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Andrew Pollock


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Thursday, 04 April 2013

Day #4 of repatriation -- delivery central

Today was spent at my apartment with Zoe. Harvey Norman were scheduled to deliver the fridge, washing machine and TV. Someone from Telstra was scheduled to come out and monkey with the MDF to get the naked ADSL happening, and my desk was scheduled to be delivered.

My parents drove us over in the morning, with some of our suitcases. Zoe was very happy with her new room and bed.

I was going to get a 1 hour advance warning of Harvey Norman coming, so we all went for a little walk around the neighbourhood to explore. It turns out there's a convenience store right next door, which is, well extremely convenient. I won't need to even hop in the car to get last minute bread or milk or anything like that. Very happy about that. There's also a really gorgeous little boutique deli/gourmet grocery that is easily within walking distance. The neighbourhood is indeed very nice.

Mid-morning, Brent dropped around with his daughter to say hi. Zoe had a good time playing with her as well, and we went out for lunch at the Hawthorne Garage. At the end of lunch, Harvey Norman called to say they'd be an hour away, which was well timed.

Zoe declined to nap again, so we just hung out waiting for the delivery. In the middle of them delivering, the desk delivery happened as well, and then as Brent was leaving, the Telstra guy turned up, so it all happened at once.

I set up the TV and DVD player and Zoe happily christened it all by watching some Play School DVDs, and then my Dad came back and picked us up.

So the apartment is now almost habitable. I just need my bed. That's scheduled for Saturday. I'm planning on sleeping there on Saturday night.

In the furniture department, I'm still lacking a sofa, a dining table and something to put the TV on. Leah has volunteered to help me shop tomorrow, but I'm starting to think I should focus on resolving the lack of a car, then I can do any further shopping myself.

Nick had set me up with a car wholesaler who was going to search for a used Subaru Forester for me, but so far he hasn't turned anything up, so I'm thinking I need to widen my net a little and use some other avenues as well. I'd really wanted for the car finding to be outsourced as much as possible so I could focus on other things, but it's not looking like that's going to be the case, and I really need mobility.

I got a notification from Internode after I'd left today that the Internet should now be working, so I need to configure the ADSL router when I next get a chance and confirm that's the case, then I'm all sorted for being technologically able to work from home.

[04:50] [life/repatexpat] [permalink]

Day #3 of repatriation

Not content with just one day of driving all over town, Kristy came back for another day of it.

I decided that rather than specifically shopping, I needed to do some of the more bureaucratic stuff, so that I could ensure things like the electricity could get put on in my name. I determined that in order to get the electricity in my name, I'd need to provide either a driver's licence number or Medicare card number. Unfortunately I remember separating my expired ACT licence and Medicare cards from my other random cards while I was packing up my temporary apartment in the US, but I can't for the life of me recall what I did with them, so our first port of call was the Department of Transport in Zillmere to get a new licence.

Talk about a painless experience. The most annoying thing was that on Wednesdays they open at 9:30am instead of 8:30am. We got there at 9:10am. I had Zoe with me, and Kristy had her daughter, and they happily played while we waited outside.

I just had to fill out a fairly simple form, and I was called up promptly and there were no problems at all. In under 30 minutes of walking in the door, we were driving away with a temporary licence. Vastly different from my experience with the DMV. I'll get the genuine article in the mail in a few weeks.

Then we headed over to Westfield Chermside to go to Medicare, Medibank Private, and as I was growing frustrated with how long my mobile phone number was taking to port from Telstra to Internode, a Telstra Shop to try and get a replacement Telstra SIM.

This is where I ran into more of a bureaucratic brick wall.

For Medicare, I wanted to get my own Medicare card (and number) again, instead of a shared one, and so I essentially had to re-apply. They wanted more than just a passport entry stamp and something with an address on it. They wanted specific documents with an address on it, and an offer letter to show I was employed, so I had to leave there empty handed.

Medibank Private was even worse. In a "shut up and take my money!" kind of moment, they told me to prematurely unsuspend a suspended policy, I needed to request a document from the Department of Immigration that showed my international movements to confirm that I was indeed back in the country. I've always found this somewhat ironic, given I'm sitting in front of a Medibank Private employee when they're telling me this, and I'm trying to give them money.

So I left there empty handed as well.

I grabbed some cutlery and crockery from Big W.

The Telstra Shop had a 45 minute wait, and as I didn't want to over-stretch Zoe, we headed back to my parents. I took the opportunity to open an electricity account with AGL, now that I had a driver's licence number. Zoe declined to take a nap, and was having a good time playing with Kristy's daughter, and they both wanted to stay at my parent's place, so we left them there and dashed over to Ikea to rectify the bed slat issue.

While we were at Ikea, my number finally ported across and my phone started working, which was a huge relief. Being uncontactable during a period of many interactions with random people was highly frustrating for me. Not having mobile Internet access for a few days of extreme mobility showed how much my phone is an extension of my brain.

I also picked up a bunch of other random stuff from Ikea, stools that hadn't been in stock the day before, drinking glasses, that sort of thing. We then dropped all that off at the apartment before heading back to my parents' place.

So it was another busy day of running all over town, and again, I'm very grateful to Kristy for volunteering her time to make it happen. Most notable accomplishments: complete bed for Zoe, electricity, and a working mobile phone.

[04:26] [life/repatexpat] [permalink]

Day #2 of repatriation

This was the first "normal" (i.e. not part of the Easter "long weekend") day. As it happened, Easter Monday was surprisingly retail-friendly anyway.

My friend Kristy picked me up in the morning, and we dropped past the real estate agent for my apartment to see if the tenants had happened to drop the keys back yet (they hadn't) and then we went to Ikea and bought a bed for Zoe a bunch of other random stuff. I also bought a bed frame and mattress while we were at the neighbouring Logan MegaCentre (it's not a bad shopping centre)

The bed frame is wooden and is taking 6-8 weeks to be made, so in the meantime, because I bought a mattress from them, they're lending me a mattress base. That's getting delivered on Saturday.

We then headed over to Harvey Norman in Fortitude Valley. We'd just got started there when the real estate agent called to say the tenants had dropped the keys back, so we stopped and headed back over to meet the property manager at the apartment and get the keys.

After that, we headed back to Harvey Norman and bought a fridge, TV, and a bunch of small appliances, and then headed back to the apartment to do some Ikea assembly. We'd just about finished putting Zoe's bed together when we discovered we'd gotten the wrong width slats for her bed. It turns out there are two widths of the "Sultan Lade" slats, and they're right next to each other in the warehouse. We'd picked up from the correct location, but I think the piles had become jumbled. Lesson learned: cross check the SKU as well as the pickup location.

It was a long day, and I was enormously grateful to Kristy for driving me all over the place, and generally helping me shop. I think it ended up being a 15 hour day for her.

[03:58] [life/repatexpat] [permalink]