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It’s Just a Bit of a Fixer-Upper…

glass balustradingWhat that phrase they use? ‘Fixer-upper’. Our new home is a ‘fixer-upper’. That’s a nice way of saying that it’s a broken-down dump, but I’m the one staying positive here. Also, we’re recently married, so the power of our love should make things a breeze, just at the start of that movie, Down, except the complete opposite. You know, where there was a montage of a man and a wife having a horrible marriage for sixty years, constantly arguing and wishing the other was dead, until finally the man dies and the wife takes a holiday to Peru to celebrate her newfound freedom.

I cry every time.

Looks like I’m going to have to be the DIY-savvy one in this relationship. I’m the one with all the contacts, like how I’ve memorized the numbers of several professionals in the field of residential glazing. Melbourne is a mixed bag when it comes to trades and services, you really have to know the right people if you want to get a good deal. 

That’s just what happens when you grow up with a  ratty young brother who isn’t careful about where he kicks the footy, and the parents are always out. Callum, meanwhile, is totally clueless when it comes to this stuff. Our marriage is just going to be him calling up his wife and asking for DIY tips. I kind of like that dynamic, if I’m honest. Very progressive.

We DO need glaziers though, so I’ll have to see how much is in the budget. I can tolerate some creaky stairs, and maybe I can just not look at the garden until we have enough for landscaping, but the windows are all scratched and dirty. We really do just need new ones. And maybe we can look into some frosting for the bathroom, because there aren’t any curtains and…well. Privacy.

I’m still seeing it as a DIY adventure though. And I have future-vision for this kind of thing, so I’m just looking at the place and seeing it all complete. Nice windows, sweeping glass balustrading, floating wood floors…and it’s all up to me to make it happen.


A Feature Wall with Intellectual Value

custom wallpaperI’m really liking the idea of a feature wall in our new home, but only if it’s covered in cryptic messages. Like, I’m talking really weird, obscure stuff that’ll take me ages to figure out.

See, I just had a child, and that’s great, but it does mean I’ll be out of work for a while. I know for a lot of women, the extremely involving and fulfilling job of taking care of a baby is enough for the first few months, but my mind is a lot more active than that. I’m usually a forensic scientist, so there’s going to be quite the transition period from my mind being that active every day to just…not being active. I’ve done my research, I know you can get easy to remove wallpaper, so it can be taken down by the time little Watson is a bit older and we’re ready to have visitors again.

People say it won’t be that bad, but they don’t know me. My brain rebels at being stagnant. All the other mums in the group have said that I’ll have baby brain, that I’ll forget work because there’s going to be so much to do with the baby…and while I acknowledge that it’s going to be a lot of work, physically, my mind will wander. Hopefully, our new bit of wallpaper covered in brain teasers and cryptic messages in strange languages will be enough to keep me occupied. There’s room for fun stuff, of course. I plan to find some of my favourite ‘Where Is Wanda’ books from when I was young (the ones that got me into my line of work) and have some of it printed onto the wallpaper. When I get tired of cryptic puzzles and ancient riddles, I’ll just transition into looking for Wanda. That should calm me down. And making my own custom wallpaper is a decent enough way to fill my time, to begin with anyway…


Utility Bills Are to be Left in the Past

solar calculatorI honestly long for the day when we don’t have to worry about utilities. So internet will be a right enshrined in the constitution, and taking it away will be akin to making someone into a indentured slave. Electricity will be the same, to the point where you never, EVER think about it. It just rains from the sky, the solar panels everywhere will soak it up, and boom. Perpetual motion for everyone, all the time, at least until the sun explodes.

That way I won’t need to pay this stupid utility bill, and maybe I could spend the money on something that could help all of humanity, like solar panels or a nice cruise. That is, a cruise for me, because if it benefits me then it benefits all of mankind. Okay, so I’d rather support commercial solar systems, because that gets me even closer to a well-earned rest, probably on an island in the Maldives. Mmm, yeah. Solar panel installation = me eventually retiring to a nice island with unlimited energy, because the sun always shines. I can rest well, knowing that I was part of the solution. I’ll rest on my island, and people might thank be for being one of the early-adopters to this whole solar panel thing, one of the hallowed ones with wonderful foresight who made it all happen. Good for me. Good for me and my helping of the planet.

Of course, the Catch-22 situation is that I’m paying for electricity, internet and all of that stuff right now. I don’t think I’ll have the money to get involved but I won’t know until I use a commercial solar calculator. Basically, all of the governments need to get together, stop charging people for electricity, thus allowing them to install solar panels in their homes and businesses, thus making it so that no one has to pay for electricity. It’s called an investment for the future. Look it up.


No Time to Trim the Mullet

Melbourne hairdresserWhen did life get so unreasonably busy? I’ve been trying to get to the newsagent to fill up my electricity meter for the last week, and there’s just…no time. Simple little thing, and I can’t even do that much. Kelsie’s rabbits need feeding, with is a train and a bus trip away, and I never should’ve said that I can do it. Work needs me to go all the way into the CBD to get flowers for Daria’s leaving party, which took up most of my time after work because the trains were playing up, and then it was my nephew’s play, so…

Okay, so that’s where all the time went. On things I have no control over, cool, great. Guess I shouldn’t feel bad, but it’s hard not to when I see the dishes piling up, or I look at myself in the mirror and realise that I’m skirting the edge of the mullet territory. Thing is, when I was in the CBD picking up the flowers, I saw a hair stylist at David Jones and I thought… ‘fifteen minutes. I’m a guy, my hair doesn’t take that long.’

And then the choking anxiety over not being able to get stuff done sets in, so I just kept walking. Funny how that works. Even the little things just seem to be out of your reach when there’s so much to do already. Fortunately I have a free day on Saturday…besides the rabbits, of course. I shouldn’t pin too much on it though; that’s setting myself up for failure. I’m getting myself hair salon booking, I know that much. So tired of wrangling these unruly locks into something appropriate for work. Chop ‘em all off, weather be damned. Maybe I actually will go into the CBD, see if I can find a good hairdresser. David Jones has a salon that seems to be pretty decent. I’ll spend the rest of the day drinking bubble tea and planning my schedule a bit better. That’s probably all it is, to be honest. I just don’t make enough solid plans.


You Just Gotta Believe!

office designers MelbourneEveryone can achieve success. You just have to BELIEVE.

I really am a perfect example of a success story, given how I crawled out from the gutter and now own Office Smiles Inc., a company of my own creation that focuses on improving office spaces for everyone. Maybe your workers aren’t cohesive? We’ll send them on a motivational conference. Working in a drab space? We’ll put you onto one of our trusted designer offices in Melbourne, and you can have that pristine workspace for ultimate productivity.

And it’s true: you CAN achieve anything. Just take me, a total degenerate from a disadvantaged home where my parents- a dentist and a lawyer- made somewhat less money than their counterparts in the big city, because they lived in the country. I had to go to a country private school that didn’t even have a pool or horse-riding ring! And when it came time for me to work, my parents lightly pressured me into taking an office job with a business contact, again in a country town so I wasn’t quite used to the fast pace of city offices. But I still made something of myself anyway. All I had to go on was five years of internships and office experience, and also those conferences that my parents sent me on to develop my skills. Still, they only went for a about a week each, and there were only to a year, so it’s not like I was totally set up from the get-go!

I have a great relationship with a whole team of trusted office designers near Melbourne, each with their own specialties depending on what that particular office needs. And then there are the motivational speakers; got a list of them as long as my arm, for every occasion. That’s what Office Smiles Inc. does: we guarantee smiles and productivity. It’s in our company ethos statement! No smile, here’s your refund. But speakers and fitouts generally get the job done.

-Donny Y

From GUILT, and onwards to STRENGTH

aluminium toolboxes MelbourneAddictions are serious business, and they can strike at any time. One day you’re just going about business as usual, you find a new brand of fruit-and-nut chocolate that you really like, and you decide to eat a little piece every day. An hour later and boom! All gone. And chocolate isn’t expensive, you you get yourself down to the shop to get some more, reasoning that you’ll *probably* go to the gym that day. And then boom! All of it is gone, you didn’t go to the gym, and now you cannot live without a delicious square of fruity, nutty chocolate.

My mouth is watering, so I should stop.

Still, our group therapy class is both helpful and fascinating. I never knew you could be so addicted to such a wide variety of things! I’ve become quite good friends with Ozzie, who’s addicted to ute modifications. He’s always looking to add tool box central locking, or extra under tray drawers…and just last weekend he had some new roof racks and bars fitted, without telling his wife. As our therapist says, these things are not wrong by themselves. Some people take pride in their work vehicles, and that’s a healthy outlet. But it stops being a healthy outlet when it transgresses the GUILT system:

G– Guilt over time

I– Instant Regret after engaging in the activity

U– Uncontrollable Urges to do/eat more

L– Love, but not the good kind

T– Terrible Troubles with friends and relatives.

Those are the signs! And so many people miss them. One week you’re just making an innocent modification to your toolbox, and then boom! Your garage is absolutely stuffed with the best Melbourne aluminium toolboxes money can buy. That’s how Ozzie told it, anyway. And then there’s me, with my computer desk covered in Bradbury’s Fruit-and-Nut chocolate wrappers. However, we’re working on moving past our GUILT, and onto STRENGTH. That’s:

S– Strength to resist

T– Try not to do the bad things…


Just Find a Mechanic You Trust…

car service RingwoodWell, that’s the very last time I get my car service done at Sharky Joe’s Mechanic Emporium. I know the whole thing was done online, a guy came to pick up the car and drop it off, thus meaning that I was even less involved in my car servicing than usual…but it seemed like such a good deal. Fifty bucks for a full service! And then I got a call from a guy who said that they COULD drive my car back, but unless I shelled out an extra five-hundred bucks for parts, then the whole vehicle could just expire at any time.

And I can’t contest that, because I know nothing about cars, so…I said no. I will have my car back, Sharky Joe. I’ll have it back, and not do anything until I’ve found a local mechanic based in Ringwood who I can talk to face to face.

They always say that, don’t they? I think I have found a place that offers the best car servicing Ringwood has to offer.  They seem to be an honest place, with professional mechanics to talk to. Mechanics with whom I may interact, anyway. So if I have a problem with log book servicing, or there’s an auto-electrical problem, then I can be there and they can explain it to me. I can find out how serious it is, and whether it’ll cause mild irritation or just make my entire car go bust on my morning commute, endangering my life and the lives of several other motorists.

Sharky Joe’s may have been cheap, but they’re clearly trying to rip me off because I wasn’t involved in the car process at all. Well, no more. Definitely no more, because I just called Sharky Joe’s to give them a piece of my mind and their number has been disconnected.

Time to head over to Ringwood, car mechanics who are honest are not easy to find.  This place comes well-recommended, so I’ll go with them instead. There IS something to be said for the human touch rather than deal hunting online…


Possible Extra Benefits of Oxygen…?

Melbourne oxygen therapySo as it turns out, inhaling oxygen does not give you a deep voice. That’s sad.

I kinda figured that if helium gave you a high and squeaky voice, oxygen might do something similar, but in reverse. Alas, it doesn’t really seem to do much of anything. All that time and money spent in pursuit of Melbourne’s best hyperbaric medicine treatments, and it turns out that all it does is help you to breathe. Disappointing. Well, not if you have any breathing problems, or if maybe you need to recover from a sporting injury. But if you’re looking for a naturally deeper voice than the one you were born with, then oxygen therapy isn’t for you.

I’m really just wasting the time of experts in hyperbaric medicine, which I acknowledge, but seriously…people with breathing issues have hyperbaric treatments. What do I have? I could take up smoking, but then I’d be the one with trouble breathing. Then I’d have to go and get oxygen therapy, and it’d just be a really silly, foolish and cyclical process where nobody wins and everybody is made to feel foolish. Or rather, I’d be made to feel foolish. I’ve heard that drinking scotch on a daily basis makes yours voice deeper, but I don’t particularly like the taste (or the social implications).

Unless…okay, so I take up smoking, but just enough that it changes my voice to something a little bit deeper. I might not even need hyperbaric medicine at that point, but I’d go and get it anyway because it pays to be careful. I mean, if there are places in Melbourne offering oxygen therapy, then I might as well repair any damage from my brief foray into the world of cigarettes and tobacco. If it turns out that my voice stays low and husky, then great! And if it doesn’t, well…the search continues, I suppose.


Running Around All Day With the Dogs

commercial solar systemsDoggy day-care is harder than people think, let me tell you! It’s most certainly not sitting back and throwing a ball every now and then for the dogs to chase. Nope…we have around 20 dogs in this place at any one time, and two-to-three staff members to keep them happy. That is, permanently happy. They can go and sleep if they like, but if they’re awake and not focused exclusively on other dogs, then it’s our job to entertain them.

I used a pedometer once, and it only took a week for me to have racked up enough running to have taken a trip to Sydney and beyond. Attach a few wires and we could probably power this place just through motion alone! In fact, I’ve seriously been wondering how we can cut down on our energy usage here. Big overhead lights, auto-ball-tossing machines, and the spas actually generate quite a bit of power. There’s commercial energy monitoring, but I’m not sure about my feelings on the subject; not right now. I feel like it’d be some sort of admission that we use too much power, and I don’t know if we’re quite there. I mean, we don’t just boil kettles all the time for the fun of it. We definitely need to keep the temperature in here a solid number, for the comfort of the clients. Owners don’t like walking in and feeling that we’ve been skimping on the air con, or the heating in winter, and cooling a room THIS big? That takes a fair amount of juice.

I’m sure there are plenty of energy options out there. We could install energy-saving bulbs, for example. Industrial strength ones. Or…well, the roof is massive. Plenty of room for some input from commercial solar systems. Costs down means a better experience overall for people and pooches, so we should be striving to do what we can. Still kinda like that wire idea, though. We do burn a lot of energy.


The Supreme Inspector…Has Spoken?

kids birthday party venue AdelaideThat settles it: we need better standards for children’s entertainment. In REAL LIFE.

I’ve been advocating for children’s entertainment to be better on television for years, even before my own kids were born. It all started when I accidentally flipped onto a channel that showed two puppets hugging in a way that i thought was a little bit too intimate. No A-frame, and they held the position a little bit too long, plus it was a boy puppet and a girl puppet so you can’t just shrug it off as being a bro or girly thing.

From that moment, I decided that someone needed to stand up for the children and their innocent little minds, and also provide them with something educational. The world depends on it.

That’s why I appointed myself Play Centre Inspector Supreme, roaming from place to place, every single birthday party venue in Adelaide (and sometimes those outside the state when I’m feeling vigorous), making sure all the kids are getting something truly wholesome and wonderful. And educational; that’s also important.

That’s why Funky Franklin has me in such a tizzy. He goes from one birthday party venue to another, teaching children things. That part is great. If he’s entertaining and also teaches kids how to not stick a fork in a toaster, then he gets a certain amount of points.

But he also delivers his messages via rap, which is an inherent evil that corrupts the minds of young people. You can see why I’m having a problem, because kids party venues are already keenly hunting for people to do some entertaining, and the educational aspect IS there. But then…rap. Do I tolerate rap within the hallowed halls of the indoor play centres for hire in Adelaide? If I was really the Play Centre Inspector Supreme, I’d know the answer. I have to be decisive.

Rap…or education. Education…or rap??