95 days to Antarctica..."People Are Strange" The Doors


Approximately nineteen minutes reading time

“Life lives, life dies. Life laughs, life cries. Life gives up and life tries. But life looks different through everyone's eyes.” Groucho Marx

Hello! I hope that you are happy and you’ve had a good week. Thanks for joining me. I can’t believe that it’s Sunday again. How quickly the weeks fly by yet the days are so remarkably long, with so much to achieve.

Like Groucho Marx and his fabulous little poem, I know that perspective is critical in life and always personal, unique to each of us. Life is always balanced, eventually. The nature of the Universe, the laws of Physics and the Universe prove this to be true. This is a fact. Truth can be manipulated. Truth through manipulation can become both relative and subjective, as well as personal because of individual perspective. Facts are not open to interpretation. A fact is a fact, indisputable, true and not negotiable. This knowledge brings me comfort.

I like Groucho’s little rhyming poem. I hope that you too like it. For those of you who don’t know, Groucho with his brothers Harpo, Chipo, Zeppo and Gummo were the famous Marx Brothers who started performing at the turn of the Nineteenth Century. They were slapstick Vaudeville comedians and performers who successfully crossed over into Film or Movies as they were then known. They were brilliant; clever, witty and hilarious. If you haven’t watched any of their comedy, do, it’s timeless like all things great, no matter the medium. I hope that you enjoy their comedy and their routines as much as I have, always.

It’s almost Summertime but the weather is cold, wet and bleak. We can never have too much rain. Happily for me rain means no bushfires. I wish that nothing remotely like those horrific Black Summer Bushfires of 2019/2020 happens anywhere in the world again. Sometimes the sun peeks out between the dark clouds and in between the storms. It’s been two weeks like this now. The Sun brings me joy and restores my optimism.

Schrodie and I have been stuck in the house a lot, with the cold, wet weather, even though we are out of lockdown. Irony fills my life. Irony and I are longstanding and steadfast companions with a good relationship which we have built up over the years. Luckily Schrodie and I have managed a wonderful long, brisk walk every day that there is a break in the weather. We love our beautiful, long, fun, walks, together. Schrodie chooses our walk each time and they are always different, with each always being a glorious adventure, for which I am grateful.

It’s been almost two weeks since I’ve been to see my bushfire rebuild, my new home. The stress of the dreadful experience has made me unwell and my situation is a despairing and desperate one. They were scheduled to put up the doors and cornices. The house is not yet at lock-up as I have not received a bill. Waterproofing all the wet areas was scheduled for completion as the tiling is booked for the 16th November. There was a hole in the middle of the laundry wall that was not supposed to be there and a wall in the middle of my open plan living area that wasn’t supposed to be there either. The likelihood is that half my roof water has been wrongly diverted to stormwater rather than the fifty thousand litre water tanks. This and other critical errors, which was changed, by me, on the plans along with all the continued errors regarding the water tanks and more before I signed the plans. Council imposed upon me in my Development Application (DA), my storage requirement is actually one hundred thousand litres of water which I negotiated down to fifty thousand litres with Council, including the ten thousand litre stand-alone Rural Fire Service (RFS) water tank. My water bore and extra large septic beds, at great additional expense, along with my strong negotiation, enabled me to reduce my water storage requirement. My property has been destroyed and devalued. I was provided with misinformation that made me move my water tank from the back yard to the front yard. When I requested the distance available from the back of the house to the shed, along the fence line I was told about eleven metres. After measuring the distance last time I was there, I discovered the distance to be fifteen and a half metres. I need four metres, twelve metres in total, for my water tank. They had also changed the contracted, carefully chosen, incredibly expensive custom water tanks without my knowledge or consent. They have destroyed my property. My Contract has been breached, several times. Last time I was there, the Site Manager arrived, as I had hoped. He asked me if I had been before the gyprock was installed. I said nothing. He told me that the hard job of moving the water pipes from the ceiling, roof space was complete and showed me photos which he said he would send me. He lied on all counts. This was disappointing and made me sad but I was not surprised. I had been to check on the water pipes and a couple had been moved from above the wet areas to just below the ceiling line which meets the requirement but not the intention and lacks integrity and decency. These pipes are running above the electricity wiring and power points which is a fire hazard. I checked the NSW building standard which is also in breach. They put more water pipes throughout the ceiling in rest of the house. The Site Supervisor showed me photos of the water pipes in the wall but not in the ceiling. I have my own photos. This behaviour is insulting and offensive as well as so much more. I cannot fight them now as I need to go home. My rental accommodation runs out in early February and I cannot afford rent. I need my home finished. Once I return home I will take Masterton to Consumer Fair Trading, the Building Tribunal and to the Media, both traditional and Social Media. I want to be sure that other people are spared such appalling treatment and injustice. Masterton are receiving so much money and not adhering to the Contract which they believe is purely a tool for which to bleed and extort more money from me. They made mistakes and are charging me for them, which they are not allowed to do but I need to go home, so I have paid in protest. They behave as though this is a charity build. It’s all so unbelievable.

Last time I was at my property, there were men breaking up the concrete in the water closet (toilet) to move the drain from in the doorway to the middle of the room. They are now checking the contract to try and cover their arses but it’s too late. I cannot watch them do more damage. It makes me too sad and angry and far too sick, Everything they do now will be visible so the urgency and importance for me to be there daily has changed. The Site Manager told me that the Area Manager, who had told my sister that “... I didn’t start the fire” when she reminded him that this is a bushfire rebuild, had told him that they were not installing my fireplace. I told him that they weren’t supposed to but it was put on the signed Contract Plans “Builder to Install” in large, bold print. It was now their responsibility regardless of what that woman, rude bully in pre-construction said. If I make a mistake I pay seven thousand five hundred dollars each mistake plus costs and they say it’s a mistake. Me thinks not.We have a Contract in place. They seem to think that the contract only works one way and to their benefit. Not so.

The wooden paling fence installed by my neighbours is causing me many problems and much distress. The lawyers told me a few weeks ago that they will proceed with Survey and Fencing Notices at my instruction. The huge fence posts are not on the boundary but in my land and is why they destroyed my expensive stone garden bed. They will be held accountable. I will pay for the Survey once the builders have left and they will repay me as well as pay compensation for using my land. I have thought long and hard about this and cannot let it go. It’s more than the fence at stake. These people will never back off unless they pay, financially and with legal accountability and restitution. This situation has made me so sick. It is wrong, unfair and unjust. I am greatly saddened and distressed to find myself in this situation. I have not yet decided how I will proceed. I am currently carefully considering my options.

Finding suitable, safe, secure and private fencing which is affordable for my front and back yards has been incredibly challenging. Each is a twenty metre distance. Finally a couple of days ago, when I was ready to stop my search, and accept an option that was workable, acceptable but not what I wanted, I found a company that makes Colorbond Slat fencing and gates, in Woodland Grey to match my house. I am waiting on a quote. This option is expected to be much more affordable than the others and is exactly what I want and need. I can have a back gate that suits my needs exactly and won’t cost me extra money but save me money. The gate will be full Colorbond at the top and slats underneath so that Schrodie can see out and not get depressed by being locked in a completely sealed yard. Otherwise it becomes an effective prison for him which is not acceptable to me. I am delighted and thrilled. The front fence will be horizontal slats as I wanted, will meet Council Requirements, give Schrodie visibility and afford maximum privacy. The slats can be at varied distances but I will choose a 1.7cm or 17mm distance between the slats, which is slightly more expensive than having wider gaps but much more private and cannot be climbed like the larger gaps between horizontal slats. I will also get matching gates for the pathways, two sides of the house between the boundary fences.

Whilst walking across the park behind our house, the Council workers were mowing the park one day. I spoke to them about the overgrowth of weeds and brambles growing around my fence which were unsafe. Much of this is from my neighbour's yard but she doesn’t care. The rest is from Council Property and I asked about it being removed. They said that they would try and if they couldn’t remove it that day they would later. The last time I was there, walking with Schrodie, the blackberries and overgrown weeds were gone from the council land and I am so grateful. Being happily surprised was wonderful.

Another surprise was that the expensive boundary Colorbond fence for which I had paid half, stopped at my neighbour's boundary and was unfinished for my yard. I was and remain shocked, horrified and appalled that my neighbour had done this to me. As she gave me water to build my house, for which I am grateful, I will overlook this slight. I simply did not look or check before as I trusted her and the fencer. I had no choice. I wasn't well enough or strong enough to check or deal with the fencing. Bad move on my part. Just like she had taken it upon herself to choose the fence and colours for our boundary fence and her other one, thinking it her right. I was critically ill, fighting for my life, which she knew and she took advantage of my situation and me. She had originally told me that she would pay for the front half of the fence then demanded aggressively, from me for the fifteen hundred dollars. I could not risk her stopping my build and deliberately creating problems, delays and dangers for me and for my life, I was forced to pay her. I said nothing. She also extended her front boundary, making her front yard bigger and charged me for the fencing. Once again I am appalled. I had no legal obligation to pay her but for feeling coerced and extorted, as she had had threatened my Black Summer Bushfire Rebuild and worse, multiple times. I paid her the money in full . Wow! I say hello to her whenever I see her and unless someone else is around, she ignores me. She also ignores me when she knows I am present and when her aggressive dogs bark at me and Schrodie. She talks often and easily with my builders and runs away whenever I arrive. I do not care. I am not interested in her or in a friendship. Although, I did consider this before the fires and her attitude towards me changed. I simply don’t want animosity or hostility in my life. She is my neighbour not my friend. I don’t know what is causing her attitude? Shame, because I liked her. At least she keeps to herself, for which I am grateful. I am also grateful that she wanted the fencing fixed to offer us both private, safe and secure properties. Her motives were selfish but they suited me, so I didn't care. I remain grateful for the generosity she offered me by providing the water I needed for my Bushfire rebuild, without charge, we don't pay for water anyway and I could have accessed it from my other neighbours. I will not raise the issues with the boundary fence with her as a gesture of goodwill because she gave me water to build my house. I will pay for the missing fencing, for the second time. I will put my front boundary in its rightful place with my own separate posts. This was after the constant, angry messages from her about the damage to the fence caused by the builders during the excavation, which was avoidable. I told her that I had done everything in my power to fix the problems, upon her notifying me, to her satisfaction and that I was not responsible for the damage or fix. I referred her to the Site Supervisor and the Certifier. I told her that her support would mean a lot during this time, particularly as I had lost everything. I reserved any assessment of her as I make my own decisions about people notwithstanding what others tell me. People always tell you and show you who they are. Paying attention is the critical trick and will save you much anxiety and grief. We need to be careful who we let into our life. Before her, I had two different families as neighbours who had rented the property over my first few years in my home and the village. They were wonderful people and fabulous neighbours. 

My neighbours would say that they needed fences but they were both capable of erecting temporary fencing within their yards without inflicting serious problems and issues related to boundary fences on me at this time. There were other non costly and effective options. They've shown themselves through their actions. 

Now I am left with one short and two uneven boundary fences. I am forced to pay for the back fence twice. Colour considerations for my fencing are made more difficult because of the boundary fences. I take solace knowing that Karma will find these people who lack empathy, decency and integrity. I have studied both fashion and design and I am happy with my solution. I will not allow my decisions about my property to be dictated to me by others, ever. My teachers at the prestigious Sydney Institute told me that colour, understanding and using colour, is one of my Superpowers.

Catching up with friends has been wonderful and fun, balancing the stress and sadness of my situation regarding the build and fences. My body internalises the pain and it is horrendous even with my high pain thresholds. Somehow my life is filled with wonderful new people who are smart, interesting, creative and good company that I really like. I am so grateful and stunned that the Universe has once again put me in this wonderful position.

Although I have considered stopping this blog and not proceeding with sharing my story to show people my journey through personal empowerment through learning life skills  as I have been told countless times to do by so many. Too many people have stepped in and told me that this is too important and that I must continue. I have taped some of my pilot episode for my Podcast which some Aid and Charity organisations feel will be valuable to help others suffering through surviving natural disasters, illness and trauma, adversity and all other life challenges. I am surprised and deeply touched and humbled by this news. I hope that they are right. I am grateful to those of you who have told me this and that you have found real value in Schrodie's Mummy upon finding my blog. Thank You! I was not altogether happy or satisfied with my answers to my questions for the Podcast but the media specialist working with me on this project supported by the government said that it was a great interview. I am unconvinced but will trust his judgement and experience and continue with the process. This is a learning experience for me and one that I hope will be useful and helpful to others, which is the only reason that I do this at all. Otherwise I would keep everything to myself.

I had a meltdown talking to my Psychologist a few days ago. Somehow after my appointment with her I felt much worse and depressed by the experience. She was rude, judgmental and makes assumptions about me, who I am, what I do and what I will do in the future. She thinks she’s a Psychic and is so wrong in her assessments, judgements and assumptions about me and who I am. I am angry that she dares to presume and assume so much about me. I feel like she is using me as some kind of case study and not for the first time. I do not find my appointments helpful aside from the opportunity to talk about everything. Her focus is her payment. Our hourly appointments are between thirty and forty minutes with her seeming disinterested and cutting the conversation to talk about payment and referrals. For now, I will continue to talk to her until my life becomes more settled. Then I will reconsider my options.

Over the last few weeks I have been feeling pretty terrible and exhausted. I am run down, burnt out because I have been living in a constant state of acute distress for over two years. I recently learned that stress, due to increased cortisol levels in the body, makes you fat. Human beings are designed for respite between states of stress in the fight or flight mode. Without a chance to relieve and recover from the stress, the body gets sick and weakens. The Immune System particularly weakens leaving us more vulnerable in this compromised state. A couple of weeks ago I started coughing, not badly but it is a productive cough and still concerning to me, given the severe and critical double pneumonia which I suffered and almost killed me so many times last year. I had my tele-health appointment with my Respiratory Specialist who has started me on a course of Antibiotics. He wants me to follow up with my GP and go in for a physical check-up once I have completed the full ten day course of antibiotics. My nose has also become stuffy. I am in so much pain and breathing is still such agony as my body has not yet recovered fully from the illnesses and physical traumas and treatments that I endured last year since I lost everything in the bushfire and the smoke made me critically ill, triggering the ANCA Vasculitis. I don’t believe that it is Covid.

A man I know surprised me by coming to visit a few days ago. I was on the phone with a friend when he arrived unexpectedly at my door, which was open and he was worried that something had happened to me. I was deeply touched. We were scheduled to meet a little later that evening. He took me out and brought me home. I like him but tread very carefully as I have no interest in entanglements of any kind with anyone. I will not be swayed even with his kindness and caring nature. Temptation abounds as do options, whenever I want to play or get involved. Another man did this to me once. I do not wish to find myself in such a position again. The difference this time is that this man has no hesitation about me or himself. He is a good man, honest, decent, mature, secure within himself and steadfast, reliable but I don’t need a relationship. I don’t want a relationship. I am not looking for a relationship and never have, yet somehow found myself embroiled in the most beautiful and most tragic entanglement which caused me the greatest trauma last year and was the worst trauma of all that I have suffered. It almost killed me and left me crippled, literally, completely disabled after I extricated myself from the terrible and complicated situation into which I had been thrust by circumstance. Never again. I have never had such an experience in my life before, most especially with a man. 

I have no interest, in any capacity or type of relationship, in people who suffer from hesitation about me. I simply do not want them in my life. If you don’t know what you want, go away, piss off, go ruin someone else’s life. It is this simple. It is not always easy but the right thing to do and I have no regrets. I do not believe in regret. I carefully consider my options and their impact on my life, both positive and negative, then make the best decision that I can, the decision that I can live with, the decision that I am comfortable and happy with, no matter how terrible or agonising.  This way, if it happens that I die tomorrow, I die happy and content. No regrets. If I need to make another, a different decision later, then I do. No regrets.

I am only interested in people, particularly men, who want to jump into my life with heady abandon. Those who want me in their life the same way. No matter how we share our lives and each other, in any capacity whether it romantic or friendship. All in or not at all. No half measures with me. I simply do not see the point. 

Anyway, this has been such a long and hard week but a good one as positive progress has been made on many fronts. I have no idea what will happen with my trip to Antarctica. I am so not ready and have no chance to prepare for my trip whilst my life is in such a terrible state of flux. I cannot wait for the fallout from the disasters and traumas of last year to end. Going home will make an enormous difference to my life and Schrodie’s. 

My friend has offered to step in and deal with the build to ensure that everything is in order in case I am in Antarctica before the end of my bushfire rebuild. I was surprised and incredibly grateful and touched, humbled by her offer and care. She is well-equipped to deal with the build and the builders having built, owned and managed several properties for herself. Schrodie will be fine.

As Christmas looms, my sister has kindly offered to include me on their upcoming trip to the Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo in the new year. I considered this but don’t want to spend more time away from Schrodie as we were separated so much over the last two years. I have been to the Zoo before and it’s wonderful. Dubbo is a really colourful and interesting Country Town like most in Australia. They tried to induce me with the prospect of a bike hire. I told them that I am one of the approximate six people in the world who cannot ride a bike. They said it was a great time to learn. I think not and it interests me not. I walk instead and love it. With walking I don’t miss anything and it keeps me balanced, grounded, fit, healthy and strong. Pun not intended. I may reconsider this trip and join the holiday group. I know all the other people going and have for many, many years and I like them. I am always grateful to be included. I know how fortunate that I am. Especially given that they will pay for me, as always, which I so greatly appreciate. I have always known that experience can never be taken from me or any one of us unless our memory or mind fails. In this case, it doesn’t matter as we don’t know or understand what we have lost. Since losing everything in the Black Summer Bushfires in January last year, this has become so much more important and even more valuable to me.

It’s only forty one days to Christmas and only forty seven days until 2022. Oh my!

Today I have dry fried some delicious pork and fennel sausages. I am cooking a pot of lentils which are one of my favourite things to eat. I will add the sausages to the lentils when they are almost ready. This is a cheap, quick, easy, nutritious, healthy and almost if not completely, a no fat meal. The only fat would be in the sausages but it renders out during the cooking as I don’t fry them or use any oil. The lentils are so delicious, warming and hearty and are complemented with the sausages. My two carbohydrate counts to keep my blood sugar and body safe are included in this meal. This is tasty comfort food for me on a cold, wet day. The winds are gale force, with long, icy fingers that cut through me and have been for almost two weeks. No wonder there have been devastating Cyclones in New South Wales (NSW), which is crazy and unbelievable. I dread what my gas bill will be, the last one was $1200 and the electricity $400 for the quarter. I am counting on the bills being less when I am in my own home and with different appliances and heating options. Being warm and comfortable is too important for me and not negotiable where other things are negotiable for me and appropriate and necessary adjustments are made to ensure my comfort whilst at home.

Earlier I enjoyed a fried egg with a soft, runny yoke, with the egg cooked fully. I’m fussy about eggs and hate under cooked eggs. I never order scrambled eggs out because I find under cooked eggs and eggs cooked with cream, revolting. The texture makes me sick, ewww, yuk! I had my delicious egg with lightly fried fresh, seasonal, incredibly affordable, bunch of Asparagus spears. Lots of lemon from my friend’s tree was added and increased the flavour of this simple dish. Before the fires in 2019, I could easily eat two eggs but not anymore. These delicious, tasty and tender Asparagus spears were dunked into my runny yolk. I ate this with buttered bread to mop up the juices, yum! My meal was nutritious, healthy, quick, easy, inexpensive, low in fat and with mainly good fat, being olive oil and some butter. My two carbohydrate count was also met. This was so delicious, warming and satisfying. I love Asparagus and it reminds me of my mum. My mum taught me to love Asparagus as she did, always. 

I only eat local, seasonal fruit and vegetables. They are at their peak, always the cheapest options and environmentally sound options which help our local economy. This way I always look forward to the fruit and vegetables that I love, when they are available. Tinned, frozen and preserved options are the non-seasonal alternatives that I use, as required.

These are some of this week’s highlights of my life. I hope that you have a good week. May you leave Schrodie’s Mummy better than when you arrived. I hope that my posts and pages help you, interest you or inspire you in some way. Hang in there and keep smiling, whatever horrible situation or sadness that you face. Push through the fear and the pain and you will be okay. Please refer anyone to Schrodie’s Mummy that you feel might benefit or be interested in some way.

I hope you enjoy this week’s song of the week “People Are Strange” by The Doors. Indeed they are and I think Jim Morrison was bang on in his observation and message. This keeps the world interesting. Jim Morrison died before I was born but I am grateful for his legacy of wonderful music. I grew up a fan of Jim Morrison and The Doors, despite his tragic end. For me Jim Morrison has always been mesmerising. He epitomises cool. He was so damn hot, gorgeous and sexy. He was so talented and with that delicious, smooth voice and looks, irresistible, for me. He had a very sensual and primal masculine quality that I love in a man and really matters to me. Good looking isn’t enough for me. Men can have sexy traits or features without being sexy and such men do not interest me, although I fell in love with one such a man. I would choose a sexy man over a good looking man, each and every time. For me passion, sensuality and a raw, primal sexuality is important in a man and what I choose. There has only ever been one aberration to this rule for me. Strange. Anyway, I can say that I have partied with Jim Morrison. When I was in Paris, one of my first stops was the Cemetery, Pere Lachaise cemetery to visit Jim Morrison, Marie Curie and a couple of my other Heroes. When I arrived at his grave, there were a group of Europeans Celebrating this talented and enigmatic man. They were drinking, singing, respectfully and having a Wake for Jim. I was invited to join them in this wonderful and incredible, special and unexpected experience. Upon returning home, I relayed my story to a friend who thought that I had said “wank” instead of “wake” which was a hilarious misunderstanding that makes me laugh, still. These are stories for another time. I hope that you enjoy this song as much as I do, always.

Bye for now.

Take care, have fun, stay happy and well.

I will continue to post on Sunday, or as close to, as possible, as life allows, with pages on Wednesday and Friday.

Please remember to do one small thing each day that fills your heart with joy. Smile and laugh when it’s seems hardest to do so and every day. Do one thing every day that scares you.

I look forward to your company once again.

Watch this space...






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