All Those Work Platforms, and No Way to Get the Goss

aluminium platformsEllie is at it again. Whose idea was it that she start learning the saxophone, anyway? Aside from the Irish tin whistle and the bagpipes, it’s possibly the most irritating instrument to hear someone learning to play. And then there’s the violin. The squeaky, offensive violin that gives me the saddest of feelings.

Besides, while Ellie is ‘playing’ I can’t hear the neighbours, and hearing the neighbours is one of my favourite things. Now that Rufus needs picking up from school, the amount of time I can spend with my ear pressed to the wall has dropped considerably. Time was when I could merrily kick back once Ellie had toddled off down the road, cup of tea in hand, and listen through our paper-thin walls to all their problems. This morning, for instance, I heard that they’re having workmen in. Explains all the aluminium platforms, but apparently someone has been getting a bit tipsy in the evenings and playing darts. This doesn’t quite justify why their house front is covered in planks and trestles, but it does explain why they had the plaster person over. Ooh, I can’t wait to tell Rita, she’ll think this is the juiciest piece ever!

Except all those platforms are still there, and I almost managed to catch a conversation after I picked up the kids from school when Ellie started practising her saxophone. Instantly, all noise was deadened. I can’t tell her to stop, either; Lance aid it was all great for her ‘cognitive development’, and of course I want my children to grow up as clever clogs. But what about MY cognitive development?? I can’t get all the gossip with a such a noise going on!

Now I have to walk past the house several times, seeing all those aluminium work platforms and wondering what on Earth they’re for. I’d just ask, but I can’t stand the people next door. Maybe Rita and I will have to work together for this scoop. Oh, and THERE’S the saxophone again…

-Belinda

I Guess it’s the Quiet Life…

Sorrento pest controlYears later and I’m still adjusting to being a ‘normal person’. That’s the thing about being celebrity: it brings you up so high, high above the clouds…and when you come crashing down, you break into a thousand little pieces.

I’m talking in my old song lyrics again, which my therapist says is a subconscious coping mechanism. Only a few years ago, everyone in Australia knew my name and face! I was Shara, the singer with only a first name (all the best ones do) who smashed all the records and sold out concerts everywhere. How quickly people forget.

I’m hardly even recognised any more. I just moved into a two-storey home in Sorrento, finally accepting that maybe the quiet life was for me. I keep batting my eyelashes at the people in the supermarket, and it’s not having any effect. Just yesterday I had to call in Sorrento pest control, and I thought them being in the same house as me would surely do it. All that time, and they’d eventually recognise the famous Shara! I was at the very top of the charts, ahead of the rest of the game! I couldn’t even walk down the street without someone asking for my autograph. I was partying in Ibiza, providing hit songs for blockbuster movies, being invited to premieres. Surely these pest control people would catch on! But it seems I’ve fallen farther into obscurity than I realised. They dealt with my ant problem in record time and moved on with nothing more than a slight, lingering glance.

That’s my life now. All those adoring fans, replaced with a small glance of confusion. I still have my fan club, which keeps me going…but there are so few of them left. Suppose I better get used to the quiet life, and at least I’m still fabulously wealthy from all the concert tickets and CDs sold. I don’t have to worry about termite inspections from Mornington and beyond, either. Although before I never lived in places that needed termite control so…mine is a sad story indeed.

-Shara

Treat yourself Tuesday

eyebrow tattooingWelcome, ladies and gentlemen, to ‘treat yourself’ Tuesday. I know it’s been gaining popularity over the last few months, but let’s be honest here, self-care never really goes out of style. But for all of you out there who are obsessed with putting the needs of others before yourself – I am here to help. It’s time to stop letting other people trample you into the ground, stand up for yourself! Tell the people who take you for granted that you are a person, and you have needs. Trust me, you’ll be amazed at the difference it can make to your quality of life.

If you’re unsure about all of this, then just take it slow. On a Tuesday (or any day of the week, really, just remember to do it nice and regularly) do something for you. Grab a massage, take yourself out for lunch, spend time on you.

One of my self-loving butterflies, Gloria, recently wrote in to tell me about her amazing self-care journey. She was feeling old and tired and one day, she finally snapped. She booked herself for a 4 o’clock session at a cosmetic surgeon’s office and walked out of there with the best lip fillers in Bendigo. Since that day, once a year, she’s done something momentous for herself. Something that she would be able to take with her forever, that would make life so much simpler and easier that she’d hardly recognise herself. Laser eye surgery, laser hair removal, eyebrow tattooing – Bendigo has no better champion of meeting your needs. In a way that never hurts or harms anyone, Gloria has become an expert at putting herself first, and honestly, we can all learn a valuable lesson from her. I know I certainly have – keep the good work up darling!

And of course, if any of you want to share your transformation with the world, please write in to me. I always love to hear about everything my precious readers are up to. Until next time!

The limits of a handyman

drain inspections MelbourneI’ve always considered myself pretty handy around the house. If an appliance or something decides to break down, I can usually fix it. I can seal windows, fix leaky taps, get the heating up and running again. My dad was a world class tinkerer and he over the years he taught me more or less everything he knows. So, the majority of the time, when something goes wrong around the house, I make it my mission to fix it. At this point, it’s a bit of a matter of pride. So when something started to go wrong with our drains, I did what I would usually do and started on them myself.

After a week or so of trawling through the interwebs and slowly coming to the conclusion that, in this matter, I was out of my depth, I went to my second point of call and gave my dad a ring. We put our heads together and spent an afternoon trying to understand the problem and work out a solution, but to no success. Here is where things got a little painful. I know that I am perfectly capable of doing the simple things on my own, I’ve never had any need to call a drain cleaning company in Melbourne, for example. I’m perfectly capable of fixing something like that. But for something bigger, like any kind of involved repair job, I have to say I don’t have confidence in my own abilities. Particularly with something like the drains, as well. I feel like, if I make a mistake, we might get into real trouble.

So, despite my wounded pride, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m going to need to call someone about getting a drain repair job in Melbourne. There just doesn’t seem to be any other real option available to me.

Dreaming of a weekend in Lorne

Victoria conference venuesYou know when you’re anticipating something, and it’s so close, and then it just becomes unbearable in those last few minutes/hours/days or whatever? Like, you’re at a restaurant and you’ve just ordered after being hungry all day, and even though you know your food is just minutes away you somehow feel ravenous enough to eat the tablecloth. That’s how I feel now. I need a holiday so badly…like, so badly I feel like I should just pack my bags and pay obscene amounts just so I can fly away. I guess one of my more specific fantasies involved driving along a beach road with the top of the car down and my hair buffeting in the glorious wind. So yeah, I’m not actually quitting my job and moving to a tropical island, that’s off the table, but it’s fine. I like to look up holiday destination in my lunch break, especially when I’m feeling ultra-good. I saw this add for regional Victoria conference venues and got curious about the great ocean road hotels.

Unfortunately, no one wants to hear my travel plans, even though it’s some of the greatest destination on the planet. I did manage to plan myself a nice little escape to Lorne. But it’s still a few days away, and I’m wishing that I just hadn’t looked at photos of the beautiful beaches at all.
My current life is fine, it’s alright, but it has none of the excitement promised from my upcoming lorne luxury accommodation. I saw a video of the beaches and I almost passed out. That’s how I’ve been passing the time, by daydreaming of sun and surf. The luxury apartment has a giant bed AND a hot tub. The view…oh boy, the view is postcard perfect. It’s the kind of view you leave the windows open at night for. Two weeks? I can’t wait that long!

Moving further away

24 hour plumberFar out. How is that, even when you move interstate to escape your insane parents, they don’t get the message and just ring you for even the littlest thing? It seems completely unfair. It’s not like they don’t know how much I hate it, either. When I left home, it was because we’d had an enormous fight, but the second their air conditioning unit breaks down, they were on the phone to me, expecting me to drop everything and race over.

Sorry to break it to you, mum and dad, but that’s not really how things work anymore. Now I’m my own person, I left to get away from your tyranny, I don’t owe you any favours. Apparently, just moving out of home wasn’t enough to send a clear messages, so to push it a little further, I moved out of the state.

Okay, this decision wasn’t purely a result of overbearing parents, there were a lot of other factors at play, but their constant neediness definitely made moving that little bit more appealing. But as it happens, no.

No, moving away hasn’t meant that they stop trying to get me to solve their problems, it only means I have to do that remotely. Have you ever tried explaining to a Melbourne plumber that, although you live in Perth, your parents in Melbourne need their drain serviced? Because, apparently, neither one of them is capable of just picking up the phone themselves.

What’s even worse is that, because my parents have absolutely no boundaries and insist that I live at their beck and call, this whole conversation went on at three in the morning. To be honest, I feel sorry for the fantastic team of 24 hour plumbers in Melbourne that had to deal with me while I was that annoyed and sleep-deprived.

I love my parents, I do, but at this point, never speaking to them again would feel like a blessing.

Style tricks of the property trade

house styling companyA while ago my partner and I decided to sell up and move to Bali. We ended up getting major post holiday blues whenever we returned from trips there, so at the end of our last holiday we decided we had to make the move and turn our holiday destination into our home! The biggest thing for us to deal with was selling our house in Melbourne. As we would both be earning far less money in Bali we really wanted to maximize the value of our house before it went to auction. We actually decided to go with a property staging company as they send in interior stylists and totally transform the place to appeal to buyers. It’s crazy how having some trendy minimal furniture can add a few zeros to the selling price.

The best thing was we were able to put all our shabby second (aka seventh) hand furniture into storage while the interior designers brought in scandinavian inspired minimalist wares. We ultimately planned on selling everything, including all our furniture, our car, even most of our clothes. But we figured, we should sell our house first and to a different crowd that would be more interested in forking out for it than the crowd that would want to buy our second hand records. The house styling company in Melbourne was amazing. They worked with us to build on the space in our house and they even looked at the demographic of potential buyers in the area and modelled the house according to what they wanted to see. Our lounge room was transformed into a kid friendly entertainment space, and the spare bedroom we used to keep all our hiking gear became a perfect nursery for a baby! We managed to get nearly 10% over our asking price when it came to auction day!

Doing my homework

conveyancing lawyersI know this may sound a little weird, but to be honest, I’m actually really excited to be meeting with my conveyancing lawyers. Melbourne has a lot of different conveyancing companies that offer different kinds of things, and to be honest I’ve heard about some pretty horrific experiences. A friend of mine had to actually part ways with the group she was working with, they were so out of touch. So when I had to go through this whole process, I have to say, I was nervous.

Obviously, there are a lot of things that can go wrong when you buy a new house. I know, that’s a pretty mindset to have, and I know that good things come to you if you send out positive vibes into the universe, but I’m just trying to be realistic here. I’m a practical person, and so I wanted to approach every inch of this whole process thinking clearly and logically. So I did the sensible thing and I asked around. I Googled late into the late, waded my through endless forums and advice blogs until I had a solid idea of what was going to work best for me.

Since I’m moving into Brighton, it made sense to work with a conveyancing company in Brighton, but that didn’t mean I wanted to settle for quality. I wanted the best of the best to guide me through this minefield of a process, I wanted to work with a team that I knew I could trust. So I called around and actually talked to the people behind the websites, played hard-to-get until I talked to somebody I actually liked.

After all that, it’s finally time to meet with them and put faces to names. I’ve probably done my homework a little too thoroughly this time around, I realise that, but I really just want the best outcome possible. I want everything to go smoothly – is that really so crazy?

For the love of hippeastrums

dahliasIt’s here. It’s finally almost here. The coming of spring means that is finally time for the Annual Suburban Garden competition!

I know, I know, it probably isn’t too interesting to most people out there, but my goodness, I positively live for it. I’ve won in my area for, oh I don’t know now, the three out of the past five years, but I’ve never made it through to the next round. Well, this year is my year. I’ve already worked out what pattern I’m going to go with and the colour scheme I’m going to splash onto my blank canvas of a garden. This year, I really need to raise the stakes. I have to source the finest dahlias from around the state – nothing but the best will do for my garden.

I realise it’s all supposed to be entirely confidential, to preserve the integrity of the competition, but a friend of mine on the judging panel told me I lost out to Ms. Matilda Clark on Elm St. I went to have a look at her garden, after all, I wanted to see who I’d lost out to. While the pattern and composition of her garden was nothing spectacular, it was the quality of her sonatini hippeastrums that led to the most incredible hyacinths I have seen in a long time. It wasn’t the grooming of the hyacinths that was remarkable, but rather the quality of the flower itself, something determined almost entirely by its merits as a bulb. This is why it is absolutely paramount that, this year, my tulip bulbs are of a superior quality to Ms. Clark’s. Short of sabotage, the only thing I can do is find the best tulip bulbs for my garden. Which is precisely what I mean to do.

Accepted into a game design course

So I was at my book club on Wednesday, telling Sandrine all about my children (everyone loves hearing about my children!) and she said something that made me pause. I was just saying that my son Jimmy is now off on his own, since he was accepted into that prestigious Melbourne video game design course. So prestigious! He got a scholarship and everything! Anyway, I just casually mentioned that sometimes I called Jimmy up and asked for computer tips, because he’s into all that silly business.

Well, you’d think that I’d said that I don’t peel potatoes before mashing them, by the way that Sandrine reacted. She went on a diatribe about how I should never, ever ask my kids about computers. They have a sacred right to go through life without older people asking for advice, and when we do, we’re just dragging them down. Apparently it’s one of the great parental sins, although also one that’s often transgressed.

Well…I never even consider it. And Sandrine usually has such wonderful ideas, but this one just goes way over the line. All I want is to know how to change my screensaver so it’s a picture of Mittens, and not those awful race cars that Danny likes so much. Or there was that one time when I needed Jimmy to tell me to remember to plug the desktop in because that was the reason it turned off. Why can’t it just hold a bit of power? My phone holds about a day’s worth of charge…why not a computer?

So anyway, I’m going to do my own research into this, because I think it’s a parental right to ask questions of your super smart kids doing swanky IT courses. I raised that boy, you know! He owes me the occasional tech support call!