Thursday, December 27, 2007

Making Merry

We've had a lovely Christmas.

Christmas eve saw us celebrating at an impromptu dinner with friends, thankfully for us, they too live on the the north side, so the drive home was pretty easy.

I woke up quite late, and we exchanged gifts before we headed out. I got a gardening through the year book, a month by month guide to what one needs to attend to in the garden. I'm such a novice at it all that I need the help! I also got a paper shredder.... there is not much scrap paper in our house that has not been shredded now! Gadgets are cool! I also expect that the shredded paper will be good for composting too. BabyCakes seems pretty happy with his home brew kit from brewcraft. It came complete with a bench top capper and a book explaining all the intricacies of beer making.


We opened up presents with my side of the family on Christmas morning, with a few families having to head off to have lunch with their other halves. We stayed and had lunch with my folks. It's odd to think that lunch for 11 is a small affair.... but it is!

After lunch we headed home for a bit, before going to BabyCakes' parents for dinner. More food was eaten and more good times were had. It was a low key day, and nicely balanced to minimise stress.

Yesterday we went to Bunnings and spent some vouchers we'd been given to buy some fencing materials and plants. We told a few people that we would be home on Boxing day and that they were welcome to drop in. Rastas and the Primrose Goddess were the only ones who took up our offer, and we shared dinner and chatted into the evening. The Primrose Goddess had a chance to look around the garden in daylight during this visit, and she helped identify some of the plants we have, and which ones might be best if removed - most of which I'd already decided were weeds for me.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Overdue

Hiya,

It has been too long since I last posted. Sometimes the more I looked at how long between posts it had been, the less I wanted to post, or the more embarrassed about posting I became.

So I decided I should just post and move on!


We're settling into our home pretty well. We enjoy living here, and now that we have all our services connected (and the bills rolling in), it feels much more relaxing.

The silly season has created some busy times for us, and I must say, I'm looking forward to spending some quiet time at home with BabyCakes without feeling like we should be somewhere else, which I hope will happen in the time off after Christmas.


We've decided that we will be at home on Boxing day, and will welcome drop-ins from those that are looking for something to do/somewhere to go/someone to see. We're also going to be home for New Years Eve, and might even look at doing another spit roast if people are interested.

Lots is happening everywhere, and now that I've ended my shameful break from posting, I will endeavour to share some of our news in the near future.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Post 100! - A Phone, a Phone, My Kingdom.... Ahh Whatever!

As you know, our phone was supposed to be connected on Friday.







I've since worked out, that that was very optimistic.

Think about the joys one can have with dealing with Telstra.... well, I'm dealing with a CUSTOMER of Telstra... that's two who layers of bureaucracy before one even works one's way through the departmental minefields!

I'm not even going to start trying to log how long phonecalls to the phone company take, the crappy mobile reception at our new house and the hidden "joys" of pre-paid phones.


On Monday I received a text to tell me the phone was connected. I was excited, but not so excited as to start giving out the number to anyone but BabyCakes.

After a full day at work (yeah, how often does *that* happen?), going straight to the flat to clean it, hiring a carpet cleaner, returning to the flat to steam clean carpets, and finally getting home at 9:15pm, I excitedly plug in a phone to each of the 5, yes, f i v e phone points in the house searching for a dial tone......

.....to find none had one.


I swore. I went to bed.


Yesterday, another phonecall was made from work (I know, two days in a row at work - amazing..... and likely to be more - all week in fact - who woulda thunk?), and now we have a fault lodged. Hopefully, sometime in the next couple of days someone might be able to make it so a phone rings in our house...

The upside is, that whilst the phone is officially connected, they can provision the dsl to the line... so once we have a phone, we're likely to have our internet back too!


Anyway, back to work....

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Still Alive.

Howdy!

Just a quick note to let you know that we're still alive. We've been busy moving between the flat and the house, and a large proportion of the move has happened.

The big stuff (fridge, sofa, book cases, and other stuff) will be moved on Saturday. Mail redirection, telephone connection and cable connection happens tomorrow, with the ADSL being provisioned sometime after that.

We're enjoying the new house, the cat a little less so - but she's always been a bit skittish. She is definitely settling into the swing of things and is more and more curious about what is on the other side of the doors and windows.

We're looking forward to having the fridge in the same venue as the bed, and being able to shut the door on the flat and not have to come back.

All part of the process I guess!


I'm going to pack my computer now - so I'll see you on the flip side!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Why Doesn't Everyone Understand How Important Today Is?

The managing agent told us weeks ago that she'd booked in to do the post tenant inspection first thing this morning, which was great, because it meant that we expected to be able to get into our house by about lunchtime.

At about 1pm BabyCakes range the agent to find out what's happening, and she said that she was planning to leave the office soon, and then had to do a report and that maybe by about 3pm she *might* be in a spot to give us our keys (ok, maybe she didn't quite word it like that, but it feels like it).

So, I'm home from work, and going stir crazy, I just want to start moving some of the mountains of boxes.

*whinge*



Thanks Rastas for your comment this morning on my last post... it made me smile!

Friday, November 02, 2007

3 More Sleeps!

....until we can use our new keys. The girl downstairs is playing loud music till all hours, the trains are getting noisier (I swear they are!), and we just want to move on with our lives. We're a bit excited that on Monday afternoon we can enter our new home :)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

For The Wah...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

We Got Oneeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

The house settled yesterday. :)

Now we have to wait 11 days 'till we can use the keys we got!


I'm a bit restless to write much now - I might write some more later :)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Ever Have This Feeling?

Friday, October 19, 2007

New Tricks?

It may seem slightly odd, but I can't touch type. (That (and this) sentence took me three times as long as it ordinarily would to type, because I am trying to become a reformed hen-pecker.)

I've given up for the moment and reverted to a pretty poor technique in an effort to stop myself going insane with the lack of speed I was typing at.


I found a pretty cool site to help with my new plan of self improvement - well this particular part of it anyway! I also find, that there is a balance between concentrating and over thinking that needs to be found - sometimes I surprise myself with speed and accuracy, and others I get insecure over fingering and slow right down... my brain on some level, does know where the keys are - I just have to learn to start using my pinkies and ring fingers more.

I'd really like to be able to type without looking at the keys...



Today is one of my brothers' birthday. Happy Birthday dude! Have fun on your weekend away.


The house purchase is rolling along nicely, settlement is booked in for 3pm next week and the solicitor and the finance company have confirmed they have everything they need... I guess that just means the seller's side has to be up to speed and we're all happy! Update on that - my solicitor just emailed and gave me the list of funds we need to provide for settlement. Scary! Luckily though, I didn't accept blindly and asked a question that saved us paying an extra $400 to the government! It means there is $400 more in the wedding/honeymoon money - which has GOT to be a good thing!


In other news...

BabyCakes' Mum's health has become a concern again.

My Dad has also been in for more tests - his results are confusing - pretty much routinely abnormal which means more tests and more um-ing and ah-ing by his various doctors as they try and work out what is happening. He's upbeat about it all though.



Life really does keep moving on...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Life Gets in the Way

Hiya,

Lots has happened since I last posted. The house purchase has gone unconditional. YAY! The tenant has given notice, and we have a moving date. We don't officially know that though until the house is ours.... and that will be next Wednesday. Double yay! Moving day is set for Saturday 10th of November which is almost more exciting.

The flat looks awful at the moment - we reclaimed everything from storage in an effort to save some money we didn't have to spend and we quite literally have boxes stacked up all over the place, and some messes arising from not having items that all completely fit into the boxes that have been packed - lots of "half-a-box-fulls" - that is what most of the mess is.

I started organising the services to be disconnected and reconnected which definitely makes things feel a lot more real, realer than the packing boxes everywhere.



For me, the last couple of days have been tough. Ever have moments that undermines your confidence so completely that it scares you? I do.

Up until a few days ago the working plan (always room for possible change), was that we get married and start not trying to not have kids. (re-read that if you have to, it will become clearer)

A couple of comments from different sources have made me feel scared and insular, and made me want to be selfish and safe. Walking round shopping centres and hearing parents and children, and children and children interact is also undermining to the tenuous desire to accept that I might do ok as a parent, that we'll find a way, that we will cope with parenthood.

Signing documents like a shared mortgage, thinking about what happens if something happens to one of us, life insurances, those looming mortgage payments... HUGE. Just plain huge, in anyway you look at them. A large part of me wants to hunker down, shut out the world and concentrate on making our home safe and secure for the two of us. I think that is quite natural. But I can't focus all my energy on that. We're planning a wedding, a honeymoon, thinking about kids.... I can also tell you that if we'd had that magic one dependent on the mortgage documents, I don't think we'd have had such a smooth loan application process.

I don't know.

I wanted to get some of my thoughts out of my head, to purge them. I have no idea what is happening next, I think I need to just concentrate on the next step, and do as best I can with that.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Oficially a Tenant

Settlement went as planned (except for some fees I hadn't noticed), and the bank balance is looking healthy.

I'm very happy that we can move forward now. the fact that I don't have a mortgage anymore is somewhat novel too!

The bank manager has also indicated that it looks like we have been approved for the loan to buy the house but he couldn't say 100% that we have - hopefully that will come tomorrow or Friday.



YAY!

Monday, October 01, 2007

More Steps

Our offer was officially accepted last Monday. This means that a week from today, we will either have an unconditional contract, or be looking for a new house to get excited over!


As testament to how excited we are, here is a (rough) floor plan I made up last night, to help describe it to people and to get an idea how furniture we have (and don't have) will fit.

Last Wednesday we had the pest and building inspections, and both men were quite free with their praise for the house. "They don't make them like this anymore" type comments were heard, and the pest guy seemed quite infatuated with the house, saying that he himself would buy a place just like it.

The completion of the building and pest inspections signified the start of my real excitement for this purchase, and we just got more excited over the course of the weekend as we went to the auction for the other property we had been interested in. The run down "fix-er upper" went for $505,000 - well over what we would have paid for it, and well over our budget for a house in general. The feeling of absolute relief and confidence in the price we offered for our new home was very satisfying as the auction bids went higher and higher.

The flat is due to settle on Wednesday afternoon, so it seems all our checks and balances are falling into place as everything gains momentum to our goal. (I'll also be without a mortgage then... and have a fantastic looking bank account for a while too!)

The only blemish so far in the ease of all these transactions is that the house has a tenant in it, and legally she's allowed to stay until the 23rd of November. That leaves us with 6 days we don't have a home! Additionally, her contracted rent payment is less than we have to pay to stay on in the flat!

We will wait until the house goes unconditional before we start negotiating with the tenant, to make sure she knows there will be no penalty for breaking the contract early. I just hope that the fact that every time we have been to the property there have been more boxes packed is a sign that they are looking to leave sooner rather than later. I can't imagine that anyone would plan to live with packed boxes for 2 months or more. Fingers crossed she finds an ideal place to live and can't wait to get there!



Now comes the time to seriously contemplate packing and the move.... I'd love to be in our new home at the start of next month.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

A Verbal Acceptance

We've had a verbal acceptance of our offer on this house. The owner didn't want to sign anything without her solicitor being present, so we won't have a signed contract until Monday.

I'm excited but wary.

We have to get the building and pest inspector through too, to make sure there are no hidden nasties.

A new house, a new home, a new reason to go to Ikea!

BabyCakes has never had a mortgage before... an exciting but nerve wracking process.

Now to arrange the furniture....

Friday, September 21, 2007

Waiting Waiting Waiting

We have received word, that we won't receive word on whether our offer is accepted until tomorrow.

What an awful wait!





The Nerd Test says I'm cool... does that make me cool? or just nerd-cool?

NerdTests.com says I'm a Cool Light-Weight Nerd.  What are you?  Click here!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Step Four?

Today we put an offer in on a house. It is not the one that we spent a lot of time thinking about, but one we've had on our radar for a while.

This is a smaller house than the one up for auction in Nundah, but it is in a much quieter location and far more of a "just move in" proposition.

We will just have to wait and see if the owner accepts our offer - a nerve wracking time to be sure.

We made an offer that BabyCakes and I feel comfortable with, and I doubt we'll negotiate further. We made our offer significantly high enough that we do not expect that there will be negotiation, it's more of a yes/no proposition. I'm not sure if this is where the market is at at this time, or it is the culture of the real estate offices we have been dealing with recently, but it was like this when I sold the flat too.

The house does need some work - the guttering is holey, obviously damage wood work in places and tree stumps left in the ground. There is also a tenant in place until the 23rd of November. With any luck, given they won't be able to stay on after that date, they will want to move out sooner...

Hopefully we should know tomorrow if the offer is accepted. I hope it is, it would be very exciting.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Step Three!

Today the contract on the flat became unconditional :)

Now we get to go shopping for our new home.



The current forerunner is this "fixer upper". The fact that it is an auction is somewhat intimidating.



We spent the weekend at the Neurum Creek Acoustic Music Festival and had a fabbo time, forging some new friendships. BabyCakes and I both had our first taste of acupuncture, and BabyCakes especially had some fantastic results (his back responded very well).

The weekend was a lovely camping experience (despite the deflating air mattress that came with a patch kit that didn't actually come with enough glue to completely secure the patch....), mixed in with some great music and a low key vibe.

We really relaxed over the course of the weekend, and enjoyed socialising with our friends, new and old.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Step Two

If step one in our plan to move into a house was to put the flat on the market, step two was signing a contract accepting an offer on it.

It was a busy weekend, our first open inspection (and hopefully our last one too). We had an offer on the flat on Saturday afternoon, after one person from the open inspection brought their partner back to look at the flat later in the day. They wanted me to make a decision within a couple of hours which was very stressful, and in the end they didn't get. The real estate agent went back to them on my behalf and told them I wouldn't accept any other offers or let anyone else see the property until I had made a decision on their contract. The called the agent the next day having "cooled off". It was our first big taste of the fact that a signed contract does not equate to sale.

On Monday the agent brought an interested buyer through, and they subsequently made an offer too. the contract offer and terms were very similar to the first one, so it was a much easier decision second time round to accept the offer. I actually got to sign this contract, so that was a step beyond where we got the first time. Now we just wait the 14 days until the contract is unconditional, and then we wait the next 16 days to make sure the money goes into the account! Realistically though, an unconditional contract is the next step.

The ad has been removed from realestate.com.au, so the property does not appear "stale" should there be a need to re-list it due to a contract crashing.

In two weeks, we could possibly be in a position to seriously hunt for our new home!

Sunday was a big day, trying to squeeze in some laundry on a day we could afford to leave it hanging on the line (not a good look when "showing" a home), more driving by houses, lunch with my family and dinner with BabyCakes' folks. Lunch was fun with three toddlers racing around trying to not let the others out do themselves, and another baby looking on. It certainly changes the dynamics of the group interaction.

Dinner at BabyCakes' parents place was much more low key (much needed at the end of the weekend), but equally as enjoyable. I wouldn't have thought that a crossword scratchie could be a group activity.... but it can!

Saturday night was an impromptu outing to the AFL. BabyCakes was offered the tickets on Saturday morning and so we invited Mr & Mrs C to join us, as they are the only friends I have who really mention AFL, and Mr C hails from Geelong, so I thought he might enjoy the nostalgia. Mrs C had to unfortunately leave early to make it to work, but it was a nice shared outing. We had to battle the crowds to get there (Riverfire plus Gabba event = busy Brisbane), and I accidentally spilled half a beer down the back of two chairs in front of me, and the occupants of them.... oops.

All up, a busy busy weekend, after a busy busy week... but it's been nice to have things to do. I'm just wondering if it will every calm back down to a mildly busy weekend...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

OMGWTFBBQ!!!!!!???!!!!

I think I could learn to love my real estate agents. Yesterday they called me to let me know that they'd contacted about a quarter of the people on their lists waiting for a flat in the area. From those calls they'd arranged 3 viewing appointments, and more people driving past to have a look before making appointments. I was happy and excited by this... the flat isn't officially on the market, and I've not signed anything to officially "hire" them as agents.


This morning I get a call from the agents, saying they have a guy who wants to put a contract in on the place. He's not seen it. The agent had to tell him he can't do it yet, because not all the paperwork is ready for offers yet. She also encouraged him that he really should look at it first too. He'll be stopping by tomorrow afternoon with daughter to look at the property. I just can't get over the fact that they were prepared to promise money without even seeing it....


It makes me feel that we will get what we want for it, and maybe a bit more too.










WOOHOO!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Holy Moly!

We have had 4 real estate agents through in the past week to look at our home. They all wanted on their books, and quite frankly, all had a pretty similar offer in how they would market the property. We in the end chose an agent that we thought would look after our interests and also be a fair agent on our behalf when dealing with prospective buyers. It is a mind wracking process to be honest, and simply picking the agent seems like the first hurdle of our new journey. We have picked the agency that we have the strongest affinity with and a balanced offer in their sales style. Our current home could be on the market as soon as next weekend. EEK!

It is absolutely mind numbing to think that this process could see us homeless for a while... We have to have a bit of blind faith (and contingency plans), that we will be able to go from the flat into our new home. The market moves so quick and is very intimidating for it. All I know is, while we haven't sold the flat, we can't afford to buy just about any house, and certainly not the home we want.

Making a decision to list and who to list it with is a big emotional step. We're excited though. We're getting closer to buying a house.

Monday, August 20, 2007

How the World can Change in a Short Time

On Friday morning I looked through realestate.com.au as I sometimes do and sent BabyCakes some links for houses in our area (some were just for the giggle factor).

We had been planning to leave things as they are until after we were married, staying put here for another couple of years. It seems though, the nesting drive induces us to look for a house sooner than that. We've even talked to our Credit Union Manager, and he didn't laugh at our aspirations either - which is a great start!

We looked at a lot of open for inspections on Saturday morning. The market is booming, despite all the promised doom and gloom. Real estate agents are having trouble maintaining a "stock" of property, and they have given us very promising guide prices on what we could possibly expect if we sold the flat - to the point that I fully expect to have a couple of agents through to give us a firmer guide on what to expect, and if we could expect a bit more if we did some work.

We can't afford to keep the flat and buy the type/size house in the area we want, so selling the flat would have to happen before we could be in a position to make offers on houses. Houses don't tend to stay on the market much more than a week, if not a weekend before they have offers. Which makes the process feel a lot like a lottery... jump in, sell your home and hope that there will be one you want when you do... I guess we should also be prepared that we might have to have an interim home for a while, or with any luck, get a longer settlement on the flat, and a shorter settlement on a house, in that window where the Credit Union has an idea everything is all spoken for.

All up, it is a scary process, but so very exciting too.

The simple fact that it is possible to afford a house makes it much more alluring to look for one. The fact that it seems like a very impulsive market makes it scary.

It is feeling like gathering all the information we can now will make us more powerful as we start this process.


EeeeeeeeeeeeEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeeekkkKKKKKKkkkkKkK!


Wish us luck!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A Long Way Away


Yesterday the newest member of our family arrived. Little Thomas (who at 9 pound 7 (4.28kgs) is much bigger than little Chloe born 10 days ago...), was born yesterday at 9:15am local time. Mother and baby are doing well.

I was at work basking in the happiness of the news when suddenly it hit that I was not there to share this special moment with the proud parents (both people I consider to be friends with, not just related), and not be able to hold the little baby. (Something I'm sure BabyCakes is probably quietly happy to avoid... all those baby pheromones that make people want one of their own)

It was odd to suddenly feel the weight of distance anew, despite having come to terms with it an age ago.

I miss my brother, and his lovely fiancée, and I look forward to meeting their brand new little boy.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Ikea Furniture, Babies, Cars, Mobile Phones, eBay, Photographers and Dressmakers

Life has been busy. I shall endeavor to explain my title further....

Ikea Furniture
BabyCakes and I assembled flat pack furniture together - it MUST be love.... no one lost a finger, or even better, dignity (mind you BabyCakes did look on in wonder as I pulled out the instructions to read).

Our Ikea visit started (relatively) innocently enough one Sunday afternoon (imminent tax cheque burning a hole in our pocket given our constant saving-for-the-wedding/honeymoon focus) , with the purchase of some new bedroom furniture. Then my infatuation hit its first test of commitment - one box of flat pack furniture that had lovingly been wrestled in an out of the car was less than perfect - the pieces were damaged!

We assembled what we could (that which wasn't broken), and marveled at not only our skill in putting the furniture together, but our excellent design choices and late change in colour, whilst studiously ignoring the poor left over box of chest of drawers, to be swapped at a later date. The following Thursday we loaded up the Triton with the mangled box of Ikea parts, and headed back to Mecca, I mean Ikea. The return process at Ikea at 8pm on a Thursday night was surprisingly easy... they looked at the poor box of unwanted Ikea, didn't give us a hard time about the ripped box we returned it in (who worries about how the box gets opened when one is planning to keep what is inside??), or our desire not to just replace the pieces that were obviously damaged, but to get a whole new box and start over.

They credited the money spent back onto a "refund card" which was pretty cool, because as BabyCakes pointed out, it was a bit like spending money all over again.... We picked out a replacement, paid for it with our returns card and headed home.... I even waited 'till Friday to put it together and complete our bedroom furniture escapade...

Then BabyCakes' Mum wanted to get us our engagement gift, now that she's feeling much better and stronger. So, that Sunday we dutifully went back to Ikea and picked out our dining room table... and some chairs to match. The table is something we plan to keep for quite some time, deliberately buying an extension table to help us out with that goal. Thank you Mr & Mrs BabyCakes for our fantastic new table!

The table was exceptionally heavy, but very easy to put together - just add legs! The chairs however were a different story... once we worked out what the instructions meant it did go a lot more smoothly, but they were definitely the biggest challenge to motor skills that we have bought from Ikea so far!

They only had two chairs left on their shelves late in their Sunday... so guess what? We have to go back to Ikea again!!!

We also left BabyCake's Mum with a fist full of brochures for wall units for her lounge room (she likes Ikea almost as much as I do!), and I'm sure that we could be called on to help once she's made her decisions for that too.

Babies

In amongst all the Ikea visits life did actually keep moving, and BabyCake's cousin and his wife had a very cute baby girl on Sunday evening in Cairns. Baby Chloe was 5 pound 13 ounces when she was born (we'll call that 2.64 in metric terms). Mother and baby are doing well by all reports, proud Dad has sent through several pictures of their little bundle, with huge smiles all round.

My brother and his fiancée have moved past their due date on Sunday and are waiting on tenterhooks for the arrival of their first child too. Good luck guys! They also both started up blogs to document their journey (and have a place to write it down once and refer everybody to it...) Their Journals are now added to my list of blogs I read, check them out if you are interested!

We also found out that BabyCakes' sister is expecting, congratulations Nin, not only on the great news, but for winning the family baby race!


Cars
The Last Sunday in July sees the Queensland Chevrolet Car Club at their annual show and shine at Eight Mile Plains State School. Ordinarily, this event would not be top of my "things to do" list, but planning a wedding does strange things to you.... We saw a really cool car at the Hotrod show in at the RNA show grounds earlier this year, and we were hoping to see it again at this event. We did, and we finally got a chance to meet the owners of the stunning vehicle. This time round we were also able to get a bit closer up and fully appreciate what a beautiful car this 57 Chevy is. They have agreed to pencil in our wedding date and were very glad to hear that we had such strong feelings for their car. We haven't talked prices yet, but have swapped details, and acknowledged a definite intent! Yay! Now we just have to make some decisions about what the rest of of bridal party are traveling in!


(We've organised the bright purple car for the wedding, the other pics are cars I thought were cool)


Mobile Phones
We went and saw The Simpsons Movie. It was fun, just like a giant Simpsons episode in Cinemascope. The weird thing is, that the pre-show advertising caught me... Subsequently, BabyCakes bought me a very cool and very small limited edition Simpsons phone... It's bright yellow! It also has some of those wizz bang new fangled gadgets like a camera and polyphonic ring tones on it. (That's how up to date I am!). As I write this my phone number should have finished porting, in fact I literally got the text to confirm this as I was typing - spoOoOoky! So, I have now changed from Vodafone to Optus, not because I was in anyway unhappy with my Vodafone, but because the phone is locked to Optus for a bit, so it seemed easiest (and cheapest) to swap, at least for a while. Those of you on Vodafone, you will have to start paying for your calls to me, and those of you on Optus, you might get free calls to me... Mostly though.... how cool/cute is my phone??!!

You will be glad to know that even a Simpsons tragic like myself declined to stick the Homer "flasher" on my phone... it is a doo-hickey that flashes when one's phone rings... sad that THAT is the market that the advertising was aimed at, and I bought it.

Now I just have to keep plodding along with the arduous task of manually swapping my contacts over because the old phone wont swap information from phone to SIM and vice versa.


eBay
Last week I stumbled across what I deemed to be a bargain at David Jones. 3 books for $40, and included in that special were the last remaining first edition copies of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" I bought one, along with a copy of Dan Brown's "Angels and Demons" and "The Bride Stripped Bare". I mulled over my bargain as I went home, and checked out eBay. I was right, copies of HP & the Half-Blood prince were going for more than $13 each... That night I went back and for the princely sum of $40 started speculating on eBay. It was very exciting when my listing received its first bid, and the excitement waned from there as it hasn't as yet had any further bids. There are, however, 10 people watching it... and I haven't told 10 people about it, so there *must* be some more interested buyers lurking for that last minute bargain, mustn't there?

I saw too late (as I was peeling stickers off it) that there was a touch of damage to the dust cover of this edition, which is why it went up first (leading with the weakest). The other two copies (one an adult cover) I haven't quite decided how to manage. I could keep them for a while as they can only go up in value really, or I could sell them to get a quick short term profit.... ahhh the decisions! I guess it will depend on how my first eBay sale goes.


Photographers
I asked a question of my friends a couple of weeks ago, that it seems I didn't want an answer for. It was with regard to a wedding photographer... One of the hardest components to decide on, for me.

Our original budget for a photographer started at zero, then went to $500, then went to $1,500, and now is at the $2k mark... As you can see, there have been some changes in expectations of a photographer in that time. Photography is also something people comment on when reminiscing about their day, especially if they got it wrong. I've heard a couple of friends and family wish they'd chosen different people, communicated more clearly, spent more money or chosen a different photographer. My original thought with regard to photography was that the people were more important than the things. Documenting the day was important, but documenting the people was the goal. This still holds true, but the more I grasp how much we're spending on all the components, the more important that it is documented correctly becomes. I'll admit that there is also a part of me that figures that if we're getting all spiffed up like that I want some damn good pictures of me... it doesn't happen often that I like pictures of me, minimising the risk that I'll hate all the pictures of me seems like a good investment, and this is one of the few chances one gets a significant portrait done.

So, at the moment, the photographer I really like, no one is overly impressed with his offer. Fair enough. I met him, and I clicked with him, he said the right things, he impressed me. (Those in sales take heed - personal connections are important). He offers a lot of time with his service, and not much specifically to touch and feel.

Since then, a photographer who has been sending me fliers from pretty much the first expo I went to has come up with a "show special" that interests me. Her basic package was way over my budget, and didn't include ownership of the digital images, so I'd always discounted her. Now, courtesy of the man mentioned above, the price realisation kicked in, that if I want a professional i will have to pay for it... so her price is in the range (if not slightly under it), and then she added the show special of a disc of all the shots.... bingo! She has my attention.
Tonight we are going to check out her studio and albums... see her work beyond the glossy brochure she sent.

Of course, BabyCakes has to like the photographer too. I realised the other night whilst discussing our options, that the photographer we choose will be sharing and be involved with a significant proportion of our day, they HAVE to fit with us, they have to make sense for us, and what we need.


Dressmakers
Ugh. This has been a task that I thought was going to be much easier, and much more fun that it has turned out to be. I have some specific ideas of what I want, and it seems to simple to me, and yet, people keep telling me how much more difficult (and therefore expensive), it really is.

I've been in touch with two whose names I got from Gardam's Fabrics and am in the process of trying to get together for a meeting (and not embarrass myself like last time). It looks like the week after next I'll have a meeting, and go from there.

I'm glad I don't have the added stress of worrying excessively over the cost - I've been offered my dress as a gift so that I do not let the dollar signs influence my decisions beyond what I really want. Thank you!




Well, I think that is a big enough post for today. Hopefully I won't leave it so long between posts next time!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

BabyCakes Has a Wallet!

You might think this a bit of an obvious statement, but we've spent two days looking for it, and asking other people to look for it in their belongings. It was on the top of BabyCakes' computer desk...


...enough said!


On with the more fun things.... I finished reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows today... it was fun, and an easy read, once I found the time to read it. I'm not going to cry myself to sleep knowing that the series is over. BabyCakes bought me the book on Saturday morning as he passed the table of them at Kmart. It is the first one in the series I haven't borrowed from the library, and therefore, the only one I read close to it's release date.


Life has been a bit busy of late, I was out at Farm Fantastic at Caboolture on Friday through to Sunday, helping a friend by trying to pretend I know something about plants. The first two days were long and tiring (and the 6am starts were tedious), but the last day hurt a lot. The tiredness settled, the aches felt like they'd never leave and the very slow customer flow was utterly demoralising. The morning rain showers did not help either (an outside stall). We had to load the vast majority of plants that had been brought from Sydney back into the truck as darkness fell on Sunday night. There was a (small) profit turned from the event, but the money was made not from plant sales, but from the extra paraphernalia of planter pots, hand painted resin birds, butterfly magnets and buckets. It was an odd experience. I'd never done an outdoor show selling plants - they've all been under cover or indoors in the past - the relentless wind and dust was draining.




I'm sure there has been more stuff since I last wrote, but I can't think of it at the moment!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I'm Getting Really Excited!

This week I've been looking at (in some detail) two big ticket items for the upcoming nuptials - the honeymoon, and the photographer.

For the honeymoon we are going to go on an Alaskan glacier cruise up the inside passage (not as rude as it sounds people!). I found this news article today, which has made me pretty much wiggle with excitement. I think that because I have been in contact with travel agents, and BabyCakes and I have settled on an outline itinerary that things are finally seeming very real.

It turns out that if one wants to cruise in May, now is about the time one should investigate them for the best (earlybird) prices. We've picked our cruise (best value for money for us), which fits into our schedule and now, I think just about all there is left to do is give someone money for it!

We'll also have a few days in Vancouver before we cruise, to hopefully catch up with my wifey and see the sights.

Yay!!!



I met a photographer at the weekend wedding expo I went to, which was really cool, till I read what his fee was! After much deliberation and to-ing and fro-ing I have come to the conclusion that I think I will regret skimping on this, despite how much I want to come in on budget for it. The budget has already been upgraded once to accommodate photography (not an initial priority), but the more time goes on, the more it seems necessary to get the *right* photographer for us. That's not the cheapest one, nor the most expensive one, but the one that will give us what we want, in a way that works for us.

Jason seems like a good fit, and a guy who has similar value structure to me when it comes to weddings! He shares copyright with the client, so we can get them printed anywhere, and he will have prints done for us, virtually at cost price. He and another photographer will be in attendance till the job is finished (no clock watching), and each picture supplied on disk will have time spent on it for colour correction etc. He has some spectacular shots on his website, and his corporate site has amazing photos too. I think the time involved alone will prove value for money, before the artistry of the shots are taken into account. I look forward to having some spectacular photos of our own.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

What a HUGE Weekend

I found my new favourite bottle shop, went to a wedding expo with my Step Mum and Sister, ironed out details in my planned wedding dress, bought a new frock for a cocktail party on Thursday night and had my first ever golf driving range experience....

I almost get tired just typing it all out!

Golfing was kinda fun, and BabyCakes got *really* excited about doing it, which was great. It was good to go out and do something active (not quite "a work out", but better than sitting at home watching movies or playing video games). BabyCakes promises that I did "quite well for (my) first time"... I've been scared of golf since my teenage forays into mini golf... they took me long enough to complete! This is an effort to get past that, and try to learn new things, and most importantly, do active (non-passive) things with BabyCakes. Today was a good, and not too intimidating start - I only duffed a few of them, and even managed to get some fairly decent shots in! We'll probably do another range visit or two, and then maybe attempt a chip and putt course I found near my brother's place.

The cocktail dress hunting was a fantastically successful mission! I found a dress for $50!! Usually when I work out I need clothes for a specific event I can't find them. I found a few dresses to try on (a very few, but that is the joy about being a size 16 - apparently bigger girls don't need to look glamorous - only size 6 - 12s. The dress I came home with was not only one of the cheapest (yay), but the only one as BabyCakes pointed out, that did not require me pulling at it as I walked out of the change room.... I was surprised that the style was as forgiving as it is as it is a stretch fabric, and a dress that on the rack looks like a dress for those pesky size 10s! Now I just need some good "foundation" undies (I'm getting old) and I should be all set! BabyCakes was amazingly patient and a very diligent shopping offsider... he event went looking for dresses for me, and did not once complain when I suddenly stopped when I saw a dress in a window. He offered opinion when asked for it, and waited outside several dressing rooms without complaint. He even paid for the dress once it was picked!! - Back off ladies, he's mine!

The cocktail party should be fun... BabyCakes' cousin is in the Navy and his ship is in town this week. BabyCakes' cousin has invited us, along with more cousins, to come along to the party. - There have been threats for the boys to dress up as a construction worker, policeman, Native American, biker, and cowboy, so the invitee will fit right in, as he will be in his dress uniform! I think realistically, that it won't happen.

The wedding expo was great fun - M & L had never been to one before, so they were all right eyed and excited. I have now been to three, so was a touch more jaded and aware of how "samey" they can get. The three of us sent out our good vibes for me to win the major prize of $8.5k worth of professional services.... but I didn't win, which is fine, as it would have meant a few changes to the existing plans!! What the day did do, was give me a chance to talk over my ideas for my wedding frock, and as M is a very accomplished dressmaker, she's useful person to talk to such things about! We stopped in at Gardams and looked at both patterns and fabrics. Which gave me the strength to think that what I want is not as freakish as I was starting to wonder! They even gave me the cards of a couple of dressmakers to talk to. Hopefully I will find one that I can work with, as the last one I was hoping to talk to has left the country!!

It was a productive weekend. It was fun!

Friday, June 29, 2007

LOLcats - a fave of mine for a while...

I wonder how long till we see it on "Today" or "Sunrise" as a fluff piece now that the Australian mainstream media has found it? I love their very dry way of trying to explain how you at home can also make some lolcats! It should be pretty obvious how to do it once you've looked at a few of the pictures...

I'm so geeky, I went to the cheez to tell them!


My fave (set as my desktop, and has been for some time now) is :

Happycat has run out of happy :(

Monday, June 25, 2007

Life

Life is hectic, but then again I don't know many people that this is not true for.

We had a nice weekend (which flew by altogether too quickly), with a lot of impromptu catching up with friends and family we hadn't seen for what feels an age. We still have more people we need to catch up with, but we are slowly getting round to see people. - Pity the laundry pile is getting bigger!

The current cold weather is also conspiring to keep the bedroom in a state of mustiness, keeping the room closed up in an effort to keep the cold out, and the fact that it now takes a day and a half to get the laundry dry on the line - that's a long term commitment over the course of a weekend!

I feel the need to almost start the spring cleaning-esque stock take (and the subsequent clean out that tends to go with it) as I look around our den/office/computer room and the accumulated "stuff" that is starting to pile, most notably on my desk.

My boss hasn't contacted me to tell me if I work today, after a call yesterday, and one this morning, both unanswered...

I guess if I don't hear by midday I've got the day off....

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Wrestling With A Wedding Budget

Yesterday I made an embarrassing mistake. I'd made an appointment with a dressmaker (for "the" dress), and whilst I had mentioned that price would need to be discussed, I didn't specifically ask for a ball park figure. So, my Matron of Honour (MOH) and I met up and went off to talk with the dressmaker.

I had been into the city prior to the appointment and had bought some samples to play with, so I pulled out my collection of pictures of dresses that had inspired me, and my fabric and colour swatches, and was having a lot of fun discussing length of dress, style, colour, sleeves vs. sleeveless. The dressmaker started an impassioned plea for upgrading my fabric to silk because "it is so much nicer", "the look is much better", and "it IS your wedding dress". I thought I did quite well not to fall off my chair when I asked how much it was, and she replied with a calm "$98 a metre" (instead of the $18.99 option I'd sampled). I knew the style of dress I want requires more than just enough fabric to wrap around me... considerably more - 4.5 to 5 metres of fabric in fact... and then it needs to be lined, the interfacing, boning, the other accent pieces and the petticoats and all sorts... I was getting dangerously close to my imagined budget in materials alone.

The dressmaker must have read my face at the same time, and asked me my budget, and did have the courtesy not to outright laugh at me when I told her, but I think there was a titter. Let's just say she thought there would be $1,100 labour alone - and that is with no beading, no train and no lace work.

I should not have been surprised. The wedding "industry" is built around the "But it is you WEDDING!!!!? THE most important day of your life.... " principle.

The pragmatist in me says it is ONE day of my life. An important one, don't get me wrong... but just one...

The suppliers focus on how everything must be "just so", whilst I try to come to terms with the single use nature of what it is I'm doing. I thought I'd managed to find a balance, until I discovered that most brides seem to think that $1,500+ on ONE dress is a reasonable thing.

We left the dressmakers and went for a cup of tea.

We then decided to go look at ready made dresses at a "clearance" shop, given that our girlie bonding over dresses had ended prematurely. It was fun. I tried on about 4 dresses I had no intention of buying... they were all at the $1500 mark, and if I wanted to spend at that level, I'd get a custom made dress.

As always, the last one I tried on was the one that worked best, and the lady was even kind enough to indulge me with a veil to complete the look. My MOH almost cried.... because I was looking very um "bride-y".

The penultimate dress had a neckline cut to the bottom of my bra... and if you know the size of my boobs... that's a bit much cleavage to be flashing - Dad's (imagined) threats of "You can't leave the house in THAT" is not what a bride wants on her wedding day... nor having to go to the wedding with a cardigan on over the frock one just forked out $1,500 for!!!


I had a nice day with my MOH. I do however, feel that almost back to square one on the dress options though. I do know that there are shops that have dresses in my price range, but they aren't the dress I want. I know the dress I want doesn't have to be that complicated to make.
I will chase up some smaller dressmakers that work from home. I would also consider making it myself, it is after all, a dress I plan to wear once.

Or, I might have to look at spending more :/

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Nobody Move, I dropped My Brain!

We were given some movie vouchers for our engagement, which we used today to see Pirates of the Caribbean : At World's End.

It was good fun, and much more satisfying than the middle installment... I mean, it actually had an ending.


On the down side, I worked out that someone tried to break into my car last night... and made my lock kinda difficult to use :( It is the first time I've had to deal with such a dilemma, and it is weird! I'm pissed off that someone tried to violate what is mine... and that they damaged my car at a time when an insurance claim would not be financially viable... my excess is already prohibitively high!

Ahh, another life experience to learn from - I just wish it was an experience like the one I had last week.... of putting up a marquee.... THAT was a cool experience to have. They boys' heads managed not to explode from seeing a girl swing a sledge hammer either!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

egads... has it been *that* long?

I'm back from our little holiday jaunt... we're home safe and sound, and the cat is glad to have some cuddles again.

1800kms by road really is quite wearying, but I will write more in the next few days as feeling returns to my butt...

Monday, May 21, 2007

Weirdness

I'm starting to have nightmares about the wedding...

I woke up in the early hours of this morning quite distressed because of a dream where I had been almost hysterical when I'd worked out that I'd made a very stupid and obvious mistake by trying to move the wedding overseas the week before the date.... Someone - I'm not sure who - talked me into it, and just as everything was getting set up I had a huge panic attack, realising that i was going to have 150 people turn up in Brisbane, not the tropical island I was on. So I yelled at and generally hyperventilated on Paul Keating - because he's such an obvious guest to have at our wedding!

I had another weird dream about the wedding last week too (but in the way of dreams I can't remember what it was now).

BabyCakes thinks this last one stems from the weekend, where we stopped in at the venue for the Engagement Party, and found out that we and the venue had a different understanding of what we were hiring. We found out we didn't have the space allocated that we thought we did. There was a HUGE miscommunication because they did not clarify and I did not clarify - they knew what they thought they were asking, and we thought we did too, but we didn't. I'm just glad that I have a week to wrap my head around it, because if I had turned up on the day to be told, I would have either cried or yelled - it was even pretty close when I was told - I started getting red, and then I processed the thoughts more, and got redder, and thought of it more and got redder.... I had to walk away and just deal with it without getting the staff there offside.

Now I'm at a point of "it is what it is" because we can't change it. I shan't be taking my business back to the venue for quite a while though.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Spectacular, Spectacular

Yesterday Baby Cakes and I went to the 2007 Brisbane Hot Rod and Street Machine Spectacular at the RNA show grounds. That is a picture of a $7.50 piece of paper (tickets were $15 and that's half of one...).

I had fun, the cars were shiny and pretty. BabyCakes had fun except for the fact that he only saw one person whom he knew. I tried to give him solace in the fact that whilst there might only be one person who he knew, his impact was such that the guy still refused to acknowledge him, 4 years after leaving the industry - I guess the paint business is pretty cut-throat!

We saw some pretty amazing cars, some for how low they were, some for how schmick they were, and some for the astounding design choices people make that don't gel with our sensibilities. I couldn't get over the pin striping on one car - they had spent so much time, effort and I'm sure money, on creating an absolutely seamless clean lined look and then put a pin strip on that looked like it had been done by a 12 year old boy with the wrong paint brush. It was a designed choice but it made no sense to me.

Equally stymieing but much more fun, was a Torana they put on a Dyno machine, just so we could see how much horsepower it had. It was a drag car which had the very cool number plates of "IN DEBT" which made me laugh. The MC then explained that the engine alone was worth $60k, and BabyCakes guestimated the total cost of the car around $130k. That's a serious hobby! The Torana had to be strapped to the Dyno with no less than 6 ratchet straps, had an engine of over 680 cubic inches and ended up on its second ear splittingly loud attempt that we saw, at the 719 horsepower mark. I think the street legal 6 cyl Mazda before hand managed around 370... It was loud and smelly, but impressive, made better for the fact that we actually managed to get a seat in the stands of the "Dyno Pit".

We saw some really cool 57 chevvies, lots of them, but this one was the stand out.

We will be trying to get in touch with the owners via the car club, to see if we can convince them to do a wedding *wink*

BabyCakes never ceases to be amazed what I can link back to the wedding.... He has admitted though that he's glad I'm excited by the wedding rather than the alternative!


We spent the rest of the weekend staying at BabyCakes' parents house. Mrs Cakes is not recovering from her chemo as well as we would have liked to have seen, and so we hung around to give both Mr and Mrs Cakes a bit of support and a bit of a change of pace. We managed to ply Mrs Cakes with a fair bit of food and some different food from that which Mr Cakes tends to supply. We also managed to impart tips and tricks of bulking out snacks and meals with vitamins and the ever important fluids. We were happy enough with the outcomes that we left ;) - BabyCakes probably would have stayed on a bit longer if it was thought to be useful. I'm glad on a purely selfish level that he's at home with the cat and me! :)



Friday, May 04, 2007

May the 4th Be With You.......



My brother sent it to me... I couldn't help but pass it on! (get it??? May 4th... that's today's date har har har!)

Yesterday was a big day for BabyCakes and I - it was our minus one anniversary... 12 months to the day of our wedding - how very exciting!!

We had also inadvertently booked in to meet with our celebrant yesterday, to make sure he was the right one for us, which on having a more in depth chat, he is! It seems quite serendipitous that our first official meeting was one year to the day before the wedding.

We filled out our Notice of Intention to Marry too, so the government knows we want to marry!


The day got bigger too.........




BabyCakes is now a one car man! Someone finally came up with the money for the Commodore. He's a young guy who works for an upholstery company, so he can fix up the interior which was starting to show how old it was... The guy was very excited by the work BabyCakes had done on it, saying "Everything I would have done, you did do!".

I hope he enjoys his new car, I know BabyCakes did. He's done exceptionally well seeing it go; some sadness, but overall, mostly happy... especially to have a big cheque in his hand!


Oh, and Happy Birthday for yesterday Carbs!

Monday, April 30, 2007

Fingers Crossed Still

BabyCakes has been given a deposit for his car. They guy who gave him the money has had his Mum and his Dad around to look at the car. They say the money will be in the bank on Thursday or Friday.

I won't be able to relax till I see the money in the account. Once bitten, twice shy.


We had our first money "discussion" on the weekend. It was weird.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Cross your fingers!

BabyCakes' car is still sitting out the front on the street. The good news is that in the past two days 3 people have been to see it, and more have registered interest. The most exciting news is the young guy that came tonight is bringing his Mum back to look at it tomorrow morning.

Cross your fingers (and anything else you can think of) in hopes that we might be able to sell it sometime soon.

I would rather the money in a bank account to go towards our wedding!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Tell me what you think....

For those of you that know me, feel free to go here and tell me how you see me :) Feedback can be given anonymously...

This is what people have said about me.



This one is the not so nice side of things (but equally as interesting - I guess there will be a few more anonymous ones there ;))

This is what people have said about me.

Where do the days go?

It's been a while since I posted. For a number of reasons. We've had some very busy weekends, mostly socialising with family.

We've been trying to sort out the finer details of the engagement party, and tie down some of the arrangements for the wedding.

Tomorrow night we meet with a wedding co-ordinator at our venue of choice. Hopefully we can confirm a menu and book everything in.

I found a very cool piece of software the other day called iDo couples edition. It is a piece of software to keep track of all the bits and pieces that go to making up a wedding... well most of the bits. I would like a little more detail/customisation to truly rave about it, but I'm picky like that! It has a 30 day free trial of it, which is how I have been using it. I think I will be purchasing the key though, unless I can find a better piece of software before then....

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

A Sad Day

Today my brother, who has recently come back from the U.S., told me his wife of four and a half years told him she did not plan to join him in Australia.

He's recently moved up to Rockhampton, having organised a job and a house, expecting that his wife and child would join him soon. Seemingly his wife did not expect him to do so well in providing these necessities and was almost upset when he called to tell her.

What this also means is that my brother misses out on seeing his son and given that he cannot go back to the U.S. for some time, doesn't have much opportunity to see him unless his (now estranged) wife brings the child to him.

I'm saddened for my brother and my thoughts are with him in this frustrating and devastating time.


Unfortunately, I'm not surprised that this is where things have got to. The longer my brother was without them, the easier it was going to be for her to not make the move. Shocking as it is.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Big Brother Blogger

My big brother has decided to start a blog (and continue it hopefully!) His blog is listed in the "Blogs I read" link section, and can also be found by channeling the Ramblings of Raoul.

He's a funny guy with a very um, unique persepective on the world. Reading our blogs together might shed some light on how/why we turned out the way we did! :P - Or it might not!


I'm looking forward to reading more about what is happening in his life - he's in the process of planning a wedding too (or at least his fiancé is!), he's starting his own business and has a 9-5 job as well. Should be a lot of blog fodder!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Shakespeare Like You've Never Seen Him!

If you've got some time to watch silly movies, these are fun :)


Tales for the L33t - Part 1 - Romeo and Juliet

Tales for the L33t - Part 2 - Hamlet

Saturday, March 31, 2007

It's been a little while.

I needed some time and space to think, and privately. Dad had a couple of stents in during his angiogram, which in itself is good, if it stops more of these hospital visits and makes him feel better. The fact that he needed them so soon after his bypass surgery is disturbing.

My Dad means the world to me and I needed to ponder life and death and how everything fits together for me at the moment. The good news is, that for me, life is fitting together ok. It could be better, but it could certainly be worse. I'm so glad I have BabyCakes in my life because I think that without him, I'd be lost.

We had a big disappointment with the sale of BabyCakes' Commodore falling through, again. Young guys these days don't seem to realise that when negotiating a cash price, they should actually have the CASH in their hands... we've had 2 guys negotiate a cash price and then have their finance fall through, one is still trying to find someone to give him the money... the other just wanted the price to be dropped to what they could get.........

Last night we went to a bridal expo, which is a very interesting experience. everything from a very hard sell to a guy who made me feel like I should put his business card back on the table... I doubt I'll buy from him even if he had anything I wanted.

BabyCakes and I would really like to get hot rods/muscle cars for our wedding cars, and anytime we've found anything close to it, they've been self drive hire cars. I don't understand it, I would have thought one would want to look after their babies... I certainly don't really want any of our families to be responsible for a car that is not their own. I just want some drivers to pick us off, drop us off, take some pics with the cars, drive us to the next spot and then I can forget about cars.... I guess I'll keep trawling hot rod websites and see who can help us out :)

I'm starting to realise that time is creeping on at this point, and the more we can get settled soon, the better off we will be. We had a celebrant turn us down due to not wanting to book a long weekend, which is fine... but our first "unavailability".

I haven't even contacted a dress maker yet, and I'm pretty sure I want a dress made for me. I think it might be time to start getting a bit serious.

We have a cake, and venues for wedding and for reception picked.... it's a good start.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

What a week - already!

Dad is in hospital again. More unexplained chest pains. Hopefully today's angiogram will help work out why this has happened again. Dad's doing fine, I think we're all more freaked out than he is!

I went and saw Dad last night and had a great meandering chat with him, which was fun. We talk about everything and anything, which is a good way to get a lot of topics covered!


On a completely different note, this little flash movie was brought to my attention. Cuke Skywalker, Darth Tater, Tofu-D2 - comedy gold I tell ya!! It cracked me up, and a giggle is always a nice way to start the day!

I've already sent this one round to a few people, because there was a chance to win a Trans Am! It's cute too, and what I think things would really be like if someone less cooler than The Hoff was Michael Knight!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy St Patricks Day.

Last year this was one of the most stressful days of my life. Solicitors and bankers really do forget that they are talking about one's live and usually the biggest financial commitments one can make. My mortgage is one year old today!

I remember being very nervous, sitting in a flat full of boxes, hoping like mad that everything would go ok, and that I'd eventually get the phone call to say I could go pick up my keys.... MY keys... ones that no one else would have a copy of (in theory).

As soon as I did take delivery of those keys I was around here in a flash. I slept on a matress on a floor of my lounge room, with BabyCakes to share the moment. We'd had a bottle of bubbles and a fantastic floor picnic, it was very exciting. The move was left until Saturday morning, and my brother came to help. It was a relatively stress free move, except for the sofa bed - the boys tried to talk me into buying a new sofa, and leaving that heavy and over sized monster downstairs in the garage. I stayed strong, as my budget required, and they got help from my Dad and step-brother, and together, they got my sofa bed over the balcony rail (from the back of a ute) and into my lounge.

This year, "my" flat is now "our flat". BabyCakes and I are getting married and planning a life together. Congratulations BabyCakes, you are now half responsible for my mortgage!! Once we're married we can make it all legal like, since I'll be changing my name on the accounts anyway.

I've had a year of owning property solo. Today I publicly acknowledge that it is not solely mine any longer, but ours. Welcome to the I've-got-a-mortgage-which-means-I've-got-huge-scary-debt-club BabyCakes! It's fun!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Last Week I Rediscovered My Local Library

It had obviously been a while since I'd been to a council library - they turned off my card. The guy behind the counter couldn't even find my record to reactivate it, he had to put in all my details again from scratch!

I had a sudden realisation last week as I scrolled through eBay, looking at all the things I "needed" to buy. I didn't have to buy these reference books - I could borrow them! After searching the elibcat, I was even more delighted to discover that they had cake decorating books at my local library! I had just saved my self considerable money by not having to buy so much wedding porn (as BabyCakes likes to call it). It also saved us both a lot of time at the cake tasting, because we had an idea of what we wanted before we got there and just had to worry about the finer details once we had a specialist with us.

Whilst wandering the shelves I also remembered that I can borrow novels... and borrow novels I did! Consequently, I've read a lot in the last week, a couple of days I read one book a day - not working* affords one all kinds of luxuries.

The first book I read was called "Faking It" By Jennifer Cruise. Despite being told not to judge a book by its cover, we all know we do, and this one was picked because it was bright and cheery - if we are looking for books that we've not read before, what else do we go on? I read the back and it seemed interesting, so the book came home with me. It was a fun and easy read. A romance novel without the Mills and Boon sensibilities. I enjoyed the quirky and bohemian household this story was set around. I easily read it in a morning, and will probably forget about it just as easily... fluff, but fun fluff.

Next I read "Rules of Passion" by Sara Bennett. This one was picked because after finding the first novel, I realised that I didn't have to buy cheap romance novels, I could borrow them and get my escapist fix. This one had a love heart sticker on the spine - Librarians helpfully put these stickers on to identify the genre of books for lazy people YAY! (I pity the person who picks up the copy of "Beauty's Release" that I borrowed once - it might have been "Beauty's Punishment".... but that does not matter... The librarian had seen that the writer was Anne Rice (under a pseudonym), and stuck a horror sticker on the spine... I guess to some people it might be horrifying, but I think it would have been better served with a love heart sticker! - I don't know that hey have an "erotica" or "soft core porn" sticker). Anyway, this was an easily identified romance novel, set in Victorian England, lots of dukes and lords and stuff, and courtesans... now, that just screamed great romantic read to me, added with the fact that the main character decided she wanted to be a courtesan too, I figured there was a good chance this could be an interesting romance novel. It took a bit more commitment to read it in a day, but hey, I had time on my hands, so I did. I enjoyed it enough to go back to elibcat and find out whether the other two books in the series were at my library!

Then, I went with my "trolling by author" pick... an Anne Rice novel I hadn't read - "Christ the Lord". This was an interesting read. It took longer to read than the other two, over a good two or three days in a few hour or two stints. It is basically a fictionalised story of Christ's childhood - the bits the bible left out.
I found it interesting for the historical aspect of how a devout Jewish family lived, how they worked and loved. Anne Rice tends to write fiction within a shell of fact, truth, honesty, which makes it easy to believe it as a story, your brain doesn't have to suspend its disbelief so far. I liked it. I liked that it was a simple story of a boy of 7 or 8, who sees a lot of weird stuff, and hears of lot of whispering, which stops when he is near enough to hear. His isolation despite being part of a big group, a big family. It is a fictional story about a person/character that people get upset if you treat wrong. I liked it, but then again, I'm a believer who liked "The DaVinci Code" as a read, and didn't find it sacrilegious - it is a story - fiction! To be perfectly honest, I don't understand "sacrilege" other than disrespect, but disrespect is not something you are vindictive for, it is something you rise above. This book is not disrespectful.

Now, I am reading "Memoirs of a Geisha" by Arthur Golden. I picked this one because I read it years ago, at a friend's house when I was visiting Melbourne. I enjoyed it then, and wanted to re-read it to see if I still did. I haven't seen the "major motion picture" touted on the cover of this edition, but maybe I will after I finish the book.

I'm almost ready to take back the huge stack of books I borrowed, now that the cake selection has been done (I've added a couple of pics to the wedding cake post, if people are curious), I don't think I need to keep the cake making books, and I'm almost out of novels to read.... Luckily I have plenty of time to go back and pick out some more!


* My boss keeps calling me to tell me he doesn't have work for me at this stage. While the luxury of time off is great, it does get a bit disconcerting, to be at someones whim is a surprisingly difficult way to live. At the moment it is not too bad because he is giving me a week at a time off, which means I can make plans etc. It gets very difficult when each day to the next I think I'm working, to find out when I wake up that I'm not.

What all this extra time off is giving me is a lot of time to think - which has its pros and cons! I'm starting to think I want a second job, a casual job, which can be solely used to pay for the wedding - with any luck I could earn enough to pay for a kick arse wedding and honeymoon!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

We Went Cake Tasting Tonight....

...and picked out our wedding cake! It is going to have FOUR TIERS!!!!!!!! It is a very pretty cake too.... YAY!

We've decided to serve it as dessert at the wedding.

I'm so excited :)

We went to Merivale Cakes and Crafts, we've had one of their cakes before, at a wedding we went to, the proprietor knew the bride and groom.

Lightening = time for me to go!

More thoughts on this (five days later):

The cake is scaring me now... not the cake itself, the cake is pretty, but the price of it. I've had one person go silent in shock when I mentioned the price, and others tell me I should keep in mind that it is dessert for up to 100 people, and therefore the price is quite reasonable... I just know I could make a lot of cake for that kind of money.... but I also know, that that kind of pressure in the lead up to the day, is bad... being able to relax is worth a lot when one is organising such a big event!

These two pictures, from Peggy Porschen's "Pretty Party Cakes" are the inspiration for our cake. Ours will be white, round and stacked like the pink cake, but will have daisies, which will actually be closer to an aster, given they will be a lilac/purple colour. The cakes themselves will alternate between fruitcake and white mud cake. Now I just have to convince myself that the money spent (not due till closer to the time) on them will be money well spent...

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

A Cat Shows It Loves You......

By bringing you presents you wish you didn't have... like dead rats.

Don't get me wrong, I'd rather she picked on rats than birds, but still - EW!

Luckily BabyCakes likes me showing my feminine side, which manifests itself in this situation by giving him the plastic bag and asking him to "deal with it".

I guess now I have to frock up and show BabyCakes how much I like his masculinity in a decidedly feminine way!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Yay!

Today I regained my open drivers licence! I will be endeavouring to make sure I never ever go back to my provisional licence again.

I cannot express enough how much I regret the night two days before BabyCakes called me...

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Two Birthdays, a Naming Day, Visiting a Sibling Not Seen For Years, and a Hospital Trip

It's been a big weekend.

I'm sorry if we offended anyone with our various departures on Sunday, no offence was meant, BabyCakes and I just needed some time to work through all that's been happening.

My brother is back from the USA (not by choice), and is trying to sort things out to get his wife and child here, but it was good to see him.

We had a lovely day celebrating a friend's 32nd birthday (younger than me by a month, and lets me know it!). We had a lovely relaxed time at Sirromet winery, eating, wine tasting and listening to jazz. Happy Birthday Mrs C!

A beautiful naming day and first birthday for the fantastic Mr Grommit, who performed beautifully on cue, and had fun playing with helium balloons and empty plastic soft drink bottles when he could escape the clutches of various clucky women, and some men too! Thank you Grommit and family for involving us in this special day.

BabyCakes' mum was discharged from hospital later in the day, but all round a stressful experience, especially the emotional impact of everything.

Tonight we're not answering the phones unless we know we have to, and getting in some serious snuggles.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Hurry Up and Wait.

The title is a saying my Dad is very fond of, and I think of it as I wait to hear more news of his health. Dad had a heart attack and subsequent bypass surgery just after his 50th birthday.

Today he had chest pains and went to hospital.... but he's 1000kms away in Sydney, on business.

We don't know much at all, not even whether it is a heart attack - they have to wait on tests. We don't know if he can come home, we don't know if he'll need more surgery.

Dad often said since his surgery that he felt better than new.

This is a bit scary!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Things We Do To Save Money....

I'm contemplating making (at the very least) our engagement cake.... I plan it to be a test run for potentially making a wedding cake.

I've been looking at wedding cakes, and they are beautiful but expensive. Most of it has to come down to the time it takes to make them.

When I was in high school I decorated a Christmas cake and it looked fantastic. I figure I've actually learned some patience since then, so I have a hope of making a cake that looks pretty good.

I think where I started from was contemplating the cupcake tower and figuring that it'd have to be cheaper to do it myself.... making and icing 100 cupcakes has got to cost some dollars, whereas if one keeps it simple and does it oneself, it has to be a chance to save some dosh! The problems with cupcakes is the freshness factor of a spongey type cake - mudcakes (BabyCakes doesn't like fruit cakes) are a bit more forgiving as far as making them ahead of time.

I wouldn't contemplate it at all if I thought I would do a half arsed job....

If the engagement cake does not work out I will probably be talking to The Cheesecake Shop to see how they can help me.... If I can control the decoration, then we should be able to get a simply elegant cake from there...

I figure I can buy and make a lot of cake for $300 - and forgive a simpler design if it is a lot less!

I've also been thinking a lot on bouquets, and flowers in general - I'm really glad we set our desired wedding date more than a year out - I can have a look at what happens this May!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Die Is Rolling, Which Way Will It Land?

I made some calls today I'd put off for a while. It was nice to hide under a rock for a while and pretend I didn't have to deal with these issues.

There are definite changes afoot, I can't see the status-quo staying as it has been.

I don't know what I want from the next few weeks, but I think I'll be crying a bit in the mean time.

I'm glad I have BabyCakes to hug and kiss me each night.

Families are scary.


Or maybe I'm still doing too much thinking.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Too Much Thinking

Some things I really do not understand about myself. I had a very busy weekend. I thought it was a good weekend, productive. This week has been very quiet and left me a lot of time to think.

Over think. Now all I can see is what I said wrong, when I should have shut up and thinking of all the ways the people around me don't like me (in my head).

I just don't get it.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Getting Engaged is Life Altering...

and not just for the obvious reason. I knew a while ago that I wanted to spend my life with BabyCakes, have a family and grow old together.

What I didn't know was how much the act of organising a wedding and getting married was going to change me as a person. I've been thinking about so very much in the past few weeks, lots of it life changing.

I've had advice from all over the place that ranges from "Get eloped" to "Don't be afraid of picking what you actually want rather than what you think you can afford" and everything in-between. Mostly it has been at the elopement end of the scale - and usually from people who are married. There are of course two ways to read where this advice comes from.... those that have long had their weddings and have forgotten what it meant to them to have a wedding, or the voice of experience, those that have had the wedding and regretted spending that much money.

I never though I would spend a lot of money on a wedding, especially now that I have a mortgage. I did a "worst case scenario" budget last night, managing to find a way to keep the spending under $10,000. That doesn't include any honeymoon, photographer, car hire, favours or extended family at the wedding.

My Dad is one of six children, my Mum is one of four, my Step-Mum is one of six, I have four brothers, a stepbrother, a stepsister and a half sister.... nothing about my family is small. BabyCakes is one of four, his Mum is one of about eight (or more - lots of step brothers and sisters there), and his Dad is one of three. I have three grandparents still alive, BabyCakes doesn't.

Even without friends (and I think we're allowed friends), we have a lot of people to invite. It is confusing.

I grew up being taught how important family is. Not in a didactic way, but very very subtly, until it snuck up on me and it took someone else to point out how close we were for me to realise we were (thank you Wah!).

We moved a lot when we were kids, all across the country, and very regularly. Our family was our biggest constant growing up, sometimes that felt good, mostly as kids, that was bad......why couldn't that brother really get lost in the move? Now we (for the moment), are all over the country and even on the other side of the planet from each other, we've gained members since those bonding times, through marriage and relationships, but on the whole, we even socialise together.

I grew up to even like my family!

I'm joining another family, BabyCakes is joining mine yes, but I'm changing my name in commitment to his, to be a family ourselves.

I see that it is a big deal.

I want it to be a big deal.

Yes, it is money that doesn't seem very productive...

but it is important.

I don't plan on getting married again. I plan to get old and grey with BabyCakes. I plan to fight for our marriage. I plan to work it out, even when it hurts, and I plan to make my family with him the basis, the foundation of the rest of my life.

I want my friends and family to be there to witness this huge step in my life.

I want a kick arse party, the likes of which I'll never host again, and strange but true, I think I want that more than I want a new kitchen.

I don't think my tastes are so extravagant as to send us into debt for the start of our new life (well, not much more than we already are!).






Last year I wrote BabyCakes a poem for Valentines Day, the first time I'd ever sat down, brainstormed and wrote a poem. This year I felt bad that I had not done such a thing. I don't feel so bad now that I've cried through writing a post and found peace, but BabyCakes does that for me. I find peace with him often, and laughter, sometimes tears, but mostly laughter, and peace.


I'm glad I found BabyCakes, and I'm glad we're getting married.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

How quickly everything can change!

BabyCakes and I went to the Wedding Ideas Centre at Southbank yesterday and it was quite useful. It is basically a big room with displays from different wedding suppliers with number on them. You walk through and circle numbers on a card of the displays that interest you, and they give you brochures/contact information of all the stuff you liked the look of.

One that might be getting my business is a Wedding Broker... you tell them what you want, and they do the work - and get kick backs from the suppliers, I assume. If it means they find what we want for the right price, I'd be happy to work with that.

The budget is scary though. We have to do some very hard thinking on how many people and what style of wedding reception we want. I don't think we can afford the grand plans we had at the start. Realistically, I think our potential guests would be horrified at prices we've seen and the budget form I just guestimated. If fact, I'm quite horrified. I didn't want to get into debt over this party, but I'm not sure that I have much choice if we persist with what we actually want.

Today I did manage to find a venue which looks like it might suit our needs. I hope that in the next few days/weeks I can pin this down and we can move on and start saving!

Maybe I won't need the broker after all.

I also went to visit friends today, and have a girlie day discussing all things wedding... it was fun looking through magazines and picking out styles of dresses, I think my MOH (Maid/matron of Honour) understands what it is I'm aiming for. Now I either have to find a seamstress, or find one ready made... and once again, for the right money!

I'm feeling a little more in touch with the budget for the moment, but it's still a big outlay of cash.

I guess I'll have to see how it all pans out.