There’s a school of wisdom that says you shouldn’t change more than one thing at once.
Why? If you do and something gets destroyed, you can’t be sure which change caused the failure. Since I’m more into positivity than dire gloom, I rephrase this as, If something turns amazing, you’re not quite sure which thing brought the sunlight in.
I think around July 2015, we were advised our home was being acquired under compulsory acquisition provision within the Public Works Act by the Greater Wellington Regional Council. I posted on Facebook about it in early August, but since Internet stalkers probably can’t read it, here’s what I said:
The Kitney and I have got a few emails on this over the past couple o’ days. The short version is that yes, this does effect us – our home is one of the ones slated to be rolled, bowled, and assholed.
The Council, despite what you’ve read in the papers, has been quite good – we had a visit from two of their people at our place, to talk over what this means and what the timelines are likely to be. We’ve got some good data from that, and we’re working through it – the hard bit, as you can imagine, is that we’d decided to make a home here and have been chipping away at making our house, well, *ours* over the last five or so years. This turns that on its head and it’s quite the shock to try and disconnect yourself from the place you’ve put so much mental energy into.
We’re pretty lucky though, all things considered. Our neighbours to one side have only just moved in about six months ago, and have completely redone their home, including landscaping. On the other side, the retired couple remortgaged to put a new roof and paint their place. One down from them, a man has just redone two homes he owns – one his, one investment – including a $50k driveway around both. I can imagine that for these people, there’s a risk they won’t see back the investments they’ve made in properties from market valuation.
The funny thing is that despite all this, the people on the street know why this is being done. We’re not saying the Council is wrong in what it’s trying to do, it’s understandable, but the personal cost is high for a small group of people. I guess the trick here is that while our personal cost might be high, if we get a 100-year flood people will die, and if we get a 400-year flood, more people will die, and there’s a fuckload of personal cost for people wrapped up in that.
Anyway. It is what it is. We don’t have a lot more data than what you’ve seen on Stuff. If you’re interested, this article http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/hutt-valley/70684441/hutt-river-stopbank-will-require-council-to-buy-up-75-properties is fairly accurate. We’re looking at the positive side of this – that it might let us get a new home somewhere closer to town, for example – rather than the negatives of the impact. We won’t know an answer for sure until the September / December timeframe, and rest assured that when we know, so will you 🙂
It’s a narly situation, because the GWRC visited our home, said, “Hey, BTW, this sucks but it’s happening,” and then didn’t submit the formal we-require-your-home thing. What followed the initial visit was (count it out) almost three years of this hanging above us. We put it to them: without issuing formal notice, we’re stuck. We couldn’t sell the house and move on, because no one would buy a home with the announcement made. We couldn’t plan for a future in the current one, because at a nebulous time determined by the fates (and middle management of GWRC) it would be acquired.
After they agreed to purchase prior to the formal issue of notice, a law change was proposed to bring about better compensation for effected people. This is good news, because the old solatium was $2,000, which is insulting considering the time, effort, and agony of moving. We waited on that to come through. Thus, some of the three years is technically on us, but the compensation change was significant. But, sweet mercy: you’re not dealing with GWRC for a law change, but central government. Those motherfuckers have a process. Once the change came into effect, we (and eleventy billion others on our street) sold to GWRC (December 2017). Rae and I have been hunting for a new place since. It’s not a great property market to buy in. It’s hard for most people to buy a home based on LVR requirements and the average income. Some people have had it far worse. And the rental market is a nightmare.
Despite the dire gloom, we moved into the new casa on Tuesday. It’s been a bittersweet affair. Rae and I made a life together in the old place. It was the first home we had together. We’ve had cats and dogs. Fruit trees. A gin garden for the sun. BBQs with friends. But, the new one is a decent upgrade. Privacy. Views. Lush, wooded surrounds. And, it’s about 35% larger, which is crazy but there you have it. We need to use Find My Friends to see which part of the house each of us is hiding in. We’ll continue building our live together, and if we give the address to our friends, there will be more BBQs in the sun. And more gin.
The curious thing about being a writer is the space you write in. This is the setup that brought you Night’s Favor, Night’s Fall, Night’s End, Upgrade, Tyche’s Flight, Tyche’s Deceit, Tyche’s Crown, Consensus, Tyche’s First, Tyche’s Chosen, Tyche’s Hope, Tyche’s Fury, Tyche’s Grace, The Chadd, and (whew!) Tyche’s Demons.
I took the snap in a rush the day before we moved. The room is tiny, barely a single bedroom. It’s big enough for a writer’s desk, but it doesn’t get a lot of light, or a view, and looks out onto the neighbor’s yard (this isn’t cool times; they have a toddler, and the ones before them were avid basket ballers). Despite all of that it brought you (I hope!) some amazing reads.
The new writing room looks like this (excuse the mess, I’m still unpacking):
Here’s the same desk:
The office is hyooooge. It’s as big as our old master bedroom (the new master bedroom is the size of the Millennium Falcon). I’ve managed to crank out 10,000 words in two days at the new place, and I have to say: it’s blissful. You can’t hear anyone. There’s all-day natural light. A magnificent view. All in all, I hope this will bring you to Tyche’s Ghosts faster, and at a higher quality.
Wish me luck.