WE WERE HERE

We’ve been in an endless blur of plumbers and deck builders over the past few weeks. They start at seven. I prefer to start about nine. Ten if I’m lucky. I’m worn out.

Quite rightly they all cancel or come based on the weather. The weather has been unpredictably but reliably shithouse. (Subliminal message: Scotty From Marketing.) The back garden is full of tables and chairs and umbrellas moved off the deck and piles of mud moved off our stormwater and sewer pipes.

The meadow is a swaying soft memory. Our garden now looks more like an 1850s Ballarat goldfield.

The deck rebuild was optional but will be finished tomorrow (weather permitting) and is looking fantastic. We have a new outdoor room with a sky roof. I’m looking forward to closing my eyelids to the winter sun on a chair out there. Spectacular butterflies flit and visit.

The plumbing was more urgent. For years the back of the house has leaked like a sieve and the front of the house has spurted like a firehose. My slapdash solutions have made things worse, of course, like a slow-motion episode of Fireman Sam.

Now all fixed! After years of pitifully trying to defy the weather I now look forward to the next storm.

The plumbers had to jackhammer up our front verandah and that meant new concrete to carve our initials in. When we moved in 24 years ago there were resident family handprints in the concrete under the new extension out the back. We were here, they declared. Mum and Dad and two kids.

The dad died not long after, from a brain aneurism. The kids will be in their thirties now.

This is the recent history of our house that’s been full of people for more than a hundred and twenty years. Who are we all? Who were we all? Where are we all?

I scraped a heart and our initials into the wet concrete out on the verandah, for the future. And because we belong. Briefly.

We were here.

Welcome to our home.

Excavations of domestic life.

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