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.


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?


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!

Our growing family home

Triplets. Wow. First time, and that’s what we end up getting. I guess it’s better than having a set of twins, deciding that you want one more baby and THEN getting triplets. You wanted three kids? Well, stuff all of your plans, here’s two more! Package deal!

I’m over the moon of course, even though it’s more than I was expecting. I guess we’ll just have to tackle the challenge head-on, just like any new parents. Still…going to need some more research on this. Funnily enough, all those articles we read only dealt with handling your first child, not your first three children. Oh, and then there are the names. We have to think of two more now.

The baby’s room is now also the babies’ room…do we need to move? Daryl at work has all those connections with conveyancers in Richmond, maybe we need to make use of that. We could swing it right now, and it’ll be fine as they’re just young, but I’m not expecting three teenagers to share a room. And unless we convert that tiny study into another bedroom and make them draw straws to decide who gets the privacy, that’s all the space we’re going to be having. Heck, yeah…we WILL have to move house. Mum and Dad said having a child would change our lives, but I didn’t expect we’d basically be forced out of our home because we had too many kids. But then, I guess them being teenagers is a long way away when they’re not even born yet. Maybe we would’ve had three kids by that point and we’d have to move anyway. Moral of the story here is never take anything for granted, because you’re probably going to need more room.

So yeah…gonna have to talk to Daryl about that conveyancer situation. He’ll know someone good we can use. Honestly, I don’t think we can be picky about where we arel might have to move somewhere inland, like Carnegie. Conveyancers are good there too, probably. Three kids at once, though…wow. Life changing indeed.

Push for Gardens in Schools

It has come to my attention that most children grow up playing in what is not much more than a dirt patch in what is proudly proclaimed the ‘Garden State’. Where are the lush green ovals? Where are the fields of wildflowers? Where is the grass? The sad truth is that any wayward corners of garden surviving in a modern day primary school has to be made of tougher stuff than you would think. Trodden on, picked at, and stomped on by drooling preppies and year six graduates alike, the gardens of the playground are certainly put to the test.

Even with the best watering and sprinkling systems, most flowers have a very limited life span. The constant assault from little feet running back and forth for hours on end results in a patchy hard surface of dirt that isn’t exactly ideal for planting.   

That is why I believe Victorian primary schools, and indeed primary schools across Australia should embrace gardeners and put in flowering shrubs. Melbourne residents do not want their children playing in the mud, they want them playing on the grass, and schools should uphold that wish. Melbourne schools deserve better. The benefits of having a beautiful flowering area for children to see every day are numerous.

I have noticed that some local primary schools are embracing this garden idea as an effective and visually appealing way to entice parents to enrol their children. I would hope as time goes on the state as a whole sees the sense behind my sentiment.

Keeping plants alive at the best of times becomes difficult, let alone under the stress of hundreds of children every day. We need gardeners to tend to these plants and flowers and teach the children about botany. The government needs to act, not only to get our children out of the dirt but to implement great cost savings on water and to stop the obscenity of having a dirt oval. Melbourne wake up and smell the hybrid tea roses, it is the future!

Removing a tree to gain a garden

It’s something of a tragedy that these beautiful large gum trees are having to be cut down from no good reason. We never have new tree in our yard, and it was such a pleasant surprise to see these tall trees grow with the family. It was amazing to see my children playing around them, and the youngest praying under the birch of one. It was amazing to behold the awe and wonder in the girl’s faces, as they’d never seen trees that big before. It was a quite a sight and to be honest I’m a little sad that my wife is having to get tree removal, Oakleigh power lines are far too low if you ask me. We need to get some arborists over here to remove them. I mean yes they are taking away from the precious view of the city and have started creeping into the underground pipes. I’m most upset about getting rid of the one that the kids are playing in. They don’t seem to mind but my youngest is having a hard time with it. It will be sad to see them go, but if it must be done. Goodbye dear trees, I will miss your beautiful presence. The smell from sawdust makes me think of home, when my father would chop the firewood and mother and I would sit on the balcony and watch over him. I miss her more everyday that she’s not with us, and not with Father. He needs her now more than ever.

I’m so glad that the tree felling company and tree surgeons gave me such a reasonable quote for the trees trimming. Melbourne has some incredibly old trees scattered across its landscape and they need regular maintenance to keep from becoming a hazard. We have decided to keep one and having it trimmed. Trees help cut down on the oxygen demand by more than 30%, they’re also great for morale. I mean yes, it was my idea, but I need to thank the stump grinding team for giving me the inspiration for it. They did a wonderful job and I want to thank them. Now that we’ve moved to Melbourne we need a beautiful botanical garden, the children will feel better once they have a place to play. I feel about taking away their favourite trees to play in, I want to make it up to them with a hedge maze.

Together Through the Plumbing Crisis

Eight 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 because of the blocked drain. Melbourne has really old sewer pipes, fingers crossed that it’s not 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 it! He 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. I found out that there are 24 hour plumbers in Melbourne who do drain camera inspections. 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.


Part Time Party Planning

My dad told me it would be good for me to get a job. I’ve never had a job and to be honest don’t really see the point but he thinks I should develop my work ethic, whatever that is. He said I should try and think of an innovative way to earn money. I told him I didn’t really need to earn money because I have enough but he said if I didn’t at least try and get a job he would stop giving me money. Anyway I figured I’d give it a go because I do really like money so getting more wouldn’t be a bad thing. My friend Allie used to get paid to take her neighbours kids to the ice skating rink on weekends. It turned out that the Dad was having an affair and just wanted the kids out the house but whatever, money is money. I figured if Allie can get paid to look after kids I could do the same.

I checked out gumtree and found a woman who wanted help planning her kids birthday party. I’m really good at parties, I go to them all the time and people always love inviting me to them so I figured this was kind of the perfect job for me. I mean how different can kids party venues be from adult party venues. I wrote to the woman and told her how much I know about parties and how my dad told me to get a job. She replied pretty quickly and said she wants to meet me to talk through some ideas. My first client! I told her that I bill by the hour and my going rate is $150. She hasn’t replied yet but fingers crossed! I told dad the whole story and he was super proud of me so he told me not to worry about the job, he would pay me the same wage and I could take his credit card on my shopping spree! Sometimes a little effort is all it takes!