April 2015

Julie was cleaning the old cuckoo clock and suddenly was confronted with a large spider. Whoa, hang on. There aren’t any spiders like that in this house. Thought about it for a while. The spider must have come down from the cottage inside the clock. Imagine the damage if it had done that when I was hanging the clock on the wall!

The fleas around here are just atrocious. They’re everywhere! We finally paid to get the whole property treated, inside and outside. We had to vacate the place for several hours, so Julie took the kids and spent the day in the bus in the driveway. In the process, Buddy escaped, causing major panic, but then didn’t know where to go and surrendered peacefully.

A few days later, Angel was not herself (when is she ever herself?) and had a gummy eye. Yay, another trip to the vet, who couldn’t find anything wrong. My diagnosis is that she had been scratching herself and had hit herself in the eye.

After searching the net for a replacement toothbrush with no success, I contacted the hotel in Encinitas. Sure, they had the stuff I had left behind, so I emailed them a picture of my credit card, and a package arrived a few weeks later.

Meanwhile, I have worked really hard on finishing the inside of the bus, and it is now for sale. Julie put out a call for a cleaner to detail it, and within the hour, had contact from Lynn, who does all sorts of contract cleaning. She spent 2 days on it, and did a magnificent job. We now have rug on the floors to prevent them from getting dirty again.

Julie continues to struggle with the concept that she can’t find a job and is therefore worthless. The good news is that we are here for not more than a year now.Wow, what a way to start the month. In the letter box on Good Friday was a letter from the Real Estate Agent advising that our lease is expiring and we are required to vacate the house within 2 months. I used the excuse of dropping off some mail to the owner, to find out what was going on. Turns out that because she has more value in this house, she needs to live in it for reasons pertaining to her single parent benefit. She and her parents are working on the house she is currently in, just down the street, and we agreed that when it is finished in 2-3 months, we would do a straight swap. Whew! We still have somewhere to go.

Testing a portable projector for the eBay Store.

Meanwhile, we have decided that Julie will head back to Seattle after we have made the move, to find work, house and car, support herself, and be ready for me to move with the rest of the family in about March 2016.

Each time I’ve been to the toilet at work, I have noticed an interesting pattern on the tiles, which looks remarkably like an image of bamboo (picture 1). After a bit of looking, I realised that the pattern was coming from the overhead lights, highlighting the horizontal join in the tiles on the side wall.

More on the house. While talking to the owner while she was here arranging for a tradesman to work on the roof, I found out that her current place will only be available a month after she moves into this one. She offered us storage in the sheds at the other one, but we would still have to live somewhere for a month with the animals anyway. Can’t see that happening.

I’ve been putting the bus out near the highway at South Nowra each weekend. I started in the Rest Area, and put it there a few times before I spotted a sign saying that it was not allowed. So I switched to a vacant piece of land where lots of other vehicles are displayed.

Wow, things move quickly in this household. I managed to invoke 3 security incidents in less than 3 weeks, and I was promptly removed from the workplace. I’ve been on Administrative Leave for a week and a bit, while the due process formally confirms that I have lost my job here. We are now debating whether we go back to Canberra for a while, or cut loose earlier and head for Seattle. The only thing stopping us from bolting within the next few weeks is selling the bus.

I went to Sydney for a day for an appointment with the cardiologist. I survived the stress test! By their measurement, my aorta MAY have enlarged a little, but the doctor said that could also just be a measurement error, so later in the week I went for another angiogram here in Nowra. Haven’t picked up the results yet. However, while in Sydney, coming off the train at Martin Place station, it’s hard to miss the memorial to those people killed in the siege there earlier this year.

And the week and a bit is now up, and I am now unpaid. We MAY have a buyer for the bus. Someone passing by saw it displayed out near the highway at South Nowra and contacted me with a view to passing on the details to his brother, who lives at Orange, has cancer, and wants to get and see the country while he can. Unfortunately, his budget is half the asking price, but we have agreed to take it if he offers it. Given that it’s the only solid lead we’ve had so far, it will have to do.

And Julie totaled her car. Wow, what else can go wrong?

Nope, he dropped out, but our wonderful neighbour Joe has come to the rescue. If all else fails, we can (and probably could) live in the shed at the back of his shop, which has been converted into a studio. Just enough to contain Buddy, keep warm (Winter is definitely coming) and give Angel some grass to pee on. He is also keen to either buy and resell the bus, or simply sell it on commission.  The best part: I trust him. Meanwhile, I’m putting monthly payments in place, so that our loan accounts won’t default, at least for several months.

Also, a number of people (including our lawyer) have expressed the opinion that Julie is unlikely to get a prison sentence. My fear is that she will get Community Service, but will deal with that if it happens. So we are putting plans into place to get our stuff sorted into “going” and “staying”, and my intention is that we’ll have Julie heading off as the advance party as soon as the beginning of May. I have already contacted the removalist who brought our stuff from Bywong, and Julie has contacted a company that was highly recommended on the pets forum at Defence (when I still had access to it) and asked for a quote to get the kids there.

Meanwhile, I was working on getting a refund on the registration on the Viva, and had to remove the number plates and take them in. So I though I’d take a few pictures, so that I would have something to show if necessary. You can see that the impact ripped both rear wheels off. I fail to see how anyone travelling at 50kph (the speed limit in our street) could do that much damage.

Well, I did say that things move quickly around here. I put together a calendar of proposed future events, allowing Julie to get over to Seattle and find us a place to live, straight after the court appearance, which has the everything wrapped up here and me leaving on 5 May. In that time, everything gets sorted, then in quick succession, the furry kids go to Sydney to stay for a week, the furniture gets uplifted, I have a garage sale of whatever is staying here, then clear out the house to the local Scout Hall for their garage sale later in the year, get the cleaner in here, and go. Furry kids to follow me 2 days later. The next 2 weeks are going to be VERY busy!

Well, it’s another few days and another series of stories about the way things turn out, regardless of how we might expect to them to. We went to our wonderful neighbours, the Mouawads’ house for a roast dinner as a farewell to Julie. It was a good night, especially as Joe had cooked the entire roast in his new gas powered smoker. We both laughed too much and ate too much, and then Joe arrange for his colleague Kevin to drive us to Sydney Airport for Julie to leave for the USA. We got her checked in, and then she and I had a very low key breakfast, before I escorted her to the Express Pass entry to Immigration and Security. Oh, did I mention that we managed to get her a discount price on a First Class flight to San Francisco? From Security, she had instructions to find her way to the airport lounge for Singapore Airlines, who team up with United in Sydney. From there, she could ask for whatever help she needed to ensure that she made it onto her flight. I haven’t heard any details, but I do know that she survived an 8-hour layover in SFO, feeling thoroughly weak and fragile, but also equally determined that she was going to get home to Seattle, which she did. I received the most wonderful call from April, to say “We’ve got Mom!”. That’s all I needed to hear.

After she left, Kevin picked me up from the airport and we had a great day collecting supplies for Joe’s shop in the far reaches of Sydney, and setting up Kevin’s stall at the Kiama markets for the afternoon. I am surrounded by some truly talented people here!

And the best news from the last few days was a message from Darrel, whom we met at BlazeAid at Bookham a couple of years ago, expressing interest in the bus. The end result of the subsequent conversation is that he is buying the whole rig, and I am delivering it tomorrow, leaving here just as soon as Buddy and Angel are collected for their sojourn in Sydney, before following me to the USA later next week.

Oh, and the leftovers from the dinner. They were given to me, and I have thoroughly enjoyed the cuisine each night since then. Just opening the plastic wrapping, the smoky smell is just awesome!