And now the REAL challenge begins!

Posted July 11th, 2013 by Penny Wise

The rain is pouring down this morning as I type. I have one dog asleep at my feet, another curled up in an armchair and two cats sprawled in front of the roaring fire. I am writing this from my cosy writing nook in my new house and am feeling the happiest and most contented I have in a long time. For anyone who didn't see my Forum post here, Glenn did it! My mortgage broker came to my rescue, doing all the legwork and negotiating for me until he had secured my beloved house for me. A true diamond of a hidden gem and thanks to him, here I am.

I don't mind admitting the last week has been the hardest, most stressful week of my life. I feel as though I've been put through an emotional wringer of alternating guilt, sadness, regret and overwhelming exhaustion as Noel and I went through the process of sorting out 22 years worth of stuff into 'mine and yours' and shipping them out. In addition to packing up my house, I also had to pack up Liam for his 10-day rugby tour to Australia. There I was on moving day scrubbing his toilet with a toothbrush while he was having a ball at Dreamworld! Honestly, some people will do anything to get out of shifting a few boxes! Fortunately his mate Ryan immediately put his hand up to help and he and Ali worked like Trojans all day shifting all the heavy stuff and carting box after box until we were out of one house and into another. I bawled my eyes out when I locked the door for the final time. And bawled all over the poor real estate lady when I handed her the keys. But as Noel often said, 'A good soldier never looks back' and I've never had the foggiest idea what that means but I made sure I didn't.

And finally it was done. We were here and it was just Ali and me. The first night was of course, chaos. It was one of the coldest nights of the winter, we had nothing to light the fire with and everything was just everywhere. I slept in three layers of clothing with all four disoriented animals on my bed and wondered if this strange, new place would ever feel like home. I woke up the next morning and still in my three layers of clothes decided I would take the dogs to the beach to give them a little normality. It was still early and as we reached the top of the dunes this is the sight that greeted us:

And silly as it sounds, I suddenly knew everything was going to be alright. Normally I plug into some music and power walk my way along the beach but the morning was so silent and still I just took it all in. It was so beautiful I didn't want to stop walking but there was a LOT waiting to be done at home so back we went and got stuck in to clearing the chaos. By the time Ali got home from school that afternoon the house was almost straight and waiting for him were four happy, settled pets and one very happy mum. So happy in fact, that when I had finished setting up my lovely girly new bedroom I actually caught myself doing a little skip! How embarrassing!

I promise to post more pics once it stops raining! But now the real work begins. I've got my dear little house and now I have to pay for it and keep paying for it for a very long time. This month is going to be particularly tough as I have bills coming out of my ears, what with all the legal fees, council fees, inspection fees and all the other costs that go with buying and selling a house. It's bloomin' scary and I confess to losing sleep over it. My confidence took a real knock after the first two banks declined my loan application. If they didn't think I could do it, maybe I couldn't? But I'm in a better headspace now. I know it WILL get better and I WILL make it work because Glenn had faith in me and told the manager of Westpac 'if anyone can do it, she can!'

So I am! Well WE are. Ali is the man of the house while Liam's away and we have been living off the smell of an oily rag. We go food shopping together and have a very strict weekly food budget. Every time we spend out of it we write the new total and stick it up in the kitchen so everyone knows how much we have. It will be a brilliant learning curve for the boys as they learn that the cheapest food is the best and will feed us far better for our money. As an extra incentive we have opened up an extra savings account and any money left over from our weekly budget will be put into here. Being a smaller house, we also ended up with several bits and bobs and pieces of furniture that we couldn't fit in so have done well on Facebook by selling them on our town's Buy Sell and Swap page. We can do this, I know we can!

Once again, a HUGE thank you to all of you who believed that my house was meant to be and helped me to keep my faith in the world when it had become almost non-existent. Your support, advice and encouragement meant so much. Thank you to Ryan for caring enough about us to give up a whole day of his time (and school) to help with the big move. Thank you to our lovely real estate ladies, Nancy and Jenny for their excellent service, attention to detail and general loveliness. The ironic thing is, Nancy has been my nearest neighbour all this time and we never got to know each other until now! Just goes to show that Fiona is right about those neighbourhood street parties; you never know what - or who - you're missing if you don't make the effort.

Thank you to my mum who has supported me and rang me every day all these past hard months. Who has bailed me out, brought food when we didn't have any and cleaned and packed her heart out to help us get out of the old house in time.

Most of all, thank you to my amazing boys. Liam, my chief bear hugger, errand runner and reacher of things in high places. Ali my chief wood chopper, mouse catcher and unwavering loyal protector. No parent ever wants their child to see them fall apart and these two have seen their mother scream, shout, cry floods of endless tears and at times barely be able to function but they have taken everything in their stride as their lives have been turned upside down. I am so proud of them both. Liam comes home from Australia on Sunday and I can't wait to show him his new house!

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