Lets Build a House

Went for my Radiation Oncology follow-up this afternoon, and he was pleased with everything. It looks like Check ups at hospitals and scans will be a part of my life for some time to come. But, for now we are concentrating on building our house in Golden Bay. Because we are owner building and that requires a very hands on experience, We had to put it on hold while I had surgery and follow-up treatment for the Breast Cancer. Anyway, now it is full speed ahead.

I want to blog about this part of the journey, because even though I have done an owner builders course and looked up heaps of information, I thought it would be nice to show step by step the order we did things in.
Before I start I just want to say, I am definitely not an expert and this is just our experience and not an exhaustive list of how to Owner Build. If you are building two-story, or renovating, you would have other things to do that we do not. So please don’t yell at me or write nasty letters, if you think I have said something wrong.

First, we had plans drawn up by our draftsman friend Ross. He must have done a great job because they got passed straight away. An engineering firm, checked the block, did site and soil testing and did working drawings of the footings etc to go with the house plans.

Got a quote and plan for electrical work to go with all the other stuff then we submitted all this to the Council. We didn’t realise that new builds now have to meet 6 star energy rating, so had to send our plans to an Energy Assessor to make sure they pass the 6 star rating. The only thing we needed to do was put blow in insulation in our living area as it gets the afternoon sun. Natalie our assessor, said if we can budget it in it would be great to do the whole house, so hopefully we will be able to do this and save a lot on energy bills. Rockingham City Council were great and sent out a list of Energy Assessors, Surveyors, Engineers etc in our local area. That was all good, and our plans were approved and sent back looking all official and stamped, ready to get building. The next day I found out I had breast cancer, which kind of spoilt things.

Before building in Western Australia you need to apply (online) to the Water Authority for permission, this was granted and we paid the application fee.

Our friend Glenn came with his Dingo and cleared our block. When we bought it it was flat with hardly any vegetation. Now it has been so long since we started, and being the last house on the street to build it now has brickies sand, great big clumps of cement, bags, cans, pavers, and roof tiles, along with limestone all dumped by the builders close by. I did complain to the builders next door, as the tiles match their build, but, they didn’t care, which, I expected, but, wanted to have my say anyway.

Next step will be the finish off of the site clear and prep. Will keep you posted.
Meanwhile, took some time off from thinking about house stuff, and headed to the beach with Beau for a walk as we were babysitting him, he always has so much energy, its good to use some up, plus the exercise was great for us oldies.

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Enjoying the now

He just needs a mexican moustache and he is ready to go

He just needs a mexican moustache and he is ready to go

Daughter in law Dani, Hayley, Beau and I went on our Bi Yearly op-shop crawl. Last time we did the CBD, but, this time we stayed around Mandurah. Had a great day and got lots of bargains. Beau who is three just loves the variety of toys to play with as we move from shop to shop.
We stopped for lunch at Grilled in Mandurah, and enjoyed not for the first time the pleasure of living in this lovely location, which in past years we only experienced when we were on holiday.
Meanwhile, I am stalking building sites, trying to get my head around what needs to be on site, when. We hope to get the site works started really soon.

I find it all very exciting. Over the weekend we purchased an as new cupboard for the laundry, and a kitchen sink brand new off Gumtree. Our house is starting to fill up with French doors, wooden door jams, taps, lights and other assorted things for the fit out later. They say if you take care of the pennies the pounds will take care of themselves.
Needless to say, this owner building has completely taken over my thought life, and so I realised I have completely forgotten about Breast Cancer.
My hair is growing back, it looks like dark grey felt, so not beautiful enough to show a picture of as yet. Will keep you posted.
Thursday is my follow-up appointment with Radiation Oncology, then in November will be my first Mammogram since this journey began. It is hard to believe that once that happens a year will have gone by already. Wow!
Have a fabulous week.

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Sick of Tired

Tuesday was best forgotten, I was tired all day and only got a few things done. One of which wasn’t to cook Poppy our dog her food. I did make more dog biscuits for her and as we buy expensive dental bits for her as dry food, I thought she would just have to be happy with that for one night. By about seven o’clock she was fed up with waiting for her dinner which hadn’t arrived, so she jumped up on the lounge where I was lying watching telly, barked and jumped up and down, and without saying one word conveyed the clear message that she had been patient, but, now it was getting late and where was her homemade food. I did explain that there were children in the world worse off than her but I caved in and went and put her food on to cook. It really only took five minutes, and today now that I am a bit better than yesterday, I will pop cupfuls into sandwich bags to freeze. I make enough for about ten days at a time. We could actually eat it for dinner, it is just mince, brown or white rice, potatoes, carrots, pasta, and some sort of green vegetable with a spoon of vegemite stirred in. Her favourite is broccoli. We know this because the first time she had it with broccoli, she pulled the green chunks out and popped them on the mat, I thought she was removing them, turns out she was saving the best till last, and gobbled the green treasures down at the end. Weird little dog!
For Christmas Sarah bought me gorgeous rose gold earrings, which I have worn a lot. One night I pulled them off in the dark and popped them on the night stand. In the morning they had disappeared. This was a couple of months back. We hunted high and low, pulled out draws, moved bedside tables – no earrings. Till last week, when I was rearranging the fancy pillows that are for decoration, I was thinking of washing them and as I flipped one over to pull the stuffing out, there at the bottom was the imprint of two earrings. I was sure I had checked in the cases at the beginning. Anyway, I knew they couldn’t just disappear, so it is nice to have my earrings back.
While flicking through my photos, I found this picture of my foot, I was meant to be taking a photo of my friend Glenys while she was preaching, and accidentally took my foot. It made me miss my manicured nails. They are gradually growing back and although a bit rough, I may be able to paint my fingernails soon, and my hair is growing and quite dark. I was hoping for curls, but, I think it is just going to be short and dark grey, yuk! I can fix that with a trip to the hairdresser though, and will do when it is long enough. There is no medical reason to not dye your hair after Chemo, you are advised to wait because the hair is new, and a bit weak. Consequently, it may snap off!

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What Next

Allan was asking grandson Beau where the rain came from, he said it came from Gordon. I presume he meant God. That must be up there with the Sunday School child who said God’s name was Harold Wishart, he had heard it during prayer, you know Our father Wishart in heaven, Harold be thy name. Children are hilarious, Jenny our oldest granddaughter used to call Him Gawd, obviously heard an American preacher at some time. At the moment my favourite name for God is Jehovah Rapha, or my healer. I was speaking to a man through the week who had been through Chemo and Radiation three years ago for Lymphoma, and we were sharing that while going through treatment, you are focused on getting through all that, then suddenly it comes to an end and you think what now. Do I just sit around and be fearful that something may reoccur, well, for me the answer is no. It is probably quite normal to feel that abrupt end and there is that transition as you deliberately change focus not on morbid what ifs, but, on what to do next in life. Mostly enjoy it, and for us we are planning to start building our house in Golden Bay. We hope to be putting down the pad sometime in the very near future. (Not Allan and I personally but someone more qualified).
While we were at Bunnings I found toilets I liked that were only $165 each, a bit better on the budget than the $300 ones I had originally wanted and a bit nicer than the very cheap type that I definitely didn’t want to settle on. Allan couldn’t believe someone could be so excited about toilets.
Talk about the good old days, when we were first married we bought cheap lamb shanks from the butcher with our meat (our budget was $10 per week for food and lamb cutlets were 19 cents a pound) I would cook them up and give them to our little Pekenese dog Candy for her dinner. I couldn’t believe how expensive these shanks were at Woolies, they would be largely bone and not much meat and we certainly wouldn’t be giving them to the dog. To quote Gordan Macrae in the movie ‘On Moonlight Bay’ ‘You have to buy happiness these days.

I headed off to ‘Just for Her’ our ACC state women’s conference on Thursday with my friend who shall remain nameless to protect the innocent. While I was waiting at her house I grabbed two large cane chairs from the verge a little down her street and popped them in her garage to wait until we came back. While at the conference I had second thoughts, and decided I wouldn’t take them after all as they would be too much work. We arrived back in the afternoon to find the verge had been cleared. The following half hour was spent finding a street that still had rubbish and a verge in particular that was around a corner so we could dump the chairs without having an irate house owner asking what we were doing. We would have had to say this is what lovely Christian women do to pass the time of day – rubbish relocation. I should have taken a photo, we felt like we were in a Mission Impossible movie as we jumped back in her ute and zoomed off. At least the chairs got to go on a bit of a vacation before they ended up at the tip.
I was just complaining to Allan that we never have time to just enjoy the day, our whole life seems to be just a continual pressure of what we need to do next, appointments, bills to pay the stress of living. My resolve is to take time to smell the roses, which has always been alien to me. This morning I woke up with nothing planned, and a very quiet week ahead for a change, and was pleasantly surprised when Troy and Lesa messaged and said they were coming down to Mandurah with little Chelsea and they took us out for lunch. It was lovely and relaxing and a great start to the week.

Spring fever has hit, and along with it the decorating bug.