It's 5.00am and I've been awake for at least three hours, just the same as every night for the last week or two. I can't help it, my head is spinning and my brain won't stop! For those of you who haven't seen the Forum thread - we have sold! Even more exciting, we leave for Whangamata in just FOUR days' time! I can't believe it's finally happening but it is. In the end we accepted a big drop on our house price but we met the market and as far as we were concerned it was worth it. Besides - we still sold the property for almost twice the price we paid for it in 2003. Not bad for seven years' work!
At first everyone thought we were mad to accept such a low price - even our agent! But I think in the end she really respected us for following our dream. The way the market has been in our area the past 12 months, the average property has been selling for an average of $100,000 below the asking price, so it's really not that unusual. Sure - we could have held on for more money. We could have said no and still been sitting here in 12 months' time waiting for a buyer to come along. And who knows? We could have ended up selling the place for even less! Nope, we know in our hearts that we did the right thing. The couple who have bought our home came to visit yesterday and it was like talking to another version of me. The wife is even English like me! What I loved however was when she said that she knew she wanted the place as soon as she walked in because it had such a warm and homely vibe. That's exactly how I felt when I first walked in seven years ago! They can't wait to get into the vege garden and begin raising their own sheep, beef and pigs. I hope they will be just as happy here as we have been!
Of course, we wouldn't have been able to accept the buyers' price if we hadn't been able to. It's going to bring some new challenges in the coming months. For starters, our teensy wee mortgage is now going to be almost double! It's still not going to be huge by many people's standards but it's going to take some sensible money management on our part. We're going to have to find an extra $900 a month, which is no small achievement but you know what? We can do it. We KNOW we can do it. If we weren't Simple Savers I honestly don't think that we could but knowing what we know now, we're confident that we will get by just fine.
Even our new bank manager in Whangamata reckons we will be amazed by how much we can save there and I'm really looking forward to getting started! One of the first things I want to do is see how many days in a row I can go without using my car. For the first time, everything we need will be within walking distance - the school, the shops - and of course, the beach! This alone should save me between $60 and $120 a week on petrol! Another bonus is there are no fast food chains for miles, so we will all be healthier and better off in that department too! As anyone who has spent time in Whangamata will know, if you're shopping for non-essentials you pay Whangmata tourist prices, which are top whack and right up there with the big cities, so anything beyond the bare basics will have to be purchased elsewhere. With the next main town at least half an hour away over a winding coastal road, I can't envisage me making that journey too often! We will just have to content ourselves with all the free fun available in our new location. I have a feeling we will be far from deprived!
Over the moon as we all are; it's a time of mixed emotions. For the past two weeks our house has seen a never ending stream of teenage boys, all keen to spend as much time as possible with Liam and Ali. It's been noisy, great fun and also very expensive to feed them all! I don't think we've ever had to do a supermarket shop twice in one week before! But what the heck; memories are priceless and it's a great way to empty the freezer and pantry before we go! This week has also been tinged with a fair amount of sadness as we have had to say goodbye to not one, but two of our dogs. Ella, our soppy old Lab has been living on borrowed time for quite a while. She has suffered from joint problems for years as many Labs do but has been rapidly getting worse and we knew that she would not be making the move with us. It has been a heartbreaking decision to put her to sleep but when the quality of life is gone and you see nothing but struggle and distress in our beautiful girl's eyes every time she moves, all you want to do is end her pain.
We've known for some time that Ella's eleven years with us would soon have to come to an end but we didn't know we would also be saying goodbye to another little old lady (in dog years!) You may remember me mentioning a while back that we were going to have to find a new loving home for 12 year old Nushka, the mini Jack Russell we rescued three years ago. We were fortunate to find a lovely couple who couldn't wait to take care of her in her old age and provide her with all the comforts she was accustomed to. Sadly however, fate stepped in when we found a large lump under Nushka's jaw just a few days before she was due to go to her new home. The vet's examination showed she had a blocked salivary gland. This was no small problem; it was going to mean a major operation for our tiny girl from which she would take months to recover. It was going to mean a great deal of stress for both her and her new owners but even harder to cope with was the cost of the operation. Removing the gland was going to cost between $1000 and $2000! We just couldn't afford it and neither could her new owners. On top of that, there was no guarantee that the operation would be successful and the gland on the other side was also starting to show signs of swelling. There was also a very good chance that Nushka would not even survive the operation, due to her age. So once again we had to make the very difficult decision to put our wee girl to sleep. The boys took it very hard as none of us had seen it coming and hadn't been prepared to say goodbye. We brought Nushie home and she is now at peace in a sunny spot in the orchard under a Loquat tree, next to Dudley, Tui and Percy; the other beloved pets we have lost during our time here.
So this Friday we will be making the big trip over the hill; with Hubble and Minnie, our three cats and two tanks full of tropical fish in tow. At least half a dozen times a day I look around our home and our land and think 'how on earth can we bring ourselves to give this all up?' The space, the views, the peace. But we're not really going to lose out. We're simply exchanging one love for another. Our work at 'Shambles' is done and we're ready to move on. Our dear little beach house is waiting for us and we can't wait. As a reminder of our years of happiness and hard yakka transforming our little patch of paradise, we made a slide show video, showing what it was like the day we moved in and how we cleared the chaos bit by bit. Accompanied by one of our favourite songs, you can watch our 'Farewell to Penny's World' video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1blR_KPpv5c. I have to admit it makes us feel a bit emotional watching it; especially when we look back and realise just how much we have achieved during our time here but it also makes us feel very proud. We also feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to live in not one, but two beautiful places. It's time to swap our lake view for a sea view. I'm going to be offline for a few days while we madly pack but I'll look forward to catching up with you next week - from our new home!