Welcome to Paradise

by Lori Dwyer on April 3, 2011 · 58 comments

Blogging from my iPhone… This probably won’t be my best work, OK? OK.

Life here, it’s easy to get used to.

A week was all it took. I’m no longer mourning for Macca’s, a twenty four hour service station, or even a dishwasher. In fact, I’m headed back to the city this weekend…. And, already, I can’t wait to come Home.

Not that I call it HomeTown much, anymore. This place has earned itself a new name, entirely.

Welcome to Paradise.

My children, they adore it here. Why wouldn’t they, when they have grass, and lots of it, when we go to the beach or the river or the lake every afternoon, taking That Bloody Dog along for a cruise? When Mum is relaxed, and calm, and more Mum than she has been since Before?

We have kangaroos, that visit our front lawn at dusk, and a possum and family of kookaburras in a gum tree in our back yard.

Main street’s tiny cinema

People are so nice, so very friendly- the sharp edge is taken off my loneliness by a visit to the fruit shop in the main street, which is small and expensive and comfortingly familiar.

Days are long and simple here. I eat, a lot, healthy food due to blessed lack of convienance. The air smells cleaner, the stars are amazing. Even the water tastes better.

I find satisfaction in small things- washing my dishes, hanging my washing, watering my plants. Changing the sandy, wet clothes of my children multiple times a day.

Yesterday I fixed my front fence, a gap at the bottom where my dog kept escaping. I made a trip to what used to be solely the domain of my husband and son- Bunnings. For those of you not in the know, Bunnings is a hardware store… on steroids.

I chose, with no freaking idea what I was doing, pre fab wire, fencing wire, clips and pincers. I lugged forty kilos (that’s heavy) of sand to my car, to fill my children’s sandpit. They weighed almost as much as I did.

Then I drove for forty minutes, back to Paradise, with two tired children in the back seat. I lugged them into bed… then I set about fixing that damn fence.

Before we go on, you should know- I’m a princess. I don’t do shit like mending fences, taking out bins, fending off feral kangaroos or mowing lawns. Especially not after I met Tony. He was the man of the house, and most definitely happy to treat me as a princess…. and, of course, I let him.

But there’s much to be said for
living outside the manner you’re accustomed to.

As I said…. the fence needed mending. And mend it I did. It took me two and half freaking hours, and left my hands bruised and bleeding. And That Bloody Dog managed to get under it again this morning, so it looks like myself and the fencing wire will bring doing battle once more, tomorrow at high noon.

But all that is OK. I’m tougher than I ever thought I was. Tony knew- I remember him telling me I was the strongest person he knew, tough as nails- I think an unassisted birth will give blokes that impression. But I’m starting to think that maybe he was right.

I am one tough cookie.

It’s just such a pity it took breaking my heart, to prove that to me.

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{ 58 comments… read them below or add one }

beingbree April 7, 2011 at 10:32 am

Hey Lori,
I may not always comment, but I am here, reading, laughing, crying as I follow your journey and i must say this is one of my favourite 'after' posts. There is a sense of peace in this post that I hope continues to grow as you setlle deeper and deeper into paradise. Mending a fence, taking out bins, boy jobs, they suck but it'd suck worse if you were incapable of doing them. Yay you for having a go. And how damned satisfying is a good bunnings trip! Keep living and loving Lori.


Judd Exley April 5, 2011 at 9:55 pm

That is bittersweet and wonderful and, for the eleventy brazillanth time, I want to hug you now. Blessedly, for some different reasons that all other times.

Damn awesome of you girl. When we're out there someday, I'll show you how to fix that dog… uh… fence for GOOD.


Cassondra April 5, 2011 at 2:21 am

Good for you! Fence mending! My parents had a dog that could escape from ANYTHING they tried all sorts of things to try to keep him in his fence. They finally ended up digging a trench 3 feet deep, fencing that in with wire, and filling it back in with dirt and rocks. The dog couldn't dig down that far especially with big rocks on his side of the wire. Course it took my parents months to dig that deep, fence it, rock it, and fill it in, but it was worth it to not have to worry about the dog getting out in the highway they live on anymore.

I'm glad you're getting some peace. I'm sure it'll help with the healing. My mom always says good hard work is good for getting some perspective and healing, so keep it up with the fences.


Fox in the City April 4, 2011 at 11:30 pm

The peace that is evident in this post makes it some of your best work! Congrats on mending the fence and good luck on mending it again. :) Paradise seems to be the perfect place for you at this time.


Donna April 4, 2011 at 7:36 pm

I cant help but feel that you were both literally and spiritually mending fences. Small steps are being taken again beautiful brave Lori, you will feel the light return to you soon xx


Janet NZ April 4, 2011 at 4:45 pm

Tie that bloody dog on a long string babe. The only courage that matters is the kind that gets you from one moment to the next.


Jodie at Mummy Mayhem April 4, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Just caught up on your last few posts, hon.

I think you have done a great thing taking your kids back to your hometown. It just looks serene and simple. I reckon that's exactly what you need right now.



Leanne April 4, 2011 at 12:31 pm

A big Woot Woot to Paradise. I am so pleased you have found your own little slice …


Andrea April 4, 2011 at 11:29 am

Home Town sounds like a gift. This little post of yours has brightened my day. You take care. Enjoy the beach.


Amy April 4, 2011 at 10:55 am

So happy to hear that you are feeling at 'home' in your new place. You are strong- and you'll only continue to prove that in the coming months.


rin.dell April 4, 2011 at 10:21 am

I feel so calm and relaxed reading your post. I am smiling while sitting here picturing you fixing the fence. you are as tough as they come and I can't thank you enough for sharing your story with us. It makes your posts all the more important and meaningful when I see you and the kids are enjoying the small things in life. coastal life definately is paradise


Being Me April 4, 2011 at 9:03 am

Kickin' ass, Tough Cookie! Your new space sounds idyllic.


lori April 4, 2011 at 8:05 am

I'm glad you settled near the beach because the ocean is healing and helps you gain perspective. It sounds like a very lovely, simple life for you and the kids – just what you need right now.
Don't sell yourself short – just put on your rhinestone studded tool belt and you can do anything!


In Real Life April 4, 2011 at 3:51 am

Awesome job fixing your fence! I am glad to hear that you are settling in to your new home so nicely! *HUGS*


cassey April 4, 2011 at 1:00 am

Woo hoo, you fixed the fence :)


Lirio Jaguar April 4, 2011 at 12:59 am

You rock my world, Lori! I can relate to the 'fending for oneself without fella' scenario, even if it was temporary in our case. Who knew I could muster two steers at one time with one child on my back and the other in danger of getting trampled? But FENCE FIXING…you've topped me, chicky ;)Cheers to country life, where life begins afresh xxx


Marianna Annadanna April 4, 2011 at 12:33 am

This reminds me of Scarlette O'Hara! In a good way!

A so-called "princess" loses everything, one after the other, but finds her will and her strength and does whatever it takes to survive.

Good for you Lori. So glad you're finding some peace there.

Sending GOOD LUCK this time for the fence :) )


bekkles April 3, 2011 at 11:48 pm

You are awesome!

"The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places." – Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms


LucidLotus April 3, 2011 at 11:31 pm

You are one badass mama:)


robyn April 3, 2011 at 11:19 pm

You're doing so well! I am so glad that things seem more peaceful for you. I'm still praying. xxRobyn


Melissa April 3, 2011 at 10:34 pm

whether it's written on your iphone or not – it's still some of the best stuff I've ever read. Amazing stuff you're doing there – strong mama.


Jennifer Kay April 3, 2011 at 10:19 pm

First off I give you the golf clap for typing all of that out on your iPhone, holy crap! Second of all I am so happy for you today and for this post. I have been hoping that you would soon find some shred of peace and I hope that in some small ways you have.

Paradise sounds awesome…despite the damn fence!


Sharnanigans April 3, 2011 at 10:12 pm

Awesome! "Desperado, when will you come to your senses…. I've been out mending fences.." Is that what the song says? not sure but it came into my head. Enjoy your little slice of paradise. I felt born again when i left the city, there is much to appreciate with less clutter in Paradise. good for souls. Hope it does wonders for yours. lovely post.


Toots April 3, 2011 at 10:09 pm

D'oh. Physical tasks ARE, obviously. I'm pretty sure they don't eat soul balm.

I blame the iPhone.


Toots April 3, 2011 at 10:08 pm

God almighty woman, you really are the most beautiful writer. Suddenly I'm picturing you as one of those heroines in Catherine Cookson-esque books, with a big, old fashioned dress on, swiping a dirt-covered hand across your forehead, having defied all the odds.

I know, my brain needs to get out more :)

I'm glad Paradise find you my sweet. Physical tasks ate wonderful balm for the soul. Keep going, we're still here with you every step.

Love Sophie xxx


Oscar’s Mum April 3, 2011 at 9:13 pm

What a Lovely post Lori. I'm so glad the move has worked for you and the kids.


Miss Mandy April 3, 2011 at 8:36 pm

a great picture you paint. I strive to make my life simple, sounds like it is working wonders for you. Good on you.


Sam-O April 3, 2011 at 8:23 pm

**Thumbs Up**

To your fence mending.
To Paradise.

Go You!


Lucy April 3, 2011 at 7:36 pm

There seems a lot to be said for the healing power of hard work, of simple tasks, and tackling stuff that you never thought you would need to do. Tis good therapy…xx


Kelloggsville April 3, 2011 at 7:35 pm

Country town life is the most wonderful way to bring children up. Mother nature helps so much. Shell pictures, leaf collages, wellie walks, picnics and time to enjoy. Nice. Even though I am married again now I still do most of the man jobs. I like the sense of achievement. I'm guessing you will be fighting dog and fence for a while yet!!


Brooke Farmer April 3, 2011 at 7:19 pm

I don't think it matters a whit whether you write from high speed internet on your laptop or the app on your iPhone. This was lovely.

And a lovely reminder TO take joy in the small things.


mackenzie101 April 3, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Lori, I have a feeling that the fence is not the only thing that you are on the way to mending.
You can be a princess who wears a tiara and blundstones.


Wendy B. April 3, 2011 at 6:29 pm

Hi Lori,

I'm so happy to read about your paradise…..and you will be able to fix that fence!! You are amazingly strong. Lots of hugs for you and your little ones.



Miss Pink April 3, 2011 at 5:36 pm

You can do it. Men's stuff? It's really not all that hard. Physical? Yes indeed, it is, and we are smaller by frame, so that's GOTTA be harder on us. But hard? Not at all. Your dog is clever, and testing you.
Don't forget some good working music, may i reccommend the likes of Bob the Builder, or Men At Work? lol.


Zoey @ Good Goog April 3, 2011 at 5:20 pm

I'm not a princessy type (apart from having ludicrously high expectations) and tend to do most of those sort of jobs myself (probably being raised by a single parent will do that). In fact, people often joked that I would make someone an excellent husband one day.

I bet you'll enjoy it once that fence is fixed, and fixed for good and you'll know that you own that freaking fence ;-)


Kakka April 3, 2011 at 5:07 pm

Well done Lori – I can imagine you weighing as much as the sand bags you were lugging, you are so tiny but you have an amazing power within you. It is a shame you had to endure losing Tony to find Paradise but I am so glad you did find it and you and Bump and Chop are there together. xxx


E. April 3, 2011 at 4:38 pm

I'm glad that the move to Hometown has really been a move to Paradise.

You can be both a Princess and a tough cookie. I think you are.


River April 3, 2011 at 4:30 pm

You fixed a fence???
You need to visit me.
I have some rotting timber up on the roof that need replacing….


MummaMoments April 3, 2011 at 4:24 pm

One day, I will type you out the story of "Carrots, Eggs and Coffee". You my dear, are most definately a rich coffee! You amaze me xxx


Sarah April 3, 2011 at 4:22 pm

I am SO glad that you and the kids are in your Paradise. Kookaburras, kangaroos, grass, bright stars, fresh air and fruit shops – they're the ingredients for better days, I can feel it.

You are so clever :)


Karen April 4, 2011 at 1:57 am

I love small towns!- small being a place where you can walk or bike easily to lovely shops where the owners know you, and small being a cozy and welcoming sense of community :-)
Photos of your sand-lugging biceps to follow? ;-)


Stephani April 4, 2011 at 1:40 am

I'm so happy for you, Lori, that you made the move to Paradise.

It sounds lovely.



Amy xxoo April 3, 2011 at 3:34 pm

You are, in fact, one of the toughest cookies i know of…. and i'm sure, even though you claim to have no idea of what your doing, that fence will be fixed to keep the dog in in no time!


My Name is Dorothy and I live in Oz April 3, 2011 at 3:32 pm

Good on you, Lori! I was very pleased with myself after each new job that I learnt to do on my own. It's quite liberating and makes you feel less alone, because you know you can depend on yourself for just about anything.



Sarah Kaye April 3, 2011 at 3:16 pm

Lovely post Lori, i can feel your strength emanating through your words.

This is my first comment since i started following you when the "After" began. I've never had the words.

Thanx for your inspiration,


Squiggly Rainbow April 3, 2011 at 3:15 pm

We moved to our simple life 2 months ago, my children love it too. I love that we can find joy and happiness in the simple things like grass and trees and mud. You do deserve it. I am so glad your days are having a little more joy (if I can call it that). I have been reading your journey.

It has prompted me to reflect on my own life. Albeit different, a journey the same. I even blogged about it today.

Love to you and your babes


Melissa April 3, 2011 at 2:49 pm

Another "Princessy" girl here, in awe of what you are managing to accomplish. Go get that fence, Lori!


Daisy April 3, 2011 at 2:48 pm

I've just stumbled upon your blog today, and by joe, you really are one of the toughest people I've ever heard of, let alone met. I'm betting on you against the fencing wire.


Car April 3, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Paradise sounds so soothing for your soul. I hope you manage to finish the fence, you are a strong woman!


Kimmie April 3, 2011 at 2:26 pm

Lori you blog so eloquently taking me along for the ride that is your life and I feel, smell, taste, picture it all along the way. You have such a special gift with your style of communicating. Your two littlies and yourself deserve nothing less than Paradise.




Brenda April 3, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Yes my lovely one, you are one tough Cookie Monster.xxx


Wanderlust April 3, 2011 at 2:09 pm

You are a tough cookie. I hate killing spiders and mowing the lawn, but I do. So glad you found Paradise my love. xo


deardarl April 3, 2011 at 2:09 pm

I am hearing you! Even though I hate having to do each and every BOY job, it does make me think how bloody amazing I am each time I do one.

I love the quote: "You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have."


freefalling April 3, 2011 at 6:20 pm

Ha – that's just how I feel now.
We have to leave our country town tomorrow and head to the city for some cancer stuff (just check up stuff).
We hate going to the city now and can't wait to get back home to….home.
Let the healing begin.
So pleased for you.


Sandy April 3, 2011 at 4:32 pm

I'm not sure what is on the OTHER side of your fence, but if it's nothing too important, you could patch the hole from the outside. Also, if you dig a little ditch at the base of the fence and fit the patch wire down into it before you fasten it, the pup shouldn't be able to do much with it. I don't know if that made sense.

I'm the baby of my family and grew up with an amazing dad who could fix and assemble anything. it took me growing up to realize not all dads could do those things.

Being in a relationship with a woman, I find that I am "the man of the house" although I too, am very much a woman. But, when I find I'm able to replace the toilet or the dryer or the disposal.. or a whole manner of other "man" jobs.. I feel pretty fucking awesome :)

If you have any other odd jobs, feel free to ask, I might just know the answer! ;)

Take care!


Tara @ Our Whirlwind Adventures April 3, 2011 at 3:58 pm

You are a tough cookie.
I am in love with Paradise, just because of the itty bitty cinema. It looks delightful.


tattoomummy April 3, 2011 at 3:39 pm

I am so so happy for you =]


Spiralmumma April 3, 2011 at 2:15 pm

What a gorgeous cinema! :-)

You're so right-breaking out of our comfort zones and discovering new skills is awesome. And very important for everyone-women and men-to have those skills.

But I'm so sorry your heart had to be broken to find out how strong you are too :-(


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