Good news and bad news...

So I'm going to write the update and then write the title, because I don't know what to title this.

In our last episode, we saw Mel and Darrin waiting for the second quote on replacing the gas line, and wondering what to do next...

The plumber was meant to come on Monday afternoon, but it got to 5 pm and I texted him to find out if he was still coming. He said 'oops, I put you in my book for Tuesday by accident, sorry.' So he came on Tuesday instead. His quote ended up being about $1000 less than the first plumber, but that's still a lot of money when we're definitely NOT staying here long enough to get that much use out of it.

So...we are not replacing the gas line. We're putting up with things as is until we find a new house. We'll hire the temporary hot water system until we can move. We have a workable situation that we'll just live with for a few weeks.

Wednesday morning I went to the bank meeting and got good news! Because of Darrin only being employed for 3 months at a casual job, the home loan officer said our easiest option would be to make our current home loan 'portable' - which means they can just move our current home loan to a new property, provided a) the purchase price of a new place is less than the sale of this place, and b) settlement (closing) happens on the same day for both properties.

Since we already pretty much know who we're selling to, that should be pretty easy.

So we have a number in mind, which means now we can look at houses! And by 'we' I obviously mean 'I' because Darrin hates this kind of thing, and his standards are way lower than mine, so he says 'if it works for you it'll probably work for me.'

I've already been to one open inspection, we did make an offer, but the owners had already accepted an offer. I'm not surprised or disappointed. I kinda feel like we should offer on everything we see just in case we get one, because almost anything would be better than this house. I won't offer on a property I absolutely hate, but I don't have to LOVE the house in order to live there. It just has to be better.

Any house we buy will definitely need some work. That's the reality of what we can afford right now combined with what the market is like. There had to have been 50 people at the inspection I went to the other day. I've never seen that many people at an inspection, even though it was 15 years ago I last looked at houses.

So here we go. Wish us luck, pray that the right house comes up at the right time.
Categories: Life, the universe, and everything Where we live
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Out of gas

Better go get yourself a cuppa, this is gonna be a long one...

So. In July, I found a secondhand gas oven on Gumtree (Australia's Craig's list) for $150. Because ours was falling apart, and half the nozzles in the oven were covered up by melted plastic (thanks to a toddler who put something in there one day and we didn't notice till it started stinking). We hired a gasfitter to come and install it. I kept the oven racks from the old oven, so we could cook 4 pizzas at once, and it was good. It even had automatic ignition (on 3 of the burners) and a fan. It was working pretty well.

Then we started noticing a smell. Not all the time, just every now and then, we'd notice a waft of gas smell. (Or, to be pedantic, the stuff they put in the gas to make it smell so you know it's leaking.) Since it wasn't always there, we couldn't tell if it was us, or if it was blowing in from a neighbour. But Darrin did some poking around one day and found a leak in the pipe coming up out of the ground which goes into the house where the oven is. He found the leak.

So last Friday, we had a gas guy come out again to fix the leak. In the process of all that, he did some testing on the gas line, and said we'll need a whole new gas line from the meter. He said couldn't leave the gas on when he left for his next job, but that he'd send someone else out with a temporary hot water system that we could hook up and at least have hot water over the weekend.

He left, and almost immediately the next guy turned up with the temporary water heater. He got it into the bathroom and realised he didn't have the right fittings to hook it up, and it was 5 pm by this time and the plumbing store was closing. So he had to go and send someone back in the morning to connect it.

Did I mention this all happened on a day when I was getting ready to go to Victor Harbor for the weekend with some friends? Yeah. So Darrin got home around 4, and the first guy was still here. I'd been planning to wait till Darrin got back from work before I left, but then all this happened, and I didn't feel right leaving before all the water heater stuff was sorted. So then the second guy left, and a few minutes later, so did I.

I had a great weekend, by the way. By the end I was ready to get home, so it was about the right length of time to be away. First time I've been away without kids in 5 years. Second time I've been away without kids since I had kids! Must do it more often.

So now we're trying to work out what to do about it. As I've mentioned previously, this house is a pile of crap. Okay, not literally, but it's falling apart everywhere. It's 60 years old. It's one of those houses they put up quickly and cheaply in the 1960s when Adelaide's population boomed. Houses like this have been getting knocked down all over the place for at least 20 years. When we bought this place 15 years ago, the family was expecting the same thing to happen, but were glad we were going to live here. And we had thought about knocking it down ourselves and building a new house, but it's a lot of hassle and money that we really don't have right now. And I'm not willing to go into massive amounts of debt with a house payment that's more than 25-30% of our income.

All week since I got back, I've been emailing & texting real estate agents & plumbers, trying to work out the best thing to do for the least reasonable amount of money. We had another plumber recommended to us, but he can't come see the place till Monday afternoon.

We've been thinking, what if we get an electric water heater and put in an extra circuit to handle that? So we had the original plumbing company come out to do a quote. I haven't heard back from them about that yet, but the quote they gave us to redo the gas line was $6000.

Oh, and what they didn't tell us, but the other plumber did, is that the rules state that if you have gas on a property, you HAVE TO have gas hot water. Or solar (which is backed up by gas anyway), or heat pump (which is more expensive). So that leaves us having to replace the gas line after all, and trying to find the cheapest person to do it.

Because we don't want to be here forever. Personally, I was DONE with this house 5 years ago when I found out Micah was on his way. But we've stayed, because, firstly, we weren't organised with money to move, so we worked at building up our savings, and then covid happened, and we didn't want to move when things were uncertain, and then Darrin quit his job and it took 9 months to find a new one, and then we had another lockdown so he was off work for 3 weeks, and we're still waiting for him to get a decent number of hours consistently.

But now, it seems we don't have a choice. We have to do something. Selling the house would put us in a good position to do whatever we wanted. But it's a pain in the neck packing and cleaning and house hunting and paperwork...but we don't have a choice. Even if we get a new gas line put in, how long before something else breaks that's even more expensive? It's time to get out. And we have a friend who wants to buy the property to put a new house on it for himself. So that part would be easy and quick.

But it sucks that we're being forced to do it before we're ready. And do we rent or buy? Renting means we don't have to fix anything, but the houses I've looked at that would suit us, even with rent assistance (through Centrelink, the place where you get government payments...eventually, if you fight hard enough and sign in blood in triplicate), our rent would be more than our mortgage payment + council rates (property tax) + property insurance + water bill. We'd have a huge chunk of money in the bank, so we could wear the extra cost for a while, but I wouldn't want to do it for very long.

Renting means landlords who allow pets are few and far between. And probably cost more. And we have two cats. But it also means we'd have some time to find the RIGHT house to buy.

Buying means we have a new-to-us house that's OURS (and the bank's, of course) and we can do whatever we want there. If we can find something suitable.

So yeah, I don't know what we're going to do yet. But stay tuned for updates.
Categories: Life, the universe, and everything Where we live
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Everything I hate about this house

I need to have a whinge every once in a while about how crappy this house is, because we desperately need to move somewhere bigger, but:

  • Both of us only have Centrelink income at the moment, which is unlikely to look good on a home loan application.

  • The housing market is pretty hot right now. Even if we sold this house and had a decent amount to put down as a result, how can we know any of our offers would be accepted?

  • Yes, we've thought about selling and renting somewhere, but we have cats, one of which uses the lounge room as her toilet. It's hard enough to find a rental at the moment if you DON'T have pets.

So most of these things could be fixed, yes, but it's not worth it when we plan to move as soon as we're able to. A lot of these things would cost hundreds or thousands of dollars to fix. Which is hundreds or thousands of dollars LESS we'll have when it comes time to buy a new place.

    1. It's too small. Six people and all their stuff just doesn't fit in a house that's no bigger than 90 square metres (about 970 square feet).

    2. We only have two electrical circuits that actually work.

    3. The back door is literally falling apart.

    4. No garage.

    5. No front fence.

    6. Not enough covered space outdoors to hang washing during winter.

    7. The light circuit freaks out whenever a light globe blows and shuts off.

    8. The light fixture in the dining room (which we actually just use for computers) doesn't even work.

    9. There's a possum who lives in the wall between the bathroom and the dining/computer room.

    10. Louvred windows in the kitchen, bathroom, laundry, and toilet.

    11. Enormous concrete double sink in the laundry, which should be awesome except...the drain is blocked, so we just pile stuff on top of it.

    12. The heater can't be set to more than about 18 degrees (64 F) on the coldest nights (when it gets down to freezing or just below), or it'll throw a fit and shut off completely.

    13. Gravity fed hot water system.

    14. It's always either JUST too hot or JUST too cold getting the shower temperature just right.

    15. Separate hot & cold taps in the bathroom. So you either freeze your hands when washing them, or start by freezing them and then slowly work up to burning them.

    16. Tiles falling off the wall in the bathroom.

    17. Paint peeling off the bathroom ceiling, because there's no exhaust fan in there.

    18. I had to convert my built in wardrobe into a second pantry because there's not enough space in the two cupboards in the kitchen.

    19. Speaking of the kitchen, when we had 3 fully working circuits, I had two power points in there. We had double adapters on both to take it to four (one for fridge, one freezer, one for the microwave, one spare). Now that the third circuit has crapped out, I have zero power points.

    20. Because of where my Thermomix is, I have to run a cable from the dining/computer room into the kitchen.

    21. The kitchen cupboard doors keep falling off, because they've fallen off and been put back on multiple times.

    22. We have to run an extension cord from Caleb's room into the laundry room in order to do laundry, because - you guessed it - the two laundry power points are on the third inactive circuit.

    23. Oh, and we have to run another extension cable from Caleb's room to power the fridge and freezer.

    24. Because of the electrical circuit situation, I can't do washing at night or early in the morning when the bedroom heaters are on. Well, I could, if I wanted to trip the circuit.

    25. Everything about this house screams 'afterthought.'

    26. The side fences are falling down.

    27. The house faces southwest, which is great when the cool change comes in - the fresh breeze blows through the whole house. Well, it does the same thing with all the windows and doors closed when we have a cold northeast wind in the winter. And it's FREEZING.

    28. The oven door doesn't shut properly, thanks to a toddler who used to climb up on it and bounce. It's also coming apart.

    29. Chuckie & Micah's room has a sliding door, which Elijah knows how to operate, so he gets in and plays with stuff he shouldn't.

    30. This photo. See that corner with the bench space, next to the oven and the sink section? Do you know what's UNDER that corner bench? Scroll down to find out...


NOTHING! ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! What a complete waste of space.

Things I DO like about this house:

  • It's a great location. Close to public transport, shops, playgrounds.

  • It's a good sized block.

  • The neighbours are generally quiet.

So have we thought about knocking down and rebuilding? Yes, but...

  • We'd still have to rent somewhere for about 6 months, which would cost a lot of money, and see above about the cat with toilet problems.

  • We'd either have to have a LOT of money saved up to put down on the building costs, which takes a long time, or increase our loan to the point it's too big a percentage of our income and/or takes too long to pay off.

So yeah. We're kinda stuck right now. And it sucks.

Among other things...

Today is Anniversary #3.

We've made a dent in the pile of junk in the "long room" - enough to put together a spare bed, so we now have room for people to stay over. They can't do much else in the room, but they can sleep there. As long as there's not a cat on it. Calico seems to think it's HER bed.

All the books are put away now. Most of Darrin's maps are also put away. So we have this box of flattened boxes sitting outside waiting to go in the recycling bin.

And I've started hanging a few things on the walls. Not that we had that much to begin with. Time to get some of our photos printed and get some picture frames.

And the big apricot tree has pretty much finished fruiting. There might be a few left, but most of the fruit on there has been partially eaten by birds, so it's pretty much useless to us now.

The other day I SAW my belly move when the baby kicked.

We were supposed to turn in our keys on Friday but we haven't been able to contact the landlady. So who knows what's happening with all that. But we've got all our stuff out, including our ceiling fan (which is probably going up in the dining room), and cancelled the contents insurance for the old place.

We have not left the house for a significant period of time since Thursday. The only trips either of us has taken is across the road to pick up snacks. And now we're on our way to Hogsbreath Cafe for anniversary steaks and possibly Cold Rock for ice cream after. Mmmmm....
Categories: Life, the universe, and everything Where we live
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