Saturday, November 29, 2014

6 months homeless

Today officially marks  our anniversary of 6 months since we have been homeless.  When I say homeless it not a bad thing, and something we specifically choose to be while awaiting for our new home to be built, which is now just 2 weeks away - but it is definitely a milestone.

Six months ago we were full of excitement as we drove out of our house camper trailer in tow  excited with the thought of travelling around Australia with no particular place to go, and being in the grey nomad mindset.

I chose not to blog throughout the trip, primarily because we often didn't have internet, and it was easier to share our experiences via Facebook as and when they were happening, which was easier, but for those who don't have Facebook I will no doubt one day get around to blogging about the trip in more detail once we have settled into our new home.  Needless  to say though we had a fantastic time, our country is  magnificent and travelling in winter was great especially in the Northern Territory and Western Australia area.

We did however have to come back in order to buy our furniture  and get it ordered so that it would be ready for the move in so we have been kept busy as we scoured every store  to get the best value we can get.  We sold the camper trailer, and have been marking time for the last few weeks waiting, waiting, waiting.

I started my blog this year saying it was a year of change for us, and there is no doubt it certainly was, buying a new home off the plan, selling our home, moving and then travelling around in a camper trailer for 16 weeks (something we have never done before), but I hope 2015 is the year of being settled, we are both looking forward to having our own home once again.  Travelling is fantastic, we had such a great time, but as the saying goes, "there's no place like home" and as we near the end of our adventure we cannot agree more right now.

We met a lot of people in our travels who constantly travel in their vans, but we have been there and done that now and would say I would find it hard to do it all the time and we took the trip as a holiday where many who do this sort of thing all the time, seem to drive, setup, sit until it's time to move on again.

The last 6 months have certainly been exciting, challenging, eye opening and gave us a fantastic trip to remember, one I believe all Australians should do at least once, but it isn't a cheap trip especially if you do want to see, do and be part of the area you are in , but I am glad we did decide to take the trip and go way out of our comfort zone and try something different.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Moving Emotions

This story is two fold about moving emotions, firstly those connected with age and possibly retirement and those connected with moving home and moving on - as both seem quite pertinent to me at this point in my life.

Lets start with those connected with age and retirement - in the last 2 years of retirement I have found my emotions have changed and maybe for some people who worked with me they may even be shocked to know I had emotions other than drive, go getter and for some harsh and high work ethics (step up or step out emotion), but I always had a soft side and for those who where on it they knew (they were just sworn to never let anyone know about it).  In the last 2 years though my emotions have changed and the way I view things have changed as well.  While I still try to push myself and I still set short and long term goals I find that I am more open to events changing, things that use to drive me nuts (like people not delivering on what they promised) no longer do, things that use to make me cry or sad don't seem to as much these days - but they have been replaced with new things that make me cry ,feel sad or angry things that wouldn't have touched me in the way they do today.  Laughing, smiling and feeling happy seem to be significantly more these days and there seems to be more opportunity to find the happy, joyful in things.  Age is a great equalizer and as we get older we not only become wiser I believe we feel more of everything in new ways as we have time to reflect instead of reacting on our immediate thoughts (something I was extremely prone to do) and we have more time to smell the roses as the saying goes - time to sit and smile at the little things because we are not caught up in the mundane of work, kids, work, cleaning, work, shopping, work, commuting, work and lets throw in a little more of all of those things - that take the truly beautiful things away from our emotions and fill them with grrrrr (will this day ever end type emotions).  So retiring does change you fundamentally as you become more patient, I think more inquisitive into areas of life and the world that you may not have had the time to in the past, more relaxed and able to enjoy things on a more regular basis therefore making you happier.  Moving emotions!

Now onto the other type of moving emotions, after 75 of being under contract, organising our new home, organising our next 6 months while we wait for that new home to be built, deciding on exactly the form of adventure we would do and how we would do coupled with packing, cleaning, packing and cleaning we have been through a range of emotions.

Being under contract for so long is hard work - you pack bits and pieces here and there but you know you still have to live so the packing has seemed to go on forever - but you are not rushed so you tend to look and touch things more as you pack them - its funny the tears Derek and I have shed in this as we looked at things that we may not have for many years (you know things in a corner, things in the back of a cupboard, things put away into boxes for another day) - the memories you have in your home and your various treasures is amazing and with so much time to pack for the first time in our lives we spent the time reminiscing - laughing, crying, thinking of friends who may have given us the item, or shared it with us in some way - so it has been an emotional packed time  and I think for the first time everything was packed with love - we have never really had anything broken in transit, and often things were just thrown into boxes - not this time, the things we kept we were guarding with bubble wrap, paper and lots of fragile stickers.

We had things we had to do before heading off into the wild blue yonder - like getting our various medical check ups - something that always causes a certain amount of emotions especially at such a critical time of change for us - so again emotional in many ways as you worry and then as you give thanks that at least for now you have a clean bill of health.

Picking colors etc for the new home - making the small changes to a plan that just fit you better.  For a lot of people building a house is quiet stressful but not for us - we have become serial house builders but again lots to discuss, lots to agree or disagree on.

Deciding how we will travel around - so we had always decided if we sold and there was time up our sleeves before the new home was ready we would travel around Australia and become grey nomads - but exactly how that would be we didn't know, and while we had been looking at caravans etc for some time prior we really had not made up our minds - so we went about the process of looking more, and buying a camper trailer after many months of looking.  Having never really been camping except for our relocation trip in the first month of our retirement - even this was emotional as we started making lists, culling them down, working them back up again and taking delivery of our new camper - scary, feeling a bit pressured, nervous - can we do this, can we put the thing up.

Deciding where we will travel to - getting the info we needed now and upgrading things such as the ipad etc to accommodate our needs, learning new apps to make life a bit easier etc.  All new things , all things that cause a wide range of emotions.

Now that we have sold our home, have a room full of boxes and are travelling around to who knows where we thought - we had better up date the wills (found while packing) and make enduring power of attorneys for each other in case something happens - the girls where not even in their teens the last time we did this and now both of are over 21 so definitely time to up date - but sad and an emotional experience as you talk about these things with a stranger who will get what etc - the last time I was just 40 and indestructible and death wasn't really an option but its one of those things you just do when you are that age, with kids that age it was just a get it done, tick that box, but this time again with time and just being that bit older it had more of an emotional pull.

Trialing the camper - taking it out fully stocked and giving it a proper go - scary but fun at the same time.  We did that this week after all you don't know what you don't know until you find out you don't know - so off we went - emotional now we just simply can't wait and 1 more week we will be off.  Here is our new home for a few months anyway.

Saying good bye to friends and family (even if only for a few months) very emotional while everyone is so happy about the new journey its always sad to say we will see you in 6 months especially to your kids.

Helping my Mum as she wasn't feeling great and needed to go to some Doctors etc herself and taking her there - feeling a little bit of fear and perhaps some confusion for what might be wrong and how now given the circumstances we are in how we can help but also a new sense of love and caring as Mum is never really sick and this was unusual - but that is sorted for the time being but it added to the emotions of the last 3 months.

They say that moving is one of the most stressful times in a persons life - put that together with all of the above and you will see we have had some pretty emotional times in the last 3 months a bit of a roller coaster- ones full of hope for the future (new home), excitement for the new travels and new travelling experiences as well as many scary and slightly nervous moments, reminiscent of the things being packed and remembering good and bad times bring on tears and laughter as we packed all the most precious things we have.  Anticipation as we wait for the sale to finalise and in the thoughts of our new home (how will it look, when will it be ready).  Love for our kids as we say goodbye to them for a short while but knowing they won't be just around the corner.  Thinking of our lives and of course with doing our Wills etc our eventual demise (something none of like to contemplate).

I love moving even if it does make you emotional - at least you are feeling, learning, growing and more importantly changing and while I feel sick to death of packing and cleaning I can't wait for 30th May as we start our new adventures.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Why I love Facebook

Blogging is great but there is nothing like Facebook in my opinion.  Why?  Because (yes and I know you are never meant to start a sentence with because but bugger it) I get to kept in touch with the most important people in our lives.

Me I don't have 1000 friends on Facebook, but what I have are the top people who have shared my life over many years and those people who are important to me every day, people who have inspired me, people I respect, people who somehow have shared a part of our lives and knowing what they are up to, knowing I am keeping in touch with them and keeping track with their lives is just the most fantastic thing.  I think back to the days, where you had to pen a letter -  boring and hoping and praying you might get one back.

Its great to connect with people you may have not seen forever but there they are on Facebook up front and personal and all of a sudden you share their life like you may have in years gone past.

You see their family, you understand their setbacks, their successes, their new friends without jealousy, but as a joy of all the people who also love them for the wonderful things they are.

Who knows who looks at my blog, but I do know the people who like my blogs from Facebook, I get to share my friends lives in so many ways via Facebook and to me it's underrated as a updating service especially in the older generations.

So lets look at my small but intimate group of Facebook friends by how long I have known these people - of course I will not mention everyone and I apolgise if I did not say your name personally it doesn't mean I don't love you it is just about you can't mention everyone.

Aleta Coroneo aka Aleta Jarrott - we met in January 1974 in High School - who would ever have thought we would become best friends and be some how linked for now over 40 years, that our lives would have been so entwined and that even now we would probably say we are best friends, even though we don't see each other much but we share so much of our lives with each other every day.  Leet I love you mate thank you for you friendship over these 40 years.  As we post old photos recently scanned we share so much and being bridesmaids at each others wedding I thank you for our on going friendship  and the memories that are probably in our hallways/life pics.  Thank you my dearest friend for every thing you have given me over the last 40 years!   

I have a friend who contacted me who is even known to me before Aleta and that is Lisa who lived up the road from me in the 60's early 70's.  Lisa is someone who found me through Facebook , and while we are not friends as such we are people who shared a part of life - here is what I remember of Lisa.  Her and her sister Noeleen lived 2 maybe 3 houses up from me  I remember when they move I was invited to their house at Beenleigh which seemed 100's of miles away at that time, but you know we had some terrific times and my memories of Guy Fax night, bon fires, etc are with me forever - so thank you Lisa for finding me and letting me share your life - something that would not have occurred prior to Facebook  - after all I think I may have 12 the last time Lisa and I shared anything and some 30 years before we did again.

Erica Bolam is someone else who seems to have shared so much of my life from D&B round 2 , ABR and the GlobalX, but more than just being work mates and people who shared a work environment we became friends and again Facebook lets me view Ericas and Karens life as it occurres.

Just a week or so ago some long time friend Terry and Glynnis started on Facebook and we immediately became friends, we have shared so much of our lives together - Glynnis and I first met at play group in early 1993 we both had 2 children and we were doing the appropriate Mummy thing, but from there we became friends and more than that I looked after her and Terrys children as a day care Mum a few years later. We were friends, we became extended family and over many many years shared our families lives and ensured we met up at least every school hols - of course this changed when we moved to the Gold Coast and the kids grew up thank you for letting us be a part of your lives and its great to see you and your lives again.  

That's the thing about Facebook, it doesn't matter if you are truly together - seeing, talking and sharing with those you know and love is connection and its instant.

Kerrie Mills - I only reconnected with Kerrie last year on our 25th wedding anniversary when I went who was at our wedding I am not connected with and Kerrie was in that group. Kerrie and I worked together, went to Hawaii together and had too many fantastic times together, but before Facebook and before just 12 months ago we had lost contact but now we share - again.  Its great to see you and your beautiful family again.

The Bells - a family I have know since I was 8, they were my second family and Elizabeth Bell was also a teacher of mine but the family in itself was my family - I felt Boney Joney was my 2nd Mum and Wayne, Andrew and Darryl were my brothers and some of my best memories of childhood contain this group of people.  Our kids interacted in an environment that was more than family, but Wayne and Derek as piers, Elizabeth and I as teacher - pupil and then piers, and of course Andrew and his boys just mates.  I do think without Facebook I wouldn't have that opportunity to know these people today as we had sort of lost contact as you do over time.

To all my other mates, Dereks other mates, family both long known (Derek and Pam, Stuart, my brother Jim, Gary and Helen and their family and of course our UK and US families of the Todds etc) and others such a Mandi, Shezza,  Favvy, Denny, Gab,  Kirsty, Ken and everyone else we have on Facebook as friends you know who you are and this wasn't about a list of friends or family members, it was about just saying hey you are all special to us in one way or other, and so many more of you thank you it is so wonderful to share your life experiences and be a part of those - I watch you grow as people, I watch you take on life and it is such a wonderful thing. There are also those people such as Maggie who have just inspired me and helped me to grow as an individual and many others. Our friends on Facebook are not 1000's but can be counted in the 30-60's but these are people we love, the people who have influenced our lives, these are the people who have made us who we are today and TO ALL OF YOU WE THANK YOU.  We  thank you for being a part of our lives some form decades, and some for just a short time, but we now get to share a part of your lives on a daily basis and see you, see your family and see what you do, how you do it and understand you better and this is fantastic.  It means when we catch up even after years of not seeing each other, we have heaps to talk about because you have been watching each others lives. Blogging doesn't provide that experience, neither does LinkedIn or a lot of other Social Media platforms, but Facebook allows us to connect with family and friends, it allows us to communicate when we are 1000's of miles away, it allows us to show what we are doing, it allows us to say how we feel -these are the the reasons why I LOVE FACEBOOK.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Moving On: The new journey

If you have been reading my blogs, you will know we have had the house on the market for a few months now, ready to downsize the property and up size the bank account - we had always said our home was our major contributor to our superannuation and over the years we have always thought of it not just as our home but as our super. After 2 weeks of being under contract we have today finally gone unconditional and the property is now SOLD!

We have loved our time here at our most beautiful home in a long list of homes and this home truly put life into perspective for us as well - with the kids being young adults it was our first home in over 20 years that wasn't about kids, but about adults and adult pursuits. This home taught us how to really live again and enjoy life past shopping, cleaning and raising kids, it gave us the ability to learn new and wonderful things like boating and going out (we had spent so long too far away from the mainstream on acreage or semi rural areas) we had forgotten how fantastic it is to live close to everything and where nothing is more than 20kms away, but more importantly most things are less than 5 minutes away including beaches etc.

In November we had signed up for a new community at Hope Island call Halcyon Vision which is a new over 50's community on the water - it is perfect for us given we get to build yet another new home (yes I know another one but we love building our own home), it's still on the waterfront (although we have not chosen a waterfront property - but just behind waterfront), marina, boats we can use and everyone is an owner occupier and over 50. It was a no loose situation as we were able for a very small refundable deposit secure the block and home we wanted at the right price subject to sale of our property - so we could get in at a great price and great value and we had plenty of time up our sleeves to sell. Why is this important to us to be in a community like this you might well ask - well over the last 12-24 months we have been looking at heaps of wonderful waterfront units, villas etc but all of them seem to have a lot of renters and a lot of holiday rentals - we had decided we definitely didn't want to put our hard earned bucks into something rented by tattooed cashed up 21 year olds and putting up with the S&D they present. Also as I have put in other blogs sometimes we miss community, we miss having people to talk to - now don't get me wrong Derek and I can seem to talk all day every day to each other and still have something to say - but we love it when we are away to have others to share things with and this is probably one of the major things we have missed since being retired - camaraderie and being a part of something. We also get access to heaps of great facilities such as gyms, boats,pools, boat shed and marinas and its 5 mins from where we live now and area we absolutely love.

However there is a down side to this story - we sold our home lock stock and smoken barrel ie all furniture etc and our new home won't be ready until January/February next year - so what the hell do we do for the next 8 months - especially with nothing but some clothes, a few pieces of crockery and cooking utensils? Well you guessed it maybe -  we are off to be grey nomads for at least 5 months - we are buying a camper trailer and heading out west given the winter months are best for this - I have always wanted to go to Alice Springs and this provides us with the perfect opportunity to just head where the wind takes us. With no plans and no place to be at any particular time. I would like to be back by November and then we can do a short term furnished rental over the summer months until the new home is ready.

We started looking originally at Caravans, but like most things they get pretty expensive, and to be honest I want to be able from time to time stay in a motel or a resort when available so we went, lets just get a camper trailer and do half camping and half motelling ie: if the weather is great and the parks are great then we will stay in the camper, but if its raining or we want a bit of luxury etc then lets motel it - if we had a caravan you couldn't justify the cost of the van plus the cost of motels, but with a camper trailer you can - we will either love it or hate it - but remember this is what our retirement has been all about - trying new things and this is all a part of that journey.

So like all our adventures so far - we don't know what the future will hold, but we will have a beautiful new 25 sq home (our first home was 13 sq's) and we have done a full circle from 13sq's to 70sq's and back down to 50sq's and now 25sq's but it is  in a waterfront area, with heaps of facilities, good size block, lovely finishes, secure for when we go away and with people who are roughly in our age bracket (although most we have met are a little older but hey thats cool as most of our friends are older than we are), and heaps of good things for us to enjoy in an area we love.

Did we get want we wanted for our house? Well put it this way - we didn't loose $300,000 like most in the area who are doing fire sales, we held tight to what we believed and with the buyer also wanting all our furnishing, artworks etc well we were happy with what we sold for and we made a statement to the area - you don't have to give your property away if you believe in it, as we did.

So this weeks adventure was find the exact camper trailer we wanted and begin understanding a trip to who the hell knows where a bit better.

Here are some of images of our past 2 homes.  Cant wait for photos of our new home.  So keep watching this blog for some of our new camping outback adventures!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Getting Licensed and Ready for New Adventures

After a crazy weather week here on the Gold Coast it was a bit hard to decide what to do this week on our weekly adventure.  As we are downsizing the house and moving into a new community still on the water we decided it was probably time that I personally got my boat license and that Derek gets his Personal Watercraft License for using Jet Ski's.

As luck would have it Halcyon Vision where we are moving to (I will blog on this more in coming weeks) decided to organise a day of licensing for all new residents so everyone could have the opportunity to use the boating equipment provided as a part of community and so that everyone gets full enjoyment from the facilities.   

This was a great way to met some of the residents and of course it was even better because it cost us nothing so that was an additional bonus.

It ended up being a perfect day after such heavy rains from the previous 3-4 days and while the waterways where a little muddy, the sun was out and shining in all its glory and a perfect day for getting boat and PWC licenses.

Phil from Allstate Boat Licensing was a fabulous teacher and kept the day interesting and relevant and ensured everyone passed (YAY for us).  Scott and Jan from Halcyon kept us supplied with great food and drinks so overall it was a full on day but very pleasant and now we are both able legally to drive a boat and perhaps we might get ourselves a jet ski as we have missed being able to just jump in a boat and go off to some lovely deserted beach for a day - but that won't be for a while. Jet ski's are obviously significantly cheaper to buy, run and maintain and given we will have access to tinnies and BBQ boats we feel this might suit us down to the ground for those glorious NINKERing days on the Gold Coast. 

Today we are off to the Caravan and Camping Show - which was washed out on Friday to start on another new adventure for a few months - again more on that in coming weeks.

Retirement should be fun, you should keep learning, you should keep doing new things and be looking for new adventures and we have a few planned for this year as long as all the stars and moons align.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Quad Bike Safaris - Another Great Gold Coast Adventure

We were off again today on one of our Gold Coast Tourist jaunts.  This week we choose to do the Quad Bike Safari at Numinbah Valley and what an awesome time we had.  

What a fantastic way to spend the morning out on these terrific ATV (All Terrain Vehicles) in some of the most spectacular surroundings you will find anywhere in the world with the mountains, bush and wildlife.  We choose the 2 seater, because to be honest I have tried to ride these things in the past and wasn't too successful so it was great they have the options for either a 1 person or 2 person vehicle.

We started our day with our short 30 minute drive to Numinbah Valley which is so lovely in itself - and our meeting point was at the NV (Numbinbah Valley) Cafe - with a good 30 minutes up our sleeves we decided to fill our tummies with a bit of yummy breakfast in this quaint little cafe across from a paddock of cows meandering around while we waited to be picked up.  Between the drive and the breakfast we had already had a brilliant start to the day.

Soon Tod and the bus was there to pick us up to take us to the short drive to the farm where we were to be spending the rest of the morning with our new friends Grant and Mel from Melbourne a lovely young couple here on holidays and looking for adventures other than beach and theme parks.

Having had a good induction we donned our helmets and took off around the property, starting on small circuits first to get the hang of driving and then on to some more challenging sections including some quite steep little hills, creeks and around the dam walls.

Being in the hinterland there was no lack of views where ever we went and this made the trip even more enjoyable with the stunning views and the farm animals to negotiate around.  This isn't about speed, it isn't about being stupid its about enjoying our Gold Coast hinterland in a unique fashion and while the vehicle do not go fast there are definitely times when the tracks are only just wide enough for the ATV to get through so its not a boring trip for those looking for some hot rod adventure but it isn't about being speed demons or hillbilly warriors.

Wendy and Tod our hosts where definitely passionate about their town and its surrounds and had lots of great stories to tell about the area which makes the day even more personal and enjoyable, we had a lovely morning tea of muffins (I had the banana one and it was delish) and drinks before heading off for a few more challenging areas around the property.  Thanks guys you do a great job!  

Before heading back we stopped into the rain forest section to see a huge Fig tree that has been on the property for 105 years since the current owners family came there so it is thought to be at least 300 years old, this was a nice interlude and provided that touch of difference to this trip.

We would highly recommend this for a great day out for anyone looking for something a little different and a new and exciting way to see our Gold Coast Hinterland and its beautiful surroundings including volcanoes and Mount Warning while having a great time (even if it is a bit bumpy along the way). 

I think we all really enjoyed ourselves and the time seemed to go at a good pace, with stops along the way, good photo opportunities, perfect environment and good company, you can't go past that.  This area has some other fantastic scenery including National Arch, Springbook etc so you could spend the morning doing the ATV tour an unconventional way of seeing the area, stop at NV Cafe for lunch and then go off and do the more traditional site seeing of the area (there are probably other cafes in the area as well).  It is sometimes hard to believe all of this is just 30 minutes from home and we really felt we were a million miles away and as usual left with big smiles on our face!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Being a Tourist in your Own Back Yard: CatchaCrab

With working a little and being home bound to do endless cleaning to sell the house, we have been missing our holidays and trips away.  You can google all day long sometimes to try and find something to do, but often it really is just too confusing.

This week we thought, we live in the one of the most famous tourists centers in the world so lets go to one of the major resorts and get tourist brochures and become tourists right here.

So this will be a little series on our 1 day a week tourist gig on the Gold Coast.

This week we went to CatchaCrab and WOW how much fun was this!  We were like we were on holidays as we were the only Aussies on the boat (except for the crew of course), and we had a absolutely fun day with groups of Chinese and Vietnamese tourists - I think most of them though we worked on the boat - but this was a top day.

 The boat itself is lovely with plenty of room, tables and chairs setup, tea and coffee and a bar etc so a lovely setup.  The day starts off feeding the pelicans and of course some people just have to go that extra mile don't they Derek!  There was no shortage of pelicans or buckets of fish to feed them - this really kick started the day in a fun way and got everyone up and off their seats and got giggles, screams of joy and the cameras out in force.  The waters around the Tweed are just so crystal clear and the seagulls and other bird life around also came in for some action, but this gets everyone up and doing something that is just so simple and fun.

A nice chug along the Tweed River with coffee and biscuits and then on to our next fun activity for the day - Catching Yabbies - with Yabbie Pumps etc on hand we were shown how to do this properly as we got off the boat and into the water for some Yabbie Catching!  It took a while for the rest of the group to get off the boat and into the water but after Derek and I jumped in and started they soon all rolled up their pants and jumped in as well - this was so much fun with so many of us and everyone gets their own equipment.  After about 1/2 an hour of everyone splashing around, mud going everywhere, fish swimming around us we all headed back to the boat.



 Next stop:  Catching Crabs - again everyone gets their own pot to collect but we were first up and you would have thought Derek was a rock start as the whole boat clapped him as he walked his through to the kitchen where they were about to be cooked- everyone wanting a photo of him - but again, this is real hands on stuff and the enjoyment everyone was getting was fantastic.

Still want more - this day seemed to go on for ever and our next stop was a beer, wine and some good old fashion fishing using our live Yabbies of course.  Again fantastic fun even if you fish all the time, but with a bunch of tourists who were experiencing the Gold Coast for the first time and catching fish it made it just so much more enjoyable.  I seemed to get lumbered with baiting everyones hooks (as I said I think everyone thought we worked on the boat) but this was fun too helping others to have a great time and enjoying their enjoyment of something we all take for granted.  

The stops for each activity were not rushed either which I really liked and I do have to say how great all the crew where - so Dave (you made me laugh so hard today - thank you you did well keeping everyone under control), the lovely Kim what a smile and how well she helped everyone catch Yabbies etc and Jan (not a boy named Sue but a Captain named Jan) who also helped everyone out with a smile - what a crew you all are.

So after all this activity you get a bit hungry and the hot freshly cooked crab and seafood lunch was just superb and a great way to end an action packed morning.

We would highly recommend this to anyone, overseas tourists or locals, it is a great value fun day and great for any age (kids, retired teenagers like ourselves or oldies) everyone gets a go at everything, there is heaps to do and you are not rushed throughout the morning, then you can finish at the cafe with a wonderful lunch like this - YUM!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Where have we been?

So you may well have noticed we have been absent from posting blogs and the you may ask why?

With the house on the market its been difficult to do to much, we are sort of home bound - not a situation we love to be in, you can't plan anything, you can't go anywhere for extended times.  So life has changed for us a bit lately.

With this situation in mind, and we are lucky we are always being offered jobs (some part time and others full time), we did some weeks ago decide to take up some of these fantastic offers.

So yes we are working but there is even more.  So we are no longer NINKERS we are sort of SINKERS (Some Income No Kids Early Retiree) now.

I am now working 2 1/2 days a week which is nice and it's nice to have some money coming into the bank account and not just leaving it.  When I got offered this job I said to Derek - you had better go and find yourself a job - and he did just that as a gardener for 10 hours a week.  So we are now both back in the world of working even if just a little.  But wait ...... there is still more

It's such a funny thing that once you change your LinkedIn account and say you have a job, just how many new offers come in - some good, some not quite so, but it is an interesting fact.

So now I am working 2 jobs part-time and that is nice and Derek has his nice gardener job, complete with HighVis gear and he is loving that.  But wait ........ there is still more

For those of you who know us personally you know D2 is a hairdresser and has been doing this since she was 13 and to be honest she has worked hard, she has given it her all and a few weeks ago, the salon she was work for just closed it doors - grrrr again and again she was owed back pay.

She walks in not knowing what to do but not keen to go on welfare so said I am just going to do this as a mobile hairdresser, after all she has been doing mobile stuff for some time to top up her next to less than average wage, as do so many.

Us being Us went hang on lets do this properly and started on the setup of a true business model so we are pleased to announce Hair2You.  We looked and while a million people do mobile hairdressing we found no one was properly franchising this as a model so we have gone - lets do it.  Yes so now 3 jobs are now being worked.

We launched the Hair2You facebook site last week (so please like it folks no matter where you are and share and get your friends to like) Hair2You Facebook and we are now in full swing of how do we franchise this model.

Life has been busy, working working and working and yes we are spending a little money but that is now being financed from our part-time jobs so no net loss which is important to us.  

Tomorrow though we go back into retirement mode if only for 2 days and off we go, we are back on the road for 2 whole days, which now seems bliss to us after 5 weeks of being stuck at home, working and designing a business.

Don't get me wrong, we are loving being involved but lets face facts, we have had 18 months of doing nothing but enjoy life and here we are back working - all for a good cause but working nonetheless.

So hang in there Blogging has become something I do now only if and when I might have some NINKER time left in me - today is the day.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

One Mans Trash is Another Mans Treasure: Gumtree and Car Boot Sales

Well that's what the saying says, and it seems to be somewhat true!

We started the New Year off doing some cleaning up of unwanted items in anticipation of a sale of the house, and a down size hopefully in the wind this year, we decided to do something unusual for us and elected to try and sell some of the things we no longer use or need, or hopefully won't need if we sell.

It was amazing to be honest, just how much stuff we have cleared out of the house over the last 2 weeks.  We started in the dark and dreary place under our staircase, after all most of the stuff in there was put there on the week of moving in, and in most instances hasn't been touched or looked at since.  Our premise here was if we haven't used it in that 4 years, chances are we don't need it, and while it may have been treasure to us at one point in our lives, it certainly isn't anymore.

We decided to  start with the boxes and boxes of paperwork as generally this is the easier things to rid yourself of, and after 2 days of cleaning up a stack of unneeded paperwork you know, boxes of tax receipts going back to 1991 (3 large storage boxes), old diaries, old work related items, old pay slips, old bills etc that got shoved into boxes when we last moved for a just in case and just general items you tend to keep and box we got rid of 2 car boot loads of paper, but did find 2 old Superannuation Policies though that we had totally forgotten about important to us now we have retired- so a win win, cleaned up, threw out and found some money as well, and enjoyed looking at things that had once meant a lot to us in some form or other.

So with all the crappy stuff now gone, we started on the next level of cleaning up, and going through real things throughout the house, those things in cupboards on high shelves, in the garage, on book cases, in draws and on hangers at the end of the wardrobe and moved them all out into the garage into one clean space and really looked at it, of course the odd item was far too precious to sell, but in the main we looked at what was there and felt these where things that would be treasure to someone else and while not trash they were no longer needed here.

Over the years we have not been renowned for buying cheap items so most of our stuff is of decent quality, even our clothes have generally been good quality and we have always looked after things well.  In the past when we have moved, we generally have given things away as we like to help others, but we also like to start in a new home with new things, but of course those where the days when time was money and it was quicker to find someone who needed things rather than spend time selling things, and there is the fact that money wasn't as big an issue.  Aaaah retirement, and more importantly self funded retirement does change many things, including our time is now our time so we have time to go through things, take photos, post ads and then bicker in the garage as someone comes and makes and offer, we now have time to go to car boot sales and spend 5 hours selling things for $5 a piece that once had cost $200.  We also think differently now we are retired and went nothing ventured nothing gained, where in the past it would have been do we need a few hundred dollars that badly, but now while we don't need it as such, it definitely comes in handy.

So with what we considered a good pile of things, from all different stages of our lives and a wide variety of times from near new drill sets, bar accessories, sporting goods, games, clothes, hand bags, shoes, books galore, boat accessories, garage items by the dozen, we set off taking photos and posting ads on Gumtree.

I could never really understand e-bay, maybe it was because I didn't have the time or the inclination to, but Gumtree I get, and it is so easy to setup a profile, post your ads and its about local, local people calling you, local people coming to see something and then local people handing you some cash, so we liked this style.  So with camera in hand we started taking photographs of everything and putting them on Gumtree, and at the same time had found a car boot sale on this week in a close suburb, it was all going to go and we were going to see how well this process works.  

Within a day we had sold 3 items on Gumtree and had accrued $140 in cash already so we were pretty happy with this.  We invested $90 of this in a fold out table which we will use again no doubt and 2 clothes hangers, some stickers, cardboard to make signs and felt pens to take to the car boot sale which was going to cost $20, so the pre-car boot sale of items paid for our extra things we needed in order to sell the rest of the items.  I also put up an ad with items we would take to the car boot sale and advertised where it was - we did sell some items on the day of the boot sale because they had seen it on Gumtree and had come specifically  to buy the item at the car boot sale.

Up at 3am grrrrr that was hard - once upon a time it was the time we got up every morning, but I am use to sleeping in these days, we packed the car which was chokers with every part of the Captiva loaded with something and arrived at Burleigh at 4.30am.  We really didn't know what to expect, but as we were unpacking things, there were people there with torches offering money on things as they were being unloaded into our space for the mornings selling, unbelievable!

After that initial adrenaline rush, we managed to get everything out of the car already $20 or so richer and get it on display and priced up, we were now ready and it was just 5am.  The day was fast and furious, with bartering going on all over the place, and we had little time between 5am and 10am to sit down.

It's hard to know what to price things at, but within an hour we began to realise that at car boot sales $20 is about the max anyone will pay for anything in most cases and even then they want to knock it down from what you have it priced at, so we began to make pricing changes to ensure we took little or nothing home.

The difference between selling on Gumtree and a Car Boot Sale is you will probably get your price or close to it by selling on Gumtree if its a fair and reasonable price, but it might take a few weeks and then you are selling only 1 item at a time, where at Car Boot sales, you will get less but sell more items quickly.  An example is I put all the books I had read this year into 2 boxes (50 odd) and put on Gumtree take the lot for $60, and got no inquiries, however these books were placed at the front of our stand at $2 each and sold them all (so made more money ultimately) as well as then selling other items to these people while they were there.  The drill which had never been used we put on Gumtree for $40 but sold at the Car Boot Sale for $15, but I didn't want to take it back home.  Remember its not what you paid for something and it doesn't matter if it has never been used, its what someone is prepared to pay for it now and the cost of storing and maintaining something that you have never used.

So how did we go, well we sold just about everything, there were a few clothing items left, and the odd thing here and there but we sold 99% of what we took and went home with little in the car except the empty boxes and $400 profit in hard cold cash in our hands, so with what we had sold on Gumtree earlier in the week, we were over $500 richer for our clean out and we were happy with that.  We had decided that if we came home with $100 it was fair, if we came home with $500 that would be fabulous so we were happy with our $400. We had a great time selling again which was fun as well, and had great chats to some absolutely lovely people, so the morning was fun and fruitful.  This will pay for a nice week away for us when the school holidays are over and this is what its about for us now.

My Top Tips for Car Boot Sales

  • Have good quality items (not junk) we did do better than a lot around us because of this
  • Have a good variety of items, and especially boys toys (for the men)
  • No matter how good your clothes are, people won't pay more than $5 for anything and while we had $1, $3 and $5 items people will still be picky and still want 4 $1 for $3 so be happy to negotiate
  • Talk to people and be prepared to sell the features and benefits of the item and tell stories about the item as well if you have some, we found this sold a lot of things
  • Move things around as you sell items, so those who may have been past before see a different setting - we sold things later in the day to people who had been in, past items before and because we had moved them into the front they then focused on those items 
  • Have good quality cheap items (like my books) at the front to drag people in
  • Put a price on, and throughout the day mark these down, people then think they are getting a bargain
  • In most instances $20 is about as much as you will get - so to make money you have to have a lot of stuff, we did sell 1 or 2 items for $30-40 but only a couple 
  • Ask people to make you an offer
  • Don't just sit there, get up, get talking, get selling
  • Ensure battery operated items are charged, people want to see things working
  • Make sure things are clean and tidy
  • Try to get things up off the ground, it makes it easier for people to go through things when they are on a table, or box, or hangers
  • Don't take offense by the offers, they are what they are, if you don't want to take the price offered then don't, but be prepared to take it home unsold
  • Take heaps of plastic bags to put your sold items into - because we had these we sold things because it made it easier for people to carry around
  • Bag small items up first ie:  we had heaps of curtain accessories, hooks etc (even though we hadn't had curtains in our home for 4 years), we bagged these all up and sold for $5 (rather than try to sell each of the items separately).  Likewise we took 3 half used bottles of boat polish and bagged them together for $5.