A New House

In July, Steve and I moved from Rocky Bay to Ostend on Waiheke Island. Our rented house had been sold and, after much looking, we bought a small house high on an island hill. We decided to stay on Waiheke after house-hunting on the mainland in towns within an hour’s drive of Auckland. In the end, Waiheke was more rural and open than the suburbs of Auckland, and we had made some new friends that we just didn’t want to leave. Ironically, the house we bought was found by Robin on the Internet while I was home in May. How strange to think of finding a house on a small New Zealand island from Plympton, Massachusetts!

Buying the house was easy compared with looking for a house. We made an offer; it was declined. We made a second offer; it was accepted. It helped that news broke about the slowing boom in the Auckland real estate market as well as rising interest rates the day after our final offer.

Two weeks after the offer was accepted, it became “unconditional” and it was three weeks or so until the deal actually closed. This gave time for the sellers to move and for Steve and I to pack up and get ready to move. We also arranged for high-speed internet (a bit of an overstatement but much better than the dial-up in Rocky Bay), phones, electricity, and even a cable TV channel that would carry the Tour de France. On closing day, we got a call from our attorney (okay, solicitor) saying the money we transferred was all set and did we have any final problems. We said no and he called the sellers’ solicitor to say okay. That was it. No endless piles of paper to sign, no last-minute glitches. The realtor called to ask if we wanted to pick up the keys or should she drive them out to us. It all seemed pretty simple.

We had arranged for movers on the following Monday, giving ourselves the weekend to move computers and other fragile things. It worked well and the movers showed up on cue, after having picked up a used refrigerator we bought in Shelley Beach (a neighborhood near the Causeway). The driveway at our new house on Taraire Street was a challenge to the movers—the big moving truck couldn’t make it all the way because it is so steep. The movers knew this would probably happen as they had moved the previous owners the week before. Back they went to their garage to get a smaller four-wheel drive truck that they used to ferry loads up from the bigger truck. An unusual solution, but it worked and the three guys moved everything in a half day.

Once again, we had lots of boxes to unpack, but the move had gone smoothly—nothing big broken, moved on schedule, everyone happy, no broken bones, no sprained backs, and the rain predicted for move day held off. But you know life is never that simple. Steve was working later and later each night on a big proposal for his fledgling company and, of course, the deadline was the Friday of the week we moved. As time got tighter, I got called in to help with editing and layout. Unfortunately, this made unpacking impossible and life just got more frantic as the week wore on, with late, late nights for both of us. Steve, however, took the prize for lack of sleep. Not only was he working until two or three in the morning, he would then watch live Tour de France coverage until 4:30 or 5:00 a.m. By Friday, we were both exhausted and nothing much was unpacked. We were still rooting through boxes looking for the most basic items (coffee pot, dog bowl, towels). Also, we still had to clean the house at Rocky Bay for the new owners who were arriving on Saturday morning. The proposal was due at 5:00 Friday and it was submitted with minutes to spare. Steve and I and Sam then raced back to Rocky Bay, mop in hand. The place wasn’t that bad, mostly dirt on the floors from the movers but we wanted it to be clean for the new owners. Finally, we staggered back to our new house, take-away pizza in hand, and enjoyed dinner and some good Waiheke red wine in front of a cozy wood-fire.

We’ve now been here for a month or so. A new sofa was delivered last week, I ordered a coffee table, and I’m still shopping for some chairs. It actually feels like a real home. In the end, it was a good move for us, though I miss our neighbors in Rocky Bay!




Last update:
Monday, December 27, 2004
Copyright 2004 - Ellen Freda