My Plumbing Brother

‘How exactly are we supposed to use that now?’ I asked, gesturing emphatically at our utterly destroyed toilet.

         ‘What’s wrong with it?’ my brother asked, frowning at me. ‘It still works fine.’

         Fine?’ I squealed, surprised at the octave I managed to hit. ‘What do you mean fine?!’

         ‘It still flushes and all, innit?’ he said, stepping over the small pile of damp towels to reach the lever.

         ‘Don’t!’ I cried out, rushing forward to stop him. ‘Last time you did that, we spent three hours cleaning up the mess!’

         ‘Oh, right,’ he chuckled. ‘The towels.’

         ‘The towels,’ I glared.

         ‘Well, what do you want me to do about it then?’ he asked, putting his hands on his hips. ‘You know I’m not some sort of qualified drain plumber.’

         ‘What? That’s exactly what you said you were!’

         ‘Did I?’ he frowned again, scratching his head. ‘Oh, I definitely shouldn’t have done that. I failed that course in under a week.’

         ‘How?’

         ‘I didn’t go to literally any of the classes,’ he chuckled. ‘But you know, that’s just what university is like, eh?’

         He scoffed and punched me on the shoulder like we were frat bros. I resisted the very real urge to punch him back.

         ‘Do you at least know somebody who can fix it?’ I asked eventually, releasing a huge sigh.

         ‘ A company that specialises in drain repair around Melbourne?’ he frowned. ‘At this time of year?’

         ‘It’s seasonal?’

         ‘What’s that?’

         ‘Plumbers availability!’ I said, exasperated. ‘It’s seasonal?’

         ‘Oh, yeah, absolutely,’ he nodded. ‘Especially around the holidays. A whole lot of people gathered around one house for a big meal…’ he shook his head. ‘It’s chaos. Absolute chaos.’

         ‘Do you know anybody, or not?’ I asked through gritted teeth. ‘Because if not—’

         ‘Me mate Barry might be free,’ he said with a quizzical look on his face. ‘I wonder how Barry’s doing lately. We haven’t spoken much since… well, since—’

         Why don’t you give him a call now then?!

My Messy Brother

‘What?!’ I called out to my wife, struggling to hear her over the sound of rushing water. ‘Vanessa, I can’t hear you!’

         She took a tentative step into the bathroom, closer to me, the water coming up past her ankles as it erupted from all of the pipes.

         ‘I said,’ she screamed, close enough for me to make it out, ‘that I told you so!’

         ‘Not particularly helpful!’ I called back at her with a frown. She reached out and grabbed my arm for support, dragging herself to stand with me in the bathtub. Ironically, it was one of the only dry places in the entire room.

         ‘You and your idiot brother!’ she shook her head.

         ‘How was I supposed to know he wouldn’t fix it?’

         ‘I told you, there are plenty of professional drainage contracts available near Melbourne,’ she shook her head. ‘But noooo, he deserved another shot!’

         ‘He did,’ I protested. ‘He’s been back to school and got his plumbing certification and everything!’

         I want to see that diploma!’ she screeched at me. I took an involuntary step backwards at the sight of her very, very angry eyes.

         ‘Look,’ I said, placing my hands on my hips in an attempt at maintaining the higher ground. ‘Mistakes were made.’

         ‘Choose your next words very carefully,’ she yell-whispered above the roar of the rapids. ‘Or I’m about to drown you in three inches of toilet water.’

         ‘Well,’ I gulped. ‘We sure aren’t the only people who need blocked drain repair in the Brighton area.’

         ‘Go on.’

         ‘So it stands to reason…’ my tongue ran dry for a moment, until I physically willed saliva back into my mouth, ‘that other people have had this same problem.’

         ‘This problem?’ she arched an eyebrow, waving a hand over our flooded bathroom, and rapidly flooding home. ‘This problem seems, what… precedented, to you?’

         ‘Of course,’ I nodded, feigning confidence. ‘So let’s get a professional out who’s fixed this exact problem before! No harm, no… honey?’

         For the first time in my life, I physically heard the sound of somebody clenching their fists.

Solar Energy Initiative

 

I’m on a mission to convince my employer to move on from nuclear energy to solar energy. The benefits of solar energy are just so obvious. Solar energy is better for the environment, produces cleaner energy and allows you to enjoy energy independence. If my boss doesn’t respond to these climate-charged benefits (which he should because more and more consumers are only purchasing from companies who help the planet), then I’ll move on to the more economical benefits. 

By changing to solar energy, my boss would certainly be eligible for some sort of solar financing, which would help cover the costs of installing solar energy. Then if he still doesn’t go for that, I’ll tell him how he’ll save money and reduce his electricity bills by getting solar panels installed. Lastly, I’ll tell him that installing solar panels helps to increase the resale value of his commercial property, which I assume he doesn’t plan on owning for the rest of his life.  

I really hope that my boss decides to go for it. I’ll feel really guilty and unfulfilled if I work for a company that doesn’t help minimise its climate impact. But I can’t afford to get another job in such a volatile job market, so I’ll have to stay even if my boss says no. Maybe, I’ll even suggest the types of commercial solar panels that he can choose from, to help make his decision making easier. If he feels pressured to make a decision on top of having too much to choose from, that could work against me. I’ll create a short, succinct list of the types of solar panels that are best for him to help streamline the process. 

I’ll report back to you guys on what happens in the coming weeks. I have a feeling it won’t be an overly fast process, so don’t expect an update from me in the next couple of days.

Potential Plantar Fasciitis

At the age of 21, I’ve torn my ACL twice. Well, I had actually torn them both by 20 but I’m 21 now so I feel like it makes sense to say 21. I don’t know. Anyway, that’s not the point. The point is that I’ve gone through some serious setbacks and because of them I haven’t been able to do everything I wanted to do. 

But, after four years of rehab, I have finally been able to start long-distance running again. I can only run in a straight line and can’t make any short movements in order not to destroy my ACL for the third time. I’ve set the goal to be able to run a half marathon in six months time. I’ve always been a relatively good runner and overall fit person, so with enough practice, I should be able to run a half marathon pretty easily. 

I went on my second run yesterday and my goal was to run 5km. I ended up running 12km and I only stopped because if I kept running I was going to be late to hang out with the boys. I could’ve kept running very easily. 

Now that my body has cooled down, my feet are in absolute agony. I may have worked them too hard, because now I feel like I have Plantar Fasciitis or some horrible foot condition like that. I read that doing too much of the same repetitive movement on your feet can be really damaging to them. I’m guessing now that running over double my goal without a break could be detrimental to the health of my feet. I’ll admit, I’m a bit concerned.

I’m going to book an appointment and speak to the local foot specialist in the Cheltenham area to see what can be done about my feet. I’m no stranger to medical procedures, especially on the lower half of my body. Hopefully, there can be some sort of quick fix for this because I want to get back to running again.

Mad with Power

This is Chuck Fiddlesticks, reporting live on the scene, as officers storm the head office of Wizard Power, a business that has recently come under scrutiny for selling solar panels that may or may not actually be solar panels. This reporter loves solar panels as much as the next person. There’s no question about that. I myself am enjoying the benefits of a solar lease agreement for my business. Solar energy is the way of the future, and if you’re not on board with it yet, then you’re a chump. You know who else is a chump? Boss Wizard. That’s who. Boss Wizard is the scum of the earth. Boss Wizard is at the head of this grand conspiracy. Across Australia, Wizard Power has sold over ten thousand solar energy systems. How many of them actually create solar power? Allegedly, none.

Attention has been drawn to this shady business, after Boss Wizard, CEO of Wizard Power, went on a huge rant about how he “doesn’t” use fireballs to create electricity and then sell that power as solar energy, even though the energy created by fireballs and the sun is virtually indistinguishable. Authorities thought this was most suspicious and decided to look into it further. Wouldn’t you know it, the whole company is a big sham. I called it from the very start! 

How did the authorities discover the truth? Well, it’s quite simple, you see. They took a very fancy commercial solar panel calculator and used it to measure the amount of solar power in these panels, and the reading came back completely negative. Given the scale of this conspiracy, all available units have been called in to assist in the arrest of Boss Wizard, who owns many successful businesses throughout the country.

Right now, Boss Wizard is threatening to use his greatest-ever fireball to blow up the entire office building. Will he actually go through with it? Tune in next time to find out!

Hawkvision’s Kitchen Renovation

Welcome to our first profile for the contestants of That Renovation Rules, Australia’s hot new internet competition. Let’s learn a little about our first contestant, Hawkvision! Hawkvision has an impressive CV coming into this competition, although it mostly involves destroying buildings rather than renovating them. Hawkvision has helped save the world multiple times. He stopped Low-Key with his alien invasion back in 2012. Years later, he stopped Ultra Ron from destroying the entire world by dropping an entire city. More recently, he helped save the world from Thanks, who wanted to snap half of life out of existence. That’s pretty impressive! 

But how will these heroic events influence his kitchen renovation? Let’s ask him! Hey, Hawkvision, how are the heroic events you have been involved in going to influence the design of your kitchen renovation? 

Well, I’ve been thinking that I would design this kitchen exactly how we have it at the Revengers facility in the United States. That means it has to be big enough for heroes like the Big Green Man and Giant Ant. It will have plenty of secret buttons, many of them opening up draws containing weapons, such as my trusty bow and arrow set. We need to be ready to save the world at any time, so that is going to greatly influence how I design this kitchen. I also got in touch with some of the best kitchen designers in the Melbourne area, who gave me some useful tips.

That certainly sounds like it will be an interesting kitchen when completed. I imagine that it will be quite futuristic, with a lot of really cool gadgets and technology. I can’t wait to see it reach completion! Of course, our contestants have absolutely no limitations on what materials they use or where they get them from. Budgets? There are none! Does that give an unfair advantage to our well-resourced contestants? Yes, yes it does.

Ute Toolbox Gift

So I’ve just spent my first night in my new home. My housemates and I had a little housewarming party with four of us and our partners, and it was a really nice way to ease ourselves in. I feel really comfortable with my housemates and I know they’re going to start to feel like my family. It’s going to make the transition from living in my family home to living away from my family easier.

Anyway, I don’t know why I keep being so emotional in my blogs. This blog isn’t supposed to be about me and how I feel about moving, it’s supposed to be about praising my friend and thanking him for helping me move my mattress.

Because he was so selfless and did such a good job, I’ve decided to put money towards his next ute upgrade. He wants to add premium aluminium ute canopies to his truck and I am going to help him do it. He’s one of those people that does everything for nothing and never asks for anything in return, and so I want to show him how appreciative we are (and I am) of everything he does for our group of friends.

I know it may seem weird that I’m spending money on an aluminium ute canopy as a thank you gift when I refused to spend money on a moving truck to move my bed. The difference is that this is to thank my friend, rather than spending money on myself. I care about my friend and I want him to feel important, and if that means thanking him with a professional ute toolbox upgrade in the Melbourne area, then I am happy to do that. 

I hope he likes his surprise. I’m going to ask if I can borrow his ute over the weekend and of course, he’ll say yes. When I return it’ll have a brand new ute toolbox on it. I know he won’t be expecting it and I’m really excited to surprise him.

Memorial Climbing Roses

My sister went through a tragic loss one month and two days ago. The month has gone by in a blur. It somehow simultaneously feels like it has always been this way, and that it just happened yesterday. If you’re wondering what happened, her twenty-five-year-old son died. In fact, he died unexpectedly on Mother’s Day. My beautiful nephew, her beloved son, woke up feeling ill and went back to sleep. He never woke up.

I still can’t get my head around it. How can someone so full of life be here one minute and gone the next? They became worried when he didn’t turn up to Mother’s Day lunch. It was just the worst thing in the world, and it hasn’t gotten any better a month on… not that I would expect it to.  

As soon as it happened she asked us not to buy her any pretty dwarf roses or any flowers at all, for that matter. As much as she loves flowers normally, she didn’t want people to spend money on them. Instead, she asked anyone who wanted to buy flowers to donate the money they would have spent to charity. Even in the absolute darkest moment of her life, she was still thinking about other people. She, her son and her family did not deserve this.

As her sister, I took a bit of liberty with the rule. I decided to buy her something that she could grow and look after over the long term. There were climbing roses for sale at my local farmers market the day after my nephew died. I felt like it was a sign. My sister can plant the climbing roses near a fence in her yard and look after them. She can channel all her sadness into looking after these flowers, which will grow beautiful and strong just like her son. Every time a new rose blossoms it’ll be her son saying hello and letting her know that he’s okay. 

Drain Unblocking Inability

My wife and daughter pity me. They’re both really handy, well put together women, which I’m proud of them for. But because they can do everything so perfectly and with such ease, they don’t see the need for me to do anything. For example, the toilet became clogged overnight and I offered to fix it. It was pretty obvious that it would take me longer than it would take any of them, including the plumber obviously, but I wanted to try anyway. I had the day off work so I didn’t see any reason why I shouldn’t be the person to deal with the blocked sewer. In the Melbourne area, our sewers are old, so I’m not surprised that ours broke down, or whatever happened to it.  What I am surprised about is how little faith my family has in me. Just because things take me a little longer doesn’t mean I can’t do them

I was determined to prove that to my wife and daughter. I spent all day today trying to fix it, and if I’m honest, I’m glad that my wife wasn’t home to witness it. I became increasingly frustrated with the blocked drain that I had in front of me. I may have even told my daughter to go away, which I feel bad about now that I’ve calmed down. I will apologise to her in the morning. I think part of being a good parent is admitting when you’re wrong. It teaches your child that people, even adults, make mistakes and that it’s important to own up to those mistakes.

Anyway, I digress. If you’re wondering what happened with the whole blocked drain/toilet ordeal, I hadn’t managed to unblock it by the time my wife got home from work. We ended up calling a drain plumber in the Melbourne CBD to come to our house after hours. The plumber fixed the toilet, obviously, but my dignity went down the drain as soon as he walked in the door. Pun, unfortunately, intended. 

 

Bowed legs

If anyone is going to make you paranoid, it is your in-laws. I’ve never noticed anything strange about any of the kids. Sure, my daughter picks her nose and eats it sometimes but beyond that I haven’t noticed anything odd. Even the nose-picking can be argued as normal. Then the other day my mother-in-law, who I like to refer to as the ‘dragon’, suddenly turned around and mentioned that my son’s legs are bowed. I corrected her and said they’re not and he’s simply going through an awkward stage crossing over from toddler to child. She then snapped back and told me that it’d be wise to send him to the childrens’ orthotics specialist near Cheltenham so he can be properly examined before he turns out like me. Not only did she insult my son but she insulted me too all within one minute. For the record, my legs aren’t bowed either! Of course, my sometimes-foolish husband has locked his mum’s words deep within his subconscious and keeps suggesting that it might be wise to take our son to the specialist. I for one am insulted that my husband can’t have more of a backbone in this matter. Then again, I’m not surprised. His mum has probably been in his ear nonstop about sending our son to the specialist.

While I’m inclined to be a brat and go against her wishes, I think this time I will take my son to the specialist just so I can prove her wrong and tell her to mind her business in future.  There’s a foot specialist nearby that I always pass on the way to work. I think I might send my son there. I think what irritates me most about this interaction is how she went about mentioning my son’s legs. It wasn’t a polite statement of concern. It was as if she found him repulsive and then she proceeded to bark orders at me like I was some servant. Anyone else have to deal with mothers-in-law like mine?

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