Category Archives: House

Curtains R us

There’s a roll of light green fabric in the guest room and some long contraptions on the dining table – the tracks. They are going to be cord-pull curtains. A bit of an intelligence test putting it all together. I reckon we can do it. Mum’s going to start cutting in the morning. She’s good at just plunging the scissors in.

Making curtains: the first step

Today I bought 22 metres of light green fabric for making curtains for the back room. Mum is going to help! In the end I bought a cheaper, bog-standard sort of fabric that is not too vile and really not saying much about anything. The curtains can be in background, as it were, leaving paintings and cushions to provide life and colour. I did my usual thing and bought almost instantly, barely deliberating. I just need to get decisions like this over and done with. The Spotlight assistant used a nifty machine to roll all the fabric onto a cardboard tube.

I have promised my friend Anna that I’d write 1000 words a day and report it. This is so that I can continue to see myself as a writer no matter what, rather than relying on permission from Ben Ball at Penguin to be a writer. There are eight people across Australia waiting for Ben Ball to make a decision by January 20. One of us will be chosen for Peter Bishop’s Varuna/Penguin scheme. It’s like being in a dreary reality TV show. Like the parts of Big Brother where nothing happens.

I’m still slow, slow, slow. I’m spending far too much time sitting here at the computer checking emails, checking Facebook, reading about stuff I can’t remember at all on the Sydney Morning Herald site, uploading holiday photos to Flickr, checking out how to order prints from Snapfish. Not wanting to socialise with real people. Not really ready to re-enter society after my long absence overseas. But I did call Kirsty today, and we’ve made a Scrabble date for tomorrow night. And Steve went round for a beer with Helen and Ray after work, so I’m counting that as a bit of vicarious social engagement.

And between all that, bits of cleaning. The frypan needed curly-girling right down to the shine. The sink needed Jiffing. Actually, everything needs a serious go. It was all grubby before I left the country and it’s all grubbier now. Members of Steve’s family, including his Mum, are making a flying visit on Saturday. CLEANING ALERT! CLEANING ALERT!

It’s 7.45pm as I write this. There is pasta boiling on the stove. Made spag bol last night so all I have to do is zap it in the microwave. There are dogs yapping and fighting out there, further down the street. I feel blank, slow, not very bright.

This morning, when I was feeling livelier and brighter, I lapped up the silence. I wrote this in my journal:

Silence. It was very quiet when I was growing up. The silence was like the air I breathed – only noticeable when it wasn’t there. Standing at the sink, it’s silent except for the rattle of dishes and the faintest noises from outside. It was silent, and as the day heated up, the sky was brilliant blue. Like today. These things are like today. This is the exquisite silence. The overseas holiday just now was all about noise; specifically, the noise of music blaring out and no-one ever complaining, no-one ever turning it off, no-one ever preferring silence. This is beautiful, washing up (I’ve broken off to write this) in the deep silence of Bathurst between Christmas and New Year where very little is stirring. It’s why I live here.

Okay, so we are at 550 words. This is only half the required amount and I really have nothing to say. Nothing, nothing, nothing. I’m just taking up space. Taking up bits and bytes.

When the alarm feels like the middle of the night

Tuesday, July 10

Bedroom, 68 Cleveland St

Here I am. Thank God, I managed to jump out of bed when the alarm went off. I was very, very late yesterday morning. Almost 10am. Pat M said, “We thought you weren’t coming.” I said I’d set the alarm for 6am & switched it off because it felt like the middle of the night. John Mulcair said: “Coming to work is such an imposition!” Everyone was laughing & happy. I was in a good mood, despite the stress of being late.

A pause for 7 or 8 minutes. I just love to be a-sitting @ my desk in the morning, gathering myself, before moving. My holidays seemed to go forever. Very good holidays.

I’m very near to buying a house. Oh God, oh God.

Long pauses. Can’t keep pen moving on page. By the time I move to the mountains, it will be spring or almost spring. It will no longer be the dead of winter.

It’s hard enough getting going in the mornings to get to Hurstville on time from Redfern, the easiest little commute in the world. How do I think I”m going to manage something infinitely harder?

The sensible thing is a flat in Arncliffe. But I’m going for the magical thing. Rob Brezsny would approve. That long, cold walk to the station! That long, cold walk from the station! What about shopping? The other magical, impractical item is a VW beetle. I know of a couple of places in Sydney that sell them & have parts & look after them.

Another long pause. It’s 10 to 7. If I have $5000 left over from buying teh house, I’m going to buy an old car. Am I? What am I talking about? I might have to pour my money into the house. The other huge outlay will be my weekly ticket to Sydney, if I haven’t found a more convenient job. My mind is reeling about all this.

A leaky shower, bad gutters and an old hot water tank that could go at any time. And fix and paint the decking out the back. Also, it’s a septic tank. I can attach myself to the sewer but I’ll have to pay for it. Then there’s attachment to the natural gas line. It goes on & on & on. Mind reeling.