Thursday, December 27, 2012

Another new chapter

Good morning all,

Remember that two bedroom cottage we wanted on the semi-rural property?

We got it :)

We are moving to a new (old) home. A charming two bedroom cottage surrounded by cattle breeders and horse paddocks. We even have our own paddock, and gorgeous views of peaceful trees and rolling hills. I will have my vege patch and stretch of garden. We will have a cosy little nook to live together and be happy, and it will be our space with our things. We will be paying almost half of the rent we currently pay, so we'll be saving precious dollars; always a bonus in today's world.

So what is the catch?

We knew from the get go that there was a lot of work to do on the house. For one, the outside was in desperate need of a repaint, and the garden was sorely neglected. The paddock hadn't been mowed in goodness knows how long, and there were several pieces of tin and old wood "fixing" the holes in the fence.

Then we walked inside.

The previous tenants were moving out, and they obviously had lower hygienic standards than us. Again, we knew we would need to work on the place A LOT but were taken with the location, the views, the size of the actual house, and the price tag. We were prepared to sacrifice a few luxuries to save our pennies so that we would become closer to owning our own home and leave the land of renting forever.

But saving money, like everything else, comes at a price

The carport alone looked like it housed all of the rejected funnelweb spiders within a 20 km radius.

The bins were full of foul smelling rubbish and hadn't been left out to be collected, so the full Australian summer sun had done it's work and made it smell even more pleasant.

The carport was so filthy and thick with dust that it took me over an hour just to sweep it out!

The outside walls were so dirty they made the house look light brown. It is in fact white.

The guttering was so full of leaves and filth that they were completely blocked, and there was no avenue for the rain-water to refill our water tank. It should also be noted that this was completely empty - no running water until we could get some delivered. That meant limited cleaning options.

The entire house stank of filthy wet dog - the previous renters owned three large dogs that lived inside - all the time. Judging by the stains on the carpets, it was also their lavatory.

The spiders that were not welcome outside had decided to move their residency inside the house - in the windows, curtains and door frames, that contained webbing so thick it resembled Santa's beard.

The windows didn't even shut properly - unless they were the ones that were painted shut.

The inside needed repainting too, despite the fact that the current paint job is only three years old. This is because the previous renters apparently liked to throw things, including darts at the walls and doors.

The sinks were all putrid.

The oven was deperately unclean. Inches, unclean. The stovetop burners are not all working either. We've decided to ditch it and just buy a new one.

The bathroom was left black and brown in places with scum and filth - they didn't even bother rinsing out the bath after the dogs had obviously been washed in there (apparently they did clean some things).

The toilet was black. Yes, I said BLACK.

The first thing we did was let of 6 bombs in the house, and shut the doors for 2 hours whilst we decided our course of action. We returned with vacuum, brooms, mops, rake, bucket, and every type of spray, bleach and disinfectant we had in our current house. We opened the windows and doors to try and allow the house to breathe, and proceeded with the extermination of unwanted guests.

After two days of cleaning and exterminating, we tallied up 32 confirmed dead funnel web spiders and countless cockroaches, moths and flies.

We are still clearing the windows which are impossibly clogged and difficult to reach at times.

We've also been accepting generous "home" donations from family... And now have some lovely shadecloth on the side of the carport, and some on the back of the house shading the living room (this room gets horribly hot in summer). The cleaning is never-ending, as is the burning of incense and lighting of scented candles to try and rid that horrid smell from the house. but I think it's slowly working.

I'm also treating the house to some lovely NEW curtains from IKEA. First thing is first - don't want strangers peeping in on us!

So that's how the house is coming along in the first week. It's been mostly cleaning. We've managed to start moving some furniture in too, but we're not sleeping there until we've fixed a filter onto the water tank (now about 70% full), the black-mould issue is addressed in the main bedroom, a cleaner is called to fix the kitchen, laundry and bathroom, and the carpets are replaced. These are all health hazzards.

Aside from that, we're pretty darn happy. We have made so many improvements in the last week alone... Imagine after a month! All it needed was som TLC. I'll have to upload some before and after photos, but until then I'll leave you with this one... Look who we found swimming in our guttering enjoying the downpour we had over Christmas?

One of our friendlier neighbours :)

Ta-ta for now!


Monday, December 17, 2012

Look who's back :)

Hello everyone! Did you miss me at all? ;)

As per my last post, which was a disastrously long time ago (just over 6 months in fact) I disappeared for a short while. What happened? As is usually the case; life happened.

Now, the original reason I created this blog was to document some of my more creative endeavours, and also as a bit of an outlet for my grief following the early departure of my longest and dearest friend and mentor.

My beautiful mother.

I'm looking at the date as I type, and it has been 12 months and 15 days since she has passed away. I cannot believe it has been that long. I can't ever remember most of the past year; it is a haze.

Sadly, we're still sorting and downsizing all of her precious belongings which have filled a four bedroom home and a double garage (as well as the single garage of my inlaws too). It's such a horrible task. I start on it some days and I just don't know what to do, or what box to open first. I'll then leave it for a long time. Other days a frenzy takes over and I'll empty 10 boxes in a single afternoon and can't rest until I've met some sort of quota for the day.

I can't say I've been consistent in the task, because it's incredibly depressing and emotionally, very draining.

I've now gotten to the point where I'm donating A LOT of items.

I'm also having to discard A LOT.

Some days, this breaks my heart. Everything meant something to mum, even items that others might regard as trash. The number of half-finished or not-even-started craft projects and broken items she had intended to fix that I'm coming across is astounding.

One saving grace has been a dear friend who is a primary school teacher as a local school. This is one of those schools that doesn't have a great deal of funding available. As is the case with most schools, when there is a reasonable amount of expendable income, it goes to the library, or to the purchasing of new equipment for the children. The arts and craft departments are not priority. I have donated about 6 boxes of items to the school so far (with more to come), filled with items ranging from coloured glues and papers to stickers, beads, sequins, pipe-cleaners, paddle-pop sticks, foam shapes, christmas ornaments to be decorated... From what I hear, the kids are almost fighting each week to make sure they're able to part-take in the now-awesome craft afternoons leading up to Christmas.

This has made me glow, and has made my task just that little bit easier :)

Mum was a very giving person, and whilst a part of her would be devastated to see her beautiful glittery and shiny "treasures" leaving the house, she was ever the spirit of generosity, and I think she would be happy to see everything being loved and appreciated by others. If a small child was admiring a trinket of hers whilst she was out and about, mum wouldn't hesitate to offer it. She did this many times, followed by my being a little bit cranky with her for constantly giving away things to people she didn't know.

But that was who my mum was :)

I've also been taken over by a new incentive. We want to downsize, and have "a home" again, not just "a sorting ground". Despite my best intentions, we never really settled into that house. It never felt like home. It never really was. The move to that place was under such depressing and unhappy circumstances - it was a move that I never really wanted, but was driven to out of sheer necessity.

We have found a very worn, but very cosy little two bedroom cottage in a semi-rural suburb near to where we are living now... And if all goes well, we will find out today if it is ours. But I can hear your concern... How does one simply move from a four bedroom home with a double garage to a two bedroom cottage?

With no garage. And no storage.

Answer: one downsizes like a mo-fo.

I feel like a possessed demon. In the horribly hot and humid weather, I can be seen downstairs from early in the morning on weekends going through more boxes, creating more piles in the kitchen: "donate" "school crafts" "disposable" "keeping (for now)".

After one week, I have completely emptied 25 boxes.

I am also donating 2 craft boxes, 3 linen boxes, 5 kitchen boxes, and several items that are still in the original box. Unopened.

That is more than 35 boxes worth of items in one week.

I have lost count of the number of bags and boxes I have filled with rubbish. Because of the volume, we're topping up our bins at the end of each week. It's slowly taking over my kitchen...

And I'm not finished. I'm going back for more tonight - my deadline is two weeks from now.

It's on like Donkey Kong!