It was meant to be the family weekend of a lifetime. Finally, everyone was going to be together, not in a rushed fashion, but for three days. Together enjoying the fresh air and countryside, with not a worry in the world except for how hot the chicken is! Bliss. My family has all become incredibly distracted over the last few years, distant. The only time we ever see each together is at a rushed dinner that was thrown together last minute, or at some large event where we exchange words at the buffet. I had the idea a few months back to plan a country getaway for all of us to reconnect.
After months of rigorous planning I finally had everything sorted; everyone was coming, all the cottages were booked. I had even planned entertainment for the kids. At 9 am the morning before we are all supposed to depart I get a call from my eldest brother. His son, Joe, wasn’t feeling too well and they weren’t sure they could come. I pretty much scream at him that unless Joe needs to be hospitalised they were coming. I had packed medical supplies and there were comfy beds for him to sleep on. My brother relented and agreed to come. I thought all was going to plan until I got a call from my Mum.
She has an arborist coming because they needed urgent tree attention and she couldn’t possibly arrange to have her stump removal in Melbourne done at any other time. I told her that it was unacceptable. I had spent too much time and money on this trip to have her blow it off because of a hazardous stump in her garden. I hadn’t had a conclusive answer from her. So the next morning I woke up raring to go and got a call from a tree felling company based in Melbourne who wanted to know when it would be best to remove my mother’s tree stump. I told them I could would pay them double if they did the tree removal that afternoon. They declined my generous offer but were there that very day.
House parties are so hard to clean up after, I swear. It’s like cooking a roast dinner: six hours of preparation, and then it’s gone in twenty minutes. Twenty great minutes, but even that’s offset by all the cleaning up you have to do.
Honestly, I blame Bear-Revel. I know the series is ridiculous, portraying the adventures of a man trying to set up a party planning business around the theme of bears, employing a number of actual bears, but I just felt inspired. I just HAD to go and have a massive party, inviting the entire neighbourhood. And look where it got me: a house in tatters, cups and plates and food all over the floor, the bathroom in a state I’d rather not describe and the laundry window is smashed in. How?? Why were people IN there??
One party and already I’m looking around Melbourne for aluminium window repair. You know what? Next time I’m just going to other people’s parties. I’ll save myself a load of heartbreak, maybe offer to clean up because I know how much of a pain it’ll be, but don’t expect any invites any time soon. Even a simple dinner party is off the table for now.
That smashed window, seriously…and of course, no one is owning up to the crime. I didn’t hear it happen, but it’s a clean break and there was a bottle on the other side. Did someone get startled and just fling it straight through the pane? I don’t think anyone here had any malicious intent, so it must have been some sort of bizarre accident.
Thanks a lot, Bear-Revel. I don’t care if you’re meeting up with Jessaby Bones, Spook Sage and the lady from Iron Missed in a massive team-up series where you form a Pretenders tribute band. When the Melbourne window replacement people get here, I’ve half a mind to send you the bill.
I read an article once that said if you’re in a situation where you don’t know what you’re doing…you should just go ahead with confidence. Confidence literally is key, so you can’t fail in whatever you’re attempting. That’s generally the philosophy I have whenever I’m starting a hobby of any kind, and it ALWAYS works. 100% verified, and you can take it from me because I’ve been involved in a lot of hobbies. I was once part of a guild of people who sought out the most bizarre hobbies, once a week, just so we’d always have a story to tell at parties (and for the fun). We did some strange things, I was often terrible at them, but with my guiding philosophy I was able to greet every new challenge.
The time when I think it came into the sharpest focus was…well, I know it was after the week of extreme chess. That’s chess where you dress up as the piece, someone directs you and you can only be removed from the board if the opposing player is able to judo flip you. No, this was the time with the aluminium work platforms. There was a veritable jungle of them set up in the CBD for a special festival, and with some strict safety guidelines, we were allowed to assemble them ourselves in a sort of speed run.
Now, we had construction workers as part of the club, so I thought I didn’t have a chance. But i’d only just learned my guiding principle of confidence, so I decided not to let my inexperience bother me in the slightest. I was captain of my team, so i organised everyone and told them to be confident alongside me. We were presented with a large pile of metal tubes that ostensibly were supposed to become a ladder platform at some point. It’s easy to panic, or just decide that it’s a bit of harmless fun in that situation, but I did not. We rallied the tea, found putting together folding platform steps to be a relatively intuitive activity and soared to victory.
There you go. Next week is ‘Ukelele Duelling’. No idea what that is. I’ll probably be brilliant at it, though.
Okay so normally I wouldn’t talk about this kind of thing, particularly not on the internet to a bunch of strangers, but I’m beginning to think it’s more of a problem that I originally realised and I’m starting to get a little worried about it.
About two months ago now my dad decided he was going to remodel his office space at work and, well, he’s become kind of obsessive about it. It started out in the most natural way possible. One night, over dinner, we were talking about our days as we normally would when he casually mentioned that he was thinking about hiring someone to reconfigure his office design. Melbourne is a market where things change really quickly, I mean we didn’t get the reputation of being the trendy city for nothing, and particularly in dad’s industry you need to keep on your toes. So the idea of him doing some work to keep the place looking fresh and inviting really wasn’t that much a stretch. It made sense. I didn’t think any more of it.
However, over the next couple of weeks, he started to talk more and more about all the changes he was going to make. I’d wake up in the middle of the night (I’m talking like 3am here) and his study light would be on. We started to find office building plans littered all over the place with things marked in frantic red pen. Sometimes you’d even find them scrunched up in weird places. When he talked about the re-design, he started to babble on about how Melbourne office fitouts were some kind of conspiracy and only his design company knew what was what.
Part of me thinks I might be overreacting to this. I mean, it’s perfectly natural for people to become inspired and passionate about random things. But I don’t know, this seems a little extreme and I’m getting worried.
Is there a better place in Melbourne than Dandenong? Surely, it is the shining jewel of the capital…of Victoria. I’m pretty sure Melbourne is the capital of Victoria, but just let me check.
Yes, it is indeed. A bustling metropolis, so full of life, where markets abound and all things are available to purchase. Frankly, I don’t see the appeal of places like Brunswick and Fitzroy…they market themselves as places of business, hubs of excitement. And yet, SO exclusive. Dandenong welcomes all peoples, of all nations, of all levels of personal hygiene. Actually, that last one is a LOT like Brunswick; people down here just aren’t making a ‘thing’ of it.
Alright, so it’s an awesome place to live, which is why I went for the top tourism position. Improving Dandenong’s image, although it’s so great the job basically does itself. Did you know that Dandenong pest control is some of the best in the world? That’s going to be the slogan of my next campaign…we’re trying to target niche markets, you see, and one of them is people who don’t look after their homes and tend to have a lot of problems. Insect problems. Also, other arachnids and invertebrates. It’s a very niche demographic, but I feel like it could work because no one wants to have ants and other such beings eating away at their home. Well, Dandenong does indeed have pest control experts who are ready at the drop of a hat. Before the hat touches the ground, even! It would greatly depend on where the hat was dropped from, because if it was a tall building, we might be able to give you a guarantee on that.
I’m still new to the job, clearly. Oh, people love holidays! Dandenong is super close to places like Sorrento, and…other holiday places, like Frankston and Rosebud! Termite control and such in those places as well. Holidaymakers who also need pest control is pretty niche, but I feel like there might be a market there.
It’s done. I know it may seem like I overreacted a little bit, and, in truth, I probably did, but frankly that is neither here nor there. Because I pulled up my sleeves and dealt with it.
The apartment I’m renting, and have been for almost two years, has the biggest eucalyptus tree that leans right up against my window. In fact, it comes so close that the twigs scrape across my window. Needless to say, that when you wake up in the dead of night hearing a haunting tapping at your window, you tend to think ‘monsters’ before ‘that damned tree’.
Okay, writing that down, I can see how silly it sounds, but I’m sick of waking up convinced the darned Boogie Man is around the corner. I’m a grown woman. I slay my demons. So, after getting the permission of a bunch of different people, I made the crucial step and actually called a couple of different companies that specialise in tree lopping. Brisbane has literally hundreds, but I picked the three or so best of the bunch and, after talking to them, managed to narrow down my choices even further.
In the end, I’ve been thrilled with the guys I decided to go with. I wasn’t able to just get the tree removal company in Brisbane to just remove the darned tree, but I was able to convince them that it provided a hazard for the apartments. Afterall, eucalyptus trees are known for losing limbs every now and then. And yes, I can see that you might see this an example of an entitled loudmouth getting what they want, but frankly I think that’s not a bad lesson to learn. My demons no longer haunt me in the dead of the night – well, not those demons anyway. Hopefully it’s gets dealt with soon.
Ever discovered that a hobby is in fact far larger and more prominent than you realise? Yep, all of that. Lots of that. I used to think fishing was an extreme niche hobby that’s been on the decline ever since…I don’t know, TV was invented? You just don’t her about it any more, except from elderly folk who like to call it a sport even though you’re mostly motionless. It’s not like you’re ever going to see Olympic fishing. How would that even work?? It probably wouldn’t, is what I’m saying.
But then i recently discovered that fishing is alive and well. Thousands upon thousands around the country meet regularly and talk about snapper racks and rod holders, and…how to catch fish, I imagine. But these people tend to love their boats and marine fabrication. Guess that just comes with the love of the sport, just like people who are into cars talk about engines and types of wheels. This is just boats.
And there are SO many of them, way more than I ever thought. I asked my friend Hannah, and her casual response was that her husband Bob is all over fishing. Apparently it’s a thing that a lot of guys pick up after they get married, maybe because it gives them some definite guy time. Or maybe it’s just genetics: get married, suddenly you want to meet with other guys and talk about snapper racks and boats. Sometimes boats with plate alloy. That keyword kept coming up when I was researching that, so i guess they must be popular.
So yeah, I’ve discovered a thriving, secret subculture that isn’t to do with putting a tail on yourself and getting in touch with your inner animal. Fishing is definitely better. Plate alloy boats are definitely more wholesome. And hey, I like eating fish. Maybe I need to find myself a man who likes to catch them.
Sometimes I wonder if my nephew is really as qualified as he says he is. He says he’s worked for a bunch of highly-qualified and prestigious Melbourne plumbing companies as an apprentice, but I’m starting to realise that could mean anything. Maybe he kept stuffing up and being punted around until nobody else would have him. I mean, he DID go to a TAFE of sorts and get his degree, but I asked him about it once and he said it was MTSC, or the Melbourne Technical Skills College. Now, its reputation has skyrocketed in recent years, but that’s only because it was previously regarded as a rubber stamp college where the lecturers were all frauds and nobody cared that the buildings were falling down.
Ernie is…earnest, I suppose. Whenever I tell him that one of my properties needs some maintenance work, he jumps right to it and gets there in record time. Plus he hasn’t set fire to anything yet, so that’s a plus! Still, a few of my tenants have expressed some…doubts at his efficiency. Ernie said that he hasn’t noticed anything, but he’s such an optimist, I feel actually telling him the scope of the problem would crush him.
Alright, I know full-well that nepotism got me into this mess. I’d do anything for family, including getting them into jobs that might not suit their skillset. Ernie is so sunny and great with people, I feel like he’d be much better suited for a job as a counselor, or…something similar. He loves kids. He just can’t get enough of baking. So why was it plumbing? It’s not even in the family!
So now I have to fire my nephew, which is going to cause some awkwardness when the family Christmas rolls around. I’m sorry it had to come to this, but there are local emergency plumbers in Melbourne who could just do so much better at the jobs. I can’t continue to rely on family for my tenant’s plumbing needs, when their plumbing needs are not being met.
Perhaps I can soften the blow by highlighting Ernie’s actual talents.
Maybe that sofa could be a little bit more to the left. The windowsill is so bare, how have I never noticed?? I need some flowers, even if they’re not real. The next person who owns this place can do what they like, including putting the sofa back to where it was, but it’s crucial that they get a good impression of the place. Selling a home is usually stressful, which is why we got the home styling people in in the first place, but this is something else. That’s what we get for buying a home supposedly haunted by a vengeful spirit.
Oh, it’s ALL just stories. I swear, the people around here in Keymore have the most vivid imaginations and they gossip like it’s 1790 and social media hasn’t yet graced this part of the world. It’s this sort of silly superstition that makes me want to move away and find somewhere a bit more in keeping with the modern world. We can have all the property styling Melbourne has to offer, the place can be made to look like an absolute dream and a family haven for years to come…but that doesn’t stop the neighbours stopping potential buyers in the street (every time! Are they watching from the windows on some kind of rota?) and casually mentioning that seventeen people were killed in this building eight years ago as part of some silly ritual or something. Petty details! What matters is the here and now: the positioning of the furniture, the ample garden space for pets and kids, the ensuite in both the master and guest bedrooms, the new curtains that let in just the right amount of light, the cozy study that can be converted into a bedroom in a flash and the masses of storage space under the stairs.
People don’t need to know that this place was known as ‘The Charnel House of Keymore’. How silly. They don’t need to know that the taps sometimes turn themselves on, or I don’t know…the whispers in the night that promise revenge upon the world for injustice. Oh, and the little raining blood thing that happens in Tamara’s bedroom. Amongst…other things.
Our house staging has been fabulous, though, so we’ll be out of here soon! I really hope…
People say Canberra isn’t fun. And they’re right, mostly.
When you’re a kid you don’t really notice, because kids make their own entertainment, they don’t go out as such and, like…friends and stuff. Then you get to be a teenager like me, and you can’t wait to go to university in Brisbane and just go completely wild because this place is SO BORING. I think just the act of living is putting me into a coma.
There’s just…nothing for teens to do here. There are only so many times you can go to the cinema, and it’s not like the restaurant/night life is happening. Everyone is in bed by 9pm with a cup and tea and the evening newspaper. It was better when I was a few years younger, I remember. One good thing about Canberra: kids birthday party venues, but don’t ask me why. I used to have birthdays in some seriously cool places, for real. Just imagine climbing frames and fake pirate ships and slides, all the stuff that kids really love. Even if it was once a year, I used to look forward to that stuff. And now I’m old and life is boring. I think there might be a nightclub somewhere, but I’m too young for that. Too old for an indoor play centre. Although I don’t know if they have an age limit, so maybe I could go to relive the glory years.
Yeah, they probably DO have a limit. Wouldn’t want a teenager crawling around inside a colourful pipe and making everyone uncomfortable; fair enough. Still, I have to do SOMETHING or I’m going stir crazy. Maybe I could round up the crew from school and make a trip to Melbourne or something. They must be as bored as I am, and we’re not great friends but there’s no better time to get to know each other a bit better. We could reminisce about the time when Canberra’s fine indoor play centres fulfilled all of our hopes and dreams…and then we grew up. Shared grievances, or whatever.