Friday, April 28, 2017



Another week gone by. And as usual I turn to my blog after a bad day. It gives rather a skewed view, my life is usually pretty good! But good days are often not much to write about.

But today I had a dentist appointment (shudder). I'm not scared of doctors or needles, but I'm very phobic about dentistry. Fear, a small mouth, and a strong gag reflex. I hadn't been for a bout two years, not since we moved to Sydney. And I might not have 'got around to it' this time but I thought I'd lost a filling and could feel a big gap - actually it turned out a piece of one tooth had chipped off and there was another big crack in it. I seriously considered having the tooth removed, but decided to be brave and get the work done.

An hour and a half in the chair today, with two more shorter appointments in the future. It was horrible. Ten hours later and my mouth is still sore this evening.

I wanted to just go home and collapse but we'd organised for me to drop Tim's car off for a rego check, so I did that and faced a long walk home on trembly legs. But then I saw my sister-in-law come out of a shop across the road and I managed to get to her car before she reversed into me (I think she was a bit startled by this crazy person running up to her window waving their arms frantically) and of course she drove me home - I was so grateful! It would have been a pleasant half hour walk if I wasn't miserable and shaky and probably still drooling from the anaesthetic.

The car was supposed to be ready by 1pm but it wasn't done until 5, too late to pick up today, so that meant I didn't have to walk back either! Tim can go tomorrow.

In other news term has started and we're all back into our studies. I got my other exam from last term back and did well, only one question wrong again. I wouldn't say I'm breezing through - I'm working hard for my good results.

On the pool front we've engaged a tiler to create an area next to the pool to put our chairs and things on (we'll fill the rest of the backyard with tropical plants so it's like a resort), after rather more delays than he'd anticipated he finally started today. The pool fence inspection guy came yesterday, unfortunately there are some issues we'll have to fix so that still isn't done. And we can't get the pool finished until the fences are compliant. Sometimes I fear it will never be done! But surely one day we'll have a usable finished pool.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017



I'm feeling a bit cranky and discombobulated. Bloody tradesmen.

The oven repair guy who couldn't find anything wrong with my oven a couple of weeks ago came back today now that it is completely dead. He was supposed to come "morning" so we sat at home all day, at 2pm I called the company, he turned up at 3. He poked vaguely at the oven and told me it would be cheaper and easier to get a new oven. He barely looked at it. I couldn't stand his cigarette reek, I only got him back because with a new company I'd have to pay the exorbitant callout fee again. I know the oven is old - the whole kitchen is old - I was hoping to not need a new oven for a few years until we'd recovered from paying for the pool, and get the whole kitchen remodelled then. Replace the lino countertops as well as the ancient fixtures. But looks like we'll have to get a new oven now. It's a wall oven, too, so we have to get one that fits that space... very restrictive... Arg!

Oh and the pool - we finally got the side fences raised to the required height. But the site manager came by and looked at them and he's not sure they will pass council safety inspection! Double arg!

And I went to order a skip bin for the weekend only to find they are about twice as expensive here as I remember from Canberra only two years ago. I was so horrified at the price of the place that advertised "cheapest in Sutherland Shire" I said I'd get back to them, tried elsewhere but it was even more expensive. I suppose I'll have to call back. I feel like we're haemorrhaging money.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Happy Easter


We had a nice Easter weekend, family over for dinner yesterday. We managed ok without the oven.

One of our traditions is to create our own little Easter baskets for the egg hunt, usually out of cardboard but this year I bought bags with a bunny silhouette that we then decorated with various craft supplies.

Mine (it had a lot more 'hair' on the back):


Aiden's (that is a moustache drawn on, he tried a pipe-cleaner but it wouldn't stick):
Jasmine's (she spent ages gluing all the sequins onto the dress): 

We had our own Easter egg hunt at home in the morning, but when family came over my cousin-in-law Martha also arranged a hunt in our garden for the four children.
Eliza (Martha's daughter, in pink) isn't allowed much junk food so the hunt was mostly little toys and things like sultanas in plastic egg shapes, plus a few very small chocolate bunnies. The rest of us waited until Eliza was taken home to the babysitter before we got stuck into the chocolate!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Emptying the pool

later Thursday:

Hopefully we are close to getting our pool surfaced, so today Tim hired a pump to empty out all the rainwater. It was about a third full! A bit swampy looking. And very cold.
The pump was a bit tricky actually. It didn't come with any instructions and Tim said the employee he picked it up from was a bit surly. We didn't know -- do you put the pump bit in the water and the hose out, or the hose in the water? It seemed safer to try the second way first, the pump part did have an electrical cable attached so we weren't sure about submerging it. But the hose didn't suck up any water, so we carefully tried it the other way, keeping the electrical cable out of the water, and it happily pumped water out.

We ran the hose directly to a drain behind the house (and checked, it came out in the gutter in front of our house, ran down beside the road and into a stormwater drain) but we couldn't get the grill off to put the hose inside so had to hold it in place for the whole two hours or so. Quite uncomfortable. I found the best way was sitting in a chair and holding the end in place with my feet.

But eventually the water was all out. So much easier and quicker than trying to bucket it out!
Now hopefully it will dry out, and we don't get any more rain for a little while.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Broken oven


My oven seemed to be working ok, a bit hotter than usual maybe, since the repair man came and did nothing. Until this morning, when Tim noticed the oven clock wasn't lit up. So we tried the oven, the grill, checked the powerboard outside, checked other appliances -- just the oven unit (including grill) not working. Completely dead. With Easter dinner for 14 (not including babies) to cook tomorrow and no chance of getting a repair man before then.

My menu included roast lamb with roast vegetables, garlic bread cooked in the oven, roast tomato soup, lemon tart (cooked in the oven)... I went into a bit of a panic. I knew the shops were open today so I could buy all new stuff, but catering for 14 isn't easy with just frying pans. Luckily Tim remembered we have an outdoor BBQ! We only use it a couple of times a year, but tomorrow will be one of those days! It's not one I can do a lamb roast on, unfortunately.

So I'll be off to the shops soon to stock up on meat and a pre-made dessert.

We decided not to go to the Royal Easter Show this year. It started life as an agricultural show but it's huge now; show animals, rides, sideshows, showbags, show jumping, pig races, best fruitcake, best quilt, dress made entirely of rose petals, petting zoo, alpaca wool fashion show, motorbike trick riding, giant robot dinosaur that eats cars, fireworks, more rides, food pavilion with lots of tastings, cooking demonstrations, shearing demonstrations... it's fun but exhausting. I now understand why my mum would only take us every second year - and it was a lot smaller then! Anyway, instead last weekend we went to a little "family show" with my brother-in-law's family, it's in competition with the Easter Show and apparently isn't allowed to use "Easter" in the title after a fight with the big Show; it was tiny and mostly sideshows unfortunately but there was a petting zoo and a Lego exhibition and a little circus so it was an ok day. I'm kind of wavering a bit about still going to the real Show, no one else cares but I still have happy memories of it.

It is school holidays, I took the kids to see Beauty and the Beast last week, it was pretty good. We've been having lots of treats, I think I've put on a kilogram and it's not even Easter yet. The Easter bunny is usually pretty generous in this house!

Thursday, April 6, 2017



The pool fence is in!

The oven repairer also came, that was less conclusive. He turned on the oven, horrible burning smell again. He didn't seem to be able to smell it - but he was obviously a heavy smoker and emitted a horrible burning smell himself! He said I must have a very sensitive nose. I was quite annoyed about that - how can he do his job probably? I felt quite ill from the stench (from both sources). He left the oven on very high for a while, it did heat up successfully and the smell stopped after a while (still filled the kitchen, but no new fumes being generated). He thinks it was probably just something spilled on the element (it didn't smell like food burning to me) but it is a very old oven and it could be a loose wire somewhere that will require replacement parts - if he can find them for a 20 year old oven. And to call him if it happens again. I suppose he can't fix what doesn't seem broken but it was frustrating. I guess I will try using the oven and see what happens.

Not tonight though. I'm still feeling quite sick and I think Aiden has come down with it too. I'll grab take-away when I pick up Jasmine from gymnastics. I made her walk there so I didn't have to go out twice but I'll pick her up as it will be dark then.

It's been weird sitting at home doing nothing all day. Felt very purposeless. Computer games are boring when you are just killing time. Nothing on TV. I did manage to have a nap after both tradesmen had gone. I must be really be enjoying my studies if I'm lost when I can't do them! Of course feeling sick doesn't help my mood.

Tim has been away all week, home this evening. I hate when he is away. Be glad when he is home and I can just crawl into bed and sleep.

I haven't told him about the fence being in, they only called on Tuesday to say they could install it this week. I thought it would be a nice surprise. Except it will be dark when he gets home... maybe I'll tell him in the morning.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

End of term


Today was my last day of term before two weeks holiday, I didn't make it in even though it was one of my favourite classes (website design) because I wasn't feeling well. A bit sick yesterday, rather dreadful today. Hopefully I will get over it soon. I'm not worried about missing the class, the teacher puts extensive notes online and I've been keeping up fine so far with the work.

I've got such a long list of things to do in the holidays! And so far the list doesn't include fun things with the kids. Have to work on that. One thing I need to do is send out my book to some more publishers. I haven't heard back from the two favourites that I sent it to three months ago, I've been so busy with TAFE I haven't done anything else. Time to send it out to more places.

Good news is our pool fence is half up - I wasn't expecting it for 2-3 weeks from when I confirmed colour etc but it only took a week for them to manufacture it. Should be finished tomorrow. I love the colour, design, the fact that it is curved (it is a curvy pool). Still waiting to hear back about the side fences. Why do they have to be 1.8 metres tall when the pool fence only has to be 1.2 metres? It's ok if my child climbs in and drowns but not the neighbour's kid? Not sure of the logic. Our current fences are 1.6, over my head. Anyway, the pool fence being mostly up feels like a big step forward. Temporary fencing will be taken away tomorrow as well.

And the oven repairer is coming tomorrow too.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Last exam


I had my last exam for the term today. I think it was fine. I've got results back from two assignments, both "satisfactory" (you only get satisfactory or not satisfactory, but the comments were good).

Pouring rain. Was soaked to the skin getting home, even with an umbrella. I'm supposed to go over and chat to both neighbours about the side fences being raised, but it's pissing down out there! Tomorrow is soon enough. Not that it's likely to not be raining, but maybe it won't be so hard.

My weight this morning was 79.5kg, I continue to bob up and down within half a kg or so. It wasn't exactly a diet-friendly weekend.

On Saturday we went to see Shen Yun - a Chinese dance company, my birthday present to Tim. They were good, but it turns out they are heavily political, supporters of Falun Gong which is a persecuted religious movement in China. Some of the dance routines involved the evil Chinese government beating innocent Falun Gong supporters with sticks. Not included in the advertising for the show!

Before the show we had lunch by the harbour, then went to a Zumbo patisserie. Zumbo is an Australian celebrity chef, specialising in cake and desserts, he was a guest judge on MasterChef and had his own TV show briefly (it flopped). The food was nice, but we wished we didn't get a dessert each - two between the four of us would have been plenty. So much sugar! We brought home the other halves but they didn't survive the journey very well. Mostly ended up with a puddle of sweet goo.

Sunday we had family over for Dungeons and Dragons and dinner. Our oven is broken at the moment and I don't have as many free days as I used to to sit at home all morning and wait for a tradesman, so I used the slow cooker and it really is a lot slower than the oven! Five hours on high was barely enough for the casserole, would have been better with much longer. Hopefully the oven will be fixed this week. It's just the weather for casseroles and roasts.