I’m all about giving credit where credit is due. So today’s award goes to Mini Movers who have provided L & I with great service for the last couple of moves we have done.

Mini Movers are a small but expanding business who basically provide you with a couple of guys/girls (of course) and a truck and you get to run the show. They charge you an hourly rate and so if you are on a small budget for moving and also have some friends available to lend a hand, then this will reduce the time that it takes to move your house and thus the price.
6 months ago, L prepared our house for moving and packed and categorized every single box in the house and then also went to the extreme of coding each box so that when we moved back in we could unpack the box in the actual new location… and this was her at 3 months pregnant! Amazing! She then managed the move from our old house to 2 storage locations and did all this in one load! Mini movers gave her all the help she wanted and I gave her a massage for a good days work… ok and flowers and chocolates, and took her out to a really good restaurant!

So today we moved our things back from the storage locations and into our new home, and it was such a smooth process. The guys from Mini Movers showed up on time (actually beat me) and then wrapped and cared for everything they moved as if it was theirs. Well done Tony and Nathan for a great job.

The Mini movers 4 principles are these:

  • Be careful
  • Be quick
  • Exceed and
  • Enjoy

I like these principles and believe that I received the service they wish to provide. So if you’re looking for a good removals company give them a go!

Whilst sitting here on the 11th floor of the Tribeca building in East Melbourne, I am looking out to the east and in clear view is the IKEA building at Victoria Gardens. I started thinking to myself what a great idea IKEA was/is and how one of the worlds richest men, Ingvar Kamprad has made a fortune getting everyone to put their own furniture together.

Let it be known Mr Kamprad was a similar person, not unlike myself, who used to tinker in his shed, but also used to sell watches, pens and Christmas cards from his ‘garden shed’. He got the idea of flat-pack furniture in the 1950s when an employee took the legs off a table to fit it into a customer’s car. Yet again demonstrating the effectiveness of a shed in assisting the modern man to come up with new ideas… I wonder whether Isaac Newton was having a break from toiling and tinkering in his shed and decided to sit under a tree and all of a sudden an apple drops on his head… GRAVITY!!! Its amazing sometimes how just a simple idea like that can go a long way.

The IKEA brand is synonymous with flat pack furniture and is probably the most popular, given the crowds that race down there every weekend, and IKEA furniture can also be the most expensive. So it is good to know there are other stores like Target and KMart who sell this type of furniture too and at a cheaper price, however I dont think they have the assistance of the style police with any of their designs. The less than pretty equivalents are a good option if you have just moved out of home and are looking to give your mates something to sit on, or something for the tv to sit on that doesn’t cost the earth that can be destroyed and passed down the line in a share house arrangement.

I remember some of my earliest (probably most successful) projects at home involved ‘flat pack furniture’, it was always so easy to construct, and it gave a sense of pleasure having a piece of furniture in the home that I put together. Although some times I would end up with one or two bolts or screws left over and then go through the whole piece of furniture again to check that I didn’t leave anything out.

I definitely think in today’s age of the ‘throw away society’ the ‘flat pack’ idea has really a lot of merit, particularly if you are a property investor who wants to spice up the look of a place without spending the money on an architecturally designed equivalent.

So a big thanks to Mr Kamprad of IKEA, for changing the idea of flat pack furniture into something of beauty and giving me my first experience of furniture construction for my home.

It has dawned on me lately that I am quite the expert, but unfortunately I haven’t always been, otherwise I would be a lot wealthier than I am today. Mind you, I am only just getting started. So far I have chiseled my way through life clinging to different experiences and other influences in my life that have truly helped me get to the place I am today (with a long way to go). But these experiences and people in my life, whether they liked it or not were going to answer my questions and let me tell you I had many! Sometimes, I couldn’t be told anything, sometimes it was belted into me, and sometimes when I wasn’t even thinking about it, I just learned. Isn’t it amazing how the brain works.

I didn’t grow up with all of the trimmings of life that others were afforded, (like many others out there i’m sure), but there were things in my life, experiences, good and mainly bad that have shaped me as a person and made me even more determined to succeed. I will tell you that the past couple of years for me have been really good and are getting better all of the time. This is the time where I am truly not looking back and living in the past, but looking forward to how I can do it better and improve things for the next generation, beginning with my little girl (who should be here any day now).

While I sit here enjoying the last few nights of not getting up for a young child and having a whole new person to be responsible for, I am pondering how I got to this place and how it could have been so different. Believe me, the way my life started off, lets just say it wasn’t the best place to be brought up and it wasn’t full of Nobel peace prize winners or upstanding members of the community. However, I often met people along the way who stood up to be role models and who weren’t too busy to notice someone with ambition and passion about what they do and who would use that to challenge me and put me in situations where I had to act. Which is sometimes all it takes.

Life isn’t always hopeless, and life isn’t always going to be full of good times, but whether I have thought it or not, through the hopeless times in my life, I must have always thought there were good times coming, otherwise I may not have got out of bed everyday with a smile on my face and headed off to work at McDonalds, or gone to pick up wool at the shearing shed, or cut up that sheep to feed the dogs, or to do that paper round. At the same time I have often had a case of pessimism where deep down thinking it wont work, but then just keeping going each day at a time to make it work, trying new things, experiences and meeting people who are positive influences in my life.

I have so much to be thankful for. Thank you to all those people who have helped make my life better, and in turn some less fortunate people around me. Most of all thank you to my wonderful wife for making the last couple of years the best I have ever had.

With our house nearing completion, L called some blinds and curtain people the other day to start getting some quotes for blinds. One man answered the phone and took the details and then asked, “can I ask you a personal question… how pregnant are you?” He then went on to say that people in our neighborhood and a large percentage of his recent business has come from pregnant women/families renovating houses! Which got me thinking…

First of all why do we do it? Why would we want to make one of the most stressful times of our lives even more difficult by having a child or vice versa? I’m sure some of you who have renovated may have had some troubles, and are now aware that there is more to it than having some money, getting a builder and voila! you’re finished and moving in. There are weekends of designing, going to home shows, display homes, bathroom places, kitchen places, outdoor expos… the list goes on! Maybe there is some underlying primal instinct, that has us do it in this order, setting off some strange hormone or endorphin that causes us to be more fertile?

Have I discovered a theory that will put IVF and fertility drugs on the backburner? Is there a link between renovating a house and fertility?

Foreplay will never be the same, I can just see it now. “Honey, I’m heading down to Bunnings to get some timber for the deck… be ready when I get back…” Perhaps there is also a market for Bunnings to enter the motel market and offer short term stays…

To conclude, there is one sure way to give you and your builder a definite deadline, but make sure you still put some planning into it. Remember gestation for a baby is around 280 days (full term) and for your average build/ renovation (similar to ours) you’re looking at around 150 days from start to finish, but this could vary depending on the size of your renovation of course. Be sure to discuss this with your builder and make sure you don’t give your poor builder a deadline to put on another storey on your house in 6 weeks because it just won’t happen.

Fitness freak!

Posted by: Owen in Post 30 1 Comment »

This year! 2008! I am going to get fit, not that I am not already ok, but I have always wanted to invest some real time (and money if I have to) to get fit.

I have been quite fortunate over the last couple of months, as I have had the luxury of being able to ride into the office every day and then commute from the office, being able to leave my car in the carpark. Doing this has become a forced exercise regime, which is what I need, especially for those mornings when I think… arghhh! just five more minutes… with a 40 – 45min ride in the morning, I really need to get away early.

I have also done what I have never done before, yes some of you will be amazed, but I now have a gym membership. This is predominately to help me through the winter months, but also to put my money into it, which then makes it personal. I am also excited about the possibility of learning some more about how the whole muscle and weight thing actually works.

Apart from my initial stiffness and not being able to move some mornings, I am slowly getting used to different forms of exercise. In recent weeks, having moved closer to the city, it isnt really worth riding because it is only around 4 k’s each way, but when I run 4 k’s it has a different effect! I have also found a little gym in the apartment building we are in, which is nice and close til my new gym is finished being built.

So wish me well, cos i’m going to need it! Unlike our house reno’s and the photos that I attach, I wont be doing the same for this exercise, but I may sign some autographs when I make it onto Mens Health one day… ha ha!

With the imminent arrival of our little person, I am happy to announce that our little old house is also nearing the end of its construction and has now been transformed into something of beauty!

When we started off, it was gang busters, things were happening and you could go back every day and see something different, but over the last couple of weeks, its been quite difficult to see what has been done some days, because as you move closer towards the end of the project there are all the small finicky bits that happen every day that all go towards the final outcome.

So over the last month, we have had tilers, painters, roofers, joiners, electricians and plumbers all converging on the house to finish things off, and of course a reliable person that is on site to coordinate all of these trades as required. I must stress how important it is to have a qualified person on site, maybe not every hour of the day, but they must be there to make sure things are happening.

We are now only a few weeks away from the practical completion date, and our builder is doing his best to achieve the date outlined in the contract. Today we had bench tops going in, then the rest of the joinery will be installed, there is a bit of tiling and then of course the touch up painting and then the carpets. We have been so impressed at the way our renovation has gone and all I can put it down to is a thorough design, a good builder who is organised and I have to add that we have been a fantastic client.

Enjoy the photos below, isn’t it pretty!





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Doesn’t it look fantastic, even the laundry!

In my next blog entry I will show you the actual before and after shots, but you have to bear with me until I get the bobcat in and start cleaning up around the house and doing the landscaping! Cant Wait!!