Seeking Non-Judgmental Pest Controllers

Sometimes I wish I lived in the UK. I’ve heard they have SOME big-ish spiders, but then that’s UK people talking and hey wouldn’t even know what they were talking about. You really can’t judge the sizes of spiders unless you’ve been to Australia and you’ve had to spend a night stuck to one side of a room because there’s a GINORMOUS one sitting in the corner, right above the door.

That, my friends, is true fear. Last time I complained about this on Visage-Tome, someone said to just look up the local Berwick pest control people and have them deal with it. There’s a sliver of logic to that, but still, this is Berwick. Not the most thriving metropolis, and many city people would call it the country. So I’d be calling pest control people from the country to deal with a problem that in the country is not a problem at all. I know! I’m supposed to be able to just look at that giant, hairy thing right in its multiple eyes and say “…whatever.” Or just pick it up by a leg and tos it out the back door, so it can have a fulfilling life far away from me.

Theoretically. In theory. The theory of the thing is that I would’ve grown up, able to do that sort of thing because I’m a tough country person. I wouldn’t even think of calling in pest control for anything smaller than a cow. I definitely am not supposed to be sitting in the corner of a room, trying to get advice from the internet because there’s a many-legged horror beast mocking me from the top of the doorframe. I swear that’s disdain in his eyes. His many, many eyes.

Tell you what. Dandenong isn’t quite so ‘country’. I’ll get in some Dandenong pest control. They’ll bail me out without me having to feel quite so inadequate.

-Kelsie

Decking to help family happiness, says study

Having backyard decking in the family home increases happiness and cohesiveness, a new study has shown.

Children report being twice as happy in households with backyard decking, Melbourne researcher Dr Pete Little has found in study of over 1,200 families.

Children in these households also score slightly higher on average on tests of cooperation with others and willingness to help others.

Parents in families with backyard decks report being “extremely happy”, on average, as opposed to those without being “moderately happy”.

The findings applied to decking across Melbourne North of all types of timber, although those were made of cypress pine experienced the most benefits.

Interestingly, the findings only applied to secluded backyards. Those with front decks only did not experience any of the positive outcomes.

Provided the outdoor area was eight square metres or more in size, adding more area to the deck did not affect results. Dr Little hypothesised that the increased happiness and cohesiveness was due in part an added family space, rather than the benefits being intrinsic to the decking itself.

“Research shows that backyard decks are used an average of five times a week during the warmer months,” he explained.

“What we’re seeing here, I suspect, is that families are spending quality time together. While families without a deck may have indoor family spaces, they then do not experience the benefits of being outdoors.”

There was a huge difference in levels of contentment following the installation of front and back decks in Melbourne, couple Timothy and Anna Silver said.

“We could not afford a house with a lounge room, so we did not have any family space before we got our decking done,” said Timothy, “we feel much more content as a family now that we have somewhere to hang out.”

The Silvers and their eight year old son participated in the study, which involved over four hundred participants across Melbourne.

My very own aluminium toolbox

I am so excited! The first tradesmen arrived today to start on the backyard renovations. Since the last lot of renovations we got done, the tradies have really become more professional. They pulled up in their purring utes laden with aluminium toolboxes and I know that means business. Sometimes I wonder if it would be better to be married to a tradesman than a dentist. There are early starts, but early finishes too so there would be plenty of family time. With Patrick opening his new practice soon, I think he will be even busier than he is now. I really do admire the energy he puts into his work, but I am hoping that he will begin to be more present at home. I have been saying affirmations on this matter for years, but no results yet. Perhaps it is time to be more proactive and ask for more devotion at home. I need to continue working on setting boundaries for my own well being.

It is just so difficult to determine what is the most effective combination of positive thinking and taking action. Lately I have been more focused on being proactive, but I wonder if I have swung too far in that direction. Perhaps a balanced approach is best. I would usually talk to my spiritual advisor about such matters, but she is all booked out for the week. Besides, it would be better if I stayed home to keep watch on the guys working on the backyard. I tried chatting to one of the tradesmen about my dilemma, but he seemed to be more interested in adjusting his ute’s gas bottle holders than discussing the balance between positive thinking and being proactive. While he was no great conversationalist, I did get some inspiration from him. Tradesmen have a wealth of tools in their armoury for all manner of situations. They cannot use the same wrench for every single job. Likewise, I cannot use the same method of positive thinking for every situation but sometimes it is exactly what I need.

I Love a Good Before and After

I’m a huge sucker for clickbait of most kinds- cute animals are my kryptonite- but the thing that gets me most? Transformation. Like, the bad kind. I’m talking about the guy from Sweden who spent like $60,000 to turn himself into that dragon lady from ‘Fantasy’. People like that are seriously messed up. I get that she’s attractive, but as a guy you’re never going to be a perfect likeness. And like…she has dragon scales on her face. Even if you become a perfect copy of this person- which is a weird thing to begin with- people are still going to cross the street every time you go out in public.

I just don’t think I could handle that. I mean, back in the days before anti wrinkle treatments here in Melbourne were as good as they are now, you used to hear horror stories. Women who were trying to get rid of their wrinkles on a budget, so they’d go along to shady salons in dark alleyways and pay what was probably still way too much for treatments that would make them look horrible. Or they’d work at first, but the wrinkles would appear in a few hours. There was a story about it in ‘Girl Mag’, where someone had dermal fillers and anti wrinkle treatments and went to a party. In the MIDDLE of the party, her face just started melting. Not painfully, but there was this time-lapse photo of it happening and it was SO bizarre. She never showed her face in public again.

Man, thank goodness things are better now. I think they really cracked down on all the illegal stuff going on, so now if you get laser hair removal in Melbourne or whatever, it’s pretty much legit. And it works. Jury’s out on if you try to mold your face to look like a fictional character, though.

-Nessa

Fictional Aluminium Abuse

Well, it’s finally here. The legendary team up between the Garble heroes, all coming together to create the Defenders. I’m not a fan of people who go around smashing guitars, but I have to admit that the character dynamics were very well-written. The way they portrayed the main characters and their hatred for all forms of rock music was sort of compelling. I suppose it’s the mark of a good director to take an issue you don’t agree with and get you to see the other side of the coin, mostly through snappy dialogue and slick action scenes. I’m fairly impressed.

Although…the one thing that really gets me is how the main bad guys were completely dead set on getting their hands on a stockpile of aluminium toolboxes. Look, I might not be some kind of aluminium scholar, or a historian, but this bothers me for a couple of reasons. This series is set in the present day, and aluminium as a material hasn’t been around for that long. I see a lot of older people in the profession who haven’t made the jump to aluminium yet; they’re still using iron, or just wooden boxes. They’re in the minority, but it’s telling that they’re still alive and aren’t using a whole plethora of aluminium accessories.

So that part of the plan was weird. Like, a bunch of ninjas just want to break through a wall and get their hands on some toolboxes. That’s nice, I guess, but it took me right out of the action. Oh, and it turns out that they just didn’t want to destroy the city. Them breaking through the wall was just going to release a lot of unpleasant smell that would drift upwards and make it so that nobody wants to live in Melbourne any more.

It was all a bit weird. Like, the series was all about rock ‘n roll ninjas, and then it was about the bad guys and their lust for quality gas bottle holders and roof racks and bars, because they, like…worship aluminium or something? I’d rather stick with the real thing, to be honest.

Climbing Ladders, Scrubbing Graffitti

“If a lot of people loved each other, the world would be a better place to live.”

That’s a weird bit of graffiti, but you find all sorts when you’re pounding the streets. I have to admit, this job is a lot more fun that I thought it was going to be, as terrible as it sounds. Volunteering my weekends to clear up the streets? Didn’t sound at all like the type of thing I’d do. But then, I wasn’t doing much of anything, having no job at the moment. My friends don’t really go out much, so my weekends were dead as dead can be. Had to fill my time somehow, so I let my housemate rope me into volunteering.

Actually, scrubbing away grime and graffiti can be oddly satisfying. The only thing I haven’t got used to yet are the folding platform steps. Some of that stuff can be pretty high up- apparently teenagers have jet packs now, or something?- and the team has a few pieces of scaffolding and platforms they set up to get to that stuff. I’m not exactly afraid of heights, but when you have to climb them with cleaning equipment and stay up there, not looking down the whole time…it’s a bit nerve-racking. I’m not used to it, I guess.

Still, you get the nicest looks and comments from people in the community. We stopped work entirely for a few minutes yesterday as an old lady came by and gave us a positive rant on why there needed to be more people like us, cleaning up the streets. Then she came back with cinnamon rolls for everyone, so that was awesome. A busker with a clarinet came and set up next to the scaffolding the other day, so we were serenaded while we worked (and yep, he was actually pretty good).

And then I’ve met new people, which is always good. People who actually know how to set up aluminium work platforms and climb them efficiently. It’s an art, apparently. I’ll get there.

-Heather

House-hunt on coffee

Do orange leaves taste like orange? I mean…you have to assume they do, right? I’ve never tried it, but I feel like I need to get on that right away, just like I need to get on that laundry right away, and the fact that I haven’t yet done a sixteen-mile-run today is just insane. Insanity. Absolute madness.

I’m such a twitchy weirdo when I drink too much coffee, and I really should know it by now, but I don’t. I just want to do all the things, which is good in some ways because my productivity goes through the roof, but in many ways it’s bad because it feels like I’m running on energy I don’t really have and I talk at the speed of a bullet train.

Have I done my taxes? When birds who live on the equator migrate, do they go north or south, or do they mix it up every year? You’d want to keep it fresh, I feel. Oh, I need to contact the conveyancer in Collingwood! See, I never would’ve thought of that in my normal state, but right now it’s like I’ve drunk a gallon of smart juice. Like, productivity juice. So… ‘liquid super…doing-stuff’. That’s what this is. Basically we’ve been meaning to contact the conveyancer for ages to get the house move started but it just seems like so much hassle. I mean, I know you contact a conveyancer because you want things to be easier, but it still means you’re submitting yourself to going into an office, submitting paperwork, signing a lot of things and visiting homes, which my wife loves but I don’t usually. At the moment I’d be SPRINTING from place to place because I need to get rid of all this excess energy. I don’t know, I think I slept too well and the coffee was too strong, so I’ve been turned into the twitchy weird version of me who actually wants to get things done. Maybe this is a new life hack.

I just called the conveyancer in Highett, and Eltham, and Mentone, AND Collingwood, because it’s good to cover all the bases, right?? Wherever we decide to buy we’ll have a conveyancer with us. Maybe I should call some more conveyancers because I’m on a roll. Wow, yeah, what was IN that coffee blend?

-Alun

The skill of garden designs

Do you want to know my favourite thing about garden landscaping? It’s that I don’t have to do it myself. Seriously, it’s wonderful, because I have no skills in design or gardens, and I kill every plant I’ve ever had ever. It’s sad, but that’s life. Or death, as the case may be. But in this, I don’t feel a twinge of uncertainty. It’s just ‘ring ring, hello, landscape architecture place that varies depending on what I need done, oh hi, can you come and make my garden pretty for me?’.

I’d feel bad about doing that for gardening proper. Gardeners probably spend half their lives picking through people’s outdoor areas, grumbling to themselves that the person in the house probably has plenty of time, so why are they being so lazy? I’m not lazy, I just tend to kill plants when I touch them. If it got any worse it would qualify as a condition. But I’m terribly proud, so I don’t want anybody to know about my hidden weakness. I can’t stand the thought of being judged from the outdoors. But with gardening…things are different. It’s not like I’m going to put in climbing roses on my own. Who even does that by themselves? It’s an extremely specific skill. Or if I wanted to plant some other roses, or install a vegetable patch. Nobody does these things for themselves as far as I can tell. A landscaper doesn’t sit outside their home and tut to themselves that they could just be doing this without aid. I can’t do that stuff without aid, and they know it. Everybody knows it, and thus I’m completely justified.

I’m totally fine with the idea of letting someone else planting my gladiolus. I can’t be expected to lay down retaining wall blocks when Melbourne has others who would do it so much more beautifully. I have fingernails to maintain. And thanks to this scheme, I can maintain both those and my dignity. Win-win!

The Function Of The Year, Probably

This year my company has been giving the honour of hosting the annual industry awards night. It is not that much of an honour, in fact, every year we try to avoid being chosen because of all the stress that comes with arranging it. My first task is to find a function venue accessible from Melbourne CBD in which to host the awards. It has to be pretty big, have an alcohol licence and not cost too much money. As well as finding the venue we also have to arrange the night’s proceedings including all the food and alcohol and design the awards segment. It may sounds like a big deal, but it is actually an exceptionally niche industry so it tends to be a fairly repetitive affair.

There are only five companies in all of Australia that produce video games, so the annual awards night is a bit sad where it should be fun. Anyway I think finding a suitable corporate function venue in Melbourne will be easy enough. I just really don’t want to write the opening speech, normally it is full of the same old gags and calling out the boss for his antics, I don’t think I can bring myself to follow the usual pattern.

I’m just going to stick with the boring and safe option of welcoming everyone, telling them they look wonderful and wishing them an enjoyable evening. I may get heckled for not making industry insider jokes but then at least I won’t have to live with myself for sinking to their level. At least I was in charge so I could find a nice corporate venue and order far too much food on the company card. I’m hoping it will be a fun night. We might even get a chance to do some ice hockey if I manage to book the skating arena as the venue for the event.

Even the Plumbers Are Metro

Alright, 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 Melbourne based drain unblocking 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 nice to know that can hire someone to take care of the water jet drain clearing. Melbourne plumbers are available 24 hours a day in case of an emergency, well some of them anyway.  There’s a chance I’ll also get someone who speaks my language which will be a big help!