Tuesday, 3 June 2008

The Tuesday waffle on...

There is a house in the next street that I used to live in when I was a baby. No, I have not always lived in the same suburb. I am an ex-army brat. You live nowhere for any length of time. Buying Chez Amarinda a street away was just a fluke. When I was looking to buy a house I had, as most people, a limited budget. The bank was prepared to finance me so far – even in this day being a single woman is a risk to take on and I’m not just talking PMS wise – if you have someone with a penis that can co-sign the loan your prospects of more money are better. No matter how far we have come, we have not come far enough. But then being single is my choice so you deal with stuff like that…okay – shut, move on Amarinda…okay I will.

Anyway, before I bought my shambolic house, I looked at hundreds of houses, as you do. I was due to look at the house next door to my current one when I saw Chez Amarinda. Now, it’s nothing fancy but it instantly struck me as the one. It’s like the
person you fall in love/lust with…you see something that no one else may see and you want them. So I paid vague attention to the house I was supposed to see with the agent, all the time looking over the fence to the future Chez Amarinda. Once the tour of next door was done, I wandered out to the front of the house I decided I wanted. I had not seen inside of it but I knew I wanted it. Maybe it was desperation in the fact that I was sick of looking at houses or maybe, it was more like my mother, who had died a few months earlier, was slapping me on the upside of the head going ‘this is the house.’ Anyway, the guy that was renting it was outside and me being me went and talked to him. Did I want to see inside he asked? Sure, but you could be an axe murderer and I am not hormonal enough to deal with possible killers today…maybe next week. Instead I rang the real estate agent on the listing and suggested they high tail it over there if they wanted a sale. The agent skidded the car to a halt outside and I had my first look inside. OMG. It was a nightmare. There were wads of peeling, ghastly wallpaper – bright yellow roses with vertical lines through them mixed with palm tree print – the bathroom was third world and everything needed work and yet I could see amazing potential. No, to the best of my knowledge I wasn’t drunk when I viewed it.

I asked my father to come and see it. I needed someone who could tell me every single thing that was wrong with it. He did. And there was a lot wrong with it. “It’s going to be a lot bloody of work.” So I negotiated them way down listing all the flaws. The area when I bought into it was unfashionable. I would like to say I have a knack at picking up and coming areas to buy into but it’s purely budget that forced me there. The owners were desperate to sell so I got the price I wanted for the house of the peeling wallpaper as it was known for a while. When guests used to visit they were invited to rip off shreds of paper if they were so inclined. All the wallpaper has gone now, as has the cream carpets – they hid amazing wood floors – and I have the house to a livable if messy – okay no ‘if’ about it – messy stage that I’m happy with.

Why am I rambling on? I pass everyday the house I lived in for those first 6 months or so when I was a baby…no, I don’t have any baby photos here. They are elsewhere. But the kid in the picture is me. I still have the same knees, I am marginally taller and my hair is probably the same only now I have a really long fringe (bangs) because I hate plucking my eyebrows. The other picture is Mum and Grandma Elsie in 1956. Every time I
pass the ‘baby’ house, I always think of my mother. She lived there with 2 kids and one on the way during the Vietnam War. My father was a professional solider. He naturally went to war. My parents had no money. When my father left they had to split the tube of toothpaste between them and Mum had two dollars to live on. Mum had no car, no close relatives near by and the area I live in is very hilly and she pushed a pram, pregnant for miles with two kids under three, to get groceries. In those days no one looked after the wives and the families of those who went to war. They had to fend for themselves. I often think how bloody hard it would have been for mum. She never complained. She got on with life and did what she had to in order to make sure her kids had everything. Someone once said of my mother, if there was only one loaf of bread my mother would have fought like a demon to make sure her kids got it. How lucky was I to have a mother like that? I think seeing that other house everyday reminds me that I am the product of my upbringing and I anything I have now is due to that. I believe that’s a good reminder to see, have and never take for granted.

Well, bugger…that was a bit of a ramble….the contest – is still going and there is still time to send in your answers. Questions….

Question 1: What subject does lecturer Dash Lomard teach?

Question 2: How old is India Blake?

Answers? Terribly hard – scroll down and take a squiz at yesterday’s blog.

The prize – see right… email the answers to Please put ‘Contest’ in the subject field of the email.

The first correct answer, drawn at random, to those two specific questions wins the prize. The contest closes at midnight (USA EST) on June 6th. Good luck.
Go ahead: Live with abandon. Be outrageous at any age. What are you saving your best self for?


barbara huffert said...

I like the idea that it was your mother pointing you to the right house.

Anny Cook said...

Wonderful blog. I think that every person has a "place" that is clearly theirs. Some of us only get to live there a while... but when we do, we're home.

I think I would have really liked your mother.

Katie Reus said...

Your mom sounds like she was an amazing woman ;)

Anonymous said...

Your mom, like all good moms, was there when you needed her. She sounds wonderful. Great blog.


Sandra Cox said...

Oh man, Amarinda, what a wondrous blog. I loved it. Thank you for sharing.And your mom's picture: absolutely beautiful. She has a wonderful smile.