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New Year, New House

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  • Moddy Teeni
    Hi, I see that the gap between my letters is becoming larger and larger. It s been three months since my last one! And so much have happened; so much, that I
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 3 1:56 AM

      I see that the gap between my letters is becoming larger and larger.
      It's been three months since my last one! And so much have happened;
      so much, that I can hardly remember it all. It is still going to be
      long, though.

      But maybe I don't need to write it all – if anyone wants a
      chronological report of events, you can read Ela's blog, where she
      writes almost every day and includes pictures (mostly of Sequoia being

      Emma came to visit us again – we had went to Brisbane to bring her and
      visited the museum so Sequoia will see dinosaurs' bones; Ela's sister
      and her boyfriend came to visit too (it was crowded for a while) and
      we went to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, (a.k.a. zoo.)

      Meanwhile we continued house hunting, which wasn't working so well
      since we don't look for the same thing. Ela wants a land were we can
      build a community; big enough to support 10 families of our friends;
      water source; forest; and not being too close to see level, as it may
      be under water in a few decades. I want to be not too far from town,
      preferably bike-ride distance; flushing toilets and more 'western'
      standards. Sequoia wants a diamond castle a walking distance to her
      best friend.

      So all places we looked at were either too far from town, too small,
      too crappy, or unaffordable unless we mortgage ourselves to the neck.
      On the other hand we had to move as soon as possible: our current
      residence was flooded in every big storm; our landlord raised the rent
      while refusing to fix the problems we had; and a venomous snake
      (http://www.australianfauna.com/tigersnake.php) came to live on our
      food shelf. We started to check for a rental, but in our area there
      was really nothing available.

      To top our problems, my knee and shoulder became worse. On my short
      trip to Israel I saw an orthopedic surgeon who said he is quite sure I
      need an operation, but I need to do MRI first. Coming back to
      Australia I booked an appointment with a knee surgeon for the end of
      January (!), and I now wait impatiently and painfully for this. This
      whole thing got me pretty depressed and hopeless. I can't exercise,
      jog, run around with Sequoia, play pois, etc.

      By the end of November we realized that we need to move out of
      Mullumbimby, where houses are overpriced, and check the other side of
      the mountain where we've never been before. So on November 25th we
      went to check it out, and fell in love. The local real-estate agent
      showed us a house, and we agreed to see another house in two days. The
      local café was nice; Ela ordered me tea but couldn't tell the waitress
      how I take my tea: she said "I'm awful, after six years of marriage I
      still don't know … hey! Today is our wedding anniversary!" Which it
      was. We didn't celebrate much, since on our way home Ela crashed the car.

      We have no idea how it happened. She wasn't speeding; the road was
      winding yet dry, and we had new tyres. I say our guardian angel fell
      asleep, and woke up in the last moment, with time only to stop our car
      10 cm before rolling down the hill. Really: after the tow-truck had
      pulled us out, the policeman looked to see what stopped us from going
      down the slippery slope, but there was nothing there. We were shocked,
      but save from Ela banging her knee, physically unharmed.

      We had lent our van to Joy, who was living in it with her daughter,
      and so we were carless. However, Joy came to pick us up, and arranged
      for a rental car for us that she had paid for.

      So two days later we came to see the other house, and we bought it on
      the spot. It has three bedrooms, huge living room, huge kitchen, a
      self-contained apartment downstairs which is bigger than our current
      residence and can be rented out. It is on a 2700m forested block that
      makes it quite secluded (you can't see anything but trees out of the
      window), and it is sub-dividable, meaning that we can sell half of the
      land and make most of our money back while retaining the house.

      We agreed to try to finish the settlement before Christmas; a huge
      stress began: getting lawyer, building inspector, mortgage, and worse
      part, dealing with Telstra – the Australian telephone monopoly, as we
      could not move in without phone and internet connected.

      I called them 10 days before Christmas and was told that the address
      doesn't appear in their system. Though there is a phone already
      connected there, they can see it only on the older system. They would
      fix the problem and call me tomorrow. I won't repeat the whole saga,
      but over the next few days I got the worst service I've ever encountered.

      They lost my request (twice). They said 'someone will call you
      tomorrow', and nobody did (three times). I asked a guy to let me speak
      to his boss, and he said "ok", and hung up on me. Another time a woman
      said her boss would call me in an hour, and I gave her my cell number,
      but she called my home number. One woman insisted that she needs some
      detail, and when I called back with it, the man insisted that he
      doesn't need it. Etc. Another guy transferred me to a different
      department that was (surprisingly) closed. The worse was a guy from
      the 'customer relationship' team, who was assigned to solve my problem
      after my numerous complaints and my insisting that I was supposed to
      move house "today!" but still waiting for my line to be connected. He
      said he'd call me the day after (which was Christmas Eve). I said I
      don't believe him. He assured me that 'tomorrow at 10am I call you,
      even if I haven't solved the problem'. He never did. When I called
      back his co-worker said "he doesn't work today".

      The phone was finally connected on the 30th, and though internet was
      supposed to be connected '3 to 5 working days' afterwards, it took TPG
      only two days to do it. So on Friday, January 2nd, we moved to our new

      Wish us luck!

      Plans: Ela is waiting for a birth, and after that we hope to go for a
      rainbow gathering in Tasmania. Then we'll throw a house-warming party.
      And of course looking for a new car: Toyota corolla hatchback, 1991,
      5-speed manual, 1.6liter engine. Or similar.

      Love, Moddy.

      Today is a good day to be home.
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