Thursday, April 28, 2016

Life is Good

Life is good.

At least, today it is.  The door might be dirty, and my puppy might be slightly less fluffy than usual due to the rain making mud in the garden, and she might be sleeping on an equally muddy towel just inside the front door, but life is good.  At some stage she (and the floor) might get a bath.  We'll see.

This morning, Hana came around for breakfast, bringing it with her, which was nice.  Having arrived home from work and picking up Lily quite late last night, I hadn't prepared anything.  So, she came and cooked us some oatmeal and fresh fruit, and we had breakfast at my old-but-new and not-quite-what-i-wanted dining table.  I still don't think it fits.  And the chairs wobble, and I've tried to screw them together tighter, and they still wobble.  Bring back the camping chair and esky, is what I say.

After Hana left to pick up her spare dog from the Gold Coast, my new couch arrived.  It barely squeezed through the door in its massive cardboard box, and was abandoned for me to unpack.  It's a good thing it did fit through in the box, as it's been raining all morning (as mentioned earlier) and is decidedly muddy outside (thanks for the holes in the garden, Lily).

Imagine a cardboard box that fits a large three seater couch inside, and you'll know what I had to work with.  I should have taken a photo, but I was too busy tearing up the cardboard and trying to make it into smaller pieces.  The recyclables were collected this morning, before the couch arrived.  Not the best planning on my part, but they made me work, so not my fault.  I managed to fit the entire box into the recycle bin, although it is now full - and won't be picked up for another fortnight!

I then made myself a cup of coffee and drank it while sitting on my new recliner couch.  After this, I decided that no couch is complete without a good throw, so I headed to the shops to see what I could find.  The result was a gorgeous cream afghan with fleece backing.  I'm now all set for the winter!

And Lily?  Well, Lily is still not allowed on the couch, despite what her dog-sitters may let her do when she is at their house (she sleeps on the bed! LOL).

Just a few minutes ago, the Telstra guy turned up to connect my phone line.  He couldn't find a telephone outlet that worked... apparently the one next to the TV doesn't actually have a line connected to it.  On further investigation he found a blank panel in the kitchen which made the appropriate beeping noises when he moved his gadget in front of it.  On removing the panel, he found an internet and a telephone cable... with no attachments.  

Thankfully he was a nice Telstra guy and fixed it all up for me complete with a new panel on the front.

I then discovered that I didn't have a telephone cable for my router, either, so he found me a little short one from his van to use until I get one.  The router is now propped up next to the oven on a plastic Klip box and a very very short leash!  But the internet is working, hence this long blog post.  Hurrah!  He even showed me how to set up the modem (I may be able to fly airplanes, but I have no idea how to set up the internet).

And my dirty puppy is still asleep on the dirty towel at the front door.

Monday, April 25, 2016

A quick update

There's not much new to report, except that I've got the internet being installed on Friday (at last!) and a new couch arriving the same day.  Hopefully a perfect end to my week.  It's Tuesday today, and I'm away until Thursday night. Lily is hanging with a puppy friend - who she wishes would just leave her alone - and will probably be ready to sleep when I pick her up Thursday night!  There's not much rest to be had when you have a younger puppy bouncing around you all day! 

On Saturday, I'm having a small house-warming and inviting over some of the girls from church, so that should be fun.  

I'm still fighting with house plans, the general plan I have finished, but I still need to decide on electrical before sending the plans off to start on the contract... And then perhaps construction?  At some point in the next couple of months?

Anyway that's about all that's going on in Aus... For me anyway...

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Exploration Photos

These photos are more for Dad than anyting, as I know how much he likes fords, etc.  I found two so far, in the park by my house.  The first was crumbling into the river, which was quite deep on either side.


Below is the fenced-off crumbling part - still plenty of space to get past

There were lots of carvings, one at each corner of the big field we were in, which I presume makes four (that I found so far).  This one is a kookaburra, there was also a koala and a lizard, and I didn't bother visiting any more.

The second ford was in considerably better repair, and I presume used regularly - it connected the football fields to the rugby fields.  The broken one connected the softball fields to the rugby fields...

Lily absolutely loved running around.  She would get distracted, pause to investigate something, I would keep walking and say "let's go" and she would charge forward to meet me.

She checked out pretty much everything, running around chasing magpies, cockatoos, everything that moved really (perhaps not a good farm dog...)

And then having completely worn her out, we came back to the garden to relax.  She needed a bath after that !  The problem with the garden is that it has lots of dirt as well as grass... and she really likes bringing it all inside

and finally, for my mother, a picture of what my floor looks like all the time  (and usually more toys than that, because at the time of this photo she had half of them in the dirt outside)

Friday, April 15, 2016


As you are probably aware, I got home from NZ on Thursday: home being relative, as I was sort of in limbo between the two places.  Yesterday, Friday, I did three trips filling up the car each time to bring stuff back to the townhouse.  Given that I moved to Aus four years ago with one suitcase... the expansion is extreme.

I don't have internet at the townhouse yet, so I had no distractions to unpack yesterday, also fuelled by the fact that Ceri was coming over for a cup of tea in the evening (he sat on the camp-chair, I took the Esky).  I actually got almost everything organised.  There are a few minor items that don't have homes yet, but that's OK.

This morning, I woke up early (as I always do), stiff and sore from hauling boxes, and surveyed the day. It was actually quite fresh this morning, the first day that I've actually realised that Autumn might be here.  We've had unseasonably warm temps this month so far - hopefully it's not chilly for my beach trip today!

Anyway, having woken up, I was able to make a cup of coffee (yay for having a kettle) and then took Lily to explore.  I took lots of pictures, but not having wifi I will have to delay posting any until Wednesday.  I'll have hotel wifi then - TPG wanted to install my internet on Friday but I'm on a trip so it has to wait until next Friday :(

Exploring was fun: I only had to keep Lily on the lead for the first 100m or so, and then unclipped her and let her roam.  At the bottom of my street there is a massive park with football pitches, softball ovals (if they call them that) and rugby fields also.  Not anywhere did I see a sign mentioning dogs, and definitely none saying no-Lilies-allowed.  We crossed a ford, saw some carvings of Australian Wildlife, and in general revelled in the fact that it was all here at our doorstep.  Lily chased some magpies and cockatoos and ran around like a crazy thing, so fun was had by all.  And then we made our way back, as I needed to think about getting ready for my beach trip.  

As I'm going to be gone all day and don't know what time I'll be back I can neither leave her crated or with access to outside as I've no doggy door.  So that means that despite her clean record of "going" outside I will have to set her tray beside the door so that she can "go" in that.  Too much info?  I have the baby gate set up at the bottom of the stairs so her area is secure.

Right now she is running back and forwards in the garden with a leaf in her mouth... 

Anyway as I said, I'm going up the coast today so my backpack's packed, towel and bodyboard in the car, and ready to go - so now it's breakfast time!


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

NZ & volcanoes

Someone (a random man with a dog) told us today that there were 49 volcanic craters here in NZ - I'm not sure if he meant in Auckland, or in the north island, or in NZ in general, but that's a lot, and I saw two of them today.  I wasn't listening all that closely as I was actively in recovery mode - as In fact I climbed one of them, with the help of J and R who are also in NZ with me.

I started the day with a bagel, cream cheese and jam for breakfast, which is notable merely because of its fluorescence.  In fact, such was the colour that I couldn't bring myself to eat more than one half, so here I give you The Other Half with my phone cover for comparison.  

After the Jam Experience, we decided to go for a walk, having been up all night for the simulator and getting just a couple of hours' sleep before our late breakfast, we all felt like zombies and decided a good walk would help us get through the day.  We headed across from the Sudima to the Holiday Inn (the hotel that we used to stay in) and from there to the volcano.  I don't know what it's called.

I've been there once before, but that time we drove to it and arrived from the not-so-steep side.  This side seemed about a forty-five degree slope and was quite a quad-burning experience.  I decided R and J should try to race each other up while I videoed them, and I think they managed about 1/3 of the climb before they dramatically slowed down with wheezing breaths... Derived from my video clip, I can determine the winner.

 starting out fairly evenly paced

clearly J gave up first, although slightly ahead at this point, which made R the winner

the view and slope from half-way up (where I also paused)

I have taken a couple of cow-photos for size comparison with the slope!  

looking up from the bottom

looking down from half-way up

The weather was quite pleasantly warm for NZ although it did start to drizzle when we got to the top, giving us a much-needed breather in the shade of a tree with a guy, who told us about the 49 craters.  We were standing on one looking down on a second, filled with water, so it seemed fairly believable.  He also told us about people boiling to death in the water-filled crater of Rotarua... As apparently they didn't realise that the still, clear water was super-heated when they fell / jumped in.  The stuff horror movies are made of.

me at the top... if I look like I'm in pain, yes, I probably was - my lungs felt like they were going to explode

panorama of the crater, and J dying on the slopes - R looking a little less worse for wear although perhaps slightly crushed from the movement of the panorama!

view of the second crater from our highest point - J was not game to follow the crater around and climb any further! 

Anyway, after that we walked back to the hotel, briefly stopping for lunch and a drink at a cafe on the way back, making it a round trip of three hours.  Since then, I've tried to nap (failing dismally) and get ready for my sim which is in the middle of the night again!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Moving House

I can honestly say that I'm exhausted.  Yesterday was all go, and although today started out the same, it is now almost 1500 and I have done very little since lunch time.  

Yesterday, I spent the morning preparing my furniture in the unit for the move - ie stripping the bookcase, removing drawers from the dresser, de-cluttering the cube, etc.  At lunchtime, Kurt's dad drove down from Bribie with his van and the afternoon was filled with lugging furniture to the new place.  We finished this by about 1600 at which point Kurt's dad headed home (unfortunately in peak hour traffic) and Kurt headed up the coast.  It was definitely invaluable having them both for the afternoon as I couldn't have moved the stuff without them!

For the rest of the evening, I carted boxes of Stuff (how does one get so much?) to the townhouse from the unit, pausing for an hour or so to have dinner and watch some TV (Married at First Sight, LOL).  I got back to Zillmere for the final time at about 2200 and fell into bed.

this morning, I woke about 0700 with bleary tired eyes and sore limbs, thinking of coffee and realising I didn't even have a coffee cup, let alone any coffee to go in it.  Thankfully, googling "coffee" worked like a charm, and I found a little coffee shop just a minute or so from home.  Along with a library at the end of the street and an IGA.  Hurrah.

After coffee, the will to live started coming back and I finished unpacking what I had at the townhouse and then went back to the unit.  Oh, I also forgot to mention that yesterday I located a fridge on Gumtree, arranged delivery, and that arrived here at 10 this morning.  (Along with another carload of Stuff from the unit.)

Once I got back to the unit for the second time today, my energy started fading once again, but I still managed to get some decisions made and boxes packed from the kitchen.  Being at a low ebb at that point, I stopped for some spaghetti bolognaise and decided to load up the car and head back to Zillmere for a much-needed nap.

Now, having napped, I have almost finished unpacking the boxes from the car and am packing my big suitcase to go to Auckland in the morning.  I also have a birthday party tonight in the city, so I have about 90 minutes to get packed and ready... here's to hoping all the stuff I need is in Zillmere and not in Northgate!  At least I don't have the internet to distract me... this post is written on my iphone with the help of 4G.  While lying on my bed, I might add, as there aren't any chairs to sit on!


Friday, April 1, 2016

House Hunters

There's a TV show on 9Life at the moment called House Hunters.  Basically, the people on the show are looking for somewhere to live, either as a rental or to buy.  The agent shows them three properties, and they have to choose between them.  I think it's quite a weird set up - because, what if they don't like any of them at all, and then they have to buy one of the three?

Anyway the whole point of that description is that I went to three house viewings today (to rent).  A 2 storey townhouse (duplex to those of an international audience), a 2rd floor unit, and a house.  They all had plenty of pros and cons, and I've now written a list and am looking at it, perplexed.

All three places are of similar price (the house is ten dollars more), they all have hard-floored living areas, and they all have single garages.  That is where the similarities end.

Let's talk outdoors.  The unit doesn't have an outdoors, being two floors up with four steep flights of stairs.  Its garage is separate, so you have to walk outside to access it.  The townhouse has a little paved/graveled and fenced courtyard which would be low maintenance, with the garage opening into the house and a second parking space on the driveway outside.  The house has quite a large garden with lots of trees (high maintenance) and the garage opens into the house.  It also has a leaking gutter that would have to be fixed.

Location: the house and the unit are both located within a couple of minutes of the local shopping centre, and fifteen minutes from work.  The townhouse on the other hand is twenty minutes from work and ten minutes from the shopping centre.

The only one out of the three properties that has air conditioning is the unit, which has two A/Cs, one in the living area and one in the master bedroom.  However the only property with a dishwasher is the townhouse, and while we're on the subject of kitchens, none of them are particularly impressive.  The house has a gas cook-top which is a definite bonus but the rest of the kitchen is dingy with the sink area urgently needing repair.  The unit has a modern electric stove & cook-top while the townhouse has a very old electric stove and cook-top duo with dubious functionality.

Did I mention, I just put in an application on the unit and the townhouse... but neither has even been looked at yet so why am I even comparing?  I might not get a CHOICE which one I take !!!

Oh, and the unit is available now and the townhouse might not be available until 5 May... I've pretty much discounted the house at this stage.

To be continued...