Changing Names

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.

The chook pen as it is today after 11 years in the weather. The perches in here just get brushed off every so often and the chook poo comes right off. Honestly magical paint they have invented.

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.

Driving home I was surrounded by a jungle of pittosporum in the back seat.

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. :)

Chickens, family, things to remember

Torches

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.

family, Family and Friends, Uncategorized

Calm After The Storm

clear blue shore
Photo by Asad Photo Maldives on Pexels.com

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.

We do not faff.

family, Family and Friends, Uncategorized

Adventures With Mother

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 –

  1. make an apartment out of the downstairs of her current house. Not optimal for a few reasons.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Phil and Kirstie from Location Location 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.

family

Vale Papa

body of water between green leaf trees
Photo by Ian Turnell on Pexels.com

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.

aerial photography of water beside forest during golden hour
Photo by Sindre Strøm on Pexels.com

family, Uncategorized

I should be doing a million other things but..

instead I would like to sit here and update you on the goings on. How did this begin? Back in March 2021, I talked with my sister as my parents flat out refused to go to the doctor at all, for anything. I was worried about Dad as he’d started to have some memory issues and to be fair I was convinced these issues were related to his not having the vitamin B shots he was supposed to have regularly.

So my sister and my nephew came down for a visit and we took Dad to the doctor and he passed the memory test. We got him a blood test which showed he was low in vitamin b as expected, so we got that shot done and expected there to be an improvement, which there kinda sorta was, for a short time. And luckily he now had a new doctor who was quite good at keeping them coming back for other things so he could monitor what was going on.

As the months went by there was quite a bit of sudden weight loss – 16kg in total – which concerned the doctor so he sent Dad for more tests, and to a dietician, and then one night I got a phone call from Dad about 10:15pm where he was telling me there was this strange woman in the house trying to steal his phone. He seemed super agitated and I wasn’t quite sure what the deal was so The Other Half and I went over there.

Dad was convinced that Mum was.. not Mum. This person looked like Mum and spoke like Mum but was most definitely Not Mum, according to him. I called his doctor the next day and did a telehealth appointment and that got us on the road to finding the most awesome geriatrician – she is wonderful. She ordered a new battery of tests one of which was the MRI which got us to a diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia with a side of Capgras delusion, which is essentially –

Capgras delusion is a psychiatric disorder in which a person holds a delusion that a friend, spouse, parent, or other close family member (or pet) has been replaced by an identical impostor.

So that diagnosis was a few weeks ago and ever since I’ve had to be the circuit breaker between Mum and Dad, I’ve had to spend the majority of my time over there. We’ve had a team of folks put into place to help us most notably being the older persons mental health care team.

We were told the decline would be fast from here and it has been very fast. There are a few motor disorders which tend to come with this and we’ve had issues with his swallowing, sometimes things go down the wrong way.

We also got a bit of reduplicative paramnesia which kept telling Dad he was not at home when he was. The easiest way to solve that was to put him in the car, drive him around the block, and then get him to direct us back home.

Mum has really struggled with all of this, and last Tuesday she couldn’t cope anymore. We ended up in hospital, and then Dad was sent to a secure dementia unit to see if we could adjust his medications somewhat and whether maybe his delusions might lessen in a different place. Also they wanted Mum to get a decent break because it has been 24/7 for her for weeks now. So she was banned from going to see him for a couple of days and that meant it was all me.

Lucky for me one of my customers was the first nurse I saw when I entered the unit and she really made my first day so much easier. She also got the visiting times waived for me so I could go in whenever I was able to, and I’ve spent about five hours each day there this last week, I took Mum in for her first visit and now we are alternating visits.

Lucky for us he did not have any capgras with her while I was there and she’s been in for another visit on her own since without any such incidents. It might have helped that I told him the unit was secure and “mother 2” as he calls her is not allowed in.

Where do we go from here? I really am not sure. We have family from Adelaide coming up for a visit next week and we hope he can come back home for that time.

We have managed at the moment to stabilise his weight due in large part to me constantly presenting food to him plus my awesome packed with nutrients protein shakes.

Work has become last priority at the moment which is not great for work but it is necessary just now. We need to do what we need to do.

So now I’ll go take a shower as I’ve had a lazy morning in my jammies writing this post, drinking my coffee and relaxing for the first time in ages. Then I’ll put in a couple of hours work before I head in to visit Dad at 4pm.

family

So Much Happening

Half of it I can’t talk about here, and the other half I haven’t had the time or energy to talk about here. So let us go back in time to Christmas Day. After just one year of hosting Christmas, The Other Half and I have this down to a fine art and really do not need to do much food preparation at all, just putting out nibblies, cooking a BBQ with steaks and sausages, and Mother provides the dessert of Pavlova.

Only this year I had gone on a Christmas Shopping expedition to The Treat Factory and found out they were making gelato logs. What a fantastic idea. I ordered one in dark chocolate and salted caramel. It was fabulous and we had leftovers which we have greatly enjoyed on all the hot evenings since.

I did mostly forget to take photos, we were having too good a time really. It was lovely to be still and enjoy each others company. However I knew it was back to work the next morning, so it was a little less relaxing than usual.

I worked on Boxing Day, not a long shift. I gave a Christmas present to a fellow co-worker and they told me it was the only present they had to open on Christmas Morning, which also made me a little sad – but extra happy I went to the effort to get something for them. I remember many years of having nothing to open, which is why I go to an extra effort now to make sure I do have things to open even if I bought them for myself.

I haven’t had a chance to write up the No Spend for both November and December – and not sure there is much point now we’re in a new year other than for the sake of completion. December was a spend month but mostly spending on presents for other people. I did have two things I wanted to buy in the Boxing Day Sales – Bras and Kiehl’s Moisturiser in the super large size.

I’ve worn the same 4 bras to work for 6 months now – these were the same 4 bras I’d been wearing for almost a year already – and while they are still semi-wearable, they were past their use-by date. I figured it would be a good idea to pick some up if they were on special. I’d bookmarked them in my browser. I hoped to buy them on super special on Boxing Day, but none of them moved in price at all, at least not online.

That is a really smart thing on the part of Bras N Things, to have an inhouse brand which you fit customers in and sell them but don’t ever discount, not even on the biggest sale day of the year. I thought maybe they might be on special in store or maybe there might be something else I could try on which was on special, so I suggested to The Other Half that he drop me off at the shops and I would go for a wander. I thought he wouldn’t want to go. Surprise, he did join me! Because it was mid-afternoon, the sales rush was over and we even managed to find a decent park.

There was a shopping incident where I thoroughly spoiled myself with new bras. I tried one on and it was so comfortable I gave it to the sales assistant and said “please can you go and find every bra like this in my size, I will take them all” – she found 7 in my size. Perfect! One for each day of the week, and I got two navy blue polkadot ones which I have officially allocated as work bras.

A few days later another family member needed bras so we went together and they had more in my size back out on the shelves – I bought 5 more because they were so comfortable and even cheaper on sale than they were the first time, because they added “spend $100 get $20 off” on top of the great sale prices and I had two $5 vouchers as well – one of which I gave to my family member..

I had not bought any bras at all since mid 2017 after my big weight loss, so I think I did pretty well. I wish I’d done it sooner because I did not realise how uncomfortable the old ones had become, and I got to a point where the minute I got in the house I would take them off – not anymore, now I am enjoying wearing these all day long, the same way I once did with the old bras.

I got my Kiehls for 15% off. Sometimes it is really handy to have signed up for the mailing list, as I was able to go back through the emails since September and realised 15% off is the best deal they’ve done in those three months. I still have 1/3 of the jar left from my Canberra shopping trip.

This new jar is 3x the size so I should get 9 months out of it at least. I’ve maybe missed two mornings since I bought it and on those missed days I can really tell that I missed applying it. I’m so glad I found this moisturiser and have to send another big thanks to Sydney Shop Girl for making me aware of this brand.

I bought a few things from my TVSN wishlist for crazy discounted prices, including this one I mentioned in my April did not buy post for $9.95 instead of $64.95, what a bargain! The material is so gorgeous. I’m glad they had it left in my size, I was not so lucky with some of the other items I wanted.

In other family news, my cousin and his wife have arrived for a long-ish visit. They are replacing a couple of staff on my parents side of the store, who had two staff members resign leading up to Christmas. Not sure if this will be temporary or long term. I’d not met his wife before but it turns out we are like twinsies and get along super well, plus she loves to walk which is great for me.

In blog news, at this stage I am not sure if and when I will return to regular posting. A few things are up in the air at work right now, and I’m waiting for things to settle before making any big decisions. I’ll try and get in one post a week but I’m just not making any promises because I don’t know my future schedule.

family, Home

Something I Bought In August

Above you see some of my rings which once fit me like a dream. In particular my favourite triangle Mystic Topaz. Thanks to protein shakes I am 25kg lighter but that also means many of my favourite rings no longer fit. I have one ring that used to fit on my pinky finger which now fits on my middle finger. Most of the rings I used to wear on my ring finger are too loose to wear.

I can still sometimes wear my Mystic Topaz on my middle finger but only if my hands are puffy from water retention. The green one seen above does not fit on any finger, even at my most puffy. For the most part I have no rings to wear and that is SO NOT ME.

In fact there was one occasion – the Take That concert, where I put a ring on right before leaving. Then once I got into the car, I realised I must have lost it in the process of getting into the car. We looked everywhere for that ring. I thought maybe it had fallen into one of my bags and I would find it when I unpacked.

When I got back home, I found it sitting on my dresser – I had decided it was too loose and took it off, then in the rush of getting out the door with all my stuff, I totally forgot about having that little conversation with myself in my head. If I am out in the world without a ring, I feel a bit strange.

I had intended to buy one at the start of 2019 at the end of the year of buying nothing, but out with my Aunt in Berry on the 13th of August, there was An Incident. An Opal Incident. It began with this ring –

I liked it and wanted to know more, but it did not fit me. In fact none of the rings in the entire cabinet fit me. The lady in the store said she had some not on display and she pulled out a box filled with rings – most of them did not fit me, but *one* did, and it turned out to be a very fiery gorgeous opal, which had many colours in it.

Greens, blues, reds, oranges, yellows.

It depends on the lighting which colours fire up.

The ring does have a flaw in it but for me that makes me love it more.

Sometimes you even get pinks, purples, and aqua. For me, one of the reasons I will treasure this ring was the time spent in the store with my Aunt choosing it. It was a special happy moment after trying on many rings to find one that actually fit me, too.

Our wanders to the shops always include a special lunch – on this day we chose croissants with smoked salmon, a poached egg and avocado and cucumber salsa from the Milkwood Bakery. Special time spent with a special person who we very nearly lost a few years ago. There really are no words for that.

family, jewellery

These are Not Chickens…

Hi folks, Sephyroth here…Snoskred is very busy with her job, so asked for me to pop in with a little surprise. :)

Earlier this summer, we were graced with the presence of this lovely couple of ducks who would stop in and enjoy the food we put out for the other birds in the area. However, unlike the birds of Australia who take to sunflower seeds like kids to candy…these birds don’t seem to like it as much in the States…

Note from Snoskred –

Sorry folks, I am in the middle of a 7 days in a row at work thing. One person quit, and the other person went on holidays to Europe. I only had two shifts with her before she left so it was a big learning curve for me, and that poor girl did not know where anything was because the previous person kept hiding things from her.. so I did a huge cleanout and found all the missing things.

I’m handling this new task far better now that I organised everything the Aspie way I like it, but it took a lot more energy to organise than I expected, plus the person who resigned from this job did a little creative throwing out of manuals and deleting of files that I actually needed, so that took a lot of phone calls, downloading instruction manuals and sorting out.

I am hoping to have more spare time this week. I will try to schedule a few posts ahead. The bonus is I am really enjoying this new task. Happy moments!

guest post, Sephyroth