Thoughts on the house

I didn’t mean to let my blog posts here lapse for so long; it seems as though the last part of 2013 raced by too quickly to stop and take a breath, and it’s looking like the first part of this year is going to be similar.

We got married, recovered from that, had a month of normality, and then one weekend day, as we were driving around the city, we started talking about what our future plans might be.  Discussion turned from the general to the specific: our house.

We have a cute house. It’s known as a “State house“, which in New Zealand is a type of house that was originally built by the State, to provide housing for those who needed it – often those who are on lower incomes, etc. A whole load of these were sold off at various points in time, and so they are pretty commonly available these days. The one we’re living in is from the 1940s, built with beautiful native hardwood (rimu and matai), and solid, solid, solid! It’s got three bedrooms, a kitchen, a lounge, toilet and bathroom, and huge basement workshop / storage area. We’re still on a good-sized section (many others in Karori have subdivided over the years) and it’s been a great place to live.

But there are a few things that don’t really work that well for us at the moment:

  • since having Leila I’ve really been wanting a better area for ‘dining’. I want her to grow up having dinner all together around the table; I want to have a dedicated place where we can eat and appreciate the food and each other’s company. Since we’ve moved here we’ve eaten maybe ten times in the kitchen (there’s no real dining room, just a bit of extra space in the kitchen to cram in your table), and most of the time Steve and I wind up eating in the lounge. And invariably the TV winds up on. (If I start in on this – the TV – we’ll be here all day; but suffice it to say it’s not how I’d like our dinners to be.)
  • Steve wants a garage. He’s not happy with his motorbike being left outside just with a cover over it.
  • We don’t really have a spare room. Technically, there are three bedrooms here, but one I have taken over with all of my books, papers, cameras and hobby stuff. There isn’t room to put in a fold out couch or anything like that and while we could pack all of my things up, we don’t have people staying over often enough to justify me foregoing a bit of space (a room of my own) on the off chance someone might want to stay. But at the same time, when, for example, my parents come to stay, they wind up sleeping on the fold-out bed in Leila’s room, but then we have to move her into the portacot in the study. It works, but it’s kind of awkward, and although my Dad likes the fold-out futon (it’s really hard) a lot of others don’t like it.
  • Karori is nice, and I have met some great people here, especially through my antenatal classes. But:
    • it often gets really misty, on account of being up in the hills
    • our place loses the sun really early in winter and we don’t get to enjoy the outdoor area as much as we’d like
    • it is a huge suburb and doesn’t really have much of a village feel, the way Raumati South (where Steve used to live) does
    • Although it’s only 15 minutes over the hill to Makara, it’s not a very child-friendly beach. Beautiful, rugged and remote (some of my favourite things in a beach!) – but not particularly good for little ones to swim in.
    • With Leila getting so mobile, it’s hard just wandering into town for coffee with friends. I’m spending all my time in Karori these days and while that’s fine (there is a huge park nearby), nearness to town isn’t quite the factor it used to be. Plus all my friends drive / are mobile / live spread all over the city anyway.

So – we’ve decided to put our house up for sale, though this action was inspired more by our finding an incredible place over in Eastbourne, which technically is in Lower Hutt (you have to travel through Petone to get there), but there is a lovely ferry that takes you right to town, and takes about twenty minutes. We’ve made a conditional offer (subject to our selling our house), and the vendors have accepted.

So working backwards, we’ve been getting everything done around here to get it ship-shape and looking good for any prospective buyers. I think it will do well; we have taken it from its ‘as-is’ original shape, to a lovely house that has:

  • wall and ceiling insulation (wool); we re-gibbed and insulated the rooms while we did that
  • totally re-wired electrics
  • gas heating, hot water and cooking
  • a heat-transfer system
  • a freshly-painted exterior (and interior!)
  • cleaned and sealed roof tiles
  • dipped / stripped native timber doors with brass finishings (plus all the locks still have their keys!)
  • windows that have been re-hinged
  • a deck
  • great views and privacy (we only have one neighbour)
  • a good-sized section

So fingers crossed someone expresses some interest.

But with all of the packing up and getting things ready for the listing, the mooster has been making great leaps in her development as well. She’s gone from crawling to practically galloping! She stands up all the time now, and is getting really close to walking. (She’s taken a few steps already, but I don’t think she is quite happy doing it permanently just yet.) We celebrated her first birthday a few days ago, and Steve and I have had a few moments where we’ve looked at each other and asked if we can really believe it’s been a year.

(A year of changing nappies!)

I feel like I’m permanently exhausted as a result though. I’m trying to eat really well, though I don’t have time for much exercise these days. Bubs has become more and more demanding (and vocal) and often my only outlet for the stress is to have a lie down when she’s having her naps (leaving all the stuff I have to get done to when she is awake – which ramps up the stress levels again).

But she is a cutie… and it’s hard to complain about things being tough when I get to hang out with her all day.


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