Wednesday morning the other half got a call from Mum. She’d fallen and she couldn’t get up. He was already up and dressed so he jumped in his car and drove over, I got up and threw clothes on as fast as I could while I called the ambulance as he drove over. The ambulance call taker took his number and while I drove over called him to get more info.
When I got there she was still conscious. She hadn’t broken anything in her fall – silly now to think my biggest concern at that time was a broken hip. The ambulance call taker was telling me to get her to focus on her breathing. In through the nose, out through the mouth. I kept saying it, over and over. FUCK OFF she said to me in her characteristic way, just as the call taker told me the ambulance was in the street. I ran out to direct them in, and that is when she stopped breathing. The other half called out to me to let me know and the paramedics went in and began CPR.
Time stopped. A second crew of paramedics appeared. They did everything they possibly could.. but.. she was gone.
We are in so much shock because I expected at least another 10 years before she left us. At least with Dad we had time to prepare.
She was set up over there so perfectly, everything she needed was just within reach. And it was such a peaceful spot. Mum had a family of kangaroos, visiting kookaburras, a wonderful back patio to sit and enjoy the trees.
It wasn’t until later that I found the piece of paper with all the high blood pressure readings, then I checked the machine with the past 20 readings many of which were severe hypertension. She did not tell me.
We had a doctor visit set for Wednesday afternoon and I had been going with her as they were setting her up a care plan. I’m sure she just thought oh, I’m going to the doctor today, we’ll sort it then.
She missed Dad far more than we knew. I’m happy they are together again. I’m thankful for that, sad for us.
Her last words to me were so Mother. ;) I won’t take that personally.
Is now sitting in my kitchen area ready for us to take it over to Mum’s new house and put it together tonight. It is a table for the outdoor area.
It is just over 5 weeks since we picked up the keys and we have accomplished so much since then – moving her in, getting the new couch delivered, ordering a desk, a new bed, having the windows cleaned then installing blinds and a screen door, foxtel, broadband, installing a ring doorbell which Mum super hugely loves, and she is all settled in over there now.
Meanwhile we’ve not sat on our hands at my place either – so much work has been done here. We’ve reorganised our storage in the second storeroom, taken down many vertical blinds which we were not in love with, replaced them in some cases with curtains and in other cases with the amazing rabbitgoo, and we’ve just started reorganising the outdoor area ready for me to run some art workshops out there.
Today I am most determined to take an actual day off, other than dropping off the table at Mum’s and putting it together. Hence I am still in my pyjamas at 2:30pm in the recliner with a cuckoo cat in my footspace – it is a cold day and she likes to cuddle with me when it is warm.
So what is rabbitgoo? It is a film you put over your window which can block the view of anyone outside, plus give you loads of prettiness on the inside. It isn’t too hard to install especially if you have an OCD other half with enough time to do it well. It can also hide the view of the outside from the inside which you might want if you look out onto a fence and concrete, which we do in the storeroom so we will be putting some in there as well.
Hope to be around a bit more often in the upcoming weeks, have been very focused on moving Mum and work for a bit. :) Hoping you are all well!
Sort of. We have a settlement date yay – 9th September which is two weeks from today. The old house has had an open last weekend and has another one tomorrow. The work swap is all picked and ready to pack. Once that is done we will get to work next week on packing the things at the old house ready to move in, but Mother is not sure exactly what her plan will be re moving in – she’ll have two houses for a little while yet.
I think we just have to make a decision and go with it. Luckily she’s bought a new lounge for the new house and that will be delivered soon after settlement. Whether we want to move her bed over there or not is a big deal because her bed is the heaviest bed in the world and it is currently upstairs. We might take one of the less heavy and easier to move beds over.
Most of our preparation work for putting the house on the market is now done, and I find myself in a bit of limbo. It is really hard to plan what happens next when you don’t *know* what happens next!
Contracts have been exchanged on the new house but we do not have a settlement or move in date yet.
Photos have been taken on the old house but we do not have any updates on that yet.
Dad’s car has been sold to a family friend but we’re not sure when they are collecting it yet.
I am a huge planner of things and when I can’t plan I find that frustrating. So yesterday with no plans to plan, I threw myself into mulching the garden beds of the old house. 8x 60kg bags of mulch later and it is looking great and I am feeling it today.
Today the sun is shining and I would like to prune my pittosporums but google tells me this is not an appropriate time to do it. Springtime is best AKA September. But not knowing what the plan is, who knows if I will have time for it in September?
So instead today I will send out emails to my past customers letting them know we’re about to do a swap while waiting for the next Better Call Saul episode to arrive.
If I can’t plan my next month, I can at least plan my today. ;)
Just had a tooth pulled out because it was trying to escape my mouth. I’m pretty numb and feeling a bit high right now. :) This began with an abscess which made my tooth sit at a 45 degree angle and I couldn’t chew on that side of the mouth at all. Of course as always the worst of it happened after business hours so I had to look for a solution.
Did you know about oil pulling? It sounded a bit like woo woo wickety wack science to me but the results were quite amazing. I’ve got a lot of Doterra essential oils in the house so I was able to add some drops of oregano oil into my fractionated coconut oil, and I swished for about 20 minutes.
The next morning my tooth was back to straight which I believe was due to the oil pulling. I was able to get some antibiotics for the abscess which resolved the problem for the most part, but that tooth needed to come out.
I’ve continued with the oil pulling once a week and it does make a difference, my teeth always feel a lot cleaner afterwards.
Today they will take the photos of the old house ready for putting it on the market. We’ve spent a bit of time this week preparing for this – staging and cleaning the walls. Magic erasers are very well named.
Once this is done we’re taking a bit of time off from house stuff – I still have a few kitchen cupboards to declutter and clean but we’ve really done the major parts of this work in the past two weeks. Once we’ve had a little rest break, we’ll start on the actual packing.
Why, Taubmans? Why would you change the name of your most excellent exterior paint from Taubmans Endure to Taubmans Allweather?
When we built the chicken coop way back in 2011 we chose Taubmans Endure for the paint. It has been 11 years out in the rain and sun etc and most of the coop looks as good as it did when we first put it there.
So when we needed to paint the shed at Mum’s current house, we went to look for more of this paint and could only find interior Taubmans Endure paint. We were standing there at Bunnings obviously looking lost and the paint man informated us that they had changed the name of the paint. WHY when it is so incredibly well known and you’ve spent so many years promoting it?
I first heard about it via Selling Homes Australia and that is why we chose it – we were influenced. But seriously this paint is so incredible. We’ve only had to put one coat on the shed and it looks amazing!
Here you can see the front done but the side not yet done, to get an idea of the difference between pre-painted and the end result. We did end up doing a second coat on the top fascia (here you only see one coat) right next to the green tape as that does tend to get the most of the weather.
Dad would have SO enjoyed painting this with me. My Dad loved all things handyman for most of his life, and he could always convince me to go along for a trip to the hardware store. We could both very easily get lost in there for hours even though when I was growing up we did not have the enormous Bunnings stores, it was a local hardware store which was smaller and with less range.
He loved to paint. In fact there was a time he did it as a job, for a while. He also had all the accessories one would like if you were a painter including a pretty impressive roller extender pole and a paint stirrer that looked a bit like a potato masher.
We did not find these accessories today while cleaning out the shed – apparently he left the pole behind at work when he retired and he seemed to go on a spree of buying new roller extender poles – we found at least four but none of them were the “special” one.
It was also tradition in our family to have a set of “grotties” – clothes you have specifically put aside to use for jobs like painting etc so it did not matter if you got paint on them or got them dirty. My last grotties were thrown out in a rash decluttering event Marie Kondo style plus they were too big for me.
To my new grotties – a pair of Uniqlo extra warm leggings which have been worn so many times they developed a ladder in the rear thigh area, and a tie dye t-shirt which did not keep the colour as well as I would have liked – much respect and we thank you for your sacrifice.
Either hilariously or tragically, when Covid was a thing and Mum and Dad being older were only allowed to have AstraZeneca it took three months before they could get their second vaccine, and Bunnings was one of the few places that did not require you to be fully vaccinated to visit. So I always would offer to take them on an outing there. It is a good place to go for a walk, completely undercover, no chance of getting wet unless it is raining and you are in the garden section or they are watering..
This was towards the end of Dad’s time with us and he suddenly grew to hate Bunnings because it was the only place he could go – he would rant and rave about them anytime I mentioned visiting. This was a shame as it meant I didn’t have a good place to take them on an outing.
I wanted some specific plants and when we went to Bunnings they were in a container that told us where Bunnings had sourced them from – a local nursery. So once they were double vaccinated I suggested we could go and look there, maybe they would be a bit cheaper at the source. In late October I talked Dad into taking a ride out there and because it wasn’t Bunnings, he agreed, and we bought our last plants together.
I would hate to estimate how many plants we bought together in my lifetime. Garden centres were a favourite place to go. I remember some gorgeous Japanese Maples we bought together when I was a teenager. Looking at real estate photos of that house we used to live in, they appear to still be going strong.
As are the pittosporums we bought together in October. Above you see them in January, having just been repotted a second time, when to even look at them was hard for me but at the same time I loved the gorgeous shade they provided.
And here above you see them today, much taller and with a cooperative chicken. The chickens LOVE these plants, they use them as a special hiding place. In summer they could most often be found in the gap behind them, hanging out and waiting for any unsuspecting bugs which might wander by.
I now have two pairs of Uniqlo Ultra Warm and to be honest I do not want to leave the house without them at the moment. Extra warm are ok for inside the house, but having used ultra warm outside I really notice the difference between them. I would have ordered more ultra warm but they are sold out in my size NOES.
The shed is painted now and we could not be happier with it. It does cost as bit more to buy Taubmans Endure OR allweather or whatever they want to call it, but it is worth it. The chickens agree. :)
Sunday and Monday we did two full days of moving furniture downstairs, decluttering, measuring, packing and cleaning. On Monday we also had the outside of the house pressure washed and the hedges trimmed.
Like I said, we do not faff.
I wanted to push pretty hard the first couple of days as those were my “days off” and I didn’t have to worry about being home for work. Also we had carpet cleaners coming on Wednesday for the upstairs so I wanted to get those floors as free from stuff as possible.
I could not count how many times I went up and down those stairs. It was a LOT of times.
Tuesday morning we met the real estate agent at the new house to take photos and measurements. Mostly the photos Mother wanted was of the cupboards so she can have an idea how much storage there is. There is plenty! This is just half of the laundry storage –
It was so lovely to spend a bit more time there and just get used to the space.
Wednesday while the carpets were cleaned I sat Mother at the kitchen table with the drawers to declutter and I pulled out a couple of cupboards worth of stuff so she could decide what to keep, what to donate and what to throw away. I’m trying to do the lions share of the actual work as much as possible.
I was inspired by this to do a bit of decluttering at home, as well! I also had a basket of stuff to donate by the end of it.
Thursday we needed a rest day and a bit of retail therapy. I took Mother to get a hair cut and to get the car washed while I went to Kmart and grabbed some things I needed. In the afternoon I held a workshop here and then took the rest of the day off, until we went to Bunnings with Mother in the evening to get some paint and other needed things. Bunnings is best visited after 5pm we find.
Mother does have a small patch of lawn at the back of the house. I have suggested one of the new battery powered lawnmowers. Growing up she always did the lawnmowing and she used to love doing that job with the exception of starting the mower.
While we were at Bunnings we had a look at what is available – they are so incredibly light now! I could pick this one up with one arm – though it didn’t have the battery pack on. I had NO idea of the huge progress in lawnmowing.
This is definitely on our must buy list for ourselves and we could share it with Mother. Friday morning I did some house painting and then decluttered the plastic tupperware type storage and the under sink cupboard. We did a donation run.
Saturday morning The Other Half and I did some painting over there of the backyard shed. We’re going back today to finish the rest. Also decluttering by listing things on Facebook Marketplace.
The plan thus far has been to do a couple of hours work in the morning over there, then return here to be here at the store and do my work. I don’t want to tire Mother out too much too early, but it is so tempting just to keep going because the decluttering is so satisfying. ;)
Busy times! I hope you all are doing well, I have been trying to comment places but nothing seems to be working for me at the moment, not even wordpress will let me comment now! I try and then fail and then give up.
One of the hard parts of the next 40 or so days for me is going to be spending a lot of time at Dad’s house. I should call it that because he really truly adored that place. But he loved every house he ever lived in, to be fair.
I opened a bathroom cupboard to find three tubes of toothpaste and three spare cans of deodorant and I just wanted to scream at the sky. The non-dementia version of him should be here using that stuff.
The night that he was given his diagnosis by the geriatrician, we sent Mum to a motel for a couple of days to get a break and my sister and I stayed in the house with him. For some reason he’d begun to be a bit obsessed with torches.
About 3am I heard my door handle jiggle and then Dad opened the door and shone a torch in at me. I’m just checking that you’re ok, he said. Then he went and checked on my sister. Every time I am in that bedroom I can see him at the door.
He was also obsessed with his two pairs of glasses and his phone. At some point I realised it would be easiest to get him a little cross body bag into which these items would fit, and he could have them with him at all times. It worked perfectly – he could just unzip one zip and check all those things were there, and then he was happy. It didn’t matter that he’d just checked it five minutes ago, and five minutes before that, and four minutes before that.
Time became our enemy. I ended up buying two of these dementia clocks from Ebay which honestly are the most awesome clocks ever invented and we ordered an extra two for our own house. Dad had one right next to him on the table and he could easily read it.
Oddly, the Saturday we put in the offer for Mum’s new place it was exactly 7 months since he passed.
I know a lot of people believe different things about passing away. Me personally I believe there are times he sends me messages. And there couldn’t have been a louder one on my birthday.
See, we used to have this joke about Dad giving company reps the “pineapple treatment” – so ever since pineapples have been a theme. I went to TK Maxx and they had these stunning crystal pineapple book ends. I thought that would be a perfect centerpiece to my memorial shelf for Dad. It was still a work in progress. My favourite colour is teal. On my birthday, this happened.
Happy Birthday to you, he said, with a bright glimmer of teal which hit my eye exactly where I was sitting.
Sometimes things are simply not meant to be – because a better thing is waiting.
Jerry: Ah, I’m kinda soured.
George: You’re soured?
Jerry: Yeah, I’m soured.
George: Don’t be soured.
Jerry: I’m sorry. I’m soured.
By the time Saturday morning rolled around and with a raised offer on the rejected house also rejected, I was getting a bit sour about it. You know when you really want something and you don’t get it right away and you start to not love it as much as you did because you didn’t get it?
On Saturday we went to three open houses, then back to the rejected house, and then we had a couple of hours gap before the next open inspection in the afternoon. Mother went home for a Nanna Nap, and I ate lunch and then the real estate agent for the rejected house called me.
He said the owner wanted everyone to submit best offers in by Monday morning and then he would decide which offer to take. I said I’d talk to Mother about it and get back to him.
While waiting for Mother to return, I started looking at the listing for the final place we were going to see.
We’d driven past it a couple of times before and my main concern was the driveway has a bit of a hill from the street. Someone we know already lives on that street. It is in a neighbourhood with a lot of great footpaths and one of my friends lives over there so we walked there a lot last summer and I love it there.
Mother really did not want to be in a block of units as she does not enjoy dealing with people. However this block of units has two units separate to all the other units. The front one of those had been sold, and I thought if we could get the back one if she liked them maybe it would be an even better plan, because it is in a location she loves a lot more than the rejected house. It looks out onto trees instead of other peoples yards.
Previously I was sure the rejected house was the right one but Mother always was concerned about the location – and the price. Pretty much the minute we walked inside one of the units both of us felt these were beautiful and when we went into the back unit we both just went yes, this is The Place To Be. We put in an offer on the spot then went to call The Other Half around so he could look at it.
As we were standing in the kitchen talking to the real estate agent I looked at the info sheet for the houses and realised – Mother’s new address is also my birthday. How crazy is that? While we looked at the unit again waiting for The Other Half, the real estate agent got our offer accepted, he loved it as much as we did, and it was a done deal.
The first person I messaged was the real estate agent for the rejected house. He came back with “If I could get the vendors to accept your offer do you think Mother would buy it?” Err, no. Once we do a deal it is done! So it will be interesting to see what happens with that house now. It is beautiful and the builder really did a great job with it and I still love it and if we could move it to the other neighbourhood it would be perfect.
You would think with that decision made, the gears could stop whirring in our heads for a little bit. But no. We’ve switched into moving mode. I was thinking about installing security cameras and possibly fob key or keyless door locks – Mother is not great with keys. Her new car has a fob and that works a lot better for her. Mother woke up at 3am this morning and her mind started whirring.
Today The Other Half and I went over and moved some furniture that she wants to let go of and then I packed two boxes while she sorted through paperwork. I’ve got a shredder bin coming sometime this week so we can get all our old paperwork safely destroyed. I like to aim for two boxes a day if I am packing so I’ll head back over tomorrow and do a couple more.
It is a good feeling to have a decision made and to know what the future is going to be. I think in part that is what soured me on the other place more than anything. We have always been people who like to sort things out on the spot.
She’s been my Mother for just over 47 years now which means I have to change my twitter bio from thirtysomething to fortysomething. And in this time I have got to know her reasonably well but even so, you never can be quite sure.
She lives in a massive two storey four bedroom house which was fine while Dad was still here but now I have my worries about it.
First of all the stairs, which all the time I was growing up I wanted us to live in a house with stairs. She’s no longer a spring chicken and all the bedrooms and showers are upstairs, which of course does not preclude us from making her a downstairs apartment if she would like to remain there. There is a downstairs toilet but it is a touch too small to add in a shower.
Second of all the just throwing off shoes in the middle of the floor for her to trip over at a later time which worries me greatly. As pictured above.
Thirdly the lack of a phone nearby at all times. I’ve had to go over a couple of times when her phone was on silent or not nearby. 9 times out of ten it is upstairs when she is downstairs and vice versa. This will be solved with an Apple watch.
Fourthly, while she is fine in the house both my sister and I keep waiting for Dad to appear when we are visiting there. He is so much a part of that house to both of us that we find it a little bit hard to go there.
So we’ve been talking for a while about what is next for Mother. We have talked about the following options –
make an apartment out of the downstairs of her current house. Not optimal for a few reasons.
move her into one of her units that she owns – which are strata title and in a block of 10, which is not optimal as Mother does not play well with others and they have tenants in there who she doesn’t want to kick out.
build a house – not much land nearby and would be a delay though that is not a dealbreaker the land that is nearby hasn’t even been registered yet.
buy a house or unit – most houses have larger gardens than she wants, and most units are strata title which she does not want
We’ve been watching the real estate listings locally – every night when we go to bed The Other Half and I play our wordament game challenges, then we look at the new properties listed.
I had suggested to Mother that we start going to open houses just so she can narrow down what she likes and does not like, because in all previous times Dad has mainly been the on the spot decider of what shall be bought. I’m not kidding, truly on the spot, like went to look at it put in an offer. Of course she was a part of those decisions but he was the “I like it lets get it can we put a deposit on it today” driver.
One house popped up and I liked the look of it. The house plan intrigued me somewhat, particularly the “store” area in the garage which they never show photos of.. Mother has also been keeping an eye on the real estate and she had seen it too. She told me she and Dad had been watching it be built.
The other half was going camping and Mother was due here for coffee and then to go get some groceries – I’d spotted that house was having an open. I thought Mother and I should go see it.
Now one thing you need to know about my Mother is, any idea you might present to her, she is always going to say NO first up. Doesn’t matter what the idea is. Sometimes you can talk her into a yes fairly quickly. Sometimes it will never become a yes. Sometimes you have to keep pushing but you’ll get there eventually.
Like the screen door on the front of her house – it took me ten years over a raft of objections the most crazy of which being but I love my front door and the screen door will cover it up but she eventually agreed to have one put on. And it quickly became the best thing she ever did and why on earth did she wait so long to do it? And it turns out when you open the front door to let the breeze blow through you can look at the front door like it is a piece of art and enjoy it even more.
So I suggested the idea to Mother. No no no no no NO! was her answer. That remained her answer until we had done the shopping at which point we were perfectly timed to rock up at the open inspection. And so she agreed to go and see it.
And we did see it, and it was far better than either of us had expected from the photos. Phil and Kirstie in the UK from Location Location Location always say that looking at things on the internet is fine but you have to go and see them before you can really judge and they are right. It was WOW at first sight. But Mother did not like the location.
Me, I had already mentally moved Mother in there. The laundry was AMAZING. I’d never seen anything so light and airy and gorgeous. And now, in her house, to do laundry Mother prefers to throw it all over the railing to the first floor, then go down and pick it all up and put it in a laundry basket, then walk it to the back corner of the house. But for Mother it was a no because she didn’t like where it was. And so we left it there.
We had gleaned a few details from the real estate folks – the house was built by a builder and he was living in it. My thought was maybe we could talk to the builder and see if he was building anything like it somewhere else, or maybe he could make this same house for us in a location Mother liked. I intended to write a note to the builder.
But that house had other ideas. It kept appearing in my dreams for the next week. My sister was coming down the next weekend and by Thursday I said to Mother that maybe we should all go see the house together. She of course said no, but on the Saturday I took The Other Half, my sister and her partner who is a tradie to have a look at it. My sisters partner was incredibly impressed by it especially the attention to detail – you could tell it was built by someone who cared and wanted to make it awesome. He’s in and out of new builds constantly so he knows quality when he sees it. We were there almost the entire time it was open.
Family from Adelaide arrived later that same day. Dad’s two sisters and one of their husbands came up for a visit, the first time we’d seen them since the funeral. Mother was a bit worried, she thought the visit would be sombre. The weekend was spent laughing till we cried about all kinds of things. But no crying crying.
Still for both my sister and I, it is hard to be in that house. I keep expecting Dad to pop out of his area like he always used to. It is bizarre especially when my mind knows he is gone. Logic tells me I dressed him at the funeral home. I know I sat in the front seat of the hearse for his final ride. But my heart says he is just in the next room watching tv.
We talked about it over the weekend and I think maybe that weekend was exactly the fuel Mother needed to prepare to make a decision.
The Adelaide family left Tuesday. Wednesday the real estate called me to let me know a price guide for the house we liked. Mother and I had a “come to Jesus” meeting where we essentially decided the location was excellent, the house was exactly what she wanted and she didn’t really want to build a house.
Thursday we asked them to come and appraise her current house and put it on the market, and put in an offer for the house we liked.
Friday we began the process of sorting through her cupboards to donate the things she doesn’t want anymore. We went to Bunnings and got boxes and packing stuff. Our offer on the house was rejected. :(
Saturday we are going looking at some more places however, I feel that the rejected place is the right one. Mother did not want to raise her offer, but I feel after looking at the places tomorrow she might change her mind on that. We’ll see how it all turns out.
But how is this for crazy. Mother’s bank recently did away with all their financial advisors – she had one she really loved and trusted. All week she’s been saying to me she wished she could talk to him. He called and left a message on her phone at almost exactly the same moment she was saying how lost she felt without him.
When we called him back, turns out he had been cleaning out his messenger bag and found the bookmark Mother had sent him which we gave to everyone at Dad’s funeral, and he thought he should call her and check in. He’s starting at a new place and can be her advisor again.
Feels a bit like Dad made that happen. Can he make the rejected house happen? We shall see.