House update: We finally have internet & Garden Update



Since moving in in October 2014, we have been waiting for the NBN.

It was not until a “complex wide BBQ” that I was informed that some people in the complex had access to a separate Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) system, that had not yet moved to NBN. We have now connected to that system that offers 200gb / month. Sadly after already 5 days of connection we have used nearly 50% of our allowance.

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All this for under half the cost of the 3G system we were using just to book flights etc.

Garden looking amazing

Frankie has done wonders with our small court yard. It is now both functional and pretty.


House Buying: slight stumble at the final hurdle

House Buying: slight stumble at the final hurdle

So close

So in the middle of last week I received a call from our mortgage broker who was asking if I had the approved First Home Owners Grant (FHOG) paperwork. I was under the impression that it was completed and approved in January.

Sadly I had that mixed up with the clearly different First Home Owner Concession.

With a crazy rush on Thursday this week to get the paperwork sorted. Fortunately due a twist of the Federation of Australia, while ACT and NSW have a public holiday on Monday, Victoria where our bank does all the processing for the FHOG so we may just have this thing settled on time.

In the mean time, here are some new photos from just prior to final hand over condition.




Life : house is progressing nicely - June 2014


With only a few months to go, you can really see it coming along. If you look back at the previous pictures from January when it was just a concrete slab, to April when it was just a soulless box. Now it is really taking shape. In the pictures our town house is the one on the left of the two mirror imagined homes.

While the right hand side has more sun, I am happy because the other two that were available are all extreme south facing with almost zero direct sunlight. 20140621-184912-67752175.jpg



A massive 6 months!


Starting around Sept 2013 I finished a 6 month rotation to Darwin, where I found a new found love of jogging and exercise.  I was lucky enough to meet great friends and go  to places I never would have the option of going to if it was not for work .


Read more about my time in Darwin here

Almost as soon as I arrived back in Canberra we were off again. Thanks to my  amazing partner lead me on a tour of his incredible country – Myanmar. We spent an unforgettable 3 weeks traveling the lengths and breadth of this nation. Even after all the sights and experiences his FAMILY was the true highlight for me. His mother’s warmth and care, his father’s intelligence and willingness to share and ask questions about my life too. 

A more in-depth write up of our time in Myanmar is here
Then the “ experience “ of meeting my parents in Kuala Lumpur and catching up with my good friend Ron who then joined the four of us traveling to Redang Island (Palau Redang) off the north east coast of Malaysia. It was the second time Frankie and I had been to the Lagoon Redang resort. After the ferry ride from Kuala Terraganu on the mainland over to the resort (where my father’s sea sickness came to a head) and check in, the island is really just a water sports playground. 
All expenses paid apart from alcohol and diving services. After snorkelling every day and also trying SCUBA I was HOOKED. The resort is a PADI accredited resort which means they have instructors and Dive Masters who can facilitate everything from the minimal training ‘Discover SCUBA’ right through to your ‘Dive Master’ qualification. Frankie, Ron and I decided finally we would try the ‘Discover SCUBA’ – which is essentially being kitted up and thrust under water. 
Frankie and Ron could not get get more than 10cm under the surface before pulling the pin. I managed to get all the way through the experience – roughly 15mins getting to a depth of 5.5m. I was so excited to be doing it I forgot to actually take my GoPro3 from the dive bag on the beach before getting in the water. 
Back in KL the ‘experience’ of travelling with my parents again reached crescendo with the all important family yelling match in an international airport. Don’t be shocked. Its rather common for my family. We get over it faster than our words echoing around departures. 
A more in-depth write up of our time in Malaysia is here
On return back to Canberra I started in a new role with a new team in the a new office. 
 Not long after our return from our big overseas adventure we decided to start thinking about buying a house. When I say thinking, we looked at one and brought it. A 2br, split level east facing townhouse. Requiring 5% down in Nov 13, and the rest in around Nov 2014. Perfectly suited for what we needed. Also keeps my NBN dry. 
 So because I am swimming in cash *COUGH COUGH* I then booked my PADI Open Water Dive Course. 
 I nearly didn’t get to do the course! 
The doctor was worried my lungs were almost not up to the minimum capacity. But don’t worry, I managed to get over the line. 
 The first weekend was half theory and half practising in the pool! I don’t know about you but I am never lucky when it comes to being partnered up in anything sporty, usually picked last. Well there was this one mega cutie on our group – and for once guess who I was partnered with!! JACKPOT! He was a great guy, sweet and innocent of the ways of the world. It wasn’t until the pool technique practising that my inner filter turned off. I couldn’t stop giggling when our instructor was inadvertently saying things with MASSIVE innuendo such as “ right team lets get under water, get on our knees and have some fun’ I looked at our assistant instructor with my ‘trying not to laugh’ face – which is hard in full mask and regulator in your mouth’ Sadly his mouth was level with the water and it caused him to inhale and cough with the biggest smile. The laughs only continued.. 
For those that are not divers, there is a requirement to learn how to tow your buddy should they become fatigued or injured, this cryptically is called the ’Tired Diver Tow’ which involves you laying on your back and your buddy laying between your legs face up, you hold their tank and kick – pushing you both forward. I simply said ‘ I don’t open my legs for every one this easy, buy a boy a drink first sailor’ He too could not control his giggles The second weekend was the in water component, unlike the current Australian government immigration policy, as it was under water rather than on water I can talk about it. The first day was 3 dives at 6m practicing skills we learnt in the pool. The second day was at a site called Toll Gates – read about that bit here

All was going well, a little too well.


I was getting ready to finally sell my maxi road scooter – 500cc – on consignment with a local dealer.
The fates intervened again. I was crossing an intersection with a green light, I stopped as a cyclist crossed my path and was collected right in-between my passenger front and rear doors. Causing $6000 worth of damage. I am insured however the insurance company is still ‘determining fault’ hmmmm. 
To top of a roller coaster of emotions. I was voted by an overwhelming majority to lead my employers Gay & Lesbian Network. A total of 1/2 of the overall votes came to me. A lot of pressure is now on me – some will say ‘its just a volunteer thing, no extra pay, why bother’ – It is important to make changes, drive the changes. You can’t do that from the outside.


If this was the last 6 months, I wonder what the next will bring.

Hopefully you will also see some changes on the site coming soon. I hope you will enjoy.  As always, please like, comment or subscribe.


Becoming financially ‘free’ by having a mortgage?


I know this is going to sound crazy to many people, but I am looking forward to moving into our new house because the mortgage will set me ‘free’.  For a bit of background here,  after I came back from Darwin in late 2013, Frankie and I discussed that we should start looking for a home - No rush - just start looking. Frankie found a new development online that allowed a 5% down and pay on completion. Sure it was small - roughly 50sq mts total for a two bedroom townhouse with small court yard and balcony. But for me it was the financial costs that really did it for me. We decided just going for a look -just a look.  Within 5 mins talking to the sales agent and seeing the documents we had signed a document promising to pay the 5% by the end of the week… we just brought a house within 15 mins.. Scary.

Coming back to the question of finance. We had the 5% to put down immediately and were required to pay the remaining 95% on completion (Nov 2014, roughly 11-12 Months away at the time). Speaking to the bank and running the figures  works out cheaper than the rent for our 2 br apartment with orange lament bench tops, laundry in our bathroom type. The new house is less than 6 mins from our old house. Unlike many first home buyers we are looking increasingly likely to being able to beat the 20% total deposit requirement on the ‘Lenders Mortgagee Insurance (LMI). Which is essentially a higher risk fee payable to the bank due to not having a huge deposit. The difference is about $200 fortnight. This is huge. The key here is that our home is cheap comparatively. You get what you pay for,  I know this. despite being a 2 bedroom townhouse, it would be squishy with 2 couples - Frankie and I plus spare room sounds much better.

Coming back to being ‘free’ with a mortgage - the freedom to me is the stability budget wise. I know what my repayments are going to be for the next 3-5 years, even leaving some wiggle room for a few rate raises too.


We have walls!!

So after signing the contracts only in November, construction has powered ahead. Last weekend we stopped by the site to see how it is all going. Only a couple of months ago we had grass, then weeks ago a slab, now walls and a glass sliding door!! Another revelation is that our house plan is mirrored from what we were expecting. Frankie said that will 'change' all his decorating plans.. I don't know how since it's just a mirror image of the plan we had already had.



Our new townhouse's slab has been laid

We were out and about on the weekend and dropped past to see how progress of our townhouse was going. Slab has been poured. I think I have marked it out roughly so you can see the ground floor layout..

Next I need to work with our solicitor to ensure that the First Home Buyers Grant application is all processed.  I forgot legal professionals still do things the extremely old fashioned way - using ORGINAL documents, no scans...most irritating.

First Home Owners Grant (FHOG) and partners in the ACT


I wanted to provide you with information that I thought you might be interested in regarding the first home buyers grant and how it applies to a couple. In my case the property will be solely purchased in my name and the home loan will be solely in my name. After speaking with the ACT Department of Revenue they have advised that should my partner wish to apply for the first home buyers grant in the future he would not be eligible. This is because on the form he would be nominated as a non-applicant partner which means he receives the benefit by living in my house despite nothing being in his name. Obviously I am not happy with this but there is little in can do!