Six months worth of life updates

So I decided it was finally time to post again and let people know what's going on in our lives. And I looked at the last post and it was...January. Holy moly. There's SIX MONTHS of updates to write about.

Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

House stuff

Not long after my last post, our old house was demolished. Just an empty block. I drove past there the other day, and it looks like both halves have now been sold (the for sale sign was gone), and there's work happening on one of the new blocks.

The new evaporative air conditioning system we had put in works GREAT. We did have to get the touch screen controller replaced, but that was covered under warranty. We're pretty sure the controller had been dodgy from the start, because it never really worked all that well, and then after the power went out one day, about a third of it was just dead. Fortunately it was at the end of the season when we'd need cooling, so it's not like we were really struggling.

Middle of May, we had our shed delivered in pieces. The company who make them don't install them anymore, so I had to hunt around for someone who was available to put it together for us. That took a while because everyone's busy, and it's winter so it's cold and wet. But finally we got an installation date, and they came and did it, and yay we have a shed!

[caption width="2560"]Shed![/caption]

We had power installed last week, but we're still waiting on the concrete slab to get poured so we can start using it properly. That happens tomorrow.

When the shed is finished, we'll put our chest freezer out there, and get some nice sturdy shelving, and move a bunch of stuff from Chuckie's room onto the shelves. We'll also be able to get a 4x4 set of cube shelves where the chest freezer is now (in the dining room), and use half of it for school stuff, and the other half for board games. (Most of our board games are still in boxes in Chuckie's room). There's a few other boxes of stuff in other rooms that we'll move to the shed as well.

We had a split system air conditioner put in the kitchen/dining area, because it's the biggest room, so really too big for one of those fin heaters to work well (like we've got in every other room in the house). It's pretty awesome.

Life in general

I don't think I mentioned this on the blog at all, but as of the 4th of January, our ridiculous state government decided that all passenger transport workers had to be jabbed to keep their jobs. Darrin was not, and is not, and will not be, so he wasn't able to work, even though the boss didn't care if he was jabbed, and probably most of his passengers wouldn't have cared either. So this persisted until this direction was repealed on April 1. He's been back at work since then.

So my message to you, if you're facing a similar situation: STAND YOUR GROUND. You don't have to succumb if you don't want to. They WILL eventually remove that requirement, because every industry who's mandated it has had it repealed because they don't have enough workers! Don't have savings to get you by? Do whatever you can for income in the meantime - babysit, Uber Eats/DoorDash, deliver pizzas, walk dogs, whatever can get you by. And then, when you get your job back, save up an emergency fund, because something WILL happen again where you need a big chunk of money all of a sudden. Life happens and it's best to be prepared.

And that kind of leads into my next topic, where in the second week of the April school holidays, we all came down with The Virus Which Must Not Be Named. And yeah, yeah, fine, it's the weakest variant that's been out there since the beginning, blah blah blah, but what a wussy virus. We were tired for a couple of days then we were fine.

[caption width="2560"]Two sick boys having a rare afternoon nap[/caption]

And honestly? I'd rather have that again, even every year, than have gastro EVER AGAIN IN MY LIFE.

I had my birthday in January, and Darrin took the kids out for the afternoon so I could be home ALONE. Then the next week Darrin had his 50th birthday, and we stayed home to have chicken & chips. Caleb turned 15 in March. I can't remember what we did for his birthday. Maybe we ordered pizza.

We're still homeschooling, and in fact just had an extension on our government approval, so we're good till the end of June next year.

I had to dig my passport out for something in the middle of May, and I saw the expiration date. YIKES! It was a month away. So in the next 24 hours, I collected all the documentation I needed and sent off a renewal application. I got my new passport a few days after my old one would have expired.

Elijah (3) has moved from our bedroom into a room with his big brother Micah (5). They have the biggest bedroom.

The younger 3 kids and I have started going to a Bible study, which is actually held at our church. We're actually on a break now and starting a new subject in August.


We have chickens! It was a bit sooner than I was planning to get them, but we brought home 5 pullets (female chickens under 1 year old) at the end of February. We were meant to get 6, but the lady I got them from (who had to travel up from Mt. Gambier, several hours' drive away) said her partner forgot to load one up. So they brought the last one up about 6 weeks later.

And started laying. The Barnevelder. The smallest one. Which was a surprise, but a welcome one.

[caption width="1920"]The first egg we got from our flock, which I put in my pocket and forgot about until I squished it against something.[/caption]

And then...our black Orpington started to look bigger than the rest. And she was definitely in charge. And her tail feathers looked like...not a pullet.

And then he started crowing. At 5:30 in the morning. In the suburbs.

So I put a call out on one of the local poultry groups on Facebook, and a lady from out in the country came to pick him up. I saw her again last week and she says he's doing well. Yay.

So we had 5 chickens again for a few weeks. And then yesterday, I got a message from the lady I got them from saying they were coming up TODAY for a poultry sale, and she could bring up my replacement black Orpington. So I asked her for a couple more along with her, and now we have 8 chickens.

In addition to the Barnevelder, two of my Orpingtons are laying periodically. We're generally getting 2 eggs a day at the moment, sometimes 3.


I've got veggie beds! And 7 fruit trees! And blueberry bushes! And a little greenhouse! And...BLACKCAP SEEDS! I'm really excited about that last one. I grew up picking them and eating them when I was a kid, and I've never seen seeds for them here. Then one night, I was Googling stuff on my phone in bed, and I found them. So I ordered some, and got them last week. Just need to work out where I can plant them.

So at the moment, I've got one bed strawberries, one bed peas, one bed broccoli & cauliflower, and the fourth bed is carrots, onions, garlic, lettuce, and parsley.

I've harvested 3 heads of broccoli and 1 head of cauliflower. The lettuce is big enough that I can grab a few leaves when I need them and leave the rest. Same with the parsley. I'm not sure how the carrots will do. I've never really had success with them before.

That's about all I can think of for now.

What a time it's bin.

So the three times I visited this house before we moved in, I didn't remember seeing any council bins (trash and recycling collection bins). I asked the agent if they would be ordered for us or if we'd have to do it ourselves. She said we'd have to do it. No worries.

So I filled out the online form asking for bins for a new property, because it was the best link I could find related to my request. They told me their records said the property already had bins, so check when I got here and if we didn't have any, they'd send them out. No worries.

So then we moved in, and there were no bins (as I suspected). I rang the waste management authority and asked to have some delivered. They said they'd be here later that week. No worries.

Thursday came and went, and no bins. I rang them again. They said we'd been given the wrong date, and now we wouldn't get bins till the 4th of January. Ugh. Well, ok, if we know they're coming then, we'll put up with it.

The 4th of January arrived. We were also getting our air conditioning installed that day so mostly focused on that. But by the time the guys left at 3 pm or so, we still didn't have bins. So I rang them again.

The response? "Your bins will be delivered on Thursday." That's it. No apology, just a statement, and they were on to the next caller.

Seriously?! This was the third date I'd been given. Every time the bins didn't arrive, and I rang up to find out where they were, and was told another date. I was over it. We had a dozen bags of trash in the back yard, and piles of recyclables. Some of it, like the cardboard, I could pack into the car and drop off. But the rest either wasn't drop off-able, or cost money to do it. It didn't seem right that I should have to pay to drop off a load of rubbish when THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO BRING THE BINS 2 WEEKS AGO!

So I wrote a nice long explanatory email to both the council AND the waste management company. I told them that we're a family of 6 who just moved in, had no bins, and the rubbish was piling up. And said that a drop off voucher would probably solve the problem.

A friend was nice enough to offer me space in her soccer club's bins, so we got rid of some of it that night. But that only took care of 4 bags. We still had another 10 or so in the back yard. And stuff was blowing across the yard too.

So the next day, I put all the cardboard I could into my car, along with my 10c returns, and dropped all those off. It helped a bit, but there were still the 10 bags of rubbish.

Later in the day I had a reply from the council stating that yes, my bins were on the roster for Thursday, and the manager had given permission for me to drop off a car boot load of rubbish. Yay.

So Thursday, Caleb and I dropped off 8 bags of rubbish at the waste transfer station. Conveniently this place is only 5 minutes away and basically on the way to anywhere we would need to go, so it's easy to take stuff in when we're going somewhere.

The rest of the rubbish went straight into the red rubbish bin when they were finally dropped off. And the recycling bin got filled right up too. Bin day here is Friday, so they've been emptied already and we've still got more to put in the recycling bin, but at least now we can manage it.

You don't tend to think about your bins that often, but believe me, you don't want to NOT have them!


Drove past today and took some pictures. Although the first one is from a couple weeks ago.

They've taken off all the fibro cladding (asbestos laced stuff that was popular at the time it was built) and if you look closely at the second and third photos, you can see bits of the back yard between the beams in the walls.

Yes, the whole back of the house was that cladding.

So now we're just sitting around waiting to see how long it is before they bring in the bulldozer and knock the rest of it down. I guess they'll probably get rid of the air conditioners and whatever else they can first (at least for the scrap metal if not to reuse).

Oh, and one other thing...

It's already for sale again!

That's if you want to buy just the block. The house and land packages are here and here.

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!

We sold the house!

And for $13,000 over our asking price. Big thanks to our agent, Andrew Harvey, for putting in all the hard work.

I gotta say, I was worried for a while. After the first open last Tuesday (12th October), when he said all 6 groups who came through said it was too expensive, I was wondering if we'd have to drop the price. But the agent said he was quietly confident (his words) that we'd get more buyers on Saturday.

Sunday afternoon, he contacted me and said he hadn't had any offers yet, but that he knew at least two were very interested, so he was going to follow up with them and let me know.

Later Sunday night, he messaged me saying we had an offer for $10k over asking price, and had to decide whether to take a 45 day settlement with a rent back option of $250/week, or a 60 day settlement without that. After discussing it a bit, we asked if we could go for the 45 day settlement, and then have the option to extend it if we didn't find anything in time.

He messaged back the next day asking if a 60 day settlement was ok, with two optional 30 day extensions. We agreed to that. He finished drafting the contract and went to see the buyer that evening.

After he saw the buyer and had them sign, he came to see us, and told us he managed to get us an extra $3k. Cool! So we signed, and it's all in motion, and we're currently waiting for the 48 hour cooling off period to finish (which will be finished by the time I actually post this - we've told a few people, but won't make it public till that's all finalised).

All going well, if we can find a house in time, we'll settle on 18th December and be in a new house before Christmas. Which is what I've been hoping for all along.

So...I've done the numbers and worked out how much we can afford to spend on a new house. Although we do want to keep it lower than the max if at all possible, so that we can have a buffer in case we need to do any work in the first week (like if it's 40 degrees outside and the air conditioner dies on us....)

I've already been looking at houses, been to several opens, we've offered on 3 but got turned down. Our agent said our buyer doesn't need finance, so making offers from here on is just like having money in the bank, giving us an advantage.

This is so different to when we bought this house. Back then, this was the first and only house we offered on. The market wasn't nearly as crazy as it is now.

So now we keep house hunting, and pray that the right house at the right price comes up at the right time.

Cooking without an oven

So, I suppose you're all waiting with bated breath to hear something about our house. And you will, soon. But for now, I wanted to talk about something else we've been dealing with lately.

If you've been following along since September, you'll know that we were told our gas line has too many leaks to be safely left on. So it's off, which means our oven can't be used, nor can our lounge room heater (although it's getting warmer so we don't need it as much anyway), and we have to use a temporary electric water heater which is half the size of our normal one and half the pressure (or less).

So one of the most significant ways this has impacted us is how we cook. We can't cook anything on the stove top, and we can't cook anything in the oven either. So I've had to get creative with the meal planning.


The Thermomix is a fancy shmancy blender that also cooks and steams. Brand new, they run about $2300 AUD. I bought mine when Chuckie was a baby. So I'm pretty used to cooking in this already. I make taco meat in here, rice, soups, and my homemade chocolate. I steam veggies in it. I've also had to start using it to boil water for my cup of tea in the morning, since my stove top whistling kettle is now unusable.

Electronic pressure cooker

This one's great. I use it as a slow cooker, pressure cooker, and big saucepan. I can cook a roast in there. I can make cheeseburger mac in there (a family favourite). I can make spaghetti bolognaise, butter chicken, boil eggs, and a plethora of other foods.

Air fryer

After I got an air fryer for Christmas a couple years ago, I decided I liked it enough to get an even bigger one. So that's what I did. My air fryer has 5 functions: air fry, bake, convection, pizza, and...I forget the last one because I never use it.

Grill! That's it. I should try that sometime.

So the air fryer, we do anything that we normally do in the oven, because that's basically what it is - a mini oven. Pies, sausage rolls, pizza, chicken nuggets, roast potatoes. Air fryers do the BEST steak. I baked brownies in there for mum's night last week. We heat taco shells in there on Taco Tuesday. It's much smaller, but it's still quite usable. I've also used it to reheat food on occasion.

Big electric frying pan

Generally, this is Darrin & Caleb's domain. They use it to cook sausages, chops, burgers, schnitzels. But I've used it in the past to make pancakes and fry bacon.


Thawing & reheating food. Just like always. Ours is a small, low wattage one, so if I want to cook veggies in there, it does take a long time. Probably easier & quicker to steam them in the Thermomix.


sigh I still haven't been able to convince anyone to clean it so it can be used. Sad, really, because it's twice the size of the electric frying pan, so burgers could all be done in one hit. And we bought it for EXACTLY THIS PURPOSE! We were talking about emergency preparedness back when Covid first started, and decided we needed a barbecue, so that if the gas & electricity were both off, we could still cook. And nobody's used it in over a year.

Sandwich press

I never saw these in the States. Think George Foreman grill, but without the lines. We've made toasted sandwiches a few times in this. I've also done sausages once, but it was such a pain in the neck to clean it after, I haven't bothered since.

Overall, I've realised we need to stick with simple meals - frozen stuff we can cook in the air fryer, or one pot meals we can make in the Thermomix/pressure cooker, or stuff we can fry up in the frying pan. Things that need multiple steps - not really an option for us right now. Your basic 'meat & 3 veg' meal works well - I cook the meat in the air fryer, and the veggies in the Thermomix.

It's working. It's not ideal, but we're eating decent food. Mostly.

Well, that was awkward.

So the house is officially on the market, it's online, and we have a sign out front and everything.

[caption id="attachment_119164" align="aligncenter" width="1920"]House for sale sign Micah doing his usual thing trying to read every word he sees...everywhere.[/caption]

Thursday around lunchtime, when I was (what else?) cooking lunch, I had a brother and sister come to the door to ask about buying the house before the first open next Tuesday. I said they should probably go through the agent, and the sister (the extrovert of the two) said they'd tried ringing him, but he was busy. So they came directly to the owner because they thought that might give them a better foot in the door.

Now, if you know anything about me at all, you know that I'm an introvert - I don't like being surprised by people on my doorstep unless they're delivering a package to me. And I'm not a big fan of things being sprung on me all of a sudden.

So here's the deal: they offered $10k over what's being advertised on the listing. So it's a good offer. But their story didn't add up.

See, one minute they said they wanted to live here, and the next they said 'you can stay as long as you like till you find another house.'

And they didn't want to see the inside of the house - they didn't care about that, they just wanted to buy before the open. But if they wanted to live here, why wouldn't they want to see the inside?

They also dropped this gem: that if I told the agent we were friends (!) I could pay less commission when the house sold. I'm not even sure if that's true.

To shut them up, I told them I'd have to check with my husband and think it over. They asked for my mobile number (which in retrospect I wish I hadn't given) and I went back to making lunch, and they walked away.

I emailed the agent to let him know they showed up, and he wasn't happy about it. He'd been in meetings all morning so hadn't got their message earlier. One thing he said was that people new to the country don't always understand the etiquette (which I can thoroughly understand!) so that might be why they thought it was ok to come talk to me instead of going through him. So for the moment, I assumed that was the case and went on with my life.

Then that evening, the sister texted me a long explanation reiterating what they'd said when they came to see me. That they wanted to buy it before the open, and they don't care how it looks inside, and we can stay as long as we need, and it's a good offer. And she said if I didn't accept their offer within 48 hours, they'd withdraw it because 'Hope you know there are so many other properties that can give me hips [sic] better rental income which I don't want to miss on while waiting for your response to my offer.' first they said they want to live here, then they said we can stay as long as we like, and now she's saying they want the rental income? Huh? All sounds a bit suspicious to me.

Friday morning at about 9:30, I got a text saying that if I didn't accept the offer in 1 hour, they'd withdraw it.

Okay, so Thursday night you said 48 hours, and Friday morning you said 1 hour. You want to live here, but you want the rental income. You want me to lie to the agent, tell them we're friends, and accept your offer which you brought to me unannounced, uninvited AT MY HOUSE while I was cooking lunch for my kids, and getting ready to go to a friend's house.

All of this left me feeling harassed and slightly threatened. So I replied back that they should withdraw their offer and stop contacting me.

We'll see if that's the end of it...

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