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Got a bit of a story to tell..........

Got a bit of a story to tell..........

Old Nov 19th 2007, 10:05 am
  #16  
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Default Re: Got a bit of a story to tell..........

So then here we go again!
The decision had been made to buy a house and with me looking at areas prior to Sharon coming out I sort of knew the best, worst and no go’s around!
We did like old Howick, not Botany, old Howick! Don’t be fooled with people calling it “Chowick” that’s a load of boll ox. The fact is Auckland is full of migrants of different shapes and sizes, from different countries and with different backgrounds! So having no problems with Asians “Chowick” or people insisting on calling it that didn’t bother me one bit!
So that night I stayed up late and went through the property magazines marking off prospective places and making a list of houses, with my newly drawn up list I then looked them up in the A to Z and tried to sort them out in order, I didn’t think of looking at the open home times, so sorting them out for an hour was a complete waste of time because we would not get to view them anyway! So I redone the list and sorted them out in order of when they were open!
The next day we took the list and off we went to Howick in search of our dream house, like I’ve mentioned I knew I would need a mortgage but didn’t know how much, I was budgeting for about $400K which would leave us mortgage free but again as I’ve said before this would not buy a decent house, now this was 3 years ago so people in the UK now please take note of this!
We went to quite a few houses on the list but some we didn’t even bother stopping the car, one of them I was sure we’d like and probably would as the pictures looked stunning. However it did not show the small industrial estate next to it and the fact it was on a main road, so if your looking at houses on the net don’t think “look what we can buy” because you might be disappointed when you get over.
So we’d been out all day and had seen nothing we’d really liked, there was one last house to view. 59 Moore Street!
From the outside it looked quite cute, one of them old Villa type things or a bungalow. We parked the car, got our Harry out of the car seat, again and got ready to go inside. The front garden was nice and it had a lovely deck going from the front gate to the veranda. The front door was open and we took our shoes off again and went in. If you going looking at houses remember to wear flip flops because you soon get fed up with tying laces!
As we walked in we both went “wow” it was stunning, from the outside it looked old but inside it had been totally renovated and when I looked closely it was done to a very high standard. One of the ways you can tell is by the type of skirting board used and if the corners has been jointed right or just butted to each other, if it plain run of the mill skirting you can assume rightly or wrongly that the renovation (like most) has been done to a price, and a low one at that. We continued to look through; the kitchen was new, nice and open plan with a set of double doors going in to another large room. The bathroom was new and the main bedroom had a deck outside and an ace en suite, now if you own a Barret house you’ll have an en suite, but this en suite was bigger than our old bathroom back in the UK and the best thing was it didn’t smell of toilet paper!
The best part was the surprise we had when we discovered a set of stairs going down, you see Auckland is a bloody hilly place and quite a lot of houses are built on hills this one was no exception, but what they do it take full advantage of this and build down! We went down stairs and there was yet another new bathroom, a 3rd lounge and a lovely bedroom all with patio doors or ranch sliders going out to a deck and then a small garden. As I’ve said before Kiwi’s have this knack of subdividing their land and this house was no exception, so that’s why the garden was so small and because of the slope we had a great view of next door! Oh well we’ll have to think about this, but Sharon had other idea’s and blurted to the real estate shark that we needed to move quick and had the money to buy, which was true but we only had the money to buy if they’d drop to $400 at the time it was on the market for $460+.
The next day went round and had a second look, just in case we’d missed anything!
We then got the people we’d just met to have a loom at it and give us their honest opinion, yep you’ve got to buy it came the answer. So the wheels were in motion we were about to put an offer in, but by God we were green!
When you buy a house in NZ please check the school zones first, we didn’t know anything about this and latter found out that we were out of zone for one of the so called best school in Auckland, you would have thought our new “friends” would have told us, but I guess it most have slipped there minds!
We went back to St Hillier’s and I had a big wobble! I was not 100% sure we were doing the right thing and totally not convinced that this would sort all our problems out, but on the other hand it might and I just wanted to be able to do some stuff to my own house instead of being told by the landlord that I couldn’t do this or that and would be charged if anything was broken, it was getting right on my nerves.
Before we could do anything we had to get a mortgage, not a lot $60K. We went through the ANZ and had half on a fixed and half on a revolving credit affair, this is basically a big overdraft which you can pay off as quickly as you want or pay some and then dip in to it for luxuries. It’s a good idea but I think you could get yourself quickly in to financial dire straights if you managed it wrong.
So the money was sorted, only thing to do was to put the offer in!
Our first offer was $430 and this was turned down, then we went up $10, yep turned down. $10K again, and again this was turned down! So finally we gave in and put the asking price in and sure enough got the house.
We were happy but it was not a jump up and down happy, the thing is when your renting you don’t pay the council tax, insurance and all the other costs in running a house! So combine that with ploughing all your UK money in to a house on the other side of the world that was made of wood has a tin roof and was built on a slope in an area that was known for earth quakes, well to me this was something that didn’t make much sense at all!
As you can imagine I didn’t sleep much that night and all kind of things were running through my mind, amazing the one thing that wasn’t was the question of affording it, after all it was only a $60K loan, that was just over 20K in pounds and a nothing in comparison to the mortgage we use to have, this latter turned round to firmly bite me in the bum! What ever you do don’t think to NZ it’s a cheap place to live, we did and it cost us, but I’ll go more in to this subject latter on!
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Old Nov 29th 2007, 9:07 am
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Default Re: Got a bit of a story to tell..........

So we’d bought our first Kiwi house and set plans to move in, I rang the landlord witch up and explained that we would be moving out, she said that I’d have to find someone to take over our agreement. At the time I was quite shocked by this but now I can see it from her point of view, after all renting a house is a business after all. She also said that I’d have to paint the living room walls back to the original colour, now this was some thing she’d not explained when I first painted and improved “her” house. I was livid and asked if she was going to supply the paint, she told me no. So I asked her if she wanted me to paint the kitchen back to the original brown. Well no she didn’t want me to do this as I’d made an improvement, what a cow I can honestly say that I was starting to hate her. Guess what she did for a living? Yep she was an estate agent and a slippery as they come, we’d now been in the house for just over 4 months (I think) and not once had we had an electric bill, so I stayed quiet about that and started to look for a new tenant. As luck would have it I was talking to the lady who lived over the road and by chance her mate was after a rental in this area, fine I thought and told her to get in touch with me. Long story short she was made up with the house and the deal was done. Justine (the witch of a landlord) was happy as well, well why wouldn’t she be, she’d just had a house painted twice and paid nothing towards the cost!
The Day we moved out was a good one, Sharon and Harry went to the new house while I stayed at St Hillier’s to clean and get ready for the inspection, we moved on a Saturday and I’d hired “Cheap removals” who were, well the cheapest! I’d done everything, cleaned, polished and put right. The bone thing that we’ve always done is move out of a house and leave it immaculate, the only problem was the first time I’d painted the kitchen I’d started to run out of paint so I didn’t paint the whole of the space were the fridge went, with moving the fridge exposed that horrible brown wall paper, oh well what could she do! You see the bond that I’d left when we started was $700 as well as two weeks of $350 in advance, to me if I cancelled the direct debit with 4 weeks prior to moving we’d be straight, as you can imaging Justine (whitchy) did not see it the same way and was threatening to take me to court, fine do it. After all she couldn’t sack me or make me pregnant so what did I care!
So that was it, I’d moved from the rental from hell, did she inspect it? No she could not be bothered, we’d made a time of 1pm and by half past I was on the phone asking her where she was. After everything that had gone on she told me that she’d been in a hen doo and was too hung over to drive, so I’d got away with that, and after 21/2 years latter I think I’ve got away with the electric bill as well!!!!!!!!!
In 6 months we had sold our house in the UK, moved to the other side of the World, Sharon was pregnant and we’d just bought our first New Zealand house, happy days for us…………well not exactly!
Well we’d been in New Zealand for 6 months now, we loved our new house, my job was going great but things were not going so well with Sharon.
The thing is her parents were making her life a misery, they would not ring her and when Sharon rang them she was asked why she went and that they could not understand. Understand that’s a good one! What did they not understand, you see Syill and Harry (Sharon’s Dad) had lived in St Helens all there life, there first house was on the same street as Sharon’s Nana’s and even tho they had moved several times they were always in walking distance of all there family Syill’s sister lives round the corner and Debbie lives basically a few hundred yard away. So with us moving to the other side of the World was just, for them bizarre. Anyway for me it was tough get use to it because we were not coming back, but for Sharon the pull of the apron strings were getting to strong and I could tell our dream would be shattered sooner or latter. I use to come home from work and Sharon would be quiet and red eyed, now this is not my Sharon, she can talk with the best of them. I knew something was wrong but did not want to ask because deep down I knew what it was and what would be the next step, so foolishly I kept quiet. However keeping quiet is the wrong thing to do, thing’s like this will drive you apart eventually and the best thing to do is get it out in the open even if you no the conclusion is not what you want. I know of quiet a few people who have not wanted the same things, be it houses, hobbies or even friends. This drives couples apart, now we wanted the same things out of life but we wanted to do them in different Countries. So what was it going to be, before we talked about it I asked myself a few questions, you know you sit somewhere and just think, I think best when I’m doing something like painting or mowing the lawn, things that you don’t have to concentrate on. The questions I had to ask myself were straight forward really. Do I want to live in and do I love New Zealand as much as my wife, obviously not the live in bit! Not a hard one, I loved my wife more than anything so what she wanted I would do, I wouldn’t agree with it but I’d do it.
A few nights latter we had the “talk” and I tried to tell Sharon that it was more than likely her hormones and she’d be fine after she’d had the baby, she was having non of it and told me her point of view. Basically it boiled down to missing her Mum and not having any close friend to help her or even talk to her, I could see her point of view and with that it was quite simple we’d move back to the UK.
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Old Dec 6th 2007, 8:49 am
  #18  
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Default Re: Got a bit of a story to tell..........

The thing was when, with her being pregnant she could only fly a certain time before and after she’d given birth. Also when she gave birth to Harry a few weeks latter she haemorrhaged and lost that much blood for a few days it was touch and go if she would live, she also made a right mess of the front room carpet!
Anyway we’d look in to that when the time was right, until then we’d do the tourist bit. A few days latter Sharon was fine I think it was because she now knew what we were going to do and could put a kind of date to things, we started to take Harry and “Ben” out to the beach and do simple but enjoyable things as a family. One morning we were at Howick beach just messing about, it was winter time so we had coats on but that did not stop our fun. We were amazed by the amount of small boats on the sea, I got talking to some bloke who was just standing there and he told we that they were “P” class boats and the people who were sailing them were just kids of between 7-9, wow how cool is that, I had a sly dig at Sharon with a “couldn’t do that in the UK” but we were stunned and stood there for over an hour watching them. When they finished and sailed there boats to the shore you could see they were cold but the look on there faces was fantastic, utter joy to see. I looked at Sharon and this time just smiled and said nothing. We also use to love going to Maritie (sp) beach, we liked this because at this time of the year there was nobody there and we could just pretend it was our own beach, our own bit of paridice. They have a great little fish & Chips shop there, we use to get some and sit on the beach and watch the sea crashing in, simple but great. Yep we were leaving in a few months but for me I wanted to take home some great but simple experiences.
Around the same time and because I was not so bothered about work I discovered this site on the web and joined, at that time it was full of people who just loved NZ and did not have a bad word to say about things, I read a few posts and could not believe that no one had mentioned the cost of living over here, when you read about stuff like this you do get a bit paranoid and think its just you that is strudling but after you scratch the surface you soon come to the conclusion that people for what ever reason paint a “happy” picture of there new lives. Why? Simple really, you come to the other side of the World with a couple of bags and a family in toe, people be it friends, work mates and family cheer you on and wish you all the best at your leaving doo. You come over here and have the mind set of having to prove a point and make it work, because you don’t want to look daft if it fails. Don’t worry if it fails at least you have had a go. You see your mates, family and ex work mates want you to fail! They do, why? Because of jealousy, they have ever not got the ball’s to leave there comfort zone or don’t have the ball’s to just go for it.
So there are a lot of people stuck in NZ for a lot of different reasons, I remember talking to a elderly lady from Yorkshire, I asked how long she had been hear and she replied over 40 years, she’d come over as a ten pound pom. I asked did she like it and was shocked with her reply, she explained that she hated it here but she was never in the fortunate position of being able financially to return home, yep she still called Yorkshire home and classed herself as a 21st century convict! Its not just the flights but the whole cost of moving and setting up home again, all the little things add up, like buying all your spices again, that first initial shop and all the furniture you have to sell at a loss and buy again.
Anyway I was off on a tangent again, back to forums. My first post on a forum was asking if anyone would be our friends and I did get a reply, I also asked if anyone found NZ expensive and yes people started to agree with me, wow people in the same boat as us, I was relieved to hear this!
I then got a PM telling me to PM a certain young lad who frequents this site, so I did and a few days latter got a reply and a phone number. I rang the number and arranged to meet up with this bloke on Friday and have a pint.
This bloke turned out to be my first “mate” in NZ and a bloody sound lad, who is he you’re wondering? Well I met the “Binman”!
That Friday I met Binman, we’d arranged to meet in the Barrel in Howick centre at 7.30pm. It’s a weird thing meeting someone for the first time especially a bloke, bit like a blind date but with out the chance of shag at the end of the night, well hopefully not!!!!!! I walked in on time and Binman was at the bar with a pint in his hand, good sign he drinks pints and is early. He knew it was me straight away, I must have had a sign on my head saying “Billy no mates”! We shook hands, like you do and straight away started talking. We hit it off like we were old mates and the beer was flowing, I think when two blokes meet for the first time and go rounds, well it’s a recipy for disaster, basically what happens is one of them thinks that he is a slower drinker than the other and drinks faster, but the other is thinking the same thing, which adds up to two drunken people at the end of the night, guess what this was no different. Binman is a very interesting bloke and had a few stories to tell, he and his mrs had been over here for 18 years and was quite settled, he told me that he’d just started to go out with his Mrs when he told her that he was moving here and if she loved him she’d join him, she did and have been together ever since, nice that isn’t it.
Anyway, after the Barrel we’d made our way to another pub the stockade and managed to get a lock in, just me Binman and the owner of the pub. We were sat there putting the World to rights for a good hour when the phone rang, it was Mrs Binman! To this day I still do not know how she got the number, unless she’d rang every pub in Howick! So it was time to say Bye bye binman, he’d given me his number and said that he and the mrs complete with little binmen would pop round in a day or so, hopefully Mrs Binman and Sharon would hit it off and then Sharon would have a mate as well!
A few day latter the phone rang and sure enough it was Mr Binman, we made a time for him to come round and “meet the wife” (remember that in fiesta) Anyway, a few hours latter the Binman clan arrived and sure enough Mrs Binman and Sharon hit it off brill, now Sharon had a mate! The thing was Sharon now had a problem, you see she’d met her match, Mrs Binman could talk, I mean really talk. She was like one of them Duracell bunnies on speed!
We had a great few hours and at the end were invited round to there house the next weekend, Mrs Binman said she would phone Sharon in a day or so and pop round when she was off work. Bloody great, we had mates.
Sharon was a lot happier and that week she was a changed woman, she’d got the spring back in her step. I thought of asking if she wanted to stay now but didn’t just in case it turned her back to the way she was. I just thought I’d let matters take there course and keep the appointments we had set up with the estate agents.
That Monday I was called in Rhys’s office, he sat me down and explained that he was really impressed with my efforts. It turns out that in 6 months I’d not only sold the most lift truck in the Country but the total amount that I had sold up to now was more than they had sold in total for the last 5 years, At that point I’d sold just short of 90 and if you work that figures back you can work out that’s approximately $45K in commission. He handed me an envelope and inside was a cheque for $8, well just over and a strange amount. He explained that when the tax had been deducted it worked out to be $5K cash and would be in this months pay packet, the first thing I thought was that will cover the flights back! I had not told Rhys yet and didn’t want to until I was 100% positive that Sharon wanted to go back; hopefully she would meet some more people like Mrs Binman and be happy here. One of the big problems was that she did not drive and to be honest the public transport system here in NZ is shocking, but lets be honest I could not see her catching the bus being 7 month pregnant with a 2 year old!
Back on to money, we were still on a work visa and not able to claim family assistance, but saying that at the time we did not know about it, so I’m not going to take that in to account, well not just yet. As you know I was earning a good crust and we did not have the cost of a car to run so you’d think we’d be fine, well no! You see how ever much we tried we could not get our weekly shopping bill to under $300 per week, for people out there who can manage to feed a family of 4 for $120 per week, well good on you. But for us we couldn’t, the thing is as well don’t try and do it because you end up fighting with each other. Just buy what you want to buy and don’t try and buy to somebody else’s budget, it won’t work. And all this bollox about picking food from the side of the road taking it home and making a meal out of it, again to me this is a load of rubbish ffs were talking Auckland here, however nice the place is you’d not eat something from the side of the road. Grow a veggie patch is another good one, I can’t even grow grass so growing runner beans would be the same as walking on the moon, a bit impossible. Budget by going to several different shops, one for your tins one for you veg and one for your meat, why? To save a few dollars and waste more time and petrol, we came over here to spend more time together and do more, not to shop at 27 different shops on a Saturday. And remember Sharon can’t drive so it was me being a taxi, great!
Electric, God this was a joke, everything or mostly everything in Auckland is electric. They don’t have piped gas so your cooking, heating and hot water is electric. Again we tried our hardest to be careful with what we used and when we used it but the house in Auckland seemed to eat the power and our bills were between $280 and $400 per month, so with the telephone bill of $250 a month the food the council tax etc we were struddling, and we had a mortgage of $60K so I could not understand how people could cope on anything less. I know there are ways of doing things but I could not afford to put a little a side for a pension and as for savings well that was to me now classed as a luxury! The problem being was the new arrival was due in a couple of months and as we all know these babies are very expensive, also what would happen if Sharon had a C section we’d have to pay for that as well, lucky I’d left some “just in case” money back in the UK, but why should we use that if we were going back anyway, what should we do go back now and try and sell the house from the UK or wait, have the baby here and give him/her the opportunity of a easy “way in” to Australasia when older. It would be cheaper if we went home but there was something about to happen that would change our thoughts and ultimately change the direction of our lives, which was a chance phone call I got a few days latter!
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Old Dec 14th 2007, 7:39 pm
  #19  
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Default Re: Got a bit of a story to tell..........

I was getting a bit fed up of the cost of things and yes the free stuff was great, but you can only go to the beach for so long especially in winter. Winter in Auckland was not that bad, the thing that bugged me was the condensation, every morning we’d try and wipe the windows dry I could not get over how much water we’d soak up, sometimes half a bucket. The real concern was the effect it might have on our Harry, remember he was in hospital 6 months ago with a chest infection, we just crossed our fingers, if he started off with something then of course we’d take him to the doctors but we were going back to the UK so we thought we’d wait for then.
The house was up for sale and the estate agents we had used had advised us to go the auction route!
They also advised us that we would need a large for sale picture board and colour flyers printed, this was fine but the cost wasn’t, $3,000 all in, that’s a lot of money and money we did not want to spend. But we took there advice and went for it, the only problem was if Sharon had to have a “c” section where would we get that money, saying that its not like a supermarket check out, imagine buying that! “Hi luv can I have a packet of crisps, two diet cokes and a “C” section please”! So if the worst come to the worst I was sure the hospital would give us a certain amount of time to get the money sorted out.
A few days latter the for sale sign went up, it was a feeling of mixed emotions coming home after work to see it. I was happy that Sharon was happy (if that makes sense) but a bit upset that we were leaving soon, I didn’t feel that we’d failed but that we’d tried and it was not right for us. At least we’d had a go.
The weekend came and with it our first “open home” we got up the morning of the open home had our breakfast and started to get things ready. We left the house immaculate and went for a drive for the hour it was on, we got back and the agent told us that they had had a good response and expected it to sell at auction. We’d bought it as you know for $460K and we had a reserve on it at $477K this amount was basically to cover the estate agent fees, I still can’t believe how slippery estate agents are.
Anyway a few weeks went past and we had had a good response, or so we were told. Time will tell on auction day but until then we’d have to wait.
The next Saturday (28th August) we got up and started our “open home” routine, breakfast and the cleaning, mopping and just getting the house ready for viewers.
Sharon had gone to our bedroom and I was just washing the last of the dishes, then Sharon shouted to me “I think my waters have broken” great more cleaning! She came out of the bedroom and phoned Nora the midwife, I could hear her tell her “about 15 minutes”, then she said fine and put the phone down. What about seven minutes I asked? The contraction came the reply, Sharon told me that she had to ring her back when they got closer together and she would meet us at the hospital, when will that be then? I got one of those looks, shut up and carried on doing the dishes. I had not finished them when Sharon shouted again, this time it was to put her bag in the car and get our Harry in the car seat! Oh God it’s coming! I ran down the stairs to the garage and strange as it might sound started to vacuum the car out, why? I have not got the foggiest! Sharon still laughs about this, she didn’t at the time!
So Saturday morning 8am and we were on our way to Auckland’s woman’s hospital, this is situated in a busy part of the city and is a nightmare to get to at the best of times, the worst part of it was I did not know which exit off the motorway it was, well I knew I just wasn’t 100% sure! By this time Sharon was screaming, the traffic was chocker and I thought we might have to call the baby Mitsubishi at this stage it looked like it was a high possibility that it would be born in the car! Talking of names Sharon would not let me use my first choice girls name; I wanted to name the baby after my favourite drink, yep “Stella”
Anyway we were still on the motorway and by this time I had my lights on full and had to drive on the hard shoulder just to try and get there on time, our Harry loved it because he was sat in the front, I was crapping my self and Sharon by this time had her legs crossed, she didn’t like Mitsy as a name!
We finally got there and I ran in to reception and guess what nobody was there it was nurse less!
I ran back out as I thought the best thing to do was at least get Sharon out of the car, just in case. She managed to walk to the hospital entrance and started shouting “help” I was trying to get Harry out of the car seat and carry the overnight bag at the same time. I walked in to the entrance of the hospital and Sharon was nowhere to be seen, I couldn’t ask anyone because there was no one to ask! I finally tracked someone down and asked them, they pointed me to some doors and sure enough Sharon was there, she looked in pain. I still think it can’t be that bad, giving birth must smart a bit but it can’t be that bad!
Just then our dotty daft Irish midwife came in to the room, she was a lovely lady but my God was she daft. She started to relax Sharon telling her to do there breathing exercises and to lie back, our Harry was amused by a sink and taps, the taps were operated by “paddles” you opened and closed with your knees. A nurse came in to the room and explained that there was only two people allowed in the room at anyone time, I thought fine! Then she said that with Harry there was three, I remember saying to her that we did not know anyone and had no one to mind him. I could not believe that she could not bend the rules just this once, after all it was not as if there were thousands of people here, the bloody place was deserted!
I told her that I would sort it out and gave her the fingers behind her back as she left the room, I had no intension of missing the birth of my second child and it was not like Harry was making any noise or miss behaving him self.
About 20 minutes passed and the midwife told Sharon the baby was on its way, she did have a word for it but I can’t think of it. A couple of pushes and it was job done, out it was! Our new daughter “Millie” and she was dark skinned and had dark curly hair, she was our little Kiwi. One good thing was that there was no C section!
Anyway that didn’t bother us as a few days prior we had been given the verbal that we’d got our PR, so for us this meant that everything was now free!
Did I tell you we’d got our PR?
We’d got our PR, so if you’re worried about coming out here on a work visa and doing it this way don’t worry it’s a simple process. In fact we had applied for our PR at the same time as the work visa so it was just a waiting game really, we’d had a telephone conversation with our case officer and she thought we were still in England. I panicked when she said that I’d have to get the police checks done again, not that I’d been in trouble but how I’d get them done from over in Auckland, she said that she did not know we were in Auckland ! So she waived them and said that we had PR and to send the passports off to get the stickers. The medicals were cheep as chips and because at the time Sharon was pregnant and Harry was only 2 they could not have an x ray so that saved a few bob!
Anyway after the baby had been cleaned up and Sharon had a cup of tea we were allowed out, what “Kiwi’s” do is go to a birthing centre, this is like a hotel and your supposed to go there to rest. The daft thing about this is that you have to make your own milk and stuff so Sharon’s thoughts were we might as well go home, so we did just that.
We got home and started to ring family to let them know we’d had a little girl and most importantly that everything was ok and Sharon and Harry were fine. The thing was it was Friday night in the UK so everyone was out, we did get to speak to Sharon’s mum who burst in to tears, she said that she should be there, I told her to go and buy a plane ticket then!
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Old Dec 20th 2007, 9:24 pm
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Default Re: Got a bit of a story to tell..........

It was a strange thing sitting in our front room at 10.30am drinking a cup of tea with this little new born baby in front of us, our Ben went over and stuck his face in the cot and gave her a lick, must be him saying “Hi” and knowing that in a few months time there would be a steady supply of food coming his way!
The one thing we had not done was to cancel the open home, with everything that had gone on we’d forgot! I rang the agents and they asked me why? They were shocked that Sharon had not gone in to the birthing centre and the lady agent said to me “that’s not how we Kiwi’s do it” I replied “Good job were not Kiwi’s then”! About half an hour before the open home they put a very make do cancelled sticked on the for sale sign, this was not enough and a few couples turned up, two of them were hanging about outside for ages, I thought the best thing was to go out to them and explain why the open home had to be cancelled!
I explained that the wife had just had a baby and even they were shocked that she was at home, we thought nothing of it. The couple told us that they were really interested in the house and wanted to know how much the reserve was, people always think it’s a big secret but to me it was just a number and it was pointless keeping it a secret so I told them, I wanted to see there expression and reaction, this way I could gauge if they were interested or not and even if it was out of there budget. They said that it was a fair price and started to ask us why we were selling, I told them and explained that we were going back to the UK but stressed to them we were in no rush as we could not fly back for a few weeks anyway. They asked about our Ben and if we were taking him back with us, I told them of course and they asked what we needed to do to get him back? Crap, with everything that had gone on I’d totally forgot to look in to this. I tuned round and looked at him and my hart sunk, how could I forget about “daft Ben” well that was the first thing I was going to do on Monday, that was now the priority!
The couple were still keen to view the house and I said they could if it was ok with Sharon, I went and asked and Sharon said fine as long as they took us how they found us, at the end of the day we’d just had a baby a few hours ago! They came in and I showed them round the house, I could tell that they loved it and why wouldn’t you it was a lovely house. They went off happy and we carried on with our weekend.
It is totally different having a baby in a different Country, one thing was the lack of visitors, at the end of the day we did not know anyone. Rhys and his wife came round with a present and stayed for a few hours. A few other Kiwi friends did as well but it was not the same as having your family round you. I was worried about Sharon and hoped that she would not get depressed at the end of the day we’d be back home soon and hopefully everything would go back to normal, fingers crossed anyway.
That Monday I went straight to the vets and asked what we needed to do to take Ben back with us, there was two ways of doing this, the first was to fly him back and he would have to spend 6 months in quarantine, this for us was too long. The second was to give him rabies injections. Basically he has the injections and a blood sample gets sent to Australia, they then confirm that the injection has worked or not. The thing is he would then have to wait for another 6 months before he could fly out. Once he landed we could pick him straight up from Heathrow airport, happy days! Well sort of, we could not fly for 10 weeks anyway because the baby was too young but even if we sold the house now that would mean leaving Ben in kennels for at least 4 months, the way we looked at it it was better for him going in to kennels here than in the UK. I had to look for a good kennel and a good “dog” shipper, I went in to work and googled, this brought up a few names and one of them was just down the road from us. The next day we all went for look, we wanted to make sure it was a suitable place and that the people were good and most of all take good care of him. Sure enough they were brilliant and Warwick the owner was a big animal lover, which I guess you’d need to be to have a business like that! (If anyone needs anything like this call 0800petman, he is a really nice bloke and will bend over backwards to help)
So that was it, we just had to wait for the auction and hope the house sells, we’d got everything ready we just had to book our flights.
Through out the months I’d been keeping John (old boss) informed, sure enough he was true to his work and had a job for me when I went back. He said that everything would be the same all I had to do was let him know when the flights were booked and he’d organise the rest. Brilliant I thought everything was going to plan!
I carried on at work but I knew I was not putting as much effort in to the job, this is something that I hate doing. For me job wise its all or nothing and I like to put 100% effort in to it with moving back it was pointless trying to find new leads as they usually take three months to turn in to orders. I just carried on with the prospects I had on the go and if anyone rang in I’d go and see them, another thing I was doing was helping the dealer network with technical problems and pricing. I did enjoy this and tried my best to help the dealers come up with the right solution to their customer’s problems. The next day mid morning my phone rang, it was Robbie who was the dealers in Christchurch
I had a good chat with him for well over an hour, he was interested in why we were moving back to the UK. I told him that Sharon found it hard to make friends here and that we’d just had a baby and she missed her mum. He started talking about Christchurch and what it had to offer, my ears pricked up and I started to ask more and more questions. Basically Robbie did not have a salesman and he was too busy running the business to go out and see his customers, he told me he had an idea and would told more in the next few days. I did not think too much about it and carried on doing my job or as little as I could! The thing is when you have sold as many as I had you were considered trust worthy, so when you went out people did not ask where you were going they automatically assumed that you were going on appointments, so I’d do a few hours and go home! Or I’d go and sort a few things out.
A few days past and Sharon was starting to really enjoy her self, she was a different person full of life and back to her witty self. I thought she might change her mind about going back and secretly hope she would, I knew I’d have to ask her again prior to selling the house or signing any house related paperwork, but that was a few weeks away so the best thing for me to do was not bug her and like I said just hope that she would come to her senses.
The next day at work I got a phone call from Robbie, basically he was trying to suss me out. I knew what he was doing and asked him straight out. He explained that yes, he did need a sales man and that Christchurch would be a great place not only to bring up our kids but for Sharon as the people down south are basically nicer! He offered me a job! I said to him that I had not even told Rhys I was leaving and at this stage this would have to be between him and me, well it was a possibility I had to talk to Sharon a bout this. How was I going to do this? I thought of different way of approaching the subject but thought the best way to ask was the direct way. That night I went home and asked “do you fancy moving to Christchurch?” Sharon looked at me and came out with something I was not expecting! “We could do” Wow how bizarre was that, I asked if she would again and she came out with the same answer, this is going too well what’s the catch? Over the last couple of months Sharon had got in to a routine, had made a few friend and ultimately started to live her life, she had come to the conclusion that she could live without seeing her Mum everyday and that NZ was a far better place to bring up the kids than the UK, the tide had sort of turned. However with everything there was one catch! She would only decide once back in the UK, I knew where she was coming from with this and respected the way she wanted to play it. I knew I had to talk more with Robbie and try and sort things out, just to give use an option. The next day I spoke with Robbie and told him that we could not do anything until we’d sold the house, but we were interested in the possibility of moving down to Christchurch so I asked him to put a good deal together and said we’d speak more in the next few weeks.
That afternoon I thought it was only fair to keep Rhys in the picture, I walked in to his office and told him the full story. He could understand why Sharon felt this way and told me that he could not have done what we had done. I went on to tell him all the options we had and that we could only make the “call” once we’d been home. When I told him about the conversation with Robbie he sat back and told me that he could help with that and that I was due a promotion, he said to leave it with him and he would told to the powers that be. He said it would be an idea to fly down to Christchurch first to see if we liked it, good one we’ll do that!
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Old Jan 4th 2008, 6:42 am
  #21  
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That night I spoke to Sharon and we had a good chat, the new plan was to fly back to the UK and make a choice on our gut feelings, of course we’d weigh everything up but if it felt right in the UK then we’d stay, if not we’d come back and probably move to Christchurch. The most important thing to do was the house; we had to get that sorted out before we could do anything.
A few weeks passed and Millie was doing great, Harry was becoming a really good big brother and Sharon was the perfect mum, as for Ben he was still the big daft lab we’d grown to love and his feet still stunk. He’d now took up a different sleeping position which was at the side of the cot, he is a very loyal dog.
The day of the auction soon came and it was being held in the city, Sharon did not want to go so I skived off work and turned up there a hour or so early. I was met by dumber and dumber the two estate agents, I still think they engineer a sale for there benefit. The things they use to come out with were terrible and you could tell they were lies, I had a few weeks left with them and then I could get out of the contract, I was going to bin them basically because they were slippery and you could clearly tell that they thought of themselves first.
Anyway I sat in the auction room and watched as a few houses got sold, not as many as I imagined. Then our house came on the screen, I looked round and started to think how much it would go for, you see the agents had assured me that it would sell and I’d get just under $500K for it so I sat there thinking of what it would go for and how much we’d take home with us. I was not ready for what would happen next, the auctioneer started the auction and I waited for the influx and fury of a bidding war, did it start did it bollox we did not get one bid! So that was a few grand down the drain, a few minutes latter I went outside with the agents and they told me that they had a feeling that this way going to happen, What? They stared to explain that just as we had put our house on the market the market had turned and in fact it was now a “buyers market” and not a seller’s one, the price that they had given me was a bit out of date and they think that we should now list it for a lot less! A lot less, well what’s that then? The came out with the old “mid to late 400’s” so how much is that then? After a few minutes of them rambling on I told them that I wanted what I paid for it + the fees, this was what the reserve amount would be, they said that they did not now think they could get that amount and asked me to consider reducing it more, with that I told them to get stuffed and told them that they had 3 weeks before there contract ended and they were going to get binned.
What the slippery bastards had done was so obvious, they had talked me in to an auction hoping that it would be a quick sell and a quick $17 commission for them, the fact that it had not sold meant they had to do some work for there money and it was plain to see that these two did not like hard work. It had been easy for estate agent over the last few years and they had earned a lot of money so having to now work must have been a shock to them. (there a man and wife couple who work for Baileys in Howick, so if your in that area and are going to sell your house don’t use them)
So it was back to open homes every weekend, we could cope with these but it was hard not having a date to work too, this did start to get to us, after all we were in limbo. I carried on at work and Sharon carried on doing housey things and being Mum, it was good but we were not settled, may be we would be in the UK may be not, would we get to Christchurch, I hoped we would even going for a long weekend would be good at least we would have seen the other Island, the thing is we might as well since we were in this part of the World.
A couple of open homes passed and we were told that the people who I’d showed round the day when Millie was born had been that weekend and that they were really interested, so interested that they were going to put there house on the market and hopefully put an offer in for ours. The agents asked again what we would except and again I told them, they informed us that the market was tight at the moment and they could not see us selling for that amount and that we should look at reducing the asking price, I asked them would they reduce there commission and the look I got from them was as if I’d just asked them to put there heads in boiling oil! I thought its all well and good asking us to reduce but they would not help us out, that’s when I handed them a letter informing them that I was giving them there required notice. That p1ssed them off and they were shocked that I’d actually given them it, I think they thought I would not do it and I was bluffing, the thing is when I say I’m going to do something I do it, I don’t mess about. They seemed upset that I’d sacked them as by all accounts they were the “blue eyed” boys of the office and could do no wrong, stuff them.
That week I had a phone call from one of them; this was a new thing because they did not return any of my calls. They said that they had an offer and wanted to come round so I could sign it! Sign it, they presumed that I’d sign it because “they” had got the offer, that’s how much they thought of themselves, they are so up them it was untrue and this did start to wind me up. I was at the point of just not liking them and didn’t really want to speak to them, but they had an offer so I’d listen to what they had to say.
About an hour latter they came round and sat down in the front room, they started the small talk and complemented Sharon on how good she was looking, this was to get us in the right frame of mind and a typical sales tactic. Then they came out with the story of how the market was depressed and how this offer they had was the best they thought they would get, hang the best they thought, it was the only one they had got and to me they just wanted me to sign it so they could get the money and run. Well the offer came out and it was exactly what we paid for the house a few months earlier, yep $460K. My first reaction was just to say “no chance” and with this both of them went in to overdrive and came out with a load of dribble, if I heard again how the market was so depressed I would scream, at the end of the day they knew and we knew that this was there first and last shot of selling the house, they were getting the sack and they knew this, again I asked if they would drop there commission and again they said no, this time they informed us that they felt that the amount was fair because of all the hard work they had put in to the sale, well it was not a sale just yet. I told them that I would need time to talk to Sharon and they left the house and waited outside. With the agent fee’s and the cost to get everything back including flights, our Ben etc we were looking at not much change from $40K, the thing was the exchange rate had dropped to an amount that if we changed our money that day taking in to account the loss we would still have a little bit more that we started with, now this was a pure fluke and we were very lucky to be in this position. We decided (much to my dismay) to take the offer and just get on with our lives, the bastards estate agents face said it all to me, we were not a customer but a victim and they had just got away with a robbery!
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Old Jan 6th 2008, 4:27 pm
  #22  
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Default Re: Got a bit of a story to tell..........

Due to the constant arguments, bad feelings and off-topic comments I have trimmed this thread back to its bare bones.

Please feel free to continue posting in this thread, however I will be monitoring it so please no more arguments or off-topic comments.

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Old Jan 11th 2008, 3:26 pm
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Default Re: Got a bit of a story to tell..........

were is end of story i was up to the estate agents chapter? I know the petty arguments were annoying but its like i've lost a book half way through!
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Old Jan 11th 2008, 3:27 pm
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Default Re: Got a bit of a story to tell..........

Sorry just realised it s here i'm just being dumb 1 Will await next chapter come on Ian please
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Old Jan 11th 2008, 3:29 pm
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Yes come on Ian, don't keep your fans waiting!
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Old Jan 11th 2008, 5:44 pm
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Old Jan 11th 2008, 7:14 pm
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Default Re: Got a bit of a story to tell..........

So the house was now sold, well we had an offer but over here it’s not worth much until it goes unconditional, I contacted the solicitor who dealt with the house when we bought it. She was nice and I trusted her, I arranged to go in to her office to sign over power of attorney to her, we did this because the plan was just to go as soon as the house went unconditional, this would be in 6-8 weeks there was no point in staying we might as well go back. Looking at the dates this would be sometime at the end of November, great just in time for Christmas.
That night I contacted John and told him our news, he asked when we might be back and I said that I did not have a confirmed date just about the end of November, he just said to call him when we had booked the flights, no problem.
We thought we should start to look at going to Christchurch for a look round, I looked at the internet and there were a few good deals going, I phoned Robbie to ask about hotels and he told me that he’d like us to stay at his house, I thought that was nice of him. The next day at work I told Rhys as well, I could tell he was gutted but like I’ve said before he could understand the reasons why. The next thing he came out with was a bolt out of the blue! He said that they would hold my job for me for 2 weeks while we were still in the UK, if we decided to come back that would be fantastic if not he wished us well. He went on to tell me if I did come back then I would be promoted to the South Island sales manager, given a pay rise and have total control of all the dealers on the South Island, now I was not expecting that. I contacted Robbie who had another shock for me, he wanted me to work for him and was willing to take me on, the thing is Mitsubishi wanted the same and I’d agreed with Rhys that if I did come back I would carry on my employment with them, they were going to rent an office from Robbie and I would work close with him. Robbie said that he was sure it would work and if I did come back he would offer me the chance to buy in to the business, wow I could not believe what was happening. So what were we going to do? We had some fantastic option, we had this dream start in Christchurch or my old job back and we could put everything else down to experience, at the end of the day we would take back not only a little bit more money but most importantly an experience that not many people will get. Also over the last few month we had grown so close it was excellent, I think it could have gone either way but the reason why we’d got closer was the fact that we were a team and not individuals, yes I didn’t want to leave NZ but like I’ve said I love my wife and would do anything for her, don’t think I’m a push over I’m not, I just respect her opinion. The best thing about growing closer was the sex part, my God we were at it like rabbits and were doing it at every opportunity we could it was and still is fantastic (well not at the moment)
The next day I booked the flights for Christchurch, we were planning to go down on the Friday and come back up on the Monday morning, we got a special deal which I was happy with so that was it we were all set to go. The next day Sharon got a phone call from one of the estate agents asking if the bloke who had put the offer in could come round, she agreed and made a time, a few hours latter he came round and the first thing he said to Sharon was “when does your dog go in to kennels” he said it quite abrupt which annoyed Sharon, as you might know by now our Ben is one loved dog and this question really got Sharon’s back up, she answered the question abrupt and let the man go and do what he needed to do. We got a phone call from the man a few days latter, it seems that we had got him all wrong, it turns out that he was normally abrupt and that was just the way he was. He was also a dog lover and could not bare the thought of Ben going in to kennels for that amount of time; he asked if it would be better to let Ben stay here with him and when the time come to fly Warwick could pick him up and do what he needed to do. We thought that would be perfect, but also thought of what might happen if he got attached to him, at the end of the day our Ben is a great dog. I phoned Warwick and asked him his opinion, now bearing in mind if Warwick said it was a good idea he’d be losing 4 months kennel fees. Warwick told us it would be far better for Ben if we left him in familiar surroundings and that he would drive past every other day to check on him, he would also call in every other week just to make sure they were keeping him in good health. Everything =so far was going to well, something had to happen which would cock us up, but what? The next weekend we were due to fly down to Christchurch I bet we won’t like it; I bet that’s the thing that will cock us up, great eh!
Sorry I’ve got to leave it like that…………………I’ll be back in a few weeks, that’s if you want me to continue, it looks like some people don’t??????????????????
Sorry it’s been quite a long wait! Been a busy boy!
So the flight were booked and we were ready to go down to Christchurch for a good look round, we wanted, or should I say I wanted to fall in love with the place just so I’d have some ammunition to try and talk Shazzer in to staying. Well not staying but returning!
We made our way to the airport a route that I had taken every working day due to Mitsubishi having an office in Mangere Bridge. The plan was to get to ChCh were Robbie was going to meet us, he was going to take us on a quick tour of the local area and then to some of the small villagers on the outskirts of town, good plan eh!
The flight down to ChCh was fantastic it was the first time I’d seen the Southern Alps and they were awesome! It’s a hard thing to describe something so vast and yet so isolated, I could see how simple it was for some people to quickly fall in love with this Country, after the Alps came the Canterbury plains, wow this was a massive “patchwork quilt” of different greens, browns and yellows totally different from the rugged alps we had just flown over.
We could see a bit of ChCh and it looked well, small. This was the first thoughts I had, people said that ChCh was so English it was just like living in Oxford, as I’d never lived or even been to Oxford I could not agree or disagree but at the end of the day it was a new city compared to England.
We landed and went through them airport doors again, this time with out any emotion what so ever just a sense of excitement and caution.
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Old Jan 12th 2008, 7:25 pm
  #28  
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excellent Iain very good even a bit cheeky

keep it coming
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Old Jan 13th 2008, 11:17 pm
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Please can I have some more, please, please, please.
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Old Jan 13th 2008, 11:21 pm
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Default Got a bit of a story to tell..........

As always a jolly good read!

NG
Nice Guy is offline  

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