The deadliest, jelliest site ever. Brought to you by Niamh Shaw

Shortly after we settled into Wild Rose House – i.e. as soon as we had the coffee machine unpacked – we compiled a list of things to fix or alter. We categorized items as short, medium and long-term projects, further subdivided into price of raw materials. Although generally anything costing more than – ooh, $100 – was deep-filed.

Wild Rose House

Before the weekend, in what’s becoming a family ritual, Husband and I sat in our bay-window for a ten minute infusion of Vitamin D and caffeine and decided to review our short-term list.

Miraculously, it seemed to have tripled despite copious reallocation of items to the medium and long-term lists.

“Ok look,” I said, “could we maybe focus on one thing and just . . . finish it? Because I know we’ve been busy doing stuff, but it feels like we’re churning.”

So I suppose it’s my fault we agreed to swap the kitchen pantry and fridge over the weekend.

Now, you might think- but no. Before you prepare for that mental leap, you’re probably wondering why swapping the fridge with a cupboard even makes The List, never mind its top priority assignment.

The main reason was that the only available space for the fridge was in the kitchen entranceway. Not only did this block much of our precious sunlight into the living room, but you had to walk around the fridge to get into the kitchen. Although ideal for hiding behind in the event a masked terrorist crashed through the door spraying automatic machine-gun fire, we figured the likelihood of that occurring in Oamaru was negligible.

From the living room: the fridge in the kitchen entrance. The microwave normally sits on top of the fridge

A secondary – even quinary – barely-even-qualifying-as-a-consideration, was Andrew’s irrational hostility towards my eclectic collection of fridge magnets on proud display. These include plaques printed with Hallmark sentiments, furry picture frames, various animals, and my magnetic poetry arranged in crude rather than creative expression.

I hope that addresses your question.

NOW you might think this operation – the swapping of pantry and fridge – sounds straightforward. And I grant you: on the surface, it does.

However, there were complications. The pantry was as deep as the fridge so Andrew had to saw it in half lengthways to justify the swap. It was also fitted – which suggested the wall behind the pantry was unpainted. As it turned out, the alcove housing the pantry was not even lined with plasterboard.

Naturally, the fridge was about 1cm wider than the pantry and wouldn’t quite fit into the vacated slot. Andrew suggested making room by ripping out the thin cupboard next to the oven, but I jealously covet all storage space. In any case, where else am I going to put my sandwich tray in the shape of a pig? However, Andrew reckoned he could saw a centimeter off the bench/cupboard on the far side of the oven and shove the entire arrangement across.

Yet another issue was an inconvenient absence of power point(s) adjacent to the pantry alcove into which we could plug the fridge. Andrew proposed putting in a power point, and – since he was feeling all electrical – he’d add another couple of sockets to the main bench area. And sure, while he was at it, he’d move the light switch.

I’d like to point out here that the location of the light switch – in the middle of the wall beneath the overhead cupboards – didn’t bother me. I’ve always considered myself quite fussy – secretly prided myself on it, to be honest – but in certain areas I’m pedestrianly low-maintenance. Granted, it took me a while to actually FIND the light switch but when I did, I just thought, “Oh right, THAT’S where it is”. Then I accepted it. Adjusted. I mean to say: it’s a LIGHT SWITCH. As long as it a) works; and b) remains pleasingly simple to operate, I’m happy as.

But when he saw it Andrew said, “Who’d put a light switch there? Stupid. That’s going to annoy me.”

He became borderline obsessive. Whenever he was required to operate it, he’d announce: “This light switch really annoys me”.

It got to the stage where he’d go, “This light switch-”

And I’d say, “Wait! Let me guess. It annoys you?”

“It REALLY annoys me. I’m not sure you fully grasp quite how annoying it is-”


In summary, he decided to move the switch to where grand design intended light switches to be: beside the entrance.

Essentially rewiring the entire kitchen necessitated knocking a few holes in the wall – which had to be boarded up and/or plastered, sanded and painted.

Kitchen wall after Andrew attacked it and poked experimentally at electrical wires

“You know, there’s no point buying paint to touch up a few holes,” said Andrew. “We might as well do the whole kitchen while we’re at it.”

In fact, painting the kitchen was another task on our short-list, since it was a shade that would most aptly be titled ‘Green Goblin’s ghastly revenge’. If the photos don’t communicate the pure grisliness of it, you’ll have to take my word that it gave off a nuclear energy.

Study of dust and debris

That, in a nutshell, was our mission for the weekend.

Have I forgotten anything?

I don’t think so.

“Sounds like more than two days’ work,” I said dubiously.

“Nah. We’ll have it finished by Saturday night,” Andrew confidently predicted.

At our antenatal appointment Thursday morning, I told our midwife: “He’s making me paint the kitchen this weekend.”

“Well, take it easy,” said Jen. “And no climbing ladders.”

“We don’t have a ladder,” said Andrew. “She’ll have to stand on a box.”

“I didn’t think pregnant women were supposed to paint?” I said, hopefully.

“You’ll be fine,” said Jen. “Just make sure the area is well ventilated.”

I can’t understand how my midwife has no problem with my snorting toxic fumes, yet tells me off for wearing high-heels.

(I suspect it’s because she wears crushed velvet and Birkenstocks. Also, I think she’s a Wiccan.)

(And while I’m on the topic, I find it COMPLETELY IRRESPONSIBLE that my midwife is the ONLY care provider who has given out to me for wearing heels during my pregnancy.)

It took most of the weekend to shift bench tops and rewire, patch, plaster and sand the kitchen. Between us we sugar-soaped the walls; then cut-in and rollered – twice. We also managed to paint the bay-window seat (three coats) and I sugar-soaped and painted the bathroom edges.

We’ve ticked two items off the short-list.


Comments on: "Quinary consideration" (12)

  1. The most revealing and shocking item gleaned from this post is that you wear high heels. I have been following you for some time now, and the last thing I might associate you with is high heels. Frankly, Niamh, you don’t come across as a girly girl. I might expect sandals, or hiking boots, or rubber boots for fishing. You seem very practical and down to earth. Just the sort that would be fun to be with. You know, mountain climbing or hiking through New Zealand. That sort of thing. Somehow high heels seem incongruous. Now I’m conflicted.

  2. deadlyjelly said:

    FG – I’m sorry; I should have anticipated bewilderment and confusion. It was thoughtless of me to drop that into the post without supplementary information.

    Most of the time I wear aggressively practical rugged footwear including hiking boots, a range of runners, wellies, slippers, and a pair of multi-purpose ultra-comfort leather clog-style abominations that can be applied to most situations from gardening to kicking rancid bones off the lawn.

    On the rare occasions I venture into civilisation, I make an effort not to look as though I’ve just stumbled into town from a swamp; an expedition that included a prolonged interlude with a slime creature.

    There’s a limit to how far I’ll push the sartory. I’ll usually brush my hair and ensure my jeans are 60% free of dog slobber. But I do choose my shoes with care. I have a collection of high-heels from my career days in mint condition due to their lack of wear. In any case, they’re the only footwear I own that aren’t caked with mud and/or missing portions of sole.

    I would like to assure you I am GREAT fun to be with. Some people have remarked that after a couple of gins and tonics I get tedious and obnoxious. Frankly, I don’t believe them.


  3. deadlyjelly said:


    “(Kiwi women) can be in touch with our femininity in jeans and a T-shirt or work boots and a Swanndri too.”


  4. I’ve long since resigned myself to the depressing fact that even the most practical and fun-to-be-with girls are still obsessed with shoes.

    Seriously, what is the matter with you people? They’re shoes. You find a pair that fits you properly, then you wear them. Why do you have to make it so complicated?

    On another note, from the little I’ve gleaned of Oamaru, your next-door neighbours are probably training masked terrorists in their garden. It seems rash for you to discount your defences so readily, but I daresay you know your own business best.

  5. It was with some trepidation that I clicked on the link you provided. I half expected to see several examples of feminine New Zealand footware. After having read the article, I feel properly chastened, even, dare I say chastised. I did not mean to imply anything other than I did not think of you and high heels in the same sentence. I truly hope that I did not offend you.

    On another note, I have long felt that from your stories, you are GREAT fun to be with. Andrew is a very, very lucky fellow in my opinion.

  6. mumsie said:

    I’m glad I was wrong! Seeing the first snap of your kitchen – the colour made me shudder but I didn’t want to comment on it. The newly painted wall looks a lot better – even with the sockets unattached! Well done the pair of you.


  7. Cian said:

    Oh wow Photos – looks rather cute on the outside. Not saying it looks bad on the inside, but with the Kitchen colour straight from the Simpsons Credits (the nuclear green) it didn’t look the best.

    As for the Fridge Magnets – well it is coming up to Christmas so I should be nice, but what’s the point – Andrew is totally right – they need to be hidden. How they did not fall out of the Storage Container is beyond me. I guess the problem is that they had magnets attached and they attached themselves to the container wall and would not come unstuck until they arrived at their new home. Bloody magnets.

    I must say that the light switch would bug me too. In our current apartment the normal light we have on in the Kitchen/Dining Area has a switch located in the Living Room Area, so when we are going out, we have to turn it off in the Living Room and walk through the dark kitchen area to get out. So stupidly designed!

    Showing the contents of the pantry (not even going to touch on the use of the word pantry) is almost akin to stripping naked and showing the photos. But I will give kudos for the bottles of alcohol and the use of newspaper on the table.

    You have enlightened me on sugar-soaping, something I had never heard of, yet not half as exciting as I hoped it would be.

    As for the shoes – well don’t worry I think the high heels make you look hot, not that you need the heels, but it adds to the overall hotness factor. I mean it’s not like you would go to a local farmers market and buy any old second hand pair of shoes now is it?

  8. deadlyjelly said:

    FG – GIRLFRIEND I don’t think it’s feasible in this universe that you could offend me. You sent me a recipe for baked beans! I love your check-ins and comments. PLATONIC SMOOCHES.


  9. deadlyjelly said:

    Vet – the relationship women have with footwear is similar to how YOU feel when you get a new app for your phone, except for the obsessive need to explain every last obscure feature in exhaustive detail to random strangers who make the mistake of saying “Nice app”. Now do you understand?

    I’ve met our neighbours and I’m pretty sure all they’re training in their garden is a crack squad of killer chickens. Oh, and maybe targeted convolvulus.


  10. deadlyjelly said:

    Hi Mumsie – actually, the pic of the gaping sockets was before we painted 😀 I think that photo was a touch over-exposed. I have some pics of the new-and-improved kitchen which I’ll try to post tonight. We actually had it finished yesterday morning but I had a touch of post-painting trauma and couldn’t work up the energy required to point a camera and click.


  11. deadlyjelly said:

    Hi Cian – I’m hoping Santa Claus will bring me more fridge magnets. How can you not appreciate magnetic poetry with sweary words?

    The word pantry still makes me giggle a bit. It is used commonly in the Middle East, where the staff kitchen is referred to as the ‘pantry’. It also seems pretty standard in Kiwiland. Most houses have walk-in pantries – which I totally lust after.

    We’re searching for a drinks cabinet to host bottles and glasses, since they won’t fit in the kitchen any longer now that my pantry has been chopped in half (a couple of extra shelves don’t fully compensate for the reduction in depth). In the meantime, Andrew’s storing the bottles on the bay window seat. I don’t know why, but am nervous about this arrangement. It seems . . . decadent. Or something. I have nothing against decadence – as long as it’s in an arrangement I understand.

    Sugar-soaping is another expression I first came across in the ME. It generates delicious images, doesn’t it? I was disappointed, too; especially when I had to actually apply it.

    Hey, I wouldn’t buy shoes at a farmers market either. (Although you’ll be glad to hear Andrew’s boots are still going.) I draw the line at second-hand shoes. Also, underwear, swimwear and chewing gum.


  12. […] Our beautiful old 1890s character villa with 2000sqm of landscaped cottage gardens may have been glorious and rose-scented and redolent of frilly parasols and croquet and cucumber sandwiches, but it was an absolute fucking motherfucker to maintain. Although we loved it, all our spare time was diverted to gardening or renovating or gardening or trying to convince the kids that pruning was fun or train the dog to differentiate between weeds and flowers. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: