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Get ad­vice from fast-talk­ing Rova and More FM star Polly Gille­spie

Woman’s Day (NZ) - - Woman's Day This Week -

Pol­ly­ism of the week

Ev­ery­thing needs to be fixed in my ram­bling old villa. I’ve men­tioned the state of di­lap­i­da­tion on many oc­ca­sions, but now I’ve stopped un­pack­ing and de­hu­mid­i­fy­ing, I look about at things that are wrong and my head starts to spin.

The dilemma is that it’s an awe­some project and if I liked projects, I’d be in DIY heaven. But I’m more SOS than DIY, I’m afraid.

So I’m stand­ing in the kitchen, looking at the large sil­ver mono­lith on the other side of the room that’s been dis­guis­ing it­self as a fridge­freezer. When Grant and I bought it, more years ago than I care to ad­mit, it was state of the art. It dis­pensed ice and cold wa­ter. Now the fridge is warm, the freezer is cool and the ice maker smells like prawns that went off in 1999.

I’ve turned off the fridge and taped the door shut, and we use the freezer as a sort of fridge, though we have to hold our breath when we open the door – there’s a smell in there that’s im­pos­si­ble to pin­point. I fear a small va­grant climbed in­side in 2003 and is yet to be dis­cov­ered.

I turn away from the fridge and look to the back yard. I be­lieve there is grass and a gar­den out there, but at the mo­ment, it’s just green, wet and var­i­ous de­grees of over­grown. If I was a child, our house would be the one on the street I’d be scared to walk past for fear a witch lived there.

So, here at witch head­quar­ters (or WHQ as I like to call it), I’m try­ing slowly to make my home less re­pel­lent to pass­ing chil­dren. Things are not helped by the wonky bricks in the drive­way or our front fence, which blew over in the last strong southerly. I sus­pect the neigh­bours think the mid­wives com­ing and going to visit my daugh­ter are ac­tu­ally at­tend­ing coven meet­ings.

With so much to do, in­clud­ing re­paint­ing the whole thing, in­side and out, re­plac­ing the roof and fridge, and in­stalling heat­ing and ven­ti­la­tion sys­tems so the place doesn’t smell, I de­cided to­day to make a start. I refuse to live in WHQ any longer.

Know­ing that just a yard broom and a hose would help make the place look live­able, I vis­ited a hard­ware out­let, re­turn­ing home with no broom or hose, but 11.5m of hall runner, at $20 a me­tre, to re­place our tatty old mats.

Baby steps, my friend. To­mor­row I shall buy a broom, pop to Re­sene for a paint chart so I can dream of beau­ti­ful wall cov­er­ings and colours, and start sav­ing se­ri­ously for a new fridge, roof, fence, drive­way and a land­scape gar­dener.

Or I will lock my­self in my bed­room and light a fra­grant can­dle to cover the smell of damp, and watch Grace­and Frankie on Net­flix.

I think de­nial is an en­tirely pleas­ant place to live. Well, be­ing a witch and all! Q Christ­mas is months away, but I am feel­ing stressed al­ready! Just think­ing about buy­ing presents, plan­ning the menu and hav­ing our big, un­ruly fam­ily over is giv­ing me hives. Ev­ery year I swear I will re­lax, but I al­ways end up a fraz­zled mess. What can I do dif­fer­ently this year?

Santa’s Helper, Auck­land A Here are a few things you could do to spread the stress – and the love. 1. Del­e­gate. 2. Make it an away Christ­mas where the gift is a house at the beach with no presents but lots of fun. 3. Run away this year. 4. Let some­one else host Christ­mas to save your­self tonnes of money and loads of an­ti­his­tamines. 5. Book Christ­mas lunch at a cool pub and tell ev­ery­one that’s their present. Start sav­ing for it now. 6. Have a bar­be­cue at the beach. Ev­ery­one draws one fam­ily mem­ber’s name from a hat and buys a present for them for un­der $50. 7. Let go of be­ing Mother Christ­mas this year! Q My el­derly wid­ower fa­ther is very un­well. I have quite a few sib­lings and things have been get­ting a bit tense be­tween us. I just want what’s best for our dad, but a cou­ple of my sib­lings seem to be mak­ing de­ci­sions about him with­out in­clud­ing the rest of us. We think they have their eyes on Dad’s things be­fore he’s even gone. What can we do?

Sus­pi­cious Sib­ling, Taupo A You can con­tact Age Con­cern, which cham­pi­ons the rights of the el­derly and will have great ad­vice for you. Visit agecon­cern.org.nz for info and con­tact de­tails. Also, get in touch with Pub­lic Trust. If your dad’s still able, he can nom­i­nate an agent or agents to legally be in charge. The idea is to do this be­fore he can no longer make sound de­ci­sions on his own.

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