I sold another batch of books on ebay, and several people have been curious to know which books sold and which did not.

Again, I sold exactly half of the books I listed.  First time around I sold 10 out of 20 books.  This time, ebay had a promotion offering free listings for March (usually it costs 30 – 50 cents to list each item) so I bunged on another 16, and sure enough, I have sold 8!  So it seems 50% is a good rule of thumb when it comes to books.

I was surprised with what did NOT sell.  Probably I have an assumption that internet people are more into self-help, spirituality sort of stuff.  Hence I expected that Caroline Jones “The Search for Meaning” would be first to go – but no, not a single bid, not even at 99 cents.  Ditto Steve Biddulph’s “Stories of Manhood”.  And I did think that there were enough animal lovers out there – dog lovers in particular – to get “Great Working Dog Stories” for 99 cents.  But no. (If you wonder about everything being listed at a starting price of 99 cents, well the free listings only applied to 99 cent listings, but it’s best to start low in any case.)

But Kerry Greenwood “Queen of the Flowers” was a winner, a little paperback that everyone was bidding frantically for, and eventually sold for $15.90, plus postage of course.

Kerry Greenwood is an Australian writer of whodunits, heroine Phryne Fisher, and set in Melbourne in the 1920’s.  I was given it for Christmas a couple of years ago, and although it was quite readable I wasn’t sufficiently keen to go out and read more Kerry Greenwoods, so I was most surprised that she apparently has such a following.

People also bid for “World of Tears” the story of Father Chris Riley, and Ian McEwen’s “The Innocent” but everything else just went for the basic 99 cents plus postage.

One book I was surprised but pleased to have no bids for, was “Shackleton’s Forgotten Men”.  It’s fascinating and I think I prefer to keep it.

When Shackleton set out to cross the Antarctic in 1915, he had a small support party that went to the opposite side of the continent and crossed towards Shackleton’s group setting up a lifeline of depots for the coming party.  Of course, Shackleton got frozen in and didn’t come but they weren’t to know that, so they went ahead anyway. It’s a good read.

We always knew moving would be traumatic for the cat.  Even the sight of suitcases is enough to make our cat disappear for days.  Last Christmas I had the cat booked into the cattery but when the morning came, it took two hours to find her.  Got to the cattery well past the designated “booking-in” time, and apologised to the manager.  “I suppose you’re used to this,” I said to him.

“Too right,” he said.  “I’ve had people phone me up on the day and say, We can’t find the cat, so we’re not going, can you cancel the booking please.  And I’ve had people phone me up and say, We can’t find the cat but we’re going anyway, but can you cancel the booking please.”

We didn’t want to waste two hours looking for the cat on moving day, so we took the precaution of booking Claude (well if you must know, it is one of those smart-alec names, Claude as in “Claude de Pussy”) in to the cattery for the two days before the move.

When we arrived we kept her shut in the laundry until the removalists had gone, then made sure she was kept in the house for several days before letting her outside.  Seems to be fairly settled now, but must be missing the mice.  At Muswellbrook we had a dead mouse on the doorstep most mornings.

We are a highly mobile society —  Australians move on average every six years.  You would think, therefore, that all our services and utilities would have smooth and efficient procedures in place when you move from one place to another.  My experience has been that it varies from wonderfully efficient to abysmal.

I filled out my mail re-direction order well in advance; arranged for our paper delivery to stop on 24th and start at the new house on 25th; cancelled our old phone number and organised for phone and new number on the first Monday after moving in; phoned Dodo (internet supplier) to transfer to new number; and called Energy Australia about the electricity.  Also decided to keep the pay TV which is a complete waste of money for the most part but with Don’s state of semi-blindness it is good to have.

Here’s what happened:

The paper was not delivered after all, because they had it logged to begin at the new address on 25th May (instead of April).   Took a week to rectify.

Dodo charged me $99 for the privilege of changing our address and phone number, despite having us as good customers for six years, and then took almost two weeks before we could get “activated”.  (Did you wonder why I was not blogging?  Hmmmmm?  Or, be honest, did you not really notice?? ….)

Worst of all, the mail re-direction did not take effect.  Neighbours kept phoning me about the newspapers on our lawn and the letters piling up in the old letterbox.  To my many phone calls, Australia Post assured me that they would investigate, then that an investigation had been initiated, then that I would be sent a letter with the results of the “investigation”.  I kept pleading to just fix the problem and re-direct the letters and I didn’t care about an “investigation”, but yesterday we finally started getting re-directed mail (two weeks to the day! how hopeless is that!) and a letter apologising for any inconvenience.

To their credit, Energy Australia just quietly got on and did it, Foxtel (who we care least about) were totally efficient and impressive and gave us a promotional deal as we transferred from Austar, and Telstra came when they said they would.

I can’t stand living with boxes, so everything is unpacked long since.  Only problem is, I can’t find the cord that connects my camera to the computer, otherwise I would put in some pics of the past couple of weeks.

A trailer load, piled high, went to the tip.  All the neighbours’ garbage bins have been used to overflowing, as well as our own.  Yet there are still walls of boxes, sorted and packed and ready to go.

What to leave behind?  That is the agonising question.  I threw out four crates of teaching notes and folders from my 17 years in TAFE.  Guess that is an acknowledgement that I don’t expect to be standing in front of a class of students, ever again.  Being a multiple sclerosis carer meant it became increasingly difficult for me to leave the house long enough to teach a 3-hour class.  I finally realised I could not accept any more offers of casual work last November, when the last two times I was asked to fill in, I had to cancel at the last minute.

What about all Don’s old sermons, and worship resources?  Too painful to admit “never again”, even though I do know it is never again.  So, multiple sclerosis or not, the books from the study have been boxed and neatly lined up along the wall.

Most precious of all are the boxes of photos of our life together; at functions, travelling, getting out and about, with our children, laughing.  Life before multiple sclerosis took over. 

Dishes in the Sink

When we move house, I have always done my own packing.  The removalists come in and basically they just, well, “remove”.  They march in and start carrying out furniture and boxes, quick as a flash, leaving us with bare walls, and the carpet to vacuum, before you can blink.

The removalists all have stories about times they had to do the packing for their customers.  We heard about one family that just got up in the morning and had breakfast, got into their car, and left.  The packers came in to find unmade beds, toys on the floor, even the breakfast dishes in the sink.

“Dishes in the sink!”  I exclaimed.  “What did they expect, did they want you to do the washing up for them?”

“I don’t know what they expected,” said the removalist.  “I wrapped up the dirty dishes and the dirty frying pan, and then when we got to the new house I unwrapped them and put them all in the sink.”

Well done, guys.  That’s what I call efficient.

We’ve signed a 6-month lease for a level house in Morisset Park.  No steps … well, a small step into the front door, is all.

We have to leave in a week!  The day our application was approved for the house, I came home from visiting Don in the hospital, thinking I would start packing boxes for that 3-hour break in the middle of the day (patients are “resting”, no visiting).  Came home, surveyed the enormity of it all, realised I didn’t even know how to start — and promptly sat down and watched TV for the 3 hours instead.

Now, of course, I am on a roll, and there are boxes in all directions, enormous piles of rubbish and equally enormous piles to go to St Vinnies  — not rubbish for Vinnies, I only give away what I would be happy to buy myself.

Here is the front of the house, and you don’t go down those steps you can see (go via the carport instead).

The living room looks nice and spacious now, probably nicer than when it is cluttered with all our stuff:

But what we really like is the idea of sitting out on the deck, looking out on Lake Macquarie.