf, which was hilarious. I went round with Natalie, and it was a good job we didn’t keep score as I was racking up a score the English Cricket team would have been pleased to get, she got 2 holes in 1. Which she took great delight in, especially the first one where she made a mad swipe to get the ball over a water feature and bridges, it ricocheted off a brick and straight into the hole. I nearly fell over laughing.

We then were invited to a work colleague’s house to celebrate Diwali with him and his family. We were spoiled rotten with the food Aman’s wife had prepared for us, we both ate way too much. We had a great evening chatting with them.

Sunday rolled around with Dan’s alarm going off at 8:20, he switched it off and we both went back to sleep. He brought me breakfast in bed about 10, I laid there as long as I could, snuggled under the duvet. He was playing cricket at 1pm, so I whizzed up to the shops to get some provisions for the early part of the week, he went off to play and I started on the house. I gave it a good girlie clean, moving the couch out and hoovering underneath it, whereas Dan will hoover round it. I did 6 loads of washing, most of it dried outside, there’s only an airer full in the dining room under the air vent, we’ve a mountain of ironing to do (more later). I hoovered and mopped my way round the house, dusted, changed the bed, cleaned the bathrooms and managed to read the paper and watch a couple of Oprahs through the day too.

Peeling potatoes for dinner, I managed to peel the top off my left hand middle finger’s nail. Right down to the capilleries, it is incredibly painful, and while it is bandaged, I really don’t know what to do with it as any pressure on it is sore. Including typing. Dan will have to iron for me this week, which will be interesting, on my part not his, as I readily admit that ironing is what I am more than a bit ‘OCD’ about. I had a shower this morning wearing a rubber glove, as water hurts it, I did my hair one handed (interesting is a polite way of describing the do I have today), and rolling over in bed and touching it against anything was enough to wake me up. I know it is only a little injury, but nails take so long to grow back, that is what I am worried about. It’s not like I can leave it to get some air, and it’ll toughen up in a couple of hours like skin does. I will google in a minute, and scare myself probably.

This week in the office will be deathly quiet. J and 2 others of the SMT are out, so there will be all of 6 of us here, and only 2 of them sit near me, and they are both out on the road for a couple of days a week. Fingers crossed I get lots of work done, although I hope my left hand is up for it. Pathetic aren’t I?

Bathurst weekend

For all those petrol heads out there, this weekend is the Bathurst 1000. Having driven round the mountainous circuit, not getting out of 3rd gear lest we drove too quick and lost it round a corner, to end up shooting out over the edge of the hill, I admire them for their fearlessness, or stupidity! It is a gorgeous place, right in the middle of nowhere, Mount Panorama, the hill itself rises up out of fairly flat land around it, in the middle of the track is a hotel, a vineyard and lots of kangaroos. Which have been the subject of the news this week as they have been culled to prevent accidents as they have a tendency to hop over the track as the cars fly past. Animal activists are up in arms, but I don’t remember them banging on about the roos that get squashed daily all over Australia by cars in the outback. Perhaps we should all live in trees, eat mung beans and not wear deodorant?

I’ve had a productive day today, prompted by DG looking for something, I suggested he looked in one still half-un-packed box, not there. I pointed to another couple of boxes, ‘What about in those?’ ‘No, I’ve already looked.’ After 2 hours of rummaging around and generally tidying up, DG looked in said second set of boxes and found what he was looking for. He’d evidently had a ‘boys’ look and not a ‘girls’ look.

The study is looking in better shape than it has done since we moved in though, I’ve sorted through a lot of cr@p, thrown stuff out, recycled other bits and added to the charity box. We still have a way to go, the basket of things to actually do and sort out is like a teeter-totter, one more wafer thin mint and it’ll blow, but at least it’s all in one cubby hole not all over the desk, floor and shelves. I’ve also dug out the cross stitch I need to do for Christmas for Piper, unrolled my vision board which is now lying flat with all 4 corners weighted down so I can put it up, and add to it. All my inspiration book cuttings, magazines needing to be culled and stuck in to it are in another cubby-hole (another teeter-totter).

I’ve also made the bed for the Bears visit next week, hoovered their room and the study, and dusted both. We brought some new guest towels recently, everytime we wash them we end up with green woofees all over the house, I think I will have to find a laundrette and shove them in the dryer one day to get them off once and for all. I’ve also done 4 loads of washing, the latest of which has just finished so will go outside in a minute, the other 3 loads are now added to the Mount Etna pile of ironing I need to do.

DG has been into work for most of the morning, monitoring 2 sets of plumbers, there were 2 different jobs that needed the water switched off. He’s also been looking forward to this race for ages, so he’s parked himself on the couch after doing his bit of pottering. This morning when he left for work, I forced myself back to sleep (bliss) and got out of bed at 10am. I have been more productive today than I thought I would be, and it feels great. We’re off to collect Aged Ps at 5, then going to catch up with Susan and Les in Mt Dandenong for dinner. I’ve not seen them since April, so it will be great to say howdy.

Tomorrow APs come over for breakfast, they are off to the airport for midday to catch their flight home. I am sure there will be tears tomorrow. We have no plans to go back to the UK for at least 3 or 4 years, so we have no idea when we will see them again.

Enlightenment means accepting what is…

…so I need to accept that 8 weeks before I get married, the hairdresser I visited today has cut my hair far shorter than I wanted. I asked for a trim, said I was happy with the kicky-outy bits, and ended up with, well I am not too sure what I ended up with yet. I came home from the shop, stopped off at Flinders Street loos on the way to catch the train, wet my hands and tried to rearrange it. I came home and got some of my gunk and tried to rearrange it, I have been to the gym this afternoon, had a shower and it sits on top of my head like, [long pause, hands through hair, big sigh] I have no words for what it feels like.

I will get up in the morning, shower, blow dry it and try and see if I can rescue the cut into something liveable and pray that it grows as quick as it normally does so that come the weekend before ‘we do’ I can get the frickin fringe trimmed as the rest of it may, just may be a better frickin length.

It is all I need. I am bitchy, catty, tired, cross and frustrated, all at once at the moment. In no particular order I have:
* a mountain of ironing
* an annual conference to co-ordinate
* a children’s programme to co-ordinate for said annual conference
* annual reports from the Practices arriving thick and fast in my inbox, all of which need to be printed on our temperamental colour printer, then bound
* the group’s annual report to collate and present materially to Big Cheese on Thursday
* a night out this week (yay! I am off to see Dr Phil on Wednesday), but that means I can only stay late 2 nights this week to get everything done before Thursday
* the new house needs a really good clean, and I mean a really good clean
* there is a really good reason why I am worrying about all these, but for ‘secret women’s business’ I can’t put it on here – yet
* our wedding creeps ever closer, but before it gets here I have to concentrate on work and hope that all our preparations are enough to see us through the last mad three weeks which will be left after the conference completes

God I could do with a PA myself.

I am sat in my office at home, watching my external hard-drive whizz through an iTunes software update, in turn feeding this to my iPod which seems to be taking forever to upload. I have two USB ports on my lap top, both being used – for something that normally takes 5 minutes. An hour and half after it started I sit with paperwork spread out all over my desk, almost screaming in frustration as all the work I have brought home with me today is on a sodding data stick and I can’t do anything.

People tell me that I will be OK, that the work will get done, but I need to sleep otherwise I get even more cranky and miserable, so working too late for me isn’t an option. I can’t drink the red bulls and v’s that keep getting bandied about the office because they flare up my eczema, so I have been getting in about 8am so I get an hour before the phones start, I stayed till 6pm 3 nights this week, eating lunch at my desk and working again in the evenings when I get home. I have no idea when I will come home on Monday and Tuesday.

Dan and Matt are at the football this evening so I had an extra 5 hours of peace and quiet to crack on with stuff, (as I am struggling to get any work done at work), that is rapidly disappearing around me. If I unplug it now, it will corrupt and I really don’t have time to fix it.

So Eckhart, I am sorry but I don’t feel at ease at this moment. I am trying, I am really trying, but at the moment all I feel is woefully inadequate, overwhelmed and above all lost.

Movin’ Out

What a weekend! Totally impossible to have achieved without Ross, Leonie and Lachy. We ended up with 4 and a bit car loads and 2 van loads, so much for DG’s boy’s spacial awareness and ‘We’ll get it all in 1 van’. Also with getting the big shelving unit down the stairs and out the door, I told him weeks ago that we would have to break it down, but it was Lachy looking at it going ‘Nuh’ that made him attack it with an allen key. Even if we had got it out the garret, we never would have got it up the stairs in the house in one piece.

About 8am I dropped Dan off to collect the van and took the first car load into the new house, then headed back to finish packing kitchen bits. When everyone arrived we packed the first load up, it took about an hour in total to get it all in the cars and van, then drove off in convoy to the house. Emptying was quicker, but the majority of the first trip was all things to go upstairs, which puffed us out. Ross swept the garage out of leaves and admired his handiwork then disappeared off to his acupuncture appointment. We then stopped for a drink, then Lachy and Dan whizzed off to get the last load in the van and some lunch.

Leonie and I started unpacking and cleaning the cupboards as the ‘Professional Cleaners’ had done such a great job. Bleach, rubber gloves and a strong constitution required for some corners. We weren’t expecting it to be great, as we saw when we viewed the house it was a bit, well, dirty. It does make me wonder how people are happy to live in houses with mould marching up the bathrooms and inches of dust everywhere. Any hoo, when the next load arrived more leaves, dust and debris had blown into the garage, giving us the giggles as Ross arrived back muttering about them all. He then swept it out all over again, but as we had found the dust pan by then he was able to get in all the corners. (I won’t tell him that they blow in under the door when it is closed if you won’t.)

We are now on Tuesday, the phone line is connected tomorrow, so we should have t’internet back up and running in time to call Aged M and wish her happy birthday. I bleached our en suite bathroom last night, with a stiff bristle brush to get in all the corners and felt a lot happier for having done it. Even though we had showers in the shower for the past couple of days; it didn’t feel *clean* when we got out, if you know what I mean, or is it my OCD?? But I know it isn’t my OCD when you rotate the venetian blinds to see if pointing down they don’t let as much light in and you can write ‘yuck’ in the dust on them.

We ordered a new bed to be delivered in 2-4 weeks on Sunday, so we can actually have a guest bedroom, with a bed in it! Matty will be relieved. We are keeping it as a guest bedroom, with nothing of ours being stored in it at all. We have more than enough space in the rest of the house without encroaching on that area. Peter Walsh would be proud of us.

Books are out and slowly populating the shelves; I introduced Violet the African Violet to the dining room and have given her a window so she can look out and look pretty while she does it; pictures are up on some walls (bliss, we weren’t allowed to put hooks in the walls of the garret); we are slowly unpacking things and finding homes for everything; a trip to IKEA is planned for Thursday (yay!) so we can buy some storage solutions for the cupboard under the stairs and bathrooms, another Billy, and I can prowl round the market place.

If anyone finds my iTrip, sleep mask and the other 101 things that we just dumped in boxes in the hurry to move, but thought we’d remember where they were – let us know.

Yours, happier for moving, but twitching coz she can’t find everything…

I am a human being, get me out of here!

Three more nights. Three more sodding nights.

Today is Wednesday, we leave on Saturday. This week we have had our bins filled up with their rubbish, then moved. Luckily this is, thus far the only thing the stupid bints have done, however I am sure there will be more before the week is out. But oooh, if I get through to Saturday without a shouting match I will be extremely surprised.

We are trying to keep on top of the washing so we don’t have too much to do this weekend, I am going to clean the microwave in a minute and do some ironing. I also need to do some work on a spreadsheet for work, but I am waiting for more information before I can complete it.

Busy at work, my predecessor has dropped a rather large one on the Directors’ Conference, she didn’t check the venue held for us out properly so we have a major problem with accomodation issues. I have spent most of yesterday and today trying to source another one. Not easy to do with 19 children to factor in and entertain.

Gah! Must close, stuff to do. Not too sure how much I’ll be able to blog the next couple of days. I’ll do my best for you, but expect some radio silence.

A whole brand new week!

The possibilities are endless really. My weeks always start on a Monday, being a PA my main focus at work is he in the right place at the right time, which over the weekends I don’t have to care about, so Monday up – off we go.

Except that today I am a lady of leisure-ish. I set my alarm for 8am, then ignored it, I woke up when my body woke me up at 9.40am, (though why today it did that and not Sunday when it woke me at 7am heaven alone knows). I am dressed, about to have breakfast and then I am going outside, I am going to leave the house. I am very excited at this prospect. It won’t be a smash and grab at the supermarkado, it will be a leisurely walk to Carnegie, visit shops, potter about, and then more bliss. I am going to the library. I may buy a coffee, I may not. I will be looking at the sky and the trees and saying ‘Where have you been?’ for in the garret we live in, we have vistas of walls. Lovely.

I do have some work to do this afternoon, but not till I have done some work on me. If I had the car, I would go to the gym, sit on a bike and say ‘Yeah baby! My legs still work!’ But DG has the car, so I will stride purposefully instead and be proud of my body.

On a sad note, and I am not too sure how to write this. Isabelle, Caireen’s mum passed away on Saturday night from cancer. Luckliy the whole family was able to be there and row her out for her final journey. Considering how poorly she has been, while it is horrible when someone you love dies, I hope it is also a relief for them. Being in Melbourne while they are in and about London it is difficult to tell. Communication is mostly by text and email, although I will ring this week to see how they are all doing. Patrick’s stag weekend was supposed to be rollicking on over the Saturday and Sunday, but as he was at the hospital too, it obviously didn’t happen.

Caireen has already said the wedding will go on, and will be a celebration of Isabelle’s life, although her getting married without her Mum cheering her on will be the hardest thing she has done. Much love to all the Kennedys.

A letter to our property manager

Dear XXXX,

Further to our previous correspondence with you and the XXXX office over the course of the past year, we wish to reiterate the continued problems we have had while we waited for the tenancy to end on XXXX. While the property was our first address in Australia, at no point could we call it home. We struggle to understand why so many basic things were missed from the building, the logic behind these decisions and reasonable requests obstructed.

However, I will return to these issues in a moment – as you will see I’ve have copied in our neighbours to this letter, and I am sure they will struggle to read any further than this. So at this point I would like to cover the problems we have had living next to them, and to warn any future tenant not to make the decision to live here lightly.

Despite repeated requests through your office, to the landlord and to them all face to face, where they nod and agree to lock the doors to the garage, they seem incapable of basic security. We keep locking the doors to reinforce this point. We were storing belongings in the garage, and especially after the break-in to the beauty salon, wanted to keep them secure. Not too much to ask, especially should anything go missing, our household insurance wouldn’t be valid as we couldn’t be 100% sure the doors were locked. If there is a problem with their keys, it is their and the landlord’s responsibility to replace them. We do not have a problem with our keys, and never have, although that they keep opening the doors would imply they don’t have a problem with the keys, they are just lazy. When the door is found to be locked, we are heralded by a shout of frustration, sometimes a scream, and a huge slam of a glass door (I don’t imagine for a minute it is reinforced glass either, as that would have been too expensive to justify paying for) to show just how annoyed they are.

We also can find rubbish in our bins; we often find ours full, with no explanation other than general ignorance. Their bins are now being kept on the right hand (East) side of the garage, as they have decided that is where they are keeping them, along with finding some of their belongs, which we don’t mind, but as they struggle to park their cars in the bay on the left hand side it makes it hard for us to park our car. On the tenancy it clearly states the tenants of XXXX have the use of the East side of the garage, we’ve been moving the bins and their belongs back to their side, but are now resigned that it isn’t worth worrying about any more. These sound petty, but when you add them up against the banging of doors in and out of the garage every time; the garage door going up unnecessarily in the middle of the night, knowing full well it is under our bedroom; our pegs going missing from the line in the shared courtyard; it all adds up to a lot of stress. Before Hannah and Kim left, we were a happy community sharing the courtyard, garage and washing line quite happily. Since they left, it has been even more of a struggle to live here.

Since you have been managing the property we have found you to be helpful, sympathetic and efficient in assessing and understanding our problems, for which we are grateful and thankful for.

But I fear that your expertise will not help with this property, as it is so poorly built as to be ridiculous. I know that a new build is expensive at the best of times, but cutting corners on essentials is a false economy as rectifying the problems later costs more. During the heat of the summer, and not even during the exceptional heat experienced this year, the flat is like an oven. The landlord suggested we opened the windows to get a bit of breeze through. As the windows don’t open to allow any air to move through as they are wind-out, getting any air through is difficult. During the winter, the flat is cold, because it is a brick shell with no insulation in the walls; which had it been installed on building would also help in the summer. Because the heating is either on, or off, with no timer fitted, and we don’t want to leave it on all day, it takes an hour to warm up when we get home, also due to the thermostat being on the stairs; probably the coldest part of the flat, it then gets over hot in the bedrooms and bathrooms. It is also so noisy, you certainly can’t sleep with it on as we struggle to hear the TV or stereo, that if you shut off a grate to cut down on the noise, the carpet lifts up (as you saw on your inspection) in the living room and the bedrooms due to the carpet laying cutting corners and not completing the job properly. So we switch it off. Within 30 minutes it is cold again, as the heat escapes straight out the walls. It is easier to watch a DVD in the evenings wrapped in blankets than put up with having to turn the TV volume up and down to compensate.

But the heating is not the only thing installed poorly or cheaply: the lino is coming up in the bathroom, while the hot weather warped it, had it been laid properly it wouldn’t have moved; the windows were painted shut when Dan moved in, and still have to be forced open if they have been shut for a couple of days; the oven thermometer is between 20-30° out, discovered when we attempted to cook a roast in it and wondered why it took hours, so brought a thermometer; the blinds don’t fit properly on any of the windows; the whole building shakes and the windows rattle when the garage door goes up, or when you walk around; there are cracks in the plaster already by the bathroom window and in the bedrooms; the door handles on the cupboards are also the wrong size, so come off in your hands.

I am not going to reiterate all the major issues we had over getting basic utilities connected, but the decision from the landlord to ask the electrician to put his name on the bill, for him to then hand-deliver red bills and legal action letters from another supplier to the utilities that we were connected to and ask us to pay for them, still beggars’ belief. That we had to ask repeatedly for the phone line to be connected, to have the landlord turn up unannounced to show me where the phone socket was in the kitchen, while the line stopped in the courtyard is just another in a long line of problems that make us wish we never moved in.

Based on these issues, that Dan works in building management and that we left a rental property in the UK, built in the 1930s but still with insulation, double glazing, central heating and a timer, the rent is priced far too high for the property. The location notwithstanding, the amount of problems we have had to endure over the period of our tenancy would imply that you offer a six month tenancy for the next unlucky resident, certainly not a year. Please make the prospective tenants aware of the considerable shortcomings of this property.

We both wish you every success with marketing the property, and again wish to thank you for your unstinting hard work and effort.