Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Hoarder's Hovel

Last weekend, when Dan and I were driving past the beautiful colonial we fell in love with (and have now decided is just too overpriced to be excusable), we went further down the road and saw another property for sale. Same land size of 10 acres, in a nice little spot, on a nice little bend, in a nice little gully.

It had not one but two houses. Oh, and it was also clearly home to a hoarder. We wrinkled up our noses and drove on.

But, something caught Dan's curiosity around the place.  He thought the main house looked remarkably solid, despite the filth surrounding it. 'Solid' is about the biggest compliment Dan can pay a house, so I could tell he was interested in seeing more.

After we decided the other one was too much money, we booked an inspection on this one for this Saturday.The online listing only has a few photos of the outside of the homes, so we are really flying blind.

We asked the agent to send us some photos of the inside of the two houses on the property.

She was reluctant, but today did so. And, if you can look past the filth here (really, try) you might notice a few things if you are a lover of old Queenslanders (or just old houses in general).

Here, in the main house, we have pressed metal ceilings, VJs and an original veranda that has been hidden behind an ugly facade.

The price is 200k cheaper than the one we'd wanted further down the road. Same land size, same era house, MUCH more legwork. But, let me just say that again for effect:


So, we're keeping open minds, packing protective clothing, bringing Grandma along to hold the baby outside and we're venturing in on Saturday.

Disinfectant ready, fingers crossed. Again.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


What a rollercoaster moving house is. Not that we're even at the actual 'moving' part yet, just the buying and selling part. That's enough, though. 

'Our farm' has completely fallen through, removed from market, gone. 

Plan B was beautiful, but ultimately had too many problems to be a contender. The house was tiny (the photo is deceptive), the block was very steep and the dams were bone dry. Oh, and it faced right into the Western sun. Not a great move in an area where the summer temperature regular climbs towards 40 degrees.

Yesterday, we drove around and around looking at listings we'd picked out, and almost without fail they were awful. Real estate agents have an uncanny ability to photograph houses without showing the rundown hovel right next door, or the fact that great portions of the home are falling down. 

We actually walked out of one place with flea bites.

Today, again, we drove out west of Brisbane and looked at still more areas. Beautiful, but no cigar.

Maybe not this one. #househunting

Then we drove back to the area we'd originally looked, and met an agent here. And fell in love:

Maybe this one.

It ticks all our boxes. The listing price is a bit too expensive, but it's overpriced for the market and after two months for sale and no offers, we hope the agent can talk them down to where we need them to be.

In the meantime, we just signed off on an offer on our place. One open home and we're done. We're pretty happy with that. I would crack a champagne but frankly, after three days of driving around looking at potential homes and all the emotion that goes with that, I'm exhausted and going to bed.

Happy Sunday, people.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Plan B?

So, we still don't know where we're at with 'our farm'. The owner is expected to give a yes or no by 5pm tonight.

Meanwhile, we've unearthed more information about the property - the granny flat is not council approved, meaning it's difficult to insure it sufficiently. As that would have been my in-laws home (eventually) and the whole area is very fire-prone, this is a pretty big issue.

We could try and go through the process of getting it approved but who knows how long that will take?

Anyway, I'm almost over it. (Almost). We're driving out this afternoon to look at this place (photo pinched from real estate agent):

I can think of worse plan Bs - I do love myself an old Queenslander home and it's fully renovated, set in 10 acres of fruit and nut trees and surrounded by established gardens.  It's also the closest home to Brisbane we've seen so far, has various outbuildings and sheds and seems to have a view. I really like how it's nestled into the hill there, too.

So that's where we're at. Stay tuned for the next exciting episode in 'Edwina and family go through mass trauma trying to relocate to country'...

Monday, October 22, 2012

Infinite Process

Thanks everyone for your little pearls of wisdom over the last week or so, they are much appreciated. You are such a wise bunch.

It is an uncertain time, but we're pretty confident we'll get there in the end. (I'm trying to think positive) The owner is still mulling over his options and is expected to tell the agent what's what tomorrow.

Or maybe, never. This just seems like the most infinite process in my life. Perhaps I'll still be here when I'm 68, going back and forth and back and forth in these negotiations, dragging myself into the office with increasing resentment and dreaming of a life outside the city limits.

We've been talking so much about what we'll do once we get there. Pulling dinner from the dam that's stocked with barramundi and red claw to cook on the fire. Getting the veggie patch happening, fixing up the old hut to make it my home office.

Meanwhile, the first open home at our place in Brisbane is this Saturday and we've been in overdrive preparing. The photographer was here today taking photos for the listing. If there's anything more ridiculously futile than  trying to clean a house occupied by a toddler, then I'd like to hear about it.

Actually - I really, really wouldn't.

At home

That said, our place looks good now and we're confident we've done enough work and priced it well to to secure a quick sale.

Fingers crossed we hear some good news tomorrow about this whole proposition. Even if it means a few months of homelessness over Christmas ( the owner wants a three month settlement now, if he even wants to sell at all), it'll mean we're on our way.

My fingers are more crossed than they've ever been.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I jinxed it

I wavered, briefly, before hitting 'publish' on yesterday's post.

You don't want to jinx it, I told myself.

Then, I had a stern word with myself about being silly and hit publish anyway.

And then the phone rang. The owners have decided to take the place off the market, said the agent. They're frustrated with the length of time it's taken, it's approaching their busy season and they don't have time to be stuffing around with some of the conditions on the contract right now. 

It's not over yet. The agent is hoping she can still talk them around. They didn't know we were planning to sign the contract Saturday. They may agree to a three-month settlement as it doesn't pressure them to pack up and clean up right when they're busy with their work commitments.

I can't say I blame the owners. At all. It's been a huge process. There have been some very time-consuming issues that Dan's stepfather has brought up that Dan has been working through on his behalf (this is a 50/50 joint purchase between us and Dan's parents). And it takes time and patience. I can only write so much on here, for obvious reasons, and that's frustrating because I'M frustrated.

I've quit my job. I think I've found Lucinda a day a week in a local daycare. Our house is about to have a for sale sign on the front and we're hoping to sell before Christmas.

Where are we going to live if this whole thing falls over?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

It's All Happening

We are signing a contract THIS WEEKEND on our farm. 

Yes, it's finally, finally happening. The price is agreed, the issues have been worked through and pending some huge unforeseen shift in the cosmos, I think it's safe to say that place is ours. We should settle the week before Christmas.

In other massively exciting developments, I resigned my job yesterday and got hired back as a contractor working from home next year handling a new and exciting project, which is such a win I can hardly stand it. 

I will still have to commute into Brisbane every Thursday, but that's fine. It'll be my city day. I'll dust off my work clothes and comb the dirt out of my hair and go and play with the big kids again. I think I've even found a spot for Lucinda on Thursdays at a family day care near 'our farm'. 

Everything's going our way.

We've been 'staging' our house as the real estate photos are being taken on Monday. In among my many trips to Bunnings, I made a spur of the moment decision to start a succulent garden. They seem to be very big right now, which isn't really surprising when you look at the cute varieties available. 


Adopt us! Adopt us! Look at how cute we are!

Planted #succulents


I'm sort of torn about what to do with this blog. I will have more time and, I suspect, more motivation to photograph and write about life soon. I'm not sure whether to keep this name and URL or move to a new one that better reflects where our life is at now. 

Starting again sounds kind of like a pain, but there's not really much relevance to 'weekend island' anymore. Any ideas, anyone?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

A Happy Memory Girl

I just want to say thanks to everyone who left a comment on my last post -- your kind words were much appreciated.

A few of us gathered on Friday night for dinner and drinks in our friend's backyard, where we've gathered so many times before for happier reasons.

We talked a little about what had happened, but we didn't really want to linger there. So, we talked a lot about our many happy memories of Elissa.

She was a happy memory kind of girl.

  Happy hour, you've changed.

There is more mourning to be done. A funeral this week and a party to be planned. She loved parties, so it seems only right to try and throw a big one in her honour.

But, as is always the way in life, with the bad stuff comes the good (and vice versa).

Tomorrow we're finally making our offer on 'our farm'. It's great that we've made it to this point and while it all feels surreal still, I am looking forward to packing up our belongings, loading up a truck and driving our lives out of the bright lights of Brisbane. 


But right now, I can't help thinking of the big housewarming party we will no doubt hold there and of a girl who would have been first on the dance floor, but won't be able to make it.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

People You Know

On Wednesday night, this happened. A friend of ours, a friend for many years, was shot dead by a man she had broken up with. He then shot his dog and himself.

I've been walking around in shock since we were called with the news yesterday morning.

This kind of thing -- this tragic, unexplainable act -- does not happen to people you know. It happens to people from different worlds, who move in different circles, who live far away.

Never people you know.

Elissa was truly one of happiest, fun-loving people I've known. She was uncomplicated, genuine and kind. She loved a good party, she loved to dance and she loved to make amazing cakes to help all her friends celebrate the big occasions in their lives.

She made the most beautiful cake for Dan and my engagement party, another for our wedding, another when Lucinda was born.

I've spent so many happy, laughter-filled evenings over the years chatting with Elissa about everything. The ups and downs. Relationships.

Her concerns about the man who this week shot her dead.

She did not deserve this. No one deserves this. Elissa, particularly, did not deserve this.

Monday, October 1, 2012


Yesterday was Dan's birthday and part of his gift was this furniture polish. My cousin has started making it from a recipe that was our grandmother's, and sent us some to try out.

The packaging is almost as good as the heavenly smell.

My cousin has been dabbling with my grandma's recipes. Loving the result!

In other news, we have harvested our first crop of potatoes on Sunday. We took all the teeny tiny ones out last night and fried them up and they were SO GOOD. I've never been so excited to eat a potato before.

Potato Harvest

It was the perfect end to a lazy long weekend at home.

Let's spend some quality time.



Today, I'm on holidays and Dan is starting a new job. We're still in negotiations re 'our farm'. Such machinations and we haven't even got to the 'making an offer' stage yet. We're still not sure whether we'll be going into it as a joint venture or alone. We're expecting a final answer this week, and from there we will know the next step for us. I have everything crossed.