I'm back from my Tasmanian holiday; Three days of relaxation and exploring the sites around our investment property.
Seeing wifey after nearly a month was great. It's been the longest break from each other we've had for a long time.
This is the first time I've seen the investment property (I bought it on a whim, after seeing pictures online and briefly driving past the house), I bought it with tenants already in it, and their rent was covering mortgage, land tax, council rates, etc...
I knew it was a bit of a shithole, so I've been spending ALL the rent money on fixing up the place, replacing doors, windows, new water heater and so on.
I think most people would refer to this investment as a nightmare. After falling behind on their rent, I finally kicked them out.
According to our neighbours, tenants moved out a while ago and the house was empty for about a month, though they would lock their four dogs in the garage, or under the house or in the house for days on end, so you can imagine the stench (or maybe you can't). Most of the repairs that I've done to the house are null and void, security doors that I got installed were in the backyard somewhere, most internal doors were missing, some where kicked in, cracked door frames and all.
Windows that were replaced were broken. House was a total mess.
Wifey and her dad went over there about a month ago and did all the cleaning up (I was back here earning $$ for all the upcoming fix ups). Firstly, they ordered a 12 cubic meter bin, which wasn't enough for all the crap that the tenants left.
So I show up after a month, once all the hard work has been done, house is looking pretty good, still a lot to do, and it still smells like dog (but at least not like dogshit, unlike the garage).
The block is sloping and is about 1700m², it's got about 3 retaining walls and the rest of it is quite steep, which makes for an awesome view from the house, and a treacherous jungle at the back of the property (both a big plus for this wild creature and his wifey). I've spent the first day waist deep in blackberries and creepers, trying to expose the stone retaining walls. I only had gloves, a log splitter and secateurs, so I was somewhat limited with what I could do with a garden.
We went to a crafts market on the second day and nothing productive was done.
Third day was spent in the back yard again, I spent most of yesterday trying to clean up the back of the property, mostly picking up bigger branches off the ground and lugging them uphill to a more accessible spot/pile. This was much harder than expected, every branch was a 20meter 'walk' up a 30° incline with slippery rocks covered in grass.
The back fence is not much of a fence, there are gaps where it's been burned, some are replaced with corrugated iron, or sticks, or flattened 44 gallon drums, a full on hillbilly fence, that has "GO BACK" written on some of the flatter sections.
There's a block of flats/units over this back fence, and as I'm lugging all these branches around, I hear a lady say "look, someone's finally cleaning up that place" to a bloke that's within talking distance to me. I drop whatever I'm carrying and climb down further for a chat.
As it turned out, our tenants were ice dealers, the mother was commonly referred to as "The Ice Queen", both sons were in and out of jail and EVERYONE hated them. As soon as wifey showed up, she had neighbours lining up to say thank you.
He also informed me of what's been going on and I gave him my little story, he put his hands together like in a prayer, bowed and said "Thank you, thank you".
It turned out that the dodgy fence was built by this friendly neighbour, it wasn't there to keep people out as I assumed, but to keep our tenants IN. Apparently they'd climb down and do drugs and drug deals at the carpark that's below the back fence. The friendly neighbour was back 2 minutes later offering to lend me his chainsaw. I was pretty wrecked by this stage, but couldn't help but accept, both due to necessity and manners, I spent the next two hours climbing up and down that 'cliff' cutting down semi felled trees (the dead kind that are stuck on another tree, or on/through a neighbour's fence). I collected and piled up most of the logs and branches and was once again in a semi-catatonic exhaustion state. I gave him a six pack of beers, but he would only accept one, so I had a beer with him and he gave me some more insights into the area, and also noted a few times how good of a block this property is and that he's so happy someone's finally going to look after it.
I managed to get up to the back of the house and spent the next hour or two watching wifey do some pruning, while munching on pickled onions and beer.
I haven't been so physically exhausted in a while, the kind where you can hardly move and could just close your eyes and collapse anywhere, it was nice being so productive.
Wifey went into the house to have a shower, I took a chair and put it on the edge of our verandah/balcony/carport and just sat there looking at the view. It really is beautiful. House next to us has the view of the city, lots of pretty lights at night. I prefer our view, a green hill and a forest (with some houses below). As I sat there, it felt like this is exactly what I've always needed. A crappy house that needs fixing up, a big block of land that's way too much trouble and a naked wifey in the shower.
As I was chopping wood and carrying it back to the house, I realised that even though I've been working in an office almost all of my adult life, I still feel much more at home wielding a hammer/axe/machete/chainsaw.
In my later years, I started questioning myself and sometimes wondered whether my dreams of the "simple life" were just some sort of an idealistic idea, they're not.
I love this shit, I love waking up at 6, with the sun and spending 12 hours working in the garden, then passing out from exhaustion.
Now, if only I didn't have to work.