All posts by lpenn45

The House That Snores

It is a beautiful sunny day and I am stuck in trying to finalise some financials documents and all I can hear is snoring!

The rather loud snoring is not only coming from my daughter who works overnight shift work and of course, sleeps through the day. Having just completed seven nights straight in a row without any days off, her only way of demonstrating that she is exhausted is the level of snoring, sounds like a train is coming through the house!

To top off the snoring brigade in the house is her gorgeous Himalayan cat, also currently sound asleep and snoring on the office doormat, just a few meters from where I am trying to balance the financials, which is currently out by $600. His sound is not strained like; it is more muffled, like someone with asthma.

Despite the day beckoning me to come outside into the winter sunshine, I know that trying to find the ‘out of balance’ amount is vital for my contentment.

With all the non-harmonised snoring currently occurring around me, it has become disturbing, but absolutely cute when I look towards the office doormat and see such a contented bundle of ‘fluff ball’ sound asleep Himalayan cat, snoring with asthma-like symptoms all due to his snout!

Perhaps the best solution is to stop trying to find the answer to my financial query and take a novel, grab a coffee and sit outside on the balcony and enjoy this wonderful winter sunshine.

Online Divorce

There isn’t much nowadays that you can’t find, source or prepare using the Internet. All you need is a good Internet connection, a computer, common sense and the ability to research whatever you need to find.

In my case, it was researching and then preparing for an online divorce. My application wasn’t all that complicated as months earlier through the assistance of my family court lawyer and a court-appointed financial mediator a meeting was held where three hours of negotiations took place between my ex-husband, both lawyers and myself. Three hours later we finally achieved a sensible property settlement.

After the property settlement had occurred and my ex-husband received the agreed monies into his bank account he was gone not to be seen or heard from again. How do you find someone who doesn’t want to be found?

Following on from the above property settlement, the time had come to commence the divorce application document online, pay my fee and writing in the section as to the whereabouts of the respondent (ex-husband) “Unknown”. On completion of the Online Divorce Application, a date to appear in court was electronically sent to me together with a reference number. Wonderful, it could all be over soon and I can get back to living a real life without any further obstacles.

Two days later I received a call from a Family Court Clerk advising due to writing the word ‘Unknown’ to the whereabouts of my ex-husband I would now have to complete two affidavits, get both documents witnessed by a Justice of Peace or Lawyer. One of the affidavit documents I had to write down as much as possible on how and what I did regarding trying to locate my ex-husband’s whereabouts.

Not knowing where he was living didn’t bother me greatly as surely his lawyer would know of his whereabouts, no luck there, she wouldn’t assist due to ‘client privacy’. All right I thought then could she accept the divorce application documents on his behalf, still no luck there either. She had no authority to accept such paperwork.

His lawyer being uncooperative didn’t deter me, thank goodness my only form of communication with his lawyer was via emails and obviously this gave me a record that became Annex A to the affidavit. The last communication via email from my ex-husband months earlier became Annex B.

These attachments have shown some examples of how I have tried to locate him, together with several other comments relating to ways that he may be able to be found including using the Internet to Google his name sourced some relevant information for the affidavit.

All of the above has fortunately enabled me to achieve a divorce application electronically using the Internet, except of course the witnessing my signature together with some common sense and wordsmith skills.

Best Party Ever

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With all that has gone on in my life over the past twelve months or more, like separating from my ex-husband, including settling on a financial arrangement to enable myself to keep the house that I purchased entirely out of my resources seven years ago. Then to one of the saddest happenings in my life, the passing of my dearly loved 92-year-old father on 6th February.

A little under two months on I felt it was time to stop stressing and really celebrate life. So I went about planning the most amazing milestone Birthday Party ever on the 4th April.

Friends and close relatives from Sydney, including my eldest daughter, her husband and my grandsons came to Coffs Harbour to help me not only celebrate my milestone Birthday but a freedom party from the controlling ex-husband as well.

Two of my work-related colleagues from Sydney; now close friends surprised me with the musical, including singing entertainment, which enabled everyone, especially me to dance the night away. The music was so wonderful, that it encouraged everyone to dance; some who hadn’t danced for years got up and strutted around the floor. If guests couldn’t dance for whatever reason, they sang along with the perfectly chosen music.

This was the first birthday celebration without my ex-husband, whom I had known for nineteen years, but only married for the past seven years, looking annoyed at everyone enjoying their selves, especially me.

There wasn’t an ounce of sadness during the evening only enjoyment and happiness filled my house. Friends and relatives from Sydney met my friends in Coffs Harbour and the conversations just flowed abundantly.

When you are fortunate to have good friends and the most amazing family, life is good, never undervalue what you have in the decency of your chosen friends and of course family, they are the people that help you make your life so enjoyable.

I certainly value my friends and wonderful family and try not to take them for granted.

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The Passing of a Loved One

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How do you actually prepare yourself for the passing of a loved one?

In my case, it was my dearly loved Dad, aged 92.  After suffering from the dreaded ‘C’ word over the past few years and especially the extremely painful last six months, he passed away peacefully on 6th February 2015.

It was hard living 500 kilometres’ away from him, even though I had visited him several times during these last several months, it wasn’t the same as being with him all the time, as my sisters and stepmother were.

Just before he passed, he managed with the wonderful assistance of my sister Cheryl, to phone and me murmur the words ‘I love you’ and within an hour he had passed away.

I knew straight away when my phone rang that it wasn’t good news. My sister Cheryl was crying uncontrollably, which immediately started my emotional decline into howling to the point of being ill.

Knowing that his time would eventually come didn’t help with the emotional feelings that had now taken over me affecting everything that I did.

Within a few days, it was a family having to pull together and plan his funeral service. Cheryl was absolutely amazing, where her strength came from I don’t know, but the love she had, as I did, for Dad excelled her into planning with my step Mother the most amazing funeral service at the Cemetery where Dad’s Mother was buried. This was his only wish to be buried near to his own Mother.

When Cheryl discussed with me ‘who and what was going to be included in the eulogy’. I said that this is something that I would be honoured to do, which I did. However, after penning the eulogy, my mind went into overdrive about all the wonderful things Dad had done for me over the many years, especially when I was young and without a Mother myself.

The decision to write in addition to the eulogy being delivered by the Celebrant I decided my own personal eulogy as a tribute to my Dad was going to be written.

This was the hardest undertaking that I have ever tried to do. I managed somehow to pull myself together and the strength came right through me to write and deliver the eulogy at my Dad’s funeral service.

Knowing he was looking down on all of us with his love shining through me and with the help of my sister Cheryl beside me I read this eulogy.

‘What Dad Meant to Me’

I have chosen to say a few words about what my Father meant to me, let’s hope I am able to get through this.

We all know what a wonderful loving man our Father was, but most of you don’t know how special he was for me. From the age of 11 my Dad became Mother and Father, as my brother Laurie and myself lost our mother Olga, she left us. Dad stepped in to be the best at everything, with a little help from his Mother, our grandmother Elsie Maude.

Being so young I needed desperately a mother, it wasn’t good enough to say it will be all right when clearly a young girl needs a Mother. Dad tried to be everything by attending those parent-teacher meetings, to driving me to tap dancing classes, marching girls and basketball championships. Even saving my backside at a time when I was threatened with expulsion from a girl’s school for sliding down the bannisters and knocking over the Headmistress.

During my teenage years I used to daydream constantly about having a sister, Dad not only produced a sister he produced three sisters Deborah, Cheryl and Carolyn, a dream that came true for me! Love you, Deb and Cheryl.

Something that resonated in my head throughout my life is how Dad would say to me when I was growing up “I will support whatever you decide to do in your life”. Although some of my decisions were not the best over the years, like getting married too young and then getting married for the second time in my later years.

The best decision of getting married so young was producing two wonderful daughters Corinne and Roanne, to which I am so extremely proud of and I know Dad, your grandfather was proud of you too. During the ceremony of my second marriage in 2007, Dad announced to everyone “I gave her away once, let’s hope she doesn’t come back”. Sorry, Dad!

You might laugh; resolving a difficult situation is hard, but not as hard as losing such an exceptional Father. I love you Dad, you will always be in my heart and mind forever!      

Living With Someone Who Makes You Feel All Alone

The trigger for commencing writing this story was after reading a quote from the deceased actor Robin Williams

“I used to think that worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It’s not.

The worst thing in life is the end up with people that make you feel all alone.

-Robin Williams, Actor”

I can concur with feeling ‘all alone’ in a marriage.

For the past, nearly seven years up until nine months ago when we decided to separate, a decision at the time was very painful for me, but the right thing to do, as our marriage was too difficult when the other party has unresolved issues, which they are not prepared to work on resolving.

To remedy my loneliness’ in our marriage I got involved in community projects, where I felt that I was making a difference in the community. In an attempt to encourage my husband, I tried to get him interested in similar projects which he would enjoy.

Unfortunately, he had no interest in anything much, just wanted me by his side 24 x 7 doing nothing much, other than the occasional coffee at a café’ where he would read the café’s newspaper and I would attend to my iPhone’s emails and messages. Some existence!

When you are an active person, who I am, sitting around the house doing nothing is not the type of existence in my older years, especially when I retired early from senior management positions.

Now nine months on from our separation, I feel more content and certainly not feeling alone.

The Magic of Yamba

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With one of the most stressful years’s nearly over for me, I had the wonderful pleasure of spending Christmas 2014 with my eldest daughter, her husband and the grandsons in Yamba NSW. My youngest daughter, who also celebrated her birthday joining us on Christmas day together with my best friends, topped this Christmas off for me.

Yamba is a quaint little coastal town only 150 kilometers from where I live on the Mid North Coast. It is best known for its magnificent prawns, which we managed to devour together with all the Christmas trimmings.

Waiting at the wharf on Christmas Eve at 6am for the prawn trawlers to come in with their fresh catch gave us pleasure knowing that our prawns would be fresh as and that they would last, well hope for a few days made waking up so early beneficial. Although by Boxing Day the thought of having to eat more prawns was starting to wear off, we managed.

The unbelievable pleasure of waking up each morning to the best ever sunrises over the lake was spectacular! All I wanted to do was just sit and stare into the early morning sun rising while drinking my cup of tea, grab the camera and click away! The cup of tea tasted so special. Everything that had gone on throughout the year for me seemed to fade away into insignificance, well for a while anyway.

I am now back home and ready to start off another year with renewed vigor, which will hopefully give me the strength to ensure that 2015 is a year where I can start afresh, plan the life that I want and be with whomever I want to be with.

Thanks to my eldest daughter, Corinne and her husband, Nigel for inviting me to join them on their wonderful holiday in Yamba, NSW. It has given me time to reflect on my life with renewed enthusiasm.

Wake Up Call

This is not about waking up to go to work, attending an appointment or anything like that it is about realising after spending the last week with my elderly Father, who is gravely ill and hasn’t really come to terms with preparing for his passing.

As stressful as this week may have been for everyone, especially for myself having to drive down from Coffs Harbour to Sydney in the pouring rain knowing that my Father had been given only a few days to live.

Then after nearly a week later being advised that he can be released from hospital to a nursing home with palliative care facilities.

Watching the relieved look on my Dad’s face knowing that he could actually live a bit longer and be near his wife, my stepmother of 40 years, also helped with relieving some of the angst that I had been feeling for the past week.

All that has occurred during this week has become my personal ‘wake up call’ to commence my own planning stages for my passing when I return back home to Coffs. From preparing a contingency plan in case I am incapacitated and not able to make an informed decision about my future health to what I want my passing to be like; a celebration of my life or allowing everyone to be sad and mourn indefinitely. The former ‘celebration of life’ is my chosen plan.

Not coming to terms with your final days and not planning your passing arrangements isn’t being realistic.

I don’t want to leave any of these details to my daughters; apart from ensuring my wishes are fulfilled.

Being Entertained by a Cat

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My life has dramatically changed over the past six months, especially with happily having my youngest daughter residing with me. Included in this deal is inheriting a 5-year-old Himalayan cat named Coco with a nickname of ‘Old Man’, due to his snoring.

Over these last six months, there hasn’t been a day go by without experiencing the unusual personality of a Himalayan cat. One minute a sloth and the next minute full of mischief and charging up and down the halls, in and out of the rooms, hiding in the cupboards or underneath beds, most of all we are entertained by his mischief antics.

It is like having a naughty little child, who actually knows that what he is up too is sometimes a no, no!

As soon as I commence preparing the evening meal especially if there is meat or chicken on the menu, Coco comes bouncing out of where ever he is lazing about and sits right where you are trying to prepare the meal.

With his gorgeous blue eyes looking up at you with that “what about me” look on his face. Who would not give into him and say, “ok here is some”.

Within seconds of devouring the food, he is back by your side wilfully gazing at you again!

Watching this little cat relax back on his hind legs getting ready to pounce at trying to get something off the coffee table or wilfully jump onto the ‘no-go kitchen bench top’ is so funny, especially when he charges off into the opposite direction after he has been caught. Giving you the impression he didn’t do anything wrong, yes right!

Coco has recently taken up a new role of guarding the front door when the main door is left open. He just sits there gazing out of the screen door, watching everything that happens, cars driving by, people walking past and insects flying around. Sometimes he has a visiting neighbour’s cat, and then he does his little cat-singing episode, which is a bit eerie!

If anything other than a cat comes directly to the front door he scurries off and generally hides underneath a lounge. Our big brave guard cat is not so brave after all!

Being entertained by a hyperactive/sloth cat called Coco is something that gives me a lot of pleasure and most of all it is free entertainment.

Have You Ever Tried to Change Your Name?

Well, I attempted to change my name from my married name of Mouafi back to my maiden name ‘Lorraine Penn’.

My banking account was a breeze; just showed my birth and current marriage certificate and bingo I now have my new account.

Centrelink was another story. The message that greets you when you walk into the office ‘in line or online’.

The trouble with online is you can’t do everything that is required, especially when I am trying to change my name back to maiden name. After going online to change my bank account name details via MyGov, which isn’t instant. I phoned Centrelink’s call centre and the details were changed, but I still had to go to Centrelink to verify my details and to get in that never-ending queue just to prove it is I.

My arrival time at Centrelink Office was 2.25pm I got to see a Centrelink person at 3.40pm, after being asked to wait in the green chairs area.

Needless to say, the Centrelink person couldn’t change my Medicare details, as it is a different department. Back in the bloody queue again, this time I had progressed to the red chairs to wait for another 15 minutes before the Medicare person called out my new name.

One process of name change completed in 1hr and 20 minutes via a Government Department.

It will be another month before I attempt to change my license; I need to recover from today’s experience.

A Blast From The Past

A wonderful reflection on the past happened to me recently, when I reconnected with a lady who taught me how to belly dance over an outrageous weekend approximately 20 years ago in a quaint little railway town near Lithgow NSW.

At the time, a work colleague and best friend had convinced me that taking time out from the stresses of our work and to learn something new was going to be beneficial, rewarding and fun for the both of us.

Thinking that I could actually learn how to belly dance over a weekend was going to be a challenge, but hey I am always up for a challenge, especially when fun was going to be had.

On arriving at the weekend venue we could see a large sign ‘Bellydancers Extraordinary Here Tomorrow Night’ across the front of the next-door building, a hotel. Wow! We both thought and booked ourselves into the accommodation whilst greeting other ladies who were also up for the challenge.

A gentleman who had attended a business course during the week decided to stay over the weekend to see these belly dancers too, especially the ones learning the skill. He was completely in his element, having an array of women wanting to learn to dance.

He took it upon himself to escort us the following night to the hotel to see these Extraordinary Dancers!

Overnight this little town had grown substantially with railway men deciding to also see these belly dancers! To our shock horror, the belly dancers extraordinary were actually we learner ladies!

With some polite fast-talking and a lot of laughter enabled everyone, especially myself have a terrific weekend.