A very COVID Christmas! Also expensive.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Today’s events on the eve of Summer Solstice include installing solar panels on the roof (saving the planet, not our wallets!) and 2 beautiful stained glass windows to match our rose by the front door.

I’m stoked.

Rose window, probably created in the 1920s.
One of 2 new stained glass windows, replacing the old clear windows and giving us some much needed privacy from our lovely neighbours (they really ARE lovely, but we don’t need to see their TV from our dining room window!).
Here they are in situ. Just gorgeous. Made by Michael, @theglassmandala

I love how the artist Michael has made this new creation look old, by the use of some old stained glass he has retrieved over the years. This has been a VERY expensive month, but as I’ve said to hubby more than once: we can afford it right now – we may not have the chance in future. Let’s show some largesse and help the economy back on its feet. I think hubby and I are the actual main people helping the economy back on its feet 😉 ! Here’s basically a long, long list of how much we’ve bought over the last 3 months.

We have just installed a billion lights, new fans, and electrical power-points to the house at enormous cost. I organised a locksmith to install a bunch of new locks for the house as it felt rather easy to access and even though I work from home, I often don’t go downstairs and there are a number of windows allowing easy egress from the garden – new keyed locks on them all, now! Of other electrical things we’ve also bought a new coffee espressso machine – a low cost version to take the pain off the one we’ve been using, because the one we use has been slowly dying and has already been serviced once (this will be our fourth in 14 years). We bought a new smallish fridge just before we bought our new house as our other one died right before our selling campaign!!! and we weren’t able to check the size, and subsequently have had to buy yet ANOTHER small fridge to fit the overflow – ugh. We bought a stick vacuum cleaner for upstairs – not that great, truthfully, but I can’t be bothered lugging old Henry up the stairs more than once a month so small mercies I guess… and we’ve bought various small devices to support our extravagant lifestyle. First world problems indeed.

A couple of days ago I bought outright a new iPhone – 12 Pro Max – my 8+ was great but just starting to stutter a bit, and I’ll gift that to mum as she has my old 7+ and needs an upgrade. I told her today and she was super happy! Seriously, she can afford to buy new but just hasn’t, and complains about my old phone ALL THE TIME. Last week I bought a portable air-conditioner – noisy but good for my hot box of a study while we wait for more split-system air-conditioning stock to come in in February – we can then move it to the downstairs bedroom for when visitors stay. We’ve spent at least $500 at Bunnings hardware on itsy bitsy stuff, and triple that on clothes since September. I rarely buy very expensive clothes (high street only) and I try to buy made-in-Australia, but the truth is SE Qld is very hard on clothes – one spends most of the day sweating and so the garments are frequently washed (not by me, gosh I’m lucky). And I really needed, reeeeaaaallly neeeeeded 2 new pairs of Birkenstocks (classic version) because I wear them for about 10 months a year and I’ve been without for a year now and it’s slowly killing me!

The chickens are the most expensive chickens in the world – we have just bought them a new coop and run to stop Randy the Rapey Bush Turkey from getting to them. Seriously, it would be cheaper not to own chickens and just buy eggs every now and then, but in truth I’d love more chickens: I just love the silly creatures. We also spend a stupid amount of money on the dogs, on their snacks, and beds, and grooming. More expensive than children but at least they don’t talk back! 😉

We’re keen art lovers and have just dropped a serious bundle on some very lovely pieces for the few remaining rooms that have empty walls – hubby said it was for Xmas so I said yes, and then he said he wanted to give me “something extra on the day”. GAH. We buy only Australian art, so our collection now includes David Bromley, Matthew Johnson, Charles Blackman, Ray Crooke, Davida Allen, Yvonne Mills-Stanley, Toni Bucknell, Susan Romyn, Constantin Popov, Sokquon Tran, Ben Lucas and works by indigenous artists Gloria Petyarre, Lily Kelly Napangardi, Polly Ngala, Evelyn Pultara, Betty Mbitjana, Nellie Marks Nakamarra, Patricia Kamara, Rosemary Pitjara, and Jeannie Mills Pwerle. We literally have no room for more stuff, so the collectible house-and-scenery images we buy when we travel have been relegated to corners and bookshelves.

Today we have had solar installed – with micro inverters so that any clouding on one part of the array doesn’t affect the other part. It’s the more expensive option but worth it! The installer has already connected it to the mains so our old rotary electrical reader is actually now turning backwards – we’re feeding straight into the grid, no throttling until the power company comes (probably in mid January) to install the new digital meter. Heheheh. I’m thrilled that we can finally stop adding to the earth’s woes, even just a little bit.

And of course there’s all the stuff we bought for the new loungeroom – cushions, couches, coffee tables, credenzas and carpet. For the back deck: new couch and lots of new plants, and some lovely festoon lights we installed ourselves. It’s so pretty there now. But I think I’m finally done.

So I’m pretty happy that we’ve supported local and international business this month – in truth, we made some money on the sale of our home, enough to buy all these things that we love and use regularly, and the spending will have to stop soonish as I want to plan our next holiday! I think we will probably get a new hifi system for the lounge room for our birthdays. I want one with bluetooth but no Alexa or anything that listens in to my conversations. I’m old fashioned that way.

In the new year we will be doing a bunch of small but necessary house upgrades: new front and side fences, a spiffy new paint job, some carpentry for a storage unit and some gates for the stairs so that the dogs don’t go careening around the yard looking for people to bark at. We’ve lived here now for 3 months and we’ve worked out what works and what doesn’t – and it’s better than we thought, but there is a long term plan to move and improve the kitchen, add an ensuite and family bathroom upstairs, and extend the deck. Oh! and install a pool. Really neeeeeeed a pool.

Finally: Xmas. This year has been a big one as we had two children graduate from uni and so we wanted to give them a bit extra, and my son and his wife are saving for a house, and I’m doing a big gift for him instead of lots of small Xmas and birthday gifts. In the end, though, as my mother says: it’s only money. And that is the truth. Oh! And we’ve put a little aside for the charities we support. They need our help more than ever this year. If you’re interested: The Smith Family, International Women’s Development Agency, The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, Red Cross, and probably Bush Heritage.

So if I don’t post again, have a wonderful Xmas and safe and careful New Year. Wear a mask, wash your hands and let’s beat this insidious disease.

Merry Xmas from the green room!

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