Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Wishin' and a Hopin'

I wish we had this kind of book shop where I live.  I wish on the day I went past Kay Craddock Antiquarian Bookseller in Collins Street, Melbourne, it was open so I could go in and lose myself in the smells and textures of the treasures within.  

There is a similiar book shop to this in Brisbane, called Tonnoirs, but I like the display of owls here.  Tonnoirs has narrow flights of stairs leading to magical worlds where the stairs are lined with stacked books.

Where I live we have the chain store book shops.  Oh, there is the Mary Who? shop but it's nowhere near the same as these wonderful worlds like I just mentioned.  

I write this because I had to go and pick up a few things from a shopping centre this morning and I really wanted to get some books that were 'out of the ordinary' but couldn't.  There wasn't anything 'out of the ordinary'. 
Even our op shops here are blah, there are no real treasures to be had.  I am envious when I read others' blogs and they show off their antique clothing, fabric or linen that they've discovered.  I miss the old Paddy's markets I used to go to in Brisbane, so when I head down there next time I'm going to scour the city in the couple of days I have there for treasures!

Instead, I shall reconcile myself to re-reading Wuthering Heights today while the children watch Coraline for the tenth time in the loungeroom.  It's another airconditioner day today.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Feeling Hot Hot Hot

It is supposed to be 34 with afternoon storms here today.  I wish they would just hurry up and get here earlier.  It is so humid; we've been watching dvd's in the loungeroom with the airconditioning on to escape it.  It is too hot to do anything other than lounge around keeping cool.  I don't even feel like making dinner tonight.

I went outside earlier to get the mail and I was convinced my feet would melt into the driveway.  We don't wear shoes in or around the house, so my poor feet are rather delicate when it comes to hot surfaces!  

On Saturday evening, the Northern suburbs received around 35mm of rain, our suburb received nil.  Luckily our new house was in the area which received lots of rain so the paddocks are lovely and green.  I was imagining our future chickens waddling around in glee, picking off lots of insects and eating their greens.  Yesterday we were out there and I saw lots of Bush Stone Curlews which makes me happy.  I love those birds and their big, oversized eyes.  I took the dogs down to the back paddock where the normally dry gully/creek has water; the dogs took one sniff of the air and jumped straight in and splashed around with glee.  

Another open house yesterday with lots of favourable comments or so the agent tells us.  I just wish they would translate into acceptable offers!

Friday, January 15, 2010

How to tell when you are being insulted or not...

We had a formal offer on paper on our house last night.  It was $80,000 less than our original asking price (before deciding to go to auction) and the man found a list of 'problems' with our house to supposedly back up his reasoning on offering less.  

  • the side gate latch is broken (nothing a $2 part from the hardware shop can't fix)
  • there's a dent in a panel on the garage door (about $200 to replace a panel, if that) 
  • some cracks where some cornices join (a bit of paint will make them go away, and it's not like there are cracks in the walls or anything major)
  • there is a dent in one panel of Little Man's sliding wardrobe door (about $200 to replace) which we left uncovered so buyers knew it was there and we weren't covering it up
  • also, he wanted to know what our intentions were about curtains at the sliding glass door in the family room.  We have a pelmet along the top of the door and have curtain tracks installed for in case we ever wanted to put curtains up.
So, we told the agent to tell him if the price was right that he was offering then we'd fix the latch and garage and wardrobe door panels, but had no intention of putting up curtains at the door.  I know these little things do make an impression but he is the only person who has commented on it to the agent.  I am sure most people realise this is a house with children and things do get damaged when people live in them.  

Anyway, he offered a ridiculously low price on the house and we turned it town.  He has now been told the offer is not enough to prevent the auction from going ahead.  What is funny is that he didn't complain about (or notice) other little things around the house, so the agent is of the opinion he is just nit-picking hoping we'll settle for less than market value on the house.  The offer was even tens of thousands of dollars less than the bank valuation for goodness sake.

So, where does that leave us now?  Well, after a good chuckle over his offer, we know that we've had one formal offer on our house.  The agent will convey that information to others who have shown interest in our house and that should hopefully promote further interest (and hopefully offers) in our house prior to auction.   If people know there is interest in the house and they also would like it, then they might be more inclined to come and bid at the auction, too.  Here's hoping anyway...

Today we are going to the museum but The Princess had a fall off the slide earlier so I've got her laying on the couch resting her sore arm with an ice pack on it.  I don't want to go to the museum, and despite her "half broken" arm, she is determined to go.  So, it's off to the museum we go and do yet another battle for a free parking space in town.  So wish us well!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

What am I thinking????

We have a couple coming through this afternoon to view our house, so what do I do when I got up this morning?  Decide to do a big 'wash day'.  Some days I am convinced I still have my pregnancy brain in even though Little Man is now eight years old.  I've done the sheets and pillow cases and protectors from our bed, Little Man's sheets and pillow cases, towels, The Groom's work clothes and general clothes from the past few days.  I am still to do some light dusting, wash the dishes from breakfast or clean the floors.

I'm rationalising my behaviour by telling myself it is better to do the washing today instead of waiting for after our next open house as one never knows when it will rain next.  Yeah, right.  I think I'm just losing the plot.  I must finally admit I am just getting older and allow myself to be taken away by flights of fancy and illogical thoughts.  

By the way - I cannot see a single cloud in the sky!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Latest Finds

Well, The Princess had her art workshop today so Little Man and I wandered around the mall, he in his new sneakers and me with my dodgy knee.  

The art Creation by The Princess is beautiful and ready to grace the wall in her new room when we move.  She put a lot of thought and effort into her work and she can't wait to show it to The Groom.

I found some wonderful treasures today while shopping.  

In an antique shop I came across a little wood and brass barometer.  The Groom has wanted one for ages.  Actually, the one I really wanted was $695 and really old and fancy, so I settled for a smaller, more simple version.  It is his birthday shortly so once I've gently cleaned it with an old toothbrush it should come up a treat.  Secretly, I coveted a copper Victorian bed warmer that was hundreds of dollars but as it rarely gets cold in the tropics I don't see how I could even begin to justify that purchase!  

In an op-shop I found two side plates by Wedgewood.  It is their "Avocado" range in yellow, both stamped.  One has a small chip on the edge but they are lovely.  They were $4.50 each.  I looked them up online when I got home and they are 1960's vintage.  Very cute even if they are not in my regular blue and white range.  I pictured them sitting on the outdoor table with a couple of ginger snap biscuits and a cup of coffee beside them.  

I picked up a linen hand embroidered and crocheted edged table cloth for $12.50.  I am soaking it in napisan at the moment and hoping the couple of feint stains in the linen disapper.  It is lovely and couldn't resist it.  The off-white linen goes well with the Wedgewood plates.

Little Man insisted on having a roulette game that cost $4.50.  I don't know why he would want it but I let him anyway.  It was more because he found a cute little stuffed teddy bear with a multi-colored jacket that he wanted to give to his sister that I agreed to buy the roulette.   He couldn't wait until she finished her art workshop to present her with the bear, it was so sweet.

I also found a $1 trashy novel for myself; a $3.50 Wilbur Smith novel for The Groom and a bunch of Pony Pals books for The Princess at $1 each.  So all in all, it was a lovely day - despite the massively long walk we had to undertake to avoid paying for parking.  But the best part of the walk was that I discovered a new fabric shop that holds quilting classes.  I've left my details so that I can be notified of their next lot of classes.  The fabric range was beautiful and my head is already filling with craft ideas!

Now I just have to get the house ready for tomorrow afternoon when the agent wants to bring a couple in to view the house.  Normally I'd tell them to come to the next open house, but you never know if this could be the person with a cheque book!

I'm off to wash the plates and then settle down with my trashy novel before getting started on dinner.  Tonight it is chicken stir fry with egg noodles.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A bit of a chuckle here and there...

We got the report from the real estate agent today on the 'feedback' from Sunday's viewing.  Let me just say it was amusing but very frustrating, with dash of optimism added for good measure.  Some people said the house is out of their price range (but there is currently no price on it as it's going to auction!!!???); another is looking for investment properties in the low $400k's; another said she liked the house but doesn't want to buy in this suburb (so you are here because...?); and, amusingly, another person said she wanted bigger rooms (sorry, love, I'll just whack on more square metreage for you while you wait).  On a positive note, two have indicated they would come to the auction.  Whether they turn up and bid or not is another matter.  So what have I learned from this exercise?  While I love my house others may not see it in the same light as I do, and everyone is out for a bargain, ourselves included when we were looking around for our next property.  Now the shoe is on the other foot and it's frustrating.  Oh well, my dream is on hold for yet another week.

Tomorrow The Princess will be attending an art workshop at a local gallery so Little Man and I have a few hours to ourselves.  I am trying to think of things to do with him that he is interested in, but sadly, our CBD mall is dead, uninviting and extremely unappealing.  I do have some errands to do that I can do in town, so once they are out of the way I think we shall head to the library or the museum until it is time to collect The Princess and then go home.  Mostly our aim will be to head to anywhere it is airconditioned or undercover.  It is hot and threatening to rain and being an open-air mall there's not a lot of places to escape to.  I also need to remember to pack her art smock and a light lunch for her.  Maybe there shall be some left over roast lamb from dinner tonight for a lamb salad or roll?

I'm itching to get back into sewing but I don't want to have to keep pulling out all of my stuff and then packing it away.  Instead, I've gone back to knitting more dishcloths to stockpile for Christmas gifts this year.  I hope to make some corn, cheese and chive muffins this afternoon since I'll be using the oven for the roast, and then I shall fold some washing after dinner is finished.  I just hope it doesn't rain tomorrow as we have a long walk into the mall - I refuse to pay for parking in a 'dead' place.  At least it is exercise for us all and we have umbrellas for 'just in case'.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Simple Woman's Day Book

I came across this while wandering aimlessly online today (I am meant to be covering exercise books in Contact but I'm hopeless at it so took a 'break' instead).  I like the idea of it and think it is something I shall add to my blog.  

Today I took the Little Man and The Princess shopping for school shoes.  What a nightmare that is!  Luckily, we found Big W had leather (!!!!) ones for $9 a pair, so I bought them two pairs each - one in the size they are currently fitting and the other in the next size up.  Who knows if I shall find shoes at that price when they grow out of them???  Next stop was to get them new sneakers for sport.  My children are very choosy in what they will and won't wear so we found a big sale at the sports shop which had lots and lots of designs and shoes to choose from.  Now all I need to find is some more particular type of exercise books and then we are all set.  Oh, and for me to finish covering their books with contact...

We had a lot of people through our home yesterday for the open house.  We are using a different strategy of having one open house on the weekend (instead of the two we had been having before Christmas), and to have them for shorter periods of time.  This is to create the illusion of 'demand' and 'interest' amongst potential buyers.  If the house is full of people others will think there is competition.  I sincerely hope this strategy works as I do so much want to get out into our new place and settle in.  And besides, open homes are such a drain on our energy and sanity, especially for the kids.

Today I am missing my grandmother again.  I grated soap on the weekend for my next lot of washing liquid making day, and thought about the hardships she would have faced growing up in the country with very little money in their family.  Whenever I feel 'hard done by' I only have to stop and remember how hard she, and those of her generation, would have had it in comparison.  I am very grateful that I was born when I was!

On another note, I'm also hoping Mary McKillop becomes Australia's first Saint.  

Blessings to you all and hope you are making your own lives better in some little way.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A new year, a new life

It has been more than a month since my last post - how that sounds like a Confession!  I have been busily sewing last-minute gifts for Christmas, putting together gift hampers and preparing for life in general.  It seems like a lot has been done yet when you look at it things have been relatively quiet for us.  I am taking the view that children do not need their days crammed full of stuff or for me to be their entertainer.  So, much to their chagrin, I am allowing them to get bored so they have to find a way to deal with it.  I keep telling them "bored people are boring people".  It seems to be very slowly sinking in to them!

We went away over Christmas and New Year.  It was lovely but too long to spend with others for one to not go a bit insane.  Sadly, some people drink rather too much to the detriment of others.  Values and beliefs are really brought to the fore when staying with others, too!  Other than that, it was quite nice to get away.  But I could not wait to get home and back to all that is familiar and my own routine.  Now I have a mountain of washing I'm slowly getting through before we have yet another open-house this weekend.  

We have decided to place our house up for auction.  We are tired of tyre-kickers who are just passing an afternoon, or are looking for a bargain and aren't really interested in our home.  At least with an auction those who come ready to bid are serious about our house.  I hope!  We just want to begin our new life at our new property and all the space it will allow us.   The children got a little motorbike for Christmas and are eager to ride it.  My Little Man is really good at riding it after a couple of hours at a friend's property and he also learnt to lean in to the corners.  The Princess isn't so 'able'.  I think she gets her co-ordination skills (or lack of) from me.  The children have been interested in paint sample cards at the hardware store and are eager to take an active role in how their new bedrooms should look.  When we built this current house they were quite young so they didn't have a say really.  I'm a bit worried about the Little Man's choices though, dark blue and red are not really something I can readily agree to.  The Princess, being such a girly-girl, has gone for pinks, lilacs and aquas.  We shall see how it all goes I think.  

Today we made calico library bags and they painted their own pictures on them.  Little Man went a bit overboard on the paint so I'm hoping it will be dry by tomorrow so it can be ironed on to set the paint.  The Princess is more artistic and so she took a lot of time and put a lot of thought into hers, which came out lovely and I'm so proud of her efforts.  I bought some cardboard templates of flowers and people at the discount store yesterday, so later we might decorate them and they can be put aside for up-coming birthdays for cards or gift tags.  We also have a big ziplock bag full of shells and bits and pieces we collected at the beach on our holiday.  The Princess and I plan to make a lovely windchime for our new house to hang on the verandah.  With the rest of the shells I plan to use them to decorate old wooden picture frames with a friend's daughter when she comes over to play next week.  Myself, I'm just itching to get back into sewing but cannot really get too into it until our house sells and we move.  It's such a pain having to pack things up as soon as I've finished or at the end of the day - for 'just in case someone wants to inspect the house'.  The Princess and I plan to sell surplus vegetables at a little roadside market once our new place is up and running, and while there I thought I could sell some bags, pot holders and whatever else I end up making.  We have decided that whatever money we make will go back into chicken feed or seeds and things.  And it will be a good learning experience for her in money-handling and the like.

Well, we have just turned on the airconditioner and we shall settle down to watch some DVDs we bought for $2 yesterday while I fold washing.  This time of the year in the tropics is often unbearable without airconditioning unless you are at the beach with a good breeze.  This is 'the build-up'  time of the year where it is usually very humid with barely a breath of air; I call it 'the doldrums' because everyone gets cranky as the weather promises storms but never delivers.  But you know what?  I wouldn't live anywhere else!  

Today, I am grateful for the airconditioner and that we have money to pay the bill to run it!