There are good and bad days. Today is a lovely day, as most are lately. When I get the weeps it’s usually because I’m tired, or there is a lot to do and it feels a overwhelming. I often get anxious then too, and overreact to things. Unfortunately I find it somewhat embarrassing to weep all over people, and it almost feels like manipulation because they then feel bad too. Oh well. I guess we all just do what we can and it seems to get better all the time.
The Covid situation knocked the shit out of me at first. Partly because we shifted down to Middleton and back within the first three weeks of it, and although it was very good to be by the sea, it is not really our country, and it was a shitload of work physically and I didn’t have a lot of spare energy at the time. So I fell in a heap. But I wasn’t alone, a lot of people did at the time, and not only fire victims.
This week we move again, up to a rental property in Woodside. Woodside, for those of you who don’t know, is close to Lobethal, about ten minutes from our ‘block’.
This time our adult kids can help though, so moving shouldn’t be bad. And it’s a really nice house and garden. It is a Housing SA house but in really good nick and they have replaced the stinky carpet with vinyl and painted all the walls. They even put in blinds!
The housing trust was going to sell it but decided to offer it to someone who lost their home in the bushfires until they rebuild. We were extra lucky that I had just had a conversation with our case manager that went like this.
‘How is your unit?’
‘Hmm’, I thought. ‘I wouldn’t exactly call it a unit,’ I said, ‘It is a really nice sealed shed with a kettle and a hot plate. We have to walk to the toilet in the house, but we have a sealed bucket for overnight.’
I saw her face fall, and thought, ‘Actually, this isn’t normal, is it?’ and within a week we had been offered the house. It is a bit more expensive than we thought we would have to pay at first, but they are helping us to (hopefully) get it reduced.
I have to sing the praises of the Recovery Centre. The staff are wonderful. They work really hard, and are all so helpful. It is well organised now, with permanent staff, so you don’t get shunted from person to person any more. You have a ‘case manager’, and ours is so good for us. I suppose they all are, they are really considerate and knowledgeable.
It will be lovely in the Woodside house, to have a bit of room and to start collecting the things we will need when we move into our new home. Also to take possession of our possessions, the ones people have given us and are holding. We will be able to take stock and see what we’ve got, because it is hard to remember what happened in the first couple of months. All I know for sure is that many many people love and care for us, and that they are so generous. The kindness and beauty of humans always makes tears flow, therefor, (just now) tears.
I will miss the bundles of liveliness that are our grandchildren. I love the thoughtfulness of them among other things, how they cut to the chase when they think you’re deluding yourself, and how funny they are, and fun. It has been wonderful to spend time with Hana and Evan also. To cook together and share family time. A real privilege, actually. In this society we all live so separately these days. Many grandparents don’t get to see their grandchildren in their natural environment, melting down over tech time, or having their hair blown dry. There’s so much tenderness and beauty in family life.
Also it is a privilege to watch Hana negotiate the road towards developing our house. The design, and the applications for development etc. It is complicated process and well over my head. She is doing a brilliant job. It will be quoted soon by a young builder friend who we love to death, and then we’ll see if we have to change things. The size of windows, for example. There is so much to think about, and I am incredibly thankful to Hana for all of the work she puts into it. She is also doing uni and was dealing with the kids home schooling for nearly a month. They are now back at school.
Of course designing a house is very exciting! Probably the last lot of plans will be through council in a month or so. And then we begin!
In the meantime I have managed to find the head space to do some ink play, and to learn to use all of these different tools that so many lovely people have given me. Tools are funny things. You have to develop a body knowledge of them. Also your workspace. So I find my self spending a lot of time thinking about how the hand works, where it expects to find the ink pot, or a brush, a million decisions that were second nature in my studios at home.
It is the same with everything. What your clothes feel like, how they look together, even which clothes are yours when you bring in the washing. It’s like I am discovering how to live with each object in my life. Some of them feel like they are mine, but many of them don’t. It’s all a bit weird.
I think settling into this house in Woodside will make a huge difference to this feeling of displacement. I hope so. Also I hope the extra room will allow Ervin to move into his work more easily. He has been doing the odd (fantastic) photo, and he now has some of his woodworking tools but, when it is raining here, he can’t use them. So here’s hoping. The other day he was particularly out of sorts and I said, ‘Why do you feel bad?’ And he said, ‘Because I’m homeless.’ Nail. Head.