25 (different) things about me.

I know i’ve done this before, a long time ago. None of those things have changed…but in the interests of getting to re-know myself, here are some things I know to be true.

  1. If there is no coffee in the morning there needs to be coffee in the morning.
  2. I like to sing loudly (and probably terribly ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) in the car on the way to work. Good music helps me set my mindset
  3. I’m a sucker for Dad jokes
  4. One of the first things I do when I get home is buy a can of Passiona….and perhaps a Cherry Ripe!
  5. A well loved book and a beer (or wine, i don’t judge) and I am set for snuggling in the evening
  6. I adore Bruce Campbell – I have yet to meet him, but there’s always 2017…
  7. I am a grade A dork and I have absolutely no problems laughing at myself.
  8. Believe it or not, I love all things French Bulldog.
  9. Tree Trunks is my spirit animal
  10. I still love a good bubble bath (Mr Matey?)
  11. I have been known to re-purpose old redbacks into planters.
  12. The X-files is my all time favourite show…there have been many contenders and a lot of really tight seconds though!
  13. My dad was my jam.
  14. I still think snow at Christmas is magical….even though i detest driving in it.
  15. I currently have two tattoos – both in honor of family members who have passed.
  16. I miss having actual photos printed out to look at. I have several albums that I still enjoy looking through.
  17. I am a nerd. I love nerds. I love to nerd.
  18. Elvis always wants a cookie
  19. I <3 the Outback Steakhouse
  20. If I don’t have (at least) 6 different craft projects at various stages of completion, I don’t know what to do with myself.
  21. If there is something to trip over, I will….if there is not, please just say there was.
  22. I love receiving handwritten letters….I’m trying to be better at returning the favour!
  23. My dad was THE lamington hunter.    
  24. Buy me a book and I’ll be your friend forever. Read it to me and I’ll never leave your side <3
  25. I am happy.

Covering up (gross) Wall paneling – Den Fin!

One day I will get Strewth caught up….in fact, now that I have more time on my hands I would like to get back to writing here more. Maybe i’ll even work up the courage to write about 2016…let me just tell you, its a fucking doozy ๐Ÿ˜‰

Soo….right about this time frame, Nana Margie showed up for a visit <3

Not only is she always the bearer of tim tams and other surprises from home, she is also the bringer of fabulous ideas and plans. On and off over the last couple of years we have talked about this weird “den” area and what we could do to open it up and make it more part of the house as opposed to a closed off, strange, last minute thought of a room.

First, we needed to make the room seem larger by finding someone to remove the weird “closet” afterthought and to see if there was a way to repair the wall that was half-ass built. I may or may not have started singing There’s a Hole in My Bucket at this point…


Luckily, I have the amazing fortune of living next door to a wonderful family that includes a handyman who never minds helping out with projects like this. Hector and his family have always taken care of us when needed and in this instance he told my mum that he wanted to do the job just right because thats how Jack would have wanted it.

Trust me, there were tears.


It took some finagling with different sheets of drywall and boards to get the ‘front’ wall of the den to be the same thickness all the way along, without eating up too much of the space we had in the den. According to Hector this area used to be a walk through from the front door into this smaller space. The previous owners closed it off (to be able to market the house as four bedrooms) and added an inset, floor to ceiling shelf on the other side to mask it.



Hector did an incredible job and even managed to win over Georgia who proclaimed him her new best friend. In the end Hector took out the closet, repaired the front wall so that it was actually an honest to goodness real life wall, spray painted the ceiling bright white (all the beams had been ack! painted antique white) and…..REMOVED THE SLIDING GLASS DOOR!!!


And here is where we came in again.

Instead of painting the walls in the den the same bright white as the ceiling and trim, I chose a slight grey tone that softened the walls, played off the red accent wall and worked with the carpet tiles that were soon to be moving in. If I was more of a home blogger I would even have paint colour names for you, alas I’m not….but at least I’m not a tracer.


Next step – carpet tiles!

In order to make the room appear bigger than it is (again) I decided to lay these down with a 1/4 turn pattern. Installing the tile was actually incredibly easy. If I had done it from start to finish in one go, I would say it would easily take less than a day. The part that takes the longest, is of course measuring and cutting the perimeter.

These have literally been a godsend. We decided against gluing down and instead made sure that they were tight up against the trim so that each tile held the others in place with peer pressure…or something like that. To date I have had no issues with them popping up, even with constant (someone shave these cats pls) vacuuming.

With this many animals and a penchant for early morning coffee, the tiles have also been incredibly easy to keep clean. I managed to walk away from this project with half a box of ‘spare’ tiles, but in the past few years I have not had to break out a single one. The normal routine is to pull up the sad tile, give it a quick rinse in the tub, allow it to dry and pop it back into place. YMMV, but I am constantly trying to brainstorm how else I can use carpet tiles ๐Ÿ™‚


Lastly – No idea how on EARTH i managed to complete this project without my assistants…

Covering up (gross) Wall paneling – Den Update

So, way back when, when the Weeb and I were just two young impressionable kids, we decided that we should take all the money we had (and a whole shit ton that we didn’t) and plop it all in a bunch of walls, windows, flooring and roof. At the time it seemed like such a great idea….and to be honest it was. We have had a massive amount of laughs in this home and a lot of yelling and tears too….mostly concentrated around projects that we thought were also a good idea ๐Ÿ˜‰

When we first looked at this house there was a strange room that was directly off the Living room. It had a glass sliding door….and not just any sliding door, it was clearly a sliding door that at some point was designed to be on the exterior of a house. Honestly, from memory they were trying to market this room as a fourth bedroom, and the kiddo definitely put in a good fight for this to be his bedroom, but we decided to try and be grownups for a second (not easy) and designated the room a Den. The sliding glass door, inside or not, was ideal for closing off the room and shutting out the noise when the Weeb decided to have a History Channel marathon on the weekends.

Aha! A rare glimpse of the kiddo
Our first walkthrough of the house..

Over time we came to realize that the Living Room area was actually “outside” and had been an addition house at some point when the previous owners tried to add more square footage to the interior. This helped explain why there was an exterior sliding glass door on the inside of a house….but don’t worry, that’s not even close to being the strangest thing we have found here (so far?) ๐Ÿ˜‰

Listen here you primitive screwheads!
All those yellow things? Nat Geo’s…Weeb has quite the collection. I think some of them are even holding up the walls.

Basically the entire of the house looked like this when we moved in. Every wall was spray painted white and every ceiling was ceiling white. Nothing outstanding, but it allowed for a lot of imagination and it lended itself nicely to our crazy mismatched furniture while we were coming up with a plan of attack and a reasonable budget.

DSCN1986Teeny tiny den times with the Giz!

That weird looking back wall there? That’s the last owners attempt to seal off an open path/door frame that used to connect this room to the front of the house. To the right you can also see a closet area. This was also added in to this room, effectively making it a whole ton smaller but also lending more weight to the whole ‘yeah this house totally has four bedrooms!’ idea…

Also Gizmo (The Shiz). You’re welcome.


And this is the part of my post where the photos start getting a little ratty. I apologize, but the den is quite small and with the sliding glass door in place it is almost impossible to get a good photo of what is happening.

So….about (eeeeesh) 3 years ago, I made a post about tackling the weird ass paneling that was attached to the back wall of the den. It took some time, but the Patch-N-Paint product I picked up? Total winner. I think all in all, I applied three coats and sanded in between each one. Was it perfect? No. But I knew once we added a coat of pain that the majority of the visual flaws would be hidden.

To be honest, the only way this could be completed to perfection would be either to cover the wall paneling with a textured wallpaper or to rip it down altogether and deal with whatever monstrosity may or may not be hidden back there. Knowing some of the other issues we have found in this house so far (WHY WOULD YOU INSTALL CARPET OVER LAMINATE FLOORING?!?!) and also knowing that this is not our forever home, we decided that this was the best course of action.

So here is where we were right before Nana Margie came for a visit last and tossed some new ideas our way for completing the look of the Den…

Sir Digby Chicken Caesar

So….this little dog has been having some issues the last couple of weeks. Frenchies tend to be pretty itchy little dudes, but lately he has been itchier than usual and has gotten in such a state that he has rubbed off most of the hair on his nubbin (what some would call a tail!) and in the folds of his face. Frenchies aren’t able to clean their face folds and nubbins like cats can and quite often need help from their humans to make sure that this is done on a daily basis.

Now, Brian and I have tried a lot of things with Digby as we realized pretty early on that he was allergic ย to at least Chicken.ย  For a long time, I had both him and the cats on a raw diet and after some more trial and error with that, we also added Turkey and Duck to the list of no-no’s. Once I started working on my pet nutrition degree, I pulled Digby off his raw diet (as I was concerned that my recipe, without further work, was potentially missing some required nutrients in the correct amounts) and we started feeding him a complete and balanced dehydrated food (Honest Kitchen) that he seemed to thrive on. For the past 6 months or so he was doing incredibly well on this diet…but over the last month his skin issues have gone downhill again.

Initially I chalked this up to the change in seasons, but when the itchies kept increasing in intensity we decided that an appointment with the vet at my store was in order, so that we could try and get to the bottom of things. At this point I had thought that it may just be an internal yeast infection that had spiraled out of control, but after giving him a full examination she suggested that a lot of his skin issues may still be related to food sensitivities. Poor doodlebug.

Side story – at one point this little dog had two “normal” ears…but due to his last bought of food related allergies causing an ear infection that tried to take over his entire body, we ended up with a hematoma on his ear. Not super life threatening, but irritating to him nonetheless. After talking it over with our vet, we decided to hold off on surgery and see if the lump would reabsorb back into his little piggy body. It did…about a week later…but we were left with one floppy ear and one “normal” ear. All part of the charm – ladies, take a number.

Anyhoo…back to the case at hand. After some chit chat back and forth, my vet suggested that we try a prescription diet that is made specifically for food sensitivities and eliminate all other sources of potential food allergens from his diet (basically everything but the prescription food – Hills D/D Venison and Potato) for the next three months. We also got a round of steroids and antibiotics to help clear up the current itchy situation and ward off any potential infections in his skin folds.

Currently we are about 5 days in to the prescription diet. Most of the change I have seen in him has been due to the steroids, but I will say that he devours the new food. But then again, he kinda devours any food I set in front of him. He is our tiny, snorting, floppy-eared vacuum cleaner.

The current plan is to keep him on the D/D for about 3 months to really assess any difference and if all goes well, Venison (a novel protein that he has not been in contact with before) may be the answer. After the 3 month time period is up, there are certainly other LID dog foods that are Venison based that we can try – Natural Balance, Ziwipeak, Dr Harvey’s, Grandma Lucy’s or even Stella and Chewys. All of these options are on the cutting board right now….we’ll play around with some of them as we get closer to the end of the trial period and keep you updated!

Updates – Strewth!

It’s been a while…what’s been going on here you ask? A lot. In the last year we have gone though a lot of changes – personally, professionally and home front. And one of my resolutions this year is to get back to Strewth and resume my posting responsibilities. Not only is this a great way for me to keep in touch with my family and keep them up to date on what is happening in our crazy house, but it is also a constant reminder to me that there is more to be done on that never ending list ๐Ÿ™‚

At home, we are still plodding along with our remodeling projects. The list is slowly getting smaller, and we now have an even better reason to work harder to get everything done. My mum has done some soul searching over the last few months and has decide to pack up her home in Perth and move half her stuff to America. Her plan is to spend some of each year with us and the rest of the year with my brother and his family. To say that I am excited would be an understatement!

We still have a lot of things to get done, but 2016 is the year for Brian and I to get refocused on our home and finish the projects we have started and those that are still on the drawing board. We managed to get some things done this year, but it wasn’t a lot as we were both very focused on work instead of our home projects. I still have some finished projects to share and a whole bunch of new ideas for when some of our upcoming projects are done. The goal is to have this house complete and ready to sell so that the three of us (plus the zoo) can buy a larger house together when the time comes.

The four-legged animals are doing well too….probably more so now that I have access to a full pet store, a paycheck and all sorts of new products! We even have a new addition to our family – Falcor the Bearded Dragon. There’s still never a dull moment in the Strewth Household..


Jacks T

Its been almost a year and a half since I traveled home to say goodbye to my dad. Not a day goes past where I don’t think about him or I’m not reminded of him. It can be something as simple as a song (yesterday it was ‘Uptown Girl’ by Billy Joel – my Dad used to listed to 1080 AM constantly when he was working in the garage :-)) or just a random memory that explodes into my head. I am still to this day in a constant state of flux, being terribly sad that he is no longer a phone call/plane ride away and often comforted when I know he is still around.

Before my dad passed away, he was busy at work restoring a World War 1 Model T Ford.


My dad was working on the T all the time, even when he wasn’t physically working on the car he was thinking about the car, posting about the car (HMVF Forums) or dreaming about the car. I’m sure he drove my mum insane at times ๐Ÿ™‚

The T was completed by the Wednesday boys, a group of bloody good blokes who, along with my dad, got together every Wednesday to work on one project or another. For the most part it was the T that they worked on. After my dad passed away, they promised to keep working every Wednesday to finish up the T in honor of my father. Seven months later the project was complete..

Model T taken 19 Mar 2014 near Welshpool Workshop

This ANZAC day (April 25th, 2015) marks the 100 year anniversary of the landings at Gallipoli and once again the Model T will take part. As always, I also know that Poppy Jack will be along for the ride.

One of those days

I’ve been having a few of them lately. I think i just need a break. Or more alcohol. Perhaps both.

Today’s fun times included one of the other managers mentioning an aroma in the office that I thought was just my odd sense of smell. We narrowed it down to one corner of the room and started pulling boxes out from under the desk in order to examine the area. Iย pulled one last box out and all of a sudden I see



I heard, probably entirely too loudly for a retail location aaaaaand I’m pretty sure it wasn’t me that just yelled that. I peek my head back in to take another look at the monster, to try and assess the situation and decide on a plan of action that may or may not include fire bombing an entire suburban shopping complex.


Oh. Right. It’s just a teddy bear hamster that managed to escape its enclosure and has made a home out of a cardboard box and packing material. No biggie.

I captured mr tubby and put him back with his friends. Luckily this is a pretty rare occurrence. My heart and our shoppers delicate ears could probably do without more of this ๐Ÿ˜‰

Who loves hot weiners?

So its been a long time.

After my father passed away at the end of last year, I figured out pretty quickly that 2013 wasn’t quite done with handing out the digs. Shortly after I returned back to the states from my fathers funeral, I was faced with the news that my job was about to be no longer.

To be honest, I went a little nuts and sent out about 65 applications within the space of 3-5 days. Some of which I knew I could do, but would just be a job…and others that I really had my heart set on, as I knew they would be that one step further – a job that I would be passionate about. A place where I could grow as ย member of a team and truly contribute something to a company.

I had it narrowed down to three prospects and interviewed for all three. After hearing back from two of the companies with an offer (the third got back to me about 3 weeks ago – thanks for the sense of urgency on that one ;)) I decided to go with my heart and take a paycut for a position that felt right, rather than one that paid more. ย I am now an assistant manager at a Pet Store – a FANTASTIC pet store, one that is still fairly new to the market and really speaks to me with its stand on pet food, animals and store teams. I can truly see myself with this company for a long time to come and there are plenty of opportunities for me to grow here.

After I accepted the job, I was sent off to Rhode Island for three weeks of training! I had never actually been to RI before and it was beautiful. I was lucky to be training/working in a fantastic store with managers and team members who were so supportive and helpful. I was also lucky enough to be paired with the store manager Tom, who introduced me to such delights as the Hot Weiner (weiner – hee). You have to take it all the way, or you’re just messing around. Seriously.

Two hot weiners all the way

Life has changed a lot around the Strewth house. Since my change of job, there has been less stress, less anger and a lot less anxiety. There have also been a lot of new treats and toys for some naughty boys and girls. Apparently working in a pet store with easy access to the wants of the fluffies + an employee discount = much less take home pay ๐Ÿ˜‰

These two aren’t complaining..


So the moral of this story? Sometimes things really do happen for a reason.

Yoohoo, I’ll make ya famous!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here…not because I haven’t had anything to say, mainly because i’ve had too much to say and no idea how to say it. So i guess I’ll just cut to the end and work my way backwards.

My Dad died.


There’s no other way to put it. My heart is completely broken and I am now without one of my most cherished people in the entire world. My mum called me around the beginning of September to let me know that my father had been admitted to hospital after he suffered a heart attack and she asked me if there was any way I could come home. It was touch and go for a few days after Poppy Jack was rushed into surgery and afterwards placed in ICU in a medically induced coma. He was making teeny tiny improvements before I managed to hop on a plane.


Devastatingly, I found that when I had arrived home he had already passed away. My super hero, the man that convinced me I could fly, left me before I could say goodbye.

When I finally got off the plane (that’s a story for another day, thanks so much JetBlue) my mum, brother, niece and aunt were all at the airport to meet me. A gigantic family sandwich to stave off some of the pain that I felt as I walked into their arms. The days following my arrival home were a blur of family, photos, phone calls and a little bit of laughter. We spent our days working through the list of to-do’s and our evenings laughing about memories of Poppy Jack.

Birthday cake 2008
For those that never had the opportunity to meet my father, he was larger than life both in stature and personality. He would tell you what you needed to hear, not what you wanted to hear. He had a killer sense of humour and an armory of jokes to back it up. He was a tough teacher, but was always ready to celebrate victories. He loved quietly, but he always loved big. He was a military man through and through, but when no-one was looking he would share his morning tea with the cat.

He was my dad and I love him.

Poppy Jack and Baby Henry
G’night Poppy Jack – I’ll see you again sometime soon.