Wednesday, January 7, 2009


After weeks of disruption, I am finally settling back into a normal life. We moved on Dec. 18th, which is when I lost my internet connection for more than two weeks.  Since that day I have been sweating it out with moving heavy boxes of books (there were nearly 40!), putting together wardrobes from Ikea (no built-in closets at the new place), hosting a small NYE party with six kids in attendance, going to a Wiggles concert (those guys are geniuses), attending the Brisbane International tennis tournament, driving to the mountains, and washing lots of dishes. The picture below was taken aboard the Wheel of Brisbane, just a few days before Christmas. Although Will and V. enjoyed the views, I wasn't thrilled when the operators gave us an extra turn, due to my lingering fear of heights.
Our new home is a rented Queenslander house built in the 1920s. It features a large fenced-in yard in which Will loves to play.  Before I provide more details about our home, let me just preface this by saying that we really LOVE it.  It's one-storey, with all three bedrooms off the main lounge (living room). There's a separate large kitchen and dining room, full of bright, sunny, windows overlooking the garden. The entire house is built above ground, with plenty of storage in the space below. But, being an old Queenslander that hasn't been updated in decades, it does have a few quirky bits:
  • no air conditioning--very tough to deal with when the temps hit the mid 30s (95 deg F) during the past week.
  • no window screens-- allowing all sorts of strange insects to bite us all night long, as well as several small lizards to roam the walls.
  • no dishwasher-- this is especially hard on V., who hates washing the dishes.  I am trying to do as much as possible, but I think we'll have to figure out how to get one installed soon.
  • laundry done outside and under the house-- it feels a bit strange having to go outside to do the laundry, but I'm getting used to it.
  • across the street from the railroad tracks-- Queensland Rail uses these tracks for both commuter and freight trains. We have pretty much habituated to the noise at this point, and Will still loves to watch them go by every 10-15 minutes.
  • on a busy street-- the traffic going by our master bedroom window is often louder than the trains going by.  I am really starting to hate motorcycles.
  • one powerpoint (electrical outlet) per room-- I have become quite proficient in using power strips and extension cords to keep our many devices running
  • one bathroom--it's been years since I have had to share a bathroom, but we're getting along so far
  • a 35-year-old stove-- the oven temperatures are printed in both Celsius and Fahrenheit, which means it was probably bought around the time that Australia was going metric.  One of the three burners doesn't work, and it takes forever to heat up the oven.
  • maggots in the floorboards--yes, the flies like to lay eggs in the cracks of the kitchen floorboards. This is pretty disgusting, but we're determined to get it under control.
Again, I want to emphasise that we LOVE this place.  Now that I have a big lawn to mow, I went out and bought a classic Australian lawnmower, the Victa.  It turns out that power mowers are still a novelty in Australia, and the same Toro that I owned in the States is considered a luxury mower here.  I find mowing very relaxing, and I'm already looking forward to my next chance to cut the grass tomorrow.

So, that's our new life in a nutshell.  I am back at work this week, madly trying to catch up with everything I have had to neglect in the past month.  Happy New Year to you!


Audra said...

I was able to forgive everything up to the maggots (had a bad experience on acid I, didn't imagine them, they really were there and I am forever traumatized.)

That said, I'm with V on the diswasher and I swear that separate bathrooms is the primary reason for the longevity of my marriage.

Congratulations on having yardwork.

Danielle said...

Congrats on the new home! I can relate to the Queenslander woes. I think they are much better in theory than in actuality.

I'm also an endorser of Elders Pest Control if you're thinking of getting someone in. We have ant issues that I refuse to live with anymore after suffering my first year in this house. There may be cheaper places, but their PestPLUS service includes a "booster service" six months later. It's guaranteed, so when we still had ants coming in after a week, they came back out and gave the trees and other nest places a good douse.

barbara said...

Those little lizards are geckos and they will eat the cockroaches for you. They are a good thing to have in your house.

Mooselet said...

I was with you til you mentioned the maggots. I'm dry gagging over here. We use Hitman Pest Control - they have a 1 year guarantee and will come back free of charge whenever there's a problem.

I like my gecko's. Like Barbara said they eat all sorts of other creepy crawlies. We have fly screens and they still manage to get inside the house, but I let them live to eat another day. :-)

Brother Sven said...

Please post a picture of your geckos. Your nieces are really jealous. Ashley got a "Webkinz" gecko from Santa. She reluctantly named it "Gordon" with my encouragement. BTW, we finally started watching "Little Britain." Bubbles is hilarious.

diowa said...

Trade you the lawn mowing for snow shoveling...But you can keep the inside critters.

The Prof said...

There's no going back to snow shovelling for me!!! And I do like the geckos--it's just a little difficult to get used to lizards crawling everywhere. I think we have finally beaten the maggots, and we will have one air conditioner installed in the main lounge next Tuesday. You are all welcome to come by when it gets too hot!!

Thanks for the tips about the pest controllers, Danielle & Mooselet.