While I sit here, with these intense riggles and bumbs happening inside my tummy, I’m pretty overwhelmed at how much our life has changed this year. I’ll try and do it justice in what I’m sure will turn into a mammoth post that most of you will only get half way through, but if you’re interested, grab a bevo, get comfy and see just how crazy our life was this year.
It Started With A Reading…
The year started off with momentum for us. In February, a call from my Mother In Law revealed that one of her treasured crystal wholesalers was closing down and had a heap of product they had to move. They were coming to her and I should stop in to see what caught my eye. I took the day off work to head down and do some Caloundra-car-park-crystal-shopping for Undead Threads and decided to get a quick little reading while I was there.
Well my quick reading turned into 2 hours sitting with the reader out the back while she told me the trip we had planned (a camping weekend away in Byron Bay we hadn’t told anyone about) was so important for us to make as it would shape our future; Undead Threads wouldn’t be our forever businesses and that soon there would come a day where we would close our doors for good; our next home was going to be solid and grounded,very heavy and connected with the earth and a baby was in our future sooner than we think but that it’s always up to us the outcomes we choose. I walked out with my head swarming with what I had just been told and as always, I took with a grain of salt and got on with life.
Then We Argued For A Weekend,
On Chris’ first long weekend of the month, we loaded the little Barina roof high with our camping gear and set off for our wonderful weekend away, camping on the beach side just out of Byron Bay. We set off on what I hoped would be a sort of second honeymoon seeing as for our actual honeymoon I had a chest infection and spent the whole time coughing and spluttering over Chris. But as usual when we’re stuck in the car together, we fought and argued and I cried and we both yelled and by the time we crossed the QLD border to NSW, I was about ready to hitch-hike home. We finally figured out how to not kill each other and ruin the whole weekend and after an afternoon smoke while the sun set and a few pre-dinner beers, we agreed this would be the year we sell the house and buy our land.
After the 4 hour drive home, our plans were made, our minds were set and our hearts were aflutter with possibilities. We called our Finance Specialist and spoke to a couple of local agents to work out what we would get for the house, what we could borrow and we started looking at what we could buy within our price range while Chris spent all his spare time and money buying and caring for fruit trees to start our food forest with on the new property.
And Did The Irresponsible Thing.
Along came March and Chris’ mate was taking long service leave and wanted an adventure. The boys decided they would complete a Permaculture Design Certificate over 2 weeks. So we chose the irresponsible and way more fun options and choose to ditch the brand new kitchen, and spend our savings on sending Chris to ‘Permy School’. The boys went and played with the hippies in the bush and with the help of my nesting, pregnant BFF neighbour, I painted the house ready for sale before the boys came in filthy, stinky and with a fire in them I had never seen before.
Worked Ourselves To Exhaustion,
Chris completing his PDC changed our lives and spurred us on harder than ever. From March to May we would wake early each morning exhausted, covered in paint and dust, body aching but ready for a new day. We would haul our sorry assess off to work, kick ass there, then return home for more endless hours of torture that lasted well into the early hours of the morning. I’m not sure if we would have survived those few months without our friends next door. The shoulder to cry on, shower to bathe in and late night cuppa’s passed over the fence was more of a help than they will ever realise. At some point during all this, one night while painting the front door, Chris told me I should go off The Pill to give my body enough time to adjust so that we could start a family sometime towards the end of the year. I knew he was dead serious so I didn’t even look up when I replied with “okay baby”.
And Had It All Pay Off.
By the time the house was finished, we had completely let go and were so ready for the next chapter in our life of adventures. We had a belated backyard birthday bash one Saturday afternoon following our first open home. As soon as our agent left, I was in the kitchen whipping up some treats when someone knocked on the open front door (no one we know knocks, they just walk in) so I hollered for them to come in. In walks our agent who said he got 2 minutes down the road when his phone rang with an offer. He had another couple he wanted to let know so they both submitted their best offer for us to choose from – one of them being at our asking price. We picked ourselves up off the floor and while our mates patiently waited in the backyard, we signed the contract up on the deck and returned to what was now a “We Sold The House” party.
Then It All Got Tricky,
We asked for a 60 day settlement to give us time to find another property as the one we had been hoping for had gone under contract a couple of weeks before our place sold. We spent the first couple of weeks looking at everything within our price range but kept coming up with nothing. We accepted the fact that we would most likely have to put all our belongings into storage and squat with friends or family until we found something. We had also accepted the fact that we would be camping through winter until we could have our shipping containers delivered. We were shit scared but more than prepared to give up everything to get what we wanted.
We also decided this meant giving up Undead Threads. I still remember this night we made the call to close our virtual doors for good. Our thinking being that our business deserved more than to fizzle out and that moving all of our stock into storage just wouldn’t work. So we bit the bullet, swallowed our pride and realised that this wasn’t failure or admitting defeat. Our life was taking us on a different path that didn’t fit with continuing to run an online store, no matter how much it broke our heart.
And I Got Sick.
As soon as we dropped tools and had time to enjoy the fruits of our labour, I got sick as I always did when I had worked too hard for too long. I was feeling like a tummy bug was to blame for the constant sick feeling, general lack of energy and gagging with every draw of my cigarette and when my neighbour friend who was pregnant with her third turned to me and said “Darlin’, I think you need to do a little wee on a stick”, I looked at her with total bewilderment. It didn’t happen within the first month of being off The Pill, fuck woman!!
So I did a little wee, on a little stick and got a little line. Now, reading preggers tests isn’t exactly something they teach in sex-ed, so after showing Chris, I chucked it in the kitchen bin thinking the line had to be the same as the control line *insert head slap here*. The next night, we were back next door and I told her about the faint line I’d gotten, there was a look of “knowing” between the couple and a request to do another test. So we toddle back home, do another one, get a stronger line, google the shit out of positive pregnancy tests and quietly shit ourselves until a check on my cycle and a doctors appointment confirms it. We’re having a Fitzrigglet way sooner than we ever thought possible but Chris is stoked because he got it on the first go – apparently some sort of bragging rights with the blokes who all laugh and slap him on the back (I don’t get it).
We Found Paradise & Took A Winter Holiday.
By mid June we still hadn’t found somewhere to move to so I created a search on RealEstate.com labelled “Desperation” which included Gympie and the surrounding area. There was this one property that came through in our price that was a decent parcel of land and had a shed of some sort. The photos were total shit (except for this one shot of a long driveway with a nice timber entrance) so we were planning a trip up to check it out for ourselves when we got some spare time.
Dad phone a couple of days later sounding a little hysterical (totally freaked when he heard I was pregnant and we were going to be homeless) saying he’d been looking at properties for us while we were at work and he had found one that “might be alright”. We’d already seen that one so I asked him to head a little further north and check out this “Desperation” one we hadn’t seen yet.
An hour later I get a call from an ecstatic father using words like “magnificent” “fucking awesome” and terms like “dam big enough for a jet ski” and “buy it now, right now, call the agent and make an offer”. I laughed and promised we would wake up before dawn and go look at it the very next day. So we arrived on this cold winter morning to watch the sunrise over what I can only describe as complete and utter paradise. I cry with joy at what we’ve found, Chris says “let’s buy it” and by 8 am, I’m on the phone to the agent making an offer.
The next day, we set off for Adelaide for Mum’s 50th birthday bash and stop in on Chris’ parents to share our news of the baby. My phone rings and it’s the agent and as I answer, Chris tells his parents he’s going to be a dad at the same moment I’m told our offer has been accepted. The girls are crying, the boys are confused and it’s beautiful. We then spend half an hour in the Brisbane airport trying to locate a fax machine or scanner so I can get this signed contract back to agent, all while I battle the joys of morning sickness.
We had a magical winter weekend away in the chilly Adelaide while reeling in the turbulent week we’ve just had.
We Packed It Up And Migrated North,
The house is packed and ready to roll and we have what can only be described as a convoy of those who love us to help move us into our new life. With a few broken down cars, locked farm gates and forgotten eskies, all of our possessions are thrown into our shed and our new life begins.
For the first month we lived with no power, no water, no toilet, no shower, nothing. Just us, our shed, our land and our complete awe of the beauty that surrounded us. Nights were spent huddling around the fire or BBQ, an Esky was our only form of food storage, torches revealed the nightly creepy crawlies, wee’s were made in the bush, number two’s required a trip to town, water was collected after work and showers were taken at the local bowls club at a cost of $1 per minute or in a giant bucket with a cup the splash over ourselves. It wasn’t glamorous but it was all we had ever wanted.
We woke every morning to find the front paddock covered in fog and dew, we had seen more wildlife in that first week than in our lives living in the burbs, the fiery morning sun blasted our faces at 6 am and the stars were so breath taking, you would forget why you had walked outside and Chris got busy building his food forest by planting more fruit trees than I can be bothered counting.
And Finally Got Civilised.
Life is now completely normal. We have our off grid solar system which powers fridge, washing machine, vacuum, lights, electronics, ceiling fans, hair straighteners, grinders, hammer drills and anything else we could want.
We have our one water tank which overflows with the fortnightly torrential down pours, a water pump to irrigate the fruit trees with, grey water that feeds a garden bed and a septic system that deals with the yuckier parts of life.
We’ve done some serious work on the shed too. A huge custom wardrobe made from ply wood now separates ours and the baby’s room and the bedroom walls have been lined with the same cosy feeling ply wood. The cardboard box from our low wattage fridge that acted as our bathroom wall and door has been replaced with a proper wall (still a cardboard box door for now) and we built a storage wall behind the couch for all our boxes of shit we don’t need right now. A free glass sliding door I scored from Facebook sits behind one of the roller doors, the floors have been sealed to make them more hygienic for a crawling baby, the bush mice have finally moved out and all that’s left to do is a kitchen when we get around to it but for now, the work bench and free standing sink works perfectly for us and I LOVE cooking on the BBQ every night.
Then We Got Slammed,
November and December has been rough. First we were slammed financially when we had to fork out for registration on 3 cars that we hadn’t budgeted for and Chris was slammed with $800 worth of fines as a result of driving one of them unregistered. Thanks to new revenue raising tactics, there’s no more reminder notices or stickers on vehicles so when we missed the renewal notice in the middle of the move, we had no idea until over a month later.
Then we were slammed quite literally. We were both at work when news of a massive storm rolling through hit and I decided to keep me and our new car safe where I was instead of hitting the road to head home. When I finally arrived home, there was destruction everywhere with trees down, dams over flowing and that eerie calm but everything around the shed looked fine. I ran a hot bath and tried to relax while my phone was going nuts. I finally pulled my pregnant, pruned body out and went to check my phone only to find panicked text messages from Chris’ Mum who had seen hail stone bigger than tennis balls just up the road from us. I looked up and saw dents covering the metal roof over my head and my stomach dropped. I ran outside to check our solar panels and felt my blood drain when I saw some of them were completely destroyed. Brand new, no insurance, right before Christmas, baby on the way, $1500 just paid for rego. Fucking fuck.
But It’s All About To Turn Around.
The guys who installed our off grid solar system were no less than fucking amazing! I texted them a photo the following day with no words and received an instant reply promising a phone call within the hour. He promised to look after us, told me not to worry and said he would get back to me as soon as he had worked out what he could do. As it turns out, all the panels need replacing the uphold our 25 year warranty but thankfully the guys were able to work out a way to look after us. The up side? Our battery bank still hasn’t fallen below 100% charge.
Our shipping containers have been ordered and will be delivered (as soon as they find some that didn’t blow over at the Brisbane Port during the last big storm) which will kick start our building process in early 2017.
And our little bub is due to arrive late January / early February. There aren’t really words to describe how excited we both are for this, and I don’t think there’s much we can do to prepare for the rest of our lives to change.