Saturday, 1 July 2017

Going home after 3 years

Melbourne Australia

Mt Martha bathing boxes on the Mornington Peninsula

It’s a cold windy day in Melbourne as I look through some of the photos from the last few years, trying to decide which ones I will print and put on the walls.

Dromana Pier during the day

Our tenants in our rental unit had left in October after four years and the place had started to look a bit drab. Our agent had tried to re rent it but it soon became clear that without some updates it was going to remain empty. With quotes of $4k for carpet, $4k for blinds and $4k for painting we decided it might be a good opportunity to go home and do the work ourselves. It was too late to cancel our accommodation in Puerto Vallarta in January and February so we still went there, but I did manage to get United to change our tickets from South America to Melbourne, even though it meant we were actually making two flight out of LAX, instead of one being a return flight which is normally a no no.

Dromana Pier at sunset

Arriving home at the beginning of March, Melbourne began its hottest March on record, every day was above 30°C which is not ideal weather for painting. Instead of just replacing everything like for like, we took the opportunity to bring the place into the current decade with new colours and ditched the horrible vertical blinds which are so easy to break. There were lovely surprises in store such as a hole in a bedroom wall that had been filled in with liquid nails, rubbish including a mattress hidden between the back fence and the garage next door and a broken plate glass window dumped under a tree in the front garden. The garden was overgrown after years of neglect, so we pulled out most of the bushes to make it easier for the next tenants. The grill in the oven appeared to be melted and one of the knobs on the gas hob didn’t want to turn, so they were replaced with new stainless steel ones. Weeds had taken over the back and side courtyard, so it was time to pave the courtyard and have the old tree stump removed. The bathroom fittings were either worn or broken, so these were replaced with chrome plated taps and fittings. Then hours and hours of scrubbing floors and kitchen cupboards and the place was fit to put on the market again. It had been the right choice to come home as there was so much more to do than what we initially thought, and as a bonus we managed to do everything for less than the original quotes.

It was really weird hearing the Australian accent on mass again after being away for three years and I really couldn't handle it - it sounded horrible! But it didn't take long before it just sounded normal. The traffic since we left is awful and our news has stories about a lot more violence such as road rage and blatant day light robberies which is very scary.

When we left the US in March, our plan had been to go back the following March to travel the South East of the US. Tornado season is usually June to November but they had three between March and April this year. After hearing this, we cancelled any ideas of driving across the bottom, it’s just too risky.

One of the things we did last year was join TrustedHousesitters because I thought it would be handy to find a housesitting job for the times we needed to be outside the US. We didn’t get the one I applied for in Spain, so I decided it might be easier to get some experience on our own turf. Lindsay would like to move down to the Mornington Peninsula but I am hesitant about moving somewhere that I have never stayed, so when I saw some house sits in Mount Martha and Dromana I applied and we were accepted by both. Both involved looking after the owners’ dogs and taking them for daily walks allowed us get to know the areas while getting some exercise too. We don’t need to live in a city and have made the decision that this is where we will move to. 

Lindsay walking Tiff & Ella in a bush park near their home

Now that we have decided that we aren’t going to do the south east of the US, it made sense that we go back sooner than later and sell up. If we hold onto our truck and trailer in the US we will feel like we should go back there each year and there are many other places we want to travel to.

Tahlia & Rusty

My sister and her husband had spent the last nine months building a house from scratch to sell and needed a well deserved break, with the sale in the bag, she decided it would be a good idea to go on a holiday while we were around to look after her two Labradors. Even though we had decided not to do any more house sits for a while; how could we refuse family? It’s not often you get to stay in a brand new 50 square house overlooking the ocean where the main bathroom is as big as our bedroom, so it wasn’t very hard to put up with.

Sunrise at Flinders Victoria
Cape Schanck Lighthouse
The area around the lighthouse is part of the National Park and pets are allowed in any national parks in Australia, so we couldn't go for a walk along the clifftop as we had the dogs with us.

Squid and Ralph

Squid and Ralph had the most interesting personalities and were the easiest of all three house/pet sits. Squid was like a harrier jet in the morning jumping up so high as she was excited about getting breakfast. Ralph is very sensitive and would always come back to walk with me if I had started to lag behind.


Portsea back beach