Tag Archives: renovation

Scaredy Mum! Dog tells all!

Although dibber-dobbing is well and truly against The Dog’s Code of Ethics, I have to speak out.

The life of whistle blower isn’t easy but leaving someone caught up and strangled by their own fear, is sanctioning self-destruction.Naturally, that’s something no decent dog would ever condone. So, once again, Bilbo, Mum’s loyal canine crusader is back.

Besides, when someone  has the audacity to write you a set of  New Year’s Resolutions before they’ve even considered their own, I’m sure you’ll agree they deserve “their comeuppance!”

Mum is supposed to be painting six skirting boards, which are destined for Mister’s bedroom, which is currently under re-construction. Instead, the skirting boards, work benches, paint tin and brush are all still out in the garage while Mum has been writing! She’s even been writing about the renovations. That is, instead of actually doing any renovating. I was naturally shocked because “renovating” is a doing word… not some fluffy adjective!

While at first, I thought Mum was just being her typically lazy self (remember she did nothing to try to find the missing Mister and bring him home!) or procrastinating. However, using my superior canine detective skills, I sniffed out that she was caught in the grasp of a paralyzing perfectionism. Indeed, the fear of making even the smallest mistake, had left her stonkered. She’d retreated deep inside her shell and wouldn’t come out.

Indeed, Mum has not only opened the door to fear but has also offered it a seat, a cup of tea and even a piece of Vegemite toast. Now, they’re parked in front of the TV set together, the best of mates when she should be out there painting instead. Moreover, what with fear whispering her sweet nothings, she’s become dangerously intoxicated. Paralyzed. Dad just mentioned the word “paint” and I heard her mutter something about Pandora’s Box and how even opening the tin was going to unleash something deadly. A poison? An explosion? I couldn’t be sure but either way, Mum was convinced she was going to die! It would mean the end of the world.

That’s some tin of paint!

Now, I’m sure you can appreciate how Mum’s been sorely trying my patience. I mean, these crazy humans think they know how to run the world better than dogs simply because they walk on two legs. They’ve stuck themselves up on some kind of dais way above God, I mean dog (Sorry about that. I sometimes get my letters mixed up) when indeed, they spend most of their lives chasing their own tails, instead of putting them to good use.

Of course, I’ve tried to be compassionate and understanding, especially during meals when she’ll usually slip me some Vegemite toast! However, now I need your help. Sometimes trying to work out humans is even beyond me.

Why can’t Mum just get on with the job?

Hasn’t she heard that “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”?

After all, that’s human, not dog, philosophy. Why can’t she understand that once she starts painting, that it will become so much easier to keep going and get the job done? That getting started is the hard part and once you’ve jumped that hurdle, you’re almost home…especially with something so simple?

Yet, she’s still there entertaining fear like it’s her best friend! It’s been more than a few days and now that the rain’s cleared up, there can be no more excuses. Time is running out. Soon, Mister will be back from Scout camp and expecting his bed in his room. Not parked on it’s side in the lounge room like it’s had CPR.

If only she’d asked me for assistance, I’d have had those planks painted with my eyes closed. They might not have appreciated the black fur in the paint but I’d sacrifice my tail to make Mum happy.

Then again, doing it for her isn’t really helping, is it? Only making things worse. I might as well ask fear to stay on for dinner and even dessert. No! Mum has to get out of that chair and start painting.

Well, if you think fear can be darn persistent and annoying, you’ve never met a Border Collie. I have a PhD in persistence. You just ask Dad about my ball. Actually, perhaps you’d better not!

Bilbo with ball

Bilbo appropriating another dog’s ball.

What you humans have only half worked out about us dogs, is that we can not only read your minds, we plant messages in there as well. Indeed, we’re so good at it that you mistake it for your own idea.

So, I began planting subliminal messages in Mum’s head. Memories of successfully skiing down the mountain at Perisher when she was even struggling to walk. Playing her violin. Driving the car. All these things are so much harder than painting a couple of planks, surely she’ll get my drift! That she can do it and besides, isn’t not trying the only real form of failure?!!

However, even after all of those hard efforts, she’s still unsure.

So, I’m going for the big guns aiming straight for the heart strings. Being so risky, this is a last resort. I’ve heard terrible stories of accidentally snapping their heartstrings and after that, the humans don’t seem to function very well.


Hesitantly, I start thinking of Mister and how he’ll feel when he arrives home and sees his new room. How he’ll see this as so much more than just a coat of paint. That by doing up his room, Mum and Dad have turned their hearts inside out and painted their love onto those walls. It will be just like when they welcomed him home to his new room as a baby, only now he’s well on his way to becoming a man.

Then, just to make sure, I threw in a good dose of guilt. Mister arriving home to find a demolition sight instead and walking straight out that door and back to camp.

Yes, I know that was getting low but if you’d seen how Mum and fear were chatting, laughing, connecting at such a deep and personal level, you’d be using every trick in the book as well!

Ha! There she goes just like a puppet on a string, walking straight out to the garage.  I told her that job would be a breeze!

Now, just look at her go…over a few days shelves, a wall. Once she gets going, she could almost paint a thousand miles except she’s also human. She has her limits.


Miss helping to paint Mister’s room.

So, with less than 24 hours now before Mister arrives home, I’m off to round her up again. While she’s made a great start, she still needs to make it to the finish.

Have the room ready and pick Mister up!

By the way, I’m not so sure that I mixed those letters up…DOG…GOD?

Does it matter?

Either way, I’m smarter than your average human!

That’s a fact!

xx Bilbo!







The Dog and her Castle

Apparently, humans are not alone in needing their castle. It appears that a certain dog also needs her own castle. Once again, Lady has usurped her position in the hierarchy and has taken over our home and made it HER castle!!  After all, why stop at a kennel when you can take over the entire house…especially when you’re a “Lady”!By the way, she’s also set her sights on our car and world domination is only a few paw prints away.

Not that our place is a castle. It’s actually more of a “renovator’s dream”, which as is often the case, has become more of a “renovator’s nightmare”. It’s now 14 years since we bought the house and although we’ve made some progress, we’ve been stuck in some kind of perpetual holding pattern for a considerable slab of time. Actually, we’ve steadily been going backwards.

The Castle...an iconic Australian movie.

The Castle…an iconic Australian movie.

Now, if you’re not from Australia or New Zealand, you might not pick up that there are castles and then there’s: THE CASTLE!! A movie which turned a humble weatherboard home located right on the edge of Sydney Airport into the Taj Mahal.After receiving a resumption notice to extend the airport, blue collar worker Darryl Kerrigan,went all the way to the Australian High Court to save their home, saying:”I don’t want to be compensated. You can’t buy what I’ve got!” This is, therefore, your classic tale of David versus Goliath and even though it parodies the working class Aussie battler., it does so with a sense of admiration and near reverance, not ridicule.

The Infamous Pool Room.

The Infamous Pool Room.

The Castle’s inner sanctum was the “Pool Room” where anything special was proudly put on display:Now, when someone receives a present they really love, you’ll often hear: This is going straight to the pool room.” www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBXHTvgN5ko

Son Dale and father Darryl comb through the pages of an Australian classified adveretisments newspaper called the Trading Post. Dale would find the most extraneous items such as jousting sticks and Dad would ask how much they want for them. and in a phrase that has now been incorporated into the Australian vernacular, Dad would reply: “Tell him he’s dreaming!!” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jL2DH-nKBeA

Another interesting scene in the movie is a trip to the family’s holiday house at Bonnie Doon. which is surrounded by a veritable jungle of towering powerlines. I’ve actually driven past where that scene was filmed and those powerlines truly dominate the landscape! You’ve got to say that it was definitely a case of  “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”.  or that “life is what you make it”.

As far as our place is concerned, I certainly don’t consider it my castle but perhaps once the renovations are “done”, I might be able to view it as more than some kind of sandcastle. To be honest, it would be great to denote the place and rebuild rather than renovate but small steps…

Meanwhile, Lady is back out to her kennel. Actually, it’s Bilbo’s kennel and we’re not exactly sure who’s sleeping where but they have been spotted sharing Bilbo’s kennel. However, as they’ve both had the snip, this isn’t quite as “romantic” as it sounds. They’re probably just cold…lonely…

Meanwhile, I’m dreaming of a different sort of castle. Indeed, I wouldn’t mind a chateau but right now I’d be ecstatic just to have a house that didn’t need any work and was “done”.

I’m sure Geoff would more than second that motion!

xx Rowena


Renovating Uncovered.

A fortnight ago, spurred on by our decluttering efforts, we finally started putting in the new kitchen cupboards. This was the first step in ripping out the cupboards under the sink so the dishwasher can go in. Not simply a matter of just supergluing the cupboards to the wall,, we had to dismantle the shelf first and somehow rehome a hell of a lot stuff… mostly treasured collectables.

The- contents of the shelf downloaded onto the kitchen table. Shame they could be uploaded quite so easily.

The- contents of the shelf downloaded onto the kitchen table. Shame they couldn’t be uploaded quite so easily.

A ceramic plate I painted andan envelope written by Miss is hardly "clutter".

A ceramic plate I painted and an envelope written by Miss is hardly “clutter” but expressions of love.










Anyway, as I’d booked a council clean-up, the cupboard building and moving the dishwasher went on hold for the weekend as we ripped up the vinyl in the kitchen instead. Then, along came sanding, vanishing and moving a hell of a lot of stuff. The dogs weren’t too keen on all of this. Once the vanish was down, they were outside. After all, we didn’t want pawprints and dog hair entombed in the  wet varnish. As much as we love our dogs, there are much better ways of remembering them for eternity!

Not Hppy Jan! Inside dogs put outside made numerous complaints to management!!

Not Hppy Jan! Inside dogs put outside made numerous complaints to management!!

So, after all of this activity, it’sofficial. We’re renovating.

If you’ve ever renovated, then you’ll know that renovating is a state of being, not just something you do. Indeed, to be perfectly frank, launching into a new renovation project is like getting engaged and the newspapers really should add a “Now Renovating” column to the hatched, matches and despatches.

Mr & Mrs Smith of 35 Jones Street, Greensville have just announced that they’re renovating their one storey shack and will be adding a second storey and a luxury heated dog kennel.

Moreover, just like you don’t announce that long anticipated engagement until there’s a ring on the finger, the more discerning don’t mention we’re renovating until the job is well underway and almost finished.  There needs to be sufficent evidence to satisfy Blind Freddy, not just the likes of Sherlock Holmes with his huge magnifying glass or the CSI team, who could even view you’re most miniscule efforts under the microscope. You see, “gunna renovate” has about as much cred as “gunna write a novel”.

Geoff at work, while I take the photos. That's what I call a real team effort!

Geoff at work, while I take the photos. That’s what I call a real team effort!

See what I mean about wanting to get something simple done but all you find is jobs on jobs on jobs. Now, we have some extra painting to do and a powerpoint to replace as well! It's no wonder the road to renovation is paved with skeletons!

See what I mean about wanting to get something simple done but all you find is jobs on jobs on jobs. Now, we have some extra painting to do and a powerpoint to replace as well! It’s no wonder the road to renovation is paved with skeletons!

Another intriguing thing about renovating is just how difficult it is to stay on track.Indeed, there’s no such thing as a direct route. Instead, you dart all over the place like a crazed ant because even a simple task, requires something like ten steps before you can get started and and all of these miscellaneous tasks not only send you off all over the house but also on multiple trips to the hardware store. Naturally, all this meandering with all its inherent delays can be absolutely infuriating and you can’t help feeling you’ve developed a severe case of: “Renovator’s Curse”. I can testify that this allfliction is even more severe than cyberchondria! It’s almost fatal!!


Renovating has also made me more aware of how much you can put up with before you actually get it fixed.

For us, the glaringly obvious involves our dishwasher. You won’t believe this but the dishwasher has been out in the laundry for the last 14 years and we’ve been lugging the dishes in and out throughout all the flare ups of my muscle disease. Most of that time, I was the one doing the carrying. It’s only been recently that the kids have been promoted to “Dishwasher Managers” and that hasn’t been ideal either. They’ve each dropped a stack of bowls.That not only compromised their safety but bowls have also become an endangered species!

Yes, you could say that things have been rather precarious around here but given the intensity of the disease itself and my treatments, we’ve been a little distracted. So distracted that we’d switched off to our struggles and just pushed on. It was only once we were on holidays, that we realised how easy things were when the dishwasher is in it’s rightful place. That finally spurred us into action. Plus, I’ve been in remission for a year and the broken foot has also healed so we need to move quick!

Moreover, while we’ve been trying to decide whether to tile, add a floating floor or go with the original floorboards, the kitchen floor’s been getting ragged. A few years ago, a friend pushed me to bite the bullet, encouraging me to “just rip it all up”.

Well, you know how it is. I blame my writing and my health for my procrastination. As you might appreciate, before such a significant decision could be made, I had to write a blog post at the very least, if not an entire book. I couldn’t possibly by-pass all of that kerfuffle and simply get something done!!

No, not at all!

This sensational headline was the first thing we saw when we liefted up the vinyl. How incredible. All the newspapers were a bit of a time capsule from 1995-1996.

This sensational headline was the first thing we saw when we liefted up the vinyl. How incredible. All the newspapers were a bit of a time capsule from 1995-1996.

So, after much ado, we have finally ripped up the vinyl. Salvaged armfuls of newspapers dating back to 1995 for “later”and we have varnished the floorboards. This is a temporary step until we pull out the kitchen cupboards and put down a floating floor. Unfortunately, the floor boards weren’t great and remind me of that kid who can fit a coin between their front teeth. Yes, they’re a bit too spaced out with veritable ditches between each plank but they’ll do for now.

Another striking flashback. Imagine finding Princess Diana under the vinyl. I guess that's what happens after the limelight fades...even just a little.

Another striking flashback. Imagine finding Princess Diana under the vinyl. I guess that’s what happens after the limelight fades…even just a little.

Next weekend, that dishwasher will finally get its marching orders. I can’t wait. A pile of plates is just about to be lifted off my shoulders and perhaps those little dishwasher managers of mine will be a lot more productive as well. You could well say: “Dream on!”

After sanding the floorboards.

Bilbo inspecting the floor after sanding the floorboards.

After putting up with all this for so long and feeling like the house was the one thing that I couldn’t change despite all the other miracles I’ve been able to pull off, we are finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. Indeed, we’ve actually discovered the tunnel.

Do you have any renovation stories you’d like to share?

xx Rowena