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.
My Dad peacefully passed away at home on Thursday the 9th of December 2021.
Words will never explain my feelings towards my extraordinary Dad. As a young person I firmly believed that by the time my Dad would be old enough to die, they would have invented a cure for death. Here we are many many years later, and no such cure has been invented.
He did it his way in the end, which was waiting for us to not be in the room with him. I’d been there with him almost every minute of the preceding 6 days since he was placed into palliative care, sleeping just one room away with my subconscious tuned into his every breath. Not going to lie there wasn’t a lot of sleep had and the quality of it wasn’t great, but what Dad needed was more important than what I needed at that time.
I had gone with the other half to get his daily scripts of morphine and another drug they use – usually either Mum or The Other Half would go. As the weekend was coming up and we’d had some trouble sourcing these drugs from our usual chemists the doctor had ordered enough for the weekend and we finally had found a pharmacy that tends to stock plenty of them given they supply all the local nursing homes.
While we were gone Mum had gone upstairs to send some emails. When she came back down he was not breathing anymore. She called The Other Half kind of in a panic saying she thought Dad was gone – I was just coming out the door of the shopping centre so The Other Half motioned and yelled out the car window that I should hurry.
We got back home to discover Mum was right. The geriatrician had been right about a fast decline. But Dad had also been right too – it was just a forgotten thing at that moment. It wasn’t until my Adelaide family arrived for the funeral that my Aunt reminded me..
On the 29th of October after the geriatrician sat Dad down to tell him the diagnosis, we came back here and sat out in the nirvana to have coffee. Dad called his sister (my aunt) and said “they’ve given me six weeks to live”. My sister and I looked at each other quizzically – no time frames had been mentioned and the geriatrician had been very specific with us about that – saying she couldn’t say how long it would be but that she thought it would be rapid.
Dad passed away exactly 5 weeks and 6 days later.
Many people find death scary but something that I have learned as part of this process is that I am not one of those people.
It might not sound right to anyone else but I was really happy for Dad. When his body had let him down nearly ten years beforehand, he coped very well with that. He did not cope at all well when his mind chose to let him down. Watching him go through this constant confusion and agitation and distress was hard for us all.
The hardest moment for me during this time was when I had to leave Dad in the dementia unit that first day. He just wanted to go home. I just wanted to take him home. So when it came to palliative care I was determined it would be at home as he would have wanted it to be. Mum was not so sure to begin with but now she is convinced it was the right and best thing for us to do. I am so glad we chose it, not only was he comfortable in his own home but we were able to be comfortable there and we could be with him 24/7 which would not have been possible in hospital.
Two things really helped me through this time. The first is going to sound quite crazy but it was a TV show I discovered earlier this year called The Casketeers. This is a TV show about a funeral home in New Zealand. The traditions they have around death are far more beautiful than ours – our traditions tend to keep death at arms length. One of their traditions is to dress the body and thanks to having seen that, I chose to do that for Dad.
The other thing was a book I was reading in the week Dad was in the geriatric unit called “Smoke gets in your eyes” by Caitlin Doughty. On Amazon it says of this book – “Exploring our death rituals – and those of other cultures – she pleads the case for healthier attitudes around death and dying.” – it really helped me with my attitude to all that was happening.
On returning home to find Dad had made his departure, we sat with him while we waited for the palliative care nurse to attend and issue us the required paperwork. We sat with him while we waited for the funeral home to arrive and collect him.
While we’d been waiting I realised letting him leave the house was going to be the hardest and most emotional moment for me, but I need not have feared.
The wonderful team who arrived read the room perfectly and when I said “do you want us to leave the room while you do what you need to do” – they said of course not, you have been caring for him, you can help us if you want. They made me a part of the process of his leaving the house. I even got to wheel him out on the stretcher and load him into the van. I can’t tell you how much being a part of that meant to me. Thus I did not lose it as I had expected I would.
There certainly have been tears during this time. I’m sad for my Dad who worked so hard for so many years and retired too late to enjoy what he had earned and travel as he wanted to. Covid kicked off the month after they retired so the world cruise, trips to Hawaii and Italy did not happen.
My Dad was always there for me whenever I needed him and this year I have been able to return that favour to him. He would be tremendously proud of how strong I was for him. I am still shocked at it myself. Dad taught me so much about myself during this time and I won’t ever be quite the same, but in a good way.
I am concerned there is going to come a day when I fall in a heap but I’m learning that for me grief is not really quite like that. It is the small moments when I least expect it – when I went to Aldi and saw someone wearing a similar pair of shoes to Dad’s – when the airconditioner at our hotel didn’t work and I thought I’ll call Dad, he’ll know how to fix it before realising I can’t call Dad. I can never call Dad again.
I will leave you with this thought from the speech I gave at his funeral, which was honestly the best funeral I have ever been to and a fitting send off for Dad with over 100 people attending and many more watching online.
At the end right before he entered palliative care Dad became very impatient. He would say Let’s go, let’s go. What do we do now? What’s next?
What would he want me (us) to do next? Dad’s biggest regret was that he didn’t travel while he could have. He could have taken holidays or time off from work. He could have asked someone else to step up to the plate and be the reliable one for a while. That thing you have always wanted to do but kept putting off – stop doing that to yourself. Take the holidays you are entitled to. Gather ye rosebuds while ye may. Seize the day. All that stuff from the Dead Poets Society movie – but this time, let us all actually DO IT.
Because they are not inventing a cure for death, friends.
Last week I told you about taking back the reins – also known as the f**k Gladys plan. Painting was due to begin Monday so on Sunday night I thought I better check where my packages of incoming stock were located.
Hilariously 4 of them were in Erskine Park, which meant they would turn up here within 48 hours. And of course I did not have my usual studio space to process them.
The plan was not to touch them until I got the studio back, but that plan never works out for me. Tuesday they arrived, Wednesday I began processing them, and then the 5th box showed up as well as a box of stock from Melbourne.
The studio has been painted however we were not 100% happy with the work. Normally I would ask the person doing the work to fix it, only that person managed to step in paint and walk it all over my pristine teal carpet which turned into two hours of scrubbing the carpet to fix it, so we decided it would be safer to do our own touchups. We did the walls yesterday morning and I have the skirting boards to do over this next week.
Once we completed our painting touchups, I turned my attention to the two remaining boxes which needed processing. Managed to finish them all that day.. so I’ve just got a lot of admin to do now adding them to the website. Over 100 new to us products.
For the first time in a long, long time, we took Sunday off together. We definitely need to do that more often. I’ll share some more pics of that in our next post but for now this is a waratah we found in our travels. :)
I don’t know about you, but in these COVID times it is rare for us to venture outside the house at all. We stopped doing home deliveries for people in September of 2020. We have not done a trip up to Sydney or down the coast since then.
If we do go somewhere together it will usually be Aldi or Bunnings, but we usually do it after 6pm when most people have gone home. It is so rare for the two of us to go out together, most times when we come back I manage to set off the house alarm because I forget it is on.
We used to do the shopping together but for the last 6 months before the current outbreak only one of us would go. It would usually be me.
The furthest I can recall us going together in the past month was to the local rubbish dump to recycle cardboard.
On the majority of days, I never put on a pair of shoes at all. Because I struggle with cold feet in the house I wear socks with those sherpa lined slipper socks over the top. I have many many pairs of these JayJays tie dyed socks in a vast array of colours. I have been collecting them for months now. The guy in the shop knows me well enough by now to point out the new designs which have arrived when I walk in.
For some reason wearing socks makes people ask me if I want them to take their shoes off when they arrive here to shop. No, its ok! I just don’t wear shoes inside the house, it is fine for you to wear them.
I often wear a beanie inside the house during winter as well. I like to be warm and cosy but I don’t like to pay huge heating bills. So anything that I can do to keep myself warmer, I will do it.
Are you noticing a bit of a theme here? I’m obsessed with tie dye right now. I probably have 35 different tie dyed t-shirts in the cupboard and those are the only clothes in rotation presently.
I have not worn a pair of earrings, a bracelet, or rings since March 2020. That does make me a bit sad. I think I should make an effort to get back into wearing jewellery.
Overall, it is all casual wear all the time here. I can’t see it changing anytime soon, either.
In good news, finally yesterday I was on the website at the right moment to score a cancellation vaccination appointment. I had my first Pfizer vaccination today.
**I noticed some of my pics did not come through in the feed – while I try to fix this you might want to click over and read this on the blog as some of the pics are needed for this post**
Like many Australians, I have been trying to get the covid-19 vaccine for a while now. Only there’s just one tiny problem – I had a DVT in the past and thus my doctor does not want me to get Astra Zeneca which is the vaccine available to most Australians due to the possible blood clot complication. I have to get Pfizer.
Every day for a while now, I have logged in to the NSW goverment website, clicked through 7 pages of previously filled in forms to get to the page that tells me if I can have an appointment to get the Pfizer vaccine. No. I cannot. I’m surprised it doesn’t swear at me and tell me to f**k off and stop coming back every day because that would be very Australian.
Today I got a new message that I had not seen before. There are no appointments for the next 60 days.
First of all why oh why oh why do I have to click through 7 pages of my personal details to get to this page each and every time?
Second of all why aren’t there any other options in the drop down for me to at least try and get an appointment elsewhere?
And finally, how the f**k did we as a country get this vaccination rollout so terribly wrong? Even America is miles ahead of us now – as far as I know there anyone who wants a vaccine can get one.
My doctors clinic was not allowed to have Pfizer. I’m not sure why. I’m on a waiting list at another medical centre which was allowed to have it but they have no idea when they might have more vaccine. They estimate maybe August.
For those of you not up on the news and who don’t live in Australia, parts of Sydney are currently locked down. But what is deeply bizarre is ALL the shops are all still allowed to open even though people are only allowed to buy essentials.
And now many of those who work in retail in Sydney are having to go to their jobs even though there are no customers because the government is leaving it up to the business whether they stay open or not. What kind of lockdown do you call this?
In the meantime while we are not officially in a lockdown in regional NSW, we are now made to wear masks indoors which means all shops – and that includes my own shop. If anyone wants to come in to my own home business, both they and I have to wear a mask.
This after our government spent a lot of time telling us we did not need masks back in the early days of Covid here – those of us who wore masks *chose* to wear them because we believed in them but the majority of people around here did not wear them.
At some point the government suddenly decided using masks is good, and there have been times in Sydney where it was mandatory but never down here where I live.
And then there’s idiotic stuff like this –
Why wait? This was announced on Saturday – so Sunday, Monday no mask days, Tuesday Wednesday must mask days? Why not make it mandatory as of TODAY?
Everything around this current lockdown has been done so poorly. I have a friend who had gone to Sydney for training on the 21st of June. She wore a mask the whole day. She came back here and worked Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. At some point on that Saturday, a 14 day stay at home order was issued for anyone who had been in Sydney since the 21st of June – that they must stay at home for 14 days after the day they were in the greater Sydney area. Bit late notice on that one!
The NSW government sent me an email on the 30th of June to announce – as of July 12th it becomes mandatory for people to sign in at businesses. Whether they do so via the QR code or via a sheet of paper manually. My question is why the heck has it not been mandatory before now?
And who is going to police this? I’m certainly not intending to become the Covid “did you check in” police for my business. As a business owner I have many roles but that is never going to be one of them. I have made the decision to stop classes until this current outbreak is somewhat under control even though once again we have no cases locally.
Did you know that you have to check out, as well? Most of the people I have asked did not – and when they went to look they had a long list of places they were still checked in at. We only found out when we went to check in somewhere and found out we’d already been there for 6 days since the last time we were there!
None of this is anything I was expecting over a year into this pandemic. I was expecting we would all be vaccinated by now and Covid would be starting to become a distant memory.
While we are extremely well prepared for any lockdown in this household these days – and in fact did not have to venture out of the house for the first week of madness while everyone locally stripped the shelves of toilet paper again even though we are not locked down! – and we have enough toilet paper stocked to last us 6 months at least – it is really disappointing to find ourselves in this position.
I feel very let down by the authorities whose job it was to source the vaccinations and get this job done. I feel angry and disappointed that we are back in this place again. I don’t know if it is just me, but I feel like most of us did our part when this began – we did mask up even though the government said not to, we did take all the precautions, we did our job. But the government has not done theirs.
Leave me a comment and let me know how things are going in your neck of the woods – and if you are in Australia let me know how you are feeling about all of this. Have you managed to get vaccinated?
Spotted this in the Coles catalog. Aussie caught, but peeled, graded and packed in Vietnam?
My Mother objects to going a mere 7km from home for dinner – do we have to go ALL THAT WAY she says.
I must say, I quite object to having prawns go ALL THIS WAY to be peeled, graded and packed, and then ALL THAT WAY back here, and they are still $34 a kilo?
This is almost an 8000km round trip, if one were flying.
I really do not like – or understand – what is happening with food in this country. Fake honey, prawns caught here but taken to another country quite some distance away to be peeled and sorted, frozen fruits from far away countries making people ill, and 17.5 grams of sugar in a tiny pot of yoghurt. Sometimes I think we really have gone very wrong somewhere.