Monday, January 29, 2007

The Palace is, well, Palatial

We've moved! We've moved! Oh the glory! Oh the aching muscles! Oh the unpacking to do!

Well we did finally hear back from the agent, funnily enough our applications 'became disattached' and I think they actually had Sarah competing for the house against Shelley and I - because Shelley got a call saying that we were accepted, but Sarah got a call saying that we had missed out! (It would be naughty to say that this could possibly mean that Shelley and I look like good tenants and Sarah squeaked in on our merits, so I won't say that.) Anyway, we sorted that all out, signed the lease on Thursday afternoon, handed over a sizable chunk of money for the bond, and commenced moving in!

Sarah and Winfred and a carload of stuff.

Have I spoken about the Palace properly yet? Well my previous house was called 'The Cottage', the owners referred to it that way, even though it is actually a house, but the name stuck. All last year the plan had always been for my wonderful friend Marcia to move over here for College in January, so we were all to get a house together. Then the plan enlarged to include Kim, who was going to move here as well. Then Sarah moved to Sydney, and told me that she was going to live with Kim, so I could just think again thank you very much, and not pinch her friends (paraphrasing you Sarah, paraphrasing!). But then Sarah also wanted to move with Anne as well. Then Marcia emailed and said she wasn't going to move til July, so we decided to throw caution to the wind, combine our forces, and look for a 5 bedroom house! Shells, Sarah, Kim, Anne and I. But then Kim moved to Brisbane. And then Anne moved somewhere else. So now it was just Shells, Sarah and I. The three musketeers. So we soldiered on, decided to find a 3 bedroom place, Sarah and Shells would share, and we would get someone else in for 6 months til Marcia got here, and then hopefully all would be settled.

Plus, because we were all proper Princesses, and were upgrading from a Cottage, we named the new place The Palace. (It makes sense to us)

And the new place is totally Palatial. Totally. I'm not even going to ramble on right now about all the features because it just may make you green with envy. Let me just mention, briefly, the built-in vacuum cleaner (oh yes! you just plug the hose into a socket in the wall and it takes all the dirt into the unit in the garage), the smeg appliances (oven, microwave and dishwasher!), the water features (huge palatial fountains, outside in the communal gardens), the lock up garage with automatic door... yes, okay, I'll stop :-)

Introducing, the Palace! (With added Gina!)

View from my balcony

Yesterday was the biggest moving day I've ever had. Actually the other day at work we all counted up how many moves we've ever done. I came first with a whopping 17. And that's just counting the different addresses I've lived at, there's actually been more moves than addresses (moving back in and out of mum's place a lot!). So this was no. 18, and the biggest one of all. We had a truck - a massive truck. We had 4 pick up points, and no truck packing expertise. We had 10 helpers who came to our rescue (God bless you all you beautiful angels of God!) some of them at very short notice, without whom we would have just a) chucked everything in the back of the truck b) driven home c) unloaded a lot of very broken furniture.

The largest truck I've ever utilised.

As it was everything was in one piece, relatively unscathed, the fridge was manouvered admirably into place, the (heavy) things that needed to go upstairs are all upstairs (thank you boys!) and we were all still alive. No injuries to report other than a few scratches and bruises and possibly also my sanity (but I think that was a lost cause from some time back).

Smiling, smiling...


Anyway, my other big news is: I'M OFF! If I could post a big OUT OF OFFICE on my blog I would! On Wednesday night I'm flying down to Melbourne for 11 fun-filled, non-work related, non-moving/packing/unpacking-filled days. And my wonderful sister Katy is coming with me too. Hurrah!

So the question of the moment is clearly - can you beat me? How many addresses have you lived at? How many moves have you made? And who can win with the most awkward object successfully moved? (If you can beat a heavy steel & glass 70's bar and an old-school one-armed bandit I'll take my hat off to you!)

Monday, January 22, 2007

Post 105: suspense, packing, departures, mango, catfights, low petrol, bushfires, sitcoms, God saves the day.

Well it's Monday, and thank God. I've never been so glad for a weekend to be over and the week to begin. Work is still a bit crazy (see previous post, I'm still working as hard as that little guy there) but the 'not being at work' parts of my life are even crazier!

We're moving. Moving! I'm nearly all packed. I've given my notice, stopped paying rent, I have all this furniture set to move down from my mums place... and as yet have nowhere to move to! We've put in an application for the most beautiful house ever. Ever. No really, it's even more beautiful than you're thinking. It's down in Botany, so it will be a bit of a trek to get to work, but the glory is so worth it. (And plus, as Sarah and I discovered, we'll get to sing that 'toorali oorali addity' song all the time too!)

Anyway, we put an application in on Wednesday morning, and were expecting to hear by Thursday. On Friday the agent told us that we might hear on Saturday. Okay, time check, it's now MONDAY and my nerves are frayed beyond belief! We know they've checked our references, I wonder if they're just waiting on an okay from the owner. Just tell us! TELL US! I've been having some very bad thoughts about real estate agents lately. I need to renew my mind.

So on Saturday morning I hotfooted it up to mums place to help with the last few bits of packing - only to find actually that the garage was still FULL of stuff, and actually there was a LOT of stuff still to do. And they were due to DEPART earl-eye on Sunday morning. Panic stations! Well, I was panicking, mum was panicking, Gary seemed pretty cool though. Mum and I ended up staying cool by taking the car through a car wash - it seemed to be the most constructive thing to do. All the furniture was moved out, so there were very few places to sit and nowhere to sleep - so I camped out at Jessie McGessie's house and ate Cherry Ripes.

No furniture, no food, no tv. Luke occupies himself as best he can!

After a total of about 4 hours sleep (anything more than 4 hours sleep is laziness anyway, according to Gary, aka Mr Busy) they did manage to get off to the airport in time. The other big departure of the day was of our cat, Button, who was packed up into a travel case and driven round to Katy's house. She did not like this ONE BIT, the poor little thing, and cried pitifully the whole way over. She's never moved before, and probably never even knew there was other places to go. It's funny how much a pet becomes part of your family isn't it? I got Button 10 years ago this year, and she's always been my baby, so to see her to upset really broke my heart. (I know, I'm a big wuss) I had a brief moment of extreme panic at Katy's place when we thought she'd jumped out of the window and run away... Extreme panic! But it turned out she was hiding in a drawer, so everything was okay.

After we'd seen off Mum and Gazza, and transported the little one, we had breakfast with the very wonderful Meg and Dad! Fresh fruit, bacon and eggs, sunshine, good company - great antidote to extreme panic. I think fresh mango should be prescribed by more doctors more often.

Katy and Luke have a funny little cat called Ash, and Ash is one of the smartest cats I've ever seen. her and Katy even play hide and seek together! Well Ash was quite prepared to be friends with Button, but Button was having none of it. She kept puffing up and growling, even though I advised her several times that this is not how a good house guest acts (what is the use of explaining ettiquette to a cat?). Anyway, I hung around Katy's house all day just making sure that nobody was killing each other, encouraging people out from under the bed etc. (and that was just Katy and Luke!) (hee! kidding!)

I had just over a quarter of a tank of petrol left when I left Katy's place. It's usually takes me just under an hour to drive back home to Sydney, and generally takes me less than a quarter of a tank so I knew I'd be fine. So, I was cruising along the freeway with my iPod pumping, air con blasting, having a great old time, when all of a sudden I had to screech to a halt - all of the traffic was stopped! We commenced moving, but only really slowly, like a couple of meters every few minutes. Painfully slow. Well all of a sudden I realise that my petrol will never last at this rate! Now I am in panic mode again! All non-essential systems SHUT DOWN! Goodbye aircon! (Ah, and did I mention that Sunday was our hottest day on record for this summer? Yes, yes, it was.)

Then - omg, after about an hour of this (yes an HOUR) the petrol light starts flashing. Cue heart sinking, lower lip trembling, tears threatening... there was no end in sight to the traffic jam, no more exits from the freeway, it was like a carpark behind me so if I ran out there was no way the NRMA would be able to get through and HELP me... it was all a bit overwhelming really.

Traffic jam extraordinaire!

I called Shelley, and she told me that the road was actually closed off due to bushfires jumping the freeway, and sooner or later I would be diverted to the old highway. I texted a few of my friends and asked them to please, please 'pray for my petrol tank!' There were cars lining the sides of the road, people whose cars had overheated, people who were stopping to cool down or have a roadside picnic, people having a bushie (Shell taught me that word!), even people walking alongside their cars and taking pictures of the massive traffic jam! I read on the net today that the jam went for 5 kilometres. That's pretty extreme hey? And don't laugh, but I swear that petrol gauge periodically kept moving higher, every time I was sure the light would start flashing again it jumped up a millimetre or two - enough to keep me out of trouble.

Petrol light flashing! No petrol left! Text friends and ask them to pray for my petrol tank!

Prayer result! How does this happen?!

You know how sometimes you're not in the mood for anything serious and you actually want to watch a silly American sitcom just for a few laughs? Well, I think God uses my life like that - He gets a bit bored, tunes into my life, has a bit of a laugh... ;-) It's all drama isn't it!

So I kept going, sweating bucketloads, eyes glued to the petrol gauge, trying to roll the car instead of accelerating, for a further 2 hours... I'm telling you that car was running entirely on the favour of the Lord! Finally I reached the police roadblock, and the exit, and they ushered us off onto the Pacific Hwy at Berowra. I'd been cruising (calmly) along the exit road for about 10 minutes when the car started to cough. The petrol was seriously about to totally disappear. I shot one last desperate prayer off to God before I noticed some flashing lights up ahead. Could it be...? Was it possible...?? Yes! It was a random NRMA man stopped on the side of the road!

He had about 4 cars all pulled over, all wanting help from him. The poor guy looked so overwhelmed! Someone must have called him out hours before, for him to be there ahead of me. I quickly told him that I needed petrol, but was happy to wait for him to look at the other cars first.
Him: "I can give it to you now! Do you have $15?"
Me: "I've got $20! Keep the change!"
He gave me a massive jerry can full of petrol, I poured it all in, gave him $20, blessed him repeatedly then hopped back on the road with half a tank of gas! Yahooo!! The day was saved! The further I drove the closer to the fires we got, the smoke was really thick and black - but do you think I was worried? I had my aircon back on! AIRCON is a blessing from God and is not to be undervalued ever. It took me another hour to get back home (this should have been a 50 minute trip, and ended up taking me about 3 and a half hours) but I was singing the whole way!

It's taken me a long time to realise that Gods idea of 'last minute' is quite different to mine!

So that was my weekend anyway. How was yours?

Thursday, January 11, 2007


Slammed I say! Work has been hectic. I don't remember ever working in such a high pressure/stress situation, while having such underwhelming support from upper management.

Today I have:

  • had 5 cups of tea
  • worked for a million hours
  • lied to customers about when I'm going to call them back (never)
  • been shouted at by 6 customers (who I didn't call back last week cos I was busy explaining to the people from the week before why I didn't call them back)
  • developed at least 3 uncontrollable twitches
  • had 1 crying session in the bathroom
  • eaten no chocolate (possibly this is a contributing factor for the crying session)

My beautiful Shelley came to work today and rescued me with lunch and a Boost juice, God bless her!

Do you have a second or two? To leave me a comment or send me a nice email? I need all the smiles I can get right now :-(

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

On anonymity

an·o·nym·i·ty (ān'ə-nĭm'ĭ-tē) n. pl. an·o·nym·i·ties
1. The quality or state of being unknown or unacknowledged.
2. One that is unknown or unacknowledged.

A while ago I got in a bad mood and posted a big long post defending my church after seeing some funny accusations on the internet. It was a silly, impulsive idea, as I know now that I don't need to defend something that I know God is blessing, and luckily a good friend talked me out of it, so I deleted the post and went on my merry way. Only thing is, blogger (for its own ineffable reasons) didn't delete the post properly, and some random who really doesn't like my church found the post and reposted it somewhere else, where lots of people who really don't like my church found it and started sending me nasty comments and emails. Most of them unprintable, and most of them anonymous. Okay, so fair play to them - they don't like my church, possibly I wouldn't like theirs either (who knows) and by putting myself on the internet I guess I am making myself available to people like that. But is anonymous hate mail a great way to prove that their point of view is better than mine?

a·non·y·mous (ə-nŏn'ə-məs) Pronunciation Key adj.
1. Having an unknown or unacknowledged name: an anonymous author.
2. Having an unknown or withheld authorship or agency: an anonymous letter; an anonymous phone call.
3. Having no distinctive character or recognition factor: "a very great, almost anonymous center of people who just want peace" (Alan Paton).

I love that 3rd definition - 'having no distinctive character'. Having worked in Customer Service both in retail shops and also in call centres I can tell you from experience that people are mostly ruder when they can't see you. I guess this is because being a voice over the phone makes you that bit less human, and who cares how you speak to a call centre robot? But take the net, where you're not only invisible, you're also untouchable, and I find people seem to feel free to be even ruder. (Aside: be nice to the customer service operator! It's not their fault!)

After that whole experience I had a few days where I felt vulnerable and exposed. I guess this was just somewhere that I didn't expect to be hit like that. I (to quote Douglas Adams) "reeled like a man getting mugged in a meadow". My immediate reaction was that I wanted to delete the whole blog and be done with it. But then I got a bit outraged - why should someone else's nasty attitude stop me from doing something which I enjoy? Stuff em. I'm just me doing what I do, I don't need to apologise for that.

Anyway, I have a small crew of faithful friends who read and comment regularly, my clustrmap shows some random (and welcome!) international visitors, I have a regular, unfriendly, anonymous commenter (mate, as long as you stay anonymous, your opinions carry absolutely no weight and won't be published), I think my family logs on every now and then (hi family!), I've put my full name in a previous post - so I guess anyone looking for me by google would be directed here too.

Sez was telling me the other day that she thought the idea of a potential date reading her blog and getting to know the real her before even going on a first date was uncomfortable. I don't think that would bother me - I'm just me, with all of my quirks, faults, eccentricities, contradictions and random passions. So every now and then I have a rant and show you a bad attitude I've been having - well, that's just me ;-) I do that in real life too. I don't pretend to be perfect, or not to have any faults.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 "But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

Friday, January 05, 2007

Random Acts of Gratitude

Bear with me while I vent for a while. I'm having a few problems here, and I totally need to sort my attitude out. You remember a while ago when we did the Random Acts of Kindness 7 day challenge? Well one of my random acts was to pay the toll for the person behind me in the Harbour tunnel. Which I did, and I loved doing, and I loved it so much that I made myself a new rule that whenever I went through a toll I would pay for the person behind me. And I have so much fun doing this!

Sometimes I just speed off without looking to see what the reaction is, or what the car looks like; sometimes there's no car behind me so I just ask the toll person to take the money for whoever comes through next; sometimes I slow down and see the car, but then zoom off so that they can't catch me; sometimes it works out that the person will catch up to me.

My favourite are the people who make an effort to catch up to me and give me a wave or a smile. The first time that happened it nearly broke my heart. I was going to bless this person regardless, but the fact that they made an effort to come up and thank me anyway, really touched me. One of the funniest reactions I had was a guy who drove beside me almost the entire length of the tunnel next to me, frantically gesturing to get my attention and screaming out "Why?? Why??" This made me laugh so much - this bloke just couldn't understand someone wanting to randomly bless him. Well, I guess it's not really in our culture to do this is it?

But what about the people who just zoom off and don't care? Like those people who you let them merge or change lanes and they don't give you a wave? Why does that hurt me so much? Does that show that I'm doing this with the wrong intentions? For the wrong reasons? (signposts commenter: hold your fire please) Possibly it does. Maybe I'm oversensitive, or expecting too much.

A couple of years ago I read the book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, have you read it? If not I totally reccomend it. It really changed the way I viewed myself, and other people, and my previous relationships. Its basic premise is that there are 5 different styles, or 'languages' in which we give or receive love. The wik puts it this way:

(the) concept of "love languages," posits that every person feels most loved
when love is expressed through one of five modes: words of affirmation, quality
time, gifts, acts of service, or physical touch. Chapman argues that while
each of these modes is enjoyed to some degree by all people, a person will
usually prioritize one mode over the others and will not feel as loved if the
love is not expressed in that "language."

As a rough guide, if your love language is physical touch - you love getting massages, hugs, holding hands with people; acts of service - you like cooking dinner for people, running errands for them, getting people cups of tea etc; quality time - you enjoy spending time with people, and having their full attention; gifts - you feel most loved when someone gives you a present, no matter what the value of it; and words - you feel most loved when people pay you compliments or praise you. A bit more detail here. This really helped me to understand other people's behaviour too. I remember one particular guy at church who would always give me a hug, or put his arm around me if he was standing next to me. Since touch is not one of my primary love langauges, it used to freak me out, and I started avoiding him. When a friend figured out that his love language was touch, and that was just his way of showing friendship - I was safe to be his buddy again!

The flip side of this is that whatever love language you feel most loved by, can also hurt you the most. I did the test a few times, and it came out that my love languages (for you can have more than one) are overwhelmingly gifts, and words. So words, especially words, can really hurt me - somebody only needs to make a partially hurtful comment and it's wounded me deeply. Words are important to me. Equally someone's refusal (or ignoring) of a gift from me really wounds me. For me, giving someone a gift is giving them love, and showing them how much I value them. Somebody not accepting that gift, or not bothering to thank me for it, is like them rejecting my love, or rejecting me. (Yes, did you pick that up, I'm not just talking about random toll paying now) (but if you're reading this, then I'm probably not talking about you!)

I recall a couple of times (back in the day) asking boyfriends if they could please buy me a present? "Just a small one, it doesn't matter what, I'd just really like you to buy me something, I don't know why." and they would respond back with - "That's pretty materialistic of you Amy" or some such response, which I would agree made sense, but secretly I'd not really understand, and feel hurt and unloved. Figuring out (in hindsight!) what my exes love languages were, I see now that I was unconsciously meeting their needs, but having to ask for mine to be met - and then getting a refusal when I asked for love, because to them (not realising the importance of gifts as a love language) it was a silly request. (Ohhhhh... bring out the violins!!)

Well, anyway, I'm digressing. Hi, thanks for staying with me! So I guess what I need to take from this is that I need to be more secure in myself. And understand the reason why I give love, commit random acts of kindness, send people gifts, give people beautiful words. I give much because much has been given to me. I forgive because I have been forgiven much. I love others because I am loved immensely.

That shouldn't be so easy to forget, but every now and then I might need you to remind me :-)

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Smittens, and other such nonsense

Doing some spring cleaning on my hard drive today, and came across a few pics to make you smile!

Have you ever tried to walk with someone in the rain? Both of you crammed under one umbrella? Awkward isn't it? Well now may I present to you the solution:

How about when you've got really cold hands and you want to wear gloves - but you also really want to hold hands with someone? Isn't it a shame you can't do both at the same time? Or can you...?

You never knew they existed and now I bet you're wondering how you can live without them hey?!

This sign made me laugh :-) It was on one of those emails with a million attachments that people send... you know those? (FYI please don't send those to me!!) (Unless you just send the edited brilliance such as this!)

Or these two, which I think Gavsterama sent me.

Well, if you've got the room!

For one reason or another I don't think this photo has ever made the internet so far! (Unless you've followed me over to 43Things, you might have spotted it there) Actually, up until my sister Jess took this picture for me, I'd never actually really seen it properly myself! Getting a tattoo on your back might seem like a good idea, but unless you're really REALLY flexible it's going to bring the visibility down to almost zero...

Ahh, my favourite accessory!!

So it's 2007 already

and doesn't it feel nice so far?

Day four and so far I've:

* done a bit of spring cleaning over at 43 Things

* given notice of moving out of the Cottage

* bought a stack of boxes home from work

* started packing my books

* bought some more books (it's a never ending circle!)

* put away all of my Christmas presents (God bless you all you lovely people!)

* used my new tea pot twice

Not sure if I've ever talked about this before, but a while ago the very beautiful Mish taught me this great trick of naming your year, or giving your year a particular focus. Last year was my year of Foundations - so all year I was looking at things from the perspective of how they could build and strengthen my foundations, and etc. etc. One of my other lovely girlfriends last year named her year all about enlarging and stengthening. And her life expanded like you wouldn't believe! I've heard of peopel having a year of finances - where they focus that year on building and strengthening the financial side of their lives, a year of relationships, of blessing your enemies, the possibilities are endless really, and all depend on what direction you feel your life need to go in.

I love the focus this brings to my life. I don't just want to let this year drift by without accomplishing things. I've been praying a lot about what focus I need to bring to this sparkling new year. So what is this year named? Well... I'm not letting all my secrets go so easily! Gotta keep a bit of mystery ;-)

Hope your NY spring cleaning has gone as well as mine!