A Nightmare on Wallpaper

We had got it into our heads over the summer break that we needed to go whale watching. We got a great place, tickets for the boat, everything lined up beautifully. You couldn’t have told me we’d end up starring in our own custom designed and printed wallpaper.

Pre-trip, staff offered everyone on board seasick tablets. We all refused, except for Freya, who gets terrible motion sickness. She’d get sick riding a bike unless she looked straight ahead and well into the distance. We found that out the hard way when my partner decided to take her for a ride in his brand new ute. The car was never the same.

Little did I know at the time, that ignoring the value of seasickness tablets was going to lead to a photo worthy of self-adhesive wallpaper. Boarding the boat was exciting. We had no idea that conditions were so bad.

It wasn’t until we hit the wide open ocean that Rebecca and I started feeling queasy. Rebecca has terrible tolerance to discomfort. She’s a princess.

The boat rocked wildly, and looking around me, I noticed that although everyone had been enthusiastic when we boarded,they now looked like they were hanging on for dear life. Grey, sweaty and panicked, I turned around to see a little kid cry hurl into a paper bag.

It wasn’t long before everyone followed suit. Freya, however, was leaning out of her seat with a pair of binoculars. She’d spotted two humpbacks. But everyone was too sick to care, apart from the crew, who were focusing all their attention on her. One guy, Marc, offered to take her photo with the whales in the background. Pity he took it at my worst moment, with my head in a bag and Rebecca with tears streaming down her face. But Freya, with her rosy cheeks and windswept hair giving us the thumbs up, and a whale breaching in mid air right behind her.

Naturally we had the image made into wallpaper for our living room at home. I’d never considered wallpaper as a design choice for my home, but I simply couldn’t resist. Now whenever we have breakfast as a family we can admire the wallpaper and think back to wonderful day.

Posted in digital wallpaper

How can I resist you, Agnetha?

It’s been at least twenty years since I last visited Brighton. Vet clinics these days are a lot different to how they were back then. I feel like people today have a lot more  general respect for animals. If you just take a look at how people view the whole ‘pets in pet stores’ issue, you can see there is a whole new realm of realisation going on.

I’ve come to Brighton to pick up Agnetha, my darling Russian Blue, who I recently purchased from a registered breeder in the area. I adore cats and this breed is by far my favourite. They have such a wonderful temperament and are great around children. It is the most excited I’ve been since I was a child, sitting in the passenger seat of our Gemini, on the way to pick up our brand new jack russell foxy cross pup. Back then there were zero conversations about the best vet in Bayside to have your pet desexed. It’s funny, all those feelings of nervousness and excitement have come flooding back. I loved animals, always throughout my childhood I felt red hot rage at the indignity of being denied a cat. We were a dog family, I was told… but how could that be when I knew how wonderful it might be to have a cat companion?

I was never sure I could really look after an animal well enough, but then I realised I was mostly worried because I desperately wanted the animal to be happy, I decided not to put it off any longer. I called about Agnetha as soon as I saw her picture, she was a tiny blue face in a tangle of siblings, and my heart just opened up. I knew she was to be mine, and now we are together. Save for a few uncomfortable moments with the vet, Agnetha and I are going to have a wonderful life together. Warm in my lap, I know she agrees.

Posted in pet care Tagged with:

Nan’s sweet ride

Looking through the glove box of my Nan’s car, and checking out the vehicle I’d been left with, I was amazed at how dedicated she’d been to keeping her car maintained over the years. It was like she was certain that all hell might break loose if she dared miss a log book service. Ringwood had been home for Nan for most of her adult life, and she’d been very stoic in her ways, she stuck with the things she knew wouldn’t let her down.

Nan had kept every inch of the car beautifully primed- the seats threw up clouds of dust when you sat down but that was about the only thing that gave away the age of the vehicle, a silver convertible Peugeot 504, which had been kept in a shed since it was first purchased.

I have great memories of this car. For example, the one when Nan picked me up from school in it once with the top down, it was the first day of spring and she had been excited to have someone to ferry around.

‘Lets go for cups of chino!’ Nan had squeaked excitedly, her cheeks bright with rouge.

I felt pretty worried when I knew that Nan had left me her car, I wasn’t convinced it would be easy to look after considering it’s age. But the second I got behind the wheel, I loved it and wanted to look after it for her.

My new little Pug was due for it’s next service in less than two weeks, and wanting to stay true to Nan, I booked it in to the same place she’d had car servicing done in Ringwood from day one.

I love the continuity that having Nan’s car has meant for me. It’s a good feeling to be responsible for her pride and joy, and I know how much she loved driving it.

I’m looking forward to taking it for a spin and a cup of coffee, with the top down on the first of spring.

Posted in car service centre

Judging the Sand Down in Lorne

I’m loving being part of a club. In fact, I haven’t been part of a ‘club’ since my school days, which is…let’s see, almost a decade ago now? And even then, things get a lot less fun in the later years with work and study, so I think the last club I was part of was the Poetry Society. Fun while it lasted, but the president was a total autocrat who hated limericks, and I LOVE limericks.

Now I have a new hobby in Beach Critiquing, and I was surprised to find out that it’s a thriving field. Not only does every new member get a hotel booking for Lorne, so they can go on their first assignment, but we also get a free bucket and spade so we can make a sandcastle. That lets us test the sandcastle competition potential of each individual beach, so you see.

I’ve never been to Lorne before, least of all to try to write a detailed critique of its beach, but I won’t let the club down. Of course, there are a lot of beaches, and I’m mostly just focusing on the ones that haven’t already been ranked. Did my first this morning, all very nice, close to the hotel…sand quality wasn’t great, though. I don’t want to come across as harsh on my very first assignment, but I tried to build a very simple sand replica of the Taj Mahal and there was just too much gravelly residue to make the towers. It gets a high mark for being peaceful, despite the fact that it was a short walk from the hotel. Maybe because everyone is at another beach where you can make all the famous landmarks your heart desires because of the great quality sand.

The important thing is that I had a lot of fun, and I got an excuse to go on holiday. I’m still a Shoreline Acolyte at this stage, but if the elders think my beach rankings are good, I’ll progress through the ranks. I hear that that’s when you get the best hotels in Lorne, or so I’ve heard. I bet they’re practically sitting on the beach, and the sand is like walking on unusually-bitty velvet.


Posted in Accommodation

Getting my skates on- 2 weeks to go!

It’s only two and a half weeks until my birthday party.

I feel like a little kid being so excited about it, but I guess I’ve got reasons to be.

I have been sick for most of the year with glandular fever. If you’ve ever had glandular fever, or been sick for more than a couple of weeks, you’ll know how boring it is, and just how much you can’t wait to get back into the swing of things. At first it’s somewhat nice to have some time to catch up on all your favourite TV shows, until you run out. There is only so much TV you can watch before you start feeling like a potato.

Anyway, I’m fourteen about to turn fifteen, and spending weeks in your room feeling terrible gets old fast. I’ve been feeling much better lately,  and started back at school.

Mum must feel like I am up for the challenge because she had me arrange my birthday party all by myself.

“You need to investigate the best function rooms in Melbourne for parties. Make sure you tick of everything on this list.”

And just like that, I became a party planner.

I already knew exactly what I wanted, so it wasn’t like choosing was difficult. I’m not really into kids party games but I really like sport and since I have been in bed for ages, I just want to get back out there with my friends. I found some great function venues. Melbourne has loads of them, but there is this one place really close to the city, they have an ice skating rink and do kids parties.

As soon as I saw it, I knew that was exactly what I wanted to do.

When I came back to mum with my plan, I knew that seeing as she told me I could choose, she wasn’t gonna say no. Everything you could possibly need in a venue for a party was ticked off the list.

All I had to do was send out the invitations and turn fifteen.

Posted in ice skating, Uncategorized

The Traveling Chronicles: Lorne

Things feel like they’re changing. It’s a slow change, but it also has to be slow. I know it doesn’t seem to make much sense and it seems a bit crazy, but I like how things are going. Well, that, and my home hasn’t been set on fire recently, because that was getting really old. The young ones are going on another holiday, and this time it’s a bit more to my liking. My best mate Blake said he knows a really great place down in Lorne, where luxury beach accommodation is as good as advertised.

Last time he booked the accommodation we ended up trudging through the wilderness, sleeping in a tent. We also built a mud hut, which was fun. Not this time, for I have seen the pictures of the luxury hotel. Now Blake’s plan to be a wacky prankster has been taken from him, because there’s a difference between misdirection and straight up lying.

One thing I know for sure is that Blake is well-connected, a foot in every camp, a piece of real estate in every port. His family used to go down to Lorne for their family holidays, and while I’m not a huge beach person, I do love a good seaside town.

They always have such interesting gift shops, with postcards divided into ‘regular’ or ‘wacky’ sections so you can browse accordingly.

Nice coffee shops and artisan goods that are unique to the area. It all lends itself to the air of relaxation. Everything in Lorne is peaceful and relaxed, no curveballs. I might have a very active mind, but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate stepping down from that every now and then to chill out. If I really need entertainment, I can make my own. I do that a lot anyway.

That’s the trip we have planned, to spend a few days soaking up the sun in lovely Lorne accommodation. The weather won’t even be that hot, thanks to the southern hemisphere being so very opposite. No need to worry about a tan, which suits me just fine.

Posted in Lorne

There Are Trees Out There…

The weather is getting warmer, and you all know what that means.

That’s right: there are a bunch of jobs in the garden I can stop ignoring. And that’s terrible, because winter was the perfect excuse for everything I did not want to do. The log fire? Let’s just use the bar heater, all the logs are soaked anyway. At least we have the sun to take care of that little problem. Grass is overgrown? So is everyone else’s. That old tree is leaning precariously close to the house? Shush, it’s cold, we’re not even outside long enough to see it.

That darn tree…my ultimate nemesis. Oh, I’m aware that there are tree removal contractors in Caulfield. I’m so terrible aware, because my wife won’t let up about it in the summer. I keep saying I’ll do it myself, which postpones the execution ever so slightly, but it’s still there, year after year. Mocking me. Standing there in the middle of the garden, lilting slightly to the left in a mocking gesture. Yeah, stuff you tree. Don’t think I can’t see you, just existing without my permission. A few times I’ve wished for it to be blown down in the opposite direction, but the wind here flows in the other direction, so no dice. If it ever does come down, it comes down right onto the roof. I have to make sure that doesn’t happen at all costs. And that…if you think about it…is even more hassle. Hassle through the roof, you might say.

Maybe it’s time. Time for me to put my gloves on, buckle up…and make a phone call to some tree removal arborists. Armadale sounds pretty good. Or…I don’t know. I could just leave it another year. It’s not tilting THAT much, and it’s still pretty cold some days. No use making people remove trees when it’s cold. That’s basically workplace cruelty.


Posted in Tree

Dreaming of Shifty Brakes

I have this recurring nightmare – not that often, but often enough for it to count as recurrent. It’s basically my unconscious mind’s go-to representation of general life stress. In it, I’m driving a car in heavy traffic, and the brakes don’t work. Not only that, but when I press the brake pedal, the car speeds up! It’s terrible! Okay, I’m sure there are scarier nightmares doing the rounds, but it’s still not cool.

Point is, I had one of these dreams last night and now I’m feeling paranoid about my car’s brakes IRL. I’ve been noticing this thing lately where the car pulls to the side slightly while I’m braking – is this a sign of impending brake failure? I vaguely recall my sister-in-law recommending a car brake specialist in Ringwood; I can’t remember the details though.

There was also that thing a couple of weeks ago – my girlfriend borrowed the car to pop over to Vermont, and came back convinced that it was taking longer to come to a stop than it had the last time she’d driven it. I kind of dismissed it at the time, but she could be onto something. It’s true that her car puts mine to shame with its spotless service record and its lack of empty takeaway containers all over the back seat. I should probably pay more attention when she makes observations of this nature.

Then there was the incident just the other day, when I pulled up at a red light in Croydon and the brake pedal started pulsating. That was mildly disconcerting at the time but, again, I didn’t think much of it. Dang it, unconscious mind – you know know too much about my lazy approach to vehicle maintenance! It’s clearly time to put my mind at ease and track down the best auto workshop in Ringwood.

As suspicious as I’m feeling about the condition of my brakes right now, at least I can take comfort in the fact that they don’t make the car speed up. 

Posted in car service centre

Robbo Got Robbed

My neighbour, Robbo, recently had the back of his ute broken into. This is a major downer for him, because he uses it for work, and it was full of all the tools of his trade (he’s an electrician). I stress the word was – the thief totally cleaned him out. Luckily for him, he had insurance on it all via his employer. What he didn’t have was a decent locking system on his ute canopy, as he admitted to me over the fence this evening.

I was surprised to hear that, given how fired up he was about getting the best service body in Melbourne a few months ago. After a lengthy period of shopping around, he finally settled on a storage solution and wouldn’t shut up about it. He’s always been one for showing off his tool collection, too. Maybe someone on our block had finally had enough and decided to take the service body off his hands.

Well, if that’s what happened, it hasn’t worked, because now Robbo’s got a whole lot more to go on about. Now we’ll be hearing about not only the gear that got stolen, but also the specialised tool box central locking system that he’s planning to have installed. He told me about it at great length just now. I’ll admit that it’s a cool thing and something he should definitely invest in. I just wish he’d get on with it rather than gasbagging about it every time we cross paths.

I do get why people get so into their trucks, especially when they’re as decked out with custom features as Robbo’s is. I’m totally enamoured of the fact that there’s a place for everything, whether it’s a specialised drawer, a hanging rack or a box that sits under the vehicle body. Still, he could quietly bask in his ute-pride without smothering the whole neighbourhood with it.

Posted in aluminium ute canopies

Upsizing Painlessly- We Did it!

In June last year, my partner and I sold our property in Melbourne’s north. We both had extremely limited experience in real estate sales, and personally I had no idea of how much work it would be to sell our home.

The reason we had to go was exciting for us but fairly stock standard; we wanted to focus on what was important to us: having just found out we were expecting. There was no way around it: with twins on the way, it was a given that our single bedroom home wouldn’t really hold up. We’d found the perfect place and were ready to engage with a conveyancing company in Melbourne, but couldn’t agree on a place. Initially we didn’t really know what we wanted. It took many hours of negotiations with my partner to finally come to an agreement. 

Our neighbors had recently sold their home and spoke to us briefly of how much trouble they’d had self-initiating conveyancing in Melbourne. I’ve got to admit that as an option, doing it ourselves was tempting…we really needed to keep a pinch on costs.

So, for a while there, we’d considered the expenses of property conveyancing in Melbourne, but we both knew that if something had gone wrong, we’d be dealing with far more than we’d be able to manage.

We set about finding a professional who deals with property conveyancing in Melbourne, having come to the conclusion that whatever was easiest was going to be our preferred route. By this point, I was really only keen to start life in our new home, so I felt happy when, in between all the other decisions we were making, the really tricky stuff stayed peripheral.

In contrast to our neighbors, our experience of conveyancing in Melbourne turned out to be a painless and simple process, with the transaction being made clear and simple, which we were thankful for, considering how complex we knew it could be.

Posted in Housing