Tuesday, November 25, 2014


This is about my twelfth post here this year. I guess that's better than none. I wrote this more than a month ago, shortly after the previous post but delayed publishing it because  I needed to check that it is not just a long winded whine.

Among all the other frustrations I have computer problems which I am working around until I can afford a new keyboard.

The last few days have been filled with glorious sunshine. It's feels so good after what seemed like a long wet winter. This morning I listened to a tui singing five or six beautiful clear notes over and over. Every now and then he would stumble over a note or it would come out cracked and he'd begin all over again. They have an amazing repertoire of song and are a native treasure. We are blessed to have many in the trees around us. They love the nectar in the banksia trees and other native species such a kowhai, planted years ago in the green spaces by the developers of Matarangi.

Many things are going on and I often feel like the Robot in the Lost In Space, children's TV program from around the late '60s. Do you remember the frequent cry form the computer as it refused to continue to operate?


On top of our personal family stuff we are still clearing Mum's house. I spent another weekend going through cupboards and deciding what to keep, what to pack and store, what to give to charity etc. Right now I have three banana boxes and a rubbish bag sitting in my living room waiting my attention. One has a mixture of pretty jewellery with maybe some value. and cheap beads etc. Two others are a total miscellany and the bag is full of linen, some hand embroidered by my mother and grandmother. There are also some crochet pieces mostly mine I think. How do you throw away such treasures yet mostly they will never again be used by myself or any other family member? There's even a hand embroidered nightie labelled 90 years old so it has to be my grandmother's and will be over 100 years old now. I have my mother's bridesmaid dresses not to mention my own bridal gown stowed away somewhere. I've gone through boxes of old letters. newspaper cuttings and loose photos. Most went to be recycled as waste paper. This is not the first lot but it is pretty much the last lot. I'm not a natural hoarder but it's so hard to decide what should be kept and what to permanently dispose of. We have packed more fine china and crystal and again comes the question.... what and how to sell? There is no antique or collectibles shop just around the corner to which I can take things for a quick appraisal. We downsized dramatically around 2000 and now I am stuffing my poor little house with boxes of stuff I don't know what to do with. I am concerned that I might give away or sell something that someone else might want. I am the reluctant Family Museum caretaker.


When we put Mum's house, our family beach house, on the market nearly three years ago, we thought it would be an easy sell. It's right on the beach, a reasonably tidy section with lawn that runs right down to the sand and sea. The house has five bedrooms and three bathrooms with an extra toilet, and two family/living areas with one full kitchen and two other areas for coffee/tea making set up for minor meal preparation. It is also set up to work for a wheelchair bound person. My favourite bedroom opens onto a deck with direct access to the beach. There's even a lift to make easy access to the upstairs. It's not magazine glamorous but a good sturdy house with loads of potential either as a family beach house or retirement home with lots of space for family holidays. It could be easily up-graded to turn into a lovely B and B. So what happened to all those potential buyers?

Firstly there is a limited number of buyers in our market.
The house is not glamorous enough for people with over 1 million dollars. 
The Real Estate market has been affected by all kinds of financial issues. 
We've also been told that the publicity around tsunami threats have scared many people away from beach properties. 

A few months ago we had someone who seemed to be the perfect buyer. They did due diligence and found that the Code of Compliance Certificate had never been signed off when the house was completed 14 years ago. This has become a can of worms. We lost our keen buyer. The council inspector gave us a long list of things to do before he would consider issuing the CCC. We have completed all those tasks but in the process found some more problems. When the inspector came last week he gave us another list. Not as long this time but more expensive. We need to engage a builder to bring the deck structure up to current building standards. This will involve scaffolding and goodness knows what. We are currently waiting for quotes. Then we have to decide how we are going to finance the Fix-Up. This is the point where my sister and I bow out. We are both on fixed low incomes, depending entirely on Superannuation and have run out of all other resources. 

I have chosen to distance myself from the house from now on. This is being made easier by a decision our daughter made. For the last few years of Mum's life Jane became Mum's principle carer as well as continuing her own nursing job part-time. She has been living in the house since Mum died and it has been a prickly situation within part of the family circle. Finally she came to the place where she is willing to move out. This has forced me to get my act together, finally packing all things except the few required for family weekends. It's a huge relief. I can now find some kind of closure whatever that means. This house has been my secondary home and sometimes principle home since I was 15 years old,  nearly 60 years. That's a lot of living and loving to put behind you. There's a sense of relief .....

But I am left with all this stuff to sort.

John is partially deaf. This year he began to take the necessary steps to get a hearing aid. It's terribly complicated or seems so to me. Because he is entitled to Government funding via ACC, Accident Compensation for work related damage and some support from our health system he's had to jump through all the bureaucratic hoops including several trips to Thames for tests. He was to go again this coming Monday but we noticed that the company he is dealing with have opened an office locally, in Whitianga. I sighed with relief when they gave him a new appointment for Friday in Whitianga. That meant no long day away from home with associated travel and meals. 

He had barely turned off the phone from the audiology people when it went again. This time Waikato Hospital were on the line with an appointment to be there Monday morning for another procedure on his leg. Some time ago John became bothered by his left leg which would become painful and swollen and even numb, making any kind of walking uncomfortable. He was diagnosed with a blockage in the femoral artery. This was fixed comparatively easily but six months later the same symptoms came back. After a good wait and several visits to the Vascular Clinic they found the artery walls collapsing so early this year a stent was inserted n the artery. Again, about six months later, the symptoms returned with even more pain. This time they found that skin cells, or scar tissue or something, had blocked the stent. It has been quite restricting for him although he can still get around he has to pace himself carefully and long periods of walking are out. He often collapses in a chair in pain until enough blood begins to flow through to his foot again. 

Finally his appointment has come to attend day surgery to have the stent cleared. The chances are this will have to be done every 6 or so months until everyone decides enough is enough and he has a vein transplant.to bypass the affected area. Monday's procedure means he will need to stay overnight in close vicinity to the hospital. We have swapped a day trip to Thames for an overnighter twice as far from home. This was the last straw for me. We couldn't put this off. John has waited as patiently as possible for this appointment and goodness knows if another would be available before we go to Christchurch in December.

I'm recovering from my melt down. I don't want to think about what it did to my blood pressure but it has taken a couple of days for me to feel well enough to function normally again.

Today I will get a couple of loads of washing and sorting done and get on with sewing the wall hanging for the baby's room. I'm calling it 'A Star Is Born.' We have four children, the eldest is about to turn 50 and this will be our first grandchild. John will be 79 years old by the time the baby is born. It's not something we have let worry us too much but there is a sense of special delight about this.

Today .... Tuesday, November 25th.

We are surviving. Our financial situation hasn't changed but I am managing it better I think. Just don't need any surprises or extra expenses. 
We have two delightful additions to our household. Lexie and Katie. Although my intention was to keep them as apartment cats they love to be outside. Katie is a climber, Lexie is a hunter and presented us with a young rabbit a few days ago. They are the Ragdoll cats we got for my mother to keep her company in her last few years. The understanding was that they would be ours after her death. Jane kept them until she moved out and now we have them for keeps. They have settled in and we are very happy to have them although it does mean we have to get accustomed to planning our life around them. We keep them inside at night and during the day we try to keep them confined to our back-yard but .... they are cats!!!! 

John and I are going to Christchurch soon so we can to be with our son and daughter-in-law when their baby is born. We will be away five weeks while Jane stays in our house with the cats. They have turned part of their large shed into a sleep-out so we should be able to give them all the privacy they need.

I have almost finished the patchwork wall hanging for the baby's room. I'm pleased with my achievement. It took longer than I expected but there was an element of  'designing as I went' and my eye seems to be becoming more bothersome. Eye pain and headaches are no joke. I will have to do something about it when we get back from Christchurch or I might even look for someone who can help me while there. Our two spare bedrooms are out of commission at present. One remains full of stored stuff, the other has been taken over by me as my  quilting workroom. It's completely disorganised at the moment. I must sort it out this week.



Retta said...

So much going on, so many balls in the air at one time to juggle. I truly hope the saga of the house sale will come to an end soon for you. That in itself would take off some of the pressure.

Are you able to carve out some "me & Thee" time daily? To just rest in His arms, even for a few minutes? I hope so, for both you and John.

I hope this time in Christchurch with your son and daughter in law will be a joyous and refreshing time for you both!

Big hugs,

Lynda said...

Oh my goodness, you have so much going on at a time that you simply don't need it! The house not selling must be a worry - I hope it al gets sorted really soon. What you have written makes me more determined to not hoard or stash more than I absolutely need to! BUT on a positive side there is the new grandbaby due soon, now that will be a joy.

Merikay MacKenna said...

Sorting thru the treasures of your past and your mother's life is a difficult task for sure. Try this, be determined to touch or move any item only once. Snap a picture of everything as you go. you don't have to do anything with the pictures at this time other than download then to a file. Then bag what you looked at as either a keeper or a toss. Do not reopen the toss bags.Donate or dump at least once a week.Keep only what you will actually USE not what you think you should because it may have value. Believe me, whatever it is, it has no cash value that you can get. Maybe to a dealer, but you are not one. We had someone come and take a housefull of really good things and he paid us only $1000 USD. But he also took the junk. We are free. I have some pictures of my treasures. Thats all I need.
Three years is long enough!

Bob said...

It's no fun trying to figure out what to do with all the "stuff" that get's left behind. We had almost seventy boxes of items left over from the estate when we took over this place. Once in a very long while, when we work up our courage, we go through a few boxes and try and punt out a few things. It's tough.
Good luck with everything.

Gypsy said...

I didn't realize when I got your email that you are MargieAnne. I followed you and John throughout your visit to Hawaii, and then sort of lost track when you didn't post often.

Your work is beautiful - the quilt in your header photo as well as the wall- hanging for the baby.

I hope the real estate market will improve and you can sell your Mother's house soon. It looks very attractive in the photo.

Chris H said...

I can't believe that gorgeous home has not sold yet. Such an amazing situation it's in. I hope you are now in Christchurch and your first grandbaby is almost here. There is nothing more special than your first grandbaby.

Jackie Birch said...

Thinking of you, loved the chat, we will do it more often. Take care and many hugs xxx

Chris H said...

I hope all is well with you guys?