nimthiriel: (Default)
 Now, I can't really give you much information on how to buy a used car smartly, but I am going to give you some tips on how to buy a car *respectfully*.

Having now been on the selling end, I can tell you that a lot of car buyers are annoying and rude without meaning to be. There are two key ways to avoid being one such customer:

1) KNOW WHAT YOU WANT.

Not just the make, model and age. For instance:

- Know what sort of condition you want the car to be in, and know what is acceptable for a used car of that age. Expect some scratches. If you want a car that looks brand new, then go to a dealer because they'll have done all the painting and replacing of parts that a private seller may have actually been advised *not* to do because it's not worth their while and isn't compromising the safety of the car.

- Know what you want to know about the car. Don't call up and ask "What can you tell me about your car?" because chances are that all the relevant information is already in the advertisement. This makes you look like you don't know what you're doing or what you're after and won't endear you to any car owner with half a brain. Keep it specific to things that weren't already given. 

- Don't email or text making excuses for not being able to talk on the phone. No sensible seller will ever get back to you. If you can't talk, get someone to call on your behalf. The first bit of advice to anyone selling a car online is always to make contact in person before any transaction takes place.

- Know how much cars of that type and age are being advertised for, and know how much you want to pay. DO NOT call up and ask the seller "What's your final offer?", because that is the stupidest question you could ask. No seller in their right mind would give you a lower price than what they advertised. If you don't want to pay what they're asking for, then for heaven's sake, have an offer prepared and give them that. If they are happy to negotiate, they will make a counter offer. If not, they'll tell you so.

- DO NOT start trying to lower the price before you've even seen the car. This is just rude. Excuses like "It's a manual" or "It's a few years old" will just make the seller wonder why you're enquiring in the first place, if this car is so crap by your own standards.


2) COMMUNICATE UP UNTIL YOU DECIDE AND THEN EVEN AFTERWARD

There are few things worse than being left hanging. If you decide against a car, then for goodness sake call the seller and tell them as soon as you come to that decision. And try to tell them why. It can be as simple as "I like another car better", and that's OK; they just have to accept that.

On the other hand, if there is something wrong with the car, tell them before you decide for sure as it may well be something that the owner is willing to fix at no cost to you. But you know what? THIS CAN'T HAPPEN IF YOU DON'T TELL THEM. It also makes it a lot harder for them afterward because they just won't know why their car was rejected, and if it can be fixed then they can do so and maybe have it ready for the next person who is interested.


It's not hard to not irritate people. You just need to be prepared, both to know what you're doing and to communicate effectively. Ultimately you don't owe the seller anything, but it's not hard to be kind and make life easier for other people, and nothing I've listed will cause you disadvantage in any way.



fitness

Nov. 19th, 2012 04:52 pm
nimthiriel: (Default)
 I joined a gym for 9 weeks. I've had two friends recommend a short-term thing, but I've been thinking I can't afford it. After having a look at prices, I spoke to Phil and we decided that we can afford it! So I signed up to my local one straight away.

I know that 9 weeks of even daily gymming won't get me back down to a size 12 (my ultimate goal), but it can get me on that path. I know there is exercise equipment where I'm going, but I need to get a head start before we head over. I want to be fit enough to cope with the active lifestyle on arrival, even if I don't get much smaller by then (though hopefully the change to my diet and the exercise will mean I drop at least a few cm!).

Wish me luck!

Dieting

Nov. 14th, 2012 10:36 am
nimthiriel: (Default)
 So the sugar boycott is going well. Almost no sugar for early a fortnight, the exception being fruit. I can't say I've noticed a huge difference in my wellbeing, though. The sense of accomplishment is dampened by the fact that I can't indulge in sweets when I want to, so the only real difference to how I feel is in the lack of post-sugar guilt trips. This is disappointing given most people have said they feel a lot better after being off it for a while. I just feel the same.

There have been side benefits though, the key one being that I seem to generally be eating less. Since my goal is to lose weight, this is a good thing! Lets see how I go from here.
nimthiriel: (Default)
Things you don't want to have happen when you decide to give up sugar:

- Getting your period
- Your friend coming over with cupcakes she'd baked especially for the visit
- Going to an engagement party where the cake was made by the groom-to-be's sister, both whom you've known for around 10 years.

And you CERTAINLY don't want all these to happen on the same day! All of this was on Saturday. Bloody hell.

I think my biggest thing with giving up sugar is not so much feeling like I'm missing out, but feeling like I'm insulting someone else's cooking by not at least trying it. Had the cupcakes and cake been store-bought, I wouldn't have had any issues saying "No, I'm not having any because x", but hand-made... Different story. European levels of Guilt. Then you add hormones to the mix, and everything implodes.

So, starting again today. Lets see how long I last.

Attempt 2

Nov. 2nd, 2012 11:07 am
nimthiriel: (Default)
 So my last attempt at a sugar-free existence failed abysmally, and I'm trying again starting today. I desperately need to lose weight. I'm going well on the exercise front so far, and now I need to sort out the diet thing. I am able to blame my previous failure on stress (still recovering from crazy stress of work, and dealing with crazy stress of moving), but now all that is done I have no more excuse.

Wish me luck, because I want to see myself making progress over the next 11.5 weeks. I'd like to be at a reasonable size (12-14) and a reasonable level of fitness (able to handle lots and lots of walking) by the time we fly out. 
nimthiriel: (Ulla!)
 We've finished moving. The unit is empty and clean, and we've returned the keys. 

Phil's parents' place (henceforth to be referred to as "home") still looks like a bomb hit it, but it's slowly improving. I just took a whole lot more stuff to the op shop. I never thought I'd feel guilty about donating things, but they're pretty damned full and I'm just adding to it. So if you need to buy clothes or crockery or furniture, I recommend you go to the RSPCA op shop in Burwood because they need to clear some shelf space!

I'm finding it really difficult do do a lot of the tidying and sorting on my own. This is mainly because Cathy (my mother-in-law) needs to be around to decide where things can go. Hopefully a fair bit of that will happen tomorrow and we'll clear some space.

I've got 3 bags full of winter clothes to be sent to China early, and one still to be filled. That'll also clear a bit of space, and then we can start looking at what we want to actually have shipped. Then we can start another cull of things we're not keeping for when we get back, and hopefully by the time that's done we'll have a few weeks left before we need to pack and fly out!

It helps that Phil has quit his job (last day today), and has got a goal date for thesis submission. It means more time and more flexibility to get everything done, and more time to spend catching up with people :-)

Birding!

Oct. 22nd, 2012 02:58 pm
nimthiriel: (Default)
 I can't be bothered repeating myself, so here is the link to my entry on what I did yesterday! It was fun. Go read it.

New toy!

Oct. 20th, 2012 06:59 pm
nimthiriel: (Photography)
Here are is a pic from my new camera AND the new lens I got yesterday! XD

Intensity by Jenny K (JennyDK) on 500px.com
Intensity by Jenny K
nimthiriel: (Default)
 Well, not really. It's just that my life has only one major focus right now, which is moving. We're almost done. So close. Then, once we're done shifting things, we'll be sorting stuff over at this end and doing more throwing out and packing. 

As of Sunday, we'll only have 13 weeks to go. This is very exciting.

I bought a new camera yesterday. It's a Canon 60D, and I'm extremely pleased with it so far. It takes good pictures (as you'd expect), but it's also really easy to figure out. I already know how to adjust all the important settings manually, which is awesome. Incidentally, now is a good time to get a camera from JB as they are taking in trade-ins of old cameras and you'll get $100 off the cost of the new one if you do that.

We need to sell the car, preferably by Christmas. If you need a car, here are the details:

2009 Suzuki Swift
Manual transmission
Still done less than 45,000km
Recently serviced
Registered until February
Silver
$13,000 (negotiable)

Please let me know, and don't be shy about making an offer. While there are limits to how far we can haggle, we're not inflexible.

That's it for now. 
nimthiriel: (Wine)
 We've been living with Phil's parents for a week now, and they're lovely. We've also been steadily moving house, and this is what we've achieved so far:

- Packed almost all the books, and put them in storage
- Sorted and packed/gotten rid of almost all of our clothes
- Sold a significant portion of our furniture (still selling a TV stand and a dining table + chairs, if anybody needs them)
- Packed and stored a significant portion of our crockery

It's bizarre and a bit sad. It feels like we're just packing up all the things which represent our life. It's really quite daunting, even though I know that grand things await in just 15 weeks' time. 

I need a drink.
nimthiriel: (PinkStir)

I have some seemingly unusual food intolerances. I'm lactose intolerant, and soy milk also makes me sick. Thankfully, there is lactose-free milk and a lactase supplement which help.

I also can't have preservative 211 (which is in the vast majority of soft drinks) and 280-283, which tend to be found in bready products like tortillas, crumpets, and "fresh" pasta. There are probably a few more, but I haven't discovered them yet. For the most part though, mine are fairly easy to avoid. 

I'm now going to be living with someone who most probably has an intolerance to gluten. This makes me extremely glad that, a while ago, I forked out on a book on cooking for food allergies. This book doesn't just give you a bunch of recipes that don't involve certain things, it actually has a guide for substitutions, which really is what you need so that you can adapt your favourite recipes if you come across someone who wouldn't normally be able to eat them.

I get this strange feeling that I'm going to be learning a lot about cooking over the next few months! 

Not again.

Sep. 27th, 2012 09:13 pm
nimthiriel: (Default)
My body seems to deal with stress by doing everything it can to gain weight. I crave chocolate, I get tired, I get too stressed to do any meaningful exercise.

As such, I am once again what I consider to be huge for me. This SUCKS. 

Now that I've got that out of my system, here is the plan:

1) Exercise. I have dumbells, and I have been using them on and off. I was making progress but then STRESS happened and I stopped. Now that STRESS is gone, I can actually use them again. So I'll use them 5-6 days/week. I'll also be cycling more now that the weather is finer and I'm less likely to need to travel huge, unrealistic distances that are unbearable even on an electric. I'll also be going for more walks. My mother-in-law and I have made a deal that we'll go for walks together in the evenings, and this will hopefully help us both get back into shape.

2) Cut out sugar. This will be hard, and I don't intend to include all fructose in this (I'll be avoiding fruit juice but not fruit itself), but it needs to happen. It's easier (and probably healthier) than cutting out any other specific thing (eg carbs, fat, whatever), so that is what I will go with. I'm going to try to cut it out completely for a month, then reintroduce it one night/week as a treat, and stick to that forever. Well, that's the idea anyway. Time to buy sugar-free chocolate, for emergencies.

Hopefully the two of these measures combined will result in some success. I'll have a much more active lifestyle next year so hopefully it'll be easy enough to maintain. Beyond that, I need to work on my stress management. 

Wish me luck.
nimthiriel: (Default)
 #1: As if they're a group of naughty children.

I had a very stressful day.
nimthiriel: (Default)
 I just wrote "whore" on the whiteboard instead of "where". Luckily I have nice students who didn't make a big fuss over it!

Sigh.

Jul. 20th, 2012 06:59 am
nimthiriel: (Default)
 You know what will be nice about changing schools? Getting through a year without a kid deliberately setting a building on fire. That will be nice.

Right-O!

Jul. 9th, 2012 12:35 pm
nimthiriel: (Default)
 Saw my GP today and told him about my travel plans. I also told him that if it exists, I want to bie inoculated against it. The rabies vaccine sounds particularly nasty, but still better than rabies, so that will happen and so will the booster every 12 months. He sent me off to check whether I still have immunity against Hep A and B, and then once that comes back we'll look into all the other shots I'm going to need. So far I'll also need typhoid, cholera, diptheria, tetanus, possibly an MMR booster, and I may be able to skip encephalitis because I won't be in areas where it occurs. I'm a lot less trusting when it comes to the others!

I'm nervous about talking to work about my change of employment, mainly because I'm going to be asking for a lot. Hopefully they'll be generous and let me, but I can't pin my hopes on it. Annoyingly, I don't know exactly what the details are for this possible orientation in November, and whether it would be a paid thing. If it is, then I could just resign at the end of Term 3 and possibly manage on our savings, especially once we sell the car. But if it isn't paid, then I can't afford to go (though the thought of resigning at the end of term 3 and not having to write reports at the end of the year is kind of awesome).

So basically, I have to go to work, tell them I have to resign at the end of the year, and then mention the vague possibility of taking a month of unpaid leave and hoping they'll look a bit shocked and then nod and agree that yes, it is rather important so I should just let them know when that leave period starts. That's the daydream, anyway!

And, of course, when I resign and what we can afford will determine our living conditions for the next few months, and where we're living will determine what we can sell first and what we need to hold on to, which is a problem if we find someone to take our fridge but we still need one for another few weeks...

It's all a bit messy and stressful. I have a list, the problem is that too many things depend on other things and those on something else, and I don't know enough to start working on the big logistical problems, which are the ones I really want to have a plan for.

The good news though, is that when we come back we'll have enough for a deposit on a place. So I'm trying to focus on that, and on the things we're actually capable of doing. And I'll start getting more detailed information in he middle of August, which is also good.
nimthiriel: (Default)
 Next week, we start setting things in motion for moving to China. I've already booked to see my GP about  updating my vaccinations, and I've enrolled in a language course. Hopefully Phil will be able to get his passport photos done this week so that we can get them signed off as being genuine photos of ourselves, and then get the forms and our relevant documents handed in on Tuesday, which is also when the fees for the language course are due. 
 
Once all that is taken care of, I will be able to breathe a little and study for my physics exams. I'm getting more and more panicky our that, because I keep putting it off. Hopefully a month is long enough to learn a bunch of quantum mathematics... Right?

OMGOMGOMG

Jun. 27th, 2012 06:39 pm
nimthiriel: (Default)
I'M GOING TO CHINA NEXT YEAR!!! XD
nimthiriel: (Default)
 Having worked myself up a lot about the job in Nanjing, I'm now working myself down again and preparing to be rejected. I know getting myself hyped up is a bad idea, but that is exactly what I've done. It's now been 2 weeks since my interview and 2 business days since they checked my references. They want to complete the process by Friday week, so there's only so locate that they can reasonably hold the 2nd-round interview. 

Now, I have been in the situation where I was made a job offer within a day of having an interview, but I don't know how normal that is. So, I am emotionally letting to and resigning myself to not having the job. Even if I do this, I'll be horribly upset if I don't get it. But It's still better than being brought down from the height of excitement.

ETA:

Apparently not having my hopes up is the way to go. I just go asked for a 2nd-round interview! XD

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