Going without for a few days

17 02 2007

Well, the big move is nearly here. One more full day in our house, two more sleeps… And still there’s packing to do… not so much to go now, but it’s relentless!

Tomorrow (Sunday) we get disconnected from our broadband plan sometime during the day, so I won’t have access to this blog, the internet, or email. Hopefully I’ll cope… The PC Guru guy is scheduled to come at 8am Monday morning to pick up the ‘puter equipment and take it to their offices where they’ll do full backups etc. Then he is scheduled to drive to Bridgetown on Wednesday to install all the equipment and set up the office with the new broadband connection. That’s the plan! Let’s hope it all works according to plan…

Bank stuff-up

16 02 2007

I took yesterday and today off work to finalise the packing in preparation for the move down south on Monday. Settlement is booked in for Tuesday. So you could say the pressure’s on!

Way back in December I spoke to our mortgage broker about security for the other loans we have now that the main asset is being sold. I knew the bank would want their pound of flesh, either in repayment of some of these loans, or the Title for them – they won’t leave loans floating out there without security against an asset. He checked with the bank (Westpac in case you’re interested) and was told at least twice that all was fine. And he informed me of that. Meantime, Settlement was booked by the bank, which was even more ‘evidence’ that everything was OK at the bank’s end.

So you can imagine my surprise, anger, and panic when we got a phone call on Wednesday evening, telling us that Settlement may be delayed because those looking at these things in the bank’s Mortgage Processing Centre realised that we’d have unsecured loans. Well, hello!!! As I told this guy, we’d confirmed all this with the broker way back when and all was meant to be OK. I listed the other properties we own with approximate values, and gave him the contact details for our mortgage broker. Then I sent off a very quick email to the broker, and we went out to dinner, arriving late because of this call. (Like, who calls someone at 6:30pm on Valentine’s Day evening????)

Anyhow, we forgot about the call during dinner with our very long term friends as we were talking about the move and life from here on in, reminiscing about old times, and saying our goodbye’s for now.

Yesterday (Thursday) we’re beetling around doing some last minute stuff in between packing, and we get a phone call from the boss guy at the Mortgage Processing Centre. To cut a long story short, for Settlement to occur on Tuesday and not be delayed, we have to put a (very big) sum of money into a Term Deposit with them for up to 2 weeks while they get valuations done on the other properties and get Title to them. (BTW, the bank has known the date of Settlement since December, but chose to call us 5 days before!)

This means that the lump sum we intended putting into my husband’s Superannuation scheme will be split in two – half on Settlement, the other half into this Term Deposit with it being available after some 2 weeks (yeah – try a month!). Oh, and the bank said we’d get the interest on this deposit – how kind of them – but we’d have to pay $165 each for the valuations on the other three properties. They screw you every which way…

That’s the upshot. But it took 4 hours to sort out yesterday! 27-page faxes going to and from, numerous long distance phone calls, a trip to the bank to get the documents witnessed, faxed, and the originals sent to the Mortage Processing Centre in Adelaide. Phone calls to and from the mortgage broker, contacting the Settlement Agent to get a revised Disbursement of Funds Authority. And of course the old thermal fax machine ran out of paper in the middle of this, so I had to go find another roll in the boxes stacked in the garage… (don’t ask…)

We sure didn’t need this! We’re furious at the bank’s incompetence; the mortgage broker is furious at both that and the information he took on faith; his contact at the bank reckons the MPC people are a mob of d***heads. Not that that changes anything. The reality is that the bank needs security – I understand that, which is why I queried it back in December and why my mortgage broker followed it up. But for them to drop this on us a few days before Settlement just reeks of gross incompetence and lack of ‘ownership’ of the case by the bank. All these valuations etc. could have been done in January and we wouldn’t be in this situation.

Bloody banks (which is not what I said, but I think you get the picture)! Today’s the last business day before we move, so here’s hoping everything is sorted now.

Great blog post

12 02 2007

One of the blogs I read is Pamela Slim’s excellent “Escape from Cubicle Nation“. Her posts are invariably insightful and offer some great tips. But the one from Jan 24, 2007 was exceptionally good, in my opinion: “How not to be a cultural knucklehead in a global business world“.

As an Australian who lived in Canada for a year, who has travelled to the US more times than I can think of right now, who has travelled to other places such as Sri Lanka, Nepal, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Philippines, Fiji, Tahiti, New Zealand, England and Wales, I related closely to her post and many of the follow-up comments.

Whenever I have presented at conferences in the US, I am very aware that colloquialisms and idioms that are part of my everyday language do not necessarily translate very well. Likewise, I have to slow my speech down a little to compensate for the ‘accent’. Just look for the glazed looks… they’re a sure indicator that you’re either boring, talking too fast, or using expressions that your audience doesn’t understand or relate to.

In the comments on Pamela’s post there were several about the confusion between distinguishing Americans (those from the US – that term was discussed too!) and Canadians. It’s no different to those in other countries confusing Australians and New Zealanders, even in some cases confusing the Australians with those from the UK or South Africa!

And I always find it amusing that those in the US think I have an ‘accent’, yet don’t believe that they do.

One thing though, that does irk me, is this propensity for US sport to have “World” competitions, yet no-one else in the world ever plays… just the US teams. It’s as though that’s the only ‘world’.

Anyhow, spend 5-10 minutes reading and digesting Pamela’s article. You may not agree with everything she says, but she does highlight areas where communication can go terribly wrong.

Apologies for the sparseness of the posts

2 02 2007

Lots of stuff going on on a daily basis which is why I’ve hardly posted for a while…

The ‘stuff’ includes packing/purging, organising the move (how many places do you have to change your address? HEAPS! and they all have different rules. Except for the privacy issue, it’d be nice if you could just change them all in one place and be done.)

Then there’s the stuff happening at the ‘interim’ house we’ll be living in. The tenant moved out last weekend – so far, the electrician has been in and installed extra power outlets (more still to come), the painter (with my husband as his TA) is still going and will be for a few more days yet, the plumber has checked all the taps and hot water system and gas connections, the air conditioning guy has measured up the place where the a/c will go, the guy to install the extra TV and telephone outlets has been, the phone guy came, other trades etc. have all passed through, the garden crew have done a HUGE cleanup of the garden and back yard. Next week the plasterer comes, then sometime soon the security fly screens and doors go on, the new hot water system goes in (you guessed it – the old one has carked it!), the a/c gets installed, etc. etc. And in a few weeks the painter comes back to paint the plastered walls…

And it’s hot. At least I’m at work today where it’s air conditioned – but the guys are doing lots of physical work down there with no fans, no a/c, and it’s well over 36C, and expected to be more tomorrow.

Meantime, I’ve been in Perth working, packing more boxes, dealing with the computer guy who seems to have fixed my computer issues (I hope!), trying to sort my internet connection (that’s been the most difficult so far), trying to get changes of address done etc. I haven’t had dinner the past two nights as I’ve been busy dealing with other people -like the computer guy who turned up at 7:30pm just when I was about to cook dinner, and didn’t finish until after 10:30. Too late to eat then.

Tonight I’m going out to dinner with a girlfriend. I’ll take a break and drink large fishbowl margaritas with her at a Mexican restaurant in Freo (Fremantle). Tomorrow’s going to be another scorcher (40C+) and I’ll be in and out of the garage hauling boxes…. so a brief respite will be nice.

So that’s why I’ve been a bit quiet lately! Don’t expect too many more posts in the next couple of weeks until we’ve moved and settled in to the ‘interim’ house. (I’m gonna have to give that place a name – anyone got any bright ideas???)