The Design Process

I’m pleased to say that the kitchen design is well underway. We’re a month into the twelve-month schedule, which means there’s just one more month of planning to go until we can knock down my kitchen and complete a full-scale kitchen replacement. For many people, the prospect of this would be daunting. If the money didn’t throw them off, they’d certainly be thrown off by the fact that I have tradespeople, renovators, designers and builders at my home twenty-four seven for two to three months a year. That’s a long time to have people in your space. I personally love it, but I definitely understand how/why people wouldn’t. They’re just not as into kitchen design as I am. I doubt anyone could be, really.

I truly love kitchen renovations. I love forgetting about everything else in my life and just completely throwing myself into a renovation. It’s the perfect distraction from everything – the good, the bad and the ugly. It doesn’t matter what’s going on in my life, I can escape it. But that’s not what this blog post is about. It’s about how the kitchen design is going!

Based on the concept we’ve come up with so far, I think it’s safe to say that once this renovation is done, I will have the best kitchen design in Melbourne. The design will be featured in magazines across Australia and will be spoken about for the years to come. I might not even want to renovate a new kitchen this time next year. Maybe for the first time since I’ve had the funds to pay for a kitchen renovation every year, I will actively choose not to change it.

I can’t wait to see what my new kitchen looks like in the next couple of months. It would be incredible to be able to do some sort of big reveal with a few magazine journalists there as well. 


A Beautiful Garden

My friend has the most beautiful garden. I don’t know how she keeps it so perfectly maintained. On top of having a full time job, she somehow manages to spend time in her garden every day, keep all her flowers perfectly watered and pruned and ensure that they’re doing the absolute best they can be. I mean, you should see all the hybrid tea rose varieties she has in her garden! And somehow they’re all absolutely thriving. I’m simultaneously so impressed with her and in awe of the fact that she is able to achieve so much. Why can’t I achieve as much as she can? Anyway, I know it’s not a competition. I truly am happy for my friend that she is doing so well for herself. I just wish I had my own hobby that I was so passionate about that I would spend hours of my free time working on it. I just haven’t found my passion yet, I guess. 

For her birthday I’m going to buy her a rose plant variety that she doesn’t have in her garden yet. It’s so easy to buy her presents because she makes it very clear what she wants. There’s no beating around the bush (ha, get it) with her because she has made her love of flowers, and roses in particular, so clear.

It’s a lot easier to buy Sarah a present than it is to buy Sally one. Sally, my other best friend, hates telling people what she wants because she doesn’t want to seem materialistic or like she is expecting a present. The thing is though, we buy each other presents every year so she’s most certainly expecting a present. She could just make it easy for me and tell me exactly what she wants, or at the very least, have a hobby as clear as Sarah’s that I can easily buy for.



An Optometrist Dream

I tumbled through the clouds, heart racing, the moon shrinking further and further away, the ground getting closer and closer, until–

         I stopped. In mid-air, hovering just above the clouds.

         Was I… flying?

         I took an experimental dive, scraping the clouds with my hand, feeling the cotton-candy texture stick to my hand. I laughed, licking the sugar off my fingers, shooting upwards at the speed of sou—

         Oh, this is a dream, isn’t it?

         Yeah, this is definitely a dream.

         I sighed, still hovering, waiting for this realisation to kick me out of my dreamscape and put me back in my bed. After a few moments… it didn’t happen.

         I was still flying.

         My brain raced with the possibilities – a dream I could control! A dream where I was in charge of what happened to me, what moments from my past I could relive!

I concentrated, harder than I ever have before, trying to bring up something joyous.

When I opened my eyes, I was waiting for an eye test at my local Brighton optometrist.

‘Dammit,’ I huffed.

‘What’s the matter?’ the optometrist asked, positioning the strap for my chin. I dutifully placed my head on it, with a sigh.

‘This just isn’t where I expected to end up tonight, that’s all.’

‘Oh?’ he laughed. ‘And what were your plans today Timmy?’

Timmy? Nobody had called me Timmy since I was a—


I looked at the man across from me more closely, and my palms went cold: he was a paediatric optometrist.

And I was a little kid again.

‘Noooooo!’ I screwed up my fists and swung my feet in the air, not even bothering to fight my irresistible urge to tantrum.

‘Timmy!’ my mother chastised me from a chair against the wall. ‘Behave yourself!’

‘I wanna wake up now!’ I whined, tears forming at the corners of my eyes.

‘If you’re good, I’ll give you a lollipop,’ the optometrist soothed. ‘Does that sound like it’d be good?’


Mechanics in Pursuit

‘Do you even know how to drive this thing?’ I hollered at Savii, as she skidded us around a corner and through an alleyway. Her only reply was to grin.

A man in a battered trench coat saw us coming and panicked, dropping his can as he jumped out of our way, hurling obscenities as we disappeared at breakneck speed.

‘Did you even see him?’ I asked, clinging to the door with a white-knuckled ferocity.

‘He moved,’ Savii rolled her eyes. ‘They always move.’

She checked her mirrors again and saw the distant dancing of red and blue lights.

‘Damn,’ she hissed. ‘Thought we would have lost them in that alley.’

‘They’re probably just following the screaming sounds,’ I protested, thrown back into my seat by another burst of acceleration.

‘Do you know of any affordable mechanics near Toowoomba?’ Savii asked, casually.

‘What does that mean?’ I glared at her.

‘Nothing, nothing,’ she said, swerving to avoid a bike messenger and clipping off the wing mirror on my side. I glared at her.

‘That was an honest mistake,’ she protested. ‘Could have happened to anyone.’

‘That’s it!’ I yelled. ‘Pull over! This ends now!’

‘Uh, about that,’ Savii checked for the police again. ‘I’m gonna need this car for a little while.’

‘How long?’

‘Until we’re clear of the City.’

‘That could take days!’

‘A week, tops,’ she batted away my complaint.

‘Wait a second,’ I frowned. ‘Until we’re clear of the city?’

‘You didn’t think I was gonna leave you behind, did you?’

‘I hoped!’

Another swerve temporarily derailed the conversation.

‘What’s the matter?’ Savii asked, genuinely confused. ‘Is your car due for a tyre fitting soon or something?’

‘No, you maniac, I don’t want to be kidnapped by you!’

‘Pffft, it’s hardly a kidnapping,’ she rolled her eyes. ‘You got in the car willingly.’

‘Because I thought you were going to drive to my place and drop me off, not get caught up in a high-speed pursuit!’

Savii shook her head with a sigh.

‘Honestly, some people just will not be reasoned with.’

Office Design

Office Building Site

‘Hey, what the hell are you doing on my site?’ I barked across the noisy din of construction.

A small man in a suit looked at me and then rushed over with a grin.

‘Mister Andrews?’ he asked, when he got within shouting distance, not quite as practiced at being heard over construction equipment as I was.

‘Who’s asking?’ I frowned. ‘And where’s your hard hat?’

‘I, uh,’ he stammered, patting his balding head. ‘Oh, golly, I don’t—’

‘Hey, Joey,’ I tapped the arm of a passing builder, ‘go and get my new lawyer friend a hard hat, would ya?’

‘How did you know I was a lawyer,’ the man frowned, as Joey rushed off with a nod.

I raised an eyebrow and looked him up and down.

‘Fair enough,’ he grinned, slightly too widely. ‘I’m here to talk to you about this job.’

‘What about it,’ I said, picking up my clipboard and starting my rounds.

‘Well, we understand that the office design is a bit… dated.’

‘Excuse me?’ I stopped in my tracks, the lawyer almost running into my back. ‘We’re carpet installers. We’re doing exactly as we were told.’

‘No offence,’ he quickly stammered. ‘There are just some more – slightly more! – interesting commercial office designs around Melbourne that we’d like you to take a look at.’

‘Buddy, I’m not in charge of the design,’ I scribbled something down. ‘You gotta chat to the office designers.’

‘Ah, but the office designer is out of town this whole month, and you’re the next in—’

‘Listen, pal,’ I stopped again, turning around. He’d learned his lesson apparently, and didn’t bump into me this time. ‘I’m not your guy.’

‘I’m afraid this is coming directly from the client. Would you at least look at some of these commercial fitouts? Melbourne offices look so great nowadays.

He opened his briefcase, pulling out a pile of blueprints before I could protest.

‘Not my department,’ I repeated. ‘And if you’re not going to wear hard hat, I’m afraid I need you to leave my site.’

Office Design

The Office Exchange

‘I cannot believe this,’ I groaned, sinking back into my desk chair and rubbing my temples.

         ‘It’s not that bad,’ Yoshido rolled his eyes, picking up the stock report I’d just tossed onto my desk. He frowned as he skimmed it, pushing back his thick-rimmed glasses. ‘Oh, my mistake. Those numbers are terrible.’

         ‘You truly are my guiding light,’ I said, dryly.

         ‘Look, we can fix this,’ he said, rolling the paper up into a tube and tapping it against his palm as he paced my carpeted office floor.

         ‘How? I have a meeting with the shareholders tomorrow.’

         ‘Maybe you’re too sick to go? Buy us some time?’

         ‘That might be fraud.’

         ‘Then we’ll tour you through a hospital and wait for someone to cough on you,’ he rolled his eyes.

He paused and looked down at the carpet.

‘Is this new?’


‘The carpet.’

‘Oh,’ I grumbled. ‘Yeah, just got installed recently. Part of some new interior design to make offices more comfortable. Melbourne branch organised it.’

‘You don’t say…’ Yoshido stroked his chin.

‘Why do you look like you’re getting an idea?’                      

‘You don’t want me getting ideas?’

‘No, your ideas just tend to scare me, is all.’

He did another lap of my carpet, stroking away. Suddenly he snapped his fingers.

‘We expand!’ he exclaimed.


‘We expand!’ he repeated. ‘We embrace a new corner of the market, give the shareholders something to talk about that isn’t… y’know.’

He threw the abysmal stock report back onto my desk.

‘What are you thinking?’ I asked, curious.

‘Picture this,’ he said with a grin. ‘Office fitouts. Melbourne will need to be told, obviously, or they’ll want a cut.’

I sat back in my seat, steepling my fingers.

‘That could work,’ I whispered. ‘What’s the market look like? Is there anyone who can be trusted to do a good job?’

‘I know the perfect company,’ Yoshido said with a smile. ‘Just leave all the details to me.’


The Ute Charges

A terrible hum filled the air as the beast of a ute drove right toward us. On instinct, I pressed Gollo’s head into the sand, burying my own at the same time. I felt the rumbling as it tore towards us, over us, felt my hat get torn off my head by the torrent of wind.

         Then it was past us. I stuck my face up, wiping away the grit so I could see clearly again. The ute had sailed over the top of us, barely missing our tucked-up forms, judging by the tread patterns in the sand. I grabbed Gollo and pulled him to his feet, watching the monster as it spun itself around to face us again.

         ‘It’s no use,’ Gollo cried, clutching my arm as ute revved its engine. ‘We can’t outrun it, not on the sands.’

         ‘I’m thinking,’ I snapped at him. ‘Come up with something!’

         Without warning, the ute was off again, tearing towards us like we were bowling pins.

         Gollo and I dove to different sides, and the ute sailed between us, unable to make up its mind in time.

         ‘Could we break it open?’ Gollo called to me.

         ‘No,’ I shook my head. ‘Not with one of those high quality aluminium ute canopies – we’d never make a dent.’

         The ute made its choice and charged – at Gollo.

         He let out a cry and dove behind a small dune, barely his height. The ute powered up the side of the dune, ramping over it and twisting in the air above Gollo. As it did, I saw the latch on its tray slide out, ever so slightly. 

         A plan began to form behind my eyes. I smiled, even as I calculated the odds in my head.

         Not great.

         I just had to grapple with the back of the car, like I’d see them handle the ute trays near Melbourne. That’s if I could remember their technique.

Shoulder Surgery

Shoulder Surgery Recovery

I’m currently recovering from shoulder surgery. It is a slow process and I’m getting a bit frustrated spending all my time on the couch. I just want to get active and play sports again, which is my favourite thing to do. I’ll be starting recovery in a few days, which is almost two weeks after my surgery, and I’ll be doing rehab weekly after that for the next 4-6 months. It’s a long road to recovery, but I’m looking forward to about three weeks’ time when I get to start doing light exercise again. 

Even though I wish I didn’t have to have the surgery, I’m really glad that I chose to go to one of the most experienced shoulder surgeons Melbourne has to offer. She was really good before and during the surgery and has really informed me on what to do for my recovery post-surgery. Seeing as I didn’t want to have the surgery in the first place, I probably wouldn’t have followed this recovery regime so strictly if I didn’t have such a good surgeon explain to me why it is important. I’m naturally an impatient person. It’s not that I don’t respect people who have spent several years studying and practising their craft. It’s simply that I can’t sit still for more than twenty minutes at a time without feeling like I’m going crazy. You can imagine how stir crazy I’m going after almost a week on the couch recovering from shoulder surgery.

Even though I’m complaining about having had shoulder surgery, I do need to thank my lucky stars that I didn’t need a full-scale shoulder replacement. It seems like the recovery is similar to the surgery that I got, but in some instances, it can take up to a year for a person to get their full range of motion back. I would really struggle if my range of motion was limited for that long.

Community Nursing

Living in SDA Housing

I feel calm for the first time in a long time. I’m finally getting the care that I need – care that it has been clear I’ve needed for a long time. I think everyone knew that where I was living before wasn’t working. As much as I love my family and they love me, I needed support that they just weren’t trained to give me. That wasn’t their fault.

No one expected them to become qualified disability service providers overnight. I certainly didn’t. Especially because I wasn’t born with a disability. I was born completely healthy and then got into a huge accident when I was twenty years old. It didn’t impact my cognitive abilities, which is both a blessing and a curse, instead, it left me paralysed and unable to do anything for myself. It has been extremely hard on my loved ones.

The accident not only ruined my life forever, but in a sense it also ruined theirs. I could tell that they were ready to give up absolutely everything for me. They were going to dedicate their lives to looking after me, which I just couldn’t allow. For the first few months after my accident, I didn’t have the heart to tell them that I didn’t want their help. I couldn’t bear it because they had already given up so much for me. 

I remember the day that I told them that I wanted to go into SDA housing in the Adelaide CBD very clearly. At first, they were shocked and then a little offended. Then, after I asked them nicely, they started to actually think about it. It took them a little while to come around to the idea, because they said they felt like they’d be abandoning me, but I assured them that was not the case. I assured them that moving to SDA housing full time was what I needed. It would be what was best for me.


Things Will Be Okay

So six months on from my last update and things are starting to look better. I hoped and I prayed that this would be the case and I’m very happy to say that it is. It hasn’t been all sunshines and roses these last few months, in fact it’s been completely the opposite a lot of the time. But life can’t always be perfect and there are always going to be bumps in the road that we need to get through. I’m slowly but surely getting through them and hopefully I’m finally coming out the other side.

I’m really glad that I took my car into the mechanic when I did. When I last spoke with you all I was in a really bad place physically, financially and mentally. Because of my medical condition it was a struggle to get out of bed in the morning. It was even more of a struggle to go to work every day and even more of a struggle when I realised that my car was in need of a car safety certificate to be able to drive each day. To make matters worse, I would have to pay a lot of money to get it repaired so that it was in a roadworthy condition. They don’t just give out car safety certificates to anyone who wants one, which makes sense because they have a duty of care to ensure that a car is as safe as possible. As much as I understand that, I just wish it wasn’t the case in my situation because it did cost a lot of money that I didn’t and don’t really have. But alas, I had to do it. 

You know what’s funny? I can actually pinpoint the moment that everything changed for the better. It’s when I drove away from the mechanic after my urgent car maintenance. Raceview looked stunning, the sun was shining and my favourite song played on the radio. Even though I was struggling very hard, I knew at that moment that things would eventually be okay.