After weeks of disruption, I am finally settling back into a normal life. We moved on Dec. 18th, which is when I lost my internet connection for more than two weeks.  Since that day I have been sweating it out with moving heavy boxes of books (there were nearly 40!), putting together wardrobes from Ikea (no built-in closets at the new place), hosting a small NYE party with six kids in attendance, going to a Wiggles concert (those guys are geniuses), attending the Brisbane International tennis tournament, driving to the mountains, and washing lots of dishes. The picture below was taken aboard the Wheel of Brisbane, just a few days before Christmas. Although Will and V. enjoyed the views, I wasn't thrilled when the operators gave us an extra turn, due to my lingering fear of heights.
Our new home is a rented Queenslander house built in the 1920s. It features a large fenced-in yard in which Will loves to play.  Before I provide more details about our home, let me just preface this by saying that we really LOVE it.  It's one-storey, with all three bedrooms off the main lounge (living room). There's a separate large kitchen and dining room, full of bright, sunny, windows overlooking the garden. The entire house is built above ground, with plenty of storage in the space below. But, being an old Queenslander that hasn't been updated in decades, it does have a few quirky bits:
  • no air conditioning--very tough to deal with when the temps hit the mid 30s (95 deg F) during the past week.
  • no window screens-- allowing all sorts of strange insects to bite us all night long, as well as several small lizards to roam the walls.
  • no dishwasher-- this is especially hard on V., who hates washing the dishes.  I am trying to do as much as possible, but I think we'll have to figure out how to get one installed soon.
  • laundry done outside and under the house-- it feels a bit strange having to go outside to do the laundry, but I'm getting used to it.
  • across the street from the railroad tracks-- Queensland Rail uses these tracks for both commuter and freight trains. We have pretty much habituated to the noise at this point, and Will still loves to watch them go by every 10-15 minutes.
  • on a busy street-- the traffic going by our master bedroom window is often louder than the trains going by.  I am really starting to hate motorcycles.
  • one powerpoint (electrical outlet) per room-- I have become quite proficient in using power strips and extension cords to keep our many devices running
  • one bathroom--it's been years since I have had to share a bathroom, but we're getting along so far
  • a 35-year-old stove-- the oven temperatures are printed in both Celsius and Fahrenheit, which means it was probably bought around the time that Australia was going metric.  One of the three burners doesn't work, and it takes forever to heat up the oven.
  • maggots in the floorboards--yes, the flies like to lay eggs in the cracks of the kitchen floorboards. This is pretty disgusting, but we're determined to get it under control.
Again, I want to emphasise that we LOVE this place.  Now that I have a big lawn to mow, I went out and bought a classic Australian lawnmower, the Victa.  It turns out that power mowers are still a novelty in Australia, and the same Toro that I owned in the States is considered a luxury mower here.  I find mowing very relaxing, and I'm already looking forward to my next chance to cut the grass tomorrow.

So, that's our new life in a nutshell.  I am back at work this week, madly trying to catch up with everything I have had to neglect in the past month.  Happy New Year to you!