The saga continues...

It's been a busy 19 days since I last blogged. Here's the scoop.

So the last time I blogged was Saturday the 11th of December. At this point, we had signed the contract to purchase the house in Davoren Park, and were waiting on the loan documents at the bank to be ready to sign.

Monday arrived and...nothing yet. By 3 pm, they still weren't ready, so the loan officer emailed and said he had requested to escalate the contracts to get them ready quicker. Bear in mind this was the 13th, and we were due to settle on the 17th. The housing trust had left us hanging long enough that we were getting worried whether our end of things would be ready in time. But they'd done all their stuff so it wasn't their problem anymore. Typical government...

Tuesday there were a few emails back and forth. and at about 1:30 pm I got the email that the contracts were ready, and when did we want to come in to sign them? Darrin was working, so we couldn't do it till Wednesday. So Wednesday at 3:30, we were there signing loan contracts and whatever other associated paperwork the bank wanted us to sign.

(By the way, just because I'm pedantic, I have to mention that we actually do our 'banking' at a credit union. Bank is just shorter to say.)

So all of that was done at our end. Just waiting left.

Friday morning, the skip (dumpster) arrived. I put a few things in it. I put a few things in my car that weren't accepted in the skip and took them to the 'waste transfer station' or, as I've been calling it with the kids, the dump. Even though it's a big building. It's where you dump stuff. So it's a dump.

Our settlements were scheduled for 12:30 pm, and our conveyancer handling all of it told me that if everyone signed off, it should be all done by 1 pm. Well, that time came and went, and we didn't hear anything. Darrin was working. He did get a call from the conveyancer just to confirm bank details (because we'd filled out all the paperwork online), but no confirmation that things had gone through.

Then at about 2:20 pm, I got a text from the agent responsible for the Davoren Park house. Several, in fact. She said that the funds transfer hadn't come through yet from the sale of our property. She said that if it didn't happen by 4:30 that day, the settlements would have to be delayed till the next week. And she also said that the people at the office at Playford Alive, where we were picking up the keys, had to leave at 2:30, so we wouldn't be able to get the keys that day after all, even if settlement did happen before close of business.


The plan had been to pack up the kids in the car, take over Christmas stuff and a few other things that we could unpack right away and/or would need right away. That plan quickly went down the toilet. My car was already packed with all that stuff. So it just sat in the driveway at Banks Street, waiting, like the rest of us.

It was also a stinking hot day, and our evaporative unit decided to play up again. So I had to turn on the refrigerated cooler in the lounge.

Waiting...waiting...ranting to my friends on Messenger that this was happening...

See, I did NOT expect the selling end to be the end that went wrong. That bit seemed to be all wrapped up and the people buying seemed eager to get going on things. If anything was going to go wrong, we thought it would be buying from the housing trust, because government departments do things on THEIR timetable, and if that doesn't work for you, well, that's just too bad.

It didn't make sense. And Darrin was working, and he said later that he'd been ready to punch something/someone, but he had to keep driving a bus! So much fun when you're agitated!

Then he got back to the depot, and walked in & said 'it still hasn't settled' and almost THE VERY NEXT SECOND the conveyancer rang him telling him the settlements were all finished. It was done. Hallelujah.

The plan for dinner had been to clean up whatever leftovers we had left so we didn't have to move them, but guess what? We totally ordered pizza that night.

Next morning, I dropped the little boys off at a friend's house, then came back to Banks Street and picked up Darrin to go pick up the truck. But that was delayed by an hour as well. So we left an hour later than we'd planned to.

See a pattern here?

Anyway. By the time I got back, a couple of Darrin's friends had turned up to help. We had HEAPS of people help out. We got almost everything moved in one day. There were just a few things we had to go back for over the next few days.

I picked up the keys at Playford Alive that afternoon at about 1. Drove straight to the new house and unlocked it. People turned up to unload stuff. I drove off to pick up little kids & came back. Caleb cooked sausages. Little kids had a bath. More unpacking. More unloading. More sore feet. But we slept here that night, albeit around boxes of stuff.

Our sale contract said that we had 1 week after settlement to get everything moved out and cleaned up. We finished that on the Tuesday, so 3 days early. Darrin worked Wednesday, so I went to hand over the keys on my own that morning.

On our next episode of The Smith Family Moves House, just how much does a family of 6 spend at Bunnings in their first two weeks after moving? The number may shock you! Or it may not if you've been there before. It's not a small number.

Moving week

So we've got a lot happening this week, even though school and all our activities have officially finished for the year.

Sunday there's church. There's also a rally I'm thinking about going to, but it's at the same time as church.

Monday, Darrin's work has a Christmas party that he might go to. I'm also getting a quote on ducted aircon in the new house. And hopefully we'll be able to go to the bank and sign all the paperwork at their end.

Tuesday, nothing as yet.

Wednesday, I'm taking the kids to see the chiro. Was meant to be last week, but they only booked me in instead of all the kids. So I dragged them all down there and found out oops, it's only you this time. They went back to sit in the car while I was on the table.

Also, our new neighbours in number 24 (on the other side of the shared wall) are settling on Wednesday.

Thursday, nothing yet.

Friday is gonna be a doozy. We're getting a 9 cubic metre skip dropped off. I also plan to go to Costco to get snacks & drinks for everyone who's helping us move on Saturday. In the afternoon, the plumber is coming to pick up the temporary hot water service. Sometime that day we'll be getting a text from the conveyancer telling us that the settlements have gone through, at which point I'll pretty much drop everything and go pick up the keys.

And then the fun starts.

For Friday, the plan is to take over the Christmas tree and decorations and set that up. I'll also fill up the rest of the back of my car with as much kitchen stuff as I can fit, and start putting that away at the new house. We'll all have showers or baths. Then we'll come back to Banks Street to spend our last night in this house.

Saturday I'm dropping the little boys off at a friend's house at 9. I'll probably pack up my car with more boxes for the kitchen and head over to the new house after. Darrin's (hopefully) picking up a moving truck at 10 to move the big heavy stuff (we're still waiting on confirmation that there's one available). And we have friends bringing trailers and muscles.

We'll feed everyone at the new house. Maybe we'll make Caleb cook sausages. Or maybe I'll get Costco pizzas on Friday and cook them in AN ACTUAL WORKING OVEN!

Anyway, we'll see what happens. Tuesday & Thursday I'll probably have the kids help me pick up EVERY LITTLE PIECE OF LEGO around the house and put it back where it belongs. Caleb may have to move out of his room and in with his brothers for the week so we can store stuff in his room.

And then on Sunday the 19th...yeah, none of us are getting to church that day.

You don't know what you got till it's gone.

This is a list of the little things I miss. Things that most people take for granted, and I did too, till I didn't have them anymore.

In no particular order.

Hot running water. Actually, this alone covers a LOT of things that we've had to put up with since September. Because the gas is out, we have a temporary electric hot water system hooked up instead of our usual one. The pressure from this thing is pathetic. Yes, that's partly because the hot water is (still) connected to a gravity system on the roof, so it has to go UP to the tank on the roof, then back DOWN into the pipes and taps. But while we did notice a difference in the pressure between the hot and cold water before, it was probably only a bit less than what you'd find in a more modern house without a gravity system. It was definitely usable. This...not so much. Showers work ok...if you turn the shower head to the setting where it's coming out the least amount of holes. takes about half an hour to fill up the sink with the hot tap.

And it won't even make its way out to the laundry room to do a wash in hot water. So everything's been getting washed in cold water...including everything from when we had gastro a month or so ago. I've been using a laundry sanitiser additive for the really gross stuff, and always make sure that stuff gets hung outside to get some fresh air & UV rays to kill off whatever it can. But I'm going to be so glad when I can do a hot wash again in a week and a half.

A proper stove and oven. We're making meal times work without one, but it's a huge headache. I'll be so glad when we have a working oven again. For the first time in years, I'm having eggs go off in the fridge because we're just not going through them quick enough. I didn't realise how often we used to have omelettes before the gas went out. That would use up an entire carton of eggs and then some (given the size of our family). And I can use my air fryer to make things like roast potatoes, cook chicken legs, etc., but the capacity is about half of what I can do on ONE tray in the oven. I've had to use my Thermomix to boil water for my tea in the morning, which means it pretty much always stays wet, and if I want to make something that requires the bowl to be dry...I either have to forego my morning cuppa, or get a nice clean tea towel and dry it out really really well.

Being able to plug all electrical devices DIRECTLY into a power point, and not through a shared extension cord with 2 other appliances. So yeah, this one's a major pet peeve at the moment. Ages ago, maybe a year ago, one of our electrical circuits just quit working entirely. Darrin got up in the roof and tried to work out which part of it was causing the problem, and eventually gave up in disgust because nothing made sense. So for that long, we've had an extension cord plugged into Caleb's room to power the washer & dryer in the next room. But it gets better. Because the air fryer (which is huge and really needs its own permanent spot) and microwave aren't plugged into anything permanently, so when we want to use one of those, we have to unplug the laundry and plug in whatever appliance we need. And if there's a load of washing going and you want to use the microwave? Too bad for you. Because it can't go on the only other available circuit, because of the hot water system plugged into it that pretty much takes up the entire circuit's load.

Our new house has FOUR DOUBLE POWER POINTS IN THE KITCHEN. This house has ONE and it doesn't even work anymore. You better believe both of those are getting their own permanent spot when we move.

Some of you may ask, "Why didn't you get these things fixed when they became a problem?" Well, because for at least 5 years now, we've been planning/hoping to knock down this house and rebuild. So we didn't want to spend money on fixes that were only for convenience. If it was a matter of safety, absolutely, we'd fix it. But we didn't see the point in spending hundreds of dollars to get an electrician to fix a circuit when we knew we wouldn't be here long enough to get our money's worth out of it.

So yes, we have extension cords through nearly every room in our house. After we move, we'll still have that to some extent, while we work out where we want all our computers. But as soon as we have a good idea of where everything will be long term, we'll get an electrician in to put in some more power points.

Also, I am SO getting a dishwasher. We have so many cupboards in our new kitchen, I don't mind losing one for the sake of a dishwasher. I've never had a dishwasher anywhere I've lived in Australia. It's time.


When Darrin was driving city buses, he always dreaded driving through certain areas. One of those areas was Davoren Park, about 15 minutes north of where we live now. A lot of the houses there are semi-detached/duplexes, built by the South Australia Housing Trust in the 1960s for low income families.

In theory, it's a good idea. However, in practice, it ends up attracting people who not just can't work, but won't work. People who live on government payments, and have more babies so they get more money. People who don't see a way out of the bad situation they're in, because they're surrounded by people in the same situation.

All through our house hunting, I've been avoiding the houses I've seen in Davoren Park. I did go see one that had 5 bedrooms, because the layout looked promising. It was a nice, big house with 2 living areas. Of the 5 bedrooms it claimed to have, one was basically a pathway to two other bedrooms (that's the one we were thinking of using as a play room or school room). I drove past it one day and it looked like a decent neighbourhood, so I thought I'd go to the open.

But...when I walked in, it smelled like a pot smoker's house. (Yes, I know what that smells like, because I've been in the home of someone who smoked it. It took me a minute to remember what it was, and then...oh yeah, this smells like his house.)

And one of the back bedrooms was full of car parts and tools. The front porch/entry was falling apart. It was just not ideal at all.

So I kept looking. After my drive through that day, I realised that some areas of Davoren Park might not be that bad. Single family houses, some with nice gardens, not too many cars up on blocks in some streets, etc. So I wasn't quite as negative to the suburb as I had been, but I still preferred to look at houses in the Elizabeth Downs/Elizabeth East kind of area.

But you know where this is going, don't you? We're totally moving to Davoren Park now.

Here's how it happened. The night we signed the contract to sell our current house, I went out to look at a semi in Elizabeth Downs. I hadn't wanted to look at any till then, because I thought they were all 3 bedrooms. But this one had 4! So I contacted the agent, and he said he was going to be there for a while, so did I want to look at it now? And I basically got in the car and drove straight there.

It wasn't big, but it was well maintained. And it was definitely bigger than where we live now. And it had 4 bedrooms. The back yard was pretty much empty, so we could do whatever we wanted with it. It looked like it had potential, and the price range was good for us.

We made an offer. And waited. And waited. And caught gastro. And waited some more. And by the end of the next week, I heard back from the agent, who said that someone had put in a cash offer that was much more than the rest of the offers, so we didn't get it. (Update: it sold for about $11k more than we offered, after the first offer apparently fell through and I saw it back on the market for a few days.)

By this time I kind of expected that was the answer, so I'd stopped wishing and hoping, and was just hoping to hear SOMETHING either way. So I was glad to at least know.

Another week passed. I hadn't been to any houses because I was starting to get discouraged. Plus I had a cold, and I didn't want agents yelling at me for not wearing a mask when I was sneezing and coughing. All the houses were either at the top end of our price range, or at the bottom of our price range and needed a LOT of work. I was starting to think, crap, maybe we'll have to rent for a while. Which we'd be in a good position to do with a huge pile of cash left over from selling our house...but it's not what we wanted to do.

But I was still looking online. And one day, I saw two semis in Davoren park - two halves built together. Four bedrooms. Exactly the same layout as the other one I'd looked at (mirror images of each other). And then I saw that they were only for Homeseeker SA clients and thought...dang. But in the next second, I thought, hang on, we might actually qualify for something like that. So I had a look at the requirements, and...yup, yup, yup, yeah probably, yup, yup.... We met the requirement for every single item.

Better yet? Fixed price. No investors allowed to offer. We knew if we offered, and were accepted, that's the price we would pay. And the price was low enough that we could afford it, AND finish our emergency fund, AND have still have some money to play with to do things like install air conditioning, put up a shed, all those little things that come up after you buy a house.

So I went to look at it on the Sunday, with two little kids (Darrin was taking the bigger ones to visit a friend). They had a blast running through the empty house with all the echoes. The agent said that two other people were supposed to come that day too, but they never showed up.

She left, and promised to email me the intention to purchase form once she got back to the office (which turned out to be around 5 pm that evening). I sent it back pretty much right away. Waited a few days. Thursday she contacted me and said the vendor had accepted our offer. Party time!

But...not quite yet. Because it was built as one allotment, it was all on one title that had to be split. That happened about a week later.

But we still couldn't sign the contract. They had to run some final searches...which took another week and a half. Yesterday, Wednesday 1 December, we finally signed the contract. Cooling off will be for the 2 business days after we receive a copy of the contract. I'm thinking that will be two days next week.

But after waiting for nearly a month already and not changing our mind, why would we now?

We were able to get the same settlement date as we did for selling this house, so everything is happening on the same day. And it's the same conveyancing office handling both transactions. We have a week to get all our stuff out of here, which will help a lot.

Our buyer is going to knock down the house and subdivide. We're not surprised at that. Not in the slightest. There was another offer when we bought this house from a developer who would have done the same thing. We got another 15 years out of it.

I've already arranged power & gas connection, and home & contents insurance. I'm getting quotes on air conditioning (because it's December and it could be 45 the day we move). And I've already contacted a plumber to look at a few things the building inspector found.

So. We'll have Christmas in a new house. With stuff that actually works!

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