Reality of Auckland home ownership

A reader writes: "We were one of those lucky couples who got into the housing market in Auckland, in my 40s - before LVRs hiked up from 5% to 20%, before you needed to have parents who could stump up, before you had to buy so far west it's nearly a suburb of Hobart and where the daily commute to the kids' respective schools is 1 hour 50 minutes (no buses, soz). We bought at auction on the Rugby World Cup final Saturday in 2011.

"We got it for $50K less than the owners had paid two years earlier, largely because other buyers were too amped by the rugger. Fast forward to 2017, and post break-up, I have bought my ex out of the family home and added another whack to my mortgage. Then my self-employed income drops off a cliff, single-parenting gobbles up any capacity to work more, then the end of my fixed interest rate and the interest-only term is looming (banks don't like interest-only deals in a flattening market).

"In November my mortgage is going to go from 55% of my income, to 78%. Rent you say ... Well, renting is more than my interest only-deal (and that's on a 20% equity with a $625K loan). It's one thing getting into the market, it's another staying in. Teachers, police, nurses and single parents - this town isn't for you. Sayonara Dorkland, hello beautiful Northland."

Narrow-handle spoon causes near dishwasher disaster

Nigel writes: "Consumer magazine say that the more gunge that you remove from your dishes the less goes through the pump and filter and the less hassle your dishwasher will give you. Our dishwasher has run faultlessly for 18 years using that principle. Recently, however, a very narrow spoon handle dropped through the cutlery basket and rested on the heating element below. The exposed element (modern dishwashers no longer have exposed elements) heated the spoon until it set fire to the plastic cutlery basket. Fortunately the rest of the dishwasher is stainless steel so it started up as usual and put out the fire and then continued on through the cycle. I arrived home to open the dishwasher and find a bit of a melted mess. The dishwasher has cleaned itself up and I now I have a new cutlery basket. These days I put the narrow handled utensils in the basket with the narrowest end up."


Good deed not well received

A reader writes: "Cycling in the country, I saw a scatter of credit cards and found an empty wallet. I took these to the police who later contacted me to relate that the owner of the wallet wanted me prosecuted for stealing the large sum of money that had been in the wallet!"

Phone book

"Once my phone book has served its correct purpose, and the replacement arrives, I use the old one to feed my cat on," writes Margaret. "The dirty pages can be torn off and put in the compost bin, thus saving washing and drying a cat-food dish and filling the recycling bin."

Picture this: Highlights of the Pet Comedy photography awards.

Good read: "For 18 years, I thought she was stealing my identity. Until I found her. A woman apparently using my name meant a nightmare of unpaid traffic fines and a criminal record. But when I tracked her down, a different story emerged."

Strange art: Shower hair art. (Yes, you read that correctly)

Video: The Addams Family dancing Blitzkrieg Bop by the Ramones is rather good...

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