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

Dad’s having fun…

My dad has just had a swimming pool installed in his tiny backyard. No discussion, no muss, no fuss – just a pool, all of a sudden. I didn’t even know that he was into swimming.

Dutifully, I went over there today to check it out. It’s a lap pool that runs up alongside the back fence, then takes a right angle to make its way towards the house before taking a second right angle to snake back up in the direction of its starting point. It’s an unusual design, to say the least.

The first thing I noticed, though, was the fact that there was no safety fence around it. I asked dad if he was aware that he needed to have one to comply with the legal regulations around swimming pools. Of course, he refused to accept this being the case for quite a while before bending to the omniscience of the internet, which I used to pull up evidence for my case. It sort of blows my mind that he was able to get a pool built without picking up on this info, but whatever.

We ended up having a natter about what type of fence would best reflect whatever it was that he was going for when he signed up for this. His neighbour has aluminium pool fencing; Melbourne, though, is the kind of place where people can’t stand having the same thing as their neighbour. Combine that with the fact that my dad is the kind of dude who, on a whim, puts in a U-shaped lap-pool that takes up most of his yard, and an aluminium pool fence is pretty much ruled out.

I think we settled on the idea of semi frameless pool fencing – Melbourne doesn’t have too much of that yet, according to dad. Plus, the glass panels will give him an unencumbered view of his odd design from his back porch, and allow him to keep an eye on his unruly collection of ornamental cacti while doing his Pacman-style laps.

Posted in pool fencing

Rats and Cats and Spiders, Oh My



A cat!

That last one isn’t so bad, but he keeps coming around and yowling at the door, and I suspect that my daughter keeps feeding it milk, hence why it seems to think it’s getting a feed. I’m not calling in the Sorrento pest control for one annoying cat. I’m pretty sure they’d then turn around and call the RSPCA because of my extreme hatred towards cats, which isn’t a thing, by the way. I’m perfectly fond of them, when they’re not yowling at my door. But the rats and spiders? They need to go. Nothing personal, but I don’t like either, and there’s some kind of infestation afoot. Rats in the loft, which is really bad because it’s where we keep the heirlooms. You know, family stuff. Ornaments, priceless paintings, ancient artifacts and the Christmas decorations. I went up to get them today, because it’s almost December, and I found that the box of baubles just smelled something awful. Surprise…rats had been there, and business had been conducted therein. So now we have to buy new baubles, and if there’s one thing I hate, it’s wasting money where no money should have been wasted.

And then there’s the garden shed, the most terrifying of all the terrifying house problem things. Even more than the cat. There’s an entire colony of small spiders spinning their webs inside, so much so that I can get rid of it and a few minutes later they’ll be spinning again. The spiders have made the shed their very own, and I don’t like it. The shed is my special place. It’s where I ruminate on life and stink about the future of superhero television. It’s a an important place, just for me, and it has been commandeered by horrible critters. Now THIS is a problem for pest control. Rosebud, specifically; I might have already rung the Sorrento people to inquire about the cat thing, and now they think I’m weird. I don’t want them knowing what I look like as well.


Posted in Pests

The Not-So-Secret Brotherhood of the Ocean

It is finally my time. I have been initiated into the secret brotherhood of the ocean, sworn protectors of the darkest secrets, those who build in the shadows, work-people of great renown.

It’s actually a lot more casual than I was expecting. Like…marine welding by Melbourne experts is some of the most serious business. We have techniques that aren’t used anywhere else in the world. Upon learning those techniques, I expected to be sworn to secrecy in a candlelit ceremony, as well as sworn in via a legal document that says I’m not allowed to sell those secrets to other countries lest I lose my citizenship and be sent away in disgraceful exile.

And then I finally get this welding apprenticeship, and everyone’s really chill about it. They’re telling me how to do the job, showing me the ropes, how to weld correctly and safely, and I’m here glancing over my shoulder and wondering if anyone is listening in. You just never know; foreign spies could be just around the corner. In our break-rooms. In positions of leadership. I could BE a foreign spy, sent on a sleeper mission with my memory erased so I gather information without knowing it. And yet, I was taught in a wide-open area and no one really tried to make a secret out of…anything. Apparently this brotherhood of the ocean business was just an in-joke that I happened to hear when I went in for the interview, and actually, the secret ways of welding, snapper racks and plate alloy boats are totally public.

Of course…I’m not THAT stupid. I know that this is all a test, to see if I blab this info around. I’ll show them I can be trusted, that i can defend the marine welding secrets of Melbourne with my life. And then we’ll get to the REAL secret ceremonies and such. I just know it.

Posted in Boating

What’s With Feet?

Humans are a weird species. Not only do we have ultra complicated feet, with loads of tiny bits and moving parts, but we’ve gone and come up with a whole array of oddly-shaped paraphernalia that exists solely (pun intended) to support foot health? I, for one, didn’t realise that there so many invisible attackers waiting to have a go at my feet.

First, there are treatments for tinea – all manner of foot sprays, creams and powders designed to deal with fungi that turn up between your toes. Then there are antifungal socks that prevent it from setting up shop in the first place. There are other socks that stimulate healthy circulation of blood to the feet, and still others that apply compression – it seems these are for use in conditions such as varicose veins and diabetes, and for flying. That last bit brings me back to my initial thought – humans are weird. What else is there to say about a species that can make itself fly, but it’s feet struggle to come along for the ride? It’s just lucky that we’ve got a knack for dreaming up specialised socks.

As if that wasn’t enough, there’s a whole school of various pads and splints fitted to different parts of the foot, to deal with other unwanted guests in the foot department, such as corns, callouses and bunions. Arch support insoles are yet another kettle of fish – these can be customised by a foot care specialist based on individual assessment.

At some point in my life, as much as I work to keep at bay microbial colonies, sports injuries, attacks from stiff new shoes and general wear and tear down there (no, not there… down on the ground), I’m bound to meet with a situation that requires me to sort out some issue with my foot health, and invest in some foot care products. Cheltenham has a foot care specialist that stocks many of the curious items described above.

Posted in podiatry