the new homeowner battle

In March, we bought our dream house in the hills just south of Adelaide (I say the hills, and it is, but it’s technically suburban Adelaide and is about 12km from the CBD… This is the beauty of our fair city). Being homeowners is a big new thing for us; we have a (hefty) mortgage and with that comes a new set of Grown Up responsibilities!

No matter how many times you walk through a place during open inspections or who you pay to get building inspections done before you sign on the dotted line, it would seem unlikely you will ever know exactly what you’re in for until you move in. This is definitely the case for us. The past couple of weeks have been big for us in that, at the same time we received our first ever council rates and emergency services levy in the mail, we also received an electricity bill for $1800! I nearly died. How in earth does that even happen. Well, this is how:

A) a pool:

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As you can see, the pool looks a bit on the sad side. The pump is shot and so is the salt water chlorinator (something I just learnt existed).

And B) this old electricity meter:

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Which apparently does not measure off-peak electricity usage (which we use for the pool). Hubby says this is completely common but I had no idea!

So now we need to add the cost of the pump, salt water thingy, and new meter to the ever-growing list of improvements… Unfortunately these ones are on the more urgent end of the list because I don’t think we can afford an $1800 bill every quarter, eeek!

So there you have it, Amelia has just learnt a few valuable lessons in what it’s like to own a home, how electricity works and how to give herself a heart attack. I hope baby doesn;t mind sleeping in a box on the floor because his nursery is on the backburner (don’t worry we’ll get him sorted).

"don’t drink the water!"

The first time I ever went overseas (to Vietnam) everyone was so eager to give me advice. It frustrated me that everyone thought they were a bloody expert when the only slice of wisdom they ever gave me was “don’t drink the water!” It wore thin pretty fast.
…Until now.
I can now say that, however inadvertently, I drank the water and MY GOD I have never been that sick in my life.
Off we went on our glorious honeymoon. It was meant to be three weeks of romantic newlywed bliss, just the two of us. Just us – no intestinal parasites invited, thank you very much.
Six days in, a lovely Giardia infection changed all that. In case you’re not familiar with it, Giardia is a protozoan parasite that infects the small intestine and, without getting too gory, can make you really ill. For me personally, it was the secondary symptoms that were the worst – the violent shaking, the sensation of chinese burns all over my skin and the stomach twisting cramps made the other obvious symptoms look like a cakewalk.
I fell ill on 21st December and it’s now the 18thJanuary; after some heavy duty meds, I can finally say I’m feeling much better, although I still have to take the medication for a while longer. I had to go back to work this week and let’s face it, I really could have used a stiff drink each day when I got home but alas, my liver is shot and I’m not allowed to drink.
The moral of my story is this: when travelling frequently, it’s easy to become complacent. It’s easy to dismiss advice because we are now the experts. Even though I was careful, this has been a big wake-up call for me – I might be reasonably well travelled but when it comes to world domination, the bugs win hands down.
Be careful folks. When people tell you not to drink the damn water, they really just have your best interests at heart.