Tuesday, 30 October 2012

The Hovel in the Ghetto – a Tale of Triumph – well, ish.

Work in progress - still. Why is Time so unforgiving?

No, the hovel hasn't sold. It's not even on the market yet – it’s still far too dreadful - and time is running short before my Great Escape to Mallacoota.

So what's the 'triumph - ish' thing about?  Well,  some progress has been made...
My bro Mickey and his wife Jayne have done wonders in the garden. I’ve filled 2 trash-paks already. The garden is still an Issue., but currently looks fab in places, especially as everything is blooming. Damn those weeds...

As for indoors - the floors – well. You know, I’m thinking it might be smart to leave the bare boards (or is that just lazy cheapskate Betty speaking?) This is how I’m thinking:

My choices are to ‘finish’ the floorboards or not.
If I do, it will cost a bomb and the buyer may well decide to re-carpet anyway… The way things are now, I’ve started the ‘reno’ and got the floors ready for whatever they want to do to them – right?

A raging case of conjunctivitis has kept me away from school this week so far, so I’ve been enjoying the isolation and indulging my hermit status by painting the walls. Well, undercoating them anyway. I believe you need to ‘neutralise’ a house when you want to sell it (although my last place was bright and beautiful, and sold very quickly for a good price). I loved my deep gold walls *sigh* but I suppose they’re not everybody’s cup of tea. The main living areas of the house are going to be a deadly-boring cream… although I refuse to repaint the bedrooms.

 Bloody hell, this is all too hard and I just don’t have the time to do it all! Is it worth dragging a few thousand dollars out of my redraw facility, and paying experts to come and do some of this stuff for me??? Thing is, I have this stupid DIY bent – why pay an expert when I can do it myself? But I just don’t have the TIME!!! Time is my constant nemesis *sigh*

Aaaargh, frustration plus! Change of subject before I tear out my hair (actually, I need a haircut, so maybe I SHOULD pull it out!) 

Baby Basil grows bigger, naughtier and more irresistibly gorgeous every single day. I’m SO glad I weakened, and brought him into my chaotic life. I get that warm-fuzzy overwhelmedness every time I cuddle him, and feel like my heart is goimg to explode.

We (Basil Bitey-Bear & I) stayed at Mr & Mrs Boomerang Boy’s place for a few days, looking after their cat, Loki (who’s Basil’s brother). OMG OMG OMG, they were so mega-cute together! Totally inseparable. I desperately wanted to steal Loki. I was so sad bringing Basil home alone. Cranky but lovable Aldwyn, who’s still boarding here, sniffed disdainfully at little Basil and wandered off – welcome home, Baz, yeah, bugger off and don't annoy me - I enjoyed the peace and quiet while you and the Old Chook were away - and Basil has been following me all over the place ever since. I think he misses Loki. So do I.
What do you mean, 'we can't take him home with us?' Basil is distraught.
But I'm sleepy, and the pumpkin is soooo inviting! Do we really truly have to go home? (and leave Loki behind?)

Seeya bro... Get out of my pumpkin! Please come back to play...

Monday, 8 October 2012

Kitteh Therapeh

When you get to a certain age, you realise that a lot of the things you acquire may be the last ever…. for example, 'this will probably be the last set of saucepans I ever buy’ (bad example, they’re supposed to last a lifetime anyway, aren’t they?) Um…. how about ‘this will be the last new motorcycle I ever buy’, or ‘this will be the last new bed that I ever buy.’?

Anyway…. it’s why I splurged on a DeLonghi kettle a couple of months ago. It was horrendously expensive, even though I bought it on special, but I figured it was my last and only chance to own a superb bit of water-boiling kit. OMG that is soooo ‘first-world’ and I blush with first-world embarrassment.

Anyway, for a while I wondered whether it was weird to be so in love with an electrical appliance – but I so admired its drip-free spout, its gorgeous red enamel finish, its beautiful curves – it’s an aesthetic and functional masterpiece. 

But that love was nothing compared to this one…

I know I said I would never have another cat. When I said goodbye to my dear old demented Miffy, 18 months ago, I believed it. I meant it right up until Saturday, when I locked eyeballs with an adorable little grey and white kitten.

Not sure what it is about me and grey & white cats.... but Basil (as he's now called) is my third...

Basil was only 6 weeks and 2 days old.  I suspect he was a little young to have been in a pet shop, or anywhere away from his mummy. However, he could crunch dry food, lap water from a bowl and use a litter-tray, and I suppose that’s all that pet shops insist upon. So I rescued him. (Steve & Sara rescued one of his brothers at the same time.)

Basil and I have hit the jackpot. He has a mummy-surrogate who adores him, and I have a cat. Probably the last cat I will ever have (although I’m learning never to say ‘never’).

Until now I’ve never had a cat that willingly travelled in a car. Basil, however, loves it. He relaxes, looks out the window and goes to sleep, supremely comfortable. The day after I acquired him, he and I drove to Mallacoota, which was a huge road-trip for a tiny little cat. I’m going to keep taking him for daily drives, and will introduce him to Piglet soon. A Harley-kitty is my dearest dream.
Chillin' in the back of the car

After a wee stop at Cooma, chillin' in the (open) kitteh cage
He has the tiniest squeak, and he (so far) only uses it as a distress call. He’s alert, playful, inquisitive and supremely snuggly. He drops off to sleep in the middle of things. He springs and bounces, all feet off the ground, as kittens do, and he seems game for anything. I’m hopelessly, hopelessly in love.
Chillin' in the armchair in Mallacoota

Kitteh therapeh is the best!

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

The Hovel in the Ghetto - a Tale of Pain

The other night I fell asleep while I was in the middle of writing a post about the sanding saga. Today I almost fell asleep in the middle of the sanding!

It's looking better though.
The room formerly known as the Glue Room

Hallway, with grotty scabby looking mystery stains removed
Away with the kitchen tiles

Reaching the end of my tether and working in 60-second bursts by this stage.

I, however, am more broken than I was last time. Sheesh, I think I'm just too old for this stuff at this level of intensity. Had Nurofen with dinner, but even Nurofen couldn't fix my creaking, aching, barely-moving body.

The whiz-bang belt-sander that I hired this morning, while far easier to handle than the Monster from ther Other Day, still had plenty of oomph. Enough oomph, in fact, to almost pull me off my feet after I'd been at it for 6 hours.

Stopping for lunch was a bad idea. I downed a huge amount of ice cream, sitting in the dust-covered lounge room, staring listlessly out the window at the half-filled trailer-skip and feeling the last shreds of energy ebbing away.

I spent the final hour or so working in 60-second bursts, with a few minutes off in between. When I finally got to the end of the kitchen I had a go at the bits the belt-sander couldn't reach. I spent much of the time sitting dazedly while the little weeny sander made a noise that, inside my earplugs, sounded like 'Loooovely, loooovely, looovely'. I found myself dozing, lulled by the buzz. I got closer to the floor. Lay on my stomach, in fact, cheek to the floorboards, and battled to stay awake. Couldn't get up because my knees hurt so much I couldn't put them on the ground.

To get myself off the floor I rolled onto my back, groaning as hips and shoulders came into contact with the timber, and again as I strained every last muscle to get into a squating position and then pushing to a standing position. Ouch...

Never again.

Floors are looking a lot better though!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

The Hovel in the Ghetto – a Tale of Woe

I’m broken. My hands feel like I borrowed them from someone else. The fingers are swollen, the skin is peeling from my fingertips and I’ve broken every fingernail I have. My back is so sore that funny groaning noises sneak out every time I bend down or stand up. My knees are bruised and my legs are killing me. I probably smell, too, but I can’t tell because of the fine layer of dust that snuck inside my dust mask and glued itself to the inside of my nostrils. I’m waiting for the Nurofen to kick in, and trying not to cry.
Day 3 of Trying to Get the Hovel Ready to Sell.

Did I learn nothing from weeks of slavishly following the disasters and misadventures of the people on The Block? What on earth made me think that pulling up the carpets and sanding the floorboards was a Sensible Thing To Do? Ah yes, cat wee.

Remember poor old Miffy and her feline dementia? Remember how she started weeing on a particular spot on the carpet? Well, ol’ Miffy’s been gone for 17 months now, and the carpet has been sprayed and cleaned and vacuumed and scrubbed and sprayed yet again. On a warm day, though, memories of Miffy hover in the living room like an incontinent phantom.

The carpet had to go. Having two mortgages and no money, I though DIY would be the way to do it. Pull up the carpet and sand/stain the floorboards in the first week of the school hols. Yeah, why not?

While I was at it I thought the speckled carpet in the dining room could go too. And the grotty carpet in the hallway. While I’m at it I may as well pull up the kitchen floor, I thought. I have a whole week to do it, after all. Pffft, on The Block they managed to renovate 2 entire rooms in a week. From derelict to designer in a mere seven days. Just getting  a few carpets up should be a piece of cake, I thought. I reckoned without Murphy and his bloody wretched law.

I moved furniture into Other Rooms and pulled up the carpets, and learned the following:
  • Carpet is disgusting, It harbours all manner of grit and dust. I hereby vow never to have carpet laid in any house I live in. Ever.
  • Apart from grit and dust, carpet also hides a multitude of other nasties. Like bright green carpet tiles, which, in turn, hide layers of thousand year-old glue on the floorboards, as well as spilled paint, failed painting and staining experiments and some nasty stains of indeterminate origin. Oh God. My floorboards look like a failed science experiment.

Surprise surprise! Look what the speckled carpet was hiding!

The foam on the underside of the surprise carpet tiles had perished, and was stuck to layers of thousand year-old glue

Bucketload #2 of glue/foam crap. Oh my aching back!

The failed science exeriment that is my hallway floor. YUK!
 A good sanding will fix it, I thought, rather naively, and went to hire a floor sander. Had to trek halfway across Canberra, and the monstrous machine I brought home was so heavy I couldn’t actually use it. Getting it out of the car and into the house was the easy bit. (Ouch, more bruises!) Attaching the heavy-duty sandpaper sheet to the drum and getting the stupid thing going was a different matter. Then it tried to eat a hole in the floor. I took it back to the other side of Canberra before it could kill me and tunnel through to China.

Half a day wasted. Sigh. So I spent the next 6 hours on my knees (ouch, more bruises!) sanding the floor with a little sheet sander. The house is full of dust. So are my nostrils. The nasty stains of indeterminate origin are still there, despite my best efforts.

And I am broken. Ouch.

BUT - as I scraped away at layers of glue on the dining room floor, a message revealed itself, pencilled into a corner of a floorboard:

In the midst of the grotty carpet and the grit and the dust and the thousand year-old glue, it made me smile.

I bet I won’t be smiling when I wake up tomorrow and try to get out of bed.

Tuesday morning addendum: I fell asleep last night in the middle of writing this, and woke up well after midnight, laptop on lap. The Nurofen seems to have worked - for now.... Onwards and upwards!