House Under Contract

August 8, 2006 – 10:43 pm

Great news! The house in Colorado is under contract, they inspect tomorrow morning, and then hopefully it’s smooth sailing to closure. This is it: if it falls through, I’m renting it out. But if it sells (even if for much less than we were hoping to get) it’s the end of monthly nightmares (the financial monthly nightmares, anyway!) for us.

Kids are doing great. Tonight Jenine had a meeting of the preschool board, so I was Daddy alone. We played poker with a bag of the 10c coins that New Zealand is removing from circulation. Raley’s getting the hang of how much you should bid for each type of hand—it’s amazing to see her able to identify pairs and threes-of-a-kind by herself now, because a year ago she was struggling to do that. Now she’s figuring out when to bet 2 and when to bet 4. William’s just passed that, and has been taught bluffing by his grandpa. He’s going to be dangerous. I look forward to the day when his Uncle Jon teaches him card counting and takes him to Vegas.

There’s been a heap of rain lately. A family had to be rescued as their car submerged, about 40 minutes from us. It’s nice living on a hill, as we don’t have to deal with the glub glub that people on the flats do. On the other hand, we have to contend with the possibility of slips.

That said, the weather did ease today and it was beautiful. William said, as I drove him and his sister to school, “it’s good fishing weather; I was going to call Grandpa and go out with him.” He didn’t get his trip on the boat because Grandpa was knackered by the time W was out of school, but William was right: it was perfect fishing weather. “Grandpa” (my Dad) has been catching the occasional cray, and smoking some delicious fish. Life’s not bad when there’s smoked fish in it.

The principal of the primary school just agreed to become the overseer for the preschool, which looks like it will turn out to be a good thing. The preschool was pretty hippy and loose, going by the “they’ll get enough pressure to learn and achieve when they hit school, let’s let them play and have fun while they can.” That sounds great, but when I see eight year olds struggling to read and five year olds who don’t know their alphabet I reluctantly come to think that perhaps a little academic work wouldn’t be a bad thing. The preschool had previously not been interested in getting a computer for the kids, but the principal turned that around: “get a computer in here!”.

I worked angles for the first time in a long time today. I used to be able to see a dozen opportunities, everywhere I looked. For the last year or so, I’ve been struggling to see anything to do. Today for some reason I got the “franchise” bit between my teeth and researched the topic to death. Along the way I got that excitement that comes with finding a new area that’s ripe with possibilities.

The family has a restaurant idea we’re looking into. I’m thinking ahead to building a franchisable operation, not a one-off. Hence the research. I also think I’ve found a tradeshow possibility to run in New Zealand, though it’s something that’s completely not computers. I’ll be gathering and running numbers on the restaurant and the tradeshow to see where the juice lies, and I’m looking forward to it.

We had dinner with our friends Pam and Graham on Sunday night, a real treat not just because Jenine made Indian. They’re funny, light-hearted, and a delight to be with. Pam’s gone back to school at 40ish and has a new professional career that she’s just loving the intellectual challenge of. Graham runs a panelbeating business, is the quintessentially competent Kiwi bloke, and has a great life with sound understanding of where he wants to be and how to get there. Because they’re fun people, it’s a challenge to get on their schedules but it’s worth it when we can manage.

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