You may or may not have noticed I have been MIA for a few weeks.
Far too many weeks, as far as I’m concerned.
All has been well. Good, in fact. Just extraordinarily busy … you see, a few weeks back …
[insert wiggly graphic type thing here to indicate we are going back in time]
… first up came the settlement of our new abode.
Knowing it was forthcoming, I had commenced (as you know) the packing up of the house we were tenanting. This went as well as could be expected; a la everyone playing with the stuff that I was packing away and not actually helping pack stuff up.
I lost it over LEGO several times, clearly failing to explain how essential it was at that moment to have a clear run to various objects and exits. Ideally without being forced to attend an emergency department with a Clone Trooper embedded in my foot.
Up until the morning before settlement, we actually had no idea whether it was going ahead on the day we had anticipated, so it was still very much up in the air. Still, I had organised the removalist the week before, booked it all in, and continued on my merry way with the packing of our household into boxes.
This was kind of necessary as we were heading off for four days ‘holiday’, with the In-Laws, to attend the significantly-milestoned birthday for one of the many of them. Thus, our packing of the house coincided beautifully with the end of school term and the need to pack a family of five for a holiday interstate.
That was fun.
Approximately fourteen loads of washing per day, for three days, was performed in order to ensure we had the correct attire for our trip away, an email from the site/building manager of the new house indicated that a few minor touch ups – like replacing the entire carpet on the first floor, thanks to a painter and a painter-related mishap – were required and when were we settling? A quick phone call to him (“got your email, we’re settling in an hour and a half, removalist booked for tomorrow morning …”) was followed by a quick call to the removalist to confirm the time they would be arriving (“What do you mean you don’t have us booked in?! I rang a week ago and booked it!”).
This was followed by a mild tantrum, a quick ranty call to Grumpy Pants to update him on everything and find out if he had any intention of getting his shit organised for going away, and another phone call, to some random removalist I googled. Not my preferred option, but what can you do?
House mostly ready to go, beds and bookshelves dismantled and boxes allocated to a single area, whilst multiple requests for kids to get their stuff organised for holidays occurred. Grumpy’s work was, rather than quietening down for Winter, was picking up. This was both fabulous and rather inconvenient in equal parts.
Mostly, it was exhausting from my perspective.
Settlement occurred as was scheduled, which was a wonderful blessing, and happiness descended … mostly because I have a lovely, new, workable kitchen and my own, proper workspace for my Office.
The removalist – the new ones I booked - did show up when they said they would, and although not filling me with as great a confidence as the original guys I’d booked, the job was done in a day. A FULL day, but it was done.
A vast majority of ‘stuff’ out of the old place, everything out of the truck and placed in their relatively correct spots, I could relax in the fact that we had ‘moved’ as we had planned.
I could now go back to the old place, we could all sleep on mattresses on the floor, and we could head off on our holiday and enjoy ourselves.
I would move proper when we got back.
A very early morning was had as we hauled our bags, children and arses out the door, setting off for the airport and our flight to the Gold Coast. Or was it Brisbane? Having left Grumpy Pants to organise the holiday, in his overworked and slightly stressed state, things were a little … lacking in detail. Mind you, it would have been much the same, if not worse, had the job been left to me. Which is why he had that particular task.
Bags fumbled in, tickets located and we worked out which flight we were to be on. A mild moment of panic when we couldn’t recall at which airport the hire car would be waiting for us at, only assuaged when we remembered our sister-in-law had our itinerary and she is a travel agent. We were fairly confident she did a better job of organising the hire car than we could have in that moment.
“Where are we staying?” Grumpy Pants asks me as we wait to board the flight, Chippie in tears and pyjamas saying he doesn’t want to get on a plane, and doesn’t want the plane to crash, Monkey Boy and Godzilla overtired and hyped up, which is always a fabulous combination.
“Um. You organised that,” I remind him.
We have no idea where we’re going …
The flight, remarkably, is not only on time, but lands a little early, we locate our hire car and we contact a relative to find out where we’re headed.
Unable to wait the twenty minutes for our arrival, the extended family set off for some excursion, calling us to let us know and asking we meet them at some point. This forced them to wait on the side of the road for 30 minutes, whilst we found out where the hell we actually had to go, then find them.
Still, we had a lovely picnic in a national park, caught up with rellies we haven’t seen for ages, and taking a billionty photos of lots of things. T’was nice.
Dinner with family had, back to our room, bed and I even got myself a few moments to just chillax … I’ve almost forgotten how to do that …
Fun filled adventures the next day, where we set off – all 23 of us, aged 10 months to 55 years – to Currumbin Sanctuary, where there was LOADS of wildlife … and trains …
Despite my fatigued mind and body, I was incapable of just wandering around aimlessly and, instead, spent a good three hours climbing around tree tops at the Adventure Parc. My arms eventually gave out and said “no more”, but I left physically exhausted, bruised, grazed and sore.
The perfect indication of a fabulous day.
Quick showers and getting dressed for the Birthday Dinner we had all arrived wherever the hell it was we were (I believe we’d exited Queensland and were staying somewhere in northern NSW – three states in four hours. Not a bad effort!), where Chippie sat on my lap, the subsequently developed a burning temperature, shivered uncontrollably, and promptly fell asleep.
After consuming my dinner and singing Happy Birthday, I felt the best option was to leave the party early and take him back to our room. Arms and body beyond fatigued, I hauled his dead weight up and commenced the five minute walk back to our room. This saw him convulse in fits of delirious laughter, which then had me laughing; possibly due to contagious nature of his laughter, and more likely due to anxiety and freaking out about his behaviour.
Day three saw us driving two hours (back to Brisbane) to visit some of my own relatives whom I have not seen for some time, and back again. Plans to make our way back to Brisbane airport over some seven hours, exploring and visiting various landmarks as we went were made,and were promptly changed over breakfast the next morning.
Chippie, whom surprisingly ate a HUGE breakfast, threw it all up again in rejection of the taste of the panadol I had attempted to give him.
Instead, we found ourselves headed even further south, towards Byron Bay, a place I try to avoid.
Byron Bay … where the toilets smell like lemon grass and the scent of the breeze from the ocean consists of the distinct smell of dope, emanating from the joints smoked by past-middle-aged men …
Plans included heading to Byron Bay, pulling into a car park and saying “so, what are we going to do here?”
The walk to the most-Eastern point of Australia was stunningly beautiful, and scattered with one of my kids up every second tree along the way, the littlest one in tears from exhaustion, and the middlest one wandering off in his own little world.
It was worth it once we hit the top, and made our way even further up to the lighthouse.
Whales and dolphins were spotted and the view in itself was relaxing. I took a moment to wander away from everyone and everything and just sit quietly for few moments, on my own, taking it all in.
Our trip back to Brisbane airport was, therefore, more a direct drive than a slow, exploratory one. Arrive at car hire drop off place and realise we have not topped up car with petrol. Leave again to fill car up, taking a good twenty minutes out of our chillaxed time to check in and all the rest of it.
Return to drop car off. Arrive at Tiger check in desk to be greeted with a sign saying “Check in at Desk 15″, which was, as it turns out, around the back of where the sign was, and not the five minute walk across the frigging airport departures and check in area.
“Are you headed to Darwin?” asks the lovely girl behind the counter.
I wish, I thought to myself.
“Melbourne? No, your flight was cancelled. You were put on the 6.40 flight earlier this evening. Didn’t you get an email or text?”
No. No we didn’t. And a 6.40 flight, two hours earlier does not help.
“We can put you on the next available flight,” she says helpfully. “It’s at 9.10 tomorrow evening.”
Half an hour later, we have booked very early morning flights with Virgin. Peter, who served us, was extremely lovely and helpful and even tried to find us accommodation. Unfortunately, there was nothing, and we were back in Brisbane, staying with the brother- and sister-in-law we had farewelled not an hour earlier. Which was really lovely and helpful of them.
Up early again, where my day was spent between two houses; trying to organise and make one liveable, and tidy and organise a garage sale at the other.
I got my new Maid to do a bit of tidying in my new office space whilst I set about trying to avoid the foetal position and just find places for stuff.
Over the last two weeks I have sorted and organised and tried to remain calm as I dealt with squabbling children who did not want to go to school/share a bedroom/put things away/do anything asked of them.
A trip to Ikea was undertaken in a bid to get some semblance of organisation in the place and provide me with somewhere to put stuff.
A quick stint on Channel 7 News, filmed in my new house, between boxes and piles of cushions and blankets that are currently performing the role of ‘couch’ occurred.It was nice to have a proper shower, do my hair and wear some good clothes, even if only for ten minutes.
(You can view the story at https://au.news.yahoo.com/vic/video/watch/24467487/investigation-into-baby-formula/ )
Now, most of the new house is set up – including my very own office space! – a garage sale has been organised and had at the old place, Chippie still does not have a bed and some things do not yet have a home, but at least we now know what needs what.
And I am finally, finally, sitting at my (very old) desk in my very own space and back to doing what I love.
It’s a nice feeling.
How about you, what have you been up to this last month?