New Year, New House
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
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
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.
Today is a good day to be home.