Tough Customer

We’ve finally sold off our older laptop PC for $550 on eBay two weeks ago. Although it’s about a quarter its original price when it was brand new, we were just happy that somebody won the bidding. Then the happiness turned to apprehension as we discovered that the winning bidder has 0 (zero) rating.

That meant, he or she is completely new to eBay with no history. What if he doesn’t pay up? What if he is a person of questionable character? It doesn’t help that another person emailed us after the bidding has ended telling us that if the winner doesn’t pay up, he’s willing to buy the laptop off us. Very suspicious.

The actual buyer (let’s call him Mr Chandra) emailed us saying he wanted to meet up. Fine with us. I told him to meet me Monday last week at noon at the ground floor of the building where I work. He agreed to this arrangement and asked for my mobile number. I emailed him back with my number and asked for his. He didn’t reply back before our meeting. Supposed meeting, actually.

That Monday, I brought the laptop in its original box to work. As luck would have it, I had to go to the client site that morning. I had to work fast at the client site so that I could still make it back to our office in time for our meeting with the buyer. By noon, I was down at the lobby lugging around the cumbersome laptop box waiting for Chandra. Fifteen minutes later and he was still nowhere in sight. I was starting to get hungry and therefore, angry. After few more minutes, I decided to give up and just return the box upstairs and head out for lunch. But before going out for lunch, I sent a very stern email to Mr Chandra. He could have at least called or emailed to say that he couldn’t make our meeting.

A few days had passed and we got no messages or call from the buyer. Raquel and I didn’t want to waste any more of our time waiting for him to pay up so we filed an Upaid Item Dispute on eBay against the buyer. At the very least, we might get back the fee we paid to have the laptop listed on eBay.

Then last Friday, I got an SMS message from Chandra letting me know that he wanted to meet me in the city over the weekend to get the laptop. No way I’m going to the city just for that. Anyway, I couldn’t even if I want to because I left the laptop in the office and it is locked during the weekend. I replied back that I’ll meet him in the city the coming Monday instead.

I find this guy very unreliable so I made my instructions very explicit. I told him to meet me at my office address at noon and that I’ll only wait for fifteen minutes for him. He then replied back asking which train station, Flinders or Parliament, should I meet him. Didn’t he understand my text at all? I reiterated that he was to go to our office address and we’d do the swap there. I also added that he should be ready with the cash payment as I didn’t have a long lunch break. I asked him to text me back if he agrees to this. He did.

It was Monday morning at half past eleven when I got a text message from Chandra. He said that he just left his place and should be at Flinders Street station by around 12 noon for the swap. What? I feel like I’m talking to someone in a different language. I thought we agreed to meet at my office address?! Fine. I told him I’ll meet him at Flinders Street station instead, “under the clocks” near the ticket office at 12.15 PM. I added that I would be the Asian guy with glasses carrying a box that has “DELL” written on it.

While carrying the laptop box on the way to the station, I was thinking that I’ll just give this guy until 12.30 otherwise the deal is off. I was starting to get fed up with him. I’d rather sell the laptop on eBay again. Just then, I received another text message from Chandra. He said that he was at Flinders Street station and he would wait for me at Platform 2.

NO! That wasn’t the arrangement!

A few minutes after the text message, my phone rang. It was Chandra. He basically repeated what he had texted me and I replied in a rather forceful voice that I won’t meet him at Platform 2. We agreed to meet under the clocks just beyond the station gates and that’s where I’ll meet him! He quickly agreed to meet me upstairs. He added that he’ll be the asian guy with the blue shirt. Right. That could’ve described me at the time as I was also wearing a blue shirt. He better find me as I gave him a more unique description of what I’d look like.

Raquel and I got to the ticket office and stood there in wait for Chandra. Raquel noticed two guys who might be from India standing a few metres away. They seem to be looking around for something or someone but not really trying too hard. Raquel suggested that maybe it was Chandra and a friend of his. I said that if it was him, he should’ve approached us already since they looked at us more than twice already.

After a couple more minutes, the two guys approached us. Raquel was right. It was them. Why didn’t they approach us sooner? I didn’t ask it out loud as I wanted the transaction to go through smoothly. I didn’t want anymore delays. Chandra’s friend wanted to inspect the laptop first. I obliged. I’ve got nothing to hide. The laptop was well cared for and was in good working condition.

They talked to each other in their native language while Chandra’s friend played around the laptop a bit. A few more minutes passed and finally Chandra seemed satisfied with the laptop. He then faced me and asked, “do you know where I can find a Commonwealth Bank ATM?”

WHAT THE?! I was really getting pissed with him. I said, “didn’t I ask that you come ready with the cash? I don’t have a long lunch break here!” He looked embarrassed but all he can do was say that he only has a card. What the hell! And he wanted me to meet him down in Platform 2 a few minutes ago?! There was less of a chance he’d find an ATM down at the platform! Or was he intending to quickly take the laptop and jump in a leaving train?!

Even though I was angry already, I tried to keep my cool. It can’t be helped now. I just want to get paid. I asked the nearest person if he knew where the nearest ATM was. He replied that there was one across the street along Swanston Street. Chandra was a little hesitant to leave his buddy behind to go get the money. So, his buddy left Raquel and I right there under the clocks with the laptop still running on top of its box.

We could wait for them to come back. But then, I definitely no longer trust Chandra anymore. For all we know, we would never see Chandra and his buddy ever again. I decided to follow them after I’ve packed the laptop back in the box.

They had a head start so we can’t really see where they went. But assuming they did go to withdraw money from the ATM, they should be queued up at the nearest ATM. The first one we passed was the ANZ Bank ATM and they weren’t there. We tried the next one which was a Commonwealth Bank ATM. Thank goodness they were there. When they got the money, I called out to Chandra letting him know that we followed them.

Finally, we got paid and the whole ordeal is over. I hope we never get another eBay buyer like that ever again.

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Published in: on July 31, 2007 at 10:12 pm  Comments (2)  

Recycle that PC

Where do electronic goods go to die? Well, my first guess would be in the rubbish tip either brought there by their previous owners or collected and deposited there by the council during scheduled rubbish days. It’s sad that these gadgets which were once so much a part of our lives and could even have held pride of place among our possessions are now deemed worthless and are now landfill.

Another option would be to recycle them and some companies accept old computer equipment to be recycled. The problem however is that it’s not as easy as kerbside recycling. You really have to make a concious effort to haul your equipment to your car, drive all the way to the recycling facility and you sometimes even have to pay a small fee for them to recycle the thing. For most of us, it’s enough to discourage us from recycling these equipment.

In our case, we have a desktop computer that had gone toast since a year a go and a monitor that would do real damage to your eyes if you still attempt to use it. We were planning to have it recycled but never got around to it. Which is why it’s still in our study, languishing on the floor and taking up space. The solution to the problem of what we should do with it came when we were at the public library last weekend. I noticed a large poster on the notice board about Apple sponsoring a free recycling program in our area. Click on this link for locations where this program will be held as well as the date/time. For Wyndham residents, here are the details for the recycling program near our area:

When: July 28 (Saturday) 10am – 4pm, July 29 (Sunday) 10am-2pm
Where: Wyndham City Council Depot 241-253 Old Geelong Road, Hoppers Crossing (next door to Mitre10)
What to bring: Any old computers, laptops, monitors or computer related peripherals
What NOT to bring: Copiers, TVs, overhead projectors, batteries not integral to computer systems, cracked or broken CRT monitors, UPS units, contaminated equipment of any kind, or any other universal or hazardous waste prohibited by local, state or federal government.

Published in: on July 27, 2007 at 12:25 pm  Comments (2)  

Back pain and finding the right one

One day several months ago, I woke up with an intense pain on the right side of my lower back. I usually sleep on my side and swing my feet to the floor first thing then push my upper body off the bed to get up but I couldn’t get out of bed that way that morning. Trying to do so only brings tears to my eyes so I had to literally roll myself out of bed. By the time I was standing up, it’s obvious that there’s something wrong as I couldn’t stand straight at all – my lower body would look like normal (straight and all) but my upper body was conspicuously leaning to the left. Attempting to straighten my upper body would immediately cause pain to my right side. What a sight I might have been – the leaning tower of Raquel. Walking was slow and painful and attempting to run is even worse as there seem to be no support at all at the right side of my lower back. I didn’t immediately go to a doctor and just took it easy for the day, good thing it happened on a weekend.

By the next day, I was still leaning to the left and the pain hasn’t subsided any. I decided to go to a bulk-billing GP near where we live and consult as to what’s wrong with me and what I could do about it. The doctor took one look at me and told me to go see an osteopath. Say what? What the heck is an osteopath? He explained that they are practitioners who specialises with the musculoskeletal system. He said that they’re quite good and should be able to sort me out.

A quick search on the internet later led me to the Australian Osteopathic Association’s website where you could search for a practicing osteopath near you. I picked one about two blocks away from where I work and went in for my first consultation. The first consultation took an hour with half of it spent on a discussion of what my primary complaint was (I’m all crooked!) and other things that might have contributed to my plight (flat feet, sitting all day in front of a computer, almost no exercise). The second part of the consultation, the doctor had me take off my top and dressed on a green hospital gown opened at the back. He (yup, it’s a he) massaged my lower back while applying some warm oil and proceeded to chat me up. In between small talk, he’d explain what he’s doing and let me know what to expect (I’m going to crack your back now, just relax, okay?) Overall, the experience was a pleasant one, I mean, who wouldn’t want to get a massage? I was still crooked by the end of the session but he said it’ll take a day or two to settle. I scheduled another session anyway thinking I could always cancel if I didn’t feel like going back.

Two days later, I was able to walk normally (read:straight). I went back for my second session wondering what else could be done as the pain in my lower back was gone. I talked to the osteopath and we discussed the ache on my knee and the pain at the bottom of my right foot which had been there for a long time now. That time he had to work on my lower body and had me get out of my jeans as well as my top. I was still dressed in the green gown and had a towel draped on my lower body but having to switch from lying on my back to lying face-down was difficult trying to keep the towel and green gown in place. Additionally, I realised that I’ve all but ran out of small talk (he’s into sports and I’m clueless on that topic) and he seem uncomfortable with my silence (he was asking different questions on various topics). Needless to say, I was thinking of looking for another osteopath and didn’t go back after my third session with him.

As with all things that has no real urgency, I promptly forgot about seeing an osteopath again until I had another bout of lower back pain about a fortnight ago. This time, it was worse that the first one and was brought on by a weekend of re-arranging furniture about. I woke up with my upper body leaning to the left and I had to roll out of bed again. I got dressed and was almost out the door to go to work when I felt a spasm on the right side of my back and crumpled on all fours on the floor. Realising there’s no way I could walk a few steps without doubling over, I had to call in sick and rested the whole day. The pain didn’t subside at all the next day but I went to work anyway and had to find an osteopath in the city who could see me that day. The lady osteopath I saw that day was okay but wasn’t as good as the first and she charges more too. She gave me a massage to help with my lower back pain as well and recommended I take some pain killers. She wanted me to come in for a second session but as she was going away on holidays, she recommended that I see her male co-practitioner. With the higher fee and having to get used to another practitioner again, I decided I want to try someone else elsewhere.

Last week, I booked an initial consultation with another lady practitioner whose clinic is closer to where I work. She charges less than the other lady practitioner ($80 for the first consultation and $60 for the subsequent ones) and she’s quite good with her hands as well (although still not as good as the first osteopath). However, unlike the first two practitioners, she recommended strengthening and stretching exercises and trying to correct my posture. She mentioned that a lot of my problems could be caused by my slumping when I sit, leaning my head forward when working in front of the computer and not getting enough exercise. Last week, she asked me to do neck stretches, a lunge and had me sit on an exercise ball whenever I use my computer at home. I have to say that it’s quite difficult to slump or lean forward when using my laptop at home while balancing myself on an exercise ball. This week, she told me to do neck strengthening exercises and advised me to sit straighter at work with my back resting against the back of the chair. She also mentioned pilates and although I’m not considering going to classes yet, she got me curious enough to rent out a pilates DVD.

Getting into a professional/medical relationship with a practitioner isn’t exactly the same as finding someone to date but it does have some similarities. Since it’s most likely going to be a long-term relationship, I want someone who is good at what they do, preferably close to where I work and someone I’m comfortable with. So is my current osteopath the right one? I’m not sure yet but one thing’s for sure, I’m quite comfortable with her and she’s easier to talk to but I would readily go back to my first osteopath in a pinch.

Published in: on July 26, 2007 at 12:19 pm  Comments (2)  

The End of Harry Potter

I have just finished reading the final book in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I can finally start surfing the web again without fear of accidentally seeing spoilers. I didn’t even want to mention my fear for spoilers before now, just in case someone out there reading my blog decides it would be funny to tell me how the book ended or which characters died (yeah, bro, I’m looking at you!).

As I don’t want to spoil it for anybody reading our blog who hasn’t finished reading the last book yet (and Raquel has just started reading it), all I can say is that I liked the last book very much. I was very satisfied with how some of the loose ends in the series were tied up and how some mysteries were explained in the end.

I just feel sad knowing that there won’t be any more Harry Potter books in the future. I wish that JK Rowling will eventually decide to write about the HP universe again. I’m thinking that maybe a book about a different character’s point of view of the same events in the same series could be interesting (like Ginny’s or Neville’s).

Slightly related to reading Harry Potter, a male co-worker of mine asked me what I did last weekend. I told him I went to the CBD to pick up my copy of the last Harry Potter book. He laughed and couldn’t believe I was interested in reading a children’s book. I wasn’t at all embarrassed. I love the series and I love books, and I’m proud of it, too. Too bad that he doesn’t seem to appreciate books as much as I do.

Published in: on July 25, 2007 at 11:10 pm  Comments (2)  

Harry Potter Launch Event Tomorrow

The long-awaited day has finally arrived. The final book of the Harry Potter series titled Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will be made available for sale tomorrow nationwide.

To celebrate the event, Borders will even be having a Melbourne Launch Event tomorrow at Federation Square in the CBD from 8am to 1pm.

Raquel and I are planning to head over to the CBD tomorrow to join the fun and excitement of the launch. We’ll of course be taking photos of the fanfare and the people who may turn up dressed as wizards and witches. I need to head off to the city to pick up my pre-ordered copy of the seventh book anyway.

Unfortunately for me, I pre-ordered my copy at Dymocks. I can’t complain about the pricing though as both Borders and Dymocks have priced the book at $29.95 if pre-ordered. However, a pre-order of the book from Borders included a bonus Hedwig beanie owl toy! Meanwhile, Dymocks is only giving away a lousy bookmark and maybe a bag (I’m not sure of this one). I definitely prefer a toy Hedwig. It’s too late at any case.

Dymocks will be having a launch event tomorrow as well. Still, we’ll probably head on over to Federation Square first as that may be a bigger event. Once we got tired of what’s happening there, we can then go to Dymocks, see what’s up there and pick up my book. I just cannot wait.

Published in: on July 20, 2007 at 11:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

Went to an Osteopath

Around four years ago, I was slouching on my computer chair working hard at coding software. I slouched so much that I was almost lying on my back on my chair. After a long continuous stretch of typing, I decided to stretch a little and straighten up my sitting position. And then it hit me.

A warm stabbing pain shot up through the back of my neck and my shoulders. The pain was worse than all the stiff necks I’ve ever had in my life combined. After a few minutes, the pain subsided a little but it lingered.

At first, I thought that the pain would eventually go away just like stiff necks did. A week later and I still had the awful pain in my neck and shoulders. Raquel massaged the area a few times already during the first week but it didn’t lessen the pain. Maybe I would have better results if I had the massaging done by someone trained at it.

I went to a chiropractor to have my neck and shoulder looked at. I regretted ever going there. After my consultation with the chiropractor, I think the pain was actually worse. During the session, I felt like I was being tortured by some sadistic maniac who used his pointy elbows as his primary implements of torture. I never went back.

The pain eventually lessened to a degree where I don’t really feel it anymore. The pain actually remained but I just got used to it that I was able to ignore it for most of the time.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago, Raquel had been having problems with her back so she went to see a doctor who specialised in Osteopathy. It was only then that I discovered that there is an actual branch of medicine that deals with these kinds of problems. I figured I should go to an osteopath and see if he or she can relieve the minor pain on my neck and shoulders.

During my first session, the doctor asked where it basically hurts the most. I pointed out that I had more pain in my left shoulder than I do anywhere else. She concentrated in that area and when she finished, the pain was gone! I couldn’t believe it! It felt so good to not feel any pain after having to endure it for so long.

I returned for my second session just this week and she had essentially removed the pain I have felt on my right shoulder and my lower back. Amazing!

I’ll be back there next week for my third visit but it’ll probably be the last as it seems like I have no more pain I can complain about. That and I start work at my new job after that week. The new job may not be as lax with lunch hour breaks as with my current employer.

I just wish I had known about osteopaths a whole lot earlier.

Published in: on July 19, 2007 at 11:35 pm  Comments (4)  

Job Dilemma

As some of you may already know, I’ve resigned from current job to work in a new company. The new company is a prestigious multinational financial firm and that alone was enough of a draw for me to work for them. From what I know about the job I’ll be doing there and the type of workplace environment they currently have, I think I’ll be fine working for them.

However, this is the first time I’ve been really torn about leaving an older job for a newer one. In the past, the decision to leave had usually been easy. For example, I left job 1 because job 2 was based in Taiwan. I left job 2 because job 3 would give me the working experience I needed to land a job in the US. I left job 3 because job 4 was based in Australia. I left job 4 because job 5 was based in Melbourne as opposed to Canberra. I left job 5 because job 6 was not a contracting job, pays a lot more and had a very flexible workplace environment.

And now I’m leaving job 6. Unlike the previous job switches I made, there wasn’t an overwhelming justification for my switch this time.

I admit that the most tempting reason for me to stay at my current job was that they have very flexible hours, have a very casual dress code, have unmonitored Internet access and I have an easy-going supervisor. Just as long as I get the job done, I’m fine. Heck, I’ve seen people working in this company who aren’t even doing their job and they’re fine, too.

Of course, there are still the negative aspects of working for my current employer otherwise I wouldn’t have looked for other jobs. I just won’t mention the exact reasons here as I don’t want to bad-mouth my current company. Whatever the reasons, the result was that I was pretty stressed with the work in spite of the relaxed office environment.

I went through two interviews for job 7 and they’ve already sent me the offer document for me to read and sign. Unlike job 6, job 7 needs me to come in at a prescribed time (at 8:45 AM). To contrast, I usually arrive at 9:30 AM at job 6 and it is fine even if I get in later than that. At job 7, I’m required to wear business clothes whereas I can wear a torn shirt and jeans at job 6. Thankfully, job 7 doesn’t require a suit and a tie. The last bit of downside with job 7 is that Raquel and I are required to divest any investments we may have with clients of job 7 as part of their Independence Policy which is a legal thing that ensures conflict of interest with clients are avoided. That’s right, Raquel also has to divest any conflicting investments just for being my wife. Unfortunately for us, our superannuation is with a company that is a client of job 7. That means we’ll have to look for a new company to put our superannuation in. Too bad, too, since our current superannuation company is one of the best in the market.

Job 7 did offer more money than what I’m currently earning with job 6. But when I resigned from job 6, our manager of course tried to make me stay by offering me more money. The counter-offer was actually more than what job 7 was offering (even after I renegotiated the starting salary) but I still opted to leave.

Now, I’m two weeks away from starting my new work with job 7. Would I ultimately regret the decision to go? If I stay, I’d be paid more, I wouldn’t worry about being late and wouldn’t care about what to wear for work. However, that also means being stuck with the current project I’m working on and just hope that there’ll be an established regular salary review in the near future.

If I go, I get to work for a prestigious firm that has a recognisable name world-wide and I also get to develop and design financial software systems. I will also belong to a bigger development team that may mean the work load can be distributed around to a lot more individuals. Supposedly, there is also a regular performance review which will hopefully translate to regular salary increases (depending on good performance, of course).

After all is said and done, I hope the combined benefits of working for job 7 outweighs that of job 6. In the end, I hope that it all translates to me being less stressed with work overall.

On a slightly related note, Raquel found another job opening just the other day. The job is for programmers to work in the US! They are looking for Australian citizens with our skills set to work in San Francisco. Since we’re Australian citizens, we don’t have to get H1B visas to work in the US. Instead, we will get E-3 visas. An E-3 visa is a special working visa only available to Australians which also allows the E-3 visa holder’s spouse to work (unlike with H-1B).

It is, of course, all very tempting to us. We are of Filipino origin after all and to a lot of us, living in America, “the Mother Land”, is the ultimate dream. However, as tempting as it may all seem, I feel like we no longer have the energy to start over and re-settle in another country. Another problem with E-3 visas is that it has to be renewed every two years and a holder of this visa may not apply for permanent residency in the US (unlike with H-1B).

Although it can be renewed indefinitely (in theory), there is no assurance that this visa will continue forever. If the E-3 visa gets discontinued, we will be forced to return to Australia. When that happens, we probably won’t have anything to return to since we will likely have sold everything we have here before we move to the US.

I’ll probably just stick with job 7 and see what happens with that. I believe they also offer relocation options and maybe I can just work for their US offices in the future if we really still want to move to the US eventually.

Published in: on July 18, 2007 at 7:52 am  Comments (6)  

Next-door Neighbour’s Up-coming Party

One night as we were getting out of our car, our next-door neighbour hurriedly approached us before we could close our garage door. We’ve seen her a few times before but our encounters were usually limited to hand-waving or casual exchange of greetings such as “good day” or “good evening” and so on. Not this time.

She basically just wanted to let us know that it was her 40th birthday and that she’ll be having guests on Saturday week. She warned us that it may get loud. We told her we don’t mind that at all and thanked her for giving us the heads-up. She also added that if we were available, she’s inviting us to come along to the party, too.

We didn’t really know anybody in our neighbourhood and I thought that this may be a good opportunity to get to know at least one of our neighbours. I want to go but I don’t know what the expectations are for guests in Australia. I mean, we don’t really know her that well and if we decide to go to the party, what do we bring along with us? A bottle of champagne? An actual gift? Should we only stay long enough to finish one glass of drink or should we stay for longer? Maybe it was just a courtesy on her part to ask us to come over but are we really expected to go at all?

I don’t know the answers so I’ll most likely consult my Aussie-born friends about the protocol involved in such a scenario.

Published in: on July 17, 2007 at 11:29 pm  Comments (2)  

8 random things about me

I was reading Alma’s blog last night and found out that we’ve been tagged. The meme involves spilling the beans about eight facts about yourself and here are the rules:

  • Each player must post these rules first.
  • Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
  • People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
  • At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
  • Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

So here’s mine:

  1. I love to sleep. If you ask me what my hobby is, top spot would go to sleeping. Hubby calls it wasted time but to me it’s perfect for relaxation and recharging. I believe the world would be a better place if everyone gets enough sleep every night.
  2. I like Indian food but it does not agree with me. I’d be happily having Indian food for lunch and be miserable for hours after with an upset stomach and reflux. I finally decided I’d rather skip the delicious curries along with the misery and just try other cuisines.
  3. I once entered and won an essay writing contest in high school. The prize was a copy of Roget’s thesaurus, which I absolutely loved.
  4. My family didn’t own a television for several years when I was growing up. Instead, I amused myself by reading old literature textbooks left behind by a previous tenant.
  5. Teachers once entered me into a science and maths contest. The contest was only open to senior students who weren’t in the honour roll so all the smart ones weren’t able to join. I thought it very odd to discriminate against anyone on the honours list but I wasn’t about to tell the teachers how silly and stupid that rule was. I showed up without any arguments and got first place in the science category and second on the maths.
  6. I don’t like hot tea. My maternal grandfather and my parents have been encouraging me to drink it since I was young but they haven’t succeeded so far.
  7. I always thought I’d be with someone older than me but hubby is 1.5 years younger than me. He assures me nobody could tell anyway.
  8. My dad is a heavy smoker and I’ve been a passive smoker for half my life. I’ve tried smoking, liked it and thought that there’s a very real chance of me getting hooked so I stopped after a few puffs. I can’t stand the smell of smoke now.

And now, I tag YOU! If you do decide to respond to this meme, please leave a comment so I know to read your responses.

Published in: on July 13, 2007 at 12:01 pm  Comments (3)  

Excuse me while I de-clutter my life

I know, I know! I’ve been missing from this blog for over a month that you’d be forgiven in thinking that I’ve disappeared off the face of the planet. What’s my excuse? The weather of course! It’s the middle of winter here in Australia and like most everyone else, I’m sort of hibernating. It’s so cold outside on most days that all I want to do is stay at home and keep warm.

However, that does not mean that I’ve been idle. Staying at home gave me the opportunity to have a good look at our home. Since moving in about 2 years ago, we haven’t really done up the place, we basically just moved our old stuff in and forgot all about it. We still had our old mis-matched furniture, the living room was a drab place and every room is really very messy and cluttered.

The first step was to sell off some of our old furniture on Ebay. I’ve managed to sell a rug, recliner, a set of tables, floor lamps, an old TV and even the lava lamp from hubby’s bachelor years! I won’t get rich with the money I got for them but at least I’ve made some space, got some lunch money with the stuff being carted away by happy buyers at no cost to me and I was also able to help the environment in the process (less landfill). Not a bad deal overall, if you ask me.

Next, I had to go through our old clothes. We’ve been keeping tired, frayed clothing in the hopes of re-purposing them but I realised we’ve been keeping a lot of them and not going through them fast enough. We also had some clothes that were still in good shape but just won’t fit anymore (and probably won’t ever again). Most of them went to the charity bin with some pieces put away for use as rugs or work clothes. With less clothes in forgotten boxes and closet corners, I was also able to reclaim some closet space. I’m still not done re-organising the closet and yet it’s already starting to look neater and things are now way easier to find. This exercise also made me realise how much weight I’ve put on! And I thought I was fat then! What should I call myself now?!? Maybe I should watch what I eat this winter as I usually get bigger during the winter and never really lose most of it when warmer weather comes around.

Now, a clean-up won’t be really complete if it does not involve some papers. Bills, magazines, newspapers and even promotional materials are strewn about in almost every corner of our house. To tame the paper monster, I bought several binders from Officeworks and tried categorising them and organising the bills. Owner manuals and instruction booklets were kept together in a box for easier access and to avoid the ever-frustrating search for them whenever the need for them arises. Old magazines, newspapers and promotional materials went straight to the recyclable bin. The study certainly looked a lot less cluttered when I was done and I was able to free up some space in the bookshelves as well.

Purging our house of such unnecessary things has been quite therapeutic. It’s good to have a set place for things and looking at (or even admiring) the neat shelves after I’ve gone through them. Maybe I’m a touch obsessive compulsive, no? Nonetheless, I still have quite a long way to go since I haven’t even gotten to the kitchen pantry and cupboards, linen closet, bedrooms and the garage (where all our junk currently lives). As you have probably guessed by now, I have my hands full till summer comes around again.

Published in: on July 12, 2007 at 12:33 am  Leave a Comment