Thursday, 4 February 2010

in the warm embrace


It is really good to be back home - that's not just a simon and garfunkle line. And back home on the blog too where people are supportive and sympathetic about current events. Thanks, really. And especially to all the local readers who feel like they are just around the corner and who seem excited by the possibility of real life time together. I feel so loved!

And just so you all know, because really I don't want to go on and on about all this shit - the sooner I move on the better I say - I will be deducting some money from the bond to cover the main items I think are indisputably lost, damaged and broken. There isn't that many, but enough for the costs to be more than I am prepared to simply rack up to lessons learned through experience. I will also be passing on the cost of the garden work and the electrician and the timber finish required to restore the table after we sand it back to get rid of all the drawing. I'll also be holding back the rest of the bond until all the outstanding bills are paid, just in case. And when they come to collect their belongings they have stored here (with permission) I will be passing on all the stuff they left here (without permission).

I won't charge them for extra cleaning or any of the many smaller items or disputed items because basically I just can't be fagged with all the emotional torment of arguing about it. And because, being really honest with myself, I don't want money so much as I want my excitement about homecoming back, I want my faith in strangers back, I want my time back and I want my feeling of trust back. More horrible emails and arguments will contribute to those things not one bit so I think I will call it a day. Unless something else big and horrible pops up.

I guess part of writing this down is to remember and for others to share the experience of entering into arrangements on faith. I don't want the lesson to be never do it because a world in which the starting premise is that everyone is an arsehole who'll get you if you let them is a sad and depressing world to live in. Bad shit happens, but it doesn't happen all the time or even most of the time and choosing to assume the best is not a bad bet odds wise.

But we could have (and should have) taken better precautions at the start, like having a more detailed contractual agreement that makes as few assumptions as possible and which explains the consequences of not following the terms and maybe even agreeing on how you'll decide stuff should a dispute arise. We could also put in place some things to take away as many grey areas as possible like contracting out stuff (like gardening and bond cleaning) to a third party or at least making clear that this will be done and who will pay if things aren't left in good condition, having a full inventory of the stuff in the house and conducting an inspection mid way through the term of rental.

And I am also working on trying hard not to fret about all this stuff too much. In the same way that things sometimes work out really well, sometimes that work out less well. On the karmic balance sheet perhaps we were owed some shit, I don't know, but what's happened has happened and if we've been through the wringer then it's time to be philosophical about that and not be so precious. Today as I drove all about in the rain (I know! In the rain! In Melbourne! On my own! I even parallel parked!!) buying new saucepans and lasagne dishes (lasagne tonight yay!) and other bits of stuff I just kept thinking let this be the end of it.

So now I am turning my mind to the unpacking and sorting tasks I expected to have spent the last week on, before I got sidetracked into the grieving and then ever so swiftly the everyday mess. While I have managed to get most stuff more or less in the right room in the house, most of the rooms are more or less a disaster. The kitchen is functional but not the well oiled machine I like and the bathroom/laundry is simply a weigh station for all the dirty things.

The real disaster, and the one I feel is preventing me from thinking straight or getting traction on re establishing regular life in its proper guise is the complete lack of order in my office/craft room/studio. While some may laugh at the level of organisation I like in my work space, the reality is that external order is a precursor to internal order for me - if I don't know where to look for things or have those little cues I am pretty much useless. I like things to be stored with like things (and right where you use them) and I have boxes packed up where the stash is mixed with office things like sticky tape and camera cords and note books and this gives me the absolute willies.

Go ahead laugh, I know what you're thinking. But in my defence I am generally a pretty efficient person, I get a bit done with my time and I swear a lot of it comes down to good storage and systems. If you aren't wasting time looking for things or walking about going to get things you can squeeze more good stuff into the day. All this is absolutely true - but I need enough time to invest up front to get the stuff in the right place and in the right configuration to start with and so far I just can't seem to get the critical mass of time or thought to get the ball rolling. I know it's only a week and all, but I really hate being in this flux. Not being able to find stuff makes me all jittery and confused.

So that's next. Get my systems, paperwork and supplies in order. Make a work space. Create my files. Find a new accountant for last year's tax (anyone?). Get the stash sorted. Fill those shelves. Move some furniture. I'm not quite a dog pissing in the corners but close enough.


Jodie said...

You ! talking about driving in the rain like it is just so super normal these days !

ginevra/occasionalglimpses said...

When we came back we slept on the floor for about a week before we could wrangle our stuff out of storage. I'm still bitter ;P

That said, you won't know yourself in about 3 weeks (maybe less, you seem more naturally diligent than I am)

froginthepond said...

Our house move was a week before Christmas. The first room that was up, running and completely functional, was my sewing room. It saved my sanity and saved others from me.

I'm not laughing, I'm nodding my head so much it's about to fall off.

Sophie said...

i'm not laughing either. i am totally that way about my kitchen. when we move, i have to be the one to pack and unpack it. and it must be completely unpacked and squared away within two days of a move. and it's not about the food. it's my creative space. i cook, i bake, it's what makes my home "home" and it is what makes me happy.

nicole said...

I wonder, by reading what you have to say about your tenants, if that isn't the reason you had this really stiff contract up in Noosa. With the specific cleaner and all the other things. Maybe they did have tenants that left the place wrecked and decided to be prepared next time. And maybe, as much as it was a pain in the butt for you, it's better that way. Yes, they'll feel a bit threatened and anxious about leaving the place in pristine condition, but you won't have to feel the dread of coming home to a totally destroyed home...

(look, I'm leaving my email address as the url, just replace the obvious bit)

Kate said...

I totally understand. You've got a system, it works, it pays you back for maintaining it... once you get used to that, it's just unacceptable to live without it! And why shouldn't you - it's your own home, it's what works for you. I hope you can get it up and running asap!

I feel a strange urge to say 'welcome home' as if I am at your home, and not meeting you here in cyberspace, the same as when you were elsewhere. What the hey - welcome home!

sooz said...

Nicole, you are absolutely right of course. All those rules and conditions are designed to stop the kind of problems we've just had and I do understand that the other end of the 'trust' spectrum looks like that. And of course real estate agents are experienced in the very worst and tend to assume the worst as a consequence and when you are a responsible and trustworthy tenant their attitudes can seem excessively harsh. I still think their requirements were very high, but since we managed to get back our full bond, we were probably better off in that cut and dried situation. I'd hope, when it is a private rental like we had, and given our general approach to life that we could find a more middle path way - but I guess in the end you never if a tenant is going to be an arsehole or not. I'd like to be more trusting and optimistic than our agents were towards us, but perhaps a little less trusting than we were! (and your email address didn't come through!)

Michelle M said...

So much advice here about life, not just renting. Learn the lessons, fix what you can and move on. That it's not so much about the possessions but about the effect on your internal balance that matters.

And I'm not laughing either, just nodding my head in total agreement. Organised home = organised mind = inner calm. My messy husband just rolls his eyes at me as I bustle about the house, mumbling under my breathe "I can't stand this mess, my head is going to explode"!!

Gina said...

Your perspective of aiming for some sense of balance and justice but not taking a retributive approach sounds very wise and mature. Thanks for sharing it all. I hope that your sense and celebration of homecoming is swift and that your creative space is sufficiently organised ASAP (not laughing at your need for order, just wishing I could achieve it!)

Megan said...

That sounds like an excellent balance between being assertive and moving on. Proud of you, matey.

Megan said...

That sounds like an excellent balance between being assertive and moving on. Proud of you, matey.