Hello Everyone. Happy New Year. But mostly, apologies for the long silence - I went on tour with 7 Days, and wrote a bloggie postratio while I was away, but due to the stuff blog engine being a fickle and tedious mistress, and me being if not a Luddite, at least Luddish, I couldn't post it while I was on the road. Then I came home to Christmas and visitors, madness, joy, children, feasts and excitement - all in our new house. So I put all work aside and essentially forgot you until now. You deserve better. I will write a couple more blogs, giving you a video tour of our new place and a summary of our experience building a house. But as a teaser before then, here is the post I wrote on the 18th of December while I was in Palmerston North - the source of all good things. Looking back on it now I laugh to think how young I was then. Ha ha haaa.
Post From 18th December 2013.
I am at this moment travelling New Zealand with the 7 Days team, dishing out lols to the regions. If you've come to the show I hope you've enjoyed it. If you haven't there's only one show left and it's in Auckland this Saturday night. [note: this is now outdated. Don't try to come to the 7 Days show this Saturday night. There isn't one.]
It's been a crazy week of travelling. Here's why I love New Zealand - because there are places like this:
Should we have seen this sign driving from Napier to New Plymouth? Maybe not, but whose to say the quickest, shortest, fastest way always takes the least amount of time? And maybe we weren't lost, maybe we wanted to drive a 1993 Hiace over a mountain range on a one-lane gravel road.
In Napier I got up to some mischief when the cafe staff gave me the marker pen after the cast had gone and I signature-bombed their board.
Not supervised enough to stop my brand of madcap anarchy!
As you can tell when 7 Days goes on tour it's pretty flippin' rock and roll.
This will be a brief post, just a message from the road.
The glorious news is that we have moved in to our new house! I have stayed there two nights and Gemma and Zeno five so far. After over two years of planning and ten and a half months of building the day actually arrived. We stayed our first night on Saturday night the 14th of December, and it was surreal. We kept wondering if we were in a resort, or somebody's fancy holiday home that we'd rented for a weekend - because it was much nicer than our house and we didn't know how to work the tv or where anything was.
Moving day was overwhelming. Station-wagons full of gear, sunburn, exhilaration and stairs. It was too brutal to document. There are no pictures of the sweat and the swearing and the full story will never be told. The house wasn't fully complete of course. I'm not sure if anyone ever has their house fully finished before they move in - this might be a law of physics that I didn't learn at school. The result of the unfinished bits was (and still is) boxes. In every room a city of boxes has grown up.
Some of these boxes are unambiguously labelled. Others it's just plain luck anyone realises what the hell they are.
We arrived with a box full of frozen food from the freezer in the Ponsonby place we were renting, and opened our new beautiful fridge to find it wasn't on. Neither was the hob or the dishwasher because the power wasn't connected. Then Zeno did a massive runny poo and I ran down to the washing machine to quickly put on a wash. After half an hour working out how to get the transport bolts out I turned it on for the first time and it tripped the fuse because of some sort of wiring snafu. So that wasn't going either. We rang the electrician with a desperate plea for mercy and help. He texted back to say he was at the movies. That was Saturday at 2pm. We never heard back from him again and he didn't show up to fix the power until Wednesday - so he must have been at the Hobbit. This was disappointing, and Peter Jackson must take half the blame.
The other trade that has been too busy until just the past few days to get us sorted out is the joiner. We hadn't seen them all of last week since they got most of the kitchen in - they've been busy joining other stuff that needed joining around this fair city, but since we moved in they've been joining their arses off at our place this week, and as of yesterday they have finished the wall unit where we'll put books etc in the living room. In fact when I called Gemma from Palmerston North at about 9pm they were still at the house working away. We are grateful for that. See below for some photos of various stages of the process.
While I've been away around Te Ika a Maui Gemma has been trying to square the house away before jolly St Nick dents our brand new roof with his bloody sleigh runners, which is neither OSH approved, nor is the roof rated to take that weight, not to mention our chimney hasn't got the necessary diameter. Meanwhile as well as the sparky and the joiners, the stair manufacturer has been working absolute magic up and down, and all around - both in steel and in American oak. Take a look at some of the progress:
Here are a few impressions we had in our first two days living in Three Kings.
- We absolutely love the house. It is just what we planned and there are no real things that we are disappointed with. Very lucky outcome I think. In fact it's a freaking beautiful mansion!
- Facing north and west, it does catch the sun, and with moving weekend being one of the hottest of the year so far we're worried it will be too warm - not in the living area which has so many large openings that a breeze cools you constantly, but the main upstairs bedroom. We bought a fan on the first day to make sure Zeno wasn't too warm. We may redo the window in there to have a wider opening.
- It's going to be a long time before we're all properly shifted in. We've got so many jobs to do around the place, things to finish, landscaping etc before we can even get everything out of boxes. We have to relax about it because it will be months away.
- We are definitely going to gently encourage a no-shoes policy. We are far to in love with our wooden floor to be normal, relaxed New Zealanders.
- I am very excited about the garage, having never had one as an adult. I moved everything around to make room for the cars and had fun driving them in and closing the door, then opening the door and driving them out again.
- I am sick of moving and I hate boxes. But luckily I may never have to move again in my entire life. That was a good feeling, like the day at uni when I sat my last exam. The relief is incredible.
- Zeno's sleep was very broken the first night, but since then he has been much better. We think he likes his new house.
- We are extremely happy with the stairs. Walking around downstairs feels like cruising around an art gallery (with no art, so more just a gallery). It has been worth it and we're grateful to Continental Stairs for their hard work, extreme skill and craft, and determination to make them stunning.
By the end of the moving day when we had the boxes all in, the baby asleep, some clothes in the drawers and we'd worked out how to turn a few of the lights on; in that fifteen minutes between finishing all that and being sound asleep for the first time in our new room we sat in the dark and looked out at the view and felt happy and grateful, bewildered and exhausted.
I'll leave you now with a few photos to show you this week's progress. Most of this has happened without me there. I can't wait to get home - both Zeno and the house have changed so much since I went away.
Next week I'll give a tour of the new house that we have (paid someone else to) built.
On the left is the Fisher and Paykel induction hob and on the right the gas ring we got because we were too chicken to go without gas. Turns out the induction is amazing and we haven't used the gas ring yet.
View of kitchen showing Mother-in-law and oven array. From top to bottom: microwave/combo oven, oven, warming drawer.We will landscape outside the kitchen to give a lovely green windowback.
Gemma designed this table and had it manufactured by Fennec joinery - a company she works with in her job as a furniture designer. It's made of ash (the wood, not the substance).
When the joiners came back to finish the wall unit, they REALLY came back - staying til well into the night to make sure it was finished for Christmas. Thank you Kitchentop.
Thank you once more for joining us on this adventure. We're nearly at the end. Next week may be the last posting of this blog.
Best love from me,
PS: Nobody guessed the actual day of moving in. The prizes are therefore split with the people who guessed the days just before and after, who are: bartus, mr_jas and LMB19. I will dole out your prizes when the dust settles.
PPS: If you have any questions for me about the whole build process, now's the time to post them below and I'll answer them all next week.