Archive for October, 2015

Yesterday I put some bags of stuff into the recycling bins.

Today I got rid of some rocks and fossils. One of my mother’s interests was geology. She used to go on field trips with a geological club or society in the 70s. I still had some of the specimens. I had asked a friend of H’s if she wanted them but she hadn’t done. Asked bro if he wanted them. He didn’t. Then had the bright idea of asking someone in a geology club if they would want them. So I googled and found one and wrote to someone at the uni who was involved in the society, enclosing a photo of said specimens. She wrote back and said they looked good and would be useful as teaching resources. So today I dropped them off. I felt pleased. From being collected via a university club, to being used as teaching resources at the same university 40 years later – it was fitting. They had a good appreciative home.

Last night a friend messaged me asking about my fridge and washing machine for her daughter. Today the son of another friend asked about furniture I would be getting rid of (I do hope they realise that money is involved). I sent photos last night and will send photos to the other tonight. Hopefully some of the furniture will go to at least one of them.

Bro’s coming over on Sunday and will take away the wheelbarrow, a garden seat and some garden tools.

Slowly, but surely, things are trickling out.

I hope to pack some more boxes in the weekend, and will pick up some more on Monday (which I am taking off work). I will also take Jasmine to the vet to get a microchip inserted (poor love).

Only eight days left of work. It still seems unreal. I have been training some staff on various procedures and they seem to be coping. All good. I’ve emptied email folders and started writing to contacts to let them know I’m leaving. Some of my duties have already gone to others so I have caught up on backlogs and am on top of things. Good feeling. I feel like I have room to breathe.


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I have packed my first box!  I listed everything, which took up half a page of foolscap-sized paper and took photos, so it took a while!  I started with little knick-knacks and my parents’ silver cutlery, and piled a few old table-cloths on the top.  It felt satisfying taping it up and setting it aside.  Hopefully the rest won’t take quite so long (except perhaps listing DVDs and CDs).  My back was up to kneeling on the floor and wrapping things, then pushing the box along the floor with a foot.  I still intend taking things easy for a week or so – there’s no way I want more pain to restrict the huge job of packing.

I also took the final move of booking my last ticket out of NZ on 11 December.  Huge sigh.  Now I have a definite date and time to work towards.  It’s all rather overwhelming.

So anyway, instead of driving to Hamilton on Saturday, which would’ve been a literal pain, I chatted with bro and drove down to his place in the afternoon, stopping briefly on the way to walk around.  I was still taking painkillers to ease the slight ache.

My bro had two French girls staying there – “Wwoofers” (their property is listed on the Wwoof website, so they get foreign travellers working their way through NZ, which is a good way to get the weeding done!).  Bro wasn’t impressed with this lot with their painted nails.

On Sunday morning I decided to do without painkillers to see how I went.  Sleeping had been ok and I got up alright.  Sis-in-law was selling her wares at a market at Riversdale.  Bro and I took the girls down to the beach and wandered along for a while before having a look at the small market.

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There were thousands of little shrimp-like creatures lying on the sand.  We wondered why and what had killed them.

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On our return, bro’s neighbour came round and asked if we wanted to join him on the boat down the river to his bach where he was going to mow the lawn.  I was a bit unsure about the state of my back but jumped at the chance.  Bro told French girls what to do while we were away.  The dogs came too.  Neighbour’s dog was brother and son to bro’s dogs.

I clambered onto the speedboat with no problems and was glad that the seat was supported.  I had envisaged holding onto the seat and hoping I’d stay upright.  Dogs piled in on top of us, but neighbour’s dog jumped onto the bow and faced the wind – he’d obviously done it many times and loved the wind in his face.

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We disturbed quite a few birds, including paradise ducks and a heron.  I can imagine that river boat trips would be great for bird photography.  Unfortunately I only had my little point-and-shoot.

Parked the boat at the river mouth (managed to jump off ok, bending ze knees) and walked along the sea front to the bach.

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Neighbour’s bach was fantastic.  He’d built it himself and towed an extra little old building, landscaped it, built a deck.  It was perfect – the good old Kiwi bach.  None of this fancy mansion stuff with all mod cons.  Bro and I loved it and could imagine a weekend staying there reading books and playing Siedler.

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There was not a another soul in sight.  Fantastic.  What a great place for a getaway.  You wouldn’t want to go back.

However, we had to, after they mowed the lawn and it looked like paradise.  Hopped back on the boat and headed back.

Sis-in-law was back home and immediately berated bro for not telling the girls to do things properly.  Neighbour quietly slipped away instead of taking up the offer of a cup of tea.

I wandered around the garden for a while before we had a late lunch.  Spotted some quail.

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There was bird song all around and it was so peaceful.  I would miss that.

Bro and I looked at Melbourne maps for our upcoming trip.  They were staying an hour’s train ride away and I showed him where H and S lived and where to go for NGV and Botanic gardens, etc.  I still had photos from my April trip on my camera, so showed him those.  He, in turn, showed me photos of their Adelaide trip last year.

Headed over to another neighbour’s place for the woman’s 66th birthday drinks.  Lovely verandahed house and beautiful ‘roomed’ gardens.  Returned, and after a quick dinner of pizza I drove back home.  Lovely moonlit night.

I’m glad I went.  It was just what I needed to get me back on track.



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I had planned a while ago to drive up to Hamilton to see my friend on Labour weekend.  It’s now Labour weekend but I called it off – driving for five hours up and back was not a good idea with the current state of my back.

On Thursday morning I must’ve bent slightly to get some clothing to go to work and as I walked down the hallway felt a sharp stab of pain in the lower right side.  Cursing, I took it slowly for the rest of the day but was not comfortable.  I had another physio session booked for the following day.

Was taking it slowly on Friday morning when I got a call to say my physio was sick.  Damn!  So had another day of work but which was easier.  This morning a bit tender, still.  My next physio session now isn’t until Tuesday (Monday being a holiday of course).

They’re all being very nice at work, some saying they’re jealous, yet more saying it’s a bold move and courageous.  Last night, in frustration at not being able to do anything (i.e. start packing things like ornaments and books) I let a tear or two fall and wondered what the hell I was doing.  My safe, easy life in a mortgage-free house, was all going to turn into chaos and uncertainty and expense, and for what, I thought.  That was my head speaking.  I told it to shut up.  Did I want to end up in this miserable hole for the rest of my life, surrounded by brown walls and draughty windows at work, doing the same tedious duties day in and day out?  No, the head said.  Well, then, shut up and stop feeling sorry for yourself.   It’s just the back pain making you miserable.  But it still feels unreal, like it’s happening to someone else, not me.  I have just 12 work days left…

Decision-making is not strong at this point either.  I can’t think when to organise Jasmine to go over (before me so she’s out of the way of the movers) or even when I go over or even how.  I’ve mentioned my quandary to C and H but have heard nothing back.  They’re barely on Facebook, it seems.  H, I know, is busy with her job until she resigns in preparation for her three-month trip to Europe.

Anyway, onward.  Grocery-shopping and buying a marker pen to write on boxes which I can’t pack yet.  I still need heaps of boxes and don’t know where to get them.  There are a lot fewer boxes at work these days and what there are are being used.  And, a colleague is moving house as well, so she has taken quite a few.  Sometimes I just want to scream in frustration.  Bloody hell.


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I’m bored.

I’m stuck at home, having hurt my back just as I was getting ready for work on Monday.  I bent down and felt a twinge and thought, “ow that hurt”.  Stupidly ignoring the warning, I bent down again a short while later and the pain was phenomenal.  Collapsed on the floor unable to move.  Well, that was clever.  I eventually managed to get myself up and thought, “well shit, I can’t go to work now”.  I wondered whether to rest or keep moving.  Googled and stupidly took the advice of some idiot to rest until the pain subsides.  Ha ha.  Like a fool, I lay down on the bed and read a book for a while (having phoned work to explain my predicament).  Then I needed to go to the toilet  and found I couldn’t move.  That was really bright, wasn’t it.  I  imagined myself stuck there without a phone nearby, unable to eat or go to the toilet for hours on end.

With determination and a hell of a lot of pain I got myself upright.  I called the nurse’s number at the doc’s for advice and only got an answerphone.  I then called a healthline and she reckoned I should see a doctor within four hours.  Well that wasn’t going to happen without someone taking me.  She called an ambulance!  I thought that was a bit extreme and felt a bit  of a fraud but it least it got me in to see the doctor a lot sooner than normally (the waiting room was packed).  My first ride in an ambulance and I got to suck on the gas which makes your voice go deep – haha.  Very nice understanding medics.  Lots of pain meds, and a ride back home from a kind colleague.  I was dead tired and lay face down on the couch and fell asleep.  Couldn’t get up again without heaps of pain.  I don’t learn do I.  In the afternoon the nurses’s station called back -a bit bloody late.

Following day it was still painful to get up from sleeping but it was a bit quicker than the day before.  I called a physio to see if I could get in and did so.  With the help of Voltaren pills I felt able to drive there.  For the rest of the day I felt absolutely fine but took the advice of the physio and have taken an extra day’s sick leave.

It was much easier getting up this morning.  But now I’m completely bored.  I can’t do anything except sit for a while, stand for a while, move around for a while, ad infinitum.   No housework or gardening allowed, naturally.  I have so much to do and think about.  I did get rid of a couple of items which were picked up – a mere drop in the ocean.  I can’t even give stuff away.  No-one, it seems, wants free camp chairs or a free stereo or an ironing board, for example.

My resignation has been officially announced at work.  I received emails from three people which was nice.  Shock from them all, and all calling me brave, courageous, bold (probably privately thinking I’m completely insane to give up a house and job for an uncertain future, and especially at my age).  I can’t even think of that at the moment.  I just want this bloody sore back to bugger off.  On top of being bored, I’m feeling tired, frustrated and anxious.  Stress, anyone?

So November is rapidly approaching.  Last November I set three challenges for myself:  writing a novel of 50,000 words (Nanowrimo), doing a sketch a day and also taking a photo a day (all of which I accomplished).  This year I might just do the photo one.  It can be like farewell shots of things I will miss, without getting too sentimental.



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So, at work, I wondered when to break the news to colleagues and figured I’d leave it to Monday because a couple of them were away.  We heard news from one of them that she’d just had an offer accepted on the house of her dreams and on her birthday, so didn’t want to interfere with that.

Then by chance, the woman near me asked me casually “So, have you ever thought of selling up and moving into town?”  Silence from me and another colleague noticed and came over.  Then I had to tell all.  They were sad, but excited for me, calling me brave (don’t I know it!).  Then word got around within the department, except for M, who I  have morning and afternoon teas with and enjoy his company.  I told him at the first opportunity and he was as shocked as the others but said if I had the opportunity to take it.  He’s lived in Melbourne and said he loved it.  I will miss some of them.  Others I won’t.  They were all sad, though, which is touching.  I’m sure many will think I’m nuts.

It may be the stupidest thing or the best thing I’ve ever done.  I’ll be homeless and jobless come December.  But I’ve wanted to live in Australia for so long.  I wanted to move five years ago and waited while I did the house up.  Then H said she’d move over and I prepared myself.  Then she said she had to work for another year at her workplace so, disappointed, I prepared for another year’s wait.  Then she was gone and it’s been yet another year.  I’ve waited too long.

I’ve had many sleepless nights and a bit of sadness to leave the buried pets at the back of the property including the best dog in the world, Zara.  I’ll probably never be able to afford to buy a house again (certainly not in Melbourne).  Financially I could be worse off, or maybe not.  H has saved $20,000 in one year.  It’s taken me a much longer period to save that much.

I’ve been following a Facebook page called “Old Sydney” because it brings back memories of the many trips we did as a family in the 60s and 70s.  Someone had put up a video of a ‘doco’ about Sydney taxi cab drivers.  I watched it and loved the accents, the humour, and in the background the sound of the birds.  It made me cry.  I have always loved Australia, felt more affinity for it than I have ever felt for NZ, even though I’ve lived here basically my whole life.  I think that is the ultimate answer to any dilemmas I’ve ever had about this decision.  I’m going with my heart, not my head.

I will document the whole move when I’m able – the trials and tribulations and, with any luck, the successes.

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Today, two things happened.  I got word that my house had sold unconditionally, and I resigned from my job.

I made the radical, and very scary, decision to put my house on the market and move to Melbourne.  I don’t have a job to go to.  I have been applying for a year and got one phone interview.  I found that the positions advertised were either short-term, or they wanted someone to start within a month, and I believe that others were put off by my need to give a month’s notice at my current work and selling the house – for them there was no telling when I would be available.

So, I’m taking the risk.  I made the decision a couple of weeks ago to put the house on the market.  I got a couple of appraisals and decided on the better one.  The house got advertised on Wednesday last week.  I had two offers presented to me on the Saturday.  I was signing papers on Monday and got the word that the sale was unconditional today!  It’s all happened so fast!

As soon as I heard, I spoke to my boss and wrote my letter of resignation.  I finish work mid-November.  The house needs to be empty in the first week of December.  I will be in Melbourne by Christmas.  Naturally, my beloved Jasmine will come with me.

I have never done anything this daunting before.  I’m both elated/excited and terrified.  Absolutely terrified.  But I didn’t want to live in this house anymore, and didn’t want to go to the same job until retirement (and end up like the sad-looking 70-year-old in my department).  I wanted change.  I wanted excitement.  I’ll certainly get both.  The alternative was to continue living here, alone and lonely, isolated from the world, being bored at home and at work until retirement – a slow death.  I couldn’t bear the thought.  I have now outlived my mother, so anything more is a bonus.  Life is too short for regrets.  And if I don’t go, I will regret it to the end.

The boss wished me luck.  I will need it. 🙂

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Beautiful – I always perk up when it’s warm and sunny.  But the day has gone so quickly.

The first half of the day was spent doing stuff in silence, then I realised how silent it was and put music on.  Currently listening to some funky didgeridoo, after just having read Bill Bryson’s “Down Under” for the second time.

I went through an old tin trunk and sorted contents – mostly memorabilia from a trip to Europe yonks ago, and my grandmother’s paintings.  Emptied out the trunk and discovered it had a bit of rust in the bottom and two small holes.  Bugger.  Decided to sell it.  I sold the other two trunks that came over from England in ’61.  Both damaged by damp, thanks to a leaky garage roof, etc.  Even now the neighbour’s high driveway (created from multiple gravel drops) means the floor gets damp in places.  Thanks, neighbours.  Also put some shit on TradeMe – old heater (wrong time of year but never mind), set of drawers (surplus to requirements) and the record/tape converter now that  I’ve done all my conversions to MP3.

There was an open bag of naphthalene in the trunk and I accidentally spilled some and swept it up.  I had stupidly thought that stuff was relatively harmless (I mean my parents used it everywhere, right) but after a while I felt like I’d been dreaming.  I had no idea how much time had passed but I googled it and discovered my confusion was probably from sweeping up the spill.  Great.  Let the fresh air through everywhere and isolated the stupid bag of crystals, also locating another I had in the cupboard and getting rid of them.  No wonder my parents died so early with all that lethal shit in the house (not to mention the borer bombs and garden sprays).

Feeling way better now after fresh air but man, that was weird for a while.  Still, a bit headachey.  I did feel a sick day coming on but feeling ok, sadly.  I’ve had a stressful few days.

I might have some news soon.  I may be moving on (and not a moment too soon).  Watch this space.

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