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