Two days after some friends and I met at Perrotta’s, Vickie’s and my favourite restaurant in Cairns, to celebrate Vickie’s and my fifteenth wedding anniversary, I received an email from the solicitor looking after the title deed transfer: it was done. Our house – though, technically, Vickie’s house; we’d never shifted it into joint names – was now my house.
Is now my house. I am sole owner. I’m responsible for it.
It’s now almost five months since Vickie, my wife of fourteen years, died due to an infection terminating the function of her already-impaired liver. That’s five months of just Sookie and I living in this house here in Cairns.
If there’s any area of change in my life, this is probably the biggest and also the most subtle – becoming a solo householder. I have never been on my own in a place I’ve been responsible for before – well, not for longer than a week and a half.
What does that mean?
For starters, that means making sure the obvious things, like cleaning, dusting, vacuuming, mowing and the like are done. Hell, much as I think I did a better job than many, I have no doubt Vickie was right when she told me I thought that we had a cleaning fairy here. it’s only now that I’m really starting to appreciate the hard yards she put in maintaining our place.
Then, there’s the stuff like fixing things:
- The whipper-snipper needs a new primer pump bulb installed.
- There’s a big gum tree in the backyard that is so tall that it’s going to damage someone’s house, whether mine (still seems odd thinking of our place like that) or a neighbour’s.
- The entertainment area roof needs repair where it’s rusting through, likely even replacing its roof so it drains the right way.
- The front deck needs a sand down and oiling, as well as a new bottom step. (Heck; maybe it even needs ripping out and replacing.
- The shower cubicle needs re-grouting around its tiles.
- Plus, there’s the odd spot on the walls that needs filling and repainting.
On top of those, there’s all the paperwork that needs re-sorting and filing properly.
Finally, all the bits and pieces we – I – no longer need. I still need to get the help of a friend who’s promised to take Vickie’s clothes to a local women’s shelter. I’ll have to borrow Karl’s trailer to get a couple of furniture bits and pieces out of the garage and to the tip.
Speaking of Karl, I have to give some massive thanks to my stepson Karl and his boys for putting a shit-ton of work into this place over the years. He did most of the work in putting two new interior walls up. He dug the sewerage pipe that runs along the side of the house out years ago when it got blocked by roots. the five tractor tyre vege beds down the back are thanks to him. Most recently, he’s cur down and taken away lots of excess foliage in our back yard.
And I also have to give massive thanks to my next door neighbour, Mick, who has also been instrumental in getting some foliage down, and will be helping us take the massive gum tree in our back yard down before it falls on someone’s house during the next big blow.
If taking care of a house wasn’t enough, in the next post I talk about how I’m learning to manage myself and all the maintenance needed there.