Friday, 16 November 2012

Dream renovation

Do you ever have a dream that is a continuation of another dream? I do and while it is very rare, it happened this week.

Ages ago I had a dream that we bought this house that needed a heap of renovations done to it. It was almost like an old castle. So much character to it. It had 4 levels - yes it was HUGE.

The walls were a grey stone, but the steps leading up to the front door, were more what you would find for a modern hardy plank home. They were in need of a lot of repair and very unstable. The inside of the main entry floor, was a heap of small rooms, that were really nothing rooms. A lot of walls needed to be knocked down for it to be truly liveable.

We really only used the top 3 floors. We were able to renovate them into a very regal look. Lots of burgundy carpet, with very wide sweeping staircases and heavy drapes. The kitchen was huge and old timber with a couple of walk in pantries. The inside was just magic.

Outside though was a different story. The yard was bare, the grass was dying and the driveway was pot-holed dirt. Weeds grew out from the foundations and it really gave the feeling of despair.

Now the bottom level was one we never ventured into. It was cold and damp. There were a lot of books lining it that were dusty and mouldy. A lot of the books were first edition. There was also some sort of entity in there that scared the bejeebers out of us. Going in there you got this creepy feeling of someone watching you and following you around. Your spine would tingle and hairs stand on end and butterflies would be going berserk in your stomach. I couldn't get out of there fast enough and so we decided never to go in there again.

In my second dream, it was the same house, with looks and feelings. Troy had moved home and the 3 stories with a monstrous amount of room was feeling too small haha. Then Jade said she was going to move home and we went into a panic as to where to put everyone. It didn't matter that we had about twelve bedrooms, we just wanted everyone to be happy.

We made the hard decision to convert the bottom floor into a granny flat for Jade. One part of it was not too bad and we easily installed a kitchen and bed and had it looking very much like a loft area. It had its own door out to the side of the house, so that privacy for coming and goings was available.

I was extremely happy with the way that it looked, but there was still that creepy feeling in the other part of it. I would stand looking at the loft area with the books behind me, and my spine would tingle. I knew I had to get brave and clear it all out.

I got the kids to bring in some boxes and said we would start to pack up the books. As we started on the first row, something really strange happened. Behind them was not the rows of books that had been there the first time we went down. Instead there were rows and rows of extremely high warehouse type shelving. On all the shelves were all the toys the kids had when they were younger - although in real life they weren't.

Looking at all the toys, I was flooded with memories of their childhood and the fun they had. Tears came to my eyes as I looked around and thought of the time wasted in this house because of fear of this area, when it could of brought me so much happiness.

I didn't know how they had gotten there and we thought maybe the removalists had put them in when we moved in. There was so much Thomas stuff it was unbelievable. Toys like you would find in a public park - swings, rockets, etc. It was a treasure trove of memories.

It was also the answer to us being able to sell these items off and get out of debt and finish the house on the outside. The items you could never buy now and for some reason were one of a kind.

So that is just one of my dreams that have a continuation, what are yours?

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Good Food and Wine Festival

As I write this tonight I am tired, but it is a good tired from having had a great day out. I got to cross another item off of my 50 things to do list. I went to the Brisbane Good food and wine festival with Veronica.

Arriving at the show prior to it opening, we were lucky enough to be in part of a line that got to be head of the line at another door. From when we entered, we only had about 15 mins before we had to line up to the first thing we were booked into. This meant we had just a quick look around and scored some free marinades from Masterfoods and then went and lined up.

The extra show I had booked us into, was Miguel Maestre. It was a cooking demo with 3 course meal with matching wines and a goodie bag, chock full of lovely stuff to take home. He showed us how to make  duck liver pate (which I had never tried before, but didn't mind this one),  beetroot cured salmon and olive oil shortbread that was to die for. I decided that I am not going to buy shortbread this xmas but make this recipe. Fingers crossed it turns out, because it was one of the best I have ever tried.

Miguel was funny and informative and so glad we got into his show.

I guess not too many people get to drink wine at 10.30 in the morning with a 3 course meal lol. But Gaanz, you would be proud of me. I tried the red and didn't mind it lol. The wines in order of service with meal were - Peter Lehmann 2010 Art Series Shiraz Grenache, Peter Lehmann 2012 Art Series Rose and Peter Lehmann 2012 Art Series Moscato (this one we ordered later on in the day for home delivery). 

After this we started to work out way up and down the isles. We came across the Cuisinart display. They had the icecream/sorbet/frozen yoghurt maker that I have been looking at buying for around $50 less than I have seen it. So I shouted myself a pretty pink one. We got them to hold it for later pickup and oh, it came with a free knife as well. 

We went to Maggie Beer's stall and got her show bag, which included a free icecream. Veronica got  the burnt fig, honeycomb and caramel one, I wasn't too fussed on it. I got the passionfruit, which was so yummy. Her show bag included Verjuice, barossa tomato sauce and apricot paste. 

The day was spent trying different foods - some we liked and others we didn't. Trying liqueur's and liking Feeney's Creme Brulee liqueur. If you have never tried it, white chocolate rocky road. I bought some of this to bring home. At the kikkoman stand, they had samples of things they had made up using soy sauce. This sounds really weird, but boy it was good. As a filling in little tart shells or chocolate cases - melted white chocolate, thickened cream and a touch of soy sauce. 

We tried yoghurts and cheeses, salami's and noodles. There was one stall that was very much a 'why would you' type of product. Super sprout. Now looking at this stall, I was thinking they had maybe found a new 'super' product. Something along the lines of olive leaf extract etc. They had all these jars of thinks like carrot extract, beetroot extract and other extracts such as apple, broccolli sprout, ginger etc. Now what this product is, is the food dehydrated into a powder form and you can then add them to yoghurt, liquids etc. Yes I know you are asking what I did.... why? Well it is because people might not eat these foods and the woman gave the example of her brother that had lapband and could only eat liquids - totally wrong of lapband proceedure, but I let her tell her story. This powder can give you all the vitamins and fibre of the real food, but without you having to eat a whole apple etc. 

I asked how much you would take for daily intake and the answer was - whatever you would like, your body will just get rid of the excess. Hmmm not really something I think I would use, but I did get some samples to try. I am thinking of serving Peter up a steak with a teaspoon of each on a plate. Do you think he will like that???? haha

In the afternoon we went and saw Ainsley Harriott. What a funny, funny man. His style of cooking is very much the same as Jamie Oliver, in the 'throw everything together' type of method. He made crispy chicken thighs with savoury puy lentils ragout and a blueberry cheesecake and a goats cheese salad. 

Ainsley came out, got changed on stage into a more comfy shirt and went onto entertain us. He has a very girly giggle that sent the crowd into fits of laughter. He danced while whisking and cooking and he was someone you could sit and watch all day. It was just a shame that it couldn't have been longer. 

So after this it was more browsing and buying. By the time we left, my car boot was chocker block full. With so many free things that we got, I have oils, marinades, so many samples to try, cookbooks that were being handed out and so much more. I can't wait to try out some of the things I learnt today. 

Out of 50, I have 19 that I haven't done yet on my list. Over November and December, I know that I will be doing at least 6 of them. So with only 13 not done, I think that will be great :)
1. Read 50  books in the year. Doesn't matter what type but as long as its 50 and I will be able to keep track with my new kindle.
2. Do another cooking class. At least 1 but hopefully 2.
3. Go on a holiday, hopefully to Melbourne. Had a couple of holidays, didn't get to Melbourne, but there is always next year.
4. Go to a horse 'cup' day
5. Go down another 20kgs Need to have another fill, so this one is moved to next year as well
6. Get a lot more writing from my autobiography done - Been doing heaps of that
7. Have lunch or dinner at Bretts wharf or Aria Brisbane - While I didn't get to either of these, I have had some amazing meals by great chefs this year, so class it as done
8. Go through the glow worm caves at Springbrook hopefully when the glow fungi is out as well or the fireflies
9. Do a charity event - with not a lot of walking 
10. Have a tarot reading
11. Go to a musical (booked for Jersey Boys in July)
12. Go to gold class movie
13. Go on a cruise - booked and leaving in April
14. Get a fish - either fighter or gold fish or two.
15. Go to a zoo
16. Go to brisbane city markets
17. Brisbane's koala and river cruise
18. Toowoomba carnival of flowers
19. Attend a dawn service
20. Go to Q1 lookout - have my ticket and going in November
21. Get my bonsai started
22. crystal castle at mullumbimby
23. finish a crocheted rug. I start them all the time, just never finish
24. have a facial 
25. have a massage
26. try a new food
27. aqua aerobics classes. 
28. be part of a flash mob - now where does someone find these people
29. Drive a convertible with the top down and music blaring.
30. Get family tree in order - got heaps of this done
31. Go on a retreat
32. Go to the comedy club 
33. Play blackjack at the casino
34. Swim in the ocean - haven't done this for many many years
35. Go to an opera or listen or an opera singer While not done this year. As someone pointed out the Pirates of Penzance was an opera and I had been to that lol
36. Spend a night at maleny/montville
37. Hold a snake - to overcome a fear
38. Attend the good food festival
39. feed the homeless -  (contacted agencies but none have gotten back to me yet)
40. do a belly dancing class 
41. try a new drink  tried lots of new ones now lol
42. queen mary falls walk
43. drink a cocktail done and dusted
44. host a murder mystery dinner party 
45. Put $5 a day into money box -
46. Have a games night with friends
47. Put $50 on black at the casino for my first and only bet at the table. and won
48. Trike ride from Gold Coast to Mt Tambourine wineries
49. Ride on a carousel
50. Have a kick arse birthday party 

Friday, 9 November 2012

How not to buy a car.

Finally, I have a new car. It has been a process that has taken nearly 4 weeks. I am sure people think I make stuff up, but really who could make up this shit haha.

It all started about 2 months ago. My car was on its last legs and it was too low for me to get in and out of with my back. We had seen a few a car yards, but none that really grabbed me. I had been out on the Wednesday night to Brisbane and my air con decided not to work. Fed up, I spent the next morning online looking at cars. I found one at Ross Llewellyn Motors and decided to go and have a look at it.

We were served by a young 20 year old Andrew. We got to take the car for a drive and I was happy with it. The seat height was great for me and it wasn't white (I don't like white cars).

Now when you buy a car these days from a car yard, it isn't like it was the last time we did - oh about 25 years ago. You have to see the sales guy, who then gets in the woman that overseas it all, then you have to see the finance officer. The woman Chezza who oversees it all, told us about the extended warrantee that we could take out and that it also had roadside assist in it, so you wouldn't need RACQ. She said that if we wanted it, to let the finance officer know.

Next came the beginning of the headache. We saw the finance officer, who looked up the rate for the loan and told us how much it would be. We asked how much it would be to include the extra insurance and yes we could afford that, so asked her to include it. She wrote down what we needed to have the loan processed and told us she wouldn't be in the following day.

We raced home, got together pay slips from one of Peter's bosses, got the other to write a letter with what he earnt, bank statements, centrelink statements etc and dropped them back. Over the next two weeks, we played a cat and mouse came of trying to get the information in a form that was acceptable to the finance officer - and some info she gave us I found to be incorrect eg as in things Peter's other boss was doing. She said it was illegal but in fact it wasn't. Because she wasn't in a lot, it dragged things out. I would have to copy and email things to her and instead of just doing a quick 'thanks' in reply, I wouldn't know if she had it or not. I was starting to feel like I was stalking her, when I had to ring all the time to see if she got things and what was happening.

It turned out that the first company said no to finance, the second that they deal with, she had rung and said they said a conditional yes. That was on a Monday. I asked how long before we knew for sure as my rego was due on the Friday. We didn't want to pay it, as they were only giving us $500 trade in for it. She told me that we should be able to pick up the car on the Friday, all going well.

Well Friday came and still no word from her. Someone else rang us, as she was out of the office again, and told us that no it didn't go through. They asked permission to send it to the broker they used. I said yes, but had a feeling of dread. They told me that the broker would be in touch either later that day or the Saturday. I didn't hear from them.

A friend had called in who does do money lending. Normally it is on the scale of home loans but he offered to do up a loan for us. I said no to start with as he was a friend. After talking some more and with it being done not as a friendship but a business transaction, I said yes for him to think about what he could offer us. In the end, I decided not to go with him, so that the blur of friendship and business didn't cross.

Anyway on the Monday the broker rang. He was confident that he could get us the loan. He said he had a copy of our credit history and it was good with no negatives on it. He said that the second company the car yard tried and had the conditional approval on, is not one he would of even considered, as they won't touch anyone with even the slightest centrelink payment. He asked a heap of questions and emailed some forms through to sign.

By that afternoon, I was really down and fed up with the whole process. I could only see him ringing to say no to us. I ended up ringing and leaving a message on his answering machine saying we wouldn't bother wasting his time to go ahead. I then rang and left a message on the finance officers answering machine (yep she wasn't in again) and let her know that we wouldn't be going ahead. I paid my rego on my car, that had lapsed - no it hadn't been driven.

The following morning the broker rang and spoke to Peter. He was sure that we could easily get the loan through one of the companies we had dealt with in the past ( we have ever only had 2 loans, 1 of them being the house). So I rang back and left a message on the car yards answering machine to say hold on.

They rang the next morning and yes we had the loan approved. I rang the salesman and told him and said that I had paid my rego. They wouldn't give me any more for my car, so I said I would just pay the extra $500 and privately sell my car and cancel the rego to get money back.

By the time all the paperwork was done up, it was Friday morning when we met the broker at the car yard to sign all the paperwork. Looking at the paperwork, I noticed that some figures didn't seem right. I asked how much they were giving to the car yard. He told me and I said "That's not right". When the finance officer sent through the paperwork, she didn't include the extra warrantee. She then proceeded to blame others, saying she didn't know we wanted it. Both Peter and I said to her that we had told her we did.

The log books had gone missing and new ones were ordered and the original owners - of which there has only been 1 owner - gave details of the mechanic who did all the services. It is one we know, so all could be verified. Then the owners manual went missing and so we are now waiting for one ordered to arrive.

Anyway, we then went on to sort out when the car would be ready for us to pick up. They didn't want anyone in on Tuesday being Melbourne Cup, so it was decided on Wednesday. They picked me up and Peter met me there. We signed off of everything. Couldn't pay or take out the extra warrantee as the finance officer wasn't there and neither was the girl that oversees everything, or so I was told.

We were taken down to the Holden workshop, as they would be looking after my services and introduced to the manager. He got their welcome pack out, totally ignored me and started to tell Peter what was in it. I piped up with "excuse me!! It is MY car and I will be bringing it here, so please speak to me". He turned and looked at me then, no sorry or anything. Having spoken to others that go there, it is very common and one thing that most woman dealing with them hate.

When I was leaving I rang Jade and said that I would be over to her place so she could see the car. On leaving her house, the check engine light came on and wouldn't go off. I went to where Peter was working and he couldn't find anything wrong. I then rang the salesman who couldn't believe it. For the next 30 to 45 mins, he had to try and find one of their workshops that would take a look at my car. They are set up with 3 or 4 different service centres, one for Toyota, Hyundai, Holden due to the size of their dealership.

I was to go in at 2pm for them to put it on a machine and look at it. An hour later, they came into the waiting room to let me know it was an emission problem that they think occurred due to it sitting around for a month. Whatever they did, the light was out and hasn't come back on.

By the time I got home it was nearly 4 o'clock, I had left at 9am. I wasn't feeling excited or anything about having the car, like I should of.

Yesterday I had to ring to see if we could take out the warrantee, after all, we weren't not going to after Wednesday. I got a call back from the woman who oversees, arranged a time to go in and do it. Oh forgot to say we were having to pay cash for it, instead of the loan. She asked how I would be paying when I came in and I said cash. She then asked credit card? I said no, cash. I got in there, the form was done up, but a receipt couldn't be printed as all managers were busy. No one had change to be able to give it to me and so it was a mad rush looking for some.

I wanted to get a car from a car yard so that we had warrantee and peace of mind. So lesson has been learnt. They do follow up and get you to give feedback and a rating and ask if you would recommend them to your friends. Sorry, but hell no. I won't be telling anyone to go there.

On a good note, yesterday and today I have been able to enjoy the car. I went for a massage and instead of coming out relaxed then having to undo all the good work by falling into a low car seat, I was able to keep the feeling. I did push the wrong button last night and set off the 'find my car' alarm haha.