I’ll Even Miss Her Drinking My Wine. Maybe.

Its been a long and exhausting week since child number-one finally decided to leave the nest a few weeks before Christmas. In fact, it has been so completely crazy helicoptering over the move, there’s been very little time to consider the emotional ramifications.


While my daughter is a bright little cookie with a very practical, logical brain that has scored her the sort of amazing job in the city to make me question if we are actually her parents, the organization and creative skills required to furnish a studio within a few days – well, not so much.


And anyway, as she said, what’s the point of having a stylist for a mother if you can’t get her to design your new pad? For free.  Fortunately, she knows me well enough to know that I am unable to resist the challenge of extra time at the mall or to showcase my creative toolbox after just one doleful, puppy-dog-eyed look from my soon-to-be-departed child.


A week to buy furniture, fumigate bed linen, source artwork and kitchen utensils that she might recognize plus a mini Christmas Tree, as well as all those other touches that she would definitely not consider – vacuum cleaner and toilet brush come to mind. A week in which to explain how a lease works, convince her that she does need utilities, and that no, she can’t use the family 4G for her Internet usage, culminated in hours of assembling Ikea furniture in a hot room the size of a cupboard, with a crotchety middle-aged man who decided he was the supervisor, shouting from the sidelines.


I did have some help, in the shape of Kurt who helped load the van hired by the old man and then scarpered off before we could nag him to give us a date for when exactly he’s leaving. And then there was the old man, who ticked one item off his bucket list with the hire of the aforementioned transit van so that he could look like a man-who-can for the first time ever. And (as I’m feeling generous), he really did look like a man with a van for those few hours as NC and ladled on the encouragement to make sure his service extended to most of the lifting.


I won’t mention the language as the three of us attempted to carry the world’s heaviest two-seater sofa bed – much bigger than it looked on Gumtree – up a flight of stairs. Nor will I admit that I almost reached for the (in case of heart attack) Aspirin in my handbag when my ticker began to race worryingly quickly because I thought there was no way it would go through the door of the apartment.


Predictably, the old man refused to put together the furniture, like all professional removalists.


‘I can’t fucking do this,’ I think were his words of despair as he threw the instructions to an Ikea dining chair across the floor, two minutes after opening them – in reaction to which, NC and I shared a conspiratorial ‘TYPICAL’ look and then sent him out for coffee.


I will miss those conspiratorial looks.


I know in my heart that she’s SO ready and that it’s time, but I will miss my wingwoman who shares my asinine wit and enthusiasm for keeping the boys grounded at every opportunity – although, in truth, I’ve got this; I will miss the Tupperware boxes of leftovers she leaves in the fridge – enough to feed the starving Third Word – that this raging environmentalist never eats; I will miss the use of her shoes, her beauty products and her talent for eyebrow plucking, because I can no longer see mine.


I won’t miss the vegetarian who doesn’t really like vegetables, or her howls of disappointment when I jaywalk, use her expensive shampoo or forget my recyclable shopping bags – nor the graphic description of dead turtles that usually follows.


I’ll even miss her drinking my wine.













The Perils Of Moving House


NC was super helpful on the day

It is somewhat ironic that after weeks of persuading Kurt to allow us to buy him a bed base for his mattress so that our house no longer resembles a student house, our own base refused to bend those extra ten degrees necessary to get it up the stairs of our new house. I blame the sketchiest/cheapest removalists I have ever come across – and we’ve come across a few – but it doesn’t help that our bed base is obviously the only design not to come apart with the only Allen key size you don’t have when you need it.



‘It’s never going up the stairs,’ is a phrase I have become accustomed to in our career of house moves and in my own job of styling property for sale, and ordinarily, I would have begged to differ with them. However, having watched the sweat pour off our three burly lads as they managed to bend a double base in half, I had to accept with sadness that they had a point. There was no way that the only piece of furniture in our house not to originate from IKEA was going around that annoying little bend at the bottom of the stairs. I avoided the mental calculations of what that was going to cost us on top of the additional hours of trying to squeeze it past the banister, as well as the blame and weary acceptance in the eyes of the old man.


“Moving house” isn’t cheap when it turns out the truck is not big enough to accommodate everything in one load because some knob-end at Head Office skipped school on the day they learned how to calculate the volume of a 3D shape. Nor is it cheap when your team of “professionals” tear into the timber floors of your old house with the sharp corner of a box, hours prior to the final inspection with the agent.


I should have known as soon as one of them turned up in flip-flops (thongs) that this was more a merry band of amateurs rather than consummate professionals, who had more enthusiasm for nicotine than lifting.


Much to the old man’s chagrin, the garage has already evolved into a dumping ground storage area for all furniture that wouldn’t go up the stairs or hasn’t met the exacting requirements of my coastal theme. It is a large space, fortunately, but I secretly suspect that the old man had been counting on it as his new “shed” from the extensive list of strict rules that I found shredded in the bin at the end of the day.


Once again, I was forced to negotiate sexual favors for the rights of the artificial Christmas tree.


He was very quiet at the end of the day and I swear I saw him throw up in his mouth a little the one time he dared peer down the stairs into his new furniture showroom of “good money wasted in IKEA”. The artwork that fell on his head from the wall above our mattress on the floor as we fell exhausted into bed, was probably the final straw.


We are yet to work out how to get the internet or the tv to work and Kurt has already used up most of our data allowance, so it is already a “happy new home” with all the promise of our own distinctive brand of dysfunctionality – the type that you never read about in parenting magazines. Three nights with fuck-all to do has been costly to our livers, but I am trying to remember that we have a roof over our heads, hot water and we can hear the crash of waves from the ocean when the local teenage no-hopers – Kurt’s new friends, I assume – aren’t hooning down the road. So all is good with the world.

Memories, Friendship and On The Move Again

downloadI might have mentioned that we’re about to embark upon our fourteenth house move. Reactions to the move have varied:  the Princess has begun twitching so I will need to up her anxiety medication, and she and Kurt rock on her bed together whenever I pack a box. The old man has locked himself inside his office until our move date.


We’re heading back to where we started our journey in Australia, back to a community, a slower pace of life and (hopefully) a slightly slower rent, which means we have more options to do as little as possible. It’s not quite the downsize I imagined a few months ago when we first made the plan and foolishly assumed that if we moved an hour out of the city, the kids wouldn’t be able to leave home fast enough – no, we’ll be moving to a smaller house with two more adults than we thought we’d have – in other words, a typically, logical Simmonds plan.


So, not a sea change or a downsize exactly, more a move away from the Big Smoke back to old habits, in the arms of old friends as we grow old together. The area is one of many parts of Australia nicknamed God’s Country – all equally justified – a small piece of paradise on the tip of a peninsula, with the sort of stunning coastal beauty of the landscape in Big Little Lies, if you saw the series. With beautiful beaches that have golden sands evolved from the sandstone rock that the water washes up upon, its quaint little towns are packed to the brim with home décor shops, cafes and wonderful restaurants, and the only sound on a quiet day is the clanging of the yacht masts in the breeze. 


Our oldest friends have stayed put, so it’s where our heart beats the strongest in this country we have adopted as home. In the seven years we lived in the area, I carved more meaningful memories than at any other time of my life. The beach does that for me.


To access paradise, you have to drive along a stunning, winding road around the side of rock, known locally at The Bends, and it is a local custom to celebrate events and good news such as weddings and birthdays, on personalized banners along the route. What you have to imagine, though, is how dangerous the stretch of road is by foot. Often busy with local and holiday traffic, with sharp drops down cliffs to the beach on one side, it’s not the sort of place you stop to take in the view or have a pee.


Several years ago, as we approached NC’s eighteenth-birthday, I tried almost everything in my power to cajole the old man to hang out some banners along the “road of death” to celebrate the occasion. Understandably, he wasn’t keen.  Neither of us is that impulsive type of parent prepared to flout the law for our daughter’s happiness, and we worried about being caught by the police, falling off the ladder, (necessary to climb the telegraph pole), and even writing the wrong words, hence scarring our child for life. In other words, we overthought it, (like most things), and eventually talked ourselves out of it like we do most decisions, apart from minor ones such as moving to the other side of the world with two kids in tow and no jobs.


It didn’t matter: we had other festivities organized and I knew that the last thing NC expected, (or perhaps wanted), was some awkward public declaration of her parents’ affection splattered for the world to see. Which was why it was such a shock, riding on the school bus on the morning of her birthday, for her to see first one banner, then another, then another, each engraved with her name, a big red heart and the number eighteen.



Jaz and NC, still friends, and yes, Jaz is still crazy.

Now, I am certain that at no point did NC consider that we were responsible – which we weren’t, for reasons that are obvious.  And at no time either, did I think that the old man had manned the fuck up and climbed a ladder under the cover of darkness. In fact, it was NC’s best friend who donned crampons under cover of darkness and climbed those telegraph poles like a Ninja, risking life over limb, in a gesture of friendship that has become part of Simmonds folklore and symbolizes everything we have missed since our sabbatical down south.



‘Remember when Jaz put those signs up on the Bends?’ we still say, as incredulous as we were that day.







I Should Have Packed The Wine

‘You’re the one that I want…’ the old man sang to me when I got up this morning. A sincere effort, I believe, to calm the storms that have inevitably begun to build up as we get ready to move. He’s been in a suspiciously good mood all week which he has tried to disguise as excitement even though we all know that its root lies in the anticipation of hiding away in his new study for the next few years. 

Ending years of deprivation for The Princess


Moving house is one of the three most stressful things in life, apparently. It’s up there with divorce and death… and dieting, I imagine. And even though we’re old hands at this lark – some might say ‘professionals – it’s never easy with ‘a man who can’t’ when it comes to DIY, (who thinks he can), a procrastinator of a young adult who believes she can pack her entire room including fantasy library, rock collection and seventy-five nail varnishes in minutes and a son with anxiety who packed the minute we signed the lease, meaning he has had nothing to do but worry and irritate the fuck out of me for the past four days.


It’s The Princess I worry about. Anyone who owns a dog knows how they react when you bring the suitcases out to go on holiday, but boxes are a whole different sphere of worry and she keeps throwing me those looks out of the corners of her eyes that beg two questions ‘am I coming with you?’ and ‘how can you do this to me again?’ Obviously she doesn’t realize that ‘grass’ comes with this new home and she won’t have to embarrass us any more at the local parks by behaving like some loony dog, who’s been deprived of grass and sunlight for years.


In spite of so much ‘packing’ experience behind me, I’ve made some rookie errors this week by being over-zealous and prematurely boxing stuff the kids apparently need to survive. I’m not talking about the First Aid kit or anything like that but I did pack the maple syrup – shame on me – and I must have packed the cheese grater which I really needed for dinner last night. I improvised with nail scissors – something Generation Y seems incapable of doing.


As Kurt mentioned somewhat sarcastically last night, yes it is quite interesting that I haven’t packed the wine or wine glasses yet as I project manage this move and try to keep frayed tempers at bay, diffuse anxiety about spiders and WIFI in the new place and create new rules about noise. Sometime last night I might have agreed to Kurt having a gathering in his new, semi-contained space in an effort to show that the move will be beneficial to everyone in the family and give us all a bit more space and separation.


Perhaps I should have packed the wine.

Moving House Again

We’re on the move again. Or perhaps we’re running away.


house-on-the-water-937124_1280We do this a lot as the relationships in our family, that now comprises of four adults, continue to evolve. The average age for kids to leave home is now 27 due to rising house prices, as opposed to 21 in the past, so I imagine that many middle-aged couples are making similar adjustments for extended shared living.


We realise now that we jumped the gun with our decision to downsize prematurely two years ago. The driving factor back then was similar to a State of Emergency in that we had to find somewhere small enough to contain Kurt to keep an eye on him as well as reduce costs; the added bonus was that the apartment also minimised housework, an unnecessary evil.


We’ve enjoyed the view.


The impetus behind this latest move has been the impact of us both working from home now, which has reduced the breathing space substantially in our three bedroom unit, even though in reality the old man’s desk only absorbs about one square metre of real space.


With one living area and my desk shunted off to a Harry Potter-esque dark corner of our tiny bedroom, the apartment has begun to feel claustrophobic over the past few months.


The snooty attitude of the other tenants/owners in the building towards us hasn’t helped. One of the younger couples, it has become quite obvious to us that some of our older neighbours have slid comfortably into a barely concealed intolerance towards change and rental tenants.


Of course, Kurt should never have snipped off the end of the garden hose or left those beer bottles in the sauna, and not everyone has an appreciation for the masterful lyrics of Kanye West. And if you don’t have a dog, it’s hard to understand how territorial they become when someone knocks at the door, nevertheless a little more tolerance might have made us feel more welcome.


We’ve found the cutest little chocolate box house in an adjacent suburb, that is walking distance to the beach if you carry crampons and rope for the uphill journey back; there is a local pool for my therapy sessions, and the local pub serves my favourite wine by the glass with $9.99 steak.


There is a small study for the old man, where we can lock him and his bad moods away whenever the stock market crashes so that they don’t permeate through to everyone, and he will be able to take his afternoon naps in there without judgment.


It’s the little things that bring happiness.


We know we’ll freeze our rocks off in winter because there’s no heating and old, drafty timber floors, and I have spotted the old man rub his forehead anxiously every time he looks at photos of the lawn that he will be responsible for keeping green, but as soon as NC and I walked into the house we got that tingly feeling and just knew.


I like change. Every now and again I have to brush away the cobwebs and breathe in different, clean air to provide me with the energy to carry on.


We’re not doing this for Kurt – although I can’t deny that the semi-contained bedroom under the house complete with en suite and spider roommates that we refer to as his ‘new flat’ to his face and secretly as ‘the dungeon’, was definitely a contributing factor in our decision. It also happens to be at the opposite end of the house to our bedroom so no more Kanye lullabies for us.


We accepted a long time ago that change does not alter Kurt’s approach to life and if anything this move will provoke two weeks of oppositional behavior because he doesn’t cope well with it, but a different floor plan will hopefully give us better separation.


Better still, there are stairs that lead down to his new abode so there is no door for him to slam.


I’ve already begun to dream about where to position the cushions and rugs, compiled a ‘what we will need’ list (secretly called ‘what I must have’) to make this house a home and spend every waking moment browsing the Ikea website for those little extra touches that are cheap enough not to draw the old man’s attention to any unnecessary spending, because I assured him that wouldn’t happen if we moved, and he believed me.



14 Of The Best Moving House Tips



  1. Although an oven may state that it is ‘self-cleaning’, that’s a lie! It does not self-clean as you use it, so allow three days for cleaning deeply engrained brown shit.
  2. Do not assume that removalists possess any spatial awareness or can see even those walls directly in front of them.
  3. Be careful not to pack important items such as house keys, tampons and bin bags and remember where you pack basic survival stuff such as daily medication, clean knickers, remote controls and wine.
  4. If your husband is as useful as an empty wine glass, don’t give him a set of keys.
  5. Dogs with weak bladders and anxiety issues are not helpful in a house move.
  6. Nor are teenagers unless you can blackmail them – luckily, you always can.
  7. Never assume that removalists have any fucking idea about how much they can fit into their truck.
  8. When you do that rough guesstimate of the number of packing boxes you will need (which seems unimportant in the first excited flush of moving), double it.
  9. Keep the removalists on leads so they do not sneak off once you have paid them without a) plumbing in the washing machine b) putting your bed together properly c) returning that precious set of allen keys you will need to put together the IKEA bed they forgot to erect and d) paying you cash for any damage they have caused.
  10. Never assume that a removalist can distinguish between precious and semi-precious items or comprehend that they shouldn’t use a piece of painted furniture as a step ladder or a prized trophy as a door wedge.
  11. Remember that the words ‘fragile’ and ‘this way up’ might as well be in Swahili for all the notice removalists take of them.
  12. Try to maintain your humor as you watch the removalist smash your dining table into the wall of your new building, take a massive chunk of plaster out of a just-decorated communal wall it in front of your new concierge and still deny it vigorously.
    This image shows a red wine glass.
  13. Never assume that your agent sees hot water as as much of a fundamental commodity as you do.
  14. Apparently, lack of Internet connection is not a life-threatening issue to Optus, just a first world problem. Who knew?


The Middle-Aged Nesting Instinct



What I should be doing is organising the insidiously boring stuff involved with a house-move, like the utility connections (yawn!), but all I can think about is how I am going to furnish my new little apartment.


I should be working too, but I keep getting distracted by Ikea and Freedom and Etsy.


Navajo prayer rug, Art institute of Chicago
Navajo prayer rug, Art institute of Chicago (Photo credit: Dimitry B)

Bayliss carpets can make me orgasm at my desk. Who knew there were so many beautiful flat-weave rugs to compare?




The old man keeps calling me from work for an update on our ‘shoot me now’ To Do list, which doesn’t seem to include the important task of accessorising teal blue cushions with my existing artwork, repainting old furniture and generally spending lots of money. He expects me to waste valuable styling time providing our new address to boring institutions like banks and insurance companies and to wait an eternity for telecommunication suppliers to answer the fucking phone.


This is the old dressing table I’m painting while I wait for Optus to call me back – doesn’t it look pretty?

The Middle-Aged Nesting Instinct
Look at how nice my dressing table looks!


And then there’s Kurt’s birthday at the end of the week. He keeps dropping hints about a homemade birthday cake. Doesn’t he understand about priorities? My fault for spoiling him in the past, I suppose…


The Middle-Aged Nesting Instinct
Nailed It!


But the really exciting part of moving house for me is nesting – gathering all those perfect materials to make home feel like home. I AM trying to restrain myself and wait until we get into the apartment before I accessorise the kids with the apartment, (which I know makes sense), but that sort of controlled behaviour is simply not in my nature.


I want everything to be ready by the first night at the latest.


Kurt and NC think it’s hilarious but the old man is pulling the few hairs left on his head in frustration because I still haven’t organised the hazardous waste team from the council to come and collect the paint pots that have been fuglifying our garage for the past year.


Not exactly a priority in my view.


And I AM a very busy person, after all. Finding the perfect frames for prints can be SO time-consuming, as is sourcing the right dog bed to compliment my new living room paint colour.


I think the cream fur will suit the Princess Spoodle but if it doesn’t work, she might have to go.


I’m rather taken with this rope floor lamp for the living area … but then again I’m not really going for a coastal theme this time….


The Middle-Aged Nesting Instinct
Pier Rope Floor Lamp from Freedom (www.freedom.com.au)


First world problems…



Those Annoying and Expensive Online Shopping Mistakes

Now you know that I think that shopping is better than sex.

The headquarters of eBay in San Jose, Californ...
The headquarters of eBay in San Jose, California. Photographed on August 5, 2006 by user Coolcaesar. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And you also probably know by now that I’ve been a tad skeptical of the whole on-line shopping movement since its inception.

It’s hard for an old bitch like me to learn new tricks and as a kinesthetic person, I like to touch and feel for quality.

I HAVE dipped my toe in the water of Internet shopping. You may remember my early online food shopping mistake where I somehow read ‘kgs’ to mean ‘per item’ and ended up with enough potatoes to feed an army of hungry teenage boys. So no, my recent forays have not been highly successful.

However, even a skeptic like me can see the cost and timesaving benefits of online shopping. And it is, after all, another fabulous reason to not have to leave the house.

Let’s face it, receiving anything from the postman these days has become a veritable treat.

When it comes to shopping online for clothes, however, it doesn’t help that my weight continues to fluctuate on a daily basis, thanks to peri-menopause. I don’t actually know my shoe size these days due to its ever-changing shape since I had children and the serious start to my physical decline. Some days my shoe size can range between an 8.5 and a 9.5, which makes buying shoes online particularly interesting. Suffice it to say, I can only wear the ballet flats I bought recently if it’s cold enough for my feet not to expand, but warm enough not to need socks.

BowWow ballet flat shoes
BowWow ballet flat shoes (Photo credit: kartellpeople)

But with this sudden rush to get ready for our impending move, I’ve been having loads of fun flirting outrageously and selling everything bar the children and the dog on Gumtree.

The other night, I thought I had discovered some fantastic original Aboriginal artwork on Ebay (after one too many wines) and threw in a low bid. So when I opened my inbox this morning, I was ecstatic to see that I had won the auction, UNTIL I realized that what I had actually done was to GROSSLY OVERPAY for a ‘canvas PRINT’ – for other idiots out there, the word ‘PRINT’ indicates that the piece is not in fact an original but a photograph or copy.


So I won’t be appearing on a future episode of Antiques Roadshow in the forseeable future, looking greedy with my rare artwork that’s suddenly worth millions, after all.

Aboriginal Art - Rafael
Aboriginal Art – Rafael (Photo credit: pikous)

But this is where children come in handy, sometimes.

For I have managed to pass off this unusual departmental error to NC, who is a good girl and grateful for anything new that has not originated in Ikea or that the old man and I have erected, not quite according to the instructions. The only condition being that she tells the old man that the purchase was absolutely intentional and that she loves her Aboriginal copy d’art.

Thank God it isn’t real money is all I can say.

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The Importance Of Defining Roles In A Successful Relationship

Chaise Rocker (1 of 3)
Chaise Rocker (1 of 3) (Photo credit: Stewf)

I’ve discussed the absolute necessity of defining roles in relationships before.


Many of us slip into these roles quite naturally – where each partner takes ownership of particular ‘jobs’ in the household that are more suited to their own particular skill base.


For example, the old man is very good at taking out the rubbish at our house, and I know that he might deny it, but he is very adept (and I am certain finds it personally fulfilling) at sifting through bin juice, recycling and destroying cardboard boxes. He also does the gardening and much of the financial management.


I do everything else.


And in the past, I have been one of those lucky women whose husband doesn’t poke his nose AT ALL into the styling of our homes. Because that is my jurisdiction, just as acquiring technology is his.


This is mainly because the old man has about as much creativity as an accountant – perhaps because he is one – and because he also couldn’t give a fuck about the many different shades of white or textures of cushions. I like to think that it is also out of respect for my craft, with my background is interior design.

Trash Recycling with Disposal Containers


So apart from setting the budget, he leaves the furnishing to me.


Or he has done up until now. Because for some reason, he has decided to voice an opinion about which furniture makes the cut to our new apartment.


And it physically hurts me to even commence a discussion about room plans and spatial planning when my husband has as much spatial awareness as a drunk. Particularly when I know that his concerns have nothing to do with aesthetics and how our apartment will evolve, but rather how it will function and at what cost.


In his crazy, mixed-up and distorted accounting mind, life functions better without materialism and spending money – aside from the need for Apple-everything, apparently.


He has already dared to challenge me on various pieces of furniture and accessories, some of which we do not NEED exactly but which will aesthetically create the best ambiance for our new home.


So the next time he gives me ill-informed input about where something should go, I may be forced to cut off his testicles with very blunt scissors, I may have to bite my lip because I can’t handle being told what to do in one of my departments. It is rather like me looking at our annual household spreadsheet and telling him where we could save money.


Which is frankly absurd.

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Downsizing Your Dysfunctional Home

3DMLW APartment example
3DMLW APartment example (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, our big news this week is that we’re moving house AGAIN.


We’re staying in the ‘safety zone’, which is how Kurt describes our suburb, but we’re taking a massive leap into the unknown for dysfunctionals, and downsizing prematurely to an apartment.


There are many reasons for this move, apart from the obvious one that the old man and I are just that little bit too comfortable about being old before our time.


The first is the fact that 90% of Sydney rental properties refuse to accept that the Princess is not in fact a dog, and the second relates to our son, Kurt. We have come to the conclusion that secreting our son three floors above us in the attic is not one of our better parenting ideas after all and moving to an apartment will help us police him better develop our relationship with him.


The minor fact that I am completely OVER cleaning has nothing to do with it at all.


We had the choice of a very nice, large family house in a suburb close-by, but we have grown to love our suburb and think we’re ready for a few luxuries that only an apartment can provide.


Downsizing Your Dysfunctional Home
Downsizing Your Dysfunctional Home

We’ve had to lie, OBVIOUSLY, to be allowed admittance into this lovely and as yet, untainted block.


We’re still working on how best to conceal the drum kit, and intend to work on the Princess’s barking disorder (when anyone dares breathe in a 3 km radius of our house); Kurt has also promised not to use the roof terrace or the library room as a smoking/party area.


So the tension excitement is building slowly as we plan what needs to be organised over the next two weeks.

Lonely drum kit
Lonely drum kit (Photo credit: Wakonda (Emilio Vaquer))


There are only two minor issues: the first is to persuade Kurt that this is the right decision for him. He sees (what is a beautiful, secure building) as a potential prison-in-disguise and had rather taken to the other house, complete with music studio/illegal drug den in the attic.


He sees having his bedroom on the same floor of us as an invasion of his privacy and has taken to behaving like a caged animal.


The other impending issue is that we obviously have to get rid of an enormous amount of our ‘stuff’ and this has provoked the old man to crack a smile on his face for the first time in a very long time. In fact, I’m not certain if he is more excited about the prospect of being the only tenant in the building with an empty storage cage or the option of having the storage cage to escape to in times of dire need. He has spent the past 24 hours walking around our current house, pointing to my precious pieces of furniture and accessories and saying ‘you’ll have to get rid of that too, Lou.’


This desire for minimalism fits in with his new philosophy to simplify our lives.


We are waiting for him to point at us.

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It’s City Living, Innit…

English: North Sydney, Australia: CBD from the...
English: North Sydney, Australia: CBD from the air. Taken in 2000 by Sonia Boddi-Kyle The image (taken in 2000) shows North Sydney’s high-rise commercial district from the centre facing south to Sydney CBD in the background. Sydney Opera House can be seen left of the Optus tower. Category:Images of Sydney (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So we’ve moved.

A mere bridge separates us from the city now and we’ve had to change our mindset accordingly . I’ve had to throw out almost my entire collection of co-ordinating Havaianas and replace them with sensible flats, and the teens have been forced into wearing shoes again.

Apparently the stress of moving house is up there with divorce, or gaining a kilo whilst dieting or having a Brazilian (as in being waxed downstairs, not shagging Ronaldo). And I can now concur with that.

The good news, (notice that as we are still in the early stages of the new year so my January positivity remains undiminished), is that we seem to have arrived in Spoodle Central so the (anxious) dog is walking around, tail permanently in a vertical position of spiritual happiness; like she already owns the joint. She’s so damn happy in her own ginger caramel fur that she still hasn’t realized that a) there are two yappers next door vying for ownership of her courtyard and b) we have managed to condition her (without her knowledge) to wee in the one square foot of planted border available in the courtyard.


The other good news is that the new house is bigger than I remembered from that fraught house-hunting period just prior to Christmas (when everyone else was relaxing on the beach while my brain was imploding from the stress of moving, finding schools and packing for the family trip to Europe), and so we did manage to squeeze the hire sofas and fridge through the doors. We have also discovered an eclectic choice of restaurants on our doorstep, including four Thai ones so the old man’s bowels are still protesting from the cumulative shock of three Jungle Curries in five days.

The not-so-good news is that we still have no internet connection, no functioning television (hence no Downton or Masterchef, shock, horror), nowhere to house the drier and without air conditioning, it felt like we were being baked in Pizza Hut’s hottest oven on Friday afternoon when Sydney chose to host its hottest day on record as we were unpacking and cleaning.

I am, of course, still grieving the loss of my beautiful (and long-awaited) Miele dishwasher (that sits alone, like some white elephant in our old house), which had taken me twenty years of sexual favours to attain and which has been replaced by a very sub-standard, vintage offering with a trundling rather than gliding lower rack and no lid on the tablet dispenser, (which means you just throw it in and hope for the best). Primitive. A very friendly cockroach welcomed me when I first prised opened its old food-congealed door.

Nevertheless, the family does seem to be adjusting.

Nerd Queen, still high on her results and offer from university to study Advanced Science (WTF!) is almost as ‘high’ as the spoodle now that we are living in such close proximity to the city with its abundance of libraries (who stock Jane Austen), cool shops and ‘life’, although she has somehow acquired the notion that our house is to become some sort of ‘dossing-house central’ for all her mates who still live on the Beaches.

The ADHDer has been surprisingly calm considering the fact that the world that he knew (and was only barely comfortable in) has been turned upside down within a week; even though it was primarily his needs that provoked the move.

We had a few minor tanties over the heat in his bedroom (or what he excitedly calls his ‘music studio’, the furthest humanly habitable area from our bedroom by at least 3 metres), and the fact that neither the internet and tv were working, and that it took me four hours to locate the nearest Coco Pops supplier.

But thank God for XBOX which saved the day and became the most cost-effective babysitter AGAIN, keeping him entertained and out of my hair for hours on end, whilst I spent hours offering my body (for no return so far) to both Optus and Jim’s Antenna in a bid to get SOME technology functioning before the old man hangs himself from the Harbour Bridge. Apparently, the bargaining potential of my near fifty-year-old body is nowhere near as compelling as the younger model, but Nerd Queen has quite unfairly refused to play ball, in spite of missing at least four episodes of Bones.

The old man has been the most affected by the change. Not only has he had to resort to communicating with the family due to the constraints of no accessible sport on the tv or  internet, but he also received the disappointing news that we are not entitled to a parking permit due to our double garage (which would only fit a Smart car and Mini if you didn’t have to open the doors), which has caused him to practically melt down; several times. I have obviously been forced to reserve the garage space for my car, because as the ADHDer pointed out, we do have a disabled child (his words) AND I have the responsibility of carrying the vats of wine food shopping into the house.

So the old man has spent the past few days trawling the streets looking longingly for a parking space within walking distance of his very expensive city pad.

What can I say? No-one said that city living doesn’t come at a price.

The Seven Year Itch

Terrace Houses
Terrace Houses

So, we are leaving the Beaches in search of streets paved with gold (and no doubt littered with syringes) in the Big Smoke. The choice is one of circumstance, not because we are in any way unhappy here, which makes it emotionally harder.

For me.

I would be lying if I didn’t mention that, of course, when we held our annual Christmas drinks last Sunday, the old man was rubbing his hands with glee in the secret knowledge that none of our guests realised that this was actually a drinks/farewell party, as well as a seasonal jolly.

I’ve mentioned the old man’s social anxiety (here), which dovetails rather nicely with my propensity for itchy feet. We have to have nurtured this five to seven year ‘flight’ plan during our over-extended marriage. We move, we settle, we make friends and then we f*ck off to pastures new. It is a behavior that sates my need for adventure and impulsivity and the old man’s need for anonymity….for a precious short time. It is possibly the singular most important factor for keeping our marriage just shy of the ‘green mould’ stage, (apart from secret passion for Macdonalds).

And each time we decide to move (and even though I have generally precipitated it), when the decision has been approved and the lease signed, and I finally consider the consequences of the impulsivity of my rash behavior and throw my hands in the air and have one of my prima donna hissy fits about not having any friends AGAIN, (and no doubt rant and wail about how absolutely hopeless the old man is in cultivating friends and how I simply don’t have the energy this time to go through the whole faking rigmarole another time), he just smiles knowingly.

And rubs his hands with glee, again. Because he knows that for a while he will have his safe little lost unit of four, depending on him again. No new faces = no stress in his world, other than the stress of having to listen to me despair every Saturday night about how boring he is and how we have become nomads with no mates, and how will I cope?

This will be a tough one, this move. This house was supposed to be our last before we retired to our palatial penthouse apartment in Palm Beach once the rock star has earned his fortune and repaid his debts; the house with the in-built coffee machine, customized sofas and matching remote controlled reclining armchairs.

The old man, in an uncharacteristically benevolent mood, has promised me new sofas from Domayne if our existing ones don’t fit through the dolls house doors of our new terraced rental and promised to take me to the cinema once a month to counterbalance our new status of social outcasts.

Terrace Houses courtesy of Bjarte Sorensen at www.flickr.com