~ Another Family Working Bee ~

Posted: October 11, 2018 in FAMILY, Family stories, FATHER, holidays, home, loss, love, memories, mortality, working bees
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Blessed be the ties that bind generations. ~ Unknown

To our eyes looking on, our father appeared to be doing well, living independently in his own home until the last of his days, with a little help from my sisters. However, since his death, we have been discovering the true extent to which he had let things go. At the grand old age of eighty-four, dear dad had still been making his own meals and driving his own car without any problem and lived a full, busy life in the Coromandel Peninsula. Yet, property maintenance was one of the things he’d let slip.


When dad died in February this year, as our last surviving parent, it fell to us to clear our parents’ property. It took a long time just to start to sort out the possessions. Dad’s garage alone took weeks of effort. We always used to joke, when he was alive, that our father was ‘the guy who had it all, and kept it in his garage.’ His double garage was stacked to the gunnels with stuff dating back to the luggage that had come over on the ship with mum and my two sisters in 1962. Our goal became just to see the floor.


It was only when we began to see the floor, and get through that stage of constant sorting and waste elimination that the house itself became a focus. That was when my sister discovered the rotting timbers and non-regulation home handiwork. That was when she found that the sea air had corroded the bolts holding certain key structural things like the upstairs deck. That was when we heard that the damage had gone so far the deck would need replacing within the next few years. The reality hit home.


Dad, for all his integrity and goodness and spirit, had let the reins slip a bit. Our new family co-owners decided to invest in the place, which means we may be lucky enough to holiday there together as family for the foreseeable future, as long as most visits are accompanied by a working bee to get the maintenance done. We might be able to keep our parents’ property but only if we’re prepared to work for it.


The boys and I just came home from the usual “boys’ trip” we do every school holidays. We met my brother and nephew and niece at dad’s home by the seaside, where my sister had been working hard.

We went to the beach. We worked in Grandpa’s garage.

We played basketball. We threw out a skip worth of rubbish.

We went to a 60th birthday party. We scrubbed and cleaned the conservatory from floor to ceiling.

It’s wonderful to spend time together and there’s nothing wrong with a bit of hard work to earn your cold beer at the end of the day.

The joy is in living for an extended period under the same roof that’s what it’s all about.


The other very nice thing that has started to happen as the jobs get ticked off one-by-one, is that we have started to witness our parents’ dilapidated home gaining a new lease of life. The effort being put in behind the scenes by various family members has been herculean. Each improvement transforms the old place a little more. It has “a million dollar view” as we like to say, so it has great potential.

If the property can become a source of passive income stream for the co-owners then it’s possible we might be able to keep it in the family.

It’s a wonderful feeling. It feels like keeping our connection to our parents, who are buried in the small town. It feels like it would make dear old dad happy, who had once expressed a wish we keep the place ‘if we could.’


It feels like providing that link to family history for our children and grandchildren, the tradition of coming together there in holiday times and at Christmas.

Therefore I am happy and willing to work as much as needed and even contribute money, if necessary, in order to keep the old homestead in the family. In these turbulent times, there’s nothing more important.

To go “home,” it feels immeasurably comforting simply to be there. You feel grounded and settled into neutral again. While at the same time you feel supercharged with energy like you put your finger in a light socket. We came home and I felt rejuvenated.

For me, the little seaside town is my turangawaewae or the place in the world I most feel my roots. What about you, where’s your turangawaewae?


Talk to you later.

Keep Creating!

Yvette K. Carol


Family is the most important thing in the world. ~ Princess Diana



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  1. It looks like a lovely home! I think my tungawaewae would be anywhere so long as both my children are with me (and thanks for introducing me to that word…I’d never heard it before)

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      My pleasure. I had a similar instantaneous connection with the word as soon as I heard it. My niece and nephews and great nieces are part-Maori, and it was my niece who first told me that this particular spot in the Coromandel was my turangawaewae. When she gave the meaning, I was like, yes, that’s it exactly. The perfect word to describe it. But, then, that’s the marvellous thing about indigenous languages 🙂


  2. lynnkelleyauthor says:

    Wow, Yvette, I can’t imagine all the emotions you’re dealing with. I think it’s wonderful that you’ll be able to keep your father’s house in the family. Seems like a little piece of heaven here on earth. Well, once the repairs are done and everything is sorted out. I hope you and your family members are enjoying the extra bonding time these worker bee weekends offer you. Making more good memories on top of all the old ones! XOXOX

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      That’s true! Thanks for the visit, Lynnie. Sorry, I missed your comment at first – it’s been chaos around here.
      There’s something about soldiering through when there’s really hard work to be done, and seeing it through to the finish as a team. When you’re all suffering together and then you get to feel the joy of rewards together, too, it does strengthen your connections. That’s when you feel the way family pulls together when times get tough, and it’s wonderful! xxx


  3. Erika Beebe says:

    I admire your strength and determination in all you have done for your family. I love all the pictures of the transformation. I bet your father would be proud to see you all pull together and share in these old and new memories 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      Hi Erika, thanks for your input. I’m so glad you like the pictures. I feel like such a pain at the time because I have a habit of breaking away from the work for a while, to grab my camera and take pictures. Yet, I really like to have a photographic record of everything. I hadn’t thought of dad being proud – what a terrific thought – thank you so much! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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