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Archive for January, 2010

After a week of being driven around by estate agents in sweltering heat and farming the kids out to jolly helpful friends, we have chosen and bought a house! It no doubt seems incredibly fast but when you are faced with being kicked out of your home and moving into another rental having moved to the other side of the world 7 months ago, it focuses the mind some what.

So, buying a house here is different. Basically you go to the bank, see how much they’ll give you, then get a pre-approval from them to borrow a set amount. Then you look at lots of houses – we’ve looked at about 35. Some of them I went to with agents, some we visited during open homes – when there is a half hour slot when you can visit the house along with every other house hunter in the area.

When you see one you like, you have to complete a contract stating the figure you have offered and any conditions you want to insist on. This is known as a conditional offer. This then gets presented to the vendors and then the negotiation begins. It goes on until both parties agree. Then the agent has to get both parties to sign the contract. The vendor now has 5 working days to meet our conditions – mainly for the building survey to be ok. Then, if we think it is all good and we are happy with the purchase, the offer becomes unconditional and the sale goes ahead. On settlement day we pay up and grab the keys.

So, we now have to arrange some reports, read some stuff on the council files, engage a solicitor and keep our fingers crossed. We’ll know in 11days if it has gone unconditional. In the meantime, I need to start packing and get Em a place at the local school.

If you’d like a peak at our (hopefully) new home, try this estate agent listing

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Midnight

Midddddddddnight, not a sounnnnnnd from the pavemennnnnnnt…

Of course there’s no sound – every bloomin person is in bed.  It’s only muppets who need to move house who are still up when they should be in bed.

We went to see a very strong candidate today.  It’s a lovely layout and we’re just trying to get our head around the impact of some conversion work that’s been done in the old garage.  Could be a lovely place though – we’ll keep you posted after we’ve spoken to the agent tomorrow.  The total house tally stands at 30 viewed so far, so that’s a reasonable number to make  choice!  We only need one after all…

Tired now.

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No news is … no news

No progress on the house situation at the moment.  A couple of days in the delightful company of estate agents await Hosie.  She’s lined up some visits so maybe something will come out of the next couple of days.  And we may well visit more open homes on the weekend.  Or we may just go camping.  It’s a holiday weekend here.  It’s Auckland day so we get next Monday off.  It would be nice to gain some pleasure from it with our visitor,

He’s having a fab time.  He was very impressed by the Beachseries lasts night.  Hosie did a portable tea of sausages and potatoes and salad and bunged it all in a bag and picked me up from the bus station.  So we sat on the sand watching the runners, swimmers and paddlers do their thing.  I’m fairly determined that I’m going to enter in two weeks time.  Between now and then I’m going to focus on swimming and skip the weights sessions at the gym.  Following on from Rob and I swimming between the beaches the other day I’m feeling very confident and will crack my goal.

In Lucy news, her language is blosoming.  She’s become an amazing mimic.  She is mimicing sounds and amazingly to us tunes and syllable patterns. She can’sing’ twinkle twinkle little star using sounds.  Word mimicing is hilarious.  She ha now learned to say ‘up’ if she wants to be picked up. and has even started making a sound like thank you.

Emily is very very ready for school.  I’ve always been a fan of letting kids be kids and learning through play but it has to be said that I think she needs a bit more mental stimulation in her day some days.

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Don’t Mention the House

So we’re not mentioning the house nuting today… actually I will.  We’ve had our lending approved in principal.  All that means is we know it’s feasible to borrow x amount.  We’ve also been through another bunch of houses.  This time though an agent found them and Josie was able to reject most by the particulars.  We’re going to see one on Thursday. Might be a bit on theh small side, but we’ll see.

Rob and  had another attempt at swimming from Castor Bay to Milford.  The tide was in this time and we swam more diagonal so we probably did nearer to a full km instead of 850m.  I was a lot happier with this attempt because I was alot more comfortable doing it and even though the sea was bigger than last time I relaxed into it and managed to do crawl all the way some rests treading water…  but no breaststroke!  Woohoo!  And now my triceps ache, which is good apparently.

Rob took off this afternoon with his new board and spent some time in the water catching a couple of waves.  The conditions weren’t ideal though so he’ thinking of taking a long drive tomorrow to find a world class  narly surf beach.

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Mac Attack

So I’m writing this on Rob’s Mac.  What do you think?  Like it?  Notice the difference?

Oh woe is us.  We’ve spent about 8 hours in the car this weekend trawling round about 20 houses to try and find a place to rest our weary heads.

There have been a couple of possibles but nothing outstanding.  Saturday was a very positive day, feeling like we were seeing good options, even though they may no have been right for us.  In the evening we visited some friends in Brown’s Bay and had a smashing time.  I haven’t laughed so much for a while.

Today though we just sank into the depths of depression.  It’s not really the houses themselves, just the process of dragging round all of them assessing, listening, judging.  And you feel like you’re in competition.  Whenever I see a lot of people coming into an Open Home,  I feel really competitive!  I’m angry that they are trying to steal my dream… and I haven’t even set foot in the place at that time.  Totally illogical.  We screamed for help this afternoon and were rewarded by having Jo and Jake invite us round for freshly made scones.   Soon that turned into a barbie.  We’ve now engaged the help of an agent that our lovely friends Jo and Jake know.  Hopefully having that personal touch will help.

Rob has now got a fantstic surfboard all waxed and ready to go. Emily helped him!  I have been telling her for ages that there is a time to surf and a time to wax your board  – a lesson she has put to good use.

On our sporting acheivements Josie has just run the furthest she’s ever gone in one go.  13.08km Wowser!  She’s got pretty hot heels…

Friday Rob and I swam 850m between Castor Bay and Milford Beach.  It was a bit choppy and I struggled with crawl, but will get better.  Still managed to do the whole distance with a combination of breast stroke and crawl.We’ll probably try again tomorrow evening.

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Socks Pulled Up

Right then!  Yesterday was self-pity day, today is action.  I’ve been to the bank to find out what we can borrow, so we now have an idea of what’s possible.  We’re going to stay open to renting or buying but at least we now have more options.  Theoretically it is possible to find and purchase a house here in as little as three weeks so we’ve got two weeks to kick back and relax.  Only kidding, we’re hitting the open homes this weekend and trawling the rental agencies.

To give a lighter note to this err note, I’ve added a few picture from the last week or so!

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Joy to Despair

Well after the utter euphoria of Rob’s arrival yesterday, rubbish rubbish rubbish and more rubbish – that can only describe our terrible day. Got up this morning and was greeted by a letter from our letting agent telling us to get out by 26 Feb. Tears poured out and a very snotty Hosie cried down the phone to them outraged that we had been given just 5 weeks and 2 days to get sorted. It appears the landlady wants her house back and that 5 weeks notice is very generous for here.

If you have been reading the blog from the start you will know that house hunting is utterly soul destroying here. We are not looking forward to the following weeks. Particularly as we have Rob here and just want to have fun – not prattle about looking for houses. We now have to decide whether we can face renting again or are prepared to take the plunge into the Auckland property market and buy a home. Our main concern is that Emily is set to start school less than 2 weeks after we get kicked out, and is going with all those new friends she has made – we just can’t take her to a new area and make her go through the settling in process all over again.

Just as I was crying down the phone to Stevie, little Em starts vomiting in the sink. So much of my day was spent as a proper loving mummy rubbing her back and holding her hair away from her as she lent over the sick bowl. We tried to venture out in the afternoon once she’d begun to keep water down. Then she was sick in the car, then in my shopping bag, and over my sunglasses. By the end of the day she was a bit more with-it and was able to eat a ramekin of sushi rice.

Onwards and upwards. Tomorrow we will take Rob to the beach and Steve will go and see the bank manager. We’ll get through it, because that’s what we do. Chin up and all that.

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He’s HERE!

LALALALALA He’s here.  Woop woop woop!  Robbie is sitting next to me at the dinner table.  We picked him up at about 3pm after he cleared customs.  He was walking like a cowboy thanks to the internal body cavity search.  They found nothing incriminating so he was allowed to enter.  Lucy treated him to a really high quality screech all the way home which was nice of her.  We think she’s poorly though because she didn’t even eat a sandwich at tea time.

So far we’ve given Rob the motorway tour – pointing out the landmarks from the car.  Spikey tower, Harbour bridge, Daddy’s office etc.

After a restorative shower (40 hours traveling thanks to the ‘innovative’ route Rob found to save him tuppence hapeny) Emily insisted that we go swimming in the complex pool so we all took an early evening dip before coming back for a barbecue tea.

Ahhhh – and relax.

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tick tock tick tock

Just waiting to go to the airport and collect Rob. Can’t tell you how excited we are about his visit. The morning has really dragged by and it sounds as though Steve has spent a bit of time looking longingly at the arrivals board for Auckland airport from the comfort of his desk at work. Still, 1 hr until I need to leave with the girls to collect Steve and travel on to the airport…….. tick tock tick tock! I wonder what he’ll make of it all.

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You bach!

What a busy day.  We bundled out of  bed this morning with a party date to meet.  Some friends of Emily’s from Kindy have a bach at Waiwera, which is about 30 minutes North of us.  A bach is a very simple house that the Kiwis use as a second home, usually near a beach and occupied at weekends and holidays.  Bach is short for bachelor because in the gold rush and timber logging days the bachelors who worked in those hard industries lived in small simple shacks.

We were treated to a really thoughtful party organised by the party boys dad who is also a kindy teacher.  He read two stories with props and involving the kids.  Then we all went on a treasure hunt!  You had to do a combination of orienteering and word puzzles.  I’m pleased to say that team Fitzhugh completely abandoned the principle of the clue finding and used our speediness to collect the barest essential clues then filled the gaps with logic, thus arriving at the treasure location clear minutes ahead of the rest.  We did play the game by only doing some of the digging though and let the other kids have a turn to.

After the party we visited a little village called Puhoi very close by.  It’s a historic village with buildings a hundred years old!  That’s history!  There is a lovely little one room library that is marked up with the water levels of previous floods.  1924 was not a good time to be in Puhoi.  We found a little tea room where the food and drink were splendid, but it was hot hot hot.  The sun was set to scorch factor 11 and we cowered in the shade gulping iced water.  To be honest it was quite uncomfortable and I longed to run into the sea to cool off.

thankfully we’d bought the kayak with us, intending to give lovely friends Jo and Jake their first trip in it.  After Puhoi we abandoned the idea of paddling the river because it was very low and there was no wind to alleviate the heat.  Instead we headed for the coast to cool off and use the Kayak.  We ended up at Wenderholme Regional Park.  We’ve been there once before, and it was significantly windier and cooler than now.

The beach and dunes are a long spit of land that is fronted by a bay and a river rund around the back and inland.  We decided to launch the kayak round the back on theh river and then I’d paddle it to the end of the spit and a=out into thet sea and back along the beach to where the crew had settled.  It was a fine plan right up to the point that the water started gettting very lumpy on the sea.  I was trying to get round the back of some breakers to discover that the swell was running quite lumpy and I started to feel a little out of my comfort zone.  After the third or fourth big wave that pitched me up in the air and slammed me back down I decided that I was a chicken and turned tail and hammered back in to the shore,  electing in stead to drag the layak up the beach to a tidal pool so I could float it down to the others.

Reunited the kids played in t eh kayak in the shallow tidal pool until it was chattery teeth time and we headed home, briefly doubling back to rescue Josie’s lone shoe from being left on the beach.

Jo, Jake and kids came round for some tea which was barbecued veg and sausages.  We had a lovely evening chatting and the kids all played nicely together.  Tired now.

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