We’ve been in the new house for about a week now. In the mornings, we’ve entertained ourselves looking across the harbour towards the city. Usually the hills above town are banked in fog (poor old Karori), but today we can’t even see across the bay! Wellington, where have you gone?
This woman is awesome.
…at least I think she’s asleep. Been a tough week with the wee one. She’s got a cold and doesn’t much like lying down when she can’t breathe through her nose. Poor bubba. All snotty. Steve got sick too but I think I have dodged the worst of it.
It feels weird not to be getting stuff ready for the house now. Feels like we’re in a state of limbo, waiting for next Wednesday, when the “caravan” of real estate agents will all come through the house. (What does the “real” part of “real estate” refer to, anyway?)
One nice part about it all is that my study is the tidiest it has ever been. I can hardly believe it. I can stretch out at the desk and there’s room for everything. The problem is, I removed SO MUCH STUFF from here that I don’t know if I could ever realistically have it like this. Unless I just threw all that stuff away… but it’s all papers, notebooks, etc. that stretch back years. What do people do with it all? I think (I guess) we are afraid to throw it out, even though looking back on early writing attempts is often hugely painful. So we box it up and carry it around with us. Maybe I should junk it all. Aargh.
And in a ridiculous effort to generate yet more stationery-related mass in the study here, I’ve also recently decided to have a go at adopting Hawk Sugano’s (what a great name!) “Pile of Index Cards” system. Apparently it only becomes really useful once you reach 1,000 cards, so I have a way to go:
But I love, love, love, the concept of ending up with an analogue database with which I can then create all sorts of weird relationships between data: shuffle cards, sort them, make different piles, put two random cards side-by-side and see if anything sparks in my brain. I’ve always wanted to write more personal-style essays, but for the most part my thinking is so disorganised (c.f. this blog) that I find it difficult to even find a place to start. So far it’s been a really interesting experience writing down most of my thoughts during the day – in this form, I mean.
Oh, and this has nothing to do with anything, but it was sad and beautiful.
I didn’t mean to let my blog posts here lapse for so long; it seems as though the last part of 2013 raced by too quickly to stop and take a breath, and it’s looking like the first part of this year is going to be similar.
We got married, recovered from that, had a month of normality, and then one weekend day, as we were driving around the city, we started talking about what our future plans might be. Discussion turned from the general to the specific: our house.
We have a cute house. It’s known as a “State house“, which in New Zealand is a type of house that was originally built by the State, to provide housing for those who needed it – often those who are on lower incomes, etc. A whole load of these were sold off at various points in time, and so they are pretty commonly available these days. The one we’re living in is from the 1940s, built with beautiful native hardwood (rimu and matai), and solid, solid, solid! It’s got three bedrooms, a kitchen, a lounge, toilet and bathroom, and huge basement workshop / storage area. We’re still on a good-sized section (many others in Karori have subdivided over the years) and it’s been a great place to live.
But there are a few things that don’t really work that well for us at the moment:
- since having Leila I’ve really been wanting a better area for ‘dining’. I want her to grow up having dinner all together around the table; I want to have a dedicated place where we can eat and appreciate the food and each other’s company. Since we’ve moved here we’ve eaten maybe ten times in the kitchen (there’s no real dining room, just a bit of extra space in the kitchen to cram in your table), and most of the time Steve and I wind up eating in the lounge. And invariably the TV winds up on. (If I start in on this – the TV – we’ll be here all day; but suffice it to say it’s not how I’d like our dinners to be.)
- Steve wants a garage. He’s not happy with his motorbike being left outside just with a cover over it.
- We don’t really have a spare room. Technically, there are three bedrooms here, but one I have taken over with all of my books, papers, cameras and hobby stuff. There isn’t room to put in a fold out couch or anything like that and while we could pack all of my things up, we don’t have people staying over often enough to justify me foregoing a bit of space (a room of my own) on the off chance someone might want to stay. But at the same time, when, for example, my parents come to stay, they wind up sleeping on the fold-out bed in Leila’s room, but then we have to move her into the portacot in the study. It works, but it’s kind of awkward, and although my Dad likes the fold-out futon (it’s really hard) a lot of others don’t like it.
- Karori is nice, and I have met some great people here, especially through my antenatal classes. But:
- it often gets really misty, on account of being up in the hills
- our place loses the sun really early in winter and we don’t get to enjoy the outdoor area as much as we’d like
- it is a huge suburb and doesn’t really have much of a village feel, the way Raumati South (where Steve used to live) does
- Although it’s only 15 minutes over the hill to Makara, it’s not a very child-friendly beach. Beautiful, rugged and remote (some of my favourite things in a beach!) – but not particularly good for little ones to swim in.
- With Leila getting so mobile, it’s hard just wandering into town for coffee with friends. I’m spending all my time in Karori these days and while that’s fine (there is a huge park nearby), nearness to town isn’t quite the factor it used to be. Plus all my friends drive / are mobile / live spread all over the city anyway.
So – we’ve decided to put our house up for sale, though this action was inspired more by our finding an incredible place over in Eastbourne, which technically is in Lower Hutt (you have to travel through Petone to get there), but there is a lovely ferry that takes you right to town, and takes about twenty minutes. We’ve made a conditional offer (subject to our selling our house), and the vendors have accepted.
So working backwards, we’ve been getting everything done around here to get it ship-shape and looking good for any prospective buyers. I think it will do well; we have taken it from its ‘as-is’ original shape, to a lovely house that has:
- wall and ceiling insulation (wool); we re-gibbed and insulated the rooms while we did that
- totally re-wired electrics
- gas heating, hot water and cooking
- a heat-transfer system
- a freshly-painted exterior (and interior!)
- cleaned and sealed roof tiles
- dipped / stripped native timber doors with brass finishings (plus all the locks still have their keys!)
- windows that have been re-hinged
- a deck
- great views and privacy (we only have one neighbour)
- a good-sized section
So fingers crossed someone expresses some interest.
But with all of the packing up and getting things ready for the listing, the mooster has been making great leaps in her development as well. She’s gone from crawling to practically galloping! She stands up all the time now, and is getting really close to walking. (She’s taken a few steps already, but I don’t think she is quite happy doing it permanently just yet.) We celebrated her first birthday a few days ago, and Steve and I have had a few moments where we’ve looked at each other and asked if we can really believe it’s been a year.
(A year of changing nappies!)
I feel like I’m permanently exhausted as a result though. I’m trying to eat really well, though I don’t have time for much exercise these days. Bubs has become more and more demanding (and vocal) and often my only outlet for the stress is to have a lie down when she’s having her naps (leaving all the stuff I have to get done to when she is awake – which ramps up the stress levels again).
But she is a cutie… and it’s hard to complain about things being tough when I get to hang out with her all day.
Totally unrelated to the baby photo, which is here on merit of its cuteness alone…
Less than two weeks to go for the wedding! Food is sorted, as well as the photographer, band, clothes, flowers, nanny, celebrant, order of service, vows, favours, presents for groomsmen & bridesmaids, seating… It’s actually quite insane to think of all you need to pull together for one of these things. Everyone keeps asking me if I’m nervous. Funnily, I’m not! There are butterflies, but I’m just excited.
It’s just going to be so fun! Seeing family, old friends, having a laugh and a dance together, etc.
And wearing this has been really special:
But that is my grandmother’s engagement ring, and I’ll be wearing her wedding band too. The story behind it goes that my grandpa snuck into his mother’s room and, ahem, “borrowed” some money she had stashed away. He snuck off to Stuart Dawson’s in Wellington and bought Nana her ring. He was always so cheeky, hehe.
The only thing I still have to do is make Moo her dress. I know which pattern I like, but just need some time to get stuck in. I’m going to try to start it this weekend.
But for now, it’s a funny grey day, and NZ is behind in the race again – but only just! I’m going to go watch the last leg…
I’m not sure if this is a bit of a cross-post (but hey, who keeps their lives compartmentalised?) but I thought I’d come up for air and write a little bit about what I’ve been doing lately.
I belong to this great (private) Facebook group called Mummies for Life! (including the exclamation mark). While I’m not really all that keen on the title, the group is excellent, in that it’s a mostly Wellington-based, good, open-minded, practical and kind forum for new mums to ask questions and help each other out. Photos of nappy rash are posted, queries about teething, sleeping, feeding, poo – you name it. Needless to say it probably is something that would only interest a new mother, but as I am one myself, it fits the bill.
Lately people have been posting “pay it forward”s – offers of some sort as gestures of goodwill. Usually freebies – anything from frozen food to homemade dolls, etc. I took the plunge and offered some free tarot readings. It was really well-received! So I’ve been busy with those, fitting them in between naps, and I’ve even got a couple of “face-to-face” readings booked, including one for this morning! The woman I’m reading for just lives down the road (I don’t know her), and she’s a new mum just like me. I’m still nervous a bit, but not that horrible “I’m in over my head” sort of nerves. They are good nerves, I think.
I never really thought of myself as a “tarot reader” type. I’m quite practical, really, and though I do have fantastical leanings, the whole tarot thing felt like a bit of a dirty secret. I was terrified people would think I was one of those people who can’t leave the house without asking the cards whether they should turn left or right when they stepped out the door. But you know what? I really enjoy shuffling the cards, laying them out, and even that heart-stopping moment where you look at what’s lying face up and you draw a complete blank. It’s seat-of-your-pants sort of stuff, and it’s actually rather thrilling.
So even though, for the most part I keep my tarot ponderings quite firmly sequestered over in the other blog, this “coming out” (I hate that phrase) sort of feels appropriate here.
I haven’t decided what I’m going to do with it. Keep offering free readings? Open a stall at the saturday market? Set up a Facebook page? Add readings to my etsy store? … I’m not sure yet. But in the meantime I’m going to finish these readings for the ‘Mummies’, and see what comes from it.
As Dan Pelletier quotes Zig Ziglar in “The Process”:
If you give enough people what they want, you will get what you want…