To The Rest Of Forever

Many years ago, I started hearing about a man, B. Everyone seemed to know B: my friends, workmates, friends of one of my sisters, he was the type of person with 500 Facebook friends.

I first saw him at a picnic in Camperdown Park. I’d say “met”, but I’m not sure we actually spoke. There’s a great photo he took that day: me, sitting with my friend P. It’s not only one of the only photos of me taken by someone else that I like, but I also have a very distinct, “I’m studiously ignoring the very interesting man taking my photo” look on my face.

It would be years before we would meet again, I was dating someone, as was he, and our paths never crossed.

We would chat on social media, I posted him a book I had two copies of when he was ill, I very much appreciated him reaching out when I was really sick with depression and anxiety, so I didn’t feel like it was particularly strange to go out for dinner with him and several other friends on a Tuesday night a few years ago. We drank a lot of tequila and had so much fun, I walked home across two suburbs just to come down from the post-dinner high.

A month or so later, he invited a small group of people to his new place, the perfect bachelor pad in the city, with a pool on the roof. I was nervous about going. These were attractive people in attractive swimwear. B assured me it was fine, I could hang out with him.

The night was a lot of fun, many alcohols were consumed and at one point I could see B had given up trying to get everyone’s attention to organise dinner and was ordering food for us. I listened in as he ordered two pizzas. Two seafood pizzas. Two seafood pizzas on gluten-free bases.

“This guy is crazy!” I thought, “I like him even more now! Who orders two identical pizzas to feed a party? Who orders two of the grossest pizzas to feed a party?! I need to make him mine!”

I followed him to the pizza place to pick the order up and told him pretty much that exact thing and then kissed him.

We’ve been together ever since. At first it wasn’t super serious, neither of us had expected or maybe even wanted a relationship right then and there, but we had fun. We watched a lot of movies and played a lot of video games, tried a lot of different food and drank a lot of gin.

I realised quite quickly that something huge was different with B. I was not anxious at all, beyond the first few standard new relationship hiccups. I knew much earlier than he did that I loved him and I felt absolutely fine and safe and secure waiting to see if he felt the same.

Moving in together was a similarly easy conversation, as was getting a dog.

It turned out getting married would be the same. It just kind of happily came up in conversation about a year ago.

It was something we both thought we might actually be interested in with each other.

We went to visit my parents last winter and he asked my dad to go for a walk with him. They were gone for a while and it started to snow. I thought it was slightly strange.

Various things happened and changed (Pneumonia scare! Moving house! Going back to uni! Changing jobs!) and before we knew it, a year had passed.

We went to B’s parent’s farm last week, for a holiday, for some time away from the city and on the 25th of June, B proposed and I said yes, because I’ve known for a long time that he would ask and I would say yes, because it’s always seemed like that would be the perfect thing to do.

engagement

So, to the rest of forever, with my best friend.

Real Estate Reality.

As should be evident now, trawling real estate has become a new favourite hobby of mine, or an ‘Internet happy place’ as I like to call it.

Previous Internet happy places have included Tumblr and Etsy, but the first is a bit too distracting and the latter a bit too expensive, so Domain is where I mostly go for kicks.

It serves two purposes: the first being that I love real estate photos. I get such a kick out of seeing what other people do with their homes and what accidentally ends up in some shots if you look close enough.

Secondly, we’re taking the first teeny, tiny steps in home ownership, not a sentence I ever thought I’d type.

B and I have been lucky in that we have very similar goals to one another. We both grew up in the country and want to end up back there one day. B wants goats, I want a flock of corgis and both of those things require space.

At the moment work ties us, B in particular, to metropolitan cities, so we’re having to factor that in.

Life for me is slightly easier, I can go wherever I can study.

Like almost everyone I know, we’ve been priced out of Sydney, even the very edges of it now and we pay so much rent in our current place that it’s not super sustainable as far as saving for a house deposit goes.

So we have discussed other options: the Blue Mountains or another, less expensive metropolitan centre.

I feel like it’s one of those things that’s going to bubble along until something changes and it all happens at once in a flurry of activity.

Until then, I’m obeying B’s rules: no crazy buying a house without telling him and if I really need to show him 50 houses a day that meet our criteria (wood floors, backyard, minimal renovations required, sunny), then I email them to him and stop forcing him to browse Domain with me after work.

 

The Work Experience Kid

*walks over to work experience kid*

“Hey, I’m just looking at the photos you took of the newly listed properties this morning.”

“Yeah?”

“So this place here, is this photo taken from the backyard?”

*puts photo down on desk*

block1

“No.”

“Oh.”

*picks up photo and looks more closely*

“Is it the front yard?”

“No.”

“Is it actually even on the property we’re selling?”

“No.”

“Oh. Did … did you get any shots of the actual property, then?”

“Yeah. That one.”

*points at second photo*

block2

“Oh, okay! That’s not a bad shot! We can work with that! Did you take any of the interior?”

“No.”

” … So just these two then?”

“Yeah … I’m going to lunch.”

” … Okay.”

The Water Feature.

“You know what I love?”

“What’s that, babe?”

*sound of the Sunday Telegraph rustling*

“I really love the sound of bubbling water.”

“Mmm hmm.”

” … “

“Do you think we could put a pond in?”

“Sorry, love?”

“A pond. Could we put a pond in? Like a water feature thing?”

“Oh yeah, we could do that. There’s that bad patch of grass out back, we could pull it up and put in a pond. I’d have to duck into Bunnings and maybe wait for Steve to have a free weekend, but we could do that.”

” … the backyard means going all the way outside, though. I just want something nice where I can sit and have a cuppa and just listen to the water. Just somewhere relaxing.”

“I’ll have a think about it, love. I’m sure we can come up with something.”

pond

Long Highway / Paralysing.

In 2011 I spent four weeks driving around America. I made a pact with myself when I got back: I would always have enough money in my bank account for the price of a flight to America. Just the flight. Enough that if I felt like it, I could book something at the last minute or buy flights when they were on sale.

It never happened.

Sometimes I wonder if a lot of my life choices in my thirties are being driven by having to be so responsible in my twenties.

I suppose I don’t feel like I need an escape plan anymore, but mostly I think I got tired of always being on top of everything. Which is stupid, that’s life.

I miss being on the road. I miss the feeling of being in a car and no-one knowing exactly where I was, except for the people in the car with me.

I think a large part of what I love about travel is the lack of constraint.You can have a map, you can know where you’re meant to spend the next night, but there’s absolutely nothing stopping you turning off at the next exit just to see what’s there, disappearing from any expectation.

I remember standing on a straight stretch of road in Arizona and trying to guess how many miles it was to the next bend in the road, near the horizon.

The black tar was the only sign of civilsation until some helicopters rose from somewhere in the distance.

It felt ominous, we quickly got back into the car until they passed overhead, like there was some kind of danger in being seen in the middle of nowhere, standing in the middle of a highway, doing nothing but staring at the horizon, amazed at how long it would take us to get there.

highway

Sweet Baby Cheeses!

You know that thing where you’re selling your house for $1.4 million dollars and the real estate agent says, “Darling, this place is fabulous! You have taste! Now, our photographer has taken some snaps and let’s face it, it’s hard to get a bad shot of such a gorgeous house, but let me know if you have any photos you’ve taken yourself that you’d like us to include!”?

And you think to yourself, “Well actually, there is one I’d like to include!”

cheese

Because everyone likes a fine selection of cheeses.

One Man’s Dream Is Another Man’s Nightmare.

This one is advertised as being a ‘renovator’s dream’ and mostly I have nothing to say about it because I want to scrub its depressing existence from my mind and eyeballs with some kind of strong cleaning chemicals that don’t get a look in at this place very often by the looks of things.

Also?

A blanket, no matter how closely you colour-match it to your walls, is not going to disguise the fact that you’re missing part of your ceiling.

We can see it.

roofmissing

Bali In My Belly.

You know when you go on a holiday to Bali and the water is just as blue as in the pictures and you wear a sarong for the first time in probably a decade (it’s actually been three decades, but that’s a scary thought, the kind you don’t want to have in Bali) and you lightly dust your freckled décolletage with bronzer each morning because you’re a little more careful with sunbathing these days, although a few hours here and there in Bali won’t hurt, will they?

You have the time of your life. Three weeks away from the kids, you’re acting like teenagers again and the sex is quite good the one-and-a-half times you’re both in bed at the same time. Though, for someone who stopped love making half-way through because he was sure he had “Bali belly” coming on, he sure did fall asleep quickly. Oh well, he’s tired, he works hard and it meant you could stay up and have a few more white wines than you could have had normally and that Jennifer Garner movie was the type of thing he would’ve just complained about anyway.

You buy the kids some white shells on leather straps and make a list of how many bottles of gin you’re going to need to remember to get duty free and you lie on a banana lounge and use a book and sunglasses as a prop so you can watch a family of Russians flopping in and out of the spa.

Does the daughter, is it the daughter? Sometimes she seems to treat that older man like a father, but she’s far too old so be sitting on his lap in the spa in her bikini, so is she his girlfriend? Anyway, does that tattoo on her back actually say ‘BITCH’? It does! Where’s your phone, you need a photo of this to show the girls.

Some people!

You wonder how cheap it would be to get some gel nails done before you go home.

When you get back home, you tell everyone it was fabulous, yes if they’re thinking of going themselves, they should talk to you because you really felt you got a grasp on the place.

He goes back to work, you do a few little crafty projects with some picture frames to house the photos you took of the beaches. So blue!

You start to feel despondent. That gin you were going to give to Linda just keeps disappearing. If you spice it up with a little lime, it takes you right back to Bali.

He doesn’t want to talk about the holiday anymore, he’s busy at work and just wants to put his bloody feet up for one bloody minute at the end of the day and not have to think.

Then you see something so perfect, so … majestic and you must have it. If you have it, every night you’ll dream of Bali, it’ll be like you never left.

You buy it and it gets delivered and it takes three men to carry it in and he’s really bloody angry when he sees it and has to put it together, but you don’t care.

It’s beautiful.

dolphin

Faux on Faux

photoshop

It took me a really long time to figure out what was wrong with this room.

Until recently I had no idea that if you’re fancy, you can hire people to style your empty home and put lovely matchy matchy furniture in it for the real estate photos.

I just thought there were a lot of people out there who didn’t own much stuff and had really, really hygienic homes.

I actually started to want to be those people, who, if they existed, I imagine would be the type who don’t scan IKEA catalogues for the cheapest item on each page, but look at the entire faux room setup and just buy the whole thing.

I wanted to be them and their relaxing Saturday morning coffees from the plunger on their special bay trolley in their shiny kitchens, their white teeth gnashing as they smile at their Labrador.

Fuck them and their love of bushwalking and ability to keep their clothes clean all the time.

The above house, however, wasn’t fancy enough to have a stylist, they just had it Photoshopped Uncanny Valley style and no-one will ever buy it because it’s just so goddamned creepy.