Friday, February 22, 2013

Pssst! Wanna buy a house?

It's the end of an era, and a bittersweet moment, as the house where I grew up, that my parents built, and lived in for over 50 years, is now on the market.

It's been an interesting process to deal with real estate agents, and the gaggle of their associates (photographers, copywriters, floor plan writers etc etc). As of Wednesday this week, the house officially went on the market, and our first open home is tomorrow morning. According to the agent, there has been a lot of interest from the website, and they've had two requests for copies of the contract already.

Today I have been busily tidying the house, and making sure that things are ready for its debut on the real estate market tomorrow. I really hope that someone will buy the house who wants to live in it and love it as much as my parents and I have done for the past 50 years. But I'm very aware that once sold, the future of the house is no longer in my control, or reasonably my concern.

So, if any nice people out there have a spare million or so, and want to buy a lovely house in Sydney, check out the full details here.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Saying thankyou

I received a phone call today from Mum's oncologist.

I haven't seen him for quite some months (as it got to the point in Mum's medical care where there was no point in going back to see him any more, as her condition was purely palliative). In the past couple of weeks, I've been writing thankyou cards to the many people who have sent me sympathy cards, flowers, or who have been particularly helpful or caring towards Mum or me during or since Mum's illness. I haven't quite finished them all yet, but posted off a bundle last week.

The list included a number of doctors who had treated Mum, including her oncologist. Interestingly, he had been the least favourite of all her doctors. I'm not sure why this was; perhaps because he was the one who had to give her the bad news; first that the mets on her lungs meant that her cancer was terminal, or later, that the chemo had been ineffectual, so she was likely to die sooner, rather than later. He had always been quite pleasant, but for some reason, Mum just never warmed to him as she did to her other doctors.

I actually felt a bit sorry for him, because I buttonholed him, and pushed him relentlessly to give me an estimate of Mum's life expectancy, back in June. He reluctantly did this, and I was very grateful, as it prompted me to drop everything and move to Sydney in early July to be with Mum, and enabled us to have a precious six months together before she died.

In my card to this doctor, I wrote how much I appreciated his honesty, and that although I was sorry I had to press him so hard, I was grateful to have that data, so that I could have that time with Mum.

When he called me today, he told me that he hadn't heard that Mum had died. I was surprised, as I assumed that the hospital would have sent him some kind of official word, as he was one of Mum's treating doctors. So this made me glad that I sent these cards to all of Mum's doctors, as maybe the others also hadn't been informed of her death through official channels.

He also sounded a bit surprised, as if it's not a common thing for people to go out of their way to thank him for the care he gives to his patients.  I think it's kind of human nature that when someone stuffs up, or performs below par, we are quick to criticise; but if they just do their job properly and well, we rarely give them praise. I was glad to be able to say thankyou to all of Mum's doctors, as they were all so lovely to her, and I was glad to know she was in such good hands, especially during the early stages when I was at home, and not able to be with her.

It's nice to say thankyou, and I still have more cards to write, so I should hurry up and get onto it.

Saturday, February 09, 2013


As a Woman of Substance, shopping for various items of clothing can sometimes be a challenge. But nowhere is it more obvious that the fashion industry caters preferentially for the SGNT set (Skinny Girls with No Tits), than when it comes to underwear.

With a bit of juggling between the general size and cup size, I can usually manage to get bras to fit me, but lately I have had no end of trouble finding knickers. After traipsing around all of the shops in Macquarie Centre (Myer, Target, Big W, and assorted lingerie shops) I discovered that the only knickers that come close to my size are in the 'Bonds Cottontails' range. 

Totally unacceptable.

Why have times seemed to change so much? Some years ago, I enjoyed the rather sweet cotton and lace combination of Kayser Perfects (that went up to size 26); and a couple of years after that, there came the slinky Holeproof Nothings. (I had a good run with those, but unfortunately, they're no longer made.)

Today I was in the Sydney CBD for an appointment, and afterwards had a bit of a wander through the Queen Victoria Building. I thought I would seek out a lingerie shop, to see if they had a better range of sizes than my local. 

What was I thinking? I should have known better.

I went into the shop, and asked the saleswoman what their largest size was. She went rummaging in a drawer, and brought out three different packages, and spread their contents on the counter. According to the label, they were 'size 50'  (in European, or some other completely undecipherable sizing scheme), and she told me that it was equivalent to 4X large. I asked her, "But what does that mean in regular sizes?" and she just shrugged and told me she didn't know, but just from looking at them, I could tell they were nowhere near the right size for me. Then I noticed the price on the tag.

In an amazingly admirable show of self control, I managed NOT to splutter, fall over or exclaim, when I asked, 

"So that's the price then? $200? I think that's a bit out of my price range"

It seems that as with everything to do with 'fashion', especially when it comes to lingerie or bathers, the smaller the piece of fabric, the bigger the price.

So I find myself still without a reasonable source of new knickers. 
It annoys me that the powers that be seem to think that women with more substance, and impressively dramatic curves don't want, or (perish the thought) don't deserve to have, attractive, or sexy knickers; but should clothe our butts in acres of daggy, white cotton, with industrial strength ribbing around the legs.

I know there are certain online suppliers of plus sized lingerie, but these are often expensive, and without the option of seeing and feeling the quality of the item, and trying it on for fit, it's a huge risk (not to mention that these options are usually more expensive than the shop bought ones).

Honestly, it's almost enough to make a girl go commando. :-/