Sunday, May 30, 2010

Holy Productive Weekend Batman

This weekend I tackled The Shed.  To say it was full of crap is a breathtaking understatement.  It was so full of crap that five hours of clearing it out yesterday and then again this morning has been deemed my 'first pass.'  Meaning that I got rid of a lot of stuff, but there are boxes in there that are still waiting.

Today it was a tough job.  I came across boxes of photos taken during my first marriage; wedding, honeymoon, holidays... despite that its been ten years or so it was surprisingly painful to go through them.  I think what made me saddest was to see us at the start of our marriage; grinning and happy, and then as it went along more photos of views, than of each other.  Maybe I saw more than was actually there, but it brought back a lot of sadness.  Maybe because I'd forgotten about that time, and now I remember it quite vividly.

I also found a notebook with notes in it we'd left each other when we were separating:

Me to him: "There's more of your bike stuff in the cupboard, please clear it."
Him to me: "I've rented a flat in Hornsby, here is the address."

I binned most of the stuff. Kept a few pictures of myself to show the kids - one day they're going to laugh a lot at the whole paisley phase.  I still have my wedding dress and wedding photo album from then - as that was, and always will be, one of the happiest days of my life.  Plus my first marriage was part of my history and I don't want to just erase it.

Speaking of uses for wedding dresses from defunct marriages, hubs put me onto this website recently . Uses for an ex-wifes wedding dress.  Very inventive.

Aside from all this highly emotional shed clearing I
  • sawed up bits of old cot into a chook ladder
  • tried to talk chooks into going outside - got ignored
  • persuaded hubby to DO something about dark green seething pool (it is now almost clear, yay)
  • washed 45 tonnes of washing
  • cooked
    • porridge
    • yoghurt
    • tomato soup
    • bread x 2
    • home made pizzas x 9
    • eggs on toast + bacon + baked beans
    • cheese on toast
    • bread x 2 (again)
    • chicken stir fry
    • rhubarb crumble
  • Planted
    • garlic
    • onions
    • artichokes
    • pansies
    • echinacea
    • fennel
  • interacted loudly with my children (ahem)
  • interacted loudly with the dog
  • pulled something dancing on the WiiFit
  • Ran the dishwasher six times
  • fell over the dog six times (at least)
  • walked to the shops and bought cheese (in the rain, with the kids, and the dog, and hubs)
  • talked at length to my mother on the phone
  • sent emails
  • AND edited The Bunker AND added words to Boys of Summer
    Am now feeling a wee-bit fatigued.

    Eurovision Song Contest. Here. I. Come. Let the chortling begin.


    Saturday, May 29, 2010

    Oh I'm so voting for Bulgaria

    Finally, after a week of messing about and refusing to realise that they can get out of their home, the chooks have discovered their run.  Am most relieved as was slightly over them shouting at me every single time I set foot outside the back door.  They're also blaming me and me alone for a week of miserable weather.  Chickens I am sorry - but my seedlings are looking awesome - well the ones the wretched SLUGS haven't eaten anyway. Die slugs die.

    Am flat out writing at the moment.  Boys of Summer is coming along nicely and I don't want to lose momentum, but at the same time have rewrites of The Bunker to do asap.  With school holidays screaming towards us AND a kids birthday party looming on the horizon (god. help. me.) ...  I just keep telling myself its going to be FUN.


    Speaking of fun - Eurovision Song Contest. This epitome of culture is upon us once more.  Bless SBS for showing it.  I'm voting for Bulgaria (above), but only because of the white vinyl trousers with the zip on the outside, and the backup dancing men in mc hammer pants and silver body glitter.  Phwoar.  I am NOT voting for Cyprus because the singer is WELSH (with no silver glitter), also I don't think his voice has actually broken yet.

    Finals Sunday night. :)

    Sunday, May 23, 2010

    Rain, Chook run and spuds.

    So, over the week or so its been raining. Its been raining EVERYWHERE (okay well around Sydney) except for one place. My house.  I've been sitting here, watching the weather radar ( and getting more and more crabby as massive downpours occur east of us, on the coast - north of us, so close that I can actually see the rain coming out of the clouds from my kitchen window, and the thunderstorms happening to the west.

    Because I positively ooze with the milk-of-human-kindness I am honestly and completely glad for everyone else and their gardens (no really) BUT HELL could you send some over here?  Seriously there is no more miserable job than watering the garden when its ten degrees and there is a brisk southerly.


    Other than that, lately I have realised that its about time I set a date for Miss 5s next birthday party.  This has caused me to climb into my newly cleared out closet, curl into a small ball and spend a week or so in my happy place - the one where there are unicorns, and rainbows, and Maggie Beer Ice Cream that does not make you fat.  Ah Utopia.  Its going to be in about six weeks or so, be filled with glorious new friends from school and I guarantee it will give me a nervous breakdown. Watch this space for ranting.

    Winter Fairy Party. Here. I. Come.

    Have been busy in the garden.  Was rather completely over the chooks destroying the garden, so have put together a run for them.  Despite the fact that they are refusing to go out there, AND the one time I made them go out there they all escaped within 5 minutes and trashed the newly planted broad bean patch, I am rather chuffed.  It is not pretty, with a lot of plastic mesh and cable ties, thus lowering to tone of the garden (yes, it could get lower, who'd have though), but it does mark out where the permanent run will be and it'll be great out there when its finished.

    The potatoes are in fine fettle...

    I put in more potatoes yesterday - under all the mown leaves from the Liquid Amber - and surrounding my very sad dwarf pears.  Yes. Appears I may have seriously misjudged chill hours for the fruit trees, and I'm watching to see who is going to go dormant, and whoever does not will get hauled out and re-homed at Mumndads - they get scorching frosts regularly through winter.

    And, after a summer of dead and dying curcubits (pumpkins, cucumbers etc) one of my pumpkin vines has leapt into life and is having babies all over the place. Hum.  Not sure how well they'll turn out, if at all, but the vine is protecting the future Sweet Corn bed, so I'm leaving it be for now.


    Saturday, May 15, 2010

    War on Clutter - the final push

    I haven't given up. Oh no siree. :)  War on Clutter is nearly over and we are so close to Victory that I can almost taste it - actually it tastes a lot like dust. Odd.  Had better eat some more chocolate. Lindt, natch.

    Despite spending a lot of this week teetering on the edge of death with a cold, I have finished the cupboards and so on and all that is left now is the Dreaded End Room.  Honestly, we are not going to get the end room cleared out tomorrow.  In fact I'd put money on it taking at least a week to sort out - I'll post photos when I can get some in daylight.  Its a tip in there.

    In addition to all this clearing, nearly dying, and the usuals (cooking, washing, driving) - and somewhat perversely - my latest novel has just pulled itself together.  Though I've been writing, its been sketchy and hard work, and I've been struggling with the plot line. But finally things are coming together, and, its a damn good one, if I do say so myself.


    Wednesday, May 12, 2010

    Garden Harvest

    Was fossicking around in garden this morning and gathered the following in my pockets...
    Two eggs (yay), carrots, sweet potato, desiree potato, erm some other little potatos, and tomatoes.

    War on Clutter continues.  Kitchen now cleared out, today will tackle pantry - or maybe just go hunting for more Tim Tams, how much incentive is THAT??

    Monday, May 10, 2010

    War on Clutter - Day Seven + A Big Surprise

    Well, War on Clutter kind-of moving forward.  Cleared out dresser filled with china, teacups, pizza stones and about a ton of random electrical wires, old mobile phones and batteries in all sizes.  Then moved on to the pantry... where I came across a packet of double choc Tim Tams... and it was Oprah on telly... and I had a cup of tea...and it was peaceful and sunny... and... well, you get the idea.

    The War sat down and had a lovely rest before rushing off to pick up the children and figure out what to cook for dinner (tacos; very nice).

    But, being the non-stop, high adrenaline, house in the burbs that this is, of course that's not the only news...
    We have our first egg.  Hurray :)

    Weighing in at 43g it has been admired by the entire family and has been the subject of phone calls, group emails and facebook status updates, all day.  We're waiting until we have one each before we eat them.

    Sunday, May 09, 2010

    War on Clutter - Day Six + Mother's Day

    Was the War on Clutter forgotten due to Mother's Day???

    The answer is NO.  NO. All this Mother's Day malarkey does not just put War on hold - I mean does the Axis of Evil pause for Mother's Day?  Does North Korea Syria China the United States stop building its weapons of mass destruction?  Of. Course. Not.

    There is no pause button for the War on Clutter - well apart from Day Three when I had a headache and felt a bit sicky - but that was different. Kim Jong-il Bashar al-Assad Hu Jintao Obama would understand.

    Today, not only did I clear out the linen cupboard - oh okay, I basically threw everything in there into a garbage bag as no matter how many wet beds we get in a night we are not going to use any of the various sized mis-matched fitted sheets. I also took five garbage bags of clutter to the Salvos AND two green-bags worth of books to the library.

    Actually I hadn't planned to do the dropping off bits today, but Miss 4 was getting extremely antsy waiting for a party that didn't start until noon, so I used it as a distraction - yes, I agree, my mothering skills are beyond reproach.

    Now, I've given myself 14 days to get this war all sorted out - after all, the Cuban Missile Crisis was all done and dusted in 14 days, so why not my house? However, we are at Day 7 tomorrow and Not Halfway Through The House.  I wonder if they felt this slightly overwhelming sense of dread on Day 7 of the Cuban Missile Crisis?  Possibly.

    I have mountains to scale people. Mountains.

    I haven't even started on the toys, the kitchen, the pantry, the dresser full of china, and then there's the (OMG I feel faint) laundry cupboard, and the chest of draws I randomly shove wrapping paper and miscellaneous x-rays into and force the drawer shut again. Then there's another ceiling high bookshelf with things - THINGS - stored underneath it.  Not to mention...

    The End Room.

    Yes. There is a reason The End Room rhymes with DOOM.


    I haven't taken photos yet, because I think its going to get worse in there before it gets better - and I want you all to savor the truly appalling situations that can hide behind closed doors.

    War on Clutter. The offensive continues.

    Oh and Mother's Day was great. Got three lovely cards, a blueberry bush to murder and brekkie in bed.  Am so loved. :)

    Saturday, May 08, 2010

    War on Clutter - Days Three - Five

    And so the War continues.  Progress is as follows...
    • Day Three - postponed due to a stunning headache
    • Day Four  
      • cleared out Miss 5s built-in
        • threw out a lot of old and dusty bags, some not used since... well over ten years
        • found many single shoes in various sizes
      • cleared out kids bathroom - ew, less said the better
    • Day Five 
      • sorted out cook book bookshelf - so much dust and barely opened cook books (now off to local library)
      • tidied the cupboard where the vacuum cleaner lives
        • found an illuminating number of lightbulbs (he, he)
        • also four showerheads (??)
      • opened and examined linen cupboard several times - left it for another day (am not superwoman after all)
    Also cleaned out chook pen and made lovely compost pile that was immediately rearranged by chooks, mostly into pool.

    The decorating plans are hurtling forth as well.  Have picked out "Spanish Cream" as present colour for walls in hallway (I say present as last week it was Mademoiselle or Strawberries&Cream - or pink and less pink but still a bit pink).  Today I bought an armload of cheap photo frames from K-Mart and have selected some photos that I'll be printing out and hanging on the walls.

    Many people have lovely professional shots of themselves adorning their walls, often in tasteful black &white with matching frames.  Not being "like the other girls" - a phrase which has followed me around my entire life - I chose frames that didn't match at all (apparently this makes me shabby chic - who'd have thought??) and have picked out photos, a few of which are below...

    This one makes me laugh
    So does this one - and also catches me how I usually look (shouting at hubby to do something)
    This one makes me laugh as well ("ack, cow")
    This was taken a couple of days before our wedding (its been sepia'd which is why we look so ill, I will un sepia it when I figure out how) - it makes me laugh as well, and also catches how I often look when hubby makes advances.
    Actually, this one makes me all "aw, aren't they sweet, I really should try to be nicer to them."
    And do you see The Green behind Hubs there?  The Green is the next project after we've got rid of The Brown.  Its not as bad as The Brown, but still, there is an unseemly amount of it and it really darkens a lovely light filled room.

    Then we can deal with The Yellow.  Yes its worse than The Brown.


    Tuesday, May 04, 2010

    War on Clutter - Day Two

    Today I had an assistant with War On Clutter and thus a half hour job took two, and at some points I honestly thought I was going to have a stroke - like when she unpacked the fabric box I'd just spent ten minutes sneezing-over and folding neatly.  And then there was the moment when she popped a balloon right behind me (I have a balloon phobia at the best of times) - yes, nothing to do with tidying, but I Have Suffered. 
    We got stuck into Miss 4's bedroom where I also happen to keep my sewing bits in the top of her built in. I had a massive sewing collection tidy up about a year ago, reducing it to a few boxes worth.  So today's job wasn't too appalling.
    I also went through Miss 4s clothes and culled a lot of grown-out-of things and ones that were tatty or paint-stained. Of course she took exception to every single one of my decisions and negotiated like a Lawyer to get them back - so they've been put carefully in an empty drawer, for now - I still have a  headache from the whole encounter and feel a lot like my will to live has been sucked dry. Yes. Suddenly I remember why I have her in school five days a week, they're the only ones with the training and experience to out-argue her.

    The basket that used to be the dumping ground for fallen-by-the-wayside sewing projects (including a quilt I started when pregnant with Miss 5 in 2004 - ahem) has been recycled as a shoe bucket. I'm hoping this may help with the daily morning shoe scrabble. When I see a shoe, into the basket it goes and in theory, it'll be easy to find them when I need them.

    I SAID In Theory.

    Monday, May 03, 2010

    War On Clutter - Day One

    War on Clutter began today.

    I'm working from one end of the house to the other, so I started in the main bedroom.

    And here is the pile I dragged out of two chests of drawers and a large built-in...
    Sewing projects, cushions, blankets, bags, dvds circa 1991 and many many old and unfashionable clothes.

    The interesting part is that a lot of this stuff has places that it should be.  Miss 4's cupboard doubles as a place for all my sewing odds and ends, and we keep all our bags in Miss 5's cupboard.  I'm at a bit of a loss over what to do with the DVDs.  There's some great movies in there, but we just don't watch them, or listen to our CD collection for that matter, which is also rapidly aging.

    Hubs has a laundry basket of dross that he has to sort through when he gets home, and I'm heading to Vinnies to drop off the first of many loads this afternoon.

    There was a lot of dust and I sneezed a lot, but an excellent start.


    Sunday, May 02, 2010

    Autumn Day & War On Clutter

    Early morning Autumn walk around the block with Miss 4 and bicycle...

    Its been a hectic weekend. School function yesterday and fairy party for Miss 4 today, and now its Sunday afternoon and I'm wondering where on earth everyone's uniforms have got too (ie which layer of the dirty washing pile) and if I have anything to feed them for lunch tomorrow.


    I've been doing quite a bit of reading over at the Parenting Passageway (they had a post about yelling parents... ahem.) Another post I related to was this one, about making your home a sanctuary.  In a few weeks we are doing a spot of decorating at our house.  The appalling brown walls so adored by the last owners are going, to be replaced by... well, I'm working on that, but not brown. New curtains, rearranging furniture, even painting over the acres of mirrored doors we have on the front of the built ins.

    Here's Miss 4 aged about 18months in front of our brown, brown walls.

    However, before I even think about starting that project, I need to get things in order. And so, over the next fortnight I have declared war on clutter in my house.  Superficially, things don't look too bad around here.  But I know what lies beneath, stuffed into every built in and chest of draws.

    Its going to be a big, dusty job, and I'll be blogging my progress when I'm not too exhausted - did I mentioned I'm really allergic to dust mites? Yeah. That's going to make it super fun.


    Saturday, May 01, 2010

    New Muse

    Was writing outside this afternoon...
    Frankly the way this book is going I need all the help I can get.