The dust has settled on our house move at last! It seems to have taken AGES. Which I guess is realistic when you are moving five people and effectively three home-based businesses. So if I seem to have been silent for a while, that is why!
I do love moving house though. Apart from how physically tiring it is, it's such a great way to clean up and sort out and release old stuff that is no longer needed. And I enjoy the stimulation of a new place.
How we arrived at this new place is such a stunning tale that I must share it.
We decided that it was time to move for various reasons, some initiated by the location (a mobile phone tower in very near proximity that we hadn't seen when we first moved in), a significant hike in rent, and the fact that my partner is heading interstate for an uncertain period of time to follow a dream of his (more on that another time). So our household would be smaller this year and there wouldn't be a Mr FixIt around to manage the large, old house and garden we were living in.
So last November, after my daughters and I had returned from Europe, we made a treasure map of what we wanted and started looking at houses. And looking. And looking.
Since our house at the time was effectively 'in the treetops', with wonderful views and a huge north-facing deck, we had a stiff set of requirements. The new house had to be light and bright, set on a quiet street, surrounded by greenery, with private spaces (we didn't want open plan living having three teenagers and my writing business), in excellent proximity to our activities, in good condition, with great neighbours and a suitable yard for our dog. Those were the main points, but we also had 'not too much grass to mow', 'a vegie patch' and 'somewhere for the girls to hang their hammocks', which had been lying dormant for six years since the Christmas we gave them for want of a place to hang them.
Could we find anything that came even close to our requirements?? Nope. Either the place was dark or old and yukky or located way off our course or on a main road or too small or it was okay but they didn't want our dog.
Application after application was knocked back. And I should add that the only reason I started putting them in was because I was getting a bit desperate. We wanted to be moved and settled before the new school year began, and Christmas was rapidly approaching with nothing suitable in sight. My daughters started asking me why I was even looking at houses on main roads when that was a clear no-no in terms of our values.
I began to remind myself of The Mastery Club motto: 'See the Invisible, Hear the Silent, Do the Impossible'. In other words, keep the faith... but as time ticked on, trailing to house after house was wearing them down also, especially when we seemed to be on the verge of something extraordinary and it fell through, and after a while my girls were just about ready to settle for anything also.
Here's a poem for you about that process:
By Liliane Grace
This species stands,
silent and still,
waiting to be caught.
Guards prowl before each one and
herd the hunters through a narrow pass.
There are always surprises:
sights or smells,
an unexpected step,
a dead end,
beauty and ugliness.
The hunters move stealthily,
eyeing the beast’s parts,
mumbling to themselves or each other,
comparing size and aspect and potential
pain or pleasure.
Sometimes they take an offering
from the guard as they leave, which
qualifies them for the second round.
Now comes the story-telling,
an ancient ritual in which each hunter
blows his own horn,
showing off before the guards.
Competition for this game is fierce.
At last one hunter wins.
The others surrender,
bowing their heads or
backing away in relief.
Sat 11th December 2010
I have to say that there was a fair bit of 'backing away in relief' when our various applications were refused. However quite a number of times we came very close to what seemed like the perfect place. I mean, the 'co-incidents' were extraordinary.
Like the time I rang my Tasmanian girlfriend (and previous TMC sponsor, Nairn Walker), to say hi and discovered that she was currently in Melbourne, only a suburb away, and would visit the following day. Arriving, she saw our new house treasure map on the table and immediately checked off all the items - she knew a house that fit the bill exactly! We waited three apprehensive days until she texted that the owners weren't ready to lease after all...
Another time we fell in love with an A-frame house that was quirky and fun, and located at the back of another property. We decided to speak to the people at the front and discovered that they were home schoolers. We clicked instantly and the lovely mother sent messages to the owners urging them to accept us as the new tenants. But they didn't want our dog.
Another time we turned up to view a house that had been listed and was in the perfect location. The door was opened by a woman I recognised from secondary school – and she was home schooling her kids as well! It looked like we would have a good advantage in this application... but I hated the house.
It seems that we were literally being saved for the right place. Listen to this!
Last October I met a woman at a networking event who told me she had just moved to Melbourne from Northern NSW. 'Really? Where from?" I asked, intrigued as that was the destination my partner has in mind; and she named the exact town he is heading to. "And where have you moved to?" I asked, startled, and she named the suburb in which we were currently living.
I was gob-smacked, to say the least. "We have to talk."
WIthin a couple of days she and her husband and my partner and I were gathered together for an afternoon tea that stretched several hours and immediately cemented our friendship. It was as if we had known each other for years. Our honest conversations set the tone for ongoing long-term relationships.
WIthin a few weeks I was visiting them regularly and enjoying walks along the creek near their home - a gorgeous bushy reserve that my dog and I loved. One day they asked me, "So what sort of place are you looking for?" We were sitting in their north-facing kitchen/family room, and I waved my hand around and said, "Oh... something like this."
This couple had just moved from NSW to Melbourne to enrol their son in a Steiner School. They had told their new landlords that they would be living here for five years at least. They were in the process of being interviewed for new positions in the field of their interest. They were gob-smacked when the interview process resulted in a request that they relocate to Western Australia.
The whole family went into a series of family meetings – the offer was too good to refuse, but they had personal issues about moving again so soon. And in all of our minds, instantly, was the possibility that their home could become ours. After all, they would need someone to take over the lease...
However I couldn't allow myself to be distracted by such a compelling possibility. They might, after all, decide to stay put in Melbourne. I continued house hunting and found a house that was more visually beautiful than any we had seen thus far. It was light and bright, surrounded by glorious leafy trees, and backed onto a small reserve. The owners were there when we turned up to look and they instantly liked our dog. It was a tad noisy but, hey... The only drawback seemed to be that there was no fence for the dog. I began to call tradesmen for a quote. It was right on Christmas at this point.
On Boxing Day our friends rang to say that they had decided to move. The house would be ours if the landlords agreed. Right after Christmas the landlady dropped in to meet us. She liked us at once and said yes on the spot – so long as we could prove that we paid our rent on time. She didn't even ask for references or an application. We would be dealing direct with the landlords – heaven!
So within days it was agreed and we no longer had to wait or wonder. We were the new proud tenants of a light and bright, quiet, attractive, private-spaces house in the location of our choice only four houses from a heavenly creek walk. The neighbours are lovely, there's only a small amount of lawn to mow, great fences for the dog, a vegie patch and a place for the hammocks. The only slight drawback was that the rental amount was slightly above what I had wanted to pay this time (though still way less than the rent at the old price, even without the huge hike).
We offered to pay our year's rent in advance for a discount. Surprised and rather pleased, they accepted – which brought our rent into the bracket I had nominated on our treasure map. Every box ticked. The whole family happy. The landlords happy. The ex-tenants/our friends, delighted.
We moved in mid-January, so everyone was settled in time for the new school year.
See the Invisible, Hear the Silent, Do the Impossible.
Thank you, G-O-D.