Privacy is Blooming

Our home got a lot of attention this weekend (as it does most weekends!) and therefore our fence is almost complete!

My Love’s father was back, bright and early, to help more with this project and share his experience. We were worried as rain was predicted but much of the work was completed before that got too bad. That said, we did hammer a lot of nails in the rain! We were just lucky that it was not cold…

Here is the view of the fence from the back. We still have that plumbing issue but should receive the quote today (plumbers are very busy here) so we can’t complete one section of the fence yet. We also need to decide how to do the gate! The bulk of the fence is up though and it really does feel like we have a lot more privacy but that is balanced with not sacrificing too much sunlight that comes into our yard later in the day. For that reason our fence is not really tall and is multiple heights.

Here is the view from “the driveway”… I call it that because the driveway doesn’t really exist anymore…. but that’s a project for much further down the track. The fence looks a bit funny with its incomplete bits. Also we plan to stain it so it is a uniform colour. I have ideas for planting too!

The area in front of the fence is allocated on our title as two car parks. It looks like we’ve given up a bit of land but it’s actually not ours to give up. We have a strange title but that’s the way it is. The expense to change it is not worth it for us when this is likely a short term home.

The old rotary washing line also came out after much effort by My Love. I’ve been using some of the old path to continue on with the low maintenance area around the back of the house. As I’m doing a cheat but putting down broken concrete and the a top layer of white chip, this is a bit more labour intensive than the first segment. I have to sort through the rubble but it’s worth it as I’m quite passionate about us re-purpose for as much as possible

Work in progress. Cardboard weedmat, concrete, white chip, bricks from around the property and river rocks to fill in the other gap til the concrete is ripped out here.

We live in an area that was once a riverbed so there are many rocks to be found when we’re working around the yard. The concrete path I’m standing on must go as it is old, poorly done and cracked. The rocks are unlikely to stay but make a good weedmat for now.

I also randomly-ish extended my herb garden to start a beneficial insect patch. There is already a forget-me-not coming through the fence that bees love, I’ve planted a sad aloe vera in the hope it might live and two swanplants to attract monarch butterflies. I got a couple of packets of seeds from a gardening website called “Butterfly Garden” and one of those will go there too. Again, rocks to put the cat off digging, fingers crossed!

It’s Monday so I’m back to work. Today I’m involved in some systems testing and reviewing some policy. These are things in the background before I can really get my new team that I’m heading up and running. I want to be back in the garden though!! Have a great week!

Half Way Around The World, and Back Again.

I note today, that I’ve not managed a blog post for the whole month of August and the first 3 weeks of September. This is in part due to the fact that My Love and I just spend the first 2 weeks of the month in Italy.

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View from Viale della Trinità dei Monti. 3 September 2018

Before I start talking about that too much, I think I best address the month that passed me by, August.

We moved into our house early in the month. Moving houses is always a lot of work – especially moving things from 3 different places into one location but by the end of a weekend we were pretty much done. Almost 2 months on and now that we have My Cat here too, we are starting to feel pretty settled. Mr Cat is inside for now as we only picked him up from My Mother’s last night but he seems pretty happy so far. Will be nice to be able to let him out in a few days, despite my concerns about him not getting on with other neighbourhood cats, of which there are a few.

We’ve discovered the joys of homeownership already, with our toilet flusher breaking after less than two weeks here as well as the pantry coming off its rails due to a shonky install. Both of these things have been fixed and we’ve gotten to do a bit of DIY too! We have:

  • replaced some handles in our bathroom
  • I painted and then we added numbers to a new, lovely letterbox
  • My Love has put up the smoke alarms
  • I’ve put some film on the bathroom window for added privacy
  • I’ve done a little extra repainting around the house exterior, in a preliminary way
  • I’ve done a bit of painting clean up on our windows and the back door
  • My Love put a new draught guard on the back door
  • We put up a key hook
  • We’ve set up two compost bins (one weeds and the other general kitchen scraps and lawn clippings)
  • I’ve done a lot of weeding and pulled a lot of rocks from our garden and lawn
  • We’ve mowed the lawn a couple of times
  • We’ve vaguely improved our shower with some new fittings – this is possibly a work in progress though
  • And we continually discuss what improvements we might make next.

BIG NEWS TO COME

On the Saturday night of our moving weekend, My Love proposed to me & became My Betrothed. This is something we’ve talked about but the timing took me completely by surprise! We don’t want a big wedding, partly for financial reasons and just because that isn’t really our style but we’ve only really scratched the surface of planning as we’ve had our Home and Italy to focus on. Needless to say, this is a very happy development. ❤

My word it has been a big year!

Opening New Doors

So tomorrow My Love and I officially become real homeowners. Tomorrow is settlement day. Tomorrow we get the keys and start the several days process of moving in.

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Sunrise today, 31 July 2018 from my local train station….local until next week.

The past month seemed like it would never end and then suddenly did! I spent Sunday afternoon packing up my car with what will be the first load. This included a bit of interior cleaning and learning how the seats work exactly in my car. Learning to be a car person is a very slow and ongoing process for me!

Last night I got to see our house with most of the current owner’s furniture removed. It’s funny what a difference that can make to the feel of a place. It’s going to be so interesting to see how the addition of our furniture will make the place feel. It’s going to be so wonderful making it our home.

We only have a month there before we travel to Italy. Part of me wishes the holiday were a little further away just because planning a house and a holiday simultaneously is tricky but part of me thinks it will be great, all aside from having to be away from my #1 cat for a while. He’s not moving til we’re back from Italy as it will be much kinder to move him once rather than back and forth as he’d come back to my Mother’s while we’re away. I am going to pay him weekly visits, it’s still rough. He’s my almost-14-years-long companion.

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Cuddling on my lap, July 2018

I do hope that he loves the new house. Though he is getting on, he still ranges quite far. I’m hoping we make our garden so lovely he won’t want to wander too far! It will be great having the freedom of a cat door again (after he’s had a while indoors to adapt!) as we’ve had a bit of a routine here of letting him in and out when we’re here too and leaving food when he’s outside when we leave the house. I am sure My Love will enjoy having a cat at home too.

When I started writing this blog, we weren’t even seriously looking at houses right now. It was a goal for this year but we thought it would be something that might happen later in the year. We adjusted our expectations and thought more about the big picture and since then things have fallen quite magically into place for us. Our life has truly started moving in the direction of things that we’ve come to really value. A lot of this comes down to many hours of discussion and effort – and with lots of valuable advice and help along the way – and it really is the beginning of our lives together!

Packing Up & Counting Down

Two weeks from now, My Love and I will have moved into our own home. This has felt like such a dream and now the reality is starting to hit us. We have to pack our stuff and help prepare his current lodgings for sale by the owners, as well as the usual life of 9 to 5 and sorting out the final aspects of home ownership.

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Current Railway Station. Great skies here in the mornings. July 2018

This is a time of change and will be quite big for both of us. We’ve never lived together before and now we own a house. Some would say this is crazy but I think we are so comfortable in the knowledge that we are committed to a life together that it is actually very smart. When you take into account all of the financial benefits of jumping into this now, and how we are now able to more easily live the kind of life we want, and move into new phases, I think it would be crazy not to.

I’ve lived out of boxes partially for the past year. I never unpacked boxes of books, trinkets, sewing and other hobby gear, etc properly because I never thought I would be living with my Mother this long. In fact it has be 15 months. So my packing is not too difficult, except that I seem to have acquired a fair amount of new stuff in that time too. Some is stuff I’ve bought, some is donated by others getting rid of things that they think might be of use to us, some is new stuff in preparation for a new life and our upcoming travel – read gumboots and travel pillows…

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On the train at the park. Hoods all round. July 2018

I think the key here is going to be to just do a little each day and continue to rid myself of things that I don’t need or that I’ve not adequately dealt with in the past. Our home doesn’t have a huge amount of storage so I don’t want to just hang onto things that might be useful one day…

Today was an unusual day. It was my sister in law’s birthday so I spent time with her and her family. My Mother, brother and I took the kids to the park up the road which was windy and cold but still fun. We went on the rickety old train which I rode on as a child (perhaps a different model!) and played on the swings, biked around, used the digger, went on the super big slide!

But it was also a day that has probably yet to hit me yet. I found out that a colleague of mine passed away unexpectedly in the night. She’s someone who taught me a lot and has been a regular fixture in the past 4 years of my working life. My team at work recently moved to a different part of the building but I’d heard that she had some sort of health issue though I didn’t want to be too nosy about it. I wasn’t expecting her to pass away and I doubt many others who I work with were expecting that either.

Tomorrow will be an interesting day at work I think. I think I’m still kind of in shock about it and it will feel more real in talking with others who knew her. She was a very giving, knowledgeable and cheerful person in the office. I will certainly miss her cackle and her willingness to share her knowledge with me. A sad day.

Home Sweet Home

So the thing that I have been preoccupied by and have been too worried to write about is finally done. In fact it has been done a few days now but I’ve been quite content enjoying a little down time!

My Love and I BOUGHT A HOUSE!

It’s something we’ve been dreaming about, thinking about, planning about and reassessing for a good 9 months I think. We got the 2nd offer we put in on a house accepted and at this point in time, I am happy we didn’t get the first!

This was my big goal of the year. This is a big step in my “Life Plan”. Over many years now, it has been a cycle of hope and despair that I could ever own a house and now I own one with the love of my life and I couldn’t be happier.

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Our front door, Real Estate Agent Photo. June 2018

There is a lot of outdoor work we want to do on the place but the inside has been renovated and thus is mostly all good. We have two bedrooms which suits us for the time being and we can see lots of ways to add value. This is not a forever home but an entrance into the world of home ownership.

We have to wait a month to move in which is a blessing in that we have a lot to arrange in that time, furniture, logistics, etc.

This is the beginning of the next phase of my life. Finding out our offer was accepted on my 35th birthday was really something to remember!

Reorientation, Part Three.

It’s an indecisive day here at my family home. The weather is fluctuating between sun and rain, and is quite crisply cool. I’m at home due to feeling unwell. I’ve been experiencing strange headaches which I am currently attributing to one of two things, or both – coffee (ie. too much) or not wearing my glasses so much lately. I’m not sure. Perhaps it’s unrelated to either.

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Rainy Gloom 28 May 2018

I’m taking this day to write a lot. I’ve been thinking about blogging for some time and I think it is best to strike while the iron is hot. I don’t have much energy for much else today, which I’m not really happy or proud of. Alas! to continue…

My life has been in forward motion since having the realisations mentioned in my previous post. I’ve thought about buying a house a few times since my mid 20s and it was always a cycle of hope and despair. The housing market in New Zealand is very difficult and to be able to achieve home ownership as a young person takes a lot of dedication – and realistically a partner.

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Paths through the Sand. Waikanae May 2018

Even then, those with partners tend to need to pool together their money from their retirement schemes and other grants and to have at least some savings and probably a contribution from their families too. Perhaps this is not true of all but it seems likely for many. This is the reality for many of my generation who spent a lot of time adrift as I did.

I spent a large portion of my 20s studying. Student loans and allowances were pretty easy to come by and for someone like me who is good at managing their income I was able to get by week to week without a part time job.

I was lazy. I didn’t want to work and I saw something romantic about getting by on little. I sold it to myself that I would do better at university which would be better down the line when I got that all important career. Ironically, as I stepped into the workforce, I continued to step in and out of it to study and partially to avoid adult responsibilities.

I rather wish that I was forced into employment as a student. Perhaps the student money was too generous, or did our government think that more students would behave like I did and “get by” on little? I value the budgeting skills I gained but having a larger amount of savings by having a part time job as a student would have been better.

Perhaps I would have borrowed less or travelled more? I have a large student debt now and have been paying that off for years (admittedly at the minimum required) and that’s only reduced it by about 30%. There is not incentive to pay it off faster in this country unless you leave but it still sits as a burden.

When I first completed my BA in Art History and Religious Studies, I thought about Europe. I wanted to see the things I had studied in person and I just felt a pull toward it. It was always just a dream though. I could not fathom how to possibly make a trip half way around the world on my tiny budget.

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The Edge of the World, perhaps? Waikanae Beach May 2018

Since the decision not to move overseas, My Love and I have turned our minds back towards buying property. I started investigating it on my own but soon after talking to him about it, he was on board too. This moved the search from a small apartment, to something more resembling a home. We’ve been working on this for about 9 months now but I think that the obstacles we’ve faced have been blessings in disguise.

My Love changed careers from the unsociable hours of being a baker, to working in a government office role similar to myself. This change however became a deterrent to the bank who were previously keen to lend us what we needed on top of our deposit.

Another difficulty that seems to be apparent is that employers, particularly those offering government roles are hesitant to employ on a permanent basis. The logic behind this in my area is that with more processes going online, less permanent staff will be required in the future. That’s business I guess.

The role My Love acquired is temporary yet ongoing. This is not considered stable by a bank until you’ve done it for at least two years. So we search for new work once more. My Love does not find himself enamoured with the office lifestyle and thus this is another opportunity. There is also a hope that less commuting will be required in the future.

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A photo from my daily commute to work. Sometime earlier 2018

Our weekend just past included a lot of time on job applications so I am feeling hopeful. We both want to get on with our lives, after our next big adventure – the long dreamed of trip to Europe. We go to Rome and Naples in September to fulfil this one dream before we truly settle down to creating our home and family life.

Creating a home is an important step in life for those who want to raise a family. I don’t think that what it takes to achieve home ownership is taught, stressed or emphasised anywhere near enough to younger people. I think that our society has lost sight of what IS important and of teaching the upcoming generations how to get there. I don’t know whether this was taught in the past or not but it needs to become relevant again because without goals like homeownership more and more people are going to be unhappy because they can’t ever do it or struggle to achieve it when they realise they needed to work towards it all along, like myself. Home is where the Heart is. Cliche but true!