A Whirlwind Start… Take Two

Well, we have been a little bit distracted and busy with life. The title of this blog is “A Whirlwind Start… Take Two” for very good reason. When we first moved here it was an absolute whirlwind start to life in Brisbane. It has been nothing but smooth sailing since then.

Our life in Brisbane has been more than unsettling to say the least. Certain people in our life went out of their way, unnecessarily, to make life very difficult for us both. Kyah has proven to be an absolute champion and overcome the challenges, held her head high and got through the other side. I am so proud of how she has conducted herself at all times. She has definitely faced her “resilience challenges” in her young life and each time, she manages to come through, wiser, stronger and obviously more aware of what some people are like. As much as I don’t like to see her go through tough times, these are what make us strong. She is becoming one strong, determined, resilient young woman.

The other major challenge we have faced was the house we moved in to. What a disaster. 5 weeks after moving in, February 24, Brisbane had some rain. Well, the rooms downstairs were presented to be water tight and suitable for habitation and storage of our items. So, if you pay for a room, you use the room. We had a lot of our personal items stored in two of the rooms downstairs. Our thought was; let’s just store the really good stuff this year, use our old stuff, and throw that out when we move and then use our good stuff next year. Also, there really was no need to unpack all Kyah’s childhood memories, and being a rental, you don’t hang your pictures.. So it was all stored.

This “rain event” was apparently one in 45 years. Well, my thought is, one in 45 years, can now be defined as “whenever”. Saturday morning I went down to the garage to do some exercise. I saw some water. I traced the water trail. The “water tight” storage room was full of water. All our stuff was sitting in inches of water. Mad panic to try to get it all out of the water. Both Kyah and I were moving everything out of these rooms. Some boxes were extremely heavy, and because they were soaked, they were not easy to move at all. They were falling apart at the bottom. Some of them, the water had soaked up the boxes and a suitcase, at least 50cm. It was a bit of a nightmare.

The water level got higher the closer you went to the walls.

But the nightmare became much worse when we found a very angry, very large blue tongue lizard in amongst our stuff. He didn’t want to get wet, but really had no choice, because the water was so deep. Unfortunately, I don’t do blue tongue lizards. Kyah rang her dad to find out how to remove him from our house. Kevin is trying to explain to Kyah;  simply get a shovel and scoop him onto that and just carry him outside! Yeah right! Like that’s going to happen….

I ended up having to go and knock on the neighbours’ doors to find some sucker that would take on a very angry blue tongue. Jacob…. all of 20 years old, was more than happy to help 2 damsels in distress. It took him over 25 minutes to remove the blue tongue from our house. We are still extremely appreciative of Jacob risking life and limb to save us.

So began the rectification saga. Sifting through each box. Getting everything out seeing what was wet, what was ruined, what could be saved, what had to be saved…. It was just like a dream. I could not believe it was happening. All the while, I’m thinking “Some people get so much worse than this; at least we have the chance to go through our stuff.

A water-soaked box. All items in that were ruined – books!

So many pictures we had stored were sitting in the water. You don’t hang pictures in a rental.

Lots of stuff was water damaged. Some stuff could easily be replaced. Other stuff, well…. irreplaceable. Kyah’s certificates, reports from dancing, reports from school, photos, hundreds of books. There was also stuff that is easily replaced like camp chairs, exercise mats, Christmas tree etc. The most concerning was the suitcase that had water soak up over 50cm because it had clothing in it. Every dance costume Kyah has ever worn was in this suitcase. From the age of two  and a half. Every dance costume…. Over half of them were water soaked.

So far NRMA have been fantastic. They came, looked, assessed. left. More soon.

I then had to deal with the real estate and landlord. I contacted the Rental Board to find out my rights. They told me to put in a Form 11 to direct the landlord and the real estate to rectify to problem. They have 7 days to do that. I requested they remove the water sitting in one of the  rooms immediately, as it was a health and safety issue. That took a day, then it rained again…. removing the water again took another 3 days…. In the meantime, all our wet stuff is hanging wherever we could hang it to try to dry it out. Not a skerrick of space was available for us to walk on or use.

I’m thinking “If this has happened once,  chances are it will happen again.” We cannot stay here unless the landlord fixes the problem properly. It seemed the water soaked in through the wall and up through the floor safe. (Thankfully all our jewels were stored in the hole in the backyard I had dug, so they didn’t get damaged. … There was nothing in the floor safe). The week was moving by quickly and there was no action to rectify the cause of the problem. So I started looking for alternate accommodation.

Day 7 after the Form 11 went in, there was action!! We were getting a channel around the perimeter of the room that had the most water come in. This meant that when it rained again, the water would come in, but it should follow the channel around the edge of the room, through the hole in the wall that was dug and  follow the channel again through the garage and then outside. What a bonus! We were going to have a water feature in 2 rooms of the house. Only problem with that  – we didn’t want a water feature.

A day and a half of this guy drilling concrete, carving a channel. Do I need to mention concrete dust? This was really turning into a nightmare now. The “solution” for the water ingress was to carve a channel in one room and ignore the water into the other room totally.  Not my idea of a solution. So my Form 13 went in; notifying the landlord and real estate of our intentions to leave.

Our punching bag. I’m sure if someone used this as it was like this, they would get lung problems immediately. Wonder why I wanted it cleaned.

We found a great new place. Just had to wait until it became available for us to move in. The wait was OK, because I had to pack all over again. In the meantime, I had to try to get the insurance company to come and remove everything that was damaged, because I did not want to move it all.  I had to get the real estate to clean the concrete dust off everything we owned. I had to justify my decision to the real estate and landlord that we had every right to move out, break the lease and not be penalised. Threats were made to me that I was in breach of the lease and I would have to pay for all the landlord’s costs, my bond would be kept. Are these people for real???

Anyway, a very long, stressful story, cut very short. We moved out on March 16. That was a task in itself. I was not totally packed. I did the best I could with the time I had. The removalists were great. It was a big job.

I had to have a meeting with the landlord and the real estate to justify my decision to move out. He again threatened me with taking my bond and making me pay for his expenses. I am a landlord as well and there is no way I would treat my tenants this way. It was quite shameful how we were treated. The meeting had 2 real estate representatives and the landlord, then me. So basically, 3 on one. It was said by the real estate their obligation is to look after the landlord, but they have a duty of care for me, the tenant…. 3 on one is never really very fair and I did not really witness any duty of care shown towards us at any stage through the entire saga.

However, I ended up getting my bond back and a tiny amount for compensation was paid to me. I am fully aware of what we are entitled to, and unfortunately, I just didn’t have the energy to fight it. I am very saddened by the way in which we were treated by the real estate and the landlord. We were treated as if we didn’t matter, it is all about him making money, and the real estate being seen t be supporting the landlord. We were expected to simply put up with the “solution” that was given. I am flabbergasted at the “solution” and their expectation that we would accept their solution. I was abused verbally by one person and told I had a bad attitude, and I was extremely ungrateful with “all they were doing” for us! This was when I asked if they could clean the concrete dust from our possessions! It has been a very trying time for both Kyah and I.

We are now trying to settle in to our new place. It is lovely.  The best thing so far is that NRMA have returned all Kyah’s water soaked dance costumes fully cleaned and looking great. None were irreparable. Onwards and upwards. We have only received a few other items back, so I am not sure what is happening with the rest of the items as yet.

As for Kyah’s ballet. Well, she has been going to school and dancing each day. Loving it. I was able to go to an open class and watch her. She is definitely doing well, improving and looking more and more like a real ballerina (not that she ever didn’t!). She is enjoying the routine and making friends both amongst the dance kids and outside of the dance kids.

We both went and saw La Bayadère, performed by Queensland Ballet. What a beautiful performance. Kyah was fortunate enough to see the dress rehearsal; great way for the kids to learn. I got to see the real thing. It was lovely. Laura Hidalgo performed Nikiya, and Victor Estévez was Prince Solor. They dance so beautifully together. I went with dear friend Deb, who helped unpack some of our stuff and came bearing food gifts from Nell. Thank you so much girls. It was very much appreciated.

We had Madeleine come for dinner one night. We had only just moved in. She was more than happy to sit at the end of the table with us, eating dinner, using a beach towel as a table cloth, boxes and boxes everywhere.

True friends … just take you for who you are, thank you to everyone who has helped me through this nightmare. It has been a few very intense weeks of stress, no sleep, packing, house hunting, researching, standing up for right, cleaning, trying to protect Kyah from the whole thing, unpacking, and trying to get my business up and running. Anne deserves a huge thank you. She was on the phone to me every day, allowing me to voice my concerns and tell her the daily disaster that we faced. Simply having someone there to listen makes a huge difference.  Kevin, Kyah’s dad, came up for 27 hours. He helped me completely vacate the old house  – a few trips with the car to get the remainder of the stuff that I hadn’t had time to pack, and he and I cleaned the house and mowed the lawns. Thank you everyone who helped us through this is in whatever way it was, we both appreciate everything you did.

Rehearsals are well under way for the opening performance of the Commonwealth Games for Kyah. After Kyah had a 4 day, 3 night camp on the Gold Coast, it has been an almost daily trek down to the Gold Coast to drop Kyah off and bring her back again. One day we managed  to squeeze a breakfast in with some friends for a very belated birthday from January. The time it takes to drive up and down has really taken a chunk out of our lives. Kyah is pretty much now staying down on the Gold Coast with Ruth and John until the opening night.

We are fortunate enough to have tickets to the dress rehearsal. So Ruth and I will be going. It will be great to see the performance. We have no idea what to expect, but we are looking forward to it.

You are from God, little children, and have overcome them, because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. 1John 4:4

 

 

 

 

 

But what an inconvenience.