OH. MY. PANES.
I actually mean ‘panes’ there like glass panes, but come to think of it, I have been dealing with a bit of back pain lately. Apparently I’m becoming my mother: pains everywhere. I’ll have a little train of pills to take every morning, I’ll ring a bell to signal everyone to come in for dinner, and the transformation will be complete.
No, but what’s happening in Week of Our Lives is MUCH more interesting. The forums are absolutely buzzing with speculation, but this week’s episode was quite a cracker. Realsville was up in arms about this mysterious window breaker who’s been going around- get this- breaking windows. So all the residential glaziers around the place are swept off their feet with work, and everyone was waiting for the next brick to come straight though their own windows by night.
Then Maxine used her technical mastery to set up a camera in the church grounds, where she caught none other than…LINDA. You see, Linda had developed a deep-seated hatred of panes of glass after she slipped on some glass balustrading at the Local County Ball. Her elegant descent became a slippery nightmare that ended in her losing a tooth with everyone laughing at her, so she swore dark revenge.
The plot thickened when it was revealed that Gregory was supplying her with quality window-breaking bricks, because he was trying to get her to fall in love with him and eventually hand over the family petting zoo empire, along with its vast fortunes. Now Gregory and Linda are in a high-speed chase with the denizens of the town, who are furious at all the glazier costs.
Glass balustrades, a vandal by night, shocking twists…is the show really back to its brilliant roots?
OH. MY. MOTOR VEHICLES.
So Week of Our Lives went on hiatus for a week, which hasn’t happened since 1973 when there was that devastating outbreak of armadillo flu that wiped out half of the cast and crew. I wasn’t alive for that, obviously, but it’s a famous incident in the fandom. Fans of the show had to wait for a whole two weeks for the show to come back on the air, and that episode revealed that a hurricane had hit Realsville, injuring half of its residents and devastating the town so much that it looked like a totally different town (they had to burn the old sets and use filler ones).
This time? Well, the forums are rife with speculation with what happened behind the scenes. But the episode opened very casually, with Vera going to get some repairs from a reputable car service mechanic in the Malvern area, which is where she goes for her fruit and veg life drawing classes. There was a relaxed storyline about her getting waylaid by having to pick up some tiles and meeting her ex, who is now a successful tile salesman, and then she suddenly realised that she forgot to ask the mechanic about the rattling sound in her engine when she gets on the freeway, so she drove back to the mechanic and the mechanic said that it was a good thing she came back because that could be a problem with the crank shaft pulley, so she thanked him and got some extra mechanical work done.
Then she drove back to Realsville, picked up a coffee from the café where all the cast gather, went home and found a mysterious letter on her doorstep. Vera opened the letter, and…frowned. As if in shock!
And…that was it? Apart from Selena the café owner briefly mentioning that the Forest People all got pneumonia and moved to Florida, everything was pretty calm. I mean…I LIKE how I was reminded that we need brake pad replacement. An auto repairs person Malvern might work for us, but…such a change in tone. What does it all mean?
I can’t say approve of music, generally. This strange trend of letting people use their headphones in the office disturbs me, because they could be listening to anything. Could be listening to a podcast, which would lower their productivity by a considerable amount. I know I’m only the assistant office manager, but I think it’s about time I used my considerable clout, put my foot down and banned music. Just…all music. It means that less work gets done, and I generally dislike it, so I might as well get rid of it entirely.
In fact, if I had my way, the office would be silent. Certain rooms would be designated talking rooms, such as for meetings, and the rest of the space would be entirely silenced.
See, I’ve done a bit of research on different kinds of office design in Sydney, and I think there’s some scope for creating an office where sound is kept to an absolute minimum. The key would be a fitout that adds a thick carpet to absorb sound, carpeted walls for the cubicles, and also, thicker cubicles. VERY thick cubicles. The thickest cubicles money can buy, and they’re entirely enclosed with a locking system, to avoid the temptation of idle chatter as people walk by.
Obviously there would be no intercom, no music playing over the speakers. The kitchen would be kept very separate, so that the dings and whirrs from appliances would not distract from work. After that, it would be a simple matter of banning all talking from the moment people walk through the door. Surely these kinds of requests must be frequent for interior office designers. Sydney is pretty great when it comes to designers so it’s not surprise that they have some of the best offices in the country.
Perfect silence. That’s the ultimate goal. It should be what every single office in the world strives for. Silence, peace, prosperity…slippers. Everyone must wear slippers, also. The quietest footwear.
You know that winter has come to town when one of the customers at your establishment turns up with blankets for everyone in their group. Either that, or you know that said establishment is in need of an update of its heating system.
We aim to make the bar a cosy space in winter, with the booths arranged so as not to catch the draft from the doorway and mulled cider options aplenty. We’re just starting to pick up our cold season game now, and it’s becoming clear that it’s just not warm enough, despite the fact that we’ve had the heating on.
Clearly, we’re overdue for a central heating repair. Melbourne is clearly not the place to put off heating or air con maintenance, given its tendency to dart from one extreme temperature to the other, and yet that’s just what we’ve done for the past couple of years. We might have saved a few bucks in the short term, but now we’re looking at a heating system that’s, well… not working.
I have to say, it’s validating that customers are willing to rock up regardless of having to BYO blankets. We must be doing something right! Which is fortunate, because it’s entirely possible that we’ll be shelling out for a new unit before the month’s up. The question is, what’s the best option for heating a commercial venue? I barely know the difference between gas and electric, split system and ducted, heating and air conditioning… Melbourne, give us a hand, will you?
I mean, the other option is installing a big ol’ fireplace, which would be entirely aligned with the vibe we’re going for. If we did that and handed out blankets, plus lifted our hot toddy mixing skills, we’d be well on the way towards achieving our desired ambience. On the other hand, when summer rolls around, we’re going to want air conditioning – there’s no two ways about that. Might as well hit the heating and cooling birds with one stone if we can.
What’s new in my world? Let me think. Well, Harrison broke his arm snowboarding. He went on a trip to the slopes with his mates and got a bit ambitious about his ability to land a jump, apparently. Meanwhile, Henry has the flu. Between all of that and selling the business, there hasn’t been a lot of time for anything especially momentous to take place.
On the plus side, they’ve both been spending more time with their mum than usual. I’ll keep telling myself that it’s because they need me, not because my cosy place is significantly more invalid-friendly than their respective draughty share houses. Eh! It’s all same to me. All I can say is that I’ve won them over with either my powerful mothering prowess or my ducted gas heating. Melbourne parents: does anyone else observe this dynamic with their 30-something year-old offspring?
Anyway, I’ll enjoy this situation while it lasts, but that’s partly because I know it won’t carry on for too long. If it did, I’d be knee deep in power bills, shopping lists and tracksuit pants in need of a launder… been there, done that! Having said that, I do feel justified in forking out for that central heating unit service, Melbourne having suddenly become a whole lot colder in concert with the kids being holed up in the house.
I remember that, when I was a kid, my grandma was the absolute queen of hand-knitted blankets and jumpers. I’d go over there in winter and never be cold, despite the lack of central heating or reverse cycle air conditioning. Instead, I’d be immediately swaddled in layers of warm wool and equipped with a cup of hot cocoa. I don’t think I appreciated it too much at the time, but there you go.
Grandma did have a fireplace, come to think of it. That’d be nice to have, although I hardly need another appliance to take care of around here. Maybe I can get the boys to build me a fire pit out the back instead. They’d do anything for their mum, after all.
I’ve been reading the history of our family in my downtime, and it looks like things were very confusing when we moved from Fuji all the way to Melbourne. There’s was total chaos over which Australian customs that we should be adopting, which should be ignored because they would taint our actions and morals, and nobody could really agree on anything. So not much has changed in that last one, it would seem.
I wasn’t born then, of course, but such debates have continued into the modern era. For example, the first great debate I can remember sweeping through the family was whether we should incorporate stainless steel into our tools. We had always used regular steel, but father stated that it would make it much easier to clean off the mud when we worked in remote locations.
And then there was the whole ‘car’ business. Our clan had only passing knowledge of cars, but our new family headquarters was situated next to an auto mechanic near Ringwood, so the culture of automotives was suddenly very close to us. Father stated that the family was always meant to upgrade, hence why we’d moved to Australia in the first place, while my brother Kevin was adamant that we remain without ‘wheels’, especially since the noisy motors were not suited to our profession.
Obviously, the pro-car faction won over, because the whole clan uses them now, and even our oldest members have had a great time learning how to drive. And yet, even as our family becomes integrated into the modern era over decades, the debates still continue whenever there is any kind of advancement. The elders remain constantly afraid of change. Yesterday it was cars in general, tomorrow, I assume, it will be on whether self-driving cars can be trusted.
It all just seems foolish. Our meeting hall has a dozen different people who have used the best car service Ringwood has to offer. In case anyone breaks down and needs repairs we know the best place. And yet, we fear innovation. I simply can’t understand.
I’ve never worked in an office, but I can only imagine that they used to be terribly oppressive places. There are those water coolers, filled up with strange water from goodness-knows-where. Personally, I’d never drink anything unless I know exactly where it was sourced. Then there are the dress codes, which stifle the creative spirit and turn everyone into homogenous drones. Oh, and the music policy! I’ve never heard of anyone whipping out a banjo and cheering up their office with a rousing singalong, which my twitching fingers would be itching to do the whole time.
That said, offices seem to be transitioning into more friendly places. I have one friend, Amelie, and she works in an office. We all get together in the café and hear her horror stories of water cooler conversations and having to awkwardly scoot past someone in the corridor whilst not knowing if you should greet them. BUT…her office is getting a proper office fitout. A proper Melbourne office fitout, no less, and everyone had to go and work in a different building while the work is being done. In fact, they had to share an office space with a young, hip, trendy company that designs different kinds of mood bracelets, and apparently everyone in there wore whatever they liked and there was music. Music, in an office! Apparently it was Top 40 foolishness, but it’s still something.
Amelie’s boss really started to come around after day five, declaring that it would be ‘casual Friday’, every Friday, forevermore. Apparently they’re making some really positive changes during the office fitouts as well, turning it into a more casual, friendly space with squishy orange chairs and famous quotes on the walls. I’m told that’s how most commercial office fitouts work. On the downside, Amelie’s tales of being a creative soul in a square, drab world won’t be as exciting now. Still, we’ll be able to hear about the steady improvement, and perhaps even the introduction of workplace pets, and perhaps orca music to soothe the stress.
I’m having a thought here, and that thought is about moving. Every single one of my thoughts has been about moving: how to get all the furniture up to Queensland, shutting down my membership with the badminton club, and organising Chester’s cat-carry-case so that he doesn’t totally freak out when we load him onto the plane.
However, this is a new thought. A new, and exciting thought, one quite different to all of my previous ones. What if…I…don’t move. Yeah, imagine that. I stay here, someone else can have the special job with all the wonderful perks, and I just stay here, without the hassle. I’ll ring up the conveyancing solicitors, say that I’m actually not moving out of Melbourne. Property conveyancing solicitors are good with moving, so they’ve got to be pretty great with NOT moving. That’s a lot less paperwork. Maybe someone can go early.
For the record, it’s not the hassle that’s putting me off. It’s not the meetings with the conveyancers either, since they’re pretty decent and experienced about this whole huge move thing. And I like their little desk mints. But I’m getting some serious cold feet about moving out of the only city I’ve ever known, to a place with humidity all year round, distracting beaches and probably worse coffee. What if I meet some conveyancers up there, and they’re not as nice as the ones down here? What if Chester hates it, and I’ll have moved my cat several thousand kilometres only for him to be miserable for the rest of his life?
Everyone is saying that I need to just take the plunge and deal with the consequences. Everyone I saying that it’s a better job than what I’ll get here in Melbourne. Vendors statements point to it, the conveyancers are even saying it, probably because I’ve been a problem client, of sorts. Maybe I should just do it then. Take the plunge, don’t think too much…and keep a few friendships going, so I can come back and crash on a sofa if it all goes bad.
The Cranbourne Exquisite Homes and Gardens Award isn’t going to win itself, I’m just saying. Everyone in the neighbourhood is getting antsy, and it’s not because this is our last chance to win before…well, next year. I’m fairly certain that most of it is me. ALL of it is me, okay, I admit it. I want our street to be admired throughout Cranbourne, probably a hidden gem. Or it certainly will be once we win the award and people come here just to look at our street. It’ll be just like Christmas, except all year round and with a lot more crushed rock formations.
Speaking of which, there’s a serious deficit of garden supplies in this place, as opposed the garden supplies in neighbouring Cranbourne. I asked the Barnaby family next door if they had a rake so that Susan Gresham over the road could finally do something about that driveway, and they said that they didn’t have much of anything. Apparently some gardener comes to trim the hedge, cut the grass and that’s it. So now I’m having to share my own garden supplies with the whole street, and by share I actually mean that I’ve given away all my good tools and they’re probably just gathering dust.
It’s getting to the point where I’m going to have to start sending anonymous letters. Oh, don’t think I won’t! The passive-aggression will be high, but just so perfectly calculated so as to spur people into action. There shall be curt words about the state of aggregate driveways, and snide comments on how the Iverson family have absolutely neglected the lovely pebble driveway material they moved into and now they need to go somewhere that sells garden pebbles. Cranbourne would be the best area as they’re close enough to do multiple car loads if needed. When your garden is half pebbles that have been tossed up by your flashy, loud sports car, then we have a serious problem.
My seven year-old, Kara, will doubtless be someone who gets her own way in life. She illustrated that brilliantly today on while in the care of her grandma, who had agreed to take Kara to the park. Grandma ended up being unwittingly recruited as chauffeur to the movies, then to the ice-cream shop, and finally on to an indoor play centre in Golden Grove, 40 minutes drive away.
Grandma’s a particularly easy target, but I was surprised that even she agreed to the drive out to the play centre. I can rarely find the time to get out there. Kara goes ballistic for it, though – you’d think it was something a wee bit more exciting than some jumbo-sized play equipment, a colourful paint job and a few bouncy surfaces. But I suppose that, through a kid’s eyes, all this is more than the sum of its parts.
I do remember that feeling from when I was kid. At the local pool near where I grew up, there was a wading zone that featured a slippery dip shaped like an iceberg rising out of the water. I remember being enchanted with this thing, imagining it was real ice. Well, I saw it again when I was a teenager and was amazed to discover that it was only about a metre high.
As for the indoor play centre, we first discovered it while looking for kids birthday party venues for hire in Adelaide. It turned out to be really great for that purpose, primarily because the kids get tagged with a security wristband that means they can’t leave the premises without the adult they came in with. It’s a huge relief to not have to be constantly eagle eyed while the kids (other people’s kids included) are letting loose, which tends to be what happens when you throw a birthday at a park.
Anyway, grandma had a good time – she wasn’t interested in waiting around in the cafe area, and got stuck in with Kara’s preferred role playing game (pirates versus ballerinas, if you want to know). So it was win-win.