I was inspired by Ash at Mick and Ash’s Build to give an update on what life has been like since we got the keys to our house. Things have turned out a little differently to what we expected.
We moved into the house in early October 2012. It was a bit of a frenzy getting ourselves in and sorted with only 1 week of leave from work (That included cleaning up the old place). Slowly but surely we got ourselves more furniture. This included an awesome couch for the media room, which we freaking LOVE! We excitedly bought a rug for the media room too. We ordered some couches for the lounge room. We didn’t really go all that crazy with purchases though, as we still knew we needed to put a lot of cash toward landscaping.
In November Daniel was the first to have his birthday in the new house, which was fantastic. Shortly after this we got some crushing news that Daniel would have to take a 20% pay cut. This absolutely changed the excitable flow of progress we were on. Luckily we had savings, and the only debt we have is the mortgage, so we were able to budget and work out that we could continue to survive. But basically, everything came to a massive, grinding halt…
We had already planned with Daniel’s Brother to get him over to concrete our driveway and patio, it was too late to cancel at this point, plus we really needed a driveway so we could get our cars in the garage before storm season!
So we got our concreting done in November. We then got our new couch set delivered in December for the lounge room (we had already paid for them in full in October, pre-budgeting). It was around this time that Daniel’s brother also donated his old dining table to us. We also got our blinds installed in December (which we had also booked and paid the deposit for prior to our budgeting hurdle). So we went ahead with a few big expenses, but didn’t feel there was a lot of choice.
Despite all of the unexpected stress we had our first Christmas in the house. It was lovely, and it was really nice to put up the Christmas tree out in the lounge room, and I decorated all of our little nooks and niches with Christmas decor.
Throughout the build, Daniel was under the impression that he would actually be getting a pay rise in the new year. The company obviously didn’t foresee such huge issues as a result of the global financial crisis, they probably should have, but that’s another story. So this was really a huge shock to the both of us, it came out of nowhere. As someone who works in the public sector, we thought it was my job at risk, not his. It’s really hard to see Daniel go though this, he works hard at his job as it is, and none of this is his fault. It’s hard to feel valued in your work when you aren’t being compensated appropriately.
In some ways this has made us realise we can live on a lot less than we were. We are still able to save, but at a snail’s pace. A lot of plans were put on hold, not just landscaping, but a lot of life changing plans that we were beginning to seriously consider. We also look back and think thank goodness this didn’t happen sooner, as chances are we would not have gone ahead with building our house at all if we had known.
So for now, we are just doing the things that we can manage. We do a lot of things by hand that we would have preferred to just get a bobcat in to do. We use a push mower while our neighbours have ride on’s. Despite these worries, there are certain things that need to be done in the yard that just can’t wait. To the side of the house we need to build a retaining wall, as we are losing good soil each time it rains, this will also greatly improve the look of the house when you first enter the property. We also need to get an excavator in to level the soil around the house and dig out one side of the yard a bit further so we can build a retaining wall there too. As it is now, it’s just dirt all around the house, with a bit more grass than there was during building. Since the ground isn’t flat, it makes mowing a bit of a bitch. We also would like gardens, decks, pathways, a shed, and the list goes on. This would really be the bare minimum that needs to be done.
8 months in, this is really not where we saw ourselves at this point. So we are here, just the two of us, with this beautiful house surrounded by an unruly yard. It’s hard to be content when life has taken a bit of a turn down a different path to what you expected. But ultimately, we are happy, we have each other, we have this house which we have worked so hard for. Massive lessons have been learned. So for now, we must focus on what we have, and not what we are missing out on. I’m not religious at all, but I remind myself as often as I can to be grateful for what we do have, and to be more content with what we have now.