When you get a message from your kids that life is tough in one way or another, all you want to do is help and I was in the middle of cleaning out the ensuite cupboard deciding whether I should keep three mascaras and binned them all, as my phone beeped. Chee texted they had just been told at 2pm to be out of their house and into the new one as they had found a tenant for it, but they only had 3 days to move. Two little ones, one and three years old make an average day challenging, but moving house…impossible!
“How many airpoints do we have?” I asked Gilbert who was reading a book. He probably imagined another sojourn about to be suggested, and balked at my ‘book a Christchurch return trip…we’re going to help Channie move house’.
He took one look at me and saw I mean’t business and before you could blink he had us booked and I was packing my bag. “we’re on our way mate” I texted back to Chee. “Mum! He replied, I didn’t mean you had to come, I was just saying its going to be hard…” “Give it a rest Chee, Tara replied to our group text, Mum and Dad thrive on this stuff” and we actually do.
The thought of them struggling through that when we could help would never sit ok with us and besides, Nana Maureen paid it forward helping us out many times. This is our turn. We jumped on an early morning flight and were working within an hour of landing. I have to say there are not many things more rewarding than the simple stuff in life, or is my life super boring? Packing and scrubbing out cupboards, wiping windowsills and that last vacuum as we left was a great feeling. Setting up in a new house is harder when you are doing it for someone else, but Annie and I chatted about decluttering techniques and better storage ideas as we worked.
Aneeka is in her affalant suit ‘brushing her teeth’ with a chopstick
Three year old Anneka said ‘No’ alot and one year old Piper just wandered from box to box emptying or filling as fast as we filled or emptied. We took breaks wandering around the garden with the girls and dreamed up ideas that might work. “I want a foraging kind of garden”, Annie mused. There was a long sunny wall with the strip having already been dug in a previous life and a grapevine about to burst into life stretched along it. “This will be perfect Annie. A strawberry patch at one end, Tiny Toms interspersed with gherkins, sugar snap peas and herbs at the other end.” I said as I turned the soil.
Turning my attention to the larger veg patch I gently weeded through, finding beetroot and rhubarb, silverbeet, spinach and celeraic sitting on its big bulbous bum. The weather was stunning and as I worked Gilbert fitted up a temporary barrier to keep the children from slipping through a gap in the back fence and falling down a large drain on council property! Jesus the councils make you wonder as the pompous twits are driving around locating spa pools that they think should be fenced, despite lockable solid covers. Don’t get me started on that!
One evening we met Chee at his work and he took us through the building site of a luxury home in central Christchurch, where the building regulations have been turned on their ear since the earthquake.
I know nothing about building but Chee explained the framing is laminated timber and with ply instead of building paper giving a greater strength and warmth. Being lighter overall allows it to be on floating floors that can move with the earth’s gentle rumblings or be re leveled after a big shake with jacks set in underneath.
Castleated bridges inside let water drain, and lots more clever stuff, both sustainable and cost saving in the long run in these million dollar homes. It was really interesting and will be cool to see changes on our next visit maybe. Also very cool seeing Chee learning so much.
Our four days was soon over and we were on our way home. I was pretty tired but it was a good feeling we could jump and help when needed and really did make a difference. Just paying it forward Channie, and it will be your turn one day!
Home to bed.