So tomorrow, its been exactly 4 months since I ruptured my achilles and Im happy to say that Im nearly there. In saying that, i still have limited movement in my right foot and Im still wearing heal lifts and I cant go longer than an hour of activity without icing but nonetheless, I am on the mend.
It has been a long and arduous injury. I keep saying to people, if you wanted to inflict an injury on someone you didnt like, you would consider an achilles injury, but you would think up something else as this injury is one of the cruelest of them all. Even my wife says, its the only time she wishes I had just broken my leg which would have been healed in 6-8 weeks.
As it is now, I have not been able to drive til a few days ago and I havent been able to just get around and do the things that I normally do. As you may know, we live on a farm and there are always things to do, and lying around on the couch or in bed watching the pool go green, or seeing trees that have fallen down and need cutting up and fencing that needs doing, it has been one of the most frustrating things of my life.
With all that’s happened and my venting, I have to say that this injury has been a bit of an eye opener, as Ive said in earlier posts, I have learned to appreciate things more and even slow down my thinking a bit. In doing so, I have been less annoyed by the kids and more patient, Ive been able to sit back and watch what’s happening before just jumping in and reacting to minor scuffles. Im not perfect but this past 4 months has helped.
So 2017, what will this year bring. Im not really about New Years resolutions, I am goal driven, but I dont like to use the NYE line in the sand to direct where Im going or what Im going to do, as these generally last a few weeks. Of course Ive got some fitness goals. Im not getting any younger. I have to be careful of the middle age spread! I am going to give gluten a wide berth this year and see how that goes (I started in 2016 – for the record) Every year I do set out to read more. I know that when I read, I always love it and love sharing what I read to people who dont… There’s a blog article a week there!
Anyway, I wish all of you a very happy and fulfilling 2017 and hope that you can set some short, medium and long term goals that help you as a person. Dont worry if you feel you’re not achieving them or if things are going slower than anticipated, just keep putting one foot in front of the other and push on!

In 1982, at the age of 7, I was given a rubik’s cube for a present. I think I might have seen the first Rubik’s cube world championship on TV earlier that same year, sparking my interest in it. But with no real knowledge on how to solve it, I think, like many other kids at the same time (or not), took the easier route by removing the stickers and placing them in the right location instead of actually solving the cube or working it out. Unfortunately the stickers were not very adhesive after being removed, and thus the Rubik’s cube was relegated to bottom of my toy box where all the other dysfunctional toys awaited their final trip to a landfill.
Now let me Introduce my friend Matt, whom I met many years later (1998), and who, lets say is a bit of a gadget’s man, and when moving into a share house we had in Geelong had a Rubik’s cube. I cant remember if Matt had ever solved the cube at that stage, but I do remember us spending time trying to solve it. Ive only just learnt that there was a book called ‘You can do the cube’ by Patrick Bossert, that could have helped us all those years ago, but that is the past.
So here we are now nearly 20 years later and another generation of kids born and again a Rubik’s cube has arrived in someone’s stocking last year and the circle completes itself. But this time we are armed with the internet. Mr Rubik and many other people have created websites devoted to helping people solve the cube by simply following a series of algorithms to solve the puzzle, as easy as that! Now, like everything else, its about learning the method of solving it and then practicing until you can beat the current world record holder who solved the Rubik’s cube in an amazing time of 5.25 seconds… Here is a little youtube clip you might like…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XwNUmnDu1r8
But as for me, all I wanted to do was solve it, and that’s just what I did… Unfortunately I’d lost my stopwatch, but who’s counting! ūüôā

2016-10-27-09-28-13

There is nothing like an injury or illness that sits you fair and square on your arse with hours of thinking time. Time to reflect about who you are, and what you’re doing, and who is important in your life.

This has been my lot for the past month. Where I ruptured my achilles tendon, and have had not one but two surgeries, and have a few weeks/months still ahead of me til Im up and about, fully mobile again.

As you may have grasped by now, Im a bit of a do-er. I like to get things done. The old saying goes, if you want something done, ask a busy person, well that ‘busy’ person is me. Busy in thoughts and busy in actions. Actually, I hate the term ‘busy’… because you can get ‘busy’ doing anything, you can be ‘busy’ watching tv every day of your life, but I assure you that’s not me. I think with me, it was the fact that one day a long time ago, someone decided to put me in a ‘box’ or pigeon hole me and said that you will be like this and there is nothing you can do about it. I have been determined, completely, on the subconscious level, not to be bound by what others say is my lot or destiny in life. I have wanted to live every day to the full. Mind you this has come at a cost, which I have slowly been realising over the past 12-18 months. But, I think everything you want in life comes at a cost; it can be monetary, it can be time, it can be a divorce. Its like we always have to sacrifice something to have something else. You want a big house, you work your tail off, to work more hours to get more money. You want to work overseas, this comes at a cost of missing your family and friend, the list goes on…
For me, the cost has been ‘enjoyment’. I have forgotten what it is like to enjoy life, to enjoy and be in the moment, of getting to a place of peace, where I can sit back and relax. I think this is partially because I always have so many little projects Im working on, so even though one thing gets finished I need to then focus more of my efforts on something else and then I take on more projects.
Last night, I was sifting through some photos that I have saved on my computer, that I NEVER do! We literally have thousands of photos of our life on the computer, that once they are taken they are loaded on the computer and never seen again. But last night, I spent probably 2 hours going through looking at our family and how much it has grown over the past 10 years! 10 YEARS, its nearly a quarter of my life. I started to see my kids again and who they were back when they were little and it made me sad. Not because I wasnt home with them, or away working often, but because I dont know if I have ever really been there! Does that sound strange? I feel like I have almost no memory of the times when I nursed them out of hospital or took them to school for the first time or helped them learn to ride a bike etc. I feel like saying… but but, Ive done all of this so that they can have a better life, well some of this maybe true, but what constitutes a ‘better’ life, is it more things, is it more experiences, is it a big house, or new t-shirts each week? Who bloody well knows anymore? Life has become so ‘busy’ (there’s that word again) that we dont have any time for anything, we have to plan fucking play dates for our kids! When all that used to happen, was we walked over to a friends house and knocked on the door and asked… can Matt come out to play? What happened to life that made us too occupied to be in the moment? It makes me sad, very sad.
So, what does this mean and how is it going to change my life? How am I going to learn from this? I want to say that I am going to slow down a bit, I want to say I am going to take up meditation and go all alternative therapies, but you know what, Im not going to do anything like that. I am just going to get back into the moment, and I am going to appreciate my family and the people around me every day and go from there. Thanks for reading!

I have to admit, I’m a bit of a thinker. Some would say that I’m an ‘ideas man’, others might say a bit flighty, or even that I’m going through a bit of a renaissance, and maybe even a midlife crisis. Maybe I have¬†to agree with them?

In my short 40 something years, I have gone through a few phases, nothing too extreme… I haven’t been a vegan or a vegetarian, I haven’t taken a sabbatical or gone on a pilgrimage to some exotic spiritual place… but I did go through a christian phase which lasted, let’s say around 15 years… Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I’m completely done with christianity but, I’ve stopped regularly attending church¬†and all the things that go with the ‘church’ life.

Now I don’t want to offend any christians or devalue religion’s place in society as a result of my experience, but I do have some concerns about the modern day religion and its hold on humanity, and how it limits what we as humans could really achieve, if we weren’t so inwardly focused. When you become a christian, you start from a very weak baseline, you are told in many ways that you have sinned (even little kids) and that you have to repent and give your life to Jesus, and all the people who haven’t, now, and throughout history have gone straight to hell!

Now, I’m not declaring here and now that I am an athiest, as I do still believe there is something out there, that is greater than you and I, that¬†does keep the universe and the galaxies beyond, in perfect harmony, but I do want to take a reality check on the whole situation. And after speaking with my friend Adam today, thought I would put it on paper before I lose thought.

I know what I’m about to say may be mocked by scientists, and religious zealots alike, but I think it’s worth putting it out there. So, I’ve been thinking about how the world works, over the last few years and how everything is too convenient. Everything is too perfect. Our amazing planet rotates at the perfect speed around a heat source (the sun) and gives us seasons (except if you live in Melbourne :)) that allow us to grow trees that help us to breath by carbon dioxide being absorbed into trees and giving off¬†oxygen. And we grow and make food that provides energy to our bodies, and we have a food chain that has a natural hierarchy… All this and it happens by accident… or does it??

I have never studied Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution (maybe I will in the future), because in the christian world, to side with or agree with Charles Darwin, is to side with satan himself, and this would make you a non believer and destined for hell. But the more I think about it, the more the theory of evolution is ok. Whilst I do not personally believe that I descended from apes, because if we did, then how are there still apes running around? But if that is what some scientists believe, then fine. The fact that¬†Charles Darwin and every scientist who has ever lived has been curious into who we are, how we got here, the natural world and the worlds beyond, should be considered a good thing, shouldn’t it? Shouldn’t we as humans, with an amazing brain and curiosity be able to explore and challenge our existence? Shouldn’t we have the right to fearlessly be the best we can be? What is wrong with that? I want to say, at least Charles Darwin and other scientists weren’t charging across Europe killing non believers for the sake of their¬†theory, as certain people did in the crusades years ago.

It really upsets me when I see really brilliant people start attending church, and then spiral down a slippery slope of self doubt and inferiority, and never achieve what they want to achieve because they are told that what they are doing is not God’s will… It’s shameful, and it’s not just restricted to christianity, I’m sure.

So with that said, one of the main reasons I wanted to write this post is to share with you a theory I have, which probably goes against the christian theory too, so here goes:

Imagine if, the world as we know it, ruled by an external life force has us all on a time loop. Everyone knows that the world is¬†two thirds under water, and only a third being above the water which is the land we live on. Now we’ve probably almost been to every square corner of the earth above ground, but apart from a few marine scientist who have been exploring¬†beneath the oceans and making new discoveries, one thing is certain, the ocean is still an¬†absolute mystery.

So my theory continues…¬†the world is an organism and allows us (humans and animals) to be here on the planet and carry out what we do. Remember nothing that is on earth can leave earth (except by spaceship) and nothing except heat and the occasional meteor makes its way¬†into the planet from outside, suggesting to me that everything we do on this planet happens in cycles. As we dig up minerals and use them for our own needs, they eventually end up back in the ground under tonnes and tonnes of fill such as landfills or tip sites.

Now, humans and animals also need water to drink and grow food, so there must always be a source of water to ensure that everyone on earth can drink and grow food. As the population increases it is my theory that the Arctic and Antarctica release water into the ocean and atmosphere which inevitably becomes fresh water and part of the weather cycle, providing always just enough to sustain us.  As the population increases so too does the melting of the polar caps until we reach a point of equilibrium, or we have the maximum amount of life on earth that the earth can sustain in food and water.

I think at some point, we as humans do something catastrophic to our planet. Be it, altering the climate too significantly (climate change (underway)), killing ourselves with nuclear weapons or just plainly become extinct as a result of over consumption,¬†having¬†used up the natural resources available to us that bind the planet together and keep us balanced. Regardless of the event, our planet ultimately resets itself and gets rid of all life, except maybe a few, just enough to start us off again. The ‘event’ that ensues results in an overall change to the balance of the planet. A great flood covers the earth (as a result of the complete melting of the polar ice caps) as often spoken about in biblical terms with Noah, or alternatively in pagan history with Gilgamesh – see this link http://www.icr.org/article/noah-flood-gilgamesh/ for a bit of a history lesson.

After the flood, the third of the planet that we currently live on falls beneath the new ocean and a third of the ocean bed rises to form a new land mass above the ocean that ultimately becomes habitable. Thus restoring a 2/3 ocean 1/3 land mass balance. The flood waters subside and due to the reduced heat of the planet and low population the polar ice caps refreeze to form the arctic and antarctic again.

Now imagine if you have the Amazon forest (carbon rich organic matter) and all of a sudden you dump billions of tonnes of water and rock and sediment on top of it and leave it for say 10,000 years (a cycle) it is all compressed, becomes oil that then becomes the next generation fossil fuel. This is evident with coal and oil being found in both oceans and land areas.

Now, while this blog does not go on to explain all of the intricacies of my theory¬†it does set the scene for some discussion and comments – as I said in the beginning, I’m an ideas man, so you come up with the rest! Enjoy!

 

 

24 years ago (1992), I had just entered the workforce having not made it to university or really knowing what I wanted to do. I landed a job in a quarry (Axedale Sands and Gravel) just down the road from where I lived Axedale, and started as a trainee front end loader operator and labourer.

I am a hard worker and picked up things fast, as was required to hold down a job then as our country was emerging from the ‘Recession we had to have”. My job paid $240 per week, and of that I paid $32 dollars income tax and I receive my pay in a yellow envelope every week. I often had to pick it up off the ground as my boss had some power and control issues. I bit my tongue and put up with it for long enough to get the experience I needed to move on.

$200 doesn’t go far now, but back then it was enough to live on as¬†I was living at home at that time, and unlike today having a credit card was not even a consideration. If I wanted something I would put it on lay-by or save up for it. I managed my money very carefully.

So I had been at the quarry for about 14 months when one day I went to work and started to feel some cramping in my¬†stomach, it went on for a few hours and gradually got worse. I decided after a while to take myself to the doctor, who pressed and prodded for a few seconds and then told me to pull my pants down, and roll over in a ball, while he put on his rubber glove… Sure enough, I had appendicitis and then proceeded to take myself to the hospital as ordered by the doctor to have my appendix removed.

Back then, as part of a low paying job in Australia, you receive 8 days sick pay which was cumulative, therefore I had accrued about 9 days over the 14 months, as I am fortunately not sick very often. I also had some holidays that I hadn’t taken which gave me a further 4 weeks of pay. My job required me to do a lot of physical activity and therefore having my appendix removed meant that I was unable to perform my regular job and could not go to work. On doctors orders, I had to take 6 weeks to recover until my scar healed. Fortunately for me my expenses were low at the time and I was able to get by with my holiday pay and my sick pay, which meant I only had 1 or 2 days where I did not get paid.

This brings me to 1997, I had just spent nearly 12 months in Western Australia working in a gold mine where the money had increased dramatically and so had the hours I worked and obviously my skill level. I returned back to Victoria and need to submit a tax return. My friend (Ben) had been living in Melbourne for a few years and I stayed with him for a few weeks. I asked him if he new an accountant, and he had just started seeing a new guy; I made an appointment and landed on his doorstep a few days later and met Tyler Hunter a young up and coming Accountant. After the initial meet and greet, one of the first questions he asked me was, ‘do you have income protection?’ My answer was ‘what is income protection?’ He explained it as follows:

What is your most valuable asset? At that stage I didn’t have much and I said… ‘my car’ (I obviously didn’t know too much about assets either :)) he said ‘wrong’. He mentioned where I had come from in my working career, that is, the time when¬†I was earning $240/ week and now where I was earning well over $1,000 per week and was tipped to have that keep rising. He even referred to a house and said ‘a house is worth $x dollars, but it is generally a fixed asset and is not easily liquidated (turned into usable money). He continued and said ‘we go blindly along and insure our cars and our house and contents, but fail to insure our most valuable asset which was my income, as this is the asset¬†that we receive every week of every month of every year until we retire which steadily increases over time which is worth far more than a car, a house and its contents’ and he was right.

I should explain what ‘Income protection’¬†is for those of you who don’t know. Income protection is an insurance that you can buy that protects your income in the event that you are unable to carry out your usual job, as I explained above or can be for almost any form of illness, broken bones, heart attack, cancer etc etc. For instance, when I had appendicitis,¬†I could have received my pay from my insurer for the income lost during the 6 weeks that I was in bed recovering, but instead I had to use all of my sick leave and holiday pay to meet my daily needs. Having done so, I had to forgo my¬†holidays where I would usually relax and doing something other than work for the 4 weeks. I also had to risk getting sick again which meant I wouldn’t get paid any more until I accrued more sick leave, even if I had a dose of the flu and needed to stay at home. Income protection has many different forms and

I must admit, I didn’t take his advice there and then which was at my own risk, but a few years later, when I finished my university degree (as a mature age student) I made it a priority to get income protection. This is even more relevant when you have a family to support and the loss of your income could rapidly send you into debt if you are unable to make your mortgage, car, education daily living expenses, which mount up very quickly when you take away the most important asset… YOUR INCOME.

Whilst I don’t sell income protection myself, I would highly recommend going to see a financial planner or financial institution and speaking to them about income protection. It is not a cheap insurance, but it is tax deductible in Australia and could just save you if the unexpected were to happen. Thanks for reading!

Im not a gym junkie or star athlete, but I do love to participate in sport. I have never pursued lessons in any of the sports, and even as a kid I was only able to attend a few sports (cricket, football and tennis) due to a lot moving around, divorce, no money and my mother failing to get her licence, until we all left home.

I played cricket for a few seasons having been able to catch the bus to Heathcote after school, and wait to be picked up after dark, when my step father finished work.

I played football for a few seasons in my adolescence due to having friends who lived close by, able to give me a lift home after training and to the games, sometimes the car was full and I missed out as there was no way of getting there.

I played tennis for a few seasons when I was about 16, til I was 18 or 19 because I was able to catch a lift to the venues by the other players, who were all in their late 30’s or early 40’s with kids of their own. The tennis courts in Axedale were just down the road so I could ride there on my bike or walk there in a few minutes.

For some strange reason sports was the lowest priority of my parents, and thus I fought ‘tooth and nail’ to do the sports I did. We used to live in a place called Barnadown on a property that my step father was managing and I played cricket in Goornong. So to play, I had to ride the 8-10 kilometres in the morning to leave my bike at the coaches place, and make sure I would beat the bus, so I could catch it en-route to school. After training I would ride my bike home with one of those dynamo powered lights which only gave light if you kept the wheels going. The roads in central Victoria back then left a lot to be desired, and so every time there was a car or truck coming I would have to pull all the way off the road to be sure they would not hit me.

To play football when I lived in Barnadown, I would sometimes ride my bike the 25 km to the venue (when we played at home in Toolleen (Mount Pleasant). I would then play in my under 17’s game then also play in the reserves and then ride home. I was super fit… I dont think I was very good, but I always liked participating in the team and even though we got flogged most weeks, I just loved playing, running around and having a kick.

When I got my licence on the 15th January 1993, (a day etched in my memory banks as one of the best days of my life), I had freedom. I could go where I wanted and when I wanted! However with my age and having just finished secondary school (year 12) I had to get a job. At that stage of my life, and with everything else on my plate, University was not an option, I didnt value education as I do now, so I drove around to different places in search for a job, with nothing more than a piece of paper with my name, address, home phone number and a couple of lines about my work at McDonalds and on a farm – that was my resume. Now this blog is not about my career from then on, what Im telling you is that I had to get a job and with no experience and no leverage, I had to take what I could get. This meant working when and where I was told.

I started work at Axedale Sands and Gravel and this job had sporadic hours and I needed the overtime, so this took priority over my sporting career (if you could call it that). I also had a girlfriend and so I made that a priority too. That was just it, sport was and never was a priority of mine or else I would have made it work. I instead chose to do paid work and that allowed me to get better at that side of things and make more money, which was, and is still a priority of mine.

The fact that sport wasnt a priority to me didnt change the fact that I enjoyed it. So in the years since getting my licence, I have played a few seasons of various sports. This was always combined with catching up with my friends and enjoying a beer or two after a game. I played a few seasons of tennis, cricket and table tennis. I also like mountain biking, rogaining – which is like competitive orienteering and hiking.

I do like to stay fit, but the days of owning a 6 pack, or caring for one for that matter are gone. I think the whole fitness industry is ridiculous to be frank. It preys on the weakness of people and causes people to cough up huge sums of money, knowing full well that unless the person is completely obsessed with fitness the rest of us are just paying for the ‘privilege’ of saying “I go to a gym”, it might be once a year but I still go.

So, we were at a friends place a few months ago now and one of the friends of our friends was telling us about playing tennis in a competition on Thursday nights. My ears pricked up! I said, ‘well if you need a fill in let me know’. He (Steve) said ‘really’? we have players pull out all the time and we have to forfeit, so be ready for a call! I was thrilled. Mind you I hadnt played tennis in a competition since ive been married which is nearly 10 years and before that maybe once or twice in a few social games with a mate. Armed with the fact that I ‘could’ be called up the following Thursday, I went a bought a racket. Sure enough the call came on Wednesday evening… ‘Owen can you play in Eltham tomorrow night?’ ‘I’m there’!

Rocking up on the Thursday night was great, I limbered up as best I could, a few little hip flex moves, stretch the quads, move the hips and arms around and I was good. We won the game that night which was great, I played a few good shots and I was back… thank you muscle memory! I continued to play for the next few weeks and was accepted as part of the regular line up. We lost a few games too and I thought, if only I got to practice some shots and watch the ball onto the racket we could win every week… white line fever… can you see it?

I caught up with another mate (Ivan) and he mentioned he’d love a hit of tennis too and so we arranged a regular fortnightly Monday night game. I rang around finding a place to play, with Ivan on one side of town and me on the other, I wanted somewhere central. So where else in Melbourne, than good old Melbourne Park, you know, where the Australian Open is played. Unfortunately centre court was unavailable and so we were ushered to one of the indoor courts with no grandstand seating. Again after a few stretches and limbering up, we were into it and decided to have a game as all men do… who is going to win bragging rights! About 4 games in and POP!!! Im on the ground rolling around in agony. Someone has just thrown a brick at my leg but turning around no one was there! I knew instantly what I had done… My right achilles!

I lied on the floor of the tennis court for the next hour and twenty minutes in pain just trying to stay still and putting up with Ivan’s jokes about me being old etc… Never did I realise what this was going to mean for my life for the next 3 months and up to 6 months. If only I could take back one minute and pause for a longer drink, a rest, run around and pick some balls up, would that have changed the result. Maybe we couldnt get a court, or something else become a priority… but no, it had happened and I am lying on the floor in pain, waiting to go to the hospital.

Im now 14 days into my rest/recovery period which sees me not able to get out of bed til Thursday, with strict doctors orders to stay in bed 23.75 hours per day. I had surgery last Monday and Thursday is my first post operative appointment, hoping that the swelling and recovery is going to plan.

For the family this has had a huge impact, I am the primary carer for our 3 children, its my job to get them to school each day and pick them up, whilst running my business, allowing my wife to be the main breadwinner of our household. Fortunately, I have an amazing wife (Lisa) who has gone above and beyond to do the best for me and our kids while I recover. She also has a very supportive workplace who has allowed her some time off to take up the slack where we are unable to arrange care for the kids. This has made my wife’s life (hell) very stressful, which upsets me and Im sorry for, but she is taking it in her stride, which is great.

Ive been waited on hand and foot for the past 14 days, which is something that I could never get use to. I have so much to do for my kids,¬†my new business, my work and around the house which¬†is going to have to wait while I recover, however long that may be, much to my dismay, but I will be back! I dont really know yet what to tell people yet for how to avoid this type of injury, but when I do, i’ll let you know! Thanks for reading!

Hi there,

In the few months since finishing the renovations I must say that I have been feeling a little overwhelmed with what is still required in the back and front yards in order to be completely finished. Many people have been very comforting, suggesting that it doesn’t have to be done straight away and that I just have to chip away at it and that my work will never be done! Hmmm.

I reviewed the list of the items that I blogged about some time ago (My name is Owen) and have been quietly surprised at the progress I have made.

So the past few months what I have done is as follows:

  • Installed new letter box – purchased from Bunnings, 2 bags of concrete and very level, watching it in the rear vision mirror everytime I leave the driveway
  • Connected all of the downpipes to the storm water pits that I installed, so no water is going into the ground around the house and we will (whilst have no trees) have consistent ground moisture content – very good in a highly reactive site
  • Pulled the old shed down – which you can witness in my previous blog
  • Removed the mounds of dirt that were in the back yard – well I have done this but in digging out the new shed foundations, I have created a new mound which will be removed in the next couple of weeks
  • Constructed three new paling fences around the house – I will blog about this in the near future so that you can all see how easy it is
  • Began construction of my new shed – at present the slab has been poured, the boundary walls in brickwork have been completed on the two boundaries, the wall and roof framing is about 85% complete. I have some progressive photos of this too at which I will blog about shortly
  • I have installed curtains in little M’s room that L had made, which still need hemming!
  • I have replanted a fruit tree – our little peach tree, which I was doubtful would survive another relocation but I am optimistic that next year we will have fruit again!

So has you can see I have been busy, and obviously having a little addition to the family does slow me down a bit in my outside chores with my Saturdays now being swimming lesson day for little M. Combined with our busy little social life I will get there.

My goals and next tasks for the near future are:

  • Complete the new shed
  • Level off the backyard
  • Construct planter boxes around the back and side fences
  • Plant trees in the planter box for some greenery in the back yard
  • Paint the new paling fences
  • Move all of the things out of storage and into my new shed – and set my shed up! Very exciting (Early Feb 09)
  • Get quotes for a new colourbond roof for our house
  • Write up a new maintenance regime for our house
  • Install a new clothes line

I think the above is enough for the next couple of months but I will keep you posted.

I want to wish everyone a happy new year and all the best for the future. I will endeavour to keep you updated more often in my trials and tribulations of the constant renovations at our family home and also keep you informed of some hobbies I am picking up along the way to keep life interesting.

I am working through my list of tasks around the house as mentioned in a previous entry, and one of the things on the list was to hang the curtains in baby M’s room. L has done an amazing job of making some beautiful pink and baby like curtains, and so it was my turn to now hang them; an easy job you may say, but…

I carried out the usual investigation that precedes any ‘little’ project and I tapped around the wall to locate a stud where I could fix the screws into that hold the brackets, but due to a cupboard door needing to open up in the curtain space we had to move the brackets up the wall approximately 100mm. In doing so I could not locate any studs in the area that I could fix into that would allow us to open the curtains all the way, so it was off to the hardware store to buy some plasterboard anchors. Plasterboard is a gypsum product which is not ideal fixing substrate for fixing anything heavy unless it is into a structural component on the other side ie a part of the frame. I purchased some anchors that would support up to 20kg, because as you may already know curtains can be quite heavy and this particular window is about 2.5m wide by 1.8 high.

The anchors are very easy to use, they are self drilling, meaning that all you need to do is insert them into the plaster with a philips head screw driver, you then insert the bracket or whatever you want to fix to the wall and use a screw that is supplied with the anchor, and as you screw it into the wall it ‘butterflies’ out and grips the plasterboard. The idea being of the anchor is to increase the surface area of the fixing which makes it harder to pull out through the weak plasterboard.

Sounds good you say! Unfortunately, it didn’t go that easy for me this time and with much sweat, a bit of colourful language and some serious head scratching, I realised that when I put the screw into the anchor instead of the screw ‘butterflying’ out on the other side of the plasterboard it tangled around the insulation that was in the wall and failed to butterfly!!! Not knowing this until I hung the curtains, I applied the weight and the anchors pulled straight out of the wall!

Following this disaster and with not 2 but 4 holes about the size of a AUD 5 cent piece in our new plasterboard and freshly painted rooms I began tapping around and trying to find another way to fix these curtains. Don’t you just hate it when a little job, something that should have taken 10mins to do, takes more time than some of the larger tasks.

Anyway, I decided to extend the span of the curtain rod and fix the brackets to wherever I could locate a stud just to get the job done. I thought to myself it is better to pre-drill the hole which allows the screws to go in easier. Well, pre-drilling into a 50+ year old house frame with hardwood timber is not as easy as it sounds. First of all, you need to use a power drill and have some decent drill bits. After several attempts at getting the correct depth of hole and two drill bits later, quickly running out of suitable sized drill bits, I had the holes completed. Finally I was on the home stretch, I fixed the brackets to the wall and hung the curtains. Those brackets will be staying there a long time!

A couple of things to remember when buying brackets for curtains and installing them, don’t rely on the size of the screws they provide you with in the packet of brackets, consider the weight of the curtains prior to hanging them, make sure you fix the brackets into adequate supports, and use patience and calm when doing any project…

I was thinking the other day, that now that our house has finished being renovated that for me the work has just begun. I did a bit of walk around the house and started to put together a list of things that had to be done. Very overwhelming! As I put the list together, I kept thinking about the TV show (one of my favorites) ‘My Name is Earl’, and his karma list that he put together to right the wrongs that he had done in his life. Although my list doesn’t really go into the whole karma thing, I thought it might be a good way to present all of the things that I have to do around the house, and for each thing I do, I’ll blog about it…

Here is my list!

Please note, due to finances and time required to complete some of these items this list is in no particular order:

  • Remove old shed
  • Build new shed
  • Connect all down pipes to storm water
  • Wire in surround speakers in the ceiling
  • Build the side fence (left side)
  • Build the side fence (right side)
  • Put in a new exposed aggregate driveway
  • Walkway over heating unit
  • Level the backyard
  • Build new front fence
  • Install ag drains (to extend around new part of house)
  • Install new storm water drains (to extend to the new part of the house as required)
  • Fill in pits to provide levels for storm water drainage
  • Paint the roof
  • Dig out the concrete in the back yard
  • Install new letter box
  • Build cot – flat pack I think
  • Install new path in the front
  • Pave the side of the house (narrow side)
  • Create a new front garden
  • Plant trees front and back
  • Do something with the awful nature strip tree!
  • Install a new clothes line
  • Render and paint the boundary wall (the neighbours shed is on the boundary)
  • Clean the gutters (ongoing)
  • Plant new grass
  • Extend height of back fence – sorry Flo
  • Install new curtains in M’s room
  • Build attic in the ceiling/roof space for storage
  • Build furniture – very exciting
  • Make a train table for model trains – its a boy thing!
  • Fix L’s sunglasses
  • Install floorboard pads on the bottom of the furniture
  • Fix things that break… This could be anything, from hair straighteners to chairs and tables, to plumbing items and really anything ‘the wife’ tells me to.

So as you can see I have quite a bit on my plate, to my good friends it’s been nice knowing you, if you need me I will be in the garden or the shed and doing stuff around the house.