And so begins 2011… in fear

I don’t often write about personal stuff. Not truly personal stuff. But as the year clocks over into 2011 I am thoroughly, deeply, personally stressed and afraid. And I’m not handling it very well.

I have to find a new home in the next four weeks.

At the end of November the property manager did that thing they’re allowed to do in New South Wales: cancel a continuing lease with no stated reason giving just 60 days notice. In this case I think it’s just so they can bump up the rent more than they could get away with through an incremental increase on our continuing lease.

There’s a distinct shortage of affordable rental property in Sydney, and the timing is lousy. Freelancers like me don’t earn any money across the holidays, so January is the worst time of the year to need extra money — and before you ask, no, I don’t have any cash reserves or any available credit. Long story, but the short version is that I’m actually quite poor.

So there’s a very real risk that I won’t be able to find anything appropriate for me and the cats. Or, more importantly, I won’t have the cashflow to do anything about it in the first place.

And that means, potentially, some really dreadful temporary accommodation that I hate, with the cats in boarding and my stuff in storage and a fairly swift descent into depression. I’ve been there before and it’s not pleasant.

I’m going to see if I can move the date back another four weeks, which should create time for the January income to arrive. If not, well, I’m screwed.

If you happen to know someone in Sydney with a suitable property, do let me know. I’m hoping to stay in Sydney’s inner west, and ideally in Enmore or an adjacent suburb.

And no, I don’t think I should be sharing house with anyone. I’m not sure that I’m a particularly good person to live with.

There’s other things on my mind too. I’ve decided that my working life is spread across too many different kinds of things at the moment, and I need to simplify. And I’ve only really just started to get used to ’Pong not being here, given that he departed for Bangkok only last month even though we actually broke up a year ago. But I’ll get to them in further posts.

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13 comments

  1. 'Pong’s avatar

    After those years living under the same roof, I can be able to reassure that you will seek the way to overcome the fear about the uncertain future. You have done it and got through tough times. Looking at back when I left Sydney, I am pretty sure you have more choices in life than the very first time we met.

    Please, fear not and may this change bring you a greater deal in your life.

  2. Catherine White’s avatar

    I’m sorry to hear of your present dilemma, and deeply moved by the personal disclosure.

    You can be sure I will keep my eye and ears open for prospective digs.

  3. Stilgherrian’s avatar

    @’Pong and @Catherine White: Thank you. I’m sure that a solution will be found. It’s really that it’s happening at a very inconvenient time. That said, I’ve just been shown how to extend the 60 days. And there are serviced apartments to cover the gaps — although that does mean putting the cats in storage and my books into boarding. Or vice versa, probably.

  4. Mark’s avatar

    Stil –

    Having been through something like this (though in my case, the landlord up and sold out from under me) I hear and am very sympathetic to your pain.

    You *will* go through the five stages of grieving.

    Best thing to do is get out there with domain.com.au and start looking at listings. Now. Make it a game. Fantasize about it. Start looking at new places ASAP. To more empowered you feel, the less likely you are to fall into any depressive spirals.

  5. Stilgherrian’s avatar

    @Mark: Oh I’m not so worried about leaving this house. Indeed, I suspect that the gloomy office, requiring artificial light even in mid-summer, is a contributing factor to depression. I will be happy to find somewhere better. And I’ve already seen some possibilities — or places that would have been possibilities if they’d not been available too early. The real issue is about cashflows. Moving of course means having extra rent and a bond up front, the cost of removalists, the drop in billable hours due to disruption… and cashflow have I none. We shall see how it unfolds…

  6. Bob Bain’s avatar

    When I arrived in Sydney in February 1970 I stayed for one week at the Orana Migrant Hostel in Dulwich Hill (http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/8749921) which – from what I can see – is now a backpackers hostel ( http://www.hotfrog.com.au/Companies/Orana-Lodge )

    407 Marrickville Rd, Dulwich Hill, NSW 2203
    Inner West
    p: (02) 95500054

    If you need a place to go while seeking more permanent accomodation it might be the ticket. After Dulwich Hill I moved to SummerHill which as you may or may not know is home for some of the most interesting gnomes in Australia

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/encyclopediabotanica/3019226182/

    I realise at the moment you are facing the prospect of needing a ‘gnome ! 🙂

    I have just returned from Katoomba where I spent Christmas Day and New Year’s eve with a painter friend who (when I met him) was homeless and without a cent to his name.

    We celebrated the New Year with champagne and gourmet food ! In 2008 he was trudging around the Penrith Community Kitchen. If things get really bad there’s always the Matthew Talbot (Hostel). On my last trip to Katoomba I was invited in to have tea and biscuits with a person who venerates Matthew Talbot. I still have the medallion he gave me.

    Good luck !

    Bob

  7. Stilgherrian’s avatar

    To the person who just posted a lengthy comment, please be aware that I do not publish comments without a valid email address.

    I also think you’re reading way too much desperation, for want of a better word, into what I’ve written here. Also, I have actually moved house once or twice before in my life…

    @Bob Bain: There’s a truly terrible pun in there. Truly terrible. But you’re forgiven.

  8. Stilgherrian’s avatar

    Well, the owner has refused to agree to an extension. “She wants to take over ASAP,” says the property manager.

    Upon reflection, some of Sunday’s conversation on Twitter went a bit wide of the mark in terms of what my main concerns are. I will try to find the time tonight to clarify all that. For now, I need to concentrate on business-hours matters.

    Also, I’d like to repeat my sincere thanks to the many people who made suggestions or offered help — too many to respond to individually without making my Twitter stream look like an awards acceptance speech.

  9. facespacetwit’s avatar

    Unfortunately, no sage words. No Sydney connections of help. Effectively useless, I guess.
    Just that being where you are sucks – and I hope thinks pan out without too much more angst.

  10. Sydney Wired’s avatar

    I have a method for househunting which uses an RSS reader to display updates in search listings from Domain.com.au for different parameters. For instance, I have a list which shows me rentals in Newtown between $250 – $350 a week sorted by latest listing at the top, another for Balmain, Glebe, and Annandale for the same price range, etc. I have about 6 lists covering Balmain, Rozelle, Inner City, Inner West, Alexandria, Marrickville, Ashfield, and Drummoyne/Five Dock areas for various price ranges.

    As soon as any listing is added, or updated, my RSS reader displays the update in an easy-to-read manner and I can quickly open the links, add to shortlists, and add inspection times to my calendar.

    If any listings look really good, I’ll download an application form from the Real Estate agent’s website and fill it out in advance, then prepare any further info (ID, proof of rent) that might be needed. This gets signed and given to the RE agent on the spot at the inspection if I want the place.

    Everyone’s got their methods. I thought I’d share mine for what it’s worth.

    Best wishes.

  11. Stilgherrian’s avatar

    @Sydney Wired: There’s some good tips there, thank you. I like the use of several focussed RSS feeds, and having the application forms pre-done sounds an excellent tactic.

  12. Tony Hollingsworth’s avatar

    Oh Stil my thoughts are with you again! I don’t have any practical suggestions but again, if you want to talk, I am there. Give me a hoy some time.

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