Sunday, October 17, 2010


After 69 days we have finally emerged into open spaces. We believe we may have set a record because we can find no record of anyone else who had NOT unpacked their belongings for such a lengthy period of time once they moved house. But this past week, Linda put Plan B into place. Box cutter in hand, she attacked box after box until we could finally see the garage floor - not to mention clearing the big boxes from under the kitchen counters and in our bedroom.

It's not as if we didn't want to unpack earlier. In fact, we had already emptied about half of the boxes that we shipped down here. But it didn't make much sense to unpack the rest for a variety of reasons.

We had to paint and carpet the family room, so we wanted to wait for that. (OK, we didn't HAVE to paint and carpet, but the bright blue and yellow walls and bight blue carpet really did clash with our furniture. In fact, they would have clashed with any furniture. You know it was bad when even I couldn't stand it.)

Once that work was finished, we emptied quite a few cartons, and now we are getting most of the remaining cartons done because we are only 10 days away from The Reno. That's not the Nevada city, and is pronounced like wren-oh. It's short for renovation, and I cannot believe we are actually going through with it.

For the past several years we have been addicted to all those reality TV shows dealing with property, especially building or renovating homes. Grand Designs, Homes Under the Hammer, Property Ladder and just about anything else that got its dramatic moments from all the things that can get screwed up when doing this kind of work. And then there's the even scarier ones like Holmes on Homes and Help! My House Is Falling Down, which focus on the plight of very unlucky home buyers and sends us to bed dreaming of dry rot, backed-up sewers and subsidence.

I know why we decided to put in a new kitchen. The current one doesn't have anywhere near enough storage space. The previous tenants put up some really ugly cabinets that don't match the other ones. The gas stove top is a bit like a 12-year-old's science experiment every time you light it. And the space is so ridiculously spread out that you probably lose weight walking from the sink to the fridge to get an ingredient.

All that said, having spent so many hours gorging on the reality TV that amounts to the real horror shows for the middle class, I am not altogether sure why we have given the go-ahead to have an internal wall knocked down and our kitchen gutted and replaced, but it's coming soon and we're getting the house ready.

Already we're adding 10 percent to the cost because we need a new beam to support the roof when we knock out the wall in the kitchen. The new flooring - which I really loved - is coming in higher than we planned. And awhile ago I overheard a chilling comment: LK talking to someone at the lighting store when she answered their question by telling them, "I don't actually have a budget."

None of this bodes well for the retirement fund, but right now the costs are still within the amount we set aside to renovate when we sold our Sydney house. So, with luck, we won't be replicating the woes we see on all those TV renovation shows. In the meantime, I think we should limit our reality TV viewing to Toddlers and Tiaras and Project Runway. Not much chance of either of us trying to duplicate them.

And, always looking on the bright side, LK pointed out that once it starts I am sure to have plenty to write about in this blog.

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