The real reality of home improvement…

We are about to see the end of another series of The Block. The renovation show that is more about getting tradies to do the work while you go and spend ridiculous money on fluffy stuff and then complain cause you’ve run out of money and can’t pay your trades. It’s all a fantasy and I love a good bit of escapism on my telly so I like to watch it and yell at it. I also love to renovate. We bought this house and it was filthy and in fairly average condition so it’s been painted – mostly – flooring ripped up and new flooring laid, new window coverings, security doors, garage door, ceiling fans, light fittings blah blah you get my drift. We have a tight budget and some of our ‘nice to haves’ have been put into the ‘you’ve got to be joking, how much?’ file. We would love to do so much but one of us works for money and one of us works for love – and the only time love pays the bills is in dodgy 70’s porn films. Anyhoo this weeks project is to finish what we started last week and that is to re-roof our pergola and paint the patio floor. We took the roof sheets off last week and removed 28 cup hooks from the timbers – must have been the hanging gardens of Babylon at one stage – sanded, washed and repainted the timbers ready for new roof sheets. We worked together and we didn’t end up having an argument, which is pretty amazing really. Our budget for this job is $1000. Yep that’s right, only three zeros. Will it be the super awesome outdoor area we would love? Probably not. But it will be a shelter from the weather so we can cook and eat outside while MrRooben chases his ball and Barry Big Hole practices riding her bike. We don’t have a budget for pillows and cushions and throws for our bed…we have four pillows and a doona cover my mum picked up in the recent closure of a House store – thanks mum! To be honest even if I did have spare money pillows and cushions would be last on my list. I would rather buy a coffee table or side table so I can put my drink down without MrRooben whipping it onto the floor with his broom like tail. We currently use the two small chairs that form part of an Ikea chair and table set that Barry Big Hole has in her play room – they do the trick but to be honest it would feel more of a grown up space with a coffee table. We’ll see how we go in the budget. Our guests might have to continue to play dodge the dog tail with their coffee or wine so we can plant out our neighbours instead. Turns out that at $27 our kids Ikea setting was a sound investment with multiple functions….it just won’t be appearing in Vogue Living anytime soon.

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on the nose…

my sense of smell has been on high alert since I was at about five months pregnant and I have been waiting for it to return to its usual, normal, state…unfortunately it is taking its sweet time. I have been fascinated by the amount of people who try to inhale babies and claim that they have a smell…even with my ultra sensitive nose I am hard pressed to identify this eau du baby and I am wondering if the reason lies in the products I use when bathing and changing little boss. I am thinking that maybe the “baby smell” might be more Johnson’s and Johnson’s less actual baby. it’s that scent of baby powder that triggers something in our memories that says new baby. I continue to smell little boss and sometimes she smells clean but fragrance free and at other times she smells like sweat mixed with avocado and a hint of vegemite depending on how much goes in her mouth versus her hair. my sense of smell is so out of whack that I can smell when my neighbour has put his antiperspirant on in the morning…he may as well be using our bathroom it’s that strong to me. recently our financial position has changed due to my new stay at home mum status and we are therefore looking for new ways to spend less or save more whichever way you want to play it. anyhoo I needed some soap or shower gel so I head to woollies and check out whats on special, deciding on the shea butter and something something shower “milk”. I used it for the first time this morning and let’s just say I am glad I only paid $3.39 for that bad boy cause it’s going straight to the trash. not sure when shea butter started to smell like a cross between domestos and vanilla fridge cleaner…anyhoo off it goes into the bin and off I go back to the shop for a good old cake of goats milk soap which, given our finances, I should make myself. laughable that I will spend the money on buying chemical free products for little boss yet just purchased what amounted to bleach and phosphates for myself, not sure where my heads at some days. what I do know is that my olfactory system rejects any smell that is artificial…like those plug-in air “fresheners”…here’s the tip if you want fresh air, open a window, if you want “fragranced” air try essential oils. at least these have been extracted from the actual plant or flower you want your house to smell like. trust me, and my nose, the vanilla plug-in smells nothing like vanilla and there’s a reason why so many people think lavender smells like toilet spray.

now if my mum is reading this, and eventually she will, she is probably waiting for me to make reference to her pantry so at the risk of outing her for crimes against vegetables I will just say that deep in her pantry lies an evil so strong that I held my breath while looking for the sugar…and actually contemplated a brew without it. my dad could empty the contents and find whatever has died in there but like all good husbands he stands there with the door open looking in and asking “what smells in here?” heads up dad….if she knew what it was, it would be gone by now, bless him.

there is one thing that has been on my nose/mind recently and it’s the adverts for glen 20…you spray it around and it “masks” odours and kills bacteria….mmmmm if there are odours wouldn’t you rather go to the source and get rid of it rather than spray a bit of glen 20 around it and hope for the best? and now there are motion activated sprays that will only spray when you enter the room….awesome sniff up those chemicals…seriously how bad does the house smell that you need to make the air smell like fake freesia whenever you enter the room. and how much do we trust the companies that make these things that they are not creating havoc on our cells….yes I am ever the sceptic but surely we have more and more people diagnosed with disease and disorders now than 40 or 50 years ago before all the “luxuries” of our fast paced world were born….I best stop now otherwise what started as a light-hearted romp through my nostrils will end with us feeling depressed about the world we live in. enjoy the long weekend if you are in western Australia, feel free to envy us if you’re not.

 

we’re doing it wrong…

child-proofing the house that is. I thought we were doing ok…power points covered with plugs that require a knife to remove them, sharp implement draws sealed with a device designed by someone with no intention of ever using it themselves and the dog bowl gets picked up off the floor every morning. so imagine my surprise when I turned around in the kitchen to see little boss standing at the cupboard that holds all our glassware holding one of MrB Badger.com’s favourite pint glasses above her head…lucky for me it’s not a big kitchen and the only injury sustained this time was to my ears as little boss kicked off big style when I took the glass off her and marched her from the kitchen. back to the many bright coloured, and in some cases noisy toys that should be holding some allure for her. unfortunately she has come to that point in her development where common household items are the cats whiskers. the washing basket, empty boxes and the rubbish bin are very popular as are any and all cupboard doors, bedroom doors, the toilet paper, remote controls and my nose. it’s fascinating to watch but at the same time I feel like I am forever saying no and taking things off her so sometimes I let her have things for a while and eventually she gets over it and moves on to the next forbidden object. I guess the one thing that has hit me is how much of our behaviour she is mimicking. she gets the remote and points it at the telly – and to her delight it will turn the telly on at the touch of any button so in the words of Borat – “great success”. brushing her hair, brushing her teeth and drinking from a bottle are all things she has watched us doing and now she is like a mini version of us…very scary indeed. so it looks like I am off to target tomorrow for some more cupboard fasteners, here’s hoping they get easier to use as time goes on or our kitchen bench tops will become the new storage area….for everything.

buy the whole teapot not just the strainer…

my weekend kicked off on saturday – no really – with a major fail. we had forgotten to transfer the funds for our mortgage payment which was due to be withdrawn on friday…oops. so I made the transfer and called the bank to confirm when they would attempt to take the money again and due to the public holiday on the east coast it wont happen until tuesday – my bad. anyway so we were on our way to take scott’s mum to breakfast and I get a text to say that my credit card payment is overdue…awesome start to the weekend so far. what the devil is going on? have I lost all sense of the day and date ahhhh that would appear to be a yes and it’s starting to cost us money in bloody bank fees. the only thing worse than bank fees is the speed camera hidden behind a bush…yes I know if I didn’t speed it wouldn’t be an issue and if I paid my bills on time neither would I attract unwanted bank fees but just let me get it off my chest without judgement okay….anyways so we had a lovely breakfast and before heading home I needed to get a tea strainer so we popped into a delightful homewares/gift shop. scotty found the tea pots and strainers quite quickly as he knew I would get captivated by the handbags and wallets at the front door so from the rear of the shop comes a voice urging me to come and have a look…yeah yeah I am coming but I am attracted to shiny things so it takes me a while to get back there and when I do he has spotted a smorgasbord of tea paraphernalia well done I say! so I am looking at the tea-pot which includes a strainer and is only $16 – a bargain really – but scotty thinks we are only in the market for a tea strainer so he spots a lovely silver plated number with a stand for $26 and it is nice so we get that one and off home we go. oh sure we picked up a couple of other bits and pieces including a british bulldog paperweight….why? well because we can. so back at home I boil the kettle to try out my new tea strainer and scott is watching me put tea into the tea-pot…he says why are you doing that we just bought a tea strainer? so I explain that you have to steep the tea leaves in the water before pouring the water over the strainer to which he replies – well I wish you had told me that cause we could have bought the tea-pot that had the strainer in it – it was $10 cheaper. I am still laughing at him thinking you put the leaves on the strainer and just poured the water over them when I am pouring my tea over the strainer and the lid of my tea-pot goes crashing to the ground in a million pieces…turns out, yes, we should have just bought the tea-pot because now I have a flash tea strainer and a pot with no lid…will hit up good sammy’s later today. It was also quite comical that we were discussing the potential $10 saving on a tea pot versus the tea strainer but the purchase of a british bulldog paperweight didn’t factor in…at least the tea strainer has a purpose.

the weather continues to be miserable and 110,000 houses across the metro area are still without power and Mr Rooben is desperate to go out and play but doesn’t like to get his hair wet. it’s just one in a long list of neuroses he has, the heater, the pram, the mail man, people jogging, our push bikes, jumping into the car if there is something on the seat, other dogs, his old water bowl – it made a noise when it auto filled, the rain, the wind and the sun. if it is sunny and he is out for a walk he will pull as hard as he can until he gets into a shady spot. before we put the pool in we would throw the ball to him and he would fetch it and run into the shade along the back wall to bring it back to us. so in this weather it is very hard to get him out because as soon as it starts to rain he tries to get as close to you as possible to avoid getting wet. we will just have to have ball games in between the storms. its perfect weather to be in hospital giving birth really but myffyn does not appear to be in any hurry to introduce herself to the world. fortunately I don’t have too many complaints and if she wants to wait then who am I to argue? although it would be nice if she could get a wriggle on within the next 24 hours so I can avoid another über fun internal exam tomorrow…is it a little sad that I would choose the pain of labour over the pain of an internal? probably – but at least at the end of labour you get a prize, at the end of the internal you get a box of tissues – not sure if they were for the excess lube or the tears of pain so I took the whole box.