Chapter 9. Heaven on the harbour

Some say digital communication is a poor way of reaching into one another’s hearts and minds, and there are times I couldn’t agree more. However, as the Shedders were all living busy lives and all worked on computers, often we connected by email. We used text messaging on our mobile phones. And Rick and I often “chatted” using instant messaging if we were both at our computers. Technology provided us with the most efficient way of getting the job done, particularly through the detail-laden process of finding a place to rent.

In this way, we finally settled on the perfect thing: a noble three-level dwelling in Longueville, right on the harbour, a luxury site blessed with extraordinary natural beauty.

But it didn’t surrender to us without a battle…

* * *

From: Eve
Sent: Monday 10:39 AM
To: Shedders
Subject: How’s this for a possibility?
Have just had a call from Charlene the real estate agent. She says she has a place right on the water in Longueville we must see. Big house. I told her our price range and she thinks the owners might come close to that.
I’m going to see it Weds at 2:30. Who can come with me?

From: Judy
Yep, count me in.

From: Eve
Sent: Wednesday 3:17 PM
To: Shedders
Subject: Heaven on earth
Judy and I saw the most amazing place just now. Right on the water. It’s so right-on-the-water it even has a boathouse, with kayaks we can use! It has spectacular views of sleepy little Tambourine Bay. It has over half an acre of wonderful gardens. Gardener comes with the deal. We LOVED it, repeat LOVED it. It has an upper floor, middle floor, downstairs floor that could each take one couple, giving heaps of privacy. The middle floor has a you-beaut big kitchen, a huge dining room and a lounge room with wall-to-wall windows. It’s also of a certain age and has a charming quirkiness – but nothing so quirky we couldn’t live with it.

Here’s a photo of the view from the lounge room. How about that?!

The agent says we can have another look Friday at 2:00 pm. Who’s in?

From: Heather
I’ll be there. Rick says he can’t make it. I’ll meet you there at 1:55.

From: Michael
I wouldn’t miss it, from the preview Judy and I had an hour ago when we drove by and then snuck down the little path beside the hedge. Looks pretty great. What a neighbourhood. See you at 1:55.

Text message. Heather to all Shedders
Friday 2:48 PM
Completely gorgeous spot.
Would work well for us. Can’t
rave enough.

Text message. Rick to Heather
How much?

Text message. Heather to Rick
$1800 p/w split 3 ways. Not
much more than we are
paying now

From: Judy
Sent: Wednesday 12:49 PM
To: Shedders
Subject: Bloody hell
BUGGAH, BUGGAH, BUGGAH. Our application was knocked back. The owners say they are going to accept a more traditional application. Charlene the agent says they’re suspicious of three couples, potential for dispute, irresponsibility, blah blah blah.

Very disappointed. I asked Charlene to try again but she said, no use. BUGGAH.

Back to the hunt again.

* * *


From: Daniel
Sent: Tuesday 6:40 PM
To: Shedders
Subject: 1 Wharf Road, Longueville
Anybody else noticed the Longueville house we looked at before Christmas is still on Sounds like the owners haven’t been successful in letting it out yet.

Serves them right for knocking us back.

From: Eve
Sent: Wednesday 8:35 AM
Daniel and I were talking last night about the Longueville house, wondering about having another stab at it, especially given our lack of success in finding anything over the last many months. What do you all think?

From: Heather
I say, yes, what’s to lose? Maybe the owners are getting desperate. Didn’t you say they were leaving for the Mediterranean in early March?

Judy, you’re the Immaculate Articulate – how about accosting them with an email telling them how great we are?

From: Daniel
Go Judy!

From: Judy
Sent: Thursday 12:49 PM
To: Charlene at Ray White
Bcc: Shedders
Subject: 1 Wharf Road, Longueville
Charlene – could you please forward this email to the Mackenzies?

Dear Mr and Mrs Mackenzie,

You will remember our application, submitted some five weeks ago, for a two-year lease on your Longueville property. We’ve noticed the property is still listed, and would like to take the opportunity to ask if you might reconsider your position.

Although our arrangement might seem a little unconventional, I would like to emphasise we are actually three highly conventional couples. We are all financially sound, so the rent will get paid. We have all owned our own homes for many years, and, as such, understand how to look after and maintain a house.

I do not think you could find more responsible tenants, who will make your time abroad more carefree.

Additionally, we love your home and its location – you could not have more appreciative tenants.

Please let us know if you would like to meet us, or if there is anything we can do to help reassure you we are dependable and trustworthy people who will make good tenants.

Judy H….

Text message.  Judy to all Shedders
Am on bus. Charlene just called.
The mackenzies said YES! –
if we sign lease by fri, one sig
per couple. Will give another
viewing tomorrow at 11:00 so
rick and daniel can see it.

Text message.  Heather to Rick
Will you sign on friday for us?
I have management mtg all
day. That’s if you like it of
course. You’ve been very
quiet about all this.

Text message. Rick to Heather

Text message. Heather to Rick
Sure you’ve been quiet or sure you’ll sign?

Text message. Rick to Heather
Sure i’ll sign

From: Judy
Sent: Thursday 5:17 PM
To: Shedders
Subject: We’re on the move
Sounds like Rick and Daniel liked the place so we’ve got ourselves a deal! Just confirming that Rick, Eve and I are to sign the lease at 11:00am tomorrow. See you then!

Sent: Friday 8:15 AM
To: Eve
Subject: URGENT – HELP!!!
Oh, Eve. I need you.

Am heading into all day management meeting and am in complete breakdown. Rick spat the dummy this morning. I was brushing my teeth in the bathroom and he came in and announced that he was pulling out, wouldn’t go in and sign today, wouldn’t be part of it. Said he couldn’t see himself sharing a house with others, said something about not being able to make a coffee in the kitchen in the buff and he just walked out to go to work while toothpaste dripped down my chin and my life flashed before my eyes.

Have been in tears since and am useless to talk to him. Plus have to get ready for mtg in minutes.

Could you please please please ring him and see if you can make a difference?

Text message: Heather to Eve

Text message. Eve to Heather
Talked to rick. All fine.

Text message. Heather to Eve
All fine???!!! Please say
more. Will read emails
on lunch break

From: Eve
Sent: Friday 11:40 AM
To: Heather
Subject: Morning meltdowns
Hi Heather

Hope your management meeting is going well. Yes, had a long chat with Rick, caught him just after he got to work. Mostly I just listened. And every now and then said, “That must feel confronting!” He got it all out of his system and finally said it was all cool and he’d meet us at 11:00 for signing. He was there and fine, and we’re signed and sealed.

Are you over your meltdown as well?


From:  Heather
To: Eve
What can I say? My heart is full.

Instant messaging
Friday 12:46 PM
Heather at Work says:     Ricko, you there? r u ok? r we ok?
Rick at AAPT says:          Yes, am here and am good. Eating burger while typing.
Heather at Work says:     Yes….?
Rick at AAPT says:          Had a great conversation with Eve. got my life out of it.
Heather at Work says:     Say more.
Rick at AAPT says:          Saw how I’d been in complete denial about the whole thing.
Rick at AAPT says:          Closed right down.
Rick at AAPT says:          Not talking about what I was thinking.
Heather at Work says:     All bottled up, ready to explode.
Rick at AAPT says:          Yep. Sorry about the detonation. Hope you didn’t get covered with crap.
Heather at Work says:     Not happy with you. Gave me a bad morning.
Rick at AAPT says:          How about I buy you a drink after work b4 we head home?Heather at Work says:     Well, okay. But may need to whack you a few times.
Rick at AAPT says:          Ahem. Fair enough. Mgmt mtg going ok? Presentation go okay?
Heather at Work says:     I knocked em over. I felt very vulnerable – maybe an asset!Rick at AAPT says:          No doubt. So – Ricardo’s at 5:00?
Heather at Work says:     5:30 and you got a deal.
Rick at AAPT says:          Done. c u then.

From: Judy
Sent: Friday 12:58 PM
To: Shedders
Subject: IT’S DONE!!!
We did it. Signed two years of our lives away. Our dogged determination paid off and we’ve got a dream location for our trial living-together run.

Rick, thank you for sharing about what you went through this morning. I know we’ve all had those thoughts.

Well, phone the removalists ’cause it’s all happening!


7 thoughts on “Chapter 9. Heaven on the harbour

  1. Hi Heather
    I just love these posts, following the wacky, honest, courageous and fiesty group of modern social explorers! What an inspiration all six of you are! I can hardly bear to think of me, one person, moving into some kind of down-sized accommodation when the time comes that I can’t manage my gorgeous home on the sea any more…. I am always delighted to find another post in my email and yelp with excitment at the pleasure of reading! Love it! I look forward to the next one with pleasure!
    Nina, in Nanaimo, BC

    • Nina, your reaction is inspiring. It’s something to think of oneself as a “modern social explorer”. (And I especially love the “yelp” 🙂

  2. Heather, this is such a novel way to give your readers a flavour of the communication between the Shedders during this tense time. I love how you’re so frank about the flare up with you and Rick. It reminds me that you are all there to support each other.

    • You’re right, Kerry. Fundamentally, it IS about being there to support each other. That’s when we’re at our best.

  3. gosh you guys are so courageous – both with what you did but also with your honesty about your thoughts and feelings. I totally take my hat off to Rick for telling it like it was for him….eventually! And I hope you did give him a couple of whacks Heather!
    love to all.

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