Thursday, November 2, 2017

Everything old is new again

Our new boat
We started our retirement journey taking out our cruiser for a week of total relaxation and to be out and about on the beautiful waterways of Moreton Bay, it was a perfect way to start our new life.   

Over time we found that the cost of running our beautiful boat was a bit prohibitive in long journeys so about 4 years ago we sold the boat as we went through our "what do we want to do next stage", this included selling our beautiful waterfront home as well and deciding to move to Vision where we had access to boats as a part of the community, it helped to put a lot of bucks back into the bank and we felt that was a great win win situation, we had access to boats, still lived on the water but we didn't have to maintain them, and often not even pay for petrol.  Then of course we joined VMR so here we where out and about on the water 2 days a week so we seemed to be out on the water enjoying our beautiful Broadwater both in a learning/volunteering capacity and in a leisurely environment several days a week.  

The first year was fine, all worked well for us, as there where few in the community who wanted to take the boats out, so we could wake up and go this is a lovely day and get a boat and go, that changed over time as we got more residents in and the boats where booked out more in advance - which is fine in concept but who really knows what the weather is going to be like a week in advance, so we stopped using them.  

Our old boat
So just about exactly 4 years to the day that we sold our big boat, we bought a new boat - yes much smaller and perfect for the 2 of us and Teddy.  Now we have Teddy back full time, we needed something we could do regularly that included him and at the same time give us something we love to do as well.  We had anticipated a bit more travel next year - off road holidays and a NZ driving trip, but now that D1 has moved into a unit, we have Teddy full time and to be honest just don't know what to do with him if we want to go away - the problem with pets.  This however made us stop and think about what would accommodate us all.  We do love the waterways, we love going out on beautiful days stopping on deserted beaches going for walks, having a swim and of course Derek loves his metal detecting.

We started at first looking at jetski's and then small fishing type tinnies (even though we don't fish), but then we saw a perfect little half cabin - the interior was a bit worse for wear, but the hull was perfect for us and it was the right price for us.  We had a full interior refit and now we have a lovely near new boat for day to day enjoyment.  It means while generally it will be a day boat, we can do overnighters (probably in the cooler months) if we want to.

Dereks finds this week - paid for the petrol
We are keeping it in a trailer storage facility at Horizon Shores Marina - their slogan is boating made easy, and it sure does.  Ring up in the morning within half an hour to an hour your boat is in the water on the marina ready for use, come back tie up and they wash and flush the motor and put it away ... so civilised.  They also have a great work area with power, water etc so we can do maintenance, big cleans etc.  Derek of course is now fully accredited to keep boats and engines maintained himself as a part of his Skipper licensing so that saves a lot of money.  He also enjoyed doing all his own splicing of the ropes - saved heaps of money to be honest but also gave him a good sense of achievement.

There is nothing like being out on the water to make you feel alive, those negative ions certainly do invigorate you, sun on the body, fresh sea air and beach walks - love it.  Must admit though we have been coming back a little sore and sorry for ourselves, using muscles that haven't been used in a while even Teddy comes back exhausted and sleeps for about 24 hours after his big beach runs, rolls in the sand, swimming etc, but this is what we wanted something to occupy us mentally and physically while we also got out and enjoyed life.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Isuzu - I-Venture Club: Giving you the confidence to Go Your Own Way

Isuzu certainly deliver on their brand promise of "Go Your Own Way" via their I-Venture Club. Yesterday we joined one of their adventures over to Moreton Island to learn how the Isuzu performs and how to use the vehicle properly via theory and practice, which certainly has now given us the confidence to go out on beaches and go our own way.

I think we all know people who buy 4x4's or AWD's and they never go off road even though the vehicle has the capability, it is often our own confidence which stops us from utilising the vehicle to its fullest potential.  I must admit I have always been a little apprehensive in exploring too far from the main roads and while Derek had in his early life done a lot of 4x4 adventures with his Dad and Brothers in the outback and of course I trust him no end, it has been a long time, and of course we don't have a clapped out old manual Land Rover that he was use to but a new Isuzu MU-X auto so there is a bit of learning to do.

Going on a Friday, most of the people where in the 50's/60's and all wanting to be a part of a group, learn in a controlled environment so they could get the best value for money from their new purchase, there was probably $1M worth of vehicles in a convoy yesterday and made for a wonderful experience.

I liked the fact that we all had the same vehicle type - yes there where D-Max's, MU-X, LU-X types with all different sorts of accessories but, essentially everyone was on the same page, there was no "my vehicle is better" type thing.  It also made the theory part of the day easier as everyone is looking at the same dash board, the same controls etc.

So how did the day unfold?  I will say after many years of going on tours etc this one was certainly very well organised and the day ran on time, had a great flow of learning, doing and demo's and it seemed to just fly past.

As usual we where there an hour early and I was surprised that the crew from Isuzu where already there, handing out goodie bags (full of good stuff like hats, stubbie coolers etc), ensuring everyone had deflated their tyres (as well as equipment to do this), and installing 2 way radios into each vehicle so that right on time the convoy could drive on to MICAT.  How many times have we all gotten to an event and the organisers are unorganised, running late and using every excuse in the book for that - but not the Isuzu Crew well done guys, you all did an amazing job throughout the entire day in keeping everyone on time and entertained.

After boarding the ferry, we didn't even need to worry about getting coffees etc as our orders where taken and then delivered directly to us along with a lovely plate of hot croissants as we settled in for the journey over to Moreton. 

Enter David Wilson, our Chief Instructor for the day!  WOW full of energy, full of knowledge and able to deliver this in an entertaining manner, but for me this was an important part of the day - not knowing anything about cars in general and more especially 4WDs he explained all the bits and pieces our Isuzu have and explained in an understandable manner their importance, what to do in on-road and off-road situations, how to set the vehicle  into 4WD, tyre pressures etc.  A small part of his presentation with yours truly assisting Entertaining Presentation . I know I now know far more about our vehicle and more importantly it helped solidify our purchase decision. David also has his own website as well as Adventure 4WD

Before we knew it we where heading off MICAT and on to the beach in an impressive Isuzu Convoy in 4WD mode.  It was an absolutely glorious day as well which made the entire trip just that much better, it is hard to believe that this is winter in Queensland, and of course every time I go over to Moreton I think why do we all go off overseas when this is right on our doorstep. You can read my previous blog on Moreton

We stopped several times throughout the day for demo's, talks, food &drinks - all very delicious and just perfect for the type of day we where doing, like nice cold watermelon on the beach it was superbly catered for and while having lunch we where entertained by whales frolicking just off from the beach - does life really get better than that.

The Isuzu crew really provided a fabulous day for us, entertainment, commentary, food, training, photographer and support vehicles and people and I thank them for their hard work to make this day so enjoyable.  Obviously Isuzu do subsidise the day because it only cost us $300 which included everything from breakfast to cheese platters on the journey home and we know at this time of year MICAT cost $200 per car with 2 people just to get over there and back so it's great to know that Isuzu are investing back into those who support them and ensuring the brand lives up to its name.  I know 2 of our other crew members at Marine Rescue have bought an Isuzu since we purchased ours and through I-Venture Club I am sure others on the trip will be recommending Isuzu to their friends, and of course what a statement it made on the beach 15 Isuzus lined up - no doubt had the Prado and Land Cruiser owners on the beach yesterday rethinking their purchase.  What a great way to promote your product, keep  your customer satisfied and providing a very positive message to the 4WD community.

The day finished with cheese platters a few wines and beers and we even got a Certificate, just lovely touches.

There will be copies of the official photos over time so this blog will be updated with these when they arrive.

Thank You I-Venture Club - a fabulous day and more importantly authentic - not enough can be said about Authenticity in a brand and I am looking forward to doing more with you.

Highlight Photos of the Day

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Last Piece of the Puzzle

Since we put our house on the market late last year, it feels like we have been putting together a jigsaw puzzle.  So many things to do like packing, storing, going to the dump, finding a new house and then unpacking etc then of course there are so many dates to remember, every week since 1st Feb I have had a long list of things to achieve each week, dates to remember and today sees the end of that as we put the final piece of our puzzle together.

We had a lot of things to do once we moved in, including decorating 4 extra rooms so that meant going out and finding the right furniture, as with all furniture these days, waiting for them to be delivered and then needing to put everything together, adding those funny little things that where missing like a clothes up, buying tools etc that we had given away when we moved into Vision - lawn mowers, wheel barrows etc all of these things take time to see, decide on what is the best value for us. Buying a new car, getting solar on the house finishing off the interior decorating with blinds etc and then of course the task of landscaping, something we had not expected to do ourselves, but given we really couldn't get anyone to give us a quote and if they did it was ludicrous, we ended up biting that bullet and just getting in and doing it ourselves.  It saved us over $10K so we are happy with that result.

While I will be please not to need to go to Bunnings in the next few weeks, I will say they have certainly made our job much easier with the wide range of products they have - we really don't have the strength these days to be lugging heavy items and the new composite sleepers made for easy retaining and they where easily handled by us both.  While digging up grass, digging holes, moving stones, filling up garden beds with copious amounts of soil, dragging large pot plants and putting them in was dirty work and we used muscles that hadn't been utilized for many years, it was yesterday removing the concrete slab where the air conditioning unit was (as we had this moved so the noise levels where reduced on our patio area) that was the worst, grinders, jack hammers and then picking up each piece of that concrete and putting it in the car was exhausting and the concrete dust atrocious, but it's over now. 

Today though we put the last touch on the landscaping by laying the turf, YAY!  We have been blessed with the beautiful weather but I will say I am sick of being dirty and digging holes but now we have the little oasis we where wanting, a nice space, with nice gardens and plenty of entertaining room, so exactly 3 months to the day since we moved in the long list of things that needed to be done have been completed.

Its been a fun journey though even though it has taken up all of this year so far, and I am now really looking forward to just being.  Anything else we want now is vanity not essential, so they are nice things to look for and buy when just out and about.  It will also be nice not to see the money pouring out of the bank account at such a great rate of knots, as doing all of these things is not cheap.

One of the main reasons we wanted to move excluding just needing more space, was to reduce our cost of living on a day to day basis which with the Solar being turned on this week completes that side of the list of needs, the new car also has provided a great saving as well, we where filling up every week, but now its every 3 weeks and the fuel cost per tank is about the same and of course the biggest expense we where able to rid ourselves of was the $200 a week fees for Vision, and yes the facilities where great but we just where not getting our value out of that spend.

It will be nice next week not to think about what needs to be achieved this week, and possibly just getting out for a few days, possibly even going away, although with D1's wedding now just 10 weeks away I feel this quickly fill any idle moments, after all I am the MOTB and as yet have not even found a dress to wear and my nails are in desperate need of major attention after all the digging, barrowing, planting, etc.  This of course was another reason for needing the landscaping finished so we can get some beautiful shots at home prior to the main events.

Everything except a major clean after all the dirt and dust is gone 1 week in advance - I had said right at the beginning I want to be fully settled by 1st August and tick that has also been accomplished so we are feeling very happy!  Although a bit like finishing a jigsaw I am a bit sad as this little adventure has been fun, it let us know we still could do these things and while it's great to have the last piece in place it has been a great project to complete but that journey is now finished.

Our Impressive bunch of tools for landscaping

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Grass Between My Toes and The Joys of a Bath

OOOH the joy, bath goodies for Mothers Day
Will we ever stay in a home forever?  It is a question we ask ourselves often, however we have for over 20 years seen our home as our Superannuation.  I was never convinced that making additional contributions to Super would provide us with the flexibility we may want and of course it is all regulated by Government rules and laws, which unfortunately continue to change.  It's my money and I should be able to do with it what I want, when I want and when I retire.  So we chose instead to build houses, and move on taking the capital gains with us over the years.

We have been retired now for nearly 5 years and our ability to continue to enjoy our retirement has been all about the money we where able to pocket selling our homes in this time, because I still cannot touch my Super.

You may have read my blogs about moving a few years ago, about moving out and then moving in - so I won't bore you with the messy details of this move, moving is moving but in case you didn't read my last blogs see:

Lets just say while we enjoyed our time in the Over 50's environment it wasn't for us now, I did miss the grass between my toes and the space to still have the entire family over as well as friends.  Also we were lucky enough to be able to sell at Vision buy a newer and larger home on a standard residential block and put a good sum of money back into the bank account, which was another primary reason for the move.

We left Vision with more friends than when we arrived and that was nice - you can never have too many friends, and we thank those people (you know who you are), we had some lovely times in those 2 years with you all.  However the important things we discovered about ourselves in those 2 years really helped us understand what we where looking for, and without those years there we may not have felt as contented as we do just after a few weeks. Some of my more favorite photos with mates from Vision.

We knew 3 years ago we had to move, our beautiful waterfront home was just too large for 2 of us, too costly to maintain and had too much of our hard earned capital in it, but we didn't know what we really wanted, and moving to Vision gave us a safe environment in which to go through that

process, we would never have ended up where we are today without that.  

After selling our beautiful waterfront property and then travelling around Australia for 6 months while we awaited our home at Vision to be built, we where still in that phase of retirement where you are not 100% sure of what you want to achieve.  After a lifetime of setting goals and working towards milestones - you know getting married, having kids, watching them grow etc for a while you just want to chill, not really have to think of too much except enjoy life, which is OK but .... at some point you need or at least we needed to have something more in our lives, something we where committed to and something that gave us a sense of achievement as well as camaraderie.  

Derek has pushed himself and is now Senior Crew - 2 Stripes and a Gold Anchor

We originally thought that moving to Vision might help us in that process and it did and as I said above, we made some lovely friends whom I am sure we will continue to be friends with.  Moving to Vision however made us look closely at what we wanted and we discovered our wonderful past time of Volunteer Marine Rescue where we are constantly learning and being challenged to go above and beyond what we may have thought of as our limits, it provides us with a regular activity which helps to define the week/month etc and of course we found a great crew and some more wonderful friends who we get to have the pleasure of every week.

So in the 2 odd years we learnt a lot about ourselves and we learnt what it was we wanted to do and where we wanted to be. At first finding the right house seemed the impossible dream, but eventually we found it.  I knew I wanted to feel that grass between my toes again - have a bigger yard as well as a bigger home. While over the years we have had up to 3 baths in our home of which most where rarely used, I didn't know how much I had missed having a bath from time to time so I have been enjoying the luxury of a bath again.  Of course it is just lovely to be able to have everyone stay over in their own separated area and to be cooking up a storm because I have the space to cook, the space to store my stuff and access them easily and a pantry for all those wonderful cooking items.  It is those funny little things that we missed. 

It is nice to be in a safe environment with like people, but I now enjoy hearing the little girl at the back of us saying "I Love You Mummy", kids voices, the sound of lawn mowers going on a Saturday morning, families enjoying life - these are things I had not realized I missed, they where not things I had on my list of things I wanted in a new home, but in the last 4 weeks found I had missed.  We love our new home and all it gives to us.

Of course extra dollars in the bank account also help because they seem to depart so quickly when there is nothing else coming in, but that is the additional bonus over and above feeling the grass between my toes and the joys of a bath.  Fingers crossed we get at least 5 years in before we get an itchy bum again lol.