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

Even the Plumbers Are Metro

24 hour plumber MelbourneAlright, I’ll admit that I live in a very…’metro’ area of Melbourne. It’s the type of place where you see signs for ‘Hipster Garage Sales’, everyone drinks top-class coffee made by baristas with dreadlocks and fine arts degrees, the supermarkets struggle to keep up with alternative food markets and organic is the flavour of the month, every month. I live above a vintage bookshop on the main street, and I know for a fact that in a single kilometre radius there are four vegan restaurants, six clothing shops that exclusively sell clothing made between 1965 and 1978 and…well, then there’s Kombucha Krisp, the café that specialises in organic tea and kale snacks.

It infects everything. Just the other day, I needed some plumbing work done since my boiler was failing. I’ll just call a friendly, local emergency Melbourne plumber! An injection of normalcy into my hipster existence! They’re known for being earthy folks, into going to the football, and eating things like hamburgers. Then the plumber arrived, his name was Kieran, his mustache was perfectly manicured and his overalls pressed to perfection. We spent his entire visit talking about the superiority of vinyl and swapping organic veal recipes.

Did you know that eating veal has the potential to increase your lifespan, but only if you buy organic? I know a great place down the main street…

Yeah, sorry. Got carried away. Anyway, yeah, that’s the lot of people living here. Even the plumbers are basically hipsters, even at the same time as being earthy, decent folk. I don’t mind so much because I got a couple of great organic veal recipes and of course vinyl is superior. Still…wow. They really do cater to their target demographic, even when the electricity and the plumbing pretty much works the same.

Still, it’s sort of nice to know that if I get myself some 24 hour plumbing in Melbourne, there’s a chance I’ll also get someone who speaks my language. Where else??

-Kilian

Star Conflicts, and Also Plumbing

drainage contractorsAlright, so the way I understand it, the newest Star Conflicts movie is a prequel, but not THE prequels. Kind of a mid-quel between the prequels and the sequels, which aren’t actually sequels but actually the originals, which are better than the prequels even though they’re really old now. Oh, and there’s also another sequel, which we call a sequel, which is heralding the arrival of two more sequels with another prequel/mid-quel on the way.

Phew. I don’t know if it’s just sci-fi, but all this confuses me to no end. No one ever bothers to explain how things work, what people are doing in the future, how toilet facilities have advanced through the ages…. I mean, what do people in the future do about blocked drains? In Melbourne, it’s a matter of plunger and a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. And then if that doesn’t work, call in the professionals, who’ll discover that the inside of the pipe is corroded and all the rust have built up and is blocking the pipe. That’s very strange to me, personally…I mean, what’s the point of a pipe if rust can build up inside? Who builds a pipe out of material that can rust? This is where plastic really comes in handy, I guess, but who am I to judge.

I bet in the distant future, in a distant galaxy, drain unblocking isn’t a problem. Every pipe will be built with lasers installed, because those movies are all about lasers, and they’ll zap any blockage out of existence. That is, if pipes even exist and water isn’t just beamed directly into the shower. I haven’t seen anyone using teleportation in Star Conflicts, but I bet it’s around there somewhere. Anyway, you’ve got that, and then all the drainage contractors in Melbourne will have moved onto being laser pipe makers because…well, that’s how all jobs work. New technology, new sort of job. Being a drain unblocker might be a lot more fun if you get to work with lasers the whole time!

-Lawrence

A Place for Me (and the dogs) to Call Home

best conveyancersI hear Carnegie is a nice place to live. Was actually looking at a place just across from a park, near the pool, a bit away from the town centre but I think that’d suit me. Don’t want to be smack bang in the middle of city life…got to think about the dogs.

I mean, really, like, no one told me that having six dogs was going to be this stressful! Every rental place I look at has to be discounted, either because the gardI get a home, en is too small or because it doesn’t even have a garden. Estate agents gape in amazement when I tell them how many dogs I have. Property consultants freeze. Potential landlords slam the proverbial door in my face. Looks like I’ll have to bite the bullet and just…buy.

Now I need a conveyancer in Carnegie who’ll be willing to help me out, because I can’t do this by myself. I bet some people will see all my pooches and just refuse to sell, because…well, dog discrimination is alive and well. I’ll have you all know that I’m fully-licensed and I walk dogs for a living; I know my trade, I can control these animals and there’s no reason you shouldn’t sell me a home! Rentals I can sort of understand, even though I don’t think there should be any discrimination, but for buying, all you need to do is fork out the cash. Or so I thought.

I’ve heard a conveyancer can really help with various things, paperwork especially, which is one of my weak points. I have too many yapping dogs to take care of, and I certainly don’t need the added stress of keeping important papers safe from slobbering jaws. No, getting myself a conveyancer just makes the whole thing safer. Me and the dogs get a home, everyone’s happy. I should look around a bit, though…I hear Brighton conveyancers are nice. Really, I just need a roof over my head.

-Alejandra

I Feel the Urge to Advocate

property advocates MelbourneI need to leave the home staging business. I’ve seen things, and things have seen me sometimes, and it just got a bit too much.

That’s the thing: I love home design SO MUCH that I just can’t bear to walk into any disasters, any longer. That’s why I’ve grown interested in being a property advocate. Melbourne has homes that would stun and amaze you, and I find it to be right at the end of the spectrum. Here I am, having to enter homes where people have a cream-coloured sofa matched with grey wallpaper and I just want to rush outside and take deep breaths until the wave of nausea passes. Grey and cream; just the thought is making me lose my lunch.

I feel like I’m a vet who can’t stand to lose animals because I care about them too much. Or a teacher who can’t stand to watch her students graduate because they’ve loved teaching them so much. See, that’s what happens when you enter your field of passion: you develop a hard edge, or you love it so much you have to let it go. That’s why I think I’d suit being a buyers advocate. All the hard work and heavy lifting of making the place look good is gone before I get there, and all that’s left is the process of looking around to make sure it’s all as good as they say so I can recommend the property to the client. If it’s not up to scratch, that’s the problem of whoever wants to sell. I can walk out and cross it off the list, never to darken the doors again unless they call me back and say it’s up to scratch. And then I get to be the judge of that…

Ah, Melbourne property advocates have it so easy. So many lovely properties, all the time to walk around them and view the interiors in all their perfection. It’s a New Year’s resolution to aspire to, I suppose.

-Brighton

Auntie Mabel with the Pruners on Call

tree trimmingDon’t you just hate it when a really good song is ruined by nasty language? Or when a pizza is ruined by that ONE terrible topping? Funny, how easy it is for a little thing to ruin a big thing.

I should make that a children’s book. But in the meantime, I need to find a fix for this sticky situation of having the whole family under one roof and Aunt Mabel gumming up the works. She HATES Christmas, so whatever has changed in the meantime, I simply don’t know. She spent the entirety of her last Christmas visit sitting by the window, saying that our geraniums needed pruning and that really needed to call the tree removal people on the weeping birch because it was ‘tilting’. After two hours of this, I think I was the one who was tilting…

And who shows up on boxing day? The Ashwood tree removal people, of course. Mabel must’ve snuck up to her room and called, telling them it was a ‘dire case’. There was nothing wrong with that birch tree. It was tilting because it’s a weeping birch and that’s what it does!

Oh, and then there was a few years before, when Mabel hadn’t quite decided whether she just hated Christmas or whether it was just a phase. I wasn’t even a teenager at the time, but brought her own gardening tools and spent the whole day outside, grumbling at how Mum had let the place turn into a tip and how ashamed she should be having the entire family here at Christmas, looking at this terrible garden.

Apparently she didn’t have her lightning-fast Melbourne tree trimming people on call that year, otherwise I feel like they would’ve been at the door. And now I’m paranoid about how our garden looks for when Mabel comes along and starts judging every aspect. I should just…close the curtains for the entirety of Christmas.

-Abigail

Big office design decisions

office fitoutsI have had my meal of fish and potatoes. It was a good meal, and now…action must be taken. Any minute now.

It’ll happen, at some point. At point that is the right point. Gah, this is just me all over! Inaction, all the time. I’ll never learn, and it will be my downfall. I’m the world’s greatest procrastinator, which is why it took several years for me to get round to starting a business. Actually, the business hasn’t even started yet, what am I saying? I’m scheduled to begin trading on Monday, and now I have to renovate this office in the space of a weekend. How did it come to this? Oh yeah, internet videos.

Oh, there are office design companies in Melbourne, office fitouts experts if you will. I could just get it all done, but I promised myself that I was going to do this myself. It was going to be how I proved to myself that I was ready to do this, to finally run my own business efficiently without running away to get someone else to do stuff for me. I remember a bit about DIY from my youth, so I thought I could do this. But something always happened that meant I could put it off. I needed to find just the right floorboards. I didn’t want floorboards, I wanted tiles instead. Tiles were overrated, I really just needed the right carpet. By the time I’d made it to the curtain colours…well, that’s now. We’ve made it to the curtain colours, and I’m still as terrible as I was.

Professional office fitouts it is, I suppose. It’ll probably end up much better, though I do wonder if they’ll be finished in a single day. Maybe all my staff will have to move in while there are major renovations going on, and I’ll have to make something up. Like, there were faults with the previous renovation, which is…true enough. I had to call in Melbourne’s best office renovation people, because my own skills weren’t enough! Also, kind of true…