Double Trouble

If you think going into the property market is stressful, try having two real estates agents for parents. It’s double trouble: double price bubble, and double demolishing and removal of rubble, double curbside appeal of your shrub-bles. Okay, I’m losing it a bit… which just corroborates what I’m trying to say. It’s a constant vicarious mind-crumble.

Why, exactly, is it so very trying? For starters, I don’t know what they’re on about half the time. It’s like they speak this language that I’m not privy to. You’d think I’d have picked up more of the real estate lingo, having been in this position my whole life, but no. I couldn’t tell you the first thing about their beloved Sale of Land Act 1962, and I wouldn’t know a Section 32 from District 8. It’s all a big old mashup of random numbers tacked together with officious-sounding joining words.

What else? Well, there’s a lot of pressure on me to participate in my parents’ passion for property (I’d much rather augment my antiquated affinity for alliteration). Seriously, though – I’m just not that into it. You’d think they could learn something from me, their millennial son, about our reservations regarding getting help with property transfers. Melbourne might have plenty of house to be bought and sold, but the people who are able to buy them are getting older and older… and then what?

I get that I’m probably not making a huge amount of sense here. In truth, I’m having a minor freak out because my dear folks just informed me that they expect me to own at least one property by the time I’m 30. What do they think I am, some kind of mogul? The president of the US? Both? At any rate, given that I’m 28, their expectation seems likely to lead to disappointment on their part.

I guess there are probably perks to the situation, like potentially getting first dibs on any particularly good deals that might arise, as well as genuine insight into how real estate agents actually think. Most prospective buyers don’t get the benefit of that.

Posted in Conveyancing

Van-tastic

Surf’s up! Just joking – I’ve got a metric ton of work to do. But if I had my druthers, surfing is what would be going down today. At least I can pretend, with my newly refurbished vintage van. The turquoise paint job came out much better than I’d bargained for, and it’s getting quite a lot of attention around town.

Don’t even get me started on the excellent job on the engine, which is working beautifully now. I thought it would be difficult to find a Brighton auto service centre that could deal with the old clunker, and I did have to do a bit of poking around to find a willing mechanic, but it wasn’t as big a deal as I’d been expecting.

All that remains now is some tweaks to the electrical systems, including the installation of some interior lighting in the van body. I’m happy to hear any recommendations for auto electrical services. Brighton friends, please pass on your contacts. The interior in general is a work in progress – the carpet definitely needs a reboot, as do the inbuilt storage units.

I got this old van from a mate’s dad who no longer wanted to deal with the upkeep. He said he was happy for me to take it off his hands if it meant ‘she’ could make regular trips to the beach. Well, unfortunately, my work at the moment is prohibiting that, but at least I can get around like like a beach bum, with my surfboard mounted lovingly on the roof. That’ll have to do for the time being.

I never thought I’d get to own a vehicle like this since going into law, although I always secretly wished I could. Well, it turns out I can – life has a funny way of manifesting just this sort of whimsical desire. Now I just need to manifest time to actually go surfing.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

No Electrical Mishaps

Not many clients. I’m kind of bored.

I’m starting to think that what everyone said about starting up a specialised, niche business was true: it rarely works out, at least not for a really long time. But I figured that with so many electricians around, then treatment specifically for electrical damage would at least be getting some traction. Like…you’ve got a qualified electrician in Cheltenham working with some power lines, there’s a mishap, and wow, oh no, they need a doctor with VERY specific knowledge on how to treat electrical injuries! And they’d bring them to me, or call me out, and I’d use my expertise to save lives and be a respected member of the community, all of that stuff, ya know.

But ever since they brought in those new safety regulations, people just get shocked less. It’s all rubber gloves and mandatory checks. You have to fit your ute with special shock protectors, and there’s people going on TV with electricity-proof overalls that make you glow like a superhero, and people just…well, this is going to sound weird, but they’re just not getting injured like they used to be. Maybe the fact that I see a couple of clients a week is actually good, because electricians are doing the right thing. I just thought I’d found my niche, but everyone remains thoroughly un-electrocuted, and that’s great, but I’m bored.

Maybe I need a NEW niche, one that doesn’t rely on commercial electricians doing dangerous jobs. It’s a good thing that my office is empty, sort of like it’d be a great thing if a place where people go to quit smoking was packed with repentant smokers. Definitely in line for a new line of work, is me. Like…treating people with injuries inflicted while taking dangerous selfies instead. But my clientele wouldn’t be the best in the world. They’d always be babbling about their next party. Ugh, no.

Posted in Electrical

New Australian Cooling

I know everyone is doing air conditioning, but I don’t care. I can just pretend that I didn’t know, and besides, I can just be better than everyone else. There are just so many ancient civilisations who rose and fell in hot climates, so it’s fun to play around with the idea that air conditioning could’ve turned everything around.

Okay…after two minutes of research, I’ve found something that no one is going to focus on: New Australia. No, seriously, that’s real. A guy made his own little Australia in Paraguay, intending it to be this communist utopia where no one drank alcohol and I guess they all just got along like no humans do, ever.

It didn’t go well, which is not exactly a surprise. Maybe you’d get a different outcome if you imported an air conditioning specialist. Brisbane has the best air con services, so maybe one from there. Paraguay has a tropical climate, which is something a few settlers from cooler climes would not be used to, at all. No wonder they couldn’t settle in such a place; they’d all be hot, bothered and tired, which is a terrible basis for a socialist utopia.

But insert some really good quality cooling services, and who knows? Maybe New Australia eventually could’ve become as big as standard Australia, or bigger. They could’ve outgrown Paraguay (kind of rude to just set up a nation in the middle of one that already exists) and made their own island out of discarded polystyrene or something, and New Australia could’ve been the centre of air conditioning innovation across the globe. Instead of all these amazing air conditioning services from Brisbane, there could’ve been air conditioning flowing out of NEW Brisbane. New Sydney and New Melbourne would still squabble over who’s the most important, though…some things don’t change, even if the names are switched around a little.

-Riya

Posted in Air Con

Time for Changes!

Phew…that was an excellent holiday; really refreshing! I was a bit suspicious when I won an all-expenses paid trip to Venice with the kids, especially because this is exactly the type of things that the shape-shifting Emperor would do to lure me into an unprotected spot so he can send his minions into the house to reclaim his foul brood in their sealed egg prisons.

But then I remembered, I did enter the competition for cutest toddler picture in the Trumpeting Moon. Duh! Totally baby brain.

Anyway, I had a bit of time away from things to think, and I think I’m going to start saving up for some major bathroom and kitchen renovations. The side-business is going well, and I’m just sitting on my savings, plus every time I walk into the kitchen I always think the same thing: it’s outdated, and the cooker just doesn’t work like it used to. Personally, I blame this on the fact that chimera liver takes over three hours of simmering until it releases its toxin and can be safely turned into a talisman of vigilance, but I reckon I could cut that down by at least half an hour with a really good electrical stove like I had back in the old place.

The bathroom may have to be put on the back-burner, but it’s badly in need of a makeover. It’s all pale yellow tiles, and the floor to the shower is all cracked and chipped. Also, the tiles are this weird red colour that doesn’t fit with everything else. It’s like the place is covered in mustard and ketchup.

I’m through just ignoring it: it’s time for a change. It IS important that I’m proud of my living space, and my kids are going to inherit this place someday…maybe. That at least warrants a bit of research around a bathroom reno in Melbourne.

Oh, and my scorpions neither bred, nor did they eat each other while we were away. I knew I trained them well!

Posted in Renovations

Immune to Stress

I’m not sure how I ended up being, out of four kids, the one who ended up in the big-shot job. I was always the most carefree of the bunch, and the most lax about schoolwork and the like. To be honest, I never even gave that much thought to having a career. And yet, here I am, a hedge fund manager, while my siblings are… well, doing other stuff. Who has time to take note?

You could say that I’m the most equipped to deal with stress, whether in the workplace or elsewhere. As I recall, Belinda would cry at the drop of a hat during the uni exam period, and Henry couldn’t hack the pressure of footy team tryouts, despite being naturally good at the sport. Terrence would get annoyed with anyone in authority telling him what to do; in fact, I think he still does. As for me, I was always able to identify when I was stressed and apply a few simple techniques to relieve it.

I didn’t realise this until recently, but apparently not everyone is born knowing how to do that. In fact, people actually go to stress management lessons. Melbourne is home to a number of companies that offer training in this field. I had no idea! It was a surprise to me that many people find it difficult to navigate stressors in their workplaces, despite working in an undeniably stressful environment myself.

What alerted me to this gap in my knowledge was someone coming to my office to deliver a workplace stress management workshop. Everyone agreed that it was really helpful, which I was skeptical about until I started seeing marked improvements in the wellbeing of my colleagues. One of them even told me that she had managed to get rid of her chronic insomnia by applying some of the techniques, which had seemed really basic to me.

I suppose it’s good for me as well, as far as being better able to relate to other people at work who might not be as resilient as me to the negative effects of stress.

Posted in stress management

Maintain Cabin Temperature

It’s funny and sad and stupid how you care less about stuff as you get old. I mean…stuff. The stuff that used to make you happy. You care a lot as an adult, but about serious garbage like taxes and dying alone. I want to get as excited about my birthday as I did when I was eight. I want to watch the latest Space Conflicts movie and not think about how they’ve totally screwed up the trilogy and how my childhood films are being retroactively tainted by this filth.

See, it’s all cynicism. And I mean it when I say retroactively tainted, because I tried to watch the first Space Conflicts trilogy and I found myself thinking about grown-up things, like if their ships had air con. Thanks to the Canberra Cooling Authority, air conditioning services near Canberra are basically instant. Well…within a reasonable length of time, but still pretty quick. Time was when no one in this street had air con and we all just used to go outside as kids, play in the shade of a big tree until the sun went down. Now, thanks to a huge drive and some sort of government program to make Canberra the “coolest place in Australia!” air con has just taken off. We’ve got it, obviously. All our friends have it.

But what about Juke AirPlodder in his K-Wing spaceship? Like, it’s only a tiny little space in there, so you’d think air con wouldn’t be hard to install. But space and weight are premiums on spacecraft, so maybe it’d literally just be maintaining cabin temperature like on an aeroplane. Space is way colder than Canberra. Heating and cooling are a very different game when you have to jump from one side of the galaxy to the next.

Come to think of it, thinking about this has been fun, in a weird, grown-up way.

-Owen

Posted in Air Con

Secure Air Conditioning

The elders were unhappy about having any sort of air conditioning installed, mainly because it goes into the walls and that creates a security problem. I tried to tell them that ducted air conditioning really isn’t that insecure because the ducts aren’t large enough for even the smallest human to travel through, but they pointed out that we still must beware of trained cats and other such creatures.

That’s a fair point. I would’ve countered that we live in a place where most of the walls are made of rice paper. But ever since my squad and I travelled to Canberra last month on a long-term assignment, I’ve been enamoured with the idea of heating and cooling. Canberra is a capital of such things, just as it is the capital of this nation, which made me think of the conditions in the Castle. We were the most important location in our entire prefecture, the place from which we reigned with fear, but the place was pretty unbearable in summer. The elevation was necessary, because we stood upon a hill, and then there was the castle itself: no real insulation, and all the heat floated to the upper rooms where were located our sleeping quarters. The elders always used to say that it was training in resisting the elements, but I could see them sweating. They hated it as much as we did on the hottest days.

Now I see that the rulers of this nation perform their work in a sleek building where everything is cooled at all times, and many of the citizens keep their cooling systems in top working order with air conditioning maintenance. Canberra appear to have an abundance of experts in this field as well. It’s time…time for a cool change. And if it’s so important, I’m sure we could protect the walls against incursions from cats and wind spirits. It’s not like any rivals have actually followed us here.

Posted in air conditioning

Office Basics

Offices have certain basic requirements, as far as I’m concerned. One of these is natural light; that’s non-negotiable. Another is that you can work in the space without getting sunburnt. That one, I think, is so much of a given that you’d barely think to include it. I mean, who would even think of getting sunburnt at the office?

Me – that’s who. I’ve just gotten home to learn that large window across from where I sit is a bit too generous with the UV rays, and I’m determined to do something about it. Demanding that the windows be tinted seems like the obvious solution, but it’ll probably get done faster if I also put forward a plan for making it happen.

Basically, I need recommendations for office window tinting companies. Melbourne, Who does a good job? How much does window tinting cost, anyway? Are all tints UV-protective? What about these adhesive films – are they anything to write home about? I want the full rundown.

While I’m on the subject, can the tinting people do decorative glass frosting for offices while they’re at it? I’ve noticed that our weird carpeted partitions are starting to look a bit worse for wear, which is no surprise given that they appear to have been made in the 1960s. Speaking of basic requirements for workspaces, I guess this is kind of a funny one. It’s not like it’s strictly essential for the partitions to look good, but on the other hand… it would be good if they did. You know what I mean?

Maybe you don’t know what I mean. Maybe your office is perfectly finished, with a clean balance of natural light and glare reduction. Perhaps you’ve even got a nice, new set of tastefully branded glass partitions. If that’s the case, well done. You don’t have to approach your managers with a half-baked blueprint for Operation: Glass Overhaul. And you probably don’t need to rub your nose with aloe vera before bed, either.

Posted in window tinting

Worker Bee Problems

The company I work for is in the process of planning a workspace overhaul. I’m talking the full shebang: interior design a completely new fitout, complete with custom furnishings and finishes. We were all given the opportunity to share our ideas at a meeting on the subject this morning, and it proved to be a bit of a… I won’t say the word, but it starts with ‘s’ and ends with ‘fight’.

Mary-Anne from accounts wouldn’t shut about this half-baked idea she has for a ‘honeycomb lounge’ – from what I can tell, it’s some kind of fancy breakout area comprising a series of modular, hexagonal ottomans that can be rearranged into different formations. I mean, it sounds cool in theory, but who here is actually going to use a space like that to get work done?

Everyone in this joint is pretty much glued to their desks, and it’s not that hard to walk to the appointed meeting room when the need to collaborate strikes. The honeycomb lounge just doesn’t sound like something that’s going to get a whole lot of use, and I think the resources could be better spent elsewhere, like on energy-efficient lighting.

Mary-Anne should know this, having been with the company since the early years of its move to Melbourne. Office fitout specialists cost money, and we don’t have endless amounts of it to throw around on features that aren’t going to be that useful. That’s why I think we need to liaise with some experts before getting too wrapped up in brainstorming the process.

Naturally, most of our colleagues were stoked on the honeycomb lounge idea, agreeing with Mary-Anne that it would be ‘really cool’. Of course, faced with such a groovy notion, no one’s going to give a damn about genuinely effective and functional office design. Melbourne types are all too easily sold on style, in my opinion.

I voiced this in the meeting, and got shouted down a bit. Maybe everyone’s right in thinking that functionality shouldn’t trump aesthetics. But hey, I’m just trying to hold down the fort of realism here. We’re people, not bees.

Posted in Office