I need some spaces like this in my life. When things dont go well, & it seems fate, life, call it what you will, is dealing me some nasty side swipes, I need some peaceful nature and scape to recharge my optimism. To give me the will to collect the pieces & move along, to meet the new challenges.
When our children were mid teenagers we had sunk most of our available money into a 'cast iron business' venture. We had good company in this venture. A Bank Manager, 2 Accountants, and a Finacial Planner.
We had sold our first house over here in Oz, thinking to go back to NZ. Then this 'Gold Plated' opportunity came our way. Plans to move were put aside. We were advised to buy the 'house of your dreams', the money was sure to come rolling in.
I am not really a naturally suspicious person, but I do always have my doubts when things seem too easy. Or too good to be true. I believe nothing is 'free'.
We did purchase a very nice house, not perhaps the house of our dreams, but very comfortable for our needs, & ideal for teenagers. Opposite a park, & with a beautiful pool in the back yard. And generous spaces downstairs for teenagers to enjoy music & laughter. Our children had many happy gatherings there, & Saturday nights would find them with a happy bunch of friends who all lived within walking distance of our place.
I dont know if the omens had been there to be read. Just before the settlement on the house, the owner had a fire in the kitchen. A friend phoned me, & said, "Meggie, I dont want to alarm you, but I think the house you are buying is on fire!"
Not the sort of phone call you ever want to get!
We dashed out to the car, & sped off to see, indeed the house was on fire. We drove away, without trying to see the damage. We rang the agent, & he took us back later to see if we still wanted to proceed with the purchase.
We were renting a house. The owners had wanted us out, having returned from overseas, they wanted to live in their house again. It had all slotted together neatly, the timing had seemed perfect. We were due to move into the new house just as the owners were due to move back into the house we were renting.
Of course the fire threw everything off kilter, & once we decided we would proceed with the purchase of the house, we had to find alternative accomodation. A house which was up for sale. We could rent it short term on condition we had it 'on show' for potential buyers.
This involved me screaming round like a lunatic in the mornings making sure the kitchen was immaculate, & the beds were all made & the children's rooms were tidy. I owned a small cafe style shop, & had that to run, & it meant a fairly early departure for work each day, to get the shop opened & food prepared. GOM had another job, & he left early in the mornings to travel over to the other side of Sydney. Life was just rush rush rush.
Our thinking when we decided to go ahead & buy the house, was it had been extensively smoke damaged, but not much actual structural damage. The kitchen had most damage, so new benchtops were chosen by us, & as it was a split level house, all the rooms had to be cleaned & repainted. It was like a new house by the time it had all been repaired, & we got to choose the colours.
There were inevitable hiccups on time lines, & painters took longer than expected, & the carpet cleaners did a really crappy job, so they had to come back.
And all the while I was going hell for leather trying to keep the house we were renting immaculate, & spending hours in the evening watering the damn huge lawn, to keep it alive & attractive for prospective buyers.
And it was Easter weekend. And we were all set to move on the Sunday. The movers had been booked, & we had packed most of the remainder of our things.
And, on the Saturday after Good Friday our son almost lost his life. We got a phone call from one of his mates, to tell us he had come off his pushbike, & was in a bad way.
We dropped everything, & tore round to the street in the car. And there was our beautiful son, lying on the road, with a badly broken arm, & a massive head wound. His front teeth had both broken off, & he almost lost his eye.
I rode in the ambulance with him, not knowing how much damage had been done to his head. We spent many hours at the hospital. We were told it was a miracle he hadnt lost his sight in his eye. A true nightmare of a weekend. His arm was eventually set, having been delayed because of the head injury. His lovely teeth could not be repaired till he got out of hospital.
And throughout it all we had to move house & also visit the hospital. And run the shop, & GOM had to work. One of those patches when everything seemed out of whack.
Then things began to fall apart with the
I managed to sell my shop. That is whole other post! Suffice to say it didnt go smoothly at all, there were dramas connected, & dirty dealing afoot. But sell it I did, eventually.
Then I managed to get a job. Only parttime, perhaps one day a month, they warned me. Well there was never a week I didnt work, & it turned into a permanant job, which I loved. And it was good money, & it filled my mind throughout all the sadness of selling our lovely house. And losing all our money.
Our daughter had saved her money by working at a cafe, & she had gone 'home' to New Zealand. It was so hard to let her go. Her best friend used to still come to visit me on the weekends, she missed her too.
Our son met his partner-to-be, & they moved out to a flat in the city. And GOM & I carried on working & trying to come to terms with the fact that we would have to sell the house, as we were not going to 'make it' financially.
One of my girlfriends told me she thought I was very calm about having to sell the house, which she knew I loved. But really, a house is a house, & I think, our son's accident put that into perspective. Lives are more important than dwellings.
Over the course of our lives, we have ridden the crests, & floundered in the troughs. I guess you could say our lives have been 'well rounded'.
And if someone asks would I change any of it, I dont think I would. After all, there could be much worse things waiting in the wings! Better the devil you know!
Neil Diamond, Brooklyn Roads