Posted in being grown up, home

LiftGate

Moving out of our house was easily more difficult than moving in. Largely because it was not an exciting prospect to be leaving behind our independence, even if only for three months. Packing is also a much more daunting task when the boxes won’t be opened for 15 months. It just adds an extra layer of difficulty to the job.

Among other things, I was tasked with booking the moving truck.

I don’t know anything about trucks. Until a few months ago, when a mechanic insisted I learn, I had no idea how to check the oil in my car and would continue driving it for weeks after the oil light came on. I’m pretty sure all my tyres are nearly flat and my coolant is always low. When a big piece of plastic fell off the bottom of the car, I picked it up and shoved it in the car boot. Basically, I’m not great with vehicles.

But I did know that we needed automatic transmission. Which is why, when I booked the moving van, it was the only question I asked.

‘Is the truck an auto?’

‘Of course. How would you like to pay?’

So it was quite a horrifying moment when we went to pick up the truck.

‘The clutch is right here,’ the man said. He spoke casually, not noticing the fear that crossed my and le fiancés faces. ‘Works just like a usual manual.’

I think manual is called stick shift in the US, for anyone reading from there. But in both of our minds, it was called Mission Impossible. Fortunately, le fiancé undertook the driving while I followed in the car. Less fortunately, his rage at my mistake was visible and palpable. As I sat behind him at the traffic lights, watching the truck stall and bunny hop, I knew I was in trouble.

Thankfully, when we got back to the house, fiancés best friend was waiting with coffee and pastries, and I wasn’t the focus anymore.

But there was still the issue of the ramp.

Apparently, moving trucks have a range of options for actually getting stuff into the truck. One is a ramp, and another is a hydraulic lift gate.

liftgateI had booked a truck with the former. That was the wrong thing to have done. Three weeks later, I am still paying for this mistake. The other day when I forgot to remind him that we owed rent, fiancé brought it up.

‘You keep making these mistakes that I have to fix. The truck for example.’

Let’s just say it made for a fun day, especially as we had a five hour round trip to where we were storing all the furniture and boxes.

I believe that experiences like this are able to teach us something and to help us to develop. So I’ve decided, as part of becoming a responsible and fully functioning adult, I am going to learn to drive a manual car. I’ll be organising lessons soon and keep you up to date with my progress. In a year or so we’ll have to do the whole process in reverse, and I’ll make sure to book the hydraulic lifter.

This is Julia, being grown up and learning to drive.

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Posted in being grown up, family, home

2015 so far…

Hello dear readers

I have been quite neglectful of this little blog, haven’t I?

It’s worrying really. I’ve been terribly clucky lately. Secretly, I sometimes have daydreams of myself with a round, life filled belly. I stare unabashedly at young families and pregnant women. It’s not even exclusive to human babies. I find myself checking out the RSPCA pages and patting stranger’s dogs on the street. But I can’t even update a blog regularly. How could I care for another, completely dependent, living thing?

Thoughts like these are much closer to becoming reality for me though. I’M GETTING MARRIED. Le boyfriend (who shall now be known as fiancé) proposed in early November 2014. It’s a very romantic story, involving ducks and champagne corks and wading in knee-deep muddy water.

In the nearly six months since, wedding planning has been a joyful and vague hobby of mine. Despite my distaste, I finally succumbed and created a Pinterest account and am happily pinning lacy dresses and extravagant reception halls. We won’t be getting married for another two years, so for now, I can scroll blissfully in the knowledge that the actual planning, and associated stress, is still far off.

But why the delay? I hear you ask. Well, we are going to Ireland. Come July, le fiancé and I will be boarding a plane and taking off to the Emerald Isle for ONE WHOLE YEAR! Because why not?

In the meantime we have packed up the little townhouse that sparked the birth of Julia, Being Grown Up. Moving involved lots of other grown up tasks that will have to wait for next time. I intend for my next post to be much sooner than the last.

Until then, this is Julia, Being Grown Up.

Posted in being grown up, dining, employment, family, food, health, home, money

Things GrownUps Do

Things grownups do that I am quite good at:

  • Set up direct debits
  • Pack the dishwasher
  • Cook dinner
  • Make appointments
  • Go to family get-togethers
  • Decorate
  • Shop at a Farmers Market
  • Remember to turn off the lights and the heater
  • Pack lunches
  • Maintain a relationship
  • Research different insurance and service policies
  • Submit assignments and pay bills on time
  • Keep a job
  • Arrive places on time
  • Maintain a savings account
  • File my email inbox
  • Deal with tradesmen

Things grownups do that I am not so great at:

  • Make sure there is enough money in my account to enable direct debits
  • Unpack the dishwasher
  • Answer text messages
  • Portion control
  • Wear matching socks
  • Study regularly
  • Keep appointments
  • Clean my guinea pigs cage
  • Keep the house tidy
  • Get up when my alarm goes off
  • Maintain my car
  • Fold and iron my clothes
  • Weed the garden
  • Make the bed
  • Make small talk

This is Julia, being grown up (or at least trying!)

Posted in being grown up, food, home, money

Broken Appliances Come in Threes: Part Two

Last week on Julia’s thrilling life…

My dishwasher was successfully replaced after a long, painful process, and almost immediately the fridge stopped working.

So. Like most things in my house, my fridge was inherited my my father. I’m not sure why, but Dad always wanted to economise to the nth degree, so this was just about the tiniest, cheapest fridge you can get. For about 12 months we had struggled to pack in enough food to feed us both. (This becomes a bigger challenge when you realise the full extent of boyfriends food needs – he averages 10,000 calories a day.)

Small fridge + big appetite = very full shelves
Small fridge + big appetite = very full shelves

The opportunity to get a slightly bigger fridge was pretty exciting. The cost, and the logistics of getting the fridge home, were not.

After having a serious chat over coffee about the merits of white vs. stainless steel, upside down freezers and deli compartments, we settled on a basic model. The sales assistant then charged us for a fancier one we didn’t want. Luckily we noticed and were able to get a refund of the price difference.

We needed a fridge that day, since all our food was quickly defrosting, and it was a Saturday, so delivery wasn’t an option. But I am not exaggerating when I say that working out how to get that fridge the 4km from the Good Guys to our house nearly ended my relationship. I had no idea that the various methods for securing appliances with octopus straps could cause so much tension. In the end I told boyfriend that he could sort it out himself and watched Star Wars IV. One of my less successful adult moments.

But I took care of cleaning out the old fridge and getting the new one all set up. I guess you win some, you lose some.

Part Three: The lid fell of the washing machine. At this stage we absolutely refused to get any new appliances. So our washing machine is currently bumping and swishing around with no lid. Ah, the glamourous life I lead.

I have realised all of this probably isn’t that interesting. But it has occupied a lot of my grown up, adult, responsible housekeeper thoughts of late. I’ll try to be a bit more exciting next post.

In the meantime, I hope all of your appliances function perfectly.

This is Julia, keeping her cool, and being grown up.

Posted in being grown up, home

Broken Appliances Come in Threes

It began with dirty dishes. Nothing too sinister, just a residue that was left on the plates when the dishwasher finished its cycle. But then, after a while, there were little lumps of food on the forks. One fateful day, there was a puddle of water on the kitchen floor.  

Some puddles are fun. Kitchen puddles are not.
Some puddles are fun. Kitchen puddles are not.

Bye-bye dishwasher.

I called the landlord and was told to call a repairman. The repairman told me it needed replacing. I called the landlord who gave it the okay. I asked the repairman to prepare a quote. Then I got sick of being the go between and gave the repairman the landlords’ email. Phew.

So the new dishwasher arrived, was installed and I got it going. Cue another huge puddle on the kitchen floor. The Dishwasher man returned and said he forgot to remove a plug, and had effectively flooded and broken the BRAND NEW dishwasher. He took it away. Then he came back. It still didn’t work, so he took it away, and so on and so forth. Several frustrating visits later we finally had a working dishwasher. It’s amazing. The dishes were clean!

Resized_all-the-things-meme-generator-clean-dishes-1c9da6

But the meat in the freezer was defrosting…

The fridge had died. Tune in for Part Two of this saga in the next few days.

This is Julia, being grown up.

Posted in being grown up, employment, goals, health, home, money

Mid Year Performance Review

At the beginning of the year I set a few goals. At work this week we are doing our mid year performance reviews, to make sure everything is on track and to remind us to redouble our efforts on some of the things we have avoided or not quite achieved.

So I thought I should do my own mid-year review, and give myself some incentive to keep pushing forward with my goals for the next six months.

2014 Goals:

Education:

– Study for one hour (outside class time) each week day.

Haha, nope. Fail.

–  Achieve a minimum Distinction grade in each unit.

Two high distinctions so far, yeah baby!

– N/A Complete all requirements for graduation.

This one isn’t actually possible at this point, but I am on the right track, so I’ve got that going for me.

–  X Apply for Masters.

I can’t yet, since applications aren’t open, but I’m not sure at the moment whether this is still something I want to do…

Career:

–  X Achieve permanency at current APS 4 level.

Not yet…but I’ll keep trying.

–   Reduce sick leave days.

I think I’ve had four days off this year. That’s pretty good in six months.

Health:

–  Eat breakfast every day (Try Green smoothies)

I did try green smoothies, they are okay. With only a couple of exceptions, I have eaten something every morning. That’s a big improvement for me.

–   X Take a gym or pole class six days per week.

Not quite, I think I have averaged 3-4 classes a week. This can and should improve going forward.

–  X Walk for 45 minutes before work in the mornings (at least 2-3 times per week)

oh god. This goal was misguided. I’m afraid to say I don’t think it will ever happen.

–  Reduce the amount of sugar and alcohol in my diet.

Yes! I’ve had a couple of relapses, but overall, I have reduced my intake. The final barrier is chocolate, that seductive, velvety hurdle.

Personal:

–   Take up a new skill; look at Archery.

I’ve been doing archery since February, it’s fun and I don’t completely suck at it. Boyfriend comes with me and it is nice to bond over learning a skill.

–   X Get my learners motorbike license.

Still too scared, but I really want to get on a bike before I go overseas next year.

–  Be proactive about seeing friends.

My social life has been pretty hectic this year, I’ve been quite impressed with myself.

Financial:

–   X Save $300 a week.

No. Thanks to fitness and social goals my savings have stagnated a little. Still saving a bit though, so that’s a plus.

–  Pack lunch instead of buying.

I’ve been really good with this. On Sunday afternoon I cook a big batch of something and freeze it in five portions. Voila!

–  N/A Apply for weekend job when university finishes.

Uni hasn’t finished, so this one really doesn’t apply yet.

That’s seven crosses, two N/A’s and seven ticks: a 50% success rate at the half way point. I have six months to get that to 100%. Wish me luck!

This is Julia, being grown up.

Posted in being grown up, goals, home, money, shopping

Building A House of Bricks

“You see it is just as I told you. The way to get along in the world is to do things as well as you can.”

Mother Pig, The Three Little Pigs

Three Little Pigs

In the Three Little Pigs, two pigs get eaten. The third builds his house of bricks and the wolf, unable to blow the bricks down, comes through the chimney and meets his end in a pot of boiling water. I’m not sure what the intended moral of this story is, but it speaks to me of the importance of making solid and secure life decisions, particularly in the housing market.

Some things seem like much more grown up steps than others. One of those things is buying your first home. For that reason, I am feeling extremely Grown Up this week. My boyfriend and I bought an apartment on the weekend!

Before I get to ahead of myself, I should tell you, the apartment doesn’t exist. Not yet. It is due for completion next June (but it would be a very good joke to take that date as gospel) so I probably won’t be completely grown up and moved in for 18 months or so.

There are lots of things about buying a property that are grown up. Negotiating, calculating mortgages, talking to solicitors, applying for loans and considering things like north-facing aspects and practical floor plans. The first step was to pay a holding deposit, which we did on Monday. Next we will be off to meet the solicitor and sign contracts – this will also involve spending the most money I have ever spent EVER! Scary. Daunting. Exhilarating. In fact, I’ve been thinking so many thoughts and experiencing so many emotions that I have a headache. (As a side: Halfway through typing that last sentence I received a phone call from the solicitor. Does anyone else have a phone voice? Mine is a little slower, deeper and more metred. Very mature and professional.)

I can’t help but feel sad about this purchase as well. Dad’s death has changed a lot of things about my life, and it has impacted my future in a lot of ways. I wouldn’t be able to make this step at this stage in my life if he hadn’t died. But I think he would be proud of me for making smart and educated decisions that will benefit me in the long run. I’ve done a lot of research about property and loans, and that thoroughness is something I inherited from him.

Soon we get to pick out our colour scheme. I’m already online shopping for furniture (I am coveting King Furniture lounges – they are to die for!), and my boyfriend is scrolling through Etsy admiring light fittings. Perhaps we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves, but it can’t all be legal and financial. Shopping is the fun part!

This is Julia, being grown up.