November 2004
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I have put up some photos of the house that I would like to get for us to live in. It's at the top end of the budget, but it's 4 bedrooms, with 2 at each end of the house, so all of us would have space to retreat to, if necessary. And there's even an "escape" area at the top of the garden. It's in Isaacs, which is about the limit of how far I want us to commute - all of about 3 miles (5k) for me, about 10 miles (15k) for Stewart & about 5 miles (8k) into the city.

All we have to do now is to hang on to our marriage for the next 6 weeks & not let it self-destruct! In many ways, this is the hardest part of our time apart, so close to the end, but still have to wait it out. Both of us are getting a bit toey at times.

And the investment property in Mount Isa settled as well, with the vendors remaining in it to rent it from us until they get themselves sorted out. Really great to see that the investment strategy is working.

With only 5 weeks to go now, Julie & I are going through some good times & rough times. It's really hard to have a decent argument over international phone calls! But through it all, she keeps saying that she loves me & I keep believing it. Julie has survived a weekend at her place with her sister Janet, going through lots of "stuff". I believe a truckload went to the thrift shop after that. And her daughter April was there this weekend & is due back again in a week or two. So she's doing lots of sorting, which must be pretty hard.

We've been approved (puppy & all) for the house. It's all come in a bit quickly & caught Stewart by surprise. There are a few things he doesn't like about it, so I've held off signing the lease for a few days while he's gone out to see for himself if there is anything available right now that he would prefer to live in & we'll take it from there. Meanwhile, I've given notice on this place, which came home with a crunch when a "For Lease" sign went up outside.

With 4 weeks to go, Stewart & I have settled on a 4-bedroom house in Bruce, just on the edge of a quite large medium density development & right across the road from Canberra Uni. He will enjoy the 10 minute walk to Uni or he can even ride his bike. Photos on the link below. We move in on Thursday 2 December. The commute will take me 15-20 minutes instead of the current 10. Life's tough! Not quite so handy to the pubs & clubs in the city, but we had to make some compromises.

Meanwhile Stewart is at the end of his exams. So far, he has done better than either of us expected & expects to earn at least a credit in each of his units. He very proudly announced that he had received a high distinction for one of his essays. I have been quietly impressed at his regular refusals to go out with his mates when he has work to do.

Another piece of good news today, when I checked with Medicare. Julie is eligible for a Medicare card 2 weeks after she arrives in the country & then I can put her on my medical benefits membership as well.

Stewart went for his first serious job interview today, as a Parliamentary Messenger at Parliament House. The House particularly wants Uni students, so that they can work part time, fitting in their work time around their studies. He told me after the interview that they had shortlisted from 196 applicants to just 12 interviews, for 8 positions. I thought making the shortlist was a damn fine achievement in itself.

All of our "stuff" is finally coming together. The copies of our Marriage Certificate have come through from Las Vegas & Julie has used one of them to change her name with Social Security. Then she sent one off with her passport to get the name changed in that. Then she can send the passport off to the Australian Embassy in Washington DC to get the visa stuck in. Her job has been advertised, a replacement found & her car has been sold, to be finalised on the 17th. She has had the preliminary visit from the removalist representative & it looks like all of her stuff will go in just one van pack. And if anything doesn't fit in that, it ain't going. She has also made plans for when & where I will have to deliver the cats. We are flying out to Spokane on Friday 17th to spend our anniversary with Julie's twin sister Jan & her family, then we'll move into the Hawthorn Suites just across from Boeing at Kent. I managed to avoid the place when I was leaving the US last year, guess I still have to do my penance now. For the next few days, Julie can walk to work, while I work with the packers & movers on the 20th, clean the apartment, deliver the leftovers & visit people. We're outa there on the 23rd to her parents' place on Whidbey Island for Christmas, then we'll be cruising California for the next 10 days or so. Kinda like a honeymoon, I guess.

And we are currently renting the Mount Isa house back to the former owners, while they get themselves organised. It's nice to be able to deal directly with them, but when they do move on, it will go through the local agent.

There are 2 movies of Datsun the Dachshund, here and here. It's really amazing just how much of a "chick magnet" he is when I take him out, especially to an outdoor bar or restaurant. Girls especially want to come up & give him a pat. Footnote: It's OK as long as I keep my wedding ring on.

Oh, and by the way, Happy Holidays!

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