Oooh look! There’s my thing.

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So the day I stopped looking for my thing, I found it. Well, it happened that day, it just took me a couple of weeks to put the pieces together.

I found myself in a really bad mood that lasted for about two weeks. Not depression, not anger, I just had the shits with everyone and everything. No one could do anything right around me. Everything was crap.

At the same time, Mr T was coming up with helpful things like “let’s get some Alpacas!”, “how about chickens?”, “temporary vege gardens?”. All these things are not the norm in a suburban rental, but out here, Alpacas, chickens and vege gardens are accepted, even encouraged.

After saying (possibly yelling) another no at Mr T, I took time out to see if I could work out where the resistance to these suggestions was coming from. It wasn’t the suggestions themselves, eventually I want Alpacas, chickens and vegies, just not right now.

My mind raced back to the first home I owned 20 years ago. I had an amazing flower garden in the front yard, and a big vege garden out the back. When I sold, I had to say goodbye to it.

The next house, no big garden, but I did leave a lot of my favourite plants behind.

House number three, same thing. I thought we were staying for a long time, so plants that had been carried around with me for 15 years were put in the ground. I had to say goodbye again.

House number four, no issue here, I wasn’t sad to say goodbye to the grass. Maybe this is where my subconscious started saying no more.

So here we are in a rental. I’m saying no to anything we might have to leave behind again. Gardens and plants, animal housing. Who knows what the future holds, what if we can’t take our animals with us when we move. I regularly see ads on the local Buy, Swap, Sell site offering animals free to good home due to not being able to take them when they move. I think that would break me.

So in all of this, I realised where my resistance to putting down roots was coming from. But the bad mood remained. So I sent my mind back to when this shitty mood started, and now that I had clarified in my mind what was happening, I could see it quite clearly.

The afternoon I stopped looking for my thing, I sat down and read the mail and in it was the latest Diggers Club catalogue. Full of seeds, seedlings and lots of other exciting garden goodies. I recall reading the catalogue full of hope and excitement then realising at the end, when I looked up at my surroundings, that there was no point in placing an order and getting excited, so I threw the catalogue down and said something like “everything’s shit! I hate everything! What’s the point!”. Cue bad mood.

My thing is and always has been gardening!

The sad reality of my current garden

The sad reality of my current garden

Now when I find myself getting down, I just remind myself that I do have a thing, I just can’t do much with it at the moment. What I can do however, is read, plan and learn so that when we do have land we can call our own, I can hit the ground running.

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Finding my thing

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When you lose your shit as a parent, there are two things you are told over and over again. One is to take time to yourself during the day, just five minutes to yourself where you can. Easier said than done but achievable. And two is to find your thing. Something that makes you happy.

Since I’ve had kids, I’ve struggled with finding my thing. I’ve existed for the kids and everything that goes with them. I’ve had conversations with health professionals that go something like this;

Dr: “You need to find something you enjoy and do it”

Me: “Hmmm, okay, do you have any ideas on what I like?”

Dr: “No, that’s something only you can answer”

Me: “I really can’t think of anything that makes me happy”

Dr: “Well what made you happy before you had children?”

Me: “Probably not really a direction we should go in”

Dr: “Why?”

Me: “Well most of the stuff that made me happy before I had children is illegal, and/or frowned upon when you have children. And going away for long periods of time without them probably wouldn’t win me any parenting awards. And hangovers with small people in the house aren’t fun. And…”

Dr: “It’s okay, I get the idea. Maybe you need to go away and think about it”

So I kept going away and thinking about it but kept returning empty.

Walking road

The start of the road where we live. Great for walking except for the dust.

Recently I thought walking was my thing. I really enjoy it. Unfortunately I killed that idea by turning it into something I had to do. Trying to find time, trying to improve on the distance and time of my last walk. It lost its appeal. I realised I like walking but just as something to do when there’s somewhere nice to walk and something to see.

Walking view

Part of the amazing view walking down our road. Great the first few times but after a while….

I like baking but mainly for what comes out of the oven at the end. And that was the same for most of the things that I do. I enjoy them but none of them bring me the joy I’m searching for. I’d come to the conclusion that I didn’t have a thing.

I then came across a story on Facebook about a person who couldn’t find her thing either. She perused so many possibilities that she was exhausted and had given up looking. That’s when her thing appeared.

It couldn’t hurt. Stop searching and see what happens. And bugger me, I stopped looking and my thing found me!

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My MOJO is MIA

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I’m still here. My confidence is at a low point at the moment and that takes everything with it, including the ability to put what’s in my brain on the screen. I have thoughts I want to share, and I will, as soon as I can get my arse back into gear.

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Shit! Come and look at this!

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Every morning I wake up thinking I’ll give this house another try. I mean, according to FB, I should be grateful that I have a roof over my head, and I am. But the house keeps fighting back.

The other night whilst getting ready for bed, I hear Mr T in the hallway. “Shit! Come and look at this”. He sounded excited, so I put my toothbrush down and headed for the hallway (two steps away).

“Is that a…?”      “Yep, it’s a scorpion!”       “I’ve gotta get out of this place, it’s killing me”    “Oh… Can you keep an eye on it while I get something to catch it in?”     “If I have to”

Mr T seemed genuinely confused that I wasn’t as impressed as him that there was a scorpion walking down the hallway.

The next night, whilst doing the dishes, the water stopped. Turns out the pump had died. A call to the real estate agent, 12 hours without water and we were back in business with a new pump. Now that’s fine, it could happen to the best of homes. What got me, was listening to Mr T and the plumber talk. I wasn’t really listening because they were talking about plumbing, but what I heard was; “valve blah blah blah” “pipe blah blah blah”. What I did hear clearly though was “can’t see where the water comes out of the tanks from. I’ve been out here a few times and always see something strange when I’m here”.

Now, we’ve been here for three months and we’ve had the plumbers out here four times and I’d never seen this guy before. How many plumbing issues does this house have? I know one toilet doesn’t flush properly and no matter how much we clean it, it still smells. Our shower doesn’t drain properly. The sink in the bathroom isn’t attached and “floats” on the bench top. If that’s what’s still broken, what have they fixed in the visits before we moved here?

Our water supply. I didn't take a photo of the scorpion.

Our water supply. I didn’t take a photo of the scorpion.

The night after the pump died, I was getting ready for bed and Mr T yells out “come and look at this!”    “No!!!!!”   “It’s okay, it’s a frog, and it’s outside”.

Since then, I’ve showered and slept with a lizard, nearly stood on a lizard in the kitchen and had Mr T remove a frog from the bedroom door. Oh, and the snake is still here but at least he is outside.

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Oppressive homes and spiders

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It has been noted that I haven’t written that much about our new home. That is because I am having trouble settling into it. I love the area we live in, the block of land is gorgeous, our neighbours are great, it’s just that I’d rather live in a tent.

We’ve been here just over three months now. I’ve tried tricking myself into liking it – positive thinking and the like – but it just doesn’t work. I don’t say anything about it in front of the kids but I think they’re picking up on my vibe. Ella wants to know when we’re going to live in a clean and shiny house. I’m with her.

There are two main issues I have.

The inside of the house is mud brick, pine and rough sawn planks. And from almost anywhere you sit in the house, you can see outside, even if the curtains are closed. There are gaps in everything. There are also exposed beams, which would not normally be an issue, but when they come together with the rough sawn planks, it creates a heavy blanket of brown that feels like it is suffocating me. Okay, perhaps I’m a little more sensitive of my surrounds than some.

The second issue, and this will come as no surprise to those that have spent time with me, it that I have a problem with spiders. Not all spiders, mainly Huntsmans. Before we got to this house, I was getting better but I now realise that was due to the fact that I wasn’t seeing too many of them. After three months here, I’m back to where I started; screaming, sweats, heart racing, loss of confidence and depression. Oh yay! And because of the sheer number of spiders we have, I’ve started jumping at all of them; Wolf Spiders, White Tails even Daddy Long Legs. Not to forget that Ruby nearly got sent flying. She tickled me not long after I’d seen a Huntsman. We’re friends again.

Every time I look at the pine, I see brown knots in the wood that look like spiders. Every time I look at the mud bricks, the hollows and depressions look like spiders. Every splinter and split piece of timber on the ceiling, looks like a spider leg.

It’s strange how the depression comes into it. I lose confidence in normal things; going to the toilet – there are spiders there, hanging the washing out – I’ve seen spiders on the clothes line, cooking – there was a huge freaking Huntsman on the oven the other night, I nearly touched it, that was the same time Ruby tickled me, close or open the curtains – not going to happen. And these are just the basic things. Gardening and anything like that is out of the question too. With the loss of confidence, I become depressed as I can’t do the normal independent things I like. I rely on poor Mr T for everything. Then I feel worse as I feel I’m manipulating him. This leads to my self-esteem plummeting and things that I can’t do, for example not being able to focus a telescope or understand a finance module of the course I’m doing, cause me to breakdown – cry, feel stupid etc.

The temporary solution? Get the house sprayed for spiders. Normally not something I’d like to do, but this was now the only solution, that or move and break our lease. The reason the spiders are so bad here, all the gaps in the house I mentioned, are no barrier to the spiders. Our landlord has accepted the invoice for the pest control.

So three days before Christmas Day, I took the kids to the next biggest country town for the day. We played, ate and hung out at McDonalds for two hours before heading home for swimming lessons. We were allowed to go back into the house not long after it had been sprayed but I wasn’t going in before Mr T went through. I was scared at what I might find. He told Mr T that he’s never seen that many spiders before. I hope that’s just something they say to all the customers. Two words I don’t want to hear together again: spider and infestation.

Benalla 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next two days were spent dodging dying spiders and bugs and the days after that spent cleaning them up. I haven’t seen any for a day or two and I’m trying to relax again but not five minutes ago, I nearly jumped out of my skin as a butterfly flew past. I think I’m back to square one with my phobia and my confidence and self-esteem need working on. Mr T wants me to get help for my phobia, but as anyone with a phobia knows, you need to want to face the fear, and currently I’m over it. It’s been in my face too intently.

Saying all that, once I can get going again, I’ll start sharing the house we’re currently living in. Maybe I’ll start enjoying it a bit more.

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Did I fail?

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Ever since we got to our new home in the country, I’ve felt like I’ve failed.

It took me a while to realise why I felt that way, and even longer to work through it. Still, the issue jumps to the front of my mind when I least expect it. The time between it popping into my mind is longer each time and as experience has shown, once I work through the issue, the time spent dwelling on my perceived failure will lessen.

The reason I feel I’ve failed? When I was 24, I had saved enough for a deposit on a house. It was a small two bedroom fibro shack. Other than the enormous Huntsman spiders, I loved it. I stayed there for seven years.

Montrose

 

 

 

 

I then sold my little shack and put the proceeds towards a small two bedroom unit on a battle-axe block. It was on its own title and being built only about 15 years prior, it was shiny and new. And mine.

Heathmont

 

 

 

 

Mr T and I met, got married and I fell pregnant with the wonderful Ruby. We decided the unit was too small, so we sold up and used the proceeds to buy a small three bedroom house on a nice block of land.

Croydon

 

 

 

 

 

Ella came and joined us and then I fell pregnant with Max. We could have stayed and squished ourselves in there quite nicely, however the neighbourhood was changing, so we decided to sell and build “The House”.

Croydon 2

 

 

 

 

Fast forward to now. We are renting, we do not own a house.

What’s my problem? Exactly my point! I shouldn’t have a problem. I have a wonderful family, we’re healthy, we have somewhere to live, we have food, we have no debt and we are enjoying our new life.

People have arrived at the same point we are now with a lot less. And they have arrived here in less desirable ways; divorce, death, illness. We got here the easy way. We chose this way.

On the surface, I understand all of this. The problem is with the way my mind works. Now I am not blaming anyone for how I think, but you pick up things from your family growing up. This is totally my perception. I am one of four, and I’m the only one with this type of crazy. This is an issue I’ve created. The message I got was that I wasn’t really complete unless I worked my arse off, saved my money and bought a house. Even if that meant you had to work nights, overtime shifts and let your kids become latch key kids. There is time for fun, but only when all the work is done. I now know this is not a sustainable way to live. I would have preferred a crappy old house and time with my parents to a nice house.

So to walk away from what I created with all the hard work I’ve put in, is hard. It appears a lot of my confidence and self-esteem was wrapped up in this ideal. I have to constantly adjust my thinking.

I have dreams about it. Very obscure but the feeling is there. I spent this morning dwelling on the fact that in my early twenties I worked and saved whilst my friends travelled the world and played. Guess what, it didn’t put me ahead of them in anyway. We’re still equal. This train of thought was bought on from a dream. Obviously I still need to work through this.

The big thing that I now know, is that money and all the stuff that goes with it, isn’t what it’s about. Again, it’s a lesson learned but one that my subconscious still hasn’t absorbed.

It does get easier every day though.

 

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It’s a wild world out there (and sometimes in here)

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Just a quick post here, grabbing bits of time while I can. I hope to start writing more soon.

We’ve been here about six weeks now and one thing that still amazes me every day is the wildlife that surrounds our home. That and the amazing views. Now I won’t be able to share much in the way of photos as my skills in that arena are not the best. And also the fact that each time I see a new addition to the paddock, I don’t have a camera on me.

Our house is on top of a hill, facing west and looking down into the valley where the town is. This makes for spectacular sunsets and when there’s no sunset, you can see the weather moving in. The storms are amazing!

Sunset 2Sunset

 

 

 

 

 

My efforts at sunset photography. We’ve had some spectacular ones here but instead of taking pictures of them, I stand there staring. Once they’re over, that’s when I think to grab the camera.

Now to the wildlife. Splash the horse is still here. She’s a lovely girl and I will miss her when she moves on but she is lonely without a paddock companion. When the horses next door are moved to another paddock, she sulks and then runs up and down the fence. In her new home, she’ll have a buddy. You can make out the float they’re trying to get her in in the photos above. Slow going.

Kangaroos. Everywhere! I’ve even swept kangaroo poo off the front porch. They normally stay more than 5 meters away but every now and then we’ll get a curious visitor. You often see them with joeys in their pouches. There was also the unfortunate incident of a young roo in the driveway late one night with a broken leg. The wildlife rescuers recommended euthanising her, that’s great but we don’t have a gun. Don’t worry, call the local cops, they’ll sort it out for you. I really had no idea that our police force offered this service but call them we did and they turned up (turns out he lives a few houses down from us) and did what they had to do. Once he realised we had kids, he even moved it out of the driveway for us so we didn’t have to have that conversation with them first thing the next morning.

Our view whilst eating dinner.

Our view whilst eating dinner. They’re all around us. The others were down at the dam.

We also have echidnas, wombats, rabbits and foxes.

There are King Parrots, Rosellas, Kookaburras, Cockatoos (which Ella calls tissues, because it looks as if someone dropped a box of them in the paddock) and the freakin Magpies! Which seem to have stopped swooping us. But the kids stopped playing outside and I was nervous hanging the washing up and walking to the letterbox.

There are also reptiles. Now I am a fan of lizards and snakes, and it turns out we have many of both here. And you tell your children that when they see a snake, stop and move quietly away. However, when a big Brown Snake sneaks up behind me on the front veranda and makes its way next to my foot, I am allowed to scream a high pitched scream, jump really high and start running before my legs hit the ground. Do as I say children, not as I do.

Inside the house, it’s just the usual, spiders, ants, cockroaches and centipedes. I’m not quite ready to tell you about the house yet. I’m still learning to love it and if I try to tell you about it now, you’ll assume I’m living in the town dump. It’s really not that bad at all. I’m still adjusting.

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Still here…

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…just having a break from writing while we unpack and find our feet. Itching to go get my thoughts out of my head though, so hopefully it won’t be too much longer.

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Catch my breath

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Just a very quick post to let you know that I am alive and well and that our move to the country happened without any major incidents.

I am happy, slightly overwhelmed (see below) and having a small issue slowing down to country time. I will let you know more once I’m a bit more sorted.

This is why I’m slightly overwhelmed. There is a lot of unpacking, sorting out and donating to do.

Just one corner of the house

Just one corner of the house

But I’ve been making time to lie on the grass and watch the clouds go by.

RelaxingWhile the kids have been running around inhaling the country air.

Ella frolicking in the park

Ella frolicking in the park

I’ll post more soon.

 

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Standing on the outside

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After visiting our new home with another truck load of furniture, I feel a bit better. A bit more enthusiastic. I realised that the issue with the house wasn’t the bugs, spiders, dirt and holes in the curtains, it was the light. The living areas of the house face south, which is where the amazing views are but not where the sun is. There is also a veranda around the house, which shades it even more. These are all normal things but when everything in the house is brown, and the rooms are small, the result is a dark and oppressive feeling. But I’m determined to love where I’m living and will fill the house with white (everything!), mirrors and lamps.

Now onto the house. This is the view from our driveway. Front gateThat’s the house way up the top. Splash’s paddock is on the left and on the right is a narrow paddock that separates us from a State Forest.

And here is the house. Obviously my reaction (crying) to the house was rather extreme. With the sun setting on it, it’s rather picturesque.House

View one of the backyard.Backyard 1

View two of the backyard. The backyard ends around where the trees start, that’s where the State Forest begins.Backyard 2

Front yard looking down the driveway to the letterbox. I reckon I can pour a drink, sit on the veranda and send the kids to check the mail. By the time they get back I’ll be finished.Front yard 1

Front yard looking over Splash’s paddock to the damn. Ella wants to swim here.Front yard 2

And here is part of the amazing view.Front yard view

I suppose it’s not too bad. Time will tell.

What do you think? Am I being a tad dramatic? Would you live here?

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