Monday, November 29, 2010


You just KNOW that when renovating an old house that you are going to have 'Uh-oh' moments and in fact several "oh SHIT" moments.

Due to the insane 'architecture' of the previous extension to my home - which includes random materials clearly sourced from questionable origin, I was expecting those moments. My bedroom is a good size...but has two doors. In the same wall. Out of the 4 bedroom doors one was an unattractive shade of green, 2 were poo brown and the last half heartedly painted white.

The carpet was so threadbare in places and surely reclaimed from an old government building....and it was PEA GREEN.

You can catch a bit of the carpet in the corner here. That's Cyclone pulling out staples with the pliers. Let's not talk about the horrific pink on the walls just yet *vomit.

So I pull up the carpet in Betty Boo's old room....and here is the uh-oh moment.

The lighter parts are rotted board and it may be possible put your foot through it

How could I forget the first winter after we moved in when we discovered every downpipe was completely blocked by 20 years of leaves? Rain ran down the walls in both kids rooms and clearly soaked the carpet in the corner. We fixed it the next week, and we didn't have a problem again. Till now.

The next one was an "Oh SHIT" moment.

More water damage, but this is worse because it's floorboards and because that wall backs onto the hell knows what I'm going to uncover when I start on that!


Cut out the damage

Nail down a new section of yellowtongue floorboard at the cost of $19.99

and hope the children continue with their broom obsession because it's really coming in handy.


Friday, November 26, 2010

$25 DAILY late fee? I don't think so...

Got a bill in the mail today - URggh, right?

It's from Cyclones Occupational Therapist. It seems our Early Intervention Funding well has run dry very suddenly, so I need to pay the difference of the his last session.

It's not going to happen very quickly, it's right before Xmas and I'm scurrying around trying to find a little extra funding to help us through till the end of the year. I want to pay it, this OT was doing some good work with Cyclone and was a wonderful source of support to me.

But then I got this -

In case you can't read it, the invoice must be settled in 7 days and "A $25 later fee will apply everyday that payment is outstanding."

Are you fucking serious? Even the Big 4 Banks can't get away with that sort of late fee.

Here is my response

Dear XXXX,

I have received your invoice dated 25/11/2010. As you may be aware our Early Intervention Funding has run out unexpectedly. I am in the process of sourcing further funding to make up this shortfall and will endeavour to pay the outstanding amount as soon as possible. I do consider this a priority.

However - Jesus will descend from the Kingdom of Heaven and play centre-half back for Jerusalam before I will accept a $25 PER DAY late fee.
Please do not expect that this will be included in the settlement of this invoice.


Pfft - the dickheads.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The State of my CAR!!!

Bloody hell.

I think shit breeds in there, I can't control it - but oh how I try...

Why my children need to take off their clothes in the car is beyond me. Betty is the worst because she cannot keep her shoes on. Even when she is freshly dressed in the morning she takes her shoes and socks off as soon as I put her harness on.

I once found 6 pairs of shoes and eleventy-four random socks.

I KNOW PEOPLE - I should get everyone to take their crap out of the car each day when we get home, and I try but it never works.

Cyclone leaps out of the car before it even stops in the driveway and is away on his bike, Betty follows soon after to chase the Fluffy Mutt who is joyfully tearing after Cyclone and I'm usually bolting straight into the house for a wee I've been holding onto for hours because I'm scared of public toilets.

I have the utterly brilliant idea that leaving the car doors open will remind me to go back and drag all the crap out. Which would be great if I parked the car in the bloody lounge room.

So, clean car people PLEASE tell me how you maintain it. Both sides of the van have large sliding doors so it's particularly embarrassing showing the world what a messy tart I am every kinder and school drop off.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Following on from Ocsober...

I've done a few posts on my views of drinking - HERE and HERE and HERE
including how I have handled my teen daughter and the alcohol factor.

I've had lots of conversations with lots of people about drinking. Considering my obvious love of a drop or 5 I think people can be rather surprised at the fact I simply refused to let my daughter drink until she was 18.

Parental influence shapes a childs attitude to drinking. From every side of every argument - behind it all is your experience as a child. Ummm, says me - but anyway.

My experience.

My parents are drinkers. My family are big drinkers. Every event we have (maybe twice a year) alcohol is flowing freely. We have a wonderful time, we laugh, we sing, we dance. My family have run pubs and red wine is in my veins.

But from that came my Alcohol Education. It was/is unspoken. You EARN your place in the world as an adult. You learn to hold your drink. This doesn't mean jam as much as you can down your throat and manage to keep standing. It means knowing your limit. Everyone has different limits. I would DIE rather than be seen stumbling in front of my family.

From my family I learnt respect for alcohol and what it can do. Just because it was everywhere didn't mean it was for everyone. A good night at the pub is just as much about being a good host and customer service as anything. Most of us have either managed a pub or worked behind the bar. We have seen it all sober, the good and the bad.

My parents had a cocktail after work and a beer after working in the garden. Yes - alcohol was always around and I only ever saw it being consumed responsibly (except when dad had one too many and fell in the pool whilst he was cleaning it. Mums pursed lips was a sign it was NOT alright *grin)

Not everyone has my experience, I have friends with parents that abused it terribly and won't touch a drop. That grew up under the influence of alcohol in the worst possible way. I have met teens that go to groups like Alateen because they are afraid they won't be able to stop like their mum or dad, even though they haven't even started.

Alcohol abuse costs this country millions a year in damages. It has the power to
ruin families and break hearts as well as bodies.

Your children are watching...what do you do to ensure their education? Because you know it doesn't start when they are teens don't you?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

If these walls could talk.

I just thought I'd make you aware of the fact I am going to bore you all silly with pics of my Budget Home Renovation.

I'm spending every spare moment at the house. Which really is lots of 2 hour blocks so not much time to get an entire house done inside and out. Truthfully - this is supposed to be my funnest time, but it's not. I am trapped by a budget that is minute, I don't have enough time to really chase down the things I want and I worry it's going to look weird and disjointed.

But I soldier on like a bloody trojan because the only way I'm going to get this done is to actually get it done.

I'm alone, the space is huge and I feel overwhelmed by the pain and sorrow infused into the walls I'm washing down. The long sleepless years, the fear of what the future held for Cyclone, the worries of how I was to keep everything together whilst the house and my family was falling apart.

So what do you do?

Ya call in your buddies!

Some are good with powertools

Some aren't but rock up with pizza and willingness to give anything a go

and some just come to keep me company and share a cup of tea, and sweet times with their little boys who thrive amongst all the noise.

And day by day, as the laughs get louder, pizza consumed, the old replaced with the new - the pain and sorrow washed away and replaced with joy and optimism.

I am rebuilding my house, my family home the place I've raised my babies and I'm also rebuilding my spirit.

Wax On, Wax Off.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Henna hair versus Chemical Dye

Alrighty, I have done both and can now give you the proper lowdown.

I have the attention span of a gnat and so does my hair. I get bored with it easily and luckily my tresses can take plenty of punishment.

I go from this

To this

To somehow finding the patience to grow it all out again.

So after this do was looking a bit tired I thought I might try Henna instead of chemicals. Henna is a natural plant derived dye used for centuries and comes in varying colours. I bought some Brown Henna from the health food shop and after crusing Henna Forums, decided to make my own concoction based on that information.

I mixed the henna with black tea, paprika and some lavender water I made up myself (steep lavender in hot water) for conditioning purposes. I heard it was very very messy and was also warned about the smell. I mixed it up to a fairly thick paste but had to thin it out to get it through my hair - which is quite long now.

I didn't find it any messier than a home dye but it was certainly harder to apply on your own. It has a very grainy texture and it felt a little heavy on my head. I just slapped it on and wandered around the house smelling like HORSE POO for a few hours. I recommend doing this in the backyard with a friend.

It took many, many rinses to get it all out in the shower, lots of conditioner and grumbling on my behalf. The next morning I couldn't be sure if it made much difference but WHOA did my hair feel great! Thick, healthy and heavy. I've never had such glossy hair in my life.

This pic was taken about 5 weeks after. The colour seemed to darken over a couple of days so I was very pleased with the result. The colour fades gradually - you don't end up with obvious roots, just an all over softening of the colour. My hair felt great the entire time.

Last night I used a home chemical dye. I couldn't get to the health shop and the box was on sale at the supermarket so I grabbed it. At the very least I thought to myself it will be a quicker process and easier to wash out. And it was on sale.

Yes it was a bit easier but I was very put off by the wastage of a single use foam pump! I didn't take much notice of anything other than the colour and price of the box. I certainly wouldn't have bought it otherwise.

So I like the colour and my hair feels nice

But I'm never using the chemicals again. I forgot how much it damages my scalp and leaves it sore. Whilst it does feel silky it also feels fragile and thin, not full and lustrous like it did with the henna. The packaging and waste is totally ridiculous with home hair dyes so it does more than damage to my skin and hair.

Henna all the way from now. I urge you all to give it a go! Yes it's messy and smells but it's worth it!


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Sanding Floorboards is good for your brain...

Whoa - it feels like I've been away for months.

I've sat down to post...but then got all meh about it.
Then I got Foxtel and had to catch up on months of complete TRASH tv.
Then Cyclone restarted school and it's been a very successful venture and therefore I've had more time to do other things.

These other things have made me particularly tired and nearly unable to think which has been quite a lovely holiday from a head jammed full of a million different thoughts shooting in 500 different directions.

It's all been very Wax On, Wax Off and good for the soul, and my house is benefiting too.

Due to budget restrictions (who am I kidding - budget STRANGLEHOLD), I've had to do the floors of the house myself.

50 years of dirt -

I pulled up the carpet in a rampage when Betty Boo started crawling. We had three dogs at the time and carpet is just ick. I left the boards bare for 2 years but it was still cleaner than carpet.

This is the remnants of old lino glued fast to the timber. I hope it's not a problem to rip off - I can always tile over it I suppose.

With all the carpet up and staples pulled out of the floor it's time to punch all the nails into the floor. All of them! If you don't you will rip the nailhead off when sanding (not good) and rip the sandpaper to shreds.

You can see the sanding machine ready to go in the before shot.

More before

Half done!


New carpet - over $2500
Do it yourself sand and polish $450

It's loud and dusty and will take an entire weekend but I'm thrilled with the results. The sander isn't too hard to handle once you get the hang of it and I'm pleased to report no holes in the timber.

Here's a gratuitous sexy powertool pic....sorry that's as sexy as it's gonna get with a floor sander.