What’s been happening?

Christmas tree

You know when you keep putting something off and then it gets embarrassing because you’ve put it off for so long? Well that’s me and any updates here. I want to make it a habit to write a lot more regularly and I’ll put it out there now, that it’s my new year’s resolution for 2015. I don’t normally make them but usually when I publicly say something I feel that it commits me to do it.

So what’s been happening?

I have been a bit busy updating this website with pictures of our last safari suit event. I’ve still more to go.

I’ve been busy guiding a boy through the last few weeks of his primary school life.

Year 7 graduation

He graduated from year 7. It was an emotional week with the graduation on the Monday night. He had his high school visit the next morning and consequently is really excited to start high school next year. I’m so glad he’s so ready to go as he was a bit nervous and ho-hum about it all. He met his class-mates and some other boys he knows are going to be in the same year as well. And look, he’s now taller than me.

Of course, I’ve been at work. I work a nine-day fortnight so pretty much full-time and that can be taxing. Himself plays baseball which entails two nights of training per week and game day on a Sunday. Usually when he’s training I walk some laps around the oval with one or two of the other mums so at least I get some exercise in. Oh, and being part of a sporting club also involves volunteering for other things so I’ve done bar duty and canteen duty, and that’s on top of being a scorer every second game. Baseball scoring is full-on and while this is my second year doing it I’ve still got a lot to learn.

Oh, and he’s also in Scouts which for me means being on the committee and helping out at whichever bottle drives I can which has only been two this year I think. He loves it though and is now a patrol leader which he has embraced.

It doesn’t all revolve around him. I mentioned the safari suit event above which was heaps of fun. I also got along to see Nick Cave a few weeks ago at the Festival Theatre. I normally see him at Thebarton so a sit-down show was a point of difference but we had fantastic seats near the front.

Nick Cave at the Festival Theatre

He gets better and better every time I see him and I’ve seen him quite a few times now.

The rest of the year involves a bit more work and some relaxation which I’m really looking forward to. If I don’t get back here before the end of the year have a great Christmas and New Year all.

 

Frock on – weeks 2 and 3

I’m getting used to this photo a day of myself. I’ve never been that comfortable with photos of myself and I hoped that documenting Frocktober would alleviate some of that. I think it has. I’m learning which poses I like better as a photograph of me.

You’ll note there’s more than 14 photos below. That’s because on some days I wore more than one frock. So far I’ve managed not to wear one twice.

Thanks to my son for taking most of the photos. He’s mostly doing it now without complaining.

And I’ve nearly reached my target of $700 to raise money for ovarian cancer research. See my Frocktober donation page if you would like the stories behind the dresses and/or to donate.

I’ve been doing a count of where the frocks come from – new or op-shop. Op-shop is so far a clear winner.

See my frocks in week 1.

Seeing as it’s Wednesday I’ll join in on Trish’s Wordless Wednesday.

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Frocktober day 8

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Frocktober Day 9

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Frocktober Day 10

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Frocktober Day 11

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Frocktober Day 11 (evening)

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Frocktober Day 12

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Frocktober Day 13

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Frocktober Day 14 (my birthday). Am posing with a couple of colleagues who frocked up.

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Frocktober Day 15

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Frocktober Day 16

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Frocktober Day 17

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Frocktober Day 18

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Frocktober Day 18 (evening). Posing with some friends holding signs in support of Pacific Islanders.

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Frocktober Day 18 (evening frock 2). Why not?

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Frocktober Day 19

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Frocktober Day 20

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Frocktober Day 21

 

Frock on! Week 1

I have a bit of a frockin’ addiction. I thought I would put this addiction to good use and take part in Frocktober. Frocktober is a fundraising thing where you wear frocks throughout October and ask people nicely to donate for your efforts. Money raised goes to researching ovarian cancer.

Here’s my Frocktober donation page if you feel so inclined.

Here’s the frocks I wore for the first week.

Another challenge for me is having my photo taken and being okay with using them.

Day 1

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Dress bought from op shop earlier in the year for around $15. It’s a homemade (they’re usually the best) woollen jersey type fabric.

Day 2

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Phoenix trying to get in on the frockin’ action!

Today’s dress is a Veronika Maine bought about four years ago for around $50-70 on a good special. It was my lucky interview dress once. Now it’s a winter wardrobe work staple.

Day 3

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Today’s frock is a Target one I bought from an op-shop at Port Elliott about three years ago for around $10-12. Am wearing it with a belt I bought in Bali.

Op-shop – 2
New – 1

Day 4

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Day 4 and it’s great to get out some summer frocks with this warmer weather. This one’s an impulse buy (around $40) when I was in Melbourne three years ago and felt that I needed to come back with something I’d purchased.

Op-shop – 2
New – 2

Note to self – remind photographer to not get washing in the photo. Although getting said photographer (13 year old son) to take a photo is an achievement.

Day 5

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Dog training on #Frocktober day 5. Phoenix was ‘this close’ to passing his basic obedience. Today’s dress is a Jay Jay’s one I bought a few years ago for the princely sum of $5. I like the colour and it’s comfortable.

Op-shop – 3
New – 2

Day 6

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Day 6 and all is well for #frocktober. This dress is a great summer cotton number from an op shop. Paid under $10 I think.

Op-shop – 3
New – 3

Day 7

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Back to more of a winter frock today. Brought to you by Cue In The City. Acquired at Savers I think for around $12.

Op-shop -4
New – 3

Those dreaded words. Kitchen renovations.

I’ve lived in my house for 15 years, no nearly 16 years, and I’ve done bits and pieces to the house, but have steered away from doing the expensive updates like kitchen and bathroom.

However, I finally bit the bullet and planned and implemented a kitchen renovation.

There were aspects of my old kitchen I hated apart from it’s very dated look. I always battled with the kitchen taps no matter how often the washers were replaced and I even replaced the taps themselves a couple of years ago. Whoever tiled didn’t grout half of them. And some tiles were broken around the kitchen taps. I’d also perfected a closing technique for some cupboards that didn’t sit flush.

Kitchen sink - before

I didn’t really have much bench space. See how much space the old double kitchen sink takes up?

Kitchen sink - before

The old oven took twice as long to cook something as it should. There used to be a cupboard next to it which I removed prior to these photos.

Oven area - before

The pantry cupboards were never straight so never closed properly. The post it notes are for the demo guys.

Pantry cupboard - before

In typical me fashion, I went from thinking I’d get the kitchen done in July, to getting the kitchen and bathroom done in September, back to just doing the kitchen in September. The reason for it happening recently was that I house-sat for friends so I didn’t have to be at home to live through the reno. I pulled out of the bathroom reno because of the cost and logistics. I don’t have the luxury of a second bathroom to use so it would have been a real hassle. And the vague promise of one place saying they could do it in two weeks morphed into the more likely reality of it taking around four or more weeks. So I’ll have to build up to that one financially and emotionally.

But the kitchen went ahead. I called a local company and the person who was going to come around to have a look cancelled on me that morning and never called me back.

I went with organising and managing the trades myself and I think I did a pretty good job as I haven’t come out the other end with a horror story of renovations.

I didn’t really change the footprint of the kitchen and even managed to keep some of the cupboards. The old oven was happily thrown out (well it went the way of scrap metal collection along with the kitchen sink and other bits and pieces) and new oven and a dishwasher ordered. Yes, a dishwasher.

The image below is after the demo. It took a day to remove the cupboards and the tiles. See all the gaps at the bottom of the walls?

After demo

If you ever do a kitchen this is roughly what will happen.

You will umm and ahh over making any decisions but you will eventually make decisions about what you want.

As I used pretty much the same configuration as it was in, I didn’t use a kitchen designer or come up with a design myself as I was trying to save some money.

I found an excellent cabinet maker to do the cupboards. He was great. He was happy to reuse what I could which wasn’t all that much in the end really. I recommend an excellent cabinet maker.

I’ve got drawers – soft closing drawers at that. Who knew one could be so easily pleased by soft closing drawers. Get soft closing drawers.

I’ve got cupboards that close easily. I now don’t have to lift up the door handle to adjust the cupboard door so that it will close.

I packed up everything in the kitchen and moved it out. Luckily I’ve got a back room. This seemed to take forever and made me realise how long packing up the whole house would take.

Two friends came in and removed everything that was being replaced, and removed tiles. I paid them for this and it took a full day.

I got a 3m skip for them to use for rubbish and got them to keep the sink and oven aside so they can be collected for scrap metal. There was a bit of room left in the skip so I filled it up with other rubbish lying around. What a great feeling!

After the demolition, an electrician and plumber came in to get things ready for the dishwasher and new powerpoints and lights. If whoever is doing your demo isn’t comfortable with electrical and power you’ll need the plumber and electrician before demo starts, but mine were. An electric cable going to a powerpoint went pop scaring the hell out of them so luckily nobody was electrocuted. I knew the previous house owner was a DIY fella so I’m not surprised about the dodgy wiring.

When you’re figuring out what you want electrically, you realise that a powerpoint on that side of the kitchen is a brilliant idea and let’s add more lighting so you can see what you’re cooking (the oven is in an old chimney alcove). I’ll be going from two usable power outlets in the kitchen to about six and that’s not counting the ones that are used by the fridge, the kettle/toaster, and oven. I’ve got LED lights under my cupboards and under the chimney/stove area. Wow. I love it.

After electrical/plumbing prep is done get your cabinets put in. Your soft closing drawers and lined up cupboards. He had his work cut out for him in my old house with non straight floors and walls so I don’t think a flat pack kitchen would have worked for me.

Next is tiling.

Then the plumber and electrican come back to do their second fix and you get the plumber to do a couple of other jobs around the place that you’ve been putting off. After all, what’s a few extra bucks on top of a kitchen reno?

Last but not least my mates who did the demo came back to do the painting.

Then I was left with putting stuff away and trying to decide what goes where. I’ve lost a bit of cupboard space because of the dishwasher.

All up it took two weeks.

Friday/Saturday – pack up and move out
Monday – demolition
Tuesday/Wednesday – electrical and plumbing first fix
Wednesday/Thursday – cabinet installation
Sunday – tiling preparation (this was because of my old wobbly walls (house is not brick and built pre-plasterboard) so board was put up as a good base for the tiles)
Monday/Tuesday – tiling
Wednesday – electrical second fix
Thursday – painting
Friday – plumbing second fix, cleaning up and starting to move back in.

Below are the after photos.

You can see the LED strip lighting underneath one of the cupboards and a new powerpoint in a place I never had one before. The dishwasher should be sitting flush with the cupboards. One should read the instructions before installation.

After - dishwasher/cupboards

See the gap underneath the oven below? I’m getting the cabinet maker back to make a box to sit underneath it. One because the oven’s legs are wobbly (nothing to do with installation), two because it will look neater.

After - oven area

This is the decluttered benchtop. It WILL stay that way!

After - pantry cupboards

I still love being able to use a tap that I don’t have to battle with.

After - new tap.

What you can’t see in the photo below is the roman blind I installed myself. I’m a little bit handy, and not afraid to use a drill.

After - kitchen sink/dishwasher/cupboards

Things I love about him (13)

Ahem, you there on the trampoline!

I love that he loves our dog. After all the main reason I got another dog after Monty died was because of JJ. When we first met Phoenix he went straight to JJ. He wouldn’t go near me at first. I love that he enjoys playing with him and I think the feeling’s mutual don’t you? Look at the smiles on both of them.

And I love that the trampoline I bought for JJ ten years ago still gets used. Don’t see many of these ones around any more.

See all the things  I love about him.

Things I love about him (12)

On our way to the game.

I used to add snippets here of the things I love about him (my son) but I haven’t done it since 2006. He was five then. He’s 13 now.

When people ask me how he is I usually sigh and say, ‘he’s a teenager’. Sure, there’s attitude, but there are good things too.

The other day we had to move the dining table back into the kitchen and we were having a hard time getting it through the door. I knew there was a way because it originally got into the kitchen and out again. I was just about to give up when JJ said let’s try this.

His way worked and we soon had the table back into the room.

PS: the photo above was one of many I took, but the only one where he was sticking his finger up.

Life’s too short

The lake

Yesterday was an awful day in Adelaide. An eight year old girl was tragically killed when she was flung from a show ride. I don’t know the full story but maybe she was too small for the ride. Whatever the story is, it’s a horrible outcome for her, her family, friends, and everyone else who was affected.

JJ’s school has a day off for the Show and I took a day off too. I asked if he wanted to go but he wasn’t interested. Because he’s 13 now he probably won’t want to go with me again, but will go with his mates in the years to come I imagine.

Instead of going to the Show we spent some time putting rubbish in a rubbish skip. I had the skip to get rid of my old kitchen cupboards. Yes, after 15 years of living in my house I’m finally getting a new kitchen.

The old oven that takes twice as long to cook anything than it should is out. I’m getting a dishwasher. I’ve got soft closing drawers and I’ve got cupboard doors that close with ease and don’t have to be closed in a certain way to get them to close because they’re uneven. My house is quite old and the walls and floors are very uneven. Fortunately I know an excellent cabinet maker who’s done a sterling job. Hopefully in another week everything will be done and dusted – literally. Removing tiles creates quite a bit of dust! Not that I removed them. I paid a couple of friends to do the demolition. Totally worth it.

Last night I forced myself to go out to a party an acquaintance had. I wasn’t sure who’d be there but I went along anyway and I’m glad I did as there were a few people I hadn’t seen for a while. One of them asked me if I’d been on holidays this year. I answered in the negative and said that I’m doing my kitchen up instead. As we chatted and talked about mutual friends and 50th birthday parties that are happening thick and fast it confirmed that I’m getting older and I really can’t take life for granted and I need to do things.

It’s hard to be totally free to do these magical things because of being a mum to a new teen and a reactive dog, holding down a job, and running a house, but it’s in the back of my mind that the teen will grow up, the reactive dog will calm down and I need to be thinking about other things to occupy myself when this happens. One thing that’s occupying me at the moment is my new phone. I managed to get selected to review a phone provided by Telstra as part of their Mobile Insider program. I’m reviewing an LG G3. The photo above was taken with my new phone, which I think I’ll keep.

Getting out and about and doing things aside from my day-to-day reality is partly why I forced myself to go out last night. I could have easily stayed in by the fire and the latest episode of Big Brother but I switched off, put on my latest op-shop purchase and off I went.

Life’s too short.