Poor Stevie

Archive of ‘home’ category

heatwave, baby

We live in a little granny flat behind a grand terrace in Sydney. A tradesman told J-man he thought it was once a horse stable – it’s an odd shape and there’s no doors or windows on the back wall. I kind of liked the thought of sleeping where a little foal might have rested her head, her belly full of straw, in ye olde Sydney town.

Then we had a baby. Then summer came. I realise now we are living in a glorified shed. There is no cross-draught, no insulation. It is 28 degrees in here by lunch time. A plant recently grew through our bedroom window and curled around the blinds. This morning I was sitting on the toilet (sorry) and I noticed a huntsman spider carefully easing itself inside between two tiles. There are regularly skinks sunbaking on the carpet. When it gets windy, leaves and dust somehow get through the skylights and carpet the bathroom and kitchen floors.

Maybe one day, when I’m living with my third husband in an air-conditioned mansion in Bellevue Hill, I’ll stroke my pearls and reminisce about simpler times. But right now all I want is to move the hell out of Sydney, where you pay hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of dollars a week to live in a stinking hot shitbox.

I am unhappy here.

But I am happy for shandies, icy water, cold showers, This American Life, apple green shorts, a funny husband and a very sweet baby.

Here she is.

CCred

archaeology

I don’t have any grey hairs, an unexpected beard or a cat named Boots, but I have definitely become an old woman.

A series of first world problems broke into my life in May and swiped motivation, creativity and contentment right off my mantelpiece (sitting next to my Year 10 writing award and J-man’s homemade Most Improved Player NBA trophy) and replaced them with tears and Cheezels. I’m keeping the dang Cheezels.

I am coming out of the funk now, but this has been my life for the last three months:

I sent this photo of our new lampshade to J-man. He didn’t reply because he was at Splendour in the Grass with his shirt off. He told me later that it would kill his “rock ‘n’ roll” if he replied to a message about home furnishings while he was partying.

On Thursday J-man had free tickets to a gig, where free booze and free sandwiches were on offer. Free. Sandwiches. I stayed home to do the housework. Afterwards I rewarded myself with an old fashioned stout and dressing gown session. This is my favourite beer. Our bottle shop doesn’t even display it in the fridge.

This has been my Saturday night view. That blanket was 50 per cent off at the Red Cross shop’s closing sale.

I’ve been making boob jokes with Jam Drop cookies.

My flapjack’s name is Amelia.

On our way to the ferry a few weekends ago, I excitedly snapped this old folk’s home. With its pansies and pink walls, this is where I want to spend my final days. J-man asked: “Do you think they would let us share a room?” Sounds perfect.

 

90 days

For the past year we’ve been living with Danny DeVito.

That is how I shall refer to our former landlord – even though he doesn’t deserve that honour – because he is very short.

He owns the apartment block of four and the café in front of it, which is run by his daughter and son-in-law. At first Danny DeVito, who was probably in his 70s, seemed like he was going to be a lot of fun to have as a landlord and neighbour.

We would talk politics and current affairs in the courtyard. We’d heard he purposefully kept the rent lower than the market demanded and hadn’t given a tenant notice in the 25 years he’d owned the place. He insisted if we had any problems we could just knock on his door and he’d come over and fix whatever it was.  He built and lacquered a wooden table and put it in the courtyard soon after we’d started sharing Saturday afternoon beers with our neighbours. It was all very idyllic.

The first time I realised Danny DeVito was not our friend was when he angrily hollered at me during a very light shower on a humid day: “The carpet will get wet! Close the window now!”

Danny DeVito obviously believed the man of the house should take care of everything, so he would usually greet me with a smile while harassing J-man about some summary offence. Our bin had bin juice in it, J-man’s scooter was parked oddly, or our washing machine door was left open.

Danny DeVito had a recycling bin he liked to leave empty for unexplained reasons and once he discovered we’d put paper in it, fishing out a piece of torn up mail and presenting it to J-man as the smoking gun.

When we were in the USA for three weeks we’d given him permission for a tradesman to come in and get rid of termites we’d discovered.  When we returned we discovered Danny DeVito himself had installed new bathroom taps. In the process he’d obviously cleared out our bathroom cabinet because tampons, toilet paper and everything else I never meant for Danny DeVito to see were strewn around the shelves.

After that I received a lecture from Danny DeVito. Not for being a foul woman, but because he’d also discovered my bike had made small scuff marks just inside the front door. He complained it could cost him a lot of money to repair, despite me telling him I had always been able to remove those marks with a cloth.  J-man was told we should start to use Jiff because our kitchen drain was slightly brown.

Then late one afternoon six weeks ago, I opened a letter from the real estate agent giving us three months to move out. Even though we saw Danny DeVito every day, he hadn’t thought to tell us a young employee from the café needed somewhere to live. And maybe because of the bin juice, the open window, the wrongly placed envelope or the tea-stained drain, it had to be our unit.

We had broken Danny DeVito’s 25-year record.

better homes and cactii

Whenever someone comes to our house for the first time J-man gives them a tour. I think it’s really sweet, except that he always starts in the bedroom. This always makes me feel kind of uncomfortable. You never know what I’ve left lying around: lame books, my underwear, our matching sausage dog pyjamas, my mascara-stained tissues from all the crying about kittens and babies I do.

Today I cleaned up our room so I could show you some of my favourite things about our little home.

Some of my favourite things about our little home

I bought J-man this binary code love print from Etsy a while ago. From the look on his face when he opened it, I think he thought it was more of a Regretsy purchase. But I love it and hung it on the wall facing our bed just to punish him.

Some people think of dramatic coastlines and unisex high cut swimwear when they think of Croatia, but I think of reciting “zero zero zero zero one zero one one infinity” on a bus ride so J-man could send his friends postcards in binary code.

I like this little locker and all the things on it, but most of all I love the OTT gold mirror that used to belong to my dad’s mother. I totally inherited her taste.

 

I felt weird taking a photo of our bed even though it’s my favourite thing ever. It was just too “let’s recount all the shameful memories” for my taste. So I thought I’d show you what else we do in bed besides fart.

The books in the top photo are on my bedside table. Some of them are just to dip into before I drift off to sleep. The book I’m reading full time at the moment is Judgment Day, which is a collection of judges’ sentencing remarks in Australia’s most famous murder cases. I love criminal law and seriously dig case law, so this is the best book of all time. But reading this book before nigh nighs is not for wusses.

The books in the bottom photo are on J-man’s bedside table. He talks about beer in his sleep.

This collection of tea cups is on a weird ledge as you come in our front door and up the stairs. Our real estate agent saw these during an inspection and asked me if I liked tea. I said no.

This is the print up close. Some have suggested it’s a double entendre, but it hardly says “you are the ketchup in which I dip my weiner”. I just love it because to me it says “you are the best thing ever”. I really love butter.

This is an anatomically correct vase. We picked up two of these at Vinnies in Gosford and used them to hold roses at our wedding. [Insert (ha!) joke about the wedding night here].

A collection of swizzle sticks from a second-hand shop in Oklahoma. Except the Pimm’s one which I got at an under 12s cricket match in Bath. OK, now I’m starting to sound like a wanker. The glass is from Leura. Damn! The pink decanter on the left is from Green Point Salvos on the Central Coast. There you go. De wanked.

Some of my least favourite things about our little home

The way J-man keeps the desk in our bedroom. I know, I know, it’s just a small pile of receipts and a peg. “It’s how I do my tax, bebe!” is something he would say.

Yes, J-man, I’m sure the tax man really cares about a bag of chips we bought in the US.

in lieu of flowers

On Tuesday it was our second wedding anniversary.

To celebrate I bought J-man a cactus pot and called it Grant against his will (Joel’s will that is. The cactus pot has no will, actually). This family of cactii could symbolise many things about being married for two years.

Observe:

– I am the perky red-headed cactus and J-man is the manly yellow-headed cactus. The prickly green cactus is life poking us in the butts.

– Just as a cactus needs little water, our love needs little … water?

– We have been married so long that neither of us bothers doing anything about our respective whiskers. Man, check out my spiky body spikes!

– If there was a drought (of love) you could break us open and still find water (love).

– We both like to tickle each other’s areoles.

– We will have little prickly babies or alternatively, a really tall, fat son.

OK, so everything above looks like it’s been translated from Mandarin by a two-year-old. I bought J-man a cactii pot because when we walked past the shop selling the cactii pot a little while ago, he said he wanted the cactii pot. You wanna know what love is? That’s it. Listening to your husband when he says he wants a cactii pot and then buying a cactiii pot for him later.

Also we needed a sibling for Admiral Fitzwallace, who was named during the peak of our West Wing viewing.

Love you my little Opuntia (Joel. You can’t feel love for a cactus, actually).

home improvement

I’m really starting to make like big bird and nest. I’m pretty sure J-man, the little cookie monster, is thrilled.

Recently, I decided to get creative by stealing someone else’s great idea of making a suitcase table. Because it was so much fun – not to mention being really great for our marriage – I have decided to share the process with you:

Step one: Go to Surry Hills markets and buy an overpriced vintage suitcase from a hipster conman. Feel empty, betrayed and bitter for the rest of the day.

Step two: Tell your husband to high-tail it to Bunnings and pick you up some table legs, some lacquer and some T-nuts. Set aside T-nuts for personal use.

Step three: Stain the legs on your white kitchen floor. Lean the freshly stained legs up against your white wall. You won’t regret it and, I swear, your landlord will love the new “bespoke” detail on his precious property.

Step four: Tell your husband to re-do your nails. And do it now, baldy!

Step five: Ask your husband to take a photo of you posing Charlie’s Angels-style with your new power drill in your messy kitchen. He won’t mind!

Step six: Drill some holes in that suitcase. Try not to let your mind wander to whether the Romans or whoever used asbestos to make their suitcases.

Step seven: Tell your husband to figure out what the hell to do with T-nuts. He, of all people, should know how to handle those babies with care.

Step eight: Don’t get angry at your selfish husband when the T-nut strategy goes balls up. He really is a good man deep inside and you can forgive him once he returns to Bunnings with his man tail between his legs to get plates and screws instead.

Step nine: Allow your husband to take over the drilling once in a while. It’s good for his sense of manhood.

Step ten: When he starts doing annoying things, like being reasonable and telling you to be careful, start swearing and calling him names until he storms out and says “I’m going to the gym”. Continue drilling and muttering under your breath.

Step eleven: When it becomes clear this really is a two person job, use your cutesy puppy voice to ask him to stay and help, promising you’ll never call him a “pain in the arse” or a “little poo” again. He’ll obey because he knows what’s good for him.

Step twelve: Admire your finished product! You have worked so, so hard to make this perfect. To celebrate, go and sink one of your husband’s expensive beers. You know the ones – the precious American ales he saves up for and stores away for special occasions. He’ll be totally cool with it, I promise!

orlando magic

I’ve been without internet, so please forgive the huge gap between nail-biting life updates. You see, I’m only just now transcribing these words from stone tablets. And this loin cloth is kind of chafing. And I’ve only just figured out how to make fire by scratching stone with the bones of a dragon. J-man is away for the night clubbing baby bears to death to provide us with meat and fur coats for the winter. So I’m doing what any other prehistoric babe would do, I’m hanging out in our new cave tonight and I’ll probably watch a movie starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Oh boy, that’s bam bam right there.

Allow me to update you on our evolution:

– We moved into a new place and it is more amazing than I could have imagined. Our old place was a one bedder, but was kind of like a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and laundry all in the one room, which made toilet breaks really quite awkward. Now I can close the door on J-man while he plays Call of Duty 2 or Sparkly Unicorn Smack Down, or whatever it is he does, and pretend that we never really got married.

– That reminds me. We celebrated our first wedding anniversary a couple of weeks ago. J-man was in America for work and, as a little man treat, took himself on a road trip to his favourite brewery, leaving me at home. How quaint! The night before we turned one, I had a dream that I was having Shaq’s baby. It was one of those completely convincing dreams that I could not shake when I woke up. Every so often I would figure out the time difference to see whether it was an appropriate hour to ring Joel and tell him I’d gotten busy with an NBA great and I was leaving him and taking the Dick Smith peanut butter with me.

– J-man is now the proud owner of a really manly red scooter. When he perched on the seat for the first time, I told him he looked exactly like Audrey Hepburn. It was a really great buy on his part. Does he have a licence? No. Do we have somewhere to store it? No.  Did he run the major purchase by me, the treasurer of this exclusive club? No. I guess that’s what you have to love about him. He’s spontaneous, good looking and probably the most annoying person I know. To get him back, I set up a reading nook in the corner that he previously vetoed.  What’s that old saying? Oh yeah, revenge tastes like a big ol’ plate of cold barf.

i don’t how i’m gonna tell you, i can’t play with you no more

Yesterday, J-man and I casually closed the door on the little yellow apartment that has been our home for the last three years. We talked about how strangely OK we felt about it. Maybe it was because we’d spent the last couple of weeks packing our things, double-checking we hadn’t kindly left behind any pubes for the new tenants and scrubbed melted cheese off unexpected surfaces. Maybe we were just ready to be done with the damn thing. Really, we’d been thinking about leaving for over a year and we knew the break-up was coming. But that doesn’t mean we didn’t love you sunny, little number eight.

Here are some things I will always remember about our first apartment together:

– On one of our first nights, I was still shell-shocked about living in the city and having a job and having a serious relationship. J-man, in his eternally positive and hopeful way, tried to cheer me up by cooking dinner. I can’t remember what the whole meal was, but it included hash browns. As J-man proudly served it up, I took one bite and declared “This tastes like oven cleaner” and burst into tears. Why he ended up proposing, I’ll never understand.

– Our unfriendly neighbours. I have a bit of a penchant for dresses about four sizes too big, which I wear with a belt around my waist. One day soon after we’d moved in, I walked up the stairs as a neighbour and his girlfriend walked down. The boyfriend and I exchanged cheery ‘hellos’ while the girlfriend ignored me. As I unlocked my door, she said loudly: “She looks pregnant in that dress”.

–  Our yellow couch. It was in a perfect, sunny position next to glass doors and was the perfect spot for reading, watching telly and making whoo- nevermind. Unfortunately we didn’t really have room for a dining table so it was also where we ate our dinner. It ended up more of a beige colour with tomato sauce and chocolate splatters as well as mysterious head patches. Gross.

– Crows Nest, Neutral Bay and Cremorne really became our stomping grounds. We’ll never have enough money to live there properly again but it really is a nice part of Sydney. Water views, awesome pubs, a historic cinema, green parks, good bookshops, cafes and heaps of purebred dog owners. Plus the weird Hare Krishna place that smelt alternately of spicy vegetarian cooking and wizz.

– Stir Crazy. My favourite place to eat in the whole world. For a little while it was our Friday hangout, until we started saving hardcore for our trip. The curry puffs are to die for and don’t even get me started on the fish cakes, baby.

– Cruddy appliances. Our first washing machine didn’t take in water, so we had to fill it with buckets and constantly re-start the bastard. One load of washing would take three hours. Our oven wasn’t fanforced so everything, no matter what, would end up slightly burnt on the bottom. I’m a good cook, I sweeeear!

– Beers in the park. Quite a few times, J-man and I would lie in a particular part of the park that’s really close to the freeway but has a view of Sydney Harbour. You could close your eyes pretend the woosh of the cars was actually the ocean. I always felt content lying there, half-tipsy, looking at all the other people in the world.

– The 201, 202, 203, 204, 205, 206, 207, 208 buses. One stand out memory is catching a bus into the city one weekend morning with J-man. As we got on, a younger looking guy asked me where Wynyard was. As I tried to explain, he asked me to sit down across from him and talk. I could immediately tell he was a Christian – something about the glint in his eyes. At first I thought he was trying to spread the good word, but it soon became obvious he was trying to hit on me, in that awkward way Christian boys have, as J-man looked on in bemusement. Conclusion? Christians are weird homewreckers.

– The time(s) J-man defrosted chicken breasts on top of the water heater. I have a life-long fear of getting Salmonella poisoning. I don’t know why really, it just sounds awful so I’m always cautious about chicken. In my opinion, J-man has always had some pretty suspect ways of cooking with chicken, but he used to work at KFC and declares himself an expert. One night, mum came to stay and my sisters came over for dinner. When I arrived home, there was a terrible smell wafting around the whole flat. I thought maybe someone farted or had just used the bathroom and, being senstive about that issue myself, decided just to ignore it and subtley open a window. As the night progressed, the smell turned from bad fart to bad poo to bad corpse-decomposing-after-violent-death-at-the-hands-of-a-deranged-serial-killer. When mum went to use the shower, I suggested she give it a few moments because obviously J-man was having some pretty serious butt issues. I don’t know what made me think of it but I looked towards the water heater and noticed a package of chicken sitting on top. We had planned to have a chicken dish the night before but had decided to go out instead. And, even though I constantly pester him to be careful with chicken, J-man obviously didn’t think that ruled out defrosting it on the heater. By the way mum looked at both of us that night, I knew we lost a couple of points. It was shameful, embarrassing and foul. And a couple of months later, J-man did it again.

– Other random flashbacks: dust bunnies, carpet stains, brown hot water, succulent pot plants, uncomfortable bed, dead other plants, our cactus Admiral Fitzwallace, bad internet, Doritos, Crust pizza, spooning, weevil disaster, love.

As it becomes more apparent that I am not career-driven I’ve turned my focus to other things. Namely, being a housewife. There are so many benefits – cooking for my boyfriend, scrubbing my boyfriend’s underpants, folding my boyfriend’s clothes and waiting for my boyfriend to get home. Other perks include watching Oprah, crying and spying on neighbours. This is all likely to end in the birth of child named something like Dorito Daisy Connolly – and that’s just the first son.

I thought I’d share with you my blooming collection of domestic items. I look at these things and I just think – ‘this is what life is all about mother’uckas’:

Here’s a bunch of flowers half tulips, half lilies. I like to think they represent me – pretty but just about to die having been plucked out of the garden of life.

Photobucket

Here’s a clock I bought myself. I watch every excruciating moment tick by.

Photobucket

Here’s where I keep my dry ingredients for sweet cakes. I twitch slightly when I see the cursive labels on them which say ‘sugar’, ‘rice’, ‘tea’ and ‘coffee’ because actually what I keep in them is sugar, flour, brown sugar and teabags. But I can’t fix the injustices of the world can I?

Photobucket

Here’s my collection of champagne flutes and matching ice bucket. Sometimes I drink gin out of them when I’m alone watching David and Kim.

Photobucket

Here’s my pink teapot and knitted cosy. Once I found that Joel had hidden the cosy in the back of the cupboard and that’s why I threw him in the ocean wrapped in black plastic with rocks in his pocket.

Photobucket

And finally, a piece of tasteful craft that doesn’t need an introduction.

Photobucket