Chapter 18
First World Problems
 
As many of you would be aware our family have an interesting living arrangement.We currently divide our time between the beach resort Benny manages and “the farm”, spending four nights at one and three at the other.  This arrangement hopefully will change in the future and we can live wholly and solely at our little slice of heaven.  But until then, we have the best and worst of both worlds.  This Chapter may appear trite but I wish to assure everyone that we are eternally grateful for both our living situations, its just sometimes…
Problem No. 1 – The Bush vs the Beach.
Many of our friends think that we are crazy to want to give up the apartment on the beach for a full time gig in the Hinterland.  Just recently whilst we have been enjoying the six am walks on the sand together we have silently been contemplating the same thing.  Why would you give up the proximity to the glorious sunrise over the ocean, and falling asleep to the sound of crashing waves?  The first glimpses of breaching whales in July.  Why give up the casual saunter to the local coffee joint and staggering distance from the Club?  Why lose the clean, cool, supplied for free (apart from Benny’s hard work, blood, sweat and tears), four bedroom apartment to live in a ramshackle, dusty, chook poo infested, suck every penny out of your bank account, mortgaged to the hilt home?  Crazy first world problem really, but the answer is in the last sentence, one of them is “home”.
And we aren’t really what you would call “beach people”.  When we were living in the Hinterland previously for seven and a half years only fifteen to twenty minutes away from the beach, how often did we go to the beach…. once a year on holidays!  Now that we live at the beach, only in the last month have we gone walking together on the sand, and we’ve been living there for four years!  To say we are not beach people is an understatement.  Even from a young age Lawson was genuinely disgusted by sand on his feet and even more than that hated the feeling of the salty water on his body so much that he would need to be carried up to the showers and cleaned off immediately upon exiting the ocean often in a flood of tears.  His father, I might add has also been that way for years, minus the tears (although I should ask his mother about that one).  In four years we have entered the ocean maybe twice as adults and perhaps an additional two times for the child.  So yes it is lovely to wake up to and go to sleep to and gaze out at and all that, but we only truly take advantage of the beach when we are in holiday mode.  At the ranch we are out in the open air every waking minute, soaking up the sun, or soaking in the rain, going about our various chores and projects, inevitably collecting fire wood for the evenings warmth and loving every minute of it, wishing we were there when we aren’t.
Problem No. 2 – Where did I leave the….
Two wardrobes full of clothes, two pantries full of food, two fridges full of perishables, two piles of DVDs, two washing machines full of dirties, two driers full of folding, two desks full of paperwork/homework, a million opportunities to leave something at the wrong house!  Ever go to make a lovely diner and open the pantry to grab the essential ingredient only to find it is at another house?  Definitely a first world problem I know but still bloody annoying.  “Mum,where is the thumb drive with my assignment on it that is due in today?”.  “Mum, where is that pair of shorts that goes with this shirt that I really need for the costume for the play that I am in today?”  “Mum, where is my script, mum, where is my iphone, my laptop, my school bag, lunchbox” etc etc you get the picture.  “Honey, where are my black socks?”  “Honey have you seen my sunglasses?”  “Honey, where are my shoes, boots, hat, iphone, credit cards” etc etc you get the picture.
Problem No. 3 – The animals.
Now I know that to some extent I brought this one on myself.  Once you get a pet or multiples thereof you are making a bit of a rod for your own back when the time comes that you have to be away from them.  Everyone who has a pet can appreciate that at some point they need to be minded, farmed out, put up in pet motels or you do what we do and get someone to house sit and mind the lock stock and barrel.  But during the week is a different scenario.  
Now you have got to realize that before we owned Scruffy our dog, he would stay over night at our place regardless of the fact that we weren’t living there.  He would be on our back door mat when I left at the end of the day and on our front door mat when I came to work in the morning.  Nothing has changed in this respect except that he now gives us this “look” that is almost disdainful when we pack up and leave for the night.  Now however, he has a full belly, a bowl full of water and is tucked in and wrapped up to keep him warm if he should chose not to move off his bed.  The look is a killer and tears my heart out but we know that he is safe and probably no different than loads of guard dogs that patrol premises over night.
The chickens, well, those have to be locked away to protect them from predators, so I coerce them into their run with the promise of a tasty treat and shut them safely in.  Because we free range them, I like to get back there in the morning and let them out again, but on the rare occasion that we don’t get back until later in the day they have sufficient space, food and water to be (less than) happy for the day.  On days like today however, a weekend, we’ve stayed at the resort because of a meeting and friends are coming to join me for coffee and it probably wont be until late that I get to the house, I’ve got to admit I stress a little about my babies.  Cant do anything about this.
There are plenty of other occasions where having two houses presents problems but I don’t want to bore you or least of all make you jealous, but as I sit here on the deck, log fire burning in the trailer trash, half 44 gallon drum, sipping my champagne, watching the chickens graze around me, laptop on my knee, dog curled up at my feet… you can keep the beach, I’ll be quite happy to have this every day thanks!
 
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