You would think that for the event I had been waiting my whole life for, save the birth of my daughter, I would be bounding out of bed, ready to go!
The truth is I just wanted to sleep. The process exhausted me. Getting ready to travel the world was gruelling and that’s putting it mildly. Seriously, if there was a snooze button, I wanted a robot there to hit it continuously for me.
But I could not wait. I had to get up. There was still a ton to do before we hit the road. We had our final inspection on our rental to prepare for. Oh, and packing “the essentials” into the car.
Yes, we were due to leave in 3 hours and the car was yet to be packed. So, there I was at 6am, loading the car in my nightie. My double D breasts, unencumbered, jiggling this way and that, loading bags and plastic tubs into the car. I’m sure I was giving our neighbour John an entertaining show if he was awake at that ungodly hour!
One thing Rich and I tend to do is leave the other alone if the other is designated to pack the car. We’re too controlling for our own good. It’s better for our sanity (and our marriage) to just leave the other alone. I don’t do as well as he does with this, but for this adventure, I wanted to load.
It seemed like a cruel puzzle game as I loaded, then unloaded the car, juggling to fit the pieces that seemed a perfect fit, only to be just a smidgen too big or small. Meanwhile, Rich kept bringing me more. Jeez, how much stuff are we keeping??? We have just so much space available in our Ford Kuga. But, we had to manage it if we were going to travel by car for 10 months. It would take a miracle.
After some lengthy consideration, a few deep breathing exercises, and a bit of luck, I got my miracle, or, as I like to call it, genius packing. The Thule Motion M that we bought a few weeks before to mount to the top of the car really saved the day. Up went the stuff we wouldn’t need immediately. We’re continually surprised at how much we can fit up there.
By 9.30 we were done. Rich was climbing the walls, nervous with anticipation about the upcoming inspection. I was biting at the bit just wanting to be done and GONE. We seriously needed coffee. We had somehow managed to get the morning accomplished without a caffeine hit.
Our relief at getting everything done was palpable. Despite how prepared we were, despite how many times I had run through the scenarios in my head, nothing could prepare me for how drained we felt, both physically and mentally.
So much had happened in two weeks. We got Natalie settled in University. We donated most of our furniture and stored everything that we had left. Throw in having to ensure the Treehouse was in a presentable condition when we vacated. Then, it was onto packing the car for our 10 month road trip. It was all a lot to deal with in two weeks.
We knew we could get our part done in time, but the added stress came from the things beyond our control. We were relying so heavily on others to come through, to make things happen. As I said before, we are both (a little) controlling, so it added enormously to our stress. Even in donating our furniture, we didn’t know who was coming or when they were coming or if they would even come at all until the day before. If the movers didn’t arrive, we had to go to Plan B to unload a bunch of a goods before our move out date. Plan B was worst case scenario, and tentative at best.
When it came to storing our sentimental bits and bobs, we had no real idea whether the storage unit would be big enough for what we did want to keep. When it was first delivered, it looked a lot smaller than we had envisioned. As it turned out, we only filled it to half its capacity. Phew!
By the day of the final inspection, we both seriously needed to chill a bit. Waiting until 10am for the property manager to arrive was doing our heads in. We’d never met the guy before and had no clue how the inspection would go. We knew the house was in good shape and our track record is good with property managers. A couple have hailed us as ‘perfect tenants’. It wasn’t enough to settle us though.
When the property manager finally arrived fifteen minutes late, he immediately asked if we had the house keys before taking a cursory look around. He then told us that he could not do the final inspection until Monday.
‘I’m sorry?’, I asked in confusion. Suddenly, I had visions of our travel plans going up in smoke.
“Oh, you don’t have to be here”, he explained.
“The cleaner is due to clean this afternoon. I can’t inspect until after the property is cleaned”, he said, “From what he can see so far it should be no problem. I’ll be in touch.”
Ah… okay? WTF? The house is immaculate without the cleaner coming in, but you won’t inspect it until we’re gone so you can nit-pick your way through…Ok, got it.
By 10.20, we handed over keys and got gently pushed out the door from Sunny Westleigh. At this point, we didn’t know when/if we were getting our full bond back. Ray White was holding our overpayment of ~$3500 hostage until we paid the final water bill (which our ‘trusty’ Property Manager would be meter reading that very day.)
Talk about an anti-climax! We expected more finality to end the lease. We’d inspect the property together. We’d compare damage reports. We’d sign documents saying we agree that the house is in great shape and you’ll get all your money back in X days. Thanks very much, hope to see you again. Instead, we were hurried out with a curt nod and a promise that it would all work out. We’re just hoping Ray White will come through.
So, we took a quick selfie, got in the car, and waved goodbye to The Treehouse as we headed south to Canberra.
Once we got out of Sydney traffic, the windows came down, the music cranked up, and tentative smiles lit up our faces. It will all work out for the best, we told ourselves.
We were beginning our adventure – finally. Well, once we had some serious sleep under our belts