A letterbox update

I was going to stalk Pete the Postie today and see if I could get an opinion on our new letterbox arrangement. Yes, I did want a pat on the back, don’t judge me, but somehow I missed him.

He didn’t miss me though.

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He took the time to stop and write me a note on our mail!

“Love the new letter box! 10/10 Pete the Posties best l/box award [something] [something] [something] smiley face”.

(If you can read the something-something, please share.)

10 ot of 10! I got more than the pat I was hoping for. He’s hilarious!

I love Pete the Postie.

Posted in Curb appeal, Such is life | 2 Comments

The vision – Front porch

Despite it being winter the front porch is one of our most used areas by all three of us. The house is fairly elevated, which gives us a nice view, and due to the railing and the gate (that is next to impossible to open), it’s safe to let bubba out there by herself to run amok.

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The porch is quite long so there’s plenty of room for a lot of “amok”.

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It gets a fair amount of sun for several hours a day so it’s often comfortable even though the temperatures have been low. I also confess to having had quite a number of glasses of wine out there while watching the sun set. It’s a good spot.

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We want to give it a bit more “pretty” though. We have a vision for how we’d like for it to look. There are a few ideas but the favourite inspirations are the following two.

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In the first one it’s the contrast between black and white with the fresh green that I like. The style is a bit too conservative for us though. And in the other the white with the warm wood and some happy colours. Not sure where we’ll end up, but to get there we have a few things to do, in no particular order:

  • clean windows and fly screens
  • remove frilly lattice on posts
  • a larger welcome mat (DIY) (move the current mat to one of our other entrances)
  • exchange the two porch lights
  • new front door (black) (current one is a bit rotten at the bottom)
  • new railing, or at least paint existing one white
  • (if new railing, get a sliding gate instead)
  • remove asbestos ceiling (it’s showing signs of potential damage which is BAD)
  • install new ceiling (wood or white)
  • make floors pretty but still easy to keep clean (floorboards? paint? concrete stamping?)
  • render facade or at least paint white
  • hang ferns
  • chimenea (if safe, investigate)
  • basket for firewood and kindle
  • bucket of sand for the chimenea
  • fire extinguisher
  • somewhere to put extinguisher and chimenea raincoat out of sight
  • remove bush from railing and facade
  • install (tropical look?) ceiling fan above seating area
  • build a seating bench
  • build a table
  • decorate (sew cushions, one more chair, blankets, large plant or two, outdoor rug?)

The crossed out bullets are the ones I’ve already done. We’re just going to whittle away at the tasks little by little until we get there.

Posted in Front porch, ToDo list | 5 Comments

Our front porch is on fire

Not for realsies. Just a small contained one.

We’ve been wanting some sort of flame element on the porch ever since the first day, but it obviously had to be safe, and preferably actually radiate some heat.

Anything fire pit was too large, too open and not fire safe.

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We’ve been looking at ethanol fireplaces, but they were either way too small

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or way fancy for our little outdoor spot.

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Today we finally stumbled upon a chimenea that was small enough to fill the fire safe requirements for an open fire under a roof. We went to a new-ish Bunnings (large hardware store for you non-Aussies) in our general area yesterday and it’s now our favourite. Heaps better than our local one. Golly gosh, it was HUGE and it had EVERYTHING.

Going on a bit of a tangent here, but Bunnings have been my favourite store since very early on after arriving in Australia. And when I met The Banker and found out his mother actually worked for my favourite store… that pretty much sealed the deal for me, HA! True story.

She’s no longer with Bunnings but now we’re married and have a child so whatcha gonna do, eh? (NOT a true story, only joking ya’ll). (Hi R!)

Aaaanywho. We went to Bunnings to pick up a padlock (we sure know how to do family outings) but ended up running in to this tiny chimenea and carted it on to a trolley together with some firewood and drove it home.

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It is just the right size for the space.

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I had to prep it with some sand. It needed almost ten litres of sand. I measured up ten litres of water in a bucket and put some masking tape inside the bucket by the water rim to mark where ten litres were. Poured out the water and filled the bucket with sand up to the masking tape.

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Filled up the chimenea and then laid the tiles for fire proofing. (Both the sand and the tiles were bought at the same time as recommended by the store.)

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The chimenea needed to be conditioned with a small fire for a couple of hours. So I fired up. The Banker thinks I get very easily fired up.

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Aaaaah… fire. Please tell me there’s a little bit of a pyromaniac in you too?!

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Posted in Front porch | 8 Comments

Peter Postie Puts Parcels in Pretty Postbox

We had a letterbox that was inconvenient. We couldn’t retrieve mail without first needing to lift the entire letterbox out of a cavity in the retaining wall and then open the lid.

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From the looks of it this wasn’t even its original colour but somebody chose this colour and painted it this way.

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Our house numbers were also located on the letterbox. Some quite small numbers right underneath “LETTERS”. (I’ve removed the numbers from the photos for privacy reasons.) And the letterbox was facing away from the street, towards our driveway and carport. So it wasn’t entirely clear to people visiting which address to stop at unless they managed to spot the tiny hidden letterbox with the even tinier house numbers. And considering the amount of tradesmen and deliveries we currently have coming and going I felt it would be a good thing if that could be rectified at the same time.

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So facing the street there was no sight of a letterbox or house numbers.

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I had an idea for how I wanted to upgrade the letterbox but I wasn’t sure it would work for our mailman. He’s easy to hear coming down the street because he’s got a clunky little motorbike so when I heard him approach one day I ran out on the porch and called out to him.

I only got so far as to tell him I wanted to get a new letterbox when he got off his motorbike and BOWED! True story! He said that I just made his day. So apparently our awkward letterbox arrangement hasn’t only been annoying me for the past four weeks, but the postman for YEARS! He introduced himself as Peter Postman and said he’d even forego his Christmas bonus (bloody cheek) if I went through with the changes.

So when I knew my idea would fly with Peter Postie I got on to clearing the space where I wanted the new letterbox to sit.

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I figured the corner of the retaining wall would be a good visible spot to host a larger sized letter box, as well as being accessible both from the front for Peter Postie, and the back for us. (It’s a rather high spot which was why I wanted to clear it with the postman first, make sure he could reach it without getting off his bike.) It would also be facing the street so the new larger house numbers, which I would put right underneath the letterbox, they would finally be visible as well.

A bush was growing in the spot where I wanted the new letterbox so in my new undertaking as arboretum murderer I simply took to the secateurs and the saw again and hacked away until most of it was gone. I will not win any landscaping awards for my handiwork, I tell ya, but I got the immediate result I wanted. The shadows make it a bit difficult to see but the bush is gone and the corner is clear.

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And to my dear friends T & C, from what I’ve been told about the area, I think this is a Sydney Funnel Web spider‘s nest. I thought you’d get a kick out of that.

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Wonder if anyone’s home…? Right next to where the new letterbox was going… Not ideal. I think I finally have to call the Pest man, I’ve been putting it off but I can see now that I need to face that potential issue sooner rather than later.

I liquid nailed the new letterbox on to the stone. I have commitment issues and wasn’t sure this was the final resting place for it so instead of bolting in to the rock I went for a softer approach. Just in case I change my mind down the track. Trust me. It’s a very likely scenario.

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And I got some nice large plain stainless steel house numbers and will fasten them too on to the rock, right next to Spidey McSpiderson and right underneath the mailbox.

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Wonder what Peter Postie will say on Monday?

Posted in Curb appeal | 9 Comments

Alligators

“We’re up to our asses in alligators on this one, gentlemen.” -Hetty Lange

That’s what it felt like today with one bad news after the other.

I had the trades people here all day that were installing the new positive pressure ventilation. And not only did the thing not work at the end of the day but during the install they found several other things I didn’t like the sound of.

  • Oh you want to install more power outlets? That’s nice, but you know that the subfloor insulation we just put in for X thousand dollars will have to be removed first and then reinstalled?
  • Oh you want to install more power outlets? You know each one needs a breaker switch, which will have to be installed on your circuit board, no biggie, except for that the entire board is asbestos. So we won’t do it.
  • Did you know you have random asbestos boards just lying around in your roof? (No. No I did not.)
  • We couldn’t open the wall for the air outlet under the roof because … everyone… IT IS ASBESTOS. So we’ll just put this ugly blob on your roof instead that will remove the outflow.
  • Oh, and the heater to your positive pressure ventilation does not work and we don’t know why. And the owner is away on holidays for another ten days.

Alligators.

Posted in Such is life | 6 Comments

Knock knock! Who’s there?

Arbitrary.

Arbitrary who?

Arbitrary arboretum.

Yeaaah… I agree. Not even remotely funny. But neither was the knocking and squeaking on the window ALL. NIGHT. by this grand fella outside our bedroom.

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I was considering heading out at 4 am for a while and just tear the darned thing out of its sockets, but my nose tip told me it was FREEZING out of bed and it was obviously very windy outside (hence the knockingly squeaky rub). And I had the electric blanket on. So I just suffered through it and bided my time.

Which came during nap time.

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I grabbed my secateurs and a saw to basically murder this tree. (And yes, it’s bin day.)

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But if you imagine the sounds of someone rubbing a balloon with their fingertips, and pulling their nails across a blackboard then you would understand why I had to do what I had to do.

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Any resistance was futile. I had made up my mind and wasn’t taking any prisoners. So now there will be no more knocking.

GORN!

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Still loads of greenery out there.

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But none of it trying to get through the window.

Before and after.

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The mind boggles at the difference.

Posted in Bedroom | 2 Comments

Lost, then found

So I found them eventually, all 216 parts for the two bookcases. And look how organised I was when I packed them up!

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That didn’t help though when I in the end couldn’t find the bag! I found it by accident while looking for something entirely different and totally unrelated. As you do.

I didn’t waste any time and got on the assembly first thing this morning. Pretty fast work with my little half-Swedish helper. It’s in her blood, building Ikea flat packs.

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Look at her placing those wooden dowels in all the right places!

They need to be anchored in the wall before I can start loading them up, but this is where they’ll go, in the dining room.

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Eventually they’ll be replaced by built-ins but that’s a bit down the path. For now we’re working “functional” as opposed to “pretty”.

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Unfortunately. Welcome to my brown brown world.

Posted in Dining room | 4 Comments

Floorboards

I desperately need to look at something pretty so let’s take a look at the floorboards and what they looked like before we put all our junk on it.

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It wasn’t only for aesthetic reasons we tore up the carpet in favour of floorboards although that was a big reason. It was mainly due to health and being able to keep the floors clean with a little one in the risk zone of getting asthma, and a husband that already has it.

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I just can’t get over how little dust we have now as opposed to when we were in the unit, which had carpet everywhere.

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I still vacuum a lot but that’s more thanks to my rice cracker eating daughter, and her penchant for tearing paper, any paper, into minuscule sized pieces.

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As much as we love the floorboards, and the CLEANLINESS of floorboards, they’re cold as ice. As in feet numbing cold. This will soon be fixed via two separate installations I’ll tell you about later, when they’re completed (end of June). Until then we bought some footwear to get us through the next couple of weeks.

So this is what the Banker got for our daughter. Real sheepskin Uggs. Very Australian. Very trendy.

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And this is what he got for me.

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Trying to tell me something, dear Husband?

Posted in Dining room, Guest room, Hallway, Kitchen, Living room, Reno, Study | 3 Comments

Unpacking update – Part 3

Bubba has been slightly more cooperative this past week, or to be fair, more settled. So it’s been a bit easier to get stuck in to the boxes. We also had a long weekend so husband was home for an extra day to take her off my hands and that’s always helpful. So here’s the current situation.

Bubba’s room. No change since last week but the blinds arrived today which means I can install them and she can move in. Will probably do that on the weekend.

Master bed. Quite cozy now. Chucked a rug on the floor that I’ve had for a fair while although never used. It looks nice in there now although there’s heaps to do before it matches my vision. But it’s fully functional and that’ll do while I attack the rest of the house.

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Guest room. No change. With bubba moving out and in to her real room we can now finally buy the guest bed and start making this room functional for visitors.

Bathroom. No change. There is plumbing work to be done here, nothing too exciting at this point, just making it more functional for Phase 1. The plumber was here last week to have a look and make a shopping list of what he needed for all the little jobs I got for him. He did however fix our shower on the spot. The water pressure was so weak we could barely get wet under it. True story. And it took minutes, not exaggerating, to regulate the temperature. It was frustrating. He took one look at it and fixed it while he was on the phone! It was that easy. A bloody water saver. Now the pressure is so hard it rinses my hair in a couple of seconds, and the temperature can be set in just two turns on the taps. This is the lovely lovely plumber I spoke about last week. And as it turns out he’s actually as lovely in real life as on the phone. And obviously skilled. Looking forward to his return to fix up everything else. A few leaks and annoyances about the place.

Dining. Entirely void of boxes now. I moved the bookcase pieces in here since they’re supposed to live here once I find the darned screws and can assemble them. I actually called Ikea (where they were bought) and as it turns out I can’t PAY for new sets of screws but they will just give them to me, even though it’s my fault I lost them. IF they have enough screws that is. And between these two bookcases I need two sets of 108 screws and dowels. Ya. That’s 216 freebies. Unsure of my success rate there. But kudos to Ikea for offering.

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Table is still a mess. We have a history of Horisontatitis.

The side of the dining room is looking decidedly nicer with the desk we pulled out of a neighbor’s garbage when we were still in the unit (yes, we are THOSE people). The blue stuff is tarp that I put on the floorboards before movers plonked the fridge down hoping it’ll protect the new floor at least a little. The chair is one of two that oddly enough came with the house.

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Entry. We put our old hall table in there. Doesn’t really fit but makes it slightly more functional for now. Somewhere to drop keys, wallets and the likes. And chuck shoes.

The piece of paper on the wall is the ToDo list for the electrician. I had another one for the plumber but he was so excited about getting a list he took it. Gotta love a fellow OCD person.

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Living. I need to learn to take photos first thing in the morning before bubba makes a right mess. This space is now heaps more functional and family friendly. Bubba has more play space and room for her toys where she can play near us (she won’t play in her room yet) after I moved the sofa backwards and laid her shelf down just like it was in our previous home.

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Study. A glimpse of my haven. It’s nowhere near my vision for this space yet but for the first time in about two years I have a dedicated area for just myself again. From this spot I can see the valley and I’m sitting here right now. Is sooo good.

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If I turn around though I see the rest of the boxes.

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And there is a similar sized pile of boxes still in the living area which I for some reason neglected to take a photo of.

Kitchen. No change. Still messy but we can find everything and it’s possible to cook in there so it’s a minor win. Well actually. I bought a shelf at Ikea the other night to put in the fridge cavity where the fridge is supposed to go. Our fridge is however about one centimeter too wide to fit so it will live in the dining room until further notice. This shelf allowed me to make up for the shallow shelves a little and I could put large mixing bowls and other random stuff in here. It’s not pretty. Gosh how I long for pretty!

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And finally the laundry. Bought two shelves of the same kind that I put in the fridge space in the kitchen, just lower, and that sorted out the laundry quite well for now. I couldn’t get anything higher because that would’ve required attaching them to the wall, which isn’t possible at this stage due to the asbestos.

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I am working towards a functional home at this point only. Once that is achieved I will start working on “pretty”. Can’t. Wait.

Posted in Such is life | 7 Comments

Psychic? Anyone?

That there.

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Those are two very large bookcases that I planned to reassemble as quickly as I could after the move because I would probably fit the contents of about 15 boxes in them. Brilliant unpacking plan.

So when I disassembled them I put all the screws and the Allen key in a zipbag, closed it up, and put it somewhere where I would know instantly when we moved in where it would be.

See where I’m going with this?

I’VE BEEN LOOKING FOR TWO DAYS!

Help? Anyone?

Posted in Such is life | 1 Comment