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Tales From The Shit Shack Part 2.

Well its been a bloody long time coming but I can finally post a progress report on life in a shithole residence and the newly begun house.

In the last few months of 2020, the front garden was dug up and replaced with a giant dirt bowl, then after the sand was brought in to raise the new house up by 1 metre, it became an enormous sand pit. Then by some sort of gradual, dry osmosis process, The Shit Shack too became a dirt bowl/sandpit.

On Christmas Eve the concrete slab was laid and over the Christmas period we were left with what looked like an unfinished mini car park as a front garden. All we needed was a few homeless to piss on it, a the odd discarded hypodermic and it would of been completely authentic.

As work resumed after the Christmas break, we received the very exciting delivery of a port-a-loo (this will grace our front garden for the next 6 to 10 months), several window frames and some sort of metal shed. At some point a flat bed lorry turned up and craned on all the wood for the build. Finally we were underway.

Within a few days the entire frame was up and now, at mid February, we have the external, internal and roof frame up. Sewage, plumbing and electrics are in and ready to go. Window frames, some door frames, facias and hopefully by the time I publish this post, we will have the roof sheets on for the second floor.

By my estimation we have so far served approximately 11 months of our sentence in The Shit Shack. We have no definite parole date but we are told its up for consideration in "late May/early June". However we aren't able to return to normal living conditions at that point as the new house will still need, painting, flooring, window shutters/blinds, solar panels and a few other bits before we can escape. Even at the point we can finally move in, we will then have The Shit Shack just 1.5 metres outside the doors that will eventually open onto the back garden, so a usable garden and any sort of view out several windows will be a long way off.

But even with that, I will be so damn happy that is finally unfolding and we can get a feel for what rooms sit where and how it will look. Almost nightly, Alice takes me out to her room to show me where she wants to put everything, which or course changes every day. George is just content to climb scaffolding every day after school and me and Greg often stand in the empty frame of our new home and just silently visualize just how far we can get away from our children whilst staying under the safety of the same roof.


n fact we are taking a pretty huge leap of faith in the new house. Shock horror, but the "grown ups" bedroom and living area is upstairs with all other bedrooms and living spaces on the floor below. I appreciate that in a normal world, adult humans sleeping on a different floor to their pre teen kids is no big deal, but of course we don't inhabit the "normal world". At fast approaching 10 years old, Alice is still in our bed by the early hours every night. Mainly because its the only way to get a half decent sleep but also because she has the most horrendous tremors and shaking fits in the night and needs the safety of being in a large bed between two adults. If we don't go and get her when she wakes and calls out from her room ("Please help me Mummy, I'm wobbly") she will only attempt to get to us on her own and has been found in a heap on the floor flapping like a fish out of water at various points of the short journey from her room to ours.

So why on earth would we want to move to opposite ends of the house and on a different floor? Well, the thinking is this, if we get Alice into a large double bed in the new house, with side bars and a baby gate on her door, we are hoping she can remain safely in place while the episodes pass. We will set up a camera and communication system so I can see what is happening and talk to her if needed. Of course if I see her out of bed or in any sort of trouble I can go and help her but essentially the plan is that she learns to self settle and will hopefully realise that at some point she will have to deal with the episodes in the safety of her own bed. Who knows if it will work. It will either be a roaring success or an epic failure and we'll all be shifting rooms and sharing beds again but right now, if me and Greg don't get back exclusive use of our bed soon I think we may just run away together and join the circus.

So in summary we are surviving but we are very much done with The Shit Shack. Almost a year of an old shitty fridge and freezer, so small that the contents fall out every time you open the doors, almost a year of being able to talk to any family member in any room of the house at any time without moving from where you are sat. Almost a year of a toilet so close to the sink and shower that you can touch both while seated on the throne. Almost a year of having to get the travel hob out the cupboard and plug it in every time you want to heat a saucepan. One saucepan that is, if you require two saucepans on the go, that's two plug in travel hobs you have to find space for. If you need three, you are screwed. Almost a year of having to use the camping oven in carefully scheduled stages because its only the size a microwave and we are, of course a family of four. If its pizza for dinner we all eat in different sittings, a bit like in a nursing home. Almost a year of things like spare TVs covered in bubble wrap on top of fridges, boxes of nappies used as side tables, the gaps under beds rammed underneath with anything that will fit, a permanent layer of dust and dirt on everything, only two people allowed in the kitchen at once, the constant arguments over the one inside toilet (oddly no one, except Alice likes to shit al fresco), the list goes on. But.... we have had no rats in recent months, the roof has only leaked once since winter, we are COVID free here in Western Australia (apart from a 6 day lockdown early Feb and mandatory masks for 2 weeks over1 case which never spread), Greg is still gainfully employed, my business is slowly taking off, summer is in its last month, hank God, because we have no air con of course. lt is ment to hit 39 degrees most of next week though so Im not looking forwards to that but our new (forever) home is growing before our eyes. All I need is to hear that friends and family from the UK can visit when we finally have somewhere to put them.

But other than that, life is pretty damn awesome.

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