Hello Perth (aka finding a place to stay).

Right. So I’ve gone and done the whole Magic Monkey thing of journeying to the West. What do I do next? I look for a place to stay of course!  Months prior to coming here, HRH and I had already begun surveying the rental market. We knew that we’d be paying an arm and a leg, competing with students of nearby University of Western Australia for a place to stay near enough to HRH’s new workplace. We’d set ourselves a budget, bearing in mind we’d need money for food, furniture and to service our existing mortgages because last I checked, I didn’t have a spare organ to sell.

But browsing the for-rent pages of Perth over the internet is very different to actually being here in person yourself. For one, some, not all, real estate agents will get back to you on your voice-message enquiry about listed properties. Don’t even think about emailing them because as I’ve discovered, email is so last century; no one checks their email anymore. Or if they do, no one responds. You have to be here in Perth, in person, to hound them!

But don’t hound them too much. That’s what I did when I applied for my first property here: I called every hour on the hour because I was DESPERATE to have a lease in order to enrol Amanda into school. I don’t know about elsewhere but schools in Perth’s affluent Western Suburbs only take children in their predetermined Local Intake Area (LIA). So if your place falls outside the boundaries of the LIA, they might take your child on a case-by-case basis but be warned: if enrolments go above the school’s desired number of students, your child will be asked to leave!

When HRH was told this, he said, “That’s fine. If we ever move out of the area, we’d be going back to Brisbane anyway.”

After we failed to get the first property we applied for – a 6 year old minimalist shoebox zoned to a school where my child might get put into a class with students a grade down from her, a split class, as the school has inadequate students for that year to form another class – I decided to go for a much older property in another Western Suburb. I figured mother’s maxim of “old man’s honey and young man’s slave” must also apply to real estate so I applied for a property that looked like a dog’s breakfast in photos. Frankly, it was my third, if not fourth choice.

However, I’m pleased to tell you it was the right choice because for a start, my realtor is approachable and easy-going, instead of one of those manicured, stilettoed and power-suit wearing people who get pissed off just because you haven’t given them a full 24 hours to check with the owner of the property – as though you need a full 24 hours when presented with applicants as good as us: mature, employed, non- smoking, home-owners. This other area I’ve ended up renting in also has significantly more amenities than the first one so the rejection turned  out be a blessing in disguise.

We spent the first 3 days of moving into our new home for the year, getting a DIY degree from IKEA, putting together our sofa, table and 5 dining chairs. I called Telstra on the fourth day to connect our home phone and broadband since we still have an account with them. They gave me a 3-week waiting period for the home phone and a 4-week waiting period for the broadband. When HRH called to ask them if they can speed up either, Telstra said they can’t, not even by a couple of days.

So it’s back to the middle ages for us, with no home phone, no broadband (I’m using the facilities of a cyber cafe), no fridge, no washing machine, no TV…The upside of this is that Amanda’s been doing 6 to 7 pages of the Naplan workbook we bought her for her birthday, daily, instead of dumbing down herself with television like she used to after school in Brisbane. I’ve been reading pages from the Weekend Australian to her, stories meant for a learned audience, about change in the world, coming Australian state and general elections, the odd recipe about vine-ripened tomatoes. We’ve been bonding – the only way a parent and child can – through old-fashioned conversation. I’d say the whole experience of going without technology, due to circumstance in our new home of Perth, has been good, but for having to save 16 $1 coins for the Laundrobar across the street.That gets partially fixed today with the delivery of our new fridge and washing machine from www.appliancesonline.com.au after lunch today. Which reminds me, I really must be home to open the door for the delivery man. Until next time…