Endings

This weekend was our last full weekend in our house. We move next Saturday at midday.

Even though we still own the house and will rent it out, we know in our hearts that we will probably never live here again.

J. has 6 years of secondary schooling ahead at a school a sizeable distance away, followed possibly by 4 years of University at who-knows-where.

The next decade of our life will be lived somewhere else.

By then, we’ll be an ’empty-nester’ couple. It is hard to imagine us returning to a two-storey house that’s too big for us and too hard to maintain as we age (though I do still cling faintly to the thought that J. might one day raise a family here and the connection will continue!)

It’s hard to face such life progressions so consciously. In our busy daily life, we never usually stop to think: in 10 short years, we will be here. All of us are in different worlds today to what our 10-year-future-selves might be in. It is hard to look one’s Future Self squarely in the face.

We are currently in this world, with a primary-school aged child, with young kids everywhere all around us, not an adult child in thought.

But house move or not, we will be leaving the world of primary-school parenting behind in a few short months. It’s very bitter-sweet.

There was some ‘closure’ for us given that this weekend was also J’s final game of football for the season. They won with a thumping 8-goal victory in a home game. J. was happy to kick a goal and the whole club were on a high with such a great season-ending game. It was a great ‘high’ to go out on for our final weekend here.

Even the dismal month-of-rain that we’ve had was put on hold this weekend. Blue skies and sunshine both Saturday and Sunday lifted morale for our final weekend at home.

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There were celebrations in the club-room after the game and a big, final ‘Family Night’ ahead at the club tonight, which I know in J’s mind will be his chance to say goodbye.

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J: centre-left, Number 44!

It is still hard to believe that four of the boys in this team ‘met’ as 6 week old babies, in our arms as somewhat bewildered new parents in ‘Mother’s Group’ at the Health Centre 12 years ago. The Health Centre backs on to the football oval, just a few metres back from the club room.

Most of the rest of the boys in the team are from J’s old school. It was great to see them all in the circle at the end of the game, arms around each other’s shoulders, singing the club song.

J. said yesterday that he is still so sad to leave: not just for leaving the school, but also the streets, the places, the neighbours, the house, the people and the memories and his childhood.

I am sad for him but also grateful. I always wanted him to be raised with a healthy sense of having had a ‘childhood home.’ I feel like it’s ‘mission accomplished’. He has grown up with a connection to a place he thinks of as ‘home.’ So he is luckier than many.

We will keep his childhood home and friendship connections here as long as we possibly can. But it is time to move on.

Various of the other kids are also moving on to new things as primary school draws quickly to a close for all of them.

And so: farewell, house. I have loved living here.

New House Pics

We don’t move into our new house for another week but we have now been through and had a look.

Firstly, the really important, ‘Mustachian‘ points:

  • it is 4 minutes walk home from work each night (4!)
  • it is 10 minutes walk TO work each morning – all uphill – a chance to finally do something about our terrible family fitness (for non-regular readers…we are a family of 3 – two teachers who work at the same school and a son who attends the school.)
  • it has a huge bank of solar panels on the roof, many more than our current home
  • we are listing one of our two family cars for sale this weekend

Now for the non-Mustachian, complainypants moments!

It’s a step back in accommodation standards. We knew that. We’re about ‘living local, working local’ and finally, FINALLY getting our real-house mortgage paid off. No matter if it takes a 60s house with a late-80s décor to do it!

We visited the new house on a wet, dismal day that so far ranks as the coldest day this winter. As an experienced house-mover, I know it’s better to see the house in its worst state rather than to see it in the peak of summer with all the faults hidden…

…but it was admittedly quite bleak and bitter cold inside. The heat was off and the house was empty of furniture. However, it only took a few mental gymnastics to imagine how lovely and cool it will be in the heat of summer, once all the leaves are back on the trees.

The house overall must be c. 1960s built. I’m dating the kitchen as maybe ‘early 90s’ since it has that fake, wood-look laminex that was quite a thing back in the 90s.

The kitchen décor isn’t improved by dark, cold slate floors in winter. It has an island bench (not shown) but is still small compared to our current kitchen.

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I would date the bathroom to an early-90s makeover as well. Blue benches (often teamed with a beach theme) were a sub-trend back then. It does actually lighten the house a little but of course, it’s a colour that’s not black OR beige. I’m finding that difficult but will probably adjust. It’s kind of cute and beachy!

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The main lounge / dining area is the lightest part of the house. Here, I was irked by the curtains. Cheap curtains are the tenant’s lot and I’m resigned to it temporarily but these won’t keep out the brutal Australian heat in summer, nor the light at 5am, nor the cold in winter.

And stepping from outside onto carpet at the front door? We will be a shoes-off house but it is still a little cheap-and-annoying.

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I didn’t photograph the large, slate-tiled family room near the kitchen because the owners were standing there chatting while we went through the house.

Mr 12 was aghast at the whole scene. He has recently morphed entirely into a full-blown teenager – I didn’t see that coming! – and so he skulked about unhappily, later explaining in detail how his life was being ruined by this move.

Another room that I didn’t photograph has become a source of mystery and mirth. It’s a child’s bedroom, painted a dark, deep blue with a boy’s wallpaper frieze in paper around it.

But inside the room is…

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…a professional sun-tanning bed!

We’re not sure if this is staying and I definitely hope not…with the risk of cancer from these things and all.

I think they’re banned now in salons in Australia…perhaps we will end up with an illicit sunbed in our home?! It won’t get used.

Also built inside the same bedroom was…

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…a sauna! Obviously, this isn’t a photo of the room but imagine this built inside a dark bedroom inside the house. It looks more of a fixture than the sun-bed, so the jury is out about whether it will stay or not.

Finally, the house as a whole is oriented completely on the wrong side of the block to get light or passive solar gains. So it will subliminally irk me every day that we live there.

We move in 8 days and I am so exhausted by the process that I have come down sick with a winter head-cold. This is not what is needed when there is so much heavy cleaning to do this weekend. I guess there’s a point with every move where you are just ‘over it’. By next week, I will be ‘completely over it.’

I have to include one final photo. There’s a ‘décor item’ on the wall of one of the other bedrooms:

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It’s about a metre in height, fixed to the wall. My Irish friend thinks it’s ‘a giant spider’ and in her usual calm manner, she immediately suggested: ‘it should be ripped from the wall and burnt.’

I don’t know. I’m a tenant. I can’t just rip spider-décor from the wall and destroy it.

What to do?

Painting and more

We are getting close to the end of prepping up the house for renting out now.

We’ve had the painters in for the past two days. They pushed the furniture to the middle of the rooms and hit it with an efficiency that startled me. The house has come up beautifully. It’s like a new house again, which I thought would be impossible.

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The painters were clever. They quoted and then painted the worn ‘high-traffic’ areas but left the ‘minimal-impact’ zones alone (which meant painting 2-3 walls in each room and leaving others alone.)

They’ve successfully achieved a high-impact look in visually dominant areas combined with a more budget approach to areas that are not so noticeable.

They painted all the outside items that needed weather-sealing, like posts and sills and eaves.

The job set us back just $2,300. It was worth every last cent. Nothing makes a house look new again like a fresh coat of paint.

It’s made me nostalgic, seeing the house all ‘new’ again with fresh carpet and paint and tiles.

I feel like we’ve somehow rolled the clock back 15 years; back to when we built this house in 2000.

Remember those times of being a 20-something? It seems like a lifetime ago. We were just married, childless, many kilograms lighter, focussed on our circle of friends, weekends away and dining out. We had few possessions. We could move house at a moment’s notice; room with people; travel.

Our parents were so much younger then than they are now.

We were busy with our jobs and planning house designs and planning our future together. We had many plans but few responsibilities.

Strange that a simple coat of paint can jolt us back to those times. Complexities are what you make of them. It is so good to be reminded of that.

Almost all of the house is packed into boxes tonight (admittedly, so many more boxes than those simple days back then.)

By tomorrow night, I am hopeful that most of the heavy-duty cleaning will be done and the house will be ready for inspections.

Our house move is now locked in for the 30th July.

I am almost looking forward to going back to work on Monday for a break from boxes and mess. I haven’t read a book, seen a movie or listened to much music for the whole of this break. But I feel like we’ve got a lot of freedom ahead of us.