Wednesday, August 29, 2007


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.


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 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.


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.


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!

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.

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.

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.

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!