Long overdue upgrades to the TV antenna

TV antenna MelbourneIt’s that time of the year again, time to head up to the communications building to find out why we’re having problems. I have to go up there way too often, I don’t know why nobody answers my calls when I try to ring them. It has become a regular monthly trek to find out their latest excuse. The head of the department was supposed to contact a Melbourne antenna installation business to help us with our connectivity issues. The plan was to replace the existing satellite which was aged terribly with a top of the line modern antenna. The new antenna will hopefully allow us to connect with other school instead of having to rely on the existing network. The current satellite at the top of the building doesn’t work the way it should, all it seems to do is point visitors towards the communications building.

It has been on the blink for years, I had half a mind to head up there to try and fix it myself. I’ve been getting into DIY a lot lately. I spent an entire evening reading the DIY blogs of ‘Mr Risk’ and following his exploits. The man has done some  interesting stuff in his time in the DIY world. I don’t think I’m quite qualified to fix the TV antennas, Melbourne has experts in the field that I can call on for that. I’m not sure if the antenna people are going to install a new satellite dish or they’re leave the existing one there. It’s a good thing we have a rainy day fun, being dean of the school means I have to make tough decisions. I had the soccer coach come to my office asking for emergency funds to paint the dead grass areas of the soccer pitch green, I turned him down. I get request like that all the time, I have to weigh up our wants versus our needs. We need this antenna issue fixed asap.

The Deforestation Begins!

Melbourne tree cuttingThis is it. My nerves can’t take any more. I’ve just had a Week of Our Lives binge and I’m feeling totally frizzled. Frazzled to the max, one might say.

Of course, I should’ve expected something like this with the season 47 finale, because they’ve been building up hints for the entire season that Kellie was bad news and she had a massive secret. As it turned out…she WAS bad news! Who could’ve seen it coming!

Her secret plan was to woo Raul into marrying her, which gave her a 25% share in the Melbourne tree removal industry. Afterwards she managed to worm her way up to the higher levels, becoming a tree pruning expert to enact her ultimate plan: the complete deforestation of ‘Realsville’. When Kellie was a child she was bitten by a bull ant, and she’s secretly hated nature ever since. Of course, this put her in direct opposition to Lira, who runs the local mysticism shop and worships trees. Everyone thinks Lira is nuts, and to be fair, there was that time she invited everyone to a barbecue and served up her sautéed possum in gum-nut juice.

But also, Lira knew from the start that Kelsie was trouble, and not just because of the mysterious arsonist who kept trying to burn down the shop. Apparently Lira talked to the trees, and they told her of Kelsie’s plan to summon a host of Melbourne tree pruning professionals. And then it was revealed that this contravenes the deforestation act anyway, which Kelsie failed to look up because she was too busy making Raul and the entire population love her.

They finished on a cliffhanger in which Kelsie has just told Raul she never loved him, leaving him to be crushed by a falling tree. Meanwhile, Lira has met with the tree removal people, who’ve confirmed that yeah, you can’t just remove all the trees in an area, that’s illegal, and now Kelsie is armed with a blowtorch and planning to burn everything. And Fergie might be late for her date with Brendan because she’s locked herself out of the house and can’t apply her lucky perfume!

What happens next?

-Leticia

A Game…About a Plumber?

24 hour emergency plumberDay 22 in the game design office. It’s not exactly what I expected, though maybe I inflated my expectations somewhat…like, I had it in my head that we’d just be playing games all day, and occasionally someone would say something like ‘oh hey, we should make a game’ and someone else would be like ‘a mole with a bazooka that has to find seven sapphire gems to save the underground mole kingdom from the clutches of a crocodile with magical powers who is also evil, boom done’, and then we’d go back to playing some games.

Maybe I missed that golden hay-day, because now it’s all about the work. Work, work, all the time…

And then there are the idiots. Now, I get the role of plumbers, I really do. I think all of Melbourne’s emergency plumbers deserve some kind of medal for getting up at 4am to fix our disgusting pipe problems, and I was recently made aware of this by the fact that it happened to me. Shaving over the sink…it’ll never happen again. But then some guy today at the idea generation board meeting suggested that we make a game and have the main character as a plumber. Not a game about plumbing, mind you. Just your average adventure…starring a plumber.

Okay first, no. People want heroes who are relatable everymen, and not everyone has been to TAFE to learn how to unblock drains and replace pipes. And then it’s almost an insult to the plumbing profession. Like, how many plumbers have you seen who shoot ice-balls and slide under things to kill them? Why would you even use a plumber for that, anyway? Makes no sense. Also, there’s a very similar game concept out there right now, and NO ONE wants to get sued.

Let’s leave Melbourne’s plumbing services to their own jobs, instead of creating games with unrealistic expectations. Sort of like the ones I had regarding this job.

-Terrence

The Old Mail Tale of Conveyancing

Don’t you just love old mail? Like, mail from the person who used to live in the place before you. I know I’m not supposed to open it, but I get so curious. Sometimes they have dire warnings on the outside, and I just have to think…ooh. THIS could really enrich my day! And besides, it’s being delivered to my address, so technically that makes it mine, plus the fact that I don’t know who any of these people are. You know how it is, when curiosity gets the better of you!

Anyway, so, got a nice little something recently. These people must’ve been moving home at the time….which makes sense, because they don’t live here anymore. Anyway, they got a letter, some Collingwood conveyancing firm asking them to confirm some documents. All very clerical, but that wasn’t the interesting part. No, the best part was the fact that I’ve kept every bit of mail I’ve ever received, pinned to the wall of the study in alphabetical order. Shush, that’s a very normal thing to do! Mail is important, and you have to get yourself a decent filing system or things just fall to pieces.

No, the best thing was that I was able to piece together an entire narrative, from before they decided to sell and then after they got in touch with the conveyancing people to organise it all. I like to imagine that they’re here, reading the mail and planning their house sale accordingly. The husband was called Bruce, he wanted to go with some conveyancing in Elwood, but Eleanor said that it was too far away from her work and I could tell when I was going through their trash (this was before they moved) that their baby was going through a troubled phase.

So eventually they went through, and…well, the rest is history. Aren’t people fascinating?

-Cletus

Those Who Can’t Teach Fix Nets

soccer nettingThose who can’t teach, teach P.E. Yeah, very funny…not like I haven’t heard it all. The sad thing is, I’m not just one of those sporty people who happens to also like teaching. I really hate exercise, sport, fitness, nutrition…in fact, you could say that I’m against them. Life was made to be enjoyed, and work aside, the best way to do that is by eating what you like and never exercising, because exercise is for idiots who wants to run themselves into the ground.

But still…I teach P.E. Life has a funny way of just working itself out in ironic ways. I never would’ve even gone to a cricket game when I was younger, but now I’m looking at indoor cricket nets and wondering how they’d fit in the gym. I guess you can just look at this like it’s a typical job, like…data entry. People entering data don’t really care about the company, what its offshore holdings are or what their quarterly profits are shaping up to be. Nope, you just do your job and don’t complain. So here I am…looking at cricket nets. I guess there’s a small amount of gratification to be had from telling people to exercise when you yourself don’t actually have to. I’ve literally made a career out of watching other people exercise, with the perfect excuse to never join in myself. It’s better than being in an office, because the way my friends tell it, there’s all this pressure to join in gym sessions and other unsavoury stuff. Nope, no thanks. Teachers are mostly hard-working folk who like to go home at the end of the day with piles of marking and not think too much about strenuous exercise, let alone pressuring other people into doing it.

Actually, all this talk of nets has reminded me that the soccer nets over on the third oval were eaten by birds recently. Of course that would be THE furthest oval away. Like…so far away. I’m feeling tired just thinking about walking all the way over there.

-Mace

We Booked a Stylist…?

home staging expertI’m 32 and my memory is going. It’s always been like a sieve, I suppose…shouldn’t be surprised that it’s vanishing now like morning mist. Still, it’s lead to some embarrassing situations over the last few weeks, especially since we’re selling our home and that’s always a leading cause of unnecessary stress. Stress makes it worse, I’m fairly sure.

Okay, so our home is a bit…vintage. It’s nice enough, but it was built about 40 years ago and you can really tell from the décor. Funky wallpaper, basically. We were having trouble selling, so we turned to a property stylist Melbourne real estate agents recommended to us. Took me a week to remember to make the call, and then I wasn’t there when they actually came along. I came back from work, walked into the house and found a complete stranger doing what I thought was insulting my chandelier, which happens to be the one vintage thing in the home I sort of don’t mind.

So then I gave them what for, asking who the heck they thought they were coming in and telling us that we needed to change the way we were living. That’s when Glen gently reminded me that we’d booked a property stylist, and I died a little bit inside from intense, searing-hot embarrassment. I just started almost yelling at someone for doing what we hired them to do. At this point I expect that the estate agent is going to come to the door and I’ll tell them in a huff that we never wanted to move. Or maybe we’ll have an open day, go out while they’re showing people around and I’ll freak out because I’ll see signs of people being in the house. Glen has been great through the whole thing, but he’s not psychic; he can’t tell when I’m about to forget something!

And then we’ll end up following the advice of the home staging expert, the furniture will shift, the wallpaper will change and maybe I’ll walk down the stairs one morning and wonder if I’m in the right house. I really need to start taking medication, or something

-Addi

Plate Alloy or True Love?

alloy plate boat buildTrue love is hard. Don’t listen to all those songs that tell you it’s a cinch, or that you just fall in love with someone and it’s all sorted between the two of your forever. No, love is hard and sad, and sometimes one-sided which makes it even more sad. It’s alright, but I personally prefer the company of pets. Until I meet the right girl. But what IS the right girl’? WHO is the right girl?? It’s a mystery.

Love means sacrifice, and I don’t know if I’m ready to part with my stuff. I like my car the way it is, the dog is okay I guess…and then there’s the boat. The finest alloy plate boat money can buy; or at least, the money I had at the time after I scrimmaged and saved throughout all my teen years and finally managed to buy that thing. I did the research, had my heart set on plate alloy and finally, I was able to buy myself a boat for…well, boat stuff. Sometimes I go fishing, but my favourite thing is to just push it out on the lake, set up a beach umbrella and let the world’s cares float away. No more cares. No more, when I’m sitting in Juniper…

Oh, and Juniper is the name of the boat, partially because she’s green and I thought she needed a leafy name, and partially because I just love the name. Maybe a name for a daughter, if I ever make it that far. Of course, the GF wants the boat gone most of all. She doesn’t quite see things the way I do, which here means that she sees Juniper as a threat. I keep trying to explain that most boats have female names, and it doesn’t mean I’ll be out of the house for that long (just the necessary me time!), but it’s not working. This plate aluminium boat is the number one threat. I need a hiding place.

-Patrick

Sister is dealing with carpet stains

carpet stain removalOf course I love my sister with all of my heart, but this little story is just too good to not share. I hope that she doesn’t recognise it, names have been changed and minor detailed altered to protect her identity. Who am I kidding, this is generation ‘ME’,  she’ll love the attention. The whole event revolves around my sister trying to move out of her rental house. The landlord would not give back her bond money before he kept finding things wrong with the cleaning. My dear sister has neglected to tell anyone in the family that she moving until the last minute, even though she had known for a while.

I’m not exactly sure what she does with her time, but apparently it doesn’t involve cleaning. The rental house was a chaotic mess, it looked like she had never vacuumed the carpet. Underneath a large pile of old socks and food containers I found a large stain on the floor that looked like it was growing a colony. I was adamant that there was no way we could do this without help from serious tile and grout cleaners. Melbourne was freezing that week, it didn’t help that we had all the doors open to let the place air.

After swimming through the junk to the door and spilling outside I began to clean. Three miserable hours later and I could swear we were actually losing ground against the mess. I told her that it wouldn’t pass inspection, she insisted on getting the landlord to check. He took one look at the state of the place and laughed, there was no way she was getting her bond back anytime soon. A few hours pass and each time the landlord comes over, he gives the same answer, that it isn’t good enough. Finally I convince my sister that we need an expert in carpet steam cleaning in Melbourne. She finally relented and called up carpet cleaning experts to sort it all out. The house was still a huge mess at this point, but true to their word they cleaned the carpet perfectly. I have never seen any carpet cleaning crew work like they did. I love the fact that Melbourne has their own dedicated carpet cleaning company, I am even more impressed that we finally got the bond back.

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