Category Archives: moving

Good job Kelly!

I am really bad at this blogging thing Internet.

I think it’s just because my life is uncommonly boring at the moment, which is odd, since I have moved to a new country and one would imagine that my life is full of riveting things to tell you. I’m not sure what to say in response to that, except that…it kind of isn’t.

Same shit, different city really. The thing about having decided to write full time is, I don’t have any hilarious work place stories to share with you. Because I’m working from home.  So I’m going to talk to you about how that’s going.

Most of you know that I’m a huge procrastinator. I found this great post by this super interesting guy called David. He wrote about procrastination on the Thought Catalogue. He writes: “It turns out procrastination is not typically a function of laziness, apathy or work ethic as it is often regarded to be. It’s a neurotic self-defense behavior that develops to protect a person’s sense of self-worth.” – It’s a great read, I encourage you all to go on over there and read it.

Anyway, I have been using my neurotic self-defence behaviours to protect my sense of self-worth for quite some time now.

I am so close to having the first draft of my novel done. Like, seriously close. What happened is, way back when I decided to really give this a proper go, I worked like a demon on getting the ending written, and then hated every little bit of it. It was a total cop out. It was a forced ending to a story I wasn’t entirely sure how to finish, and it made me really frustrated and unhappy. But I was finished right? So it was all going pretty well.

That meant that I could realistically take myself back to the beginning of the novel and start to fix up a few typos and errors and all those boring bits that repeated themselves. But the whole way through, I’ve been unhappy with the ending. So I deleted the whole thing when I made my way back there, and am currently in the process of rewriting it.

It’s great, I’m liking it, and I hope you will too. It doesn’t feel forced any more, and it’s working itself out into a slow progression of proper endingness. I’m happy with it. I am enjoying writing it. So, why am I still procrastinating?

Good question.

I got back into it today, and I was checking out the last time I’d written anything on it. I’d been very impressed with myself for having finished a chapter and having written another good 1700 odd words. The date was 14 March and I sat here today, congratulating myself on having written so much only four days ago and then getting back into it again. I was quite surprised that those four days had felt so much longer than they really were.

And then I checked the date and realised that today is actually the 18th of April, not March and it’s been an entire MONTH since I last wrote anything! Ahh procrastination. Ahh the joys of working from home! Days all blend together and the next thing you know, a whole month has gone by and you’re still procrastinating over finishing your work. It’s really hard you know. I love to work to deadlines. As much as I always say that I don’t, I do. Because I have always completed my work by the due date – well, on the due date. Usually with only a few minutes to spare.

The problem is, I’m only responsible to myself right now, and I am the Queen of irresponsibility. For goodness sake, I had my first child when I was 19! I am far more likely to get up in the morning and decide to spend the day faffing around online, playing computer games and if you’re lucky, baking something less than extraordinary.

There’s also this dog…for the past two weeks, it’s barked incessantly from about 9am to well after sundown. Every damn day. And, now it’s the school holidays, so the kids are home. And, Ollie’s home all day everyday too. I have housework to do, and people to feed, and music to listen to and gardens to pretend to work in, and spiders to imagine are lurking in every crevice. Oh, you have no idea how exhausting it all is!

Yeah, see? Are you seeing my problem now?

I have a feeling that once I have this first book out of the way and thrust out into the world for people’s reading pleasure/horror, this whole writing thing will become a little easier. It’s just this first time, you know? My fragile self-worth is completely tied up in this first novel, and I’m scared to death that it’s not going to come out reading like all my hopes and dreams.

So it’s a lot easier to sit and procrastinate on it, and wander through life blissfully doing all manner of other things.  But I promise it’s coming. I’m about two and a half chapters away from having this end completed. It reads really well, I’m happy with it.  I’m giving myself a couple more months to go through the second and third edits before I start handing it out to beta readers and once I’ve gauged an opinion, I’ll be working towards finding an editor – I have three potential people here in Adelaide I’m considering right now, and then hopefully, hopefully it will be ready to release into the world.

Thanks for sticking with me. You guys are all awesome.

Much love
Kelly x

Whoa!

I finally have my computer AND an internet connection! It feels like a very long time since I have had either. Keeping up with just a phone and a very poor 3G connection has been really difficult. I’m so glad to be back!

I’ve missed being able to just write here, and I feel like I have a lot to say, so expect some posts in the very near future! With pictures! I guess that’s the one good thing. I haven’t really had the opportunity to put up the photos Ollie has been taking on Facebook, so that means there’s a lot of new ones I’ll be able to share and write about here. (Unless you’re friends with Siobhan – in which case you may already have seen them!)

Happy New Year friends and family. I hope yours has been as interesting and varied as ours has been. Wishing you all the very best for 2013. xoxo

I Don’t Know What’s Wrong With Me!

This is I suppose, a testament to the fact that I am a bit of a hermit. I know my way around this city, because I have followed the exact same routes for as long as I have been driving here (8 years – in case you were wondering). I do not drive by way of street names – because I forget names. I mean, I write the names down and follow my directions by street names, but I know where I am because of the landmarks around me.

Of course, the earthquake has ruined that. And the terrible roads on the east side of the city mean that I don’t go over there very often at all anymore. It’s just easier to stay on this side than to have to battle through millions of road cones and dodge massive potholes and road workers.

Yesterday, I met a friend for coffee in the city. I was excited to be going into the city, because I don’t do it anymore at all. We have been to the city approximately three times in the past almost two years. I knew where the place was, sort of, so I didn’t bother to write myself instructions. You see, the difficult part of navigating your way through Christchurch these days is that all the roads in the city are blocked off, so the ways you normally went, you can’t go down anymore. Which means that you are even more reliant on the landmarks to give you some idea of where you are.

But this doesn’t work either, because there ARE NO landmarks left in Christchurch! I drove into the city, knowing that I needed to get to the corner of Tuam and High Streets. I knew if I went down Manchester, I’d find it. I went down Manchester, and there was a road block, so I turned down a street without actually seeing a street sign (turns out it was Tuam St) and drove straight past the cafe and ended up a street and a half away with no clue at all of where I was.

So I call Ollie, and he’s like “what street are you on?” I don’t know what street I’m on. There aren’t any street signs! “Well, what’s around you?” “Uhm. Nothing. Just empty spaces and rubble.”

“Oh. He says.” “Yeah” I reply. I’m looking to my right, and seeing the street running parallel to me (Tuam St, the street I’m looking for) and it took us ages to figure out, that’s probably the street I was looking for. So I just parked in one of those big empty spaces, that used to be probably a good 6-8 buildings at one time, and I make my way down the street. Nothing at all looks familiar to me, until I finally see Alice’s and I’m like “That’s Alice’s! It must be close!”

Turns out, the cafe is now in the old Alice’s and I’d driven right past it without noticing. Actually, I’d pulled into a carpark opposite – but it was full and I had to find somewhere else, and I still did not realise where I was! You see, the new Alice’s which was also a mission to find when I first went looking some months ago, used to be at the end of a blocked off street. That street is now not blocked off and so I did not recognise where I was at all.

Hopeless.

Today I ended up going across the city to a mall I am not all that familiar with. That was fine, because I’m pretty good at finding my way there. Except, when I left I could not for the life of me find my car. “I can’t find the car!” I frantically text Ollie. He doesn’t reply. “No really. I can’t find the car!” I text again. Meanwhile…I find the car.

Driving back, I decide I’ll get to our side of the city by 5pm, so I should just go pick him up from work. I go down the ring roads, towards the motorway and it’s all good. Except the motorway has been expanded and made HUGE and NEW and so I just go on straight down it, like I always do. But they’ve done something weird to it, and I’m going “wait a second…wait a second…” and I can’t wait a second, because hello? I’m on the motorway! “It’s fine!” I tell myself with waning confidence. “I’ll just keep going straight, like I always do and I’ll end up at Blenheim Road.” Yeahhhh…no.

I’m driving, and driving, and I see a sign, and it says “Timaru.”  I’m going to Timaru, and the freakin’ motorway is neverending! How on earth am I supposed to not end up in Timaru! I don’t have the gas to get me to Timaru!!! What if the motorway just stretches out all the way there and there is no way off?

There was a way off.

I took the way off and had…yeah, you know it…no clue where I was. So I call my husband again, and bemoan the fact that I have no clue where I am, and the stupid motorway was taking me to Timaru.

All I can think about is that in FOUR DAYS TIME, I will be living in a completely new city and I’ve been in this one for 16 years now and I’m still getting lost!

He’s amused. I’m just tired and want to go home damnit!

It was easy enough to get there though, once he’d given me directions, it turns out I was only about ten minutes from home. Apparently I didn’t really want to pick him up after all.

Packing Up

The girl who packed our stuff for shipping had the biggest thickest false eyelashes and two cute little diamond jewels next to her eye. I think that they’re just stick on and not piercings, but I can’t be sure. She’s adorable and did such a freaking GREAT job. It’s SO HOT here today, and she packed everything away like a champion, by herself. I was really worried about how she’d manage with the boxes of books that we had already packed, because Ollie couldn’t even lift them and complained when we were both carrying them out, but then a guy arrived to help.

Anyway, everything is happening today. The new house owners had a valuer come through to value the property for their bank, and he was so freaking weird! He started talking to this girl, asking her about packing and does she often have to wrap furniture etc – it’s only our coffee table – and then he noticed her lashes and he goes “you have very big eyelashes!” And she made the embarrassed noise girls make when someone notices something about them, and she said “It’s just lots and lots of mascara.”

It so is not lots and lots of mascara. Those things are dragqueen length falsies! I kind of loved her for lying about the length of her lashes.  Besides them and the two wee diamonds, she is entirely make up free. I wanna take her photo to show you, but I think that might be even weirder for her than having some random guy ask her about her lashes.

This has got to be one hard job, especially in this heat. And she did it all by herself! I wish I could say that I wasn’t surprised to have a girl turn up to pack our stuff, but I really was.

I totally dig her. Getting up and here before 9am ready to pack peoples stuff with falsies on is to be admired, I think.


The Salvation Army turned up a couple of hours later to take away a bunch of stuff we’re not bothering to take or sell. The house is starting to feel so empty now. We have been selling everything using online auctions and some things just go that day. Like our TV which was very depressing. Now my desktop computer is gone too, which means the house is painfully silent – as I play all my music through that machine.

Anyway, we were able to give them a lot of stuff and hopefully we can get them back the Monday we leave to take the beds and couch and chairs. We’re spending the last two days in a motel, so that we can have everything gone and sold and not have to sleep on the floor.

I’ve been at Ollie for a couple of weeks now, to list our car. It is old and crappy and some of you may remember when I artfully managed to tear it open . So yes, I was not expecting much at all. It has given us and our mechanic years of amusement – particularly Ollie’s amazing bog job. We had talked about what price we’d consider selling it for, and he FINALLY put it up today, with the stipulation that we would need it up until the 17th. Thirty seconds later, I kid you not. We get our first call.

The guy buys the car on the spot and asks us to drop it off on the 17th for him at an address which just so happens to be just down the road from the motel we’re booked into. Success! While Ollie was on the phone, there were six missed calls waiting for him. People are strange.

I’m quite surprised and pleased at how easy people are in terms of purchasing things and picking them up when we’ve asked them to.

As stressful as all this has been, it’s also falling together really nicely, and with two weeks to go, we’re pretty much all sorted out on this side of the ditch. On the other? Not so much, but we’re getting there!

I Like Birds

I really do. They are the coolest creatures in the world. I like everything about them and always have. Part of my excitement at our move to Australia is all the interesting bird life just living there in the wild. I have been dreaming about planting fruit trees and nut trees to encourage them into my yard.

October arrived and we were finally ready to go over. It was a hectic trip, full of school visits and work prospects and looking at places we might end up living and spending time with family, etc. But it was also really great! Ollie and I haven’t been away for any real length of time without the kids ever, so it was really nice to have the chance to just be together – even though we were mostly doing things child related.

We got to meet two of the new baby arrivals – there are several still brewing. And I got to be the annoying Aunt who always wants to hold the babies and to show off my incredible skills with them.

Babies just love me. No really, they do.  This bundle of gorgeousness who did not at all want me to be annoyingly squeezing him is Hudson, and he’s a whopping 10 weeks old here. He gave me a lot of very serious looks and some windy smiles before filling his pants and then he’d had enough of me thank you very much. 🙂

He will grow to love me, because that neck in there needs to be raspberried many, MANY times.  That’s what babies like the most you know. That and having their feet eaten.

We timed our visit really well – accidentally, and ended up being there while Ollie’s dad and step mother also were which was lovely. It’s always good to get to see them again, even if for only a short time.

And on top of that, one of Ollie’s cousin’s wives very thoughtfully gave birth to their second child only three days before we arrived! I know! Good lord but is she the most beautiful wee thing in the world. I almost took her home with me. This redeems my claim that all babies love me, I swear. Check out the very serious face she is giving me. We were having an incredibly intense conversation together. Babies are the coolest, because they’re always so enthralled with what you have to tell them. You can tell she believes every word I’m saying.

Argh! Honestly!!!! That FACE!!!! Her name is Caitlin and if she was any cuter I would have just eaten her all up. OMNOMNOMZ!!!

Most of our ten days was spent ringing around schools and organising to meet with people to be shown around so that we could take back some information to the girls and let them decide which school sounded the best. We managed to narrow it down to three schools, all of which offer completely different things and styles of learning and we’re still deciding which to go with. Hopefully we will know by the end of this weekend, because that will decide where we end up living.

Our plans changed in regards to this part of things when we got there and were bombarded with so much information we went to bed on overload! Our original plan was to move over and buy a house close to the beach and send the girls to a school that was close by and looked great! But then we checked out some other schools, which were also great, and which meant that we’d have to be zoned if they chose to go there. Luckily all three schools have pointers in terms of living. The original one near the beach, another in a beautiful almost country setting and the other quite close to the city. All very different in terms of education and living. I’m excited!

And then we went to the beach. Actually, we went to Victor Harbour and stayed in a family holiday home for the weekend. It was so lovely, quite similar to Christchurch weather and scenery wise and we got to relax for awhile.

On our second day there, we went to Granite Island, which you can walk out to. It was such a lovely island, small enough to walk around and reminded me a lot of Canterbury’s coastlines.

There is even a horse drawn carriage you can take out there, but we opted to walk. Unfortunately for me, something on the island was in bloom and flared up my allergies something terrible! I sneezed the entire way around the island and went through an entire packet of tissues.

Ollie found a pair of birds sitting on the pathway and we paused so he could take photos of them. He crept up quietly as close as he dared and snapped his picture. The birds took offence and flew into the air screaming at the top of their lungs. We thought that was the end of it until they circled around and divebombed us! Not just once mind you, it was a complete bird aerial attack! They would not give up! We were shouting and laughing and trying to shoo them away and they were diving and shouting back, tips of wings touching the tops of heads, long bird legs scraping backpacks.

Look at his angry face! You can almost make out his birdy eyebrows drawn together in anger!

Yes, that is the top of my head that a bird is swooping in on. And yes, my husband did stand at the ready with camera poised to take pictures of me being attacked! He truly is my hero. When the second one divebombed him and hit his backpack and he shrieked in terror I was appeased! How rude!

Go away birds!!! Do you see his wing in the far left corner? These were by far the most hilariously evil birds I’ve ever come across. It was so funny and we were laughing so hard, which I think just spurred on their fury as they came back again and again. We didn’t even want their silly eggs! Not that I know where they were, but why on earth were they making their nest so close to the pathway? Eventually we managed to get far enough away that they roosted back down on rocks below and kept their evil birdy eyes on us until we had gone around the corner and left them for their next unassuming victims!

Aside from that though, the island really was very beautiful and full of incredible rocks. Ollie finally gave up his camera and allowed me to take his photo.

I think it’s his best angle.

After all that adventure and my endless weepy eyes and sneezing attack, we had a quick lunch, I bought some incredible allergy medication (Australian pharmacists are so much more helpful than ours!!) and we went back home to read and rest for awhile. Ollie was on the bed, I was in the lounge and fell asleep on the couch. Allergies are the worst thing in the world! They totally zap your energy! And he got to a really exciting part of his book and yelled “DUN DUN DUNNNNN!”

I swear to god, I almost crapped my pants. Holy shit internet! The place we were staying at is echoey. It was TERRIFYING!!!!! Who does that?! Who just assumes their wife is wide awake in the next room and shouts at the top of their lungs? Not okay! Luckily for him, he’d taken me out for a really lovely meal the night before.

We had a simple dinner that night and then spent the evening walking along the beach. I just can’t get over how warm the sea is over there. I’ve become so used to freezing cold Christchurch sea, that to walk into water and have it feel so warm is a novelty! It was just so gorgeous, even though the day itself was not really all that warm.

The evil Granite Island looming innocently in the background.

 

All This And Heaven Too

So I guess I was a bit too hasty in expressing my hatred of DIY and painting in my last post. It was definitely hard, and there were times when I really wondered what on earth I’d gotten myself into, but now that I’ve given it a second go, I have to take that back again. It’s not so bad, internet, and it really is very rewarding.

I’ve been waiting for Ollie to get into the bathroom, but he’s even slower than me! So while he is fluffing around with the tiny toilet area, I figured I’d get started on the shower. Those of you who watched my terrible vlog will have got some sense of how crusty my shower really is, but I needed a better camera to be able to show you it fully. What you didn’t see was exactly how dark and how grotty it is. It’s like a wee cave in the wall, with a horrible old door and damp and mould and ugh! It’s awful!

Ollie had started sanding a little in there, but it wasn’t happening fast enough for me, so I got in there last week and decided I’d just go for it. I unscrewed the door (with the help of Siobhan who got that last and very stubborn screw out) and we both struggled with the weight of it until we got it outside! It was incredibly liberating! I stood there being completely pleased with myself and wishing there had been an audience around to see how awesome I am.

The doorframe was a complete mess. It just looked so awful, so I got in there and sanded it back, and then filled in the gaps – which I am quite good at (better than Ollie, ha!) and then left it. It’s hard to do the shower, everyone needs to have one you see. I debated not letting anyone have one until we got a shower curtain put up, but then that seemed like another thing that would take forever, so I relented. It’s so lovely to shower in there now! It feels so open and light! Not as much water escapes as I imagined it would either which is good, because Ollie and I went to a hardware store to look for a shower curtain rail, and then I wondered out loud about whether or not you could get a glass door, just the door to fit in a shower. You can internet! Did you know this? I did not! I was SO excited to find this out, that we nearly bought one! I still partly think we should have, but the shower curtain will still make it look lovely in there. The glass door was pretty expensive. I’m really amazed at all the great bathroom and kitchen things there are in the world that you can just, purchase and get put in! I did not know any of these things. Had I, we might be very poor right now.

Anyway, we are waiting on the curtain rail, because when we went back after mulling over whether or not a glass door would fetch a better price than a shower curtain, and had gotten a mixed range of responses from friends, they had none left. So I spent the last couple of days painting the skirting boards, door frames, the step and the ceiling of the shower.

My mum told me about this amazing invention called the ‘speed brush’. I bought one and then gave it the side eye when it came time to use it. It looked difficult and I am not at all sure of myself with any of this painting business. So I just picked up my paintbrush and undercoated with that. With much the same feeling I felt painting the laundry. It was slow and boring and difficult. By the time I was done, my arms were aching and I was feeling like giving up.

I figured it couldn’t be any more difficult than that, so I sucked it up and gave it a go for the first layer of paint after the undercoat was dry. Oh my god! What a freakin’ revelation!!!! I heard angels singing.

It was done before I even realised I was painting! I do find it a bit messier, and I had paint all up my arms, but I was done so fast that I couldn’t wait for it to dry so I could do it again and have it finished!  It was a complete turn around in the hatred stakes. I now have a renewed interest in painting things. It just looks so fresh and clean and wonderful! Tomorrow I’m going to scrub every square inch of it until it gleams.

I think, if we work really hard this weekend, we could get the whole bathroom close to, if not completely finished. I’m pretty excited to show you how it looks when it’s done.

Everything else is plodding along nicely. We are slowly selling off all our stuff – and there is a LOT of stuff. I’ve spent a long time sorting through old kids school work, paintings, home made cards and other kept memories, and I have got it down to two boxes worth. It’s amazing what I found. Old letters, teenage writing, beautiful kindergarten paintings the girls did, hilarious stories they wrote in primary school. It’s been really lovely having the time to be able to sit and pour through everything and purge what we don’t need.

I think I am still keeping far more than I need, but two boxes is pretty manageable.

Tomorrow we have gardeners coming to straighten up our yard. I am really excited about this! I can’t wait to see all the pieces of dead trees and branches and stuff that we have just left lying around gone and the trees cut back and the gardens tidied.

Only about two and a half more months to go! I can’t believe how fast it’s going! And then I’ll bore you all with the talk of the new house, and all my plans for life across the ditch.

Somewhere in between then and now, I hope to have my first book in the beginning stages of publishing. Of course, I need to get into it and finish editing so I can give it out to my test audience and see what they think needs fixing, but it is coming along slowly. I’m not sure when life decided to become amazing, but it really is quite stunning at the moment.

love
Kelly x

Australia!

I am officially allowed to start talking about the fact that in three months time, we will be moving to Adelaide! I’m both terribly excited about this, and horribly terrified! We made the decision a year ago, with the help of some of Ollie’s wonderful family members – many of whom live there, and who have been encouraging us to go.

It has been a strange couple of years, and I am still working on writing up my account of the Feb quake that almost took Ollie from us. I’m thinking that I will get it written and posted for the two year anniversary.

I’m looking forward to the change in scenery. Adelaide is so beautiful, and it’s looking very likely that we’ll end up living close to the beach! I’m a Nelson girl originally, the beach is my soul. There is nowhere else I’d rather be, than walking along a beach, in ALL kinds of weather. I am very partial to overcast, cooler days – a love that has been born from my 16 years of living here in Christchurch.

For such a long time, it felt like we had forever before anything was going to happen, and now I realise that very soon, we’ll be putting our house on the market! I think I’ve been slightly in denial when it comes to how long we have left. It hit me the other day, and I had a complete meltdown! Nothing was happening! We still have so much stuff to get rid of! An entire household of stuff! It seemed like we were getting nowhere fast and that we would never get it all done.

But the weekend just gone has been great. We managed to do quite a few things and have started progressing forward again. My laundry is complete, although I am not at all interested in continuing on with the bathroom. I had this idealistic dream that it would be loads of fun and really relaxing for me to get into it and paint. You know, meditative. Yeah…no.

Deep down, I knew I’d secretly hate it, but I had no idea just how intense that hatred would be. Painting SUCKS. It’s messy and slow, and BORING and even plugged into music I couldn’t wait until it was over. It looks lovely in there, but good god it sucked!

I would love to be one of those people for whom DIY was fun and exciting and achievable. The problem is, I have the concentration skills of a two year old and I get bored so easily. I also hate hard labour.  My hands were made for looking pretty, and for writing, not painting. It’s a bit depressing to realise just how much I detest the whole painting thing. I had wonderful fantasies about painting our house when we move; 0f self decorating and being great at it, and making it my job.

My enthusiasm reached epic levels and my lovely, encouraging husband said “maybe you’ve found your passion. Home decorating and writing.”  Yes! I thought. Yes, that’s exactly it! This is what I was supposed to do! This is what makes me happy! This DIY, this home decoration, this painting and fixing and doing stuff! This will fulfil all my deepest desires!

Yeah, no.

It’s nothing like that at all. It’s boring, and lonely and depressing and hard. Painting is really HARD! My arms were screaming for mercy! I could hear them begging me to stop, but I couldn’t stop, because the laundry still needed ANOTHER COAT.

Three coats of paint later, I could quite happily have squirted lighter fluid all through that damn laundry and set the place on fire.

And yet….I still have to do at the very least, the skirting boards, cupboards and windowsills in the bathroom and the toilet. I had set myself the task of doing them in the kitchen too. *snorts* Then EQC said they’d pay to get it all fixed up – because there was more damage in the December quakes, which was really exciting news for me! They said we would get money to fix up the broken wall under the kitchen sink and to fix a few small cracks in the laundry, plus the garage including having that repainted too. And then we find out that there are also around 35,000 other claimants in the queue, which of course means, by the time we leave this place in December, we won’t have been paid to fix it.

Conundrums internet!

Anyway, it has been many weeks since I finished the laundry, and while I would like it to be many weeks before I have to start on the bathroom. Time is running out! We’re getting the place valued soon, and then we’ll be putting it on the market, and then people will be coming in to view it! ARGH!

Must somehow get rid of pretty much everything we own and make the house presentable in the next three or so weeks! I just don’t know how all of this stuff works!

In the meantime, Ollie and I are heading to Adelaide in late October to check schools and areas to live in. It will be the first time he and I have gone anywhere for any real length of time together without the kids! I’m pretty excited about that.