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A story to tell...

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  • A story to tell...

    Don’t feel that you have to read this or respond. You may be sick and tired of hearing about our move… I know I’m sick and tired of preparing for it but find comfort in sharing the story. By all means feel free to scroll on by if it's not your 'thing'.

    Two years ago, my eldest daughter and I discussed the possibility of John and I moving to Adelaide, about 700km away. This would involve selling our home of 38 years and leaving behind our youngest daughter, Tiff and our son, Charlie and of course our firstborn grandchild, Immy. This discussion took place shortly after John was fitted with a cardiac pacemaker to help protect him from further heart failure.

    Fast forward to February, 2020 and the decision was made. John was keen, but I still suspect that he was only agreeing because he knew that I was unhappy with the way our neighbourhood had changed. In recent years I had lost two close friends/neighbours to cancer and I was lonely. I was also struggling with giving John the extra care he needed. I was touched that John was willing to uproot his life in order to start the move. Also in February, COVID (or as we were then calling it, Coronavirus) made its appearance. Overnight, doors were shut and locked, hopefully protecting the nervous occupants and also shutting down stores and services that we had learned to rely on. I was waiting for surgery on my knee… ruptured ligaments following a fall at home. Along with the locked doors, hospitals converted some of their wards and theatres into COVID treatment centres, ending my hope of having surgery any time soon. What else could go wrong? Surely we’d still be able to buy a house in Adelaide and move into it. It wasn’t that easy as it turned out, especially when the six States and two territories of Australia shut their borders, isolating from each other.

    We soon discovered that many established houses in Adelaide only have one bathroom. We needed two so about half of the houses being offered for sale were wiped off the list. Then we needed a large enough bathroom to have modifications carried out to allow wheelchair access for the future… grab bars and a shower chair for the present. That should have been an easy requirement to reach, surely! Nope… the best we could hope for was a four bedroom home and modify one of the bedrooms into a disability friendly bathroom. As John's medical needs spiraled, the requirements were growing: no steps or staircases, flat land, wide enough doorways for a wheelchair and allow at least $100,000 to build a suitable bathroom. After six months not finding a suitable house, another decision was made… we needed to build a house from ground level. Easy… let’s do it!

    Let’s build a house they said… it will be fun they said. Who in their right mind decides to build a home in the middle of a world-wide pandemic? Apparently *ME* !!

    Fast forward to February, 2021. The land was purchased and it looked pretty flat… until the surveyors looked through their levelling laser and found that there was a difference from front to back of 2 metres (a bit over 6 feet). The simplest solution was to build a split-level house, however not a good idea for two people with mobility issues. The next option would be retaining walls to level off the block. Nothing should go wrong with that… all we had to do was inform our two neighbouring houseowners to allow us to pull down their fences, build up the land and reinstall 2 metre high fences. Permission was granted and then we needed to find a retaining wall person. Whoa!… not so fast. Builders have to work while keeping a 2 metre distance from each other, limits are placed on the number of workers on each block, timber roof trusses (that are all imported) stopped arriving on our shores and just when it couldn’t get any worse, total lockdown happened preventing any building at all. Crap!!!

    Fast forward again to February, 2022… We found a retaining wall expert. Cost: don't ask, suffice to say it was about double than expected and had several zeroes but the quote has been accepted and we are now waiting for the work to happen. That’s where we currently stand. The block still looks like it did when it was first purchased. In the meantime, John’s health has deteriorated, culminating is a dash to hospital under lights and sirens just before Christmas. Family was summoned to say goodbye and then weren’t allowed to see him. He recovered from the emergency surgery and came home in time for a very quiet Christmas with my sister. Since then, building materials are more readily available but there are other new-builds in the queue ahead of ours. More decisions had to be made that would solve all of the issues that were holding us back from moving. We have rented a lovely 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom home with a single garage. It’s not perfect but it’s clean and comfortable and has a suitable bathroom and is also close to all the shops and services that we will need. Our move will ultimately eliminate the memories of our neighbours from hell and allow us to start a new life in a new State.

    Our new home will eventually be built and we’ll be on the move again, however it’s not far from where we will be living and much of our property will be moved ourselves. We bought a Volkswagen Caddy and a Mitsubishi Outlander a few weeks ago… plenty of room to take our everyday items in the cars and we will hire a local removalist to move our furniture on the final destination.

    Plans are made and then something happens to change them. I’ve had days of total meltdown and other days when I feel I could take on the world. I'm learning that changed plans are still plans. In the end we will live in our new home. I've also learned a level of patience that I never knew I could have. Even in a global pandemic, plans can be achieved, albeit slowly with a few zig zag roads to follow.
    Effort only fully releases its rewards after a person refuses to quit.

    Napoleon Hill

  • #2
    Fascinating, stressful, but all worth it in the end! I'm so glad you shared. I gathered some of it thru your posts but had no idea what all you & John have gone thru. I'm not sure I would have been strong enough to do all that. So many decisions. So much work. Thankfully the wheels will be rolling very soon. I wish you 2 all the best.

    I still say you should write a book. From your early memories to the present. "A girls life in Australia"
    Last edited by rosie; 02-25-2022, 11:10 AM.


    • #3
      Whew! I'm tired just reading that. Hang in there. It can only go up from here


      • #4
        WOW! You are a trooper! Loved your story as crazy as it is
        Is this what they call- Making memories? LOL
        Reaching out to you and John with a big hug
        to stay strong to reach your honeymoon palace


        • #5
          Thank you all so much for your interest.

          rosie... if I wrote a book about my childhood, it would be a very small publication. I'd struggle to fill half a dozen pages... *LOL* My childhood was very sheltered.

          Allie... I tell myself that every day but I'm not so afraid now of plans that need to change. I've realised that the move is more about John and I doing it together than the actual bricks and mortar.

          mellon... I'm not so sure about our house being a "honeymoon palace" ...maybe if he carried me over the threshold and a video of that happening could end up on Australia's Funny Home Videos. I'm confident that with a purpose-built home and extra assistance from my family, we can keep John at home for the rest of our lives. We are so grateful to our daughter and son-in-law for making this happen for us.
          Effort only fully releases its rewards after a person refuses to quit.

          Napoleon Hill