In my 2 weeks between overseas jaunts to exotic locales I have been extremely busy attending to house and garden maintenance, not to mention some slightly unexpected car repairs!
I'd left my car in Perth with a dear friend, the mother of those two rogues I do my funny faces with before each trip. I have quite a collection of these photos now and I am looking forward to the slideshow of the century at an appropriate age milestone in the future (no doubt to their embarrassment).
Anyway, my friend and another friend had used the car on at least 2 occasions whilst I was away and had noticed that the steering was really stiff. Having a 20 year old brute of a 4WD you don't expect light steering, but I too was surprised when I got in the car Tuesday morning to head north and discovered the power steering was buggered. So I popped the bonnet and had a look see....
Lucky I did! The hose from the power steering fluid reservoir to the pump had a small leak in it, nothing drastic, but more importantly, there was no coolant in the radiator. Not a skerrick! Had I driven off without knowing this, I would have cooked my engine! (I know this, I've done it before....)
After a phone consult with my mechanic I filled the radiator with water, couldn't find a noticeable leak, so headed north to the nearest NATRAD shop, where they found that the radiator was corroded and I needed a new one. I pleaded urgency and within 24 hours I was driving out of Perth and heading home, albeit with the power steering still defunct.
Thursday was hair maintenance day. A morning spent getting foils, reading all the trashy magazines, and getting a Viking "Shield Maiden" look.
Friday the car went in to the mechanics, for a service, replacement of the faulty power steering hose, and new shock absorbers all around. Driving home was a dream. Old Hector hasn't been that enjoyable to drive for years!!
The next week was spent doing house and garden maintenance, whilst swotting up on my Indonesian language via iPod and bluetooth earbuds. Crazy lady wandering around talking to herself in a foreign language! I've had a storage room built in my garage downstairs, which will at some stage morph into the bathroom for a self contained granny flat, but meanwhile I'm moving stuff in to it and doing a little more decluttering.
I've put a new shower rose in the upstairs bathroom.
I've replaced the washers on the leaking taps in the downstairs bathroom.
I've replaced the spout on the laundry tub - the old one was too long.
While I was away the waterfall began losing water again. I found the leak, sealed it with silicone, and replaced the rocks yet again...
I turned the compost.
I spread potash and manure over all the vege beds and watered it all in.
I purchased and mounted a new retracting hose reel for the front garden. No more annoying hoses lying around getting kinks and leaking....
I pruned back the driveway hedge.
I spent a day or three removing all the surface rust and repainting old Hector. A little bit of bogging was also required....
Then there was financial maintenance. I transferred some of my slush funds into a high interest savings account, then panicked when I discovered I couldn't use the account until a doovalackey gadget turned up in the mail to activate the account. Luckily it turned up just in time! I finally got rid of my post paid mobile phone account and moved to prepaid. Much cheaper and more flexible when spending many months out of the country. No worries peeps, I get to keep the same number.
I scheduled a money transfer into my Citibank debit account, so I can access money from overseas ATMs without paying crazy ATM fees. Then, on a whim I decided to visit an old friend I hadn't seen for ages and discovered she had a veritable oversupply of Indonesian Rupiah from a trip last year. So I charitably looked up the day's exchange rate and transferred the appropriate amount of dollars into her account. This is the second time in the last 6 months I've been able to purchase foreign cash without being gouged by the banks.
I cancelled my PO Box. My final link to a work existence severed ( I kept a PO Box for professional mail, preferring not to have it sent to my home address). I've notified most people, but coughed up for 12 months redirection just in case....
Finally, I packed. Nah, I packed 2 months ago when I wrote that post about what I was taking to Indonesia. In case you're interested, this:
So that's it folks, Indonesia beckons.....