Done and Dusted

June 15, 2009 at 6:51 am (Uncategorized)

Today was the final inspection of Nana’s flat by the “village” management. A representative met me at the flat with a clipboard and a checklist and I stood to one side while he went over Nana’s place – gutted, mind you, what with no carpet or curtains and telephone wires exposed about the place – with a fine tooth comb. 

“There’s a lot of nails on the wall,” he said, pointing to the offending nails with the end of his pen.

I glanced around and shrugged. 

“I think old people like to hang lots of things on the wall,” I said. “They’re all like that, aren’t they?”

Silence. No doubt there’s a regulation number of nails allowed and this will be an opportunity to charge us something extra for an excess of hooks. Speaking of which, I checked the PO Box a few hours later, and, lo and behold, there was a bill from these people for “General Services” for the next quarter, totalling nearly one thousand dollars. General Services? The place is gutted. And even when Nana was still living there the “services” remained a complete mystery. What services? There’s a stunning lack of services of even the most rudimentary variety. It’s mystifying. But it’s contractual.

He didn’t even bother opening a single cupboard, blithely saying, “Oh, they’ll probably refit this whole place before the next person moves in.” Right. I’m so glad it’s all spotlessly clean then. Thanks for that. And I’m especially glad because it means they won’t even be trying to lure someone else into this criminal scheme in time to reduce the SIX MONTHS’ contractual obligation to keep paying the bloody General Services fee. Why would they when they’ve got someone who agreed to pay for half a year more than the term of their tenancy?! Here’s how they put it in the instructions for vacating:

Recurrent charges for General Services will continue to be calculated on a daily basis and be payable and owing to [the housing association] by the Resident, until the earlier of the following dates:

i. the unit is occupied by another resident, or

ii. six months from the date that the Resident ceased to occupy the Unit (*as per clause 10.13 of your Deed).

There are lots of references to clauses in these instructions. There’s clause 19.1, and 12.3, and 9.4, and even clause 11.1 if you’re still looking for a little more variety…

I’ve got a clause of my own that I’d really like to give them, but it’s unprintable. 


Anyway, it’s over. I shouldn’t have to go back there ever again. I don’t think that’s quite sunk in yet, but I do feel a lot lighter. And the absolute best, best, best thing is that I rang Nana after leaving her place for the last time, and she was as happy as a clam.

“How are you?” I asked.

“I’m very well, actually,” she said. “I’m here, and I’m happy.”

I very nearly burst into tears of nothing more than profound relief.

“Oh, Nana, I am so, so glad to hear you say that. What’s news?”

“Oh, there’s a good one here,” she said. 

“A good one what? Is this the man you were telling me about?”


“The week before last,” I said. “The good looking one.”

“Oh, probably,” she said. “I suppose that was him.”

“What’s his name?”

Pause. Just a long second, and then, “Mark.”

“Well, that’ll keep you on your toes,” I said. “Keeps life interesting, doesn’t it?”

Nana laughed and laughed. Like she knew something I didn’t know and wasn’t telling me for quids. A very gay laugh, actually.

“It’s just lovely to have someone attentive around,” I continued.

“That’s it exactly,” she said firmly.

“And a bit of flattery never goes astray,” I said. 

“Yes, flattery. It’s nice to be flattered every now and again.”

“It is,” she said. “Although there are some real ding-dongs here.”

“Sorry? Ding-dongs?”

“Yes, ding-dongs. That’s just the first word that came to mind.”

“Get ten people in a room, Nana, and there’s bound to be at least one ding-dong.”

“Or nine,” she said, quick as a flash.

“That would be rather unfortunate,” I said, and we both laughed. “But Mark doesn’t sound like he’s a ding-dong.”

“Well, I’m not putting my claws into him or anything.”

“Oh no,” I said. “Of course not. You’re not desperate.”

“No,” she said. “No, I am not.”

“But it makes things more fun,” I suggested. 

“Yes,” she said brightly, “it certainly does.”

Anyway, we chatted for a few minutes more and then rang off, and as I madly texted Kate and Llew with the good news, I did have a bit of a tear, but only the very best kind.



  1. charlotteotter said,

    She sounds fabulous, your Nana. Glad to hear she’s happy. And well done on completed the flat clear-out.

  2. charlotteotter said,

    “having completed” – I like to edit myself.

  3. Grad said,

    Oh, this is such good news! Your Nana sounds very happy. I loved the 9 ding-dongs quip – it tells me she’s thinking she would be the only non-ding dong in a group of ten, and that says a lot about her sense of humor and her sense of self. She is absolutely no ding-dong and she knows it! If Mark does turn out to be a good one, and Nana doesn’t want him, I might have a go! The good ones are hard to find.

  4. Lilian Nattel said,

    I’m so glad that’s over with and that your Nana was happy. You have such a knack for conversing with her.

  5. Simonne said,

    I know I’ve come to your blog at what might be the tail end of a long Nana story, but I’m happy that you’re happy! She sounds like quite a character.

  6. litlove said,

    Ding-dong sounds just the perfect term to describe certain academics I know: note to self, must commit to memory. I am so delighted to think that your nana has settled in her new home and that you are finally through with the old one. This calls for some serious treats and rewards, I would say. You’ve more than earned them.

  7. doctordi said,

    Charlotte, thanks, it is an untold relief having it done, and yes, she’s certainly sounding more like her traditionally lively self than I would have dared hope (although Kate tells me cutlery is a source of some confusion at mealtime, so… unfortunately the Alzheimer’s is still with us and not going anywhere – so I think we’re all just enjoying what’s left while we still can).

    Grad, I loved ‘ding-dongs’ too – I think she probably meant ‘ning-nong,’ another classic, but who cares?! Yes, SUCH happy news. I was elated after speaking to her yesterday, absolutely on cloud nine. And enough about Mark – what happened to David Malouf?! What moves a man is fan mail, darling, FAN MAIL!

    Lilian, you and me both! And I don’t know if it’s a knack so much as just realising we’re on a permanent loop and resistance is futile. Even ding-dongs were just a variation, albeit an amusing one, of earlier conversations. But it is teaching me a degree of patience I didn’t know I had, and that’s got to be a good thing.

    Simonne, I actually searched the term ‘Nana’ on my blog the other day – out of interest and because several people have floated the idea of this experience forming the potential basis of a book – and I was amazed by the number of mentions she’s had. I didn’t realise quite how preoccupying this has all been. But yes, I’m happy, grateful, relieved.

    Litlove, I agree! I know just the type of academic you mean! Thank you – it’s so lovely that everyone is as delighted about this as I am. Hmmm… treats and rewards… I like treats and rewards….

  8. Grad said,

    Bingo! I’ve got paper, I’ve got stamps, I CAN DO Fan Mail! (I guess first, though, I’d better read something of his. I’m not sure if, “You’re a cutie, are you single?” is the right grab line.)

  9. doctordi said,

    Let me know if you can’t easily access a Malouf title over your way and I’ll get something to you, Grad. Ransom was my maiden Malouf – most remiss of me. But I don’t think “You’re a cutie, are you single?” is a bad opening gambit… I’ve heard much worse!

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 )

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: