Saturday, December 18, 2010

Breen Acres Kiwi Style

oy... i know.

No excuses just straight to the goods and a wee apology for those that have been patient.

Let's start with some general topics today. As most of you know we have moved (yes again!) out to the country. It became apparent that our trailer/tin can was not the "Home Sweet Home" that we all longed for. It did have it's pluses - the liquor store a quick jog up the 90 degree half Km driveway and lovely view of the jungle and thru that the sea. But shivering our way thru another wet winter and finding space for all of us, especially Thabo, was frustrating. I gladly waved goodbye to the bugs and the camper kitchen grabbed all our gear and retired to our country home because really.. after all the painting and papering I never really wanted to do THAT all over again... and yet....

Funny story about the new house. While Chris was originally in NZ scouting out prospects of gainful employment i too spent evenings in front of the MAC looking at properties in vague locations. This particular house was on the market back then. I had no idea WHERE Titirangi was ( Titty-rang-ee, Say it twice because it makes me giggle) But the gardens and pool certainly caught my attention. I cannot recall one thing in the interior pictures that they took but the last one in their slide show showing the house done up in all things Christmas certainly made me laugh. Maybe it was the giant decorated palm tree, or Santa and his deer on the roof? I'm thinking it was the 8 inflatables artfully arranged as a Wal Mart yard sale that made me giggle and move along. It wasn't until Chris took us to our private viewing and cresting the gentle hill and seeing the house ablaze in the evening that my memory was jogged and i screamed at himself "I have SEEN this house!!! It's the CHRISTMAS house. Good LORD! it's still on the market, There is no WAY we are buying this place -something is wrong with it.

As it turns out nothing was actually wrong with it per se. The owners had taken it off the market for a year while he sorted out his business and was looking to retire to Australia... good news. Better news was the market was at the bottom so we kinda got the bargain basement price of an otherwise "executive type" house - complete with rental suite. Now i have to say, going into the circular drive was pretty stunning. The pool was all tricked out in party lights and such... i could actually hear the humming of the electrical meter I'm sure. We were greeted at the double doors by a rather modest English couple (at first i thought butler but shoved that aside.) Really, this place was unlike ANYTHING that i had seen in all of Auckland with all of our open house slogging. Much much too showy for the average Kiwi if you know what i mean. Well maybe you don't. Kiwi's are a modest breed of folk and their dwellings generally reflect this whether you are in the $500K or 1.5 Mil mark. The difference between the two is usually a forth bedroom and perhaps a full size fridge.

Anywho, I think the first obvious difference between this house and the usual ones was the lovely er, artwork about. The main entrance done in black marble and 5 inch baseboards -which is nice BUT the thing um, statues of a family in repose going up the main stair was a bit off putting truth be told. I counted 4 bodies going up the wall and peeked in the corners searching out cherubs and such. It was hard not to look Himself in the eye as we navigated past 3 dimensional breasts on the stairs. The entire second floor had a much more modest design with the exception of the crystal chandeliers. It was then reported by the owner that the original couple that built this house ran out of money and so they finished it. (I am ever so thankful of this). The bedrooms were all generous and we had the addition of a spare room. The main floor was obviously where all the money went into er, decorating. The formal living-room/ dinning and the family rooms all had the "wonderful" crown moulding and scroll work going across the ceilings as well as more crystal lighting and medallions. I am mentally taking a pick axe to this as we walk thru. Further to that the current owners were firmly entrenched in the 80's and so their taste in pastel watercolor drapes and fab mod furniture added to the house's exotic look. Interestingly enough, they had also recently decided to update the kitchen with granite tops and a built in bar (complete with kegger holder and taps) instead of the traditional table and chairs one *might* find in an eating area. Clearly these ppl had done some serious partying in their day. It was also mentioned about some sort of swim up bar in the pool... Ronin will love that i thought. So basically it looked like the house was done by many people with many different ideas of what a home should look like with importance played to a stainless bar fridge cabinet and bar but the half bath was left in the 50s -early jail cell complete with wire cage around the bulb in the ceiling. We left and had drinkies to discuss this new idea of moving out to the country. I tell you what sold me on this place and it wasn't the grand exterior or the mod fab kitchen... nor the boobies. Nope, it was a simple idea that Himself would have his own closet. I know that sounds trivial when making a big money decision but frankly sharing with him for the past 8 months in limited space was unadulterated pure hell. The idea that 60% of my wardrobe was left in a tin can garages in damp boxes at any given time was enough to spurn me into action.

Moving day was pretty normal, that being Himself was AWOL and left me to run the show with kids and movers scurrying about. It took on giant moving van and 3 trips with the smaller van to load and cart our stuff from place to place. I had to kennel the dogs and for two nights we put ourselves up in a hotel in order to begin the process of sorting ourselves out -again.

The house itself is a bit of a local celebrity. Didn't know this really until i went and registered the Boy at the local school. I gave them our address and the secretaries all looked up and one proclaimed "Oh! you bought THAT house". There was sizing of myself up after that wondering what bank i maybe robbed to be sure.... i was almost compelled to tell them that it was a smoking deal we got on it but i held my tongue. Apparently the house is also known as the CHRISTMAS house -which would delight me to no end would i have been back home where lights and such are so common and amazing. Here a string of lights will run you about $36 (plain Jane model) and inflatables are hundreds of dollars... so now i can see while the Kiwi's looked at awe at this place and it's "holiday wonder". Sadly these were all smartly packed up and shipped to Australia with the previous owners - 20 Ft metal palm tree included. Equally embarrassing is the number of drive bys we get at night right now from long time locals coming to enjoy the houses' splendor... perhaps i should move the Christmas tree closer to the window?

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