Saturday, June 6, 2009

THIS is Actually the MOST Stressful Issue We've Had

Today (or should I say, Yesterday), my shoulders were so sore at the end of the day because of all the stress. It all started with a call from Von around lunch time to remind me to look into the insurance. Von said our site supervisor said we'll need to do the handover on the Thursday instead as the shower people were coming on Wednesday and that he thinks WE may not be ready for the handover by Wednesday anyway.

I rang our site supervisor and asked him if we could have the handover on Wednesday afternoon as I have the flooring people booked on Thursday at 8am. He said, the cleaners were going to come on Thursday morning. He also asked if we were going to be ready by then? I asked what he meant and he said, "Don't you need that occupation certificate to give to your bank for them to release the final payment?" I did't think it was such an issue because I had emailed our CSO on Monday about it already, telling her that possible handover was in about a week, and she is usually very good with our requests and questions. My immediate reaction was to postpone the flooring until Friday and my flooring guy was soooo understanding despite this being the second time I've changed dates on him.

Next step was to follow-up our CSO (I really hadn't thought about following her up before this because I just had so much confidence in her efficiency - it didn't occur to me that she hadn't replied to my email from Tuesday). I phoned her and got a message that she was on leave until the 11th! (A little panic) Then, I phoned our broker who said the bank usually take 48 hours to process final payments after receiving the certificate but he cannot guarantee anything at the moment as it is very busy. (More panic) Then, I remembered that Monday is a public holiday. (I was starting to feel sick)

I rang Clarendon and someone put me through to another CSO. Got her voicemail at just after 12.30pm. Left a message. By 1.45pm, still no reply, so I rang back. She picked up the phone and said she was just taking my message down. She said the certifier only issued Occupation Certificates which were only issued after all the driveway and landscaping had been done. Well, luckily, our bank understands this and only wants an INTERIM Occupation Certificate. However, this CSO said that the certifier didn't do that and that they only issued a letter to say that the house is suitable for habitation. I said I would check with my broker to see if this was enough and I'd get back to her. Meanwhile, would she find out if she could try and get an Interim Certificate somehow.

I rang my broker and he was pretty sure that the letter isn't enough. I rang the CSO back and got her voicemail. I left her the message and asked to be phoned back about what she had found out. That was around 1.55pm. By 2.55pm, still no reply again. I rang and her voicemail message said she was at a meeting until 3pm. I rang again and again until I got her around 3.25pm. She said she coudn't locate my file and didn't know what stage we were at with regards to the certifier. She said she had tried to speak with the team leader but she couldn't. I'm thinking, "what the....?!?!" How is it possible that I've given her our job number and she couldn't find our file? She said she couldn't do anything until she found our file. I was getting really frustrated and said in resignation, "Well, what can I do" She heard this and basically said there is nothing I can do.

Then, I thought, surely other banks have asked for this interim certificate! Surely, we're not the only ones that aren't getting our driveway done by Clarendon! What the heck are they doing with a certifier that wouldn't issue a proper interim certificate of occupation!?!? Maybe our bank has accepted this kind of letter before in lieu of the Interim Certificate?!?!

So, I told her, I will contact my broker again and double check whether we can get away with the letter because it will be signed by the actual certifier anyway. She said she will ring me before she finishes at 4.30pm to let me know what's happening. I tried to be nice because after all, we are giving her extra work, since we aren't her clients.

Unfortunately, I couldn't get hold of our broker on his mobile or in his office. I got home from picking up the kids from school and went through my paperwork from the bank to see if I can get hold of someone directly. By 4.25pm, I had spent so much time on hold and being caught up in red tape that when the CSO rang, I hadn't gotten a response yet. She said, she had found our file and had emailed to the certifier all the paperwork they needed and as soon as she hears from them on Tuesday, she will let me know. I asked her to request for that letter anyway. She said she doesn't think she'll get that on Tuesday. Most likely, Wednesday.

Finally, I got onto someone at the bank. She said she thinks the letter may be ok. Send it through and the construction department will make a decision on it. That's not really what I wanted to hear. I told her I didn't want to waste time and energy asking for something that would be insufficient anyway. She put me on hold for a while. Then she told me she had emailed the construction department to ask this as no one can attend to me anymore because it was nearly 5pm by then. I asked when I could expect to hear back from her. She said, Tuesday.

I felt so helpless. I rang our flooring people and he said if he cannot start on the Friday, we'd have to wait until the following Friday before he can start. I was getting dizzy from thinking and from trying to solve the problem. My shoulders were so painful that I was starting to feel the pain in my back. To top it all off, my youngest son has been so attached lately that I have been feeling emotionally and physically exhausted. So, I decided to stop stressing. I accepted that there was nothing I could do for now. I had a long weekend to enjoy. God always works things out for me. If we cannot move in for another week or two, well, so be it. I felt a little better. My husband and my three boys visited my in-laws and I went to a good friend's house for a scrapbooking/card-making party. I had to be happy because no one likes being around miserable people. So, I snapped myself out of it! I'll handle it on Tuesday.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Walk Through

A very important day has arrived! We walked through our soon to be home today. Our site supervisor is very proud of his work and so he should be. He had blue tape in his hand to mark all the paint to be touched up as the painter was also there. He assured us that he was committed to point out the issues while the painter was there as they would have to pay the painter if he had to come back later on.

There were times, though, that our site supervisor was getting a little defensive in his tone but I think it's due to the fact that he is very good at what he does and he just doesn't like it when something goes wrong. For instance, I have a roller door cabinet in which we had arranged to have an ADJUSTABLE shelf to be put inside. This was missed before, but after I pointed it out, he got the shelf done. Except today, I noticed that it wasn't adjustable. He was trying to tell me that there's no point adjusting it because there won't be much space in the top shelf, but I know what I'm putting in there. I had it made for a particular purpose, and as it was, I wouldn't be able to do with it what I wanted. I got a little annoyed and I said, "I have things that will fit in there". Besides, the point is, we had specifically asked for it and we wanted it done. No one can tell us that it isn't necessary. He said, if our contract says the shelf was supposed to be adjustable, he would do it. I showed him where it was in the contract and he wrote it on his sheet straight away.

Other outstanding issue was that the kitchen cupboards weren't adjusted yet. He got to the bottom of that right there and then. Kitchen people will come by Tuesday next week. Site supervisor thinks handover will be on Wednesday.

With the pain touch-ups, we were all over the place until our site supervisor got us organised and got us to all together do one wall at a time, marking with the blue tape. Von's eye for detail really shone here. There is a fine line between mistakes and nit-picking, and we took his lead with regards to this. I mean, he is a bit of a perfectionist himself, anyway. We often asked him about things before putting a marker on it. We had to let him know we valued his opinion and expertise because we truly did. He didn't like shining a torch on the walls and again got a bit funny when Von shone a torch on the ceiling to point at something. Von wasn't using it to look for faults, though.

Our independent inspector came and had a report emailed to us by tonight. He is one worth it investment! He found a things we missed and for these, we are sooo glad we hired him to do this second inspection. Here's a list of extra things we didn't pick up, but were in our inspector's report.

Window fixed panel glazing seal not fitted correctly, glue to be removed off the window frame.

The window reveal has been sanded and is not yet painted

Shower screen leaking at its base as tested.

Window reveal has been poorly patched to the sill area.

Shower screen leaks at its base as tested, cavity door internal edges are poor

Wall area damaged above the fridge unit

Linen press units need ceilings patched and painted

Cavity door internal edges are poor

OK, insulation poorly fitted and needs to be rectified.

Weep holes need cleaning out in minor areas.
Stored roof tiles to be removed off the top level right side roof area.
The left side eave linings to be sealed around the A/C duct area.
Cement stain to be cleaned off the front brick wall to the right of the garage door.
The right side eave lining needs patching and painting around this conduit outlet.
The steel lintels above the sliding door units need to be painted.
The left side broken window sill brick needs replacement.

Some of the doors are not sealed to all six faces (for example, entry door).

I've emailed the above to our CSO and Stuart.

Heard from our broker's assistant as I sent the worng request for the final payment. Sent correct one today. Also asked for Occupancy Certificate from our CSO on Monday. She sent me the wrong certificates yesterday and I asked for the right one yesterday. That's all the bank needs and then they can release the final payment and we can get our keys.

Coincidentally, next Wednesday is our wedding anniversary. What a wonderful pressie! I've moved the flooring to start on Thursday as it was originally scheduled for Wednesday. John said they'll be there to start at 8am! Woohoo!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Back to Reality After Our Mini-Holiday

Back from our holiday on Sunday and it was a success in many ways: got to relax with wonderful friends, managed to give two friends their birthday pressies (a pampering treatment with a facial and a hot stones massage), finished our oldest son's project on rainforest that was due the day after we got back (and gave him first hand experience of what it was like in a rainforest), AND got to shop for some interiors for our house (a mirror, bamboo stick thingys, other stick thingys, wall decor above our bed)!!!

On Friday, I managed to get the electrical people to connect the meter to the meter box at a cost of $330. I think that's all I have to do there and we should be right with utilities, as I've sent off a form for the gas thing ages ago.

Today, I sent off the request to be reimbursed for our expenses for our electricals (well, at least we got $3000 for our $6000 bill). We had this incorporated into our loan. I also sent the bank cheque to our flooring people who needed the payment for the materials before delivery. Again, we incorporated this into our loan. The only disadvantage is that because we did this with a few additional items, we couldn't get a cash price for these items because we had to submit the invoice to the bank who wanted to pay the people we were dealing with directly either by bank cheque or direct transfer. Oh well, it keeps people honest, I guess. Luckily for us, our flooring people were quite generous with the discount they gave us. Our driveway people also moved a fair bit for us. We're going with the one that was very professional in getting us the quote straight away and even had the council paperwork ready for us to fill when he met us on site. I had been calculating the amount of concreting to be done myself and his calculations seem pretty close to mine. It's just nice to know I'm not being duped. The other concreter said he wanted our business and would beat any price but since it took him over a week to give me a quote and that's with me following him up, I had more faith in the other one.

I also got the invoice from Clarendon for the final progress payment and emailed that through to our broker today.

My jobs now are to sort out lighting (I've worked out how many downlights, pendant lights and spot lights we need, and how many we are keeping as they are for now). Have to sort out what fridge we'll be getting since we don't want to keep the deep freezer if we can help it as it takes up space in the laundry. That's a lot of research. Then, there's home and contents insurance, too. However, the most important one is to take advantage of the end of financial year sales and get ourselves a dining table! Because of the layout of our dining room, we'd prefer a round or square table. However, with the colours I've chosen for the back part of the house, this is proving very difficult. Von is a wood-type person and I'm happy to compromise here as long as the wood is either the really light one but not beech OR a really dark one. But, I don't want the wooden chairs to go with it - they're too country for my decor. I don't want the leather chair look anymore either, if I can help it - I think that's a bit old now. I've even gone to Ikea last week to look at chairs and it's sooooo hard to find a suitable one. The dining suites I've liked come with a glass top and rectangular shape. Well, Von finds the glass top too cold. And the rectangular table would really be awkward in terms of space. We'll see.

WALK THROUGH TOMORROW!!! I sent both our inspector and our SS a text to confirm. I can't wait to have more structure and normality in our lives. There's heaps happening. We've had to have my car fixed just before we left went on holidays and when we picked it up yesterday, we were $2k poorer. Also a lot happening on the homefront. I'm getting really tired. Geez, imagine if I didn't give up my business!