Building the Dream House, Life Stuff

A Pseudo Dream House update – or watch this space

n case anyone is hankering after a build update
GOOD NEWS first: My mother-in-law reports the port-a-potty and work shed have arrived on our property!! This is wonderful news!
I’d like to write a new update on the whole financing process and how muddled and obtuse it is. But I’m just waiting for confirmation that the bank is happy with the official and impartial valuation which was completed on Friday until I can breathe again. The valuation is for way more than we are borrowing, so that should be good, right? 
I do plan on writing about it – I am not squeamish about talking about money. It always puzzles me that Americans don’t talk about money. It’s a very real national trait. Occasionally they’ll get close, but as a whole, it’s very rude to ask someone how much they paid for something or how much their raise was. In my experience anyway.
I will write once I’m not so on edge. I’m just a bit nervous about something, so holding off till I have t-s crossed and i’s dotted. John says I’m worrying for nothing, which I’m very good at. Hopefully I’ll know soon and John will be right and we can celebrate with Leo.
Life Stuff, Parenting

Put Mom in bio or not?

When I updated my sites and general organization this weekend, I also wrote a quick TLDRfor my main site’s bio page. Quoted here for convenience:

The short story? A forty-something Norwegian by birth, Australian by choice, NZ resident who sounds American. True blue Libertarian, Master of English Literature, nearly finished a law degree, third culture child who never stays anywhere for long. Happily married. Gamer. Trying not to grow old. And beach lover. Crazy cat lady. Belvedere consumer.

I shared my amazement at my own cleverness on Facebook. This morning, a very astute lady I really like interacting with commented:

Friend’s comment:  And a mom?

Me:  I might add it back in. John says it’s sad when women feel they have to define themselves as that … and to work on defining myself with other qualities too. But it’s a huge part of who I am.

Now, leaving the birthing, raising, and loving of my two sons out of this was actually on purpose. But after a lot of thought.  I’ve always said mother of two before. And it’s not because they’re both grown ups now (18 and 20).

My husband always comments how sad it is that some women only define themselves as mothers. Or the title/role gets flung into situations where you would never hear journalists, presenters, or average people say, ‘father of two’.  “The woman, a mother of two, was seen yelling at the grocery store clerk.” “The case was assigned to the new ADA, a mother of 1.” 

He thinks women, me included, should be more assertive about their other qualities and skills, especially when the mother part doesn’t really have an effect on the context of the description. And I sort of agree. I love my boys. I am their mother. I cherish them and enjoy them and I spent 20 years of my life so far raising them. They are a joy. But I am so much more.

After my FB friend queried it though, I’ve decided to put it back in for my online presence. I mean, the topics here are completely likely to cover those two at some point.

I’m curious what other peoples’ opinions are on this.

Building the Dream House, Life Stuff

Scary and Exciting – The Green Door Project is Go!

I imagine this will become a sort of series. Once I had back to the beach (i.e. NZ) on August 1st, I hope to video document the building of our ‘forever home’.

A few years ago, we bought my husband’s parents’ beach place in anticipation of one day doing something crazy like tearing down the … functional family beach bach* and building a home we could live in ‘forever’. I know it’s weird to put forever in quotation marks, but we’ve called two moves previously our last move, so I am being cautious. We decided to buy it a few years ago while his parents are still healthy. They still get to come whenever they want, and they get a nice little income from our purchase in their retirement. Of course there’s nowhere for ANY one to stay at the moment!

Where the bach once stood, we now have two new rainwater tanks in the ground

We tore the place down about 6 weeks ago. Yes! It’s happening! It’s not a particularly speedy process to build a unique ‘architectural’ home. About 18 months ago we decided on a builder. Our criteria were pretty clear cut:

  • Someone local. The Coromandel might look close to Auckland, but it very much is not. It’s remote, coastal, and has its unique challenges.
  • Someone who would also project manage. I’ve seen enough Grand Designs to know that micromanaging subcontractors as the owner is ridiculous.
  • Someone who didn’t mass produce. No kit set homes or subdivision homes.
  • Someone who could answer an email. Email is so much better when keeping track of questions, replies, promises, and details. And I hate the phone.
One of Damian’s builds.

We’re pretty confident we chose right when we chose Damian for our builder/project manager 18 months ago. At the time he had two projects to finish before he could even think about starting on ours, so the timing sounded like it might be right for us. And it really has felt great. Since we met him he’s been punctual – on the dot – every time we’ve met with him. His previous builds are beautiful. He replies to email. And every recommendation he’s given us since we met with him has been fantastic.

One of the recommendations was Kirsten Castle of Studio 77 who has designed our house for us. Her fees have been reasonable, she understood exactly what we wanted when I gave her our purposefully vague brief. And she’s turning out to be a friend as well.

So, 18 months later it looks like we will be breaking ground next week.

I could go on and on about stuff, but I’ll space this out. What I WILL say is that it’s not cheap!

But we’ve paid our deposit. And the invoice had this nifty pie chart showing us how insignificant that deposit is!



*Yes, it’s a word. A new New Zealand word for ‘rustic cabin’ at the beach or lake.