The window of opportunity from our new windows

windows replacedWe got our new windows installed, and they look smashing. Perhaps that is the wrong word for windows, as I want them very much in one piece. Anyway, they look really good.

I had a nice chat to the guy installing the windows. They had a few on the job, but he was left at the end of the day to settle the small details and clean up. He said that the house looks fantastic, and asked me what else I had done. He seemed so impressed with my party planning expertise, that he asked if I could help organise his engagement party. He said that he is so busy with his job replacing windows, and his fiance is also busy with her job so they are incredibly behind on their plans. He offered me a substantial amount to act as a party planner. I said I would do it, provided they move the date.

I do not want it to take me away from organising Arya’s birthday. I only have five months! They were planning to have their party a little sooner than that, but are willing to compromise if it means they get organised.

I hope Pat is not too mad. This is the closest thing to a paid job that I have done in years, and hopefully he will understand that I was getting a tad bored. the difficult part will be explaining how the opportunity arose. I did not tell him we were getting the best timber windows in Melbourne in preparation for the party. This is too big a deal to lie about. He could so easily find out, and I do not wish to have that kind of marriage. I will have to come clean about the windows. It will be easier to break the news because my payment as party planner pays for almost the entire cost of a whole house worth of windows.

Animals, Our Construction Friends

mobile scaffoldingYou wouldn’t think that a brown bear could do karate. I didn’t think so myself, until I saw Karate Brown Bear, but now I’m perfectly convinced. I know it was a children’s’ movie, but it was so beautifully animated I can’t help but be convinced. As in, if there WAS a bear voiced by famous comedy actor Jake Brown who was taught to do karate, he could excel and save the world and become world-renowned and such.

And then my imagination ran away with all the kinds of ways human society could be different if instead of just sort of awkwardly living among animals, they helped us out in society. My stomach turns whenever I see someone standing on some mobile scaffolding high in the air, painting or washing windows or doing some kind of construction. Imagine if…instead of a human, we could get birds to do that stuff instead. Not the really little ones, because then it’d be really hard for them to hold a paintbrush or power tools. But like…an albatross, or a condor. They could climb up all those planks and trestles, do the job and there would be no fear of falling, unless they were silly enough to fall asleep up there or something.

Actually, they wouldn’t even need to climb up, because they could just FLY up. If they fell off…well, they could just fly right back down. I can tell you I never get stomach turns watching birds fly, and imagine how many accidents could be prevented!

This idea lends itself to quite a number of other concepts. Like, imagine if road workers were all nocturnal animals, so no one would have to do shifts. Actually, ALL shift workers would be nocturnal animals, so no one ever has to get up at a weird time. Cats could…no, cats would probably all be unemployed.

But instead, we either keep them as pets or observe them getting on with life in the wild. So I’m going to keep getting sick looking at people on aluminium platforms, and my cat is still useless.

-Leena

Fishing: An Actual Big Deal

snapper racksFishing IS everything. That’s obvious, obviously. It really makes my blood boil when people say things like ‘fishing isn’t a sport!’ and ‘so it’s like an afternoon nap in a boat, right?’

I was at the pub last night and my mate Jim was talking about how he’s getting ready for the big fishing competition: taking more naps. And then everyone laughed, so I had to say “Look, Jim, you know fishing needs more skill than that, right?” and he replied “Jim, seriously. It was a joke.”

There’s no joke when fishing is involved. I didn’t save up for years, against the wishes of the wife, just to buy a plate alloy boat and use it for napping. I didn’t train for years, crafting my own fishing rod holders and purchasing the best stainless steel snapper rack money can buy, just so I could have my chance at fishing glory. After all, there’s no sport that could be better described at the sport of kings. People always need to eat, and the water is just teeming with the answer to that problem. Man has been fishing since time immemorial, so when did it become so that it’s something reserved only for lazy folks with no social life beyond napping?

It’d be like if we all suddenly decided that farming was a profession for dossers. They don’t get enough respect as it is, in my opinion, so we might just be heading there. In any case, you can see why I’m taking this big fishing competition seriously. It’s one of the few places where we can come together and take this sport seriously, with an actual trophy at the end and glory for the winner. And everyone there just knows their stuff. Like, I can talk to anyone standing on the banks about fishing rod holders, and we can natter for hours on the best way to install them, which ones work best for different types of fishing…that’s why I hang out for this competition. I get to be among my people.

-Jim

To Retire on the Coast…

Lorne hotelsThere’s a story I heard recently about a fisherman in a village in Italy. He loved his life, had a cushy job, came home every day and made enough to feed his family and go out and have relaxing times with his friends in the evening and was just generally content.

A businessman comes along and offers him the chance to build this massive fishing empire through hard work, blood, sweat and tears. Then once he was a great fishing mogul, he could retire…to a tiny fishing village, and do exactly what he was doing at the start.

A good cautionary tale. Made me wonder…am I happy being an office drone for the rest of my life? Ow important IS money, anyway? Let’s say I moved to work in a beach apartment in Lorne, because my friends keep going there and telling me how wonderful it is. I wouldn’t be able to live in some Lorne apartment, certainly not at first. It’s a seaside town, so rent would be high and whatever. But I’d have a job cleaning or…working at a desk. The pace of life in Lorne would be slower, because it always is outside the big cities and you can’t live in a town next to the ocean and get too stressed.

But…maybe it’s happier. I won’t be rich, but hey, I get to work in a luxury beach apartment on the coast. I’ve always loved the ocean and everything surrounding it, so I get to go out on weekends and days off and evenings, walking on the beach and drinking coffee overlooking the waves. It’d be so much simpler, because there’s just less to DO out there. I mean that in a good way, obviously.

I’m actually serious; this is something that needs a lot of thought. Melbourne is great and all, but there are hotels in Lorne that are hiring, probably. It’s not even that far from Melbourne, so I could still visit if I needed a break from the ocean life. But wow…waking up to the sound of seagulls instead of traffic. It’s a lovely thought.

-Brenda

Together Through the Plumbing Crisis

plumber MelbourneEight people in this place, and somehow I feel like we share the load equally. Loads of different schedules, several floors and a single kitchen that honestly needs to be just a little bit bigger, but still, it works out pretty well. Helps that we all get on, some really good friendships have formed and…well, we have a pool. So it’s not like the place gets crowded in summer; everyone is always out there.

Plus we’ve been through a lot. There was the termite incident, where a majority of us were down here in the middle of the night trying to sort out this massive insect infestation. And lately, the great sewer crisis. Well, we still needed a plumber from Melbourne somewhere, so it wasn’t the SEWER as such, but still…sewage, leaking up through the carpet. Generally, this is not considered a good thing. You may even call it…a bad thing. Howie was the one who found itl said he was looking over some notes in the lounge when he smelt the stuff.

Like, has someone been abusing the pipes or something?? This place is old, but I didn’t think the plumbing was so bad that it would leave our lounge as a sort of swamp area. Surprisingly, all eight of us are still here after almost three years. Anyone else might’ve left with the stuff that’s been happening, but we’ve developed a camaraderie. Driven together by the many crises, you might say, and also did I mention the pool? The pool is awesome. It’s pretty much the only part of the house that isn’t eighty years old. There’s also a barbecue, and when you have eight young guys together in close proximity with limited cooking skills, you can bet that one sees a lot of use in the summer.

So, the swamp was sorted out, new carpets and all. Did you know that there are 24 hour plumbers in Melbourne? Seems nuts, but maybe because I work in an office and as soon as it hits five everyone splits. Nice to have decent plumbing services around, though. And pest control. And…pool cleaning.

-Vaughn