I can’t have the best of both worlds, can I?

I know I said in my previous post that I will be praying for rain. Really, I should have been more specific, and said that I will be praying for rain where the fires are and not where my block of land is.

Yesterday was my day off, I did some errands and went over to the block is with a 6 pack of beer for Craig for helping me with the bank’s demands last year. The weather wasn’t too bad, just a constant light drizzle. When I got there, I didn’t see anybody putting a retaining wall in. Turned out it was too wet for anything to happen. Nooooooooooo..

Unbelievable what the weather has turned into. I went up into the hills to help out a friend with his bathroom renovation (Yup you didn’t hear me wrong! Me, helping out with a bathroom reno! I laid bricks yo!) This was how the view looked like:

Like, seriously?!

Thought that was drastic enough, seeing fog in summer. And then, I read this online:


Ok everyone, enough with all that praying for rain. Stop. Now.

Let’s be specific and pray for great sunny weather over my block of land please! 😛


Hello 2015!


I hope 2014 had been a great year for all of you, but I also wish for an even better year this year for you!

Apologies for the lack of presence on my blog, I haven’t abandoned my old resolution of keeping a journal of my home-building process. It’s been a long festive season, and I’m sure everyone else too has been busy celebrating or just keeping up with containing the mess from the aftermath of celebrations.

I spent my Christmas week in Victoria, and went to Great Ocean Road, where we stayed at Warnambool and Torquay before getting to Melbourne. We said our “MERRY CHRISTMAS!” at midnight while in the midst of fighting off a Pandemic:

We saved the world from a pandemic in the nick of time! #throwback #Christmas

A post shared by Teresa Tin (@aserett) on


Well-rested on Christmas day, we were all geared up for the Boxing Day sales in Essendon’s DFO. Let’s just say I wasn’t proud of the damage I did to my wallet there. And I ate so much that not a single moment of the trip was I feeling hungry. Don’t worry, won’t be bombarding the post with all my instagram pictures of food!

We finished up our trip with a visit to the Grampians National Park, and it was amazing!

Now, on to the REAL STUFF that you guys really came to my blog for.

The week before Christmas, I went to visit the block:


The site works had begun! It’s quite incredible seeing land taking shape, and how on earth the big machines knew what not to run over and destroy is quite amazing! At the same time, I was quite worried about that huge mound of soil. I had no updates from the builder or the site supervisor on whether the site works were actually completed or not, or what to do about the soil. So I just assumed that I can proceed on with getting the 2nd part of my retaining wall done.

I rang up Craig (the person doing my retaining walls) to inform him that the site works have happened, and he went down to have a look. He reckoned the site works weren’t completed, and I ended up spending a lot of my Christmas and New Year’s week ringing the builder and site supervisor, hoping somebody would pick up and fill me in on what’s happening.

Yesterday, I finally got a call from the site supervisor, and was told that they have removed the soil, and that the site works are completed. This is how it looks like now:

20150105_180701View from top of the block.
There are still a few piles of soil/gravel looking things, I suspect they are possibly dolomite or something similar for compacting the ground prior to putting the slab down.

Boundary near where the 2nd part of retaining wall is supposed to go in.

20150105_180904View from bottom of the block.
They have done a bit more cutting where the level splits, looks quite like what’s on the block plan now 🙂

The cut where the retaining wall is supposed to go in did not fit in with what was drawn on the plan. Turns out, they don’t do the cuts for the driveway bit. -_- I rang up Craig again, and I’m probably going to have to pay him to dig up the area to the right level so that he can put the wall in. I did offer to help him dig with my shovel 😛 but he kindly declined saying that he’s got the proper tools to do it quickly haha. Either way, it is going to happen this Thursday, and I’m really glad to finally get this bit out of the way!

Can’t wait for the slab to finally go down, I think I’m gonna bring a box of tissues with me when I see it go in! Hope all is well with all of you building your homes out there, and may this year be a year of great progress! And to those not building homes, may you have a great year ahead of you too! xx

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I think I’m going to have the busiest month of the year ever! I’m going to start building a house, my workplace is planning the layout of its new building, planning the Melbourne trip that’s happening over Christmas, my lease is running out in a few months’ time and struggling to decide what to do about temporary accommodation for my Brother (who’s arriving in February next year) and myself when the lease is up while waiting for the house to be built. Phew. Don’t think I could ever verbally say that whole chunk in a breath.

On Monday, I was anxious to find out when the site works are going to happen, because I had this impression that the land had to settle for a few weeks after site works before they could do the footings and the concrete slab. As we all know, things don’t happen for a couple of weeks before and after Christmas, I was hoping that the site works can happen BEFORE the closure so that the land can settle over the holidays.

Good news from the builder a couple of days ago – the site works will be done on this side of Christmas! 😀 Awesome or what!

At the same time, I heard back from the guy doing the retaining wall, and this was his email to me:

Just a thought based on worst case, if your builder has not started site works before xmas I am prepared to excavate the area alongside the remaining retaining wall allowing me to construct prior to site works. (at no extra cost).
Our schedule is rather busy when we return to work in January and it would be good to finish your project without causing any delays from us.
We could commence on Monday the 15th December, are you happy for us to proceed with these dates.

You know what? I reckon he is the sweetest guy in the construction industry ever! I am just hoping the builder gets the site works done before he rocks up so he doesn’t have to waste his time doing something that he doesn’t have to do. That man and his crew deserves some beer!

So I guess the slab wouldn’t be in by the end of this year, but at least a couple of things will be happening before Christmas hits.


Retaining wall part 1, completed!

At 7pm yesterday the 6th of Nov 2014, I packed up and rushed off to the block of land to have a look (and take a few pictures) before the sun sets. The beauty of going into summer, the sun doesn’t set till really late!

On my way there, I was organising myself in my head, thinking about getting my camera ready to take a few shots and where to take the pictures. I parked and fumbled for my gear, had everything all ready to go.

As soon as I stepped out of the car and saw the retaining wall all done up, I was hit with a flood of emotions. It’s a bit surreal seeing something constructed on that land, when I’ve seen nothing for a good year but weeds growing on my block. A lot of times I had imagined myself living there and falling a lot deeper in love with that place, but it had always been just a figment of my imagination, almost feeling like an unrequited love that’s never bound to happen. Now that the retaining wall is a reality, seeing it for the first time is probably akin to your first-born calling you for the first time, you know that at some point it will happen, but never could fathom that pride and joy till it happens.

So, here I present to you, the retaining wall part 1. It’s only part 1 because there’s another bit of retaining wall to do, but that can only happen after the site works are done.


I was going to spray the weeds before they did the retaining wall, and looks like they have done a much better job than I could have, so I’m pretty pleased. I cannot describe how thankful I am that God has let me cross paths with this really great guy doing the retaining wall, that everything with this bit of the process has turned out so well.

Yesterday was an especially good day for me, because I have also received the final quote to send in to the broker/bank, so hopefully the finance approval can happen and site works can finally happen! 😀

Lastly, here’s a little short clip showing the drive to my future home. 🙂

The retaining wall is going in!


I took the day off from work yesterday, just to witness this mind-blowing event. I probably should have posted this yesterday, but I was too excited about everything to sit myself in front of the computer. To make up for it, I have pictures to commemorate this special day – 4th November 2014 🙂

How the morning went for me:

6.30am – Alarm went off, my attempt to get up early and take a “before” shot of the land. I thought, bugger it all, how often do I get a day off! Slept in till…..
7.30am – Oh crap, I’d better get up. Brushed my teeth, washed my face.
7.40am – Didn’t bother to change out of my jarmies, climbed into the car and drove off. The beauty of living near my future house meant that I got there at….
7.50am – Was greeted by the sight of this:

20141104_080311   20141104_080345

Oh my goodness the mob doing the retaining wall were already there!

My heart fluttered with excitement, and I got to speak to Craig, who owns the business, and it’s such a relief when you find out you are dealing with a really really nice guy who’s willing to explain things to you without being judgmental (about my ignorance) or being condescending. I fumbled to get the Go Pro on the monopod to get a few pictures for making a time-lapse video of the entire construction, and I left to have breakfast.


The morning crept by slowly. I was eager to keep going back to see how things went or even help them out if they needed me (just saying, you never know what an extra pair of hands can do). I decided to distract myself by having a good lunch with a couple of friends before bringing them over to check out the progress.

When we got back to the block, Craig and co had already made quite some progress.

View from the reserve – you can see some of the galvanised posts already set into the ground, with Bee and Chris checking out what Craig’s doing. I’m quite pleased to see that they had the truck running over the block quite a bit and destroying the weeds at the same time heehee.

Here’s the hole dug for the cement footing of the retaining wall. It’s 2.3m deep! Incredible!

Here’s the hole with cement poured into it.

Craig putting in the galvanised steel post into the cement. He’s got very peculiar beeping gadgets that I assume tells him how to align the posts. Apparently this is also where the split-level of the house occurs, which helps me paint a more visual picture of where the alfresco facing the reserve will be.


Bee being curious. 

Bee and Chris chatting with Craig. View from the rear end of the block


Another fancy gadget, and a good view of that impressive drilling machine used to dig the holes for the posts. Thankfully they didn’t encounter any rocks, I am so relieved!

View from the far rear corner of my block.

Apparently they will be there for 3 days! I wouldn’t be able to make it there today to check out the block, but I will certainly be taking pictures of the finished product tomorrow! Watch this space!