Money pits: I can tell you them all, and I’m only twenty. I moved out of home at eighteen to go to uni, immediately became the main bill-payer/dishwasher/cleaner of our house, because no one else wanted the responsibility. Obviously I needed a car since uni was a 25-minute drive away, so that came along with all the hassle.
All in all, I’ve concluded that most things have the dual purpose of doing what they say on the tin, but also costing you money. Nothing in life is free…and it’s something to keep in mind even in my early twenties. Now I’m in another house, but I’ll always be the responsible one. Greg just broke the shower, probably because he was using it as a mic and got a little bit enthusiastic, so here I am looking up plumbers in Melbourne to help us out. Because it’s my job to fix Greg’s problems, right?
I just paid the water bill, and then Greg goes and brings this plumbing crisis on us all. Water all over the floor, no one can take a shower and we don’t have a bath so that’s not an option either. I had to wash my face with a sponge this morning and that was as good as it got. Greg can’t fix his own mess, since he had to go to work and he works like twelve-hour shifts, but the worst part was that the duties immediately fell to me. Yep, good old reliable me. No arguments over who’d be looking for the plumber; I was even more obvious than the obvious choice.
I’ve let everyone become complacent, clearly. If I left, the other three guys would barely be able to tie their own shoelaces, let alone look around Melbourne for emergency plumbing services. See, this is why I wish we had a landlord. Regular inspections, and services when you need them. As it stands, it’s basically just me.
If the plate alloy boat is too big for your stainless steel snapper rack, it is not yours. No, wait, the other way round.
That’s a good wisdom. One of the best wisdoms, in fact, and something my father used to tell me back when we went on fishing trips in my youth. If only I’d listened, I might not have become an accidental pirate. But that is a story…for right now, here we go.
Now, I love me some fishing. Never had too much time and money to spend on it, but whenever I could I’d gather a bunch of mates and we’d go out on some lake somewhere and have a relaxing time. Just shooting the breeze, not even caring if we caught anything you know? I have a bit of DIY know-how, so once I managed to scrounge for a plate aluminium boat (hey, got to splash on your passions!), I made my own fishing rod holders and welded them on. All good stuff. Finally I managed to get a four-day weekend to myself, and I invited Dave over for a trip. He managed to pry himself away from the missus and we made our way down to the docks, where my boat was waiting.
Or…so I thought. It was really foggy that day, so we chucked our stuff in the boat and set off. I DID think at the time that it was handling really well despite not being able to see much of what was in front of us. It was cold, but we were wrapped up and didn’t care, so we motored down to one of our favourite fishing holes and had a good time as the day warmed up. Well, the warmth got rid of the fog, and I realised…this was not my boat. The snapper racks gleamed like they were top of the range. The motor was brand new and really powerful. This was a plate alloy boat, but…a really good one. I was a pirate.
We had to sneak back to the docks, avoid all the policemen milling about and hide the thing down the jetty before jumping in the car and doing a burnout. So embarrassing…but one to tell the grandkids. That snapper rack was just too big.
OH. MY. DOUBLE GOSH-NESS.
I didn’t think anything could top that mid-season finale. And then the mid-season premiere came out, and wowzers, it’s the biggest doozy that you ever did see. The writers of Week of Our Lives are geniuses, pure and simple. It’s the only way they could possibly keep me so hooked and invested, the ONLY WAY.
Alright, so I need to toss in my predictions, because I’ll feel so smart if I get them all right. So Jamilla has inherited millions from her property tycoon stepfather, and she has her sights set on the Malone family beach villa. She’s so serious that she’s brought in no fewer than seven Melbourne property advocates to help her make the final decision, and they’ve checked out the villa to her personal requirements. Thing is, the Malone family have owned that villa for five generations! It’s a prime piece of real estate and really special to them, because back in season thirty-seven they turned it into a fort and made rudimentary catapults and trebuchets to ward off the money-grubbing land developers who wanted to raze the place and turn it into a theme park for feminists.
‘The Battle of Malone Hill’, they called it. And now they’ve had to watch as the property advocates have combed over the place, declaring that it’s fit to buy. Jamila doesn’t look like she’s letting up, because she holds a deep belief that she’s part mermaid after visiting that druid in Albajeria and she wants to make the beach house a base of operations to establish her ocean kingdom. The only hope is Allan, who owes the Malone family a favour after they bailed him out of that whole ‘duck pole dancing’ incident, and he’s handsome enough to woo Jamilla away from her dreams of conquest. What will happen? Will Melbourne’s property advocates feel a bit cheesed off at their services being required then rejected? Will Johnny overcome his addiction to melted marshmallow fluff in time to run for mayor? SO MUCH GOING ON.
I’m acting, and getting paid for it. I don’t care that it’s low-budget, I don’t care that it’s only a miniseries and I DON’T care that I have to portray a put-upon young mother. I got myself a job, and I’m going to do it so well that it’ll be the crowning piece of my highlight reel.
We just wrapped up on our first day of shooting, and I’m totally exhausted but running on joyful adrenaline. Sure, my ‘makeup’ is actually just designed to make me look tired, put-upon and at the end of my rope, but have you seen the Oscars? They give them out like candy to actors who destroy themselves for fame. And yep, I DO look pretty terrible, so I think this is going to look pretty great in the future when I show it to guys in suits who make dreams come true.
So, this scene. A lot of singing and dancing, and a lot of travel time since it was at some indoor play centre in Jandakot. Where even IS Jandakot? After the plane landed, I had to hitch a lift in the truck carrying all the filming equipment and there was a set of boom mics blocking most of my window, so I have no idea how we got there. Could’ve been Aruba for all I know, but I was glad to get out of there and onto the set. All the people who worked there were really nice, even though they had to give us a full safety demonstration. I suppose dancing in a ball pit is pretty dangerous, and difficult for the record. I went to a dance academy and we never covered how to dance in such a weird environment, so I was sort of making it up as I went along. Still, our choreographer seemed to really like the performance; the appearance of us struggling “really added to the realism.” That’s what playing Sandra is all about, you see…because she’s a new mother struggling to balance her entire life, and sometimes she doesn’t know if she’s coming or going, or dancing around on a climbing frame singing a song about how exhausted she is and how everyone keeps trying to give her well-meaning-yet-conflicting advice.
We’re back tomorrow in Jandakot, birthday party venue primed and ready. Man, this schedule…if it keeps up I won’t even be needing makeup to look exhausted.
I’ve never owned a boat before. Now, all of a sudden I do, and I’ve come to realise that there’s a bit more to it than just pushing it out into the water, rowing for a bit and then tying it to the docks once you’re done. There was something about a sail? Anyway, this is a proper big thing with a motor and a cabin, so it’s way beyond my ability to keep running.
There was this uncle I had back in Albajeria, one I’d never met but heard about quite a bit. Apparently he was pretty pleased that I’d gone on to be a nurse when the rest of my siblings wanted to be businesspeople and make money. The downside? I’m frantically searching for outboard motor servicing in Melbourne somewhere, and I haven’t a clue where to start. Well, apart from the coastal areas, the docks, marinas and places where you’d find boats.
Uncle Byrav must have had a sense of humour, since he rewarded me for not chasing after money…with a massive investment that needs a whole lot of money. I was given an upkeep allowance, but boats are just a bit more complex than cars. I have to get a sailing license, proper gear, keep up with maintenance, pay for a place to keep it once it’s sailed over from Albajeria and probably more things. The list goes on, and on, and on, and I’ve never owned a boat so I just wouldn’t know most of it.
Will the allowance be enough for Melbourne’s anchor winch expenses? Doesn’t matter at this stage. What actually matters is that I don’t know if I’ll even have time to sail. There’s a kid on the way, work keeps me snowed under and I don’t know that many people into sailing. So yeah, great gift, Uncle Byrav. Maybe I’ll just sell it once it gets here. See what you think of that.
So I just saw a movie about giant bugs from outer space that came to our planet to drink all of our salt water, and the brave humans who repelled them with massive cans of bug spray. You know when something straddles the line between serious and spoof? It gets really confusing around Halloween when all these cheesy, intentionally B-Movie movies come out and you’re left wondering what the heck you just watched.
Like, so many questions. Why do the bugs want to drink our salt water? Is it such a bad thing that we let them have a little bit of it? The planet is mostly covered in the stuff, I don’t think there’s a shortage. And why big cans of bug spray, when missiles would probably get the job done? ‘All in all, I think it gave me a new appreciation for people who do pest control. Berwick companies are kept busy this time of year, what with all the damp wood and falling leaves. Bugs get in the house, in the shed, in the…wherever. Though those are normal sized ones, so I really don’t know what all the fuss is about. Like, I saw what those giant bugs did in that scene where all the people were sat around the big conference table and the world leaders were trying to reason with the bug queen. She seemed really interested in the offer of a 2-for-1 deal on saltwater mixed with some delicious Earth-made Wensleydale. I guess they’d travelled a really long way from the reaches of deep space, and they wanted to sample a bit of the cuisine. You know, like you do if you go to Bali, or Beijing. But then things broke down when one of the delegates squashed a spider running across the desk. Bummer.
So yeah, I guess it’s a lesson to all pest control experts in Dromana and wherever. If you don’t get the results you want, remember the distance from the tree at the back of the garden to someone’s house is a great journey, and maybe they just want a bit of the local cuisine. Which is sometimes the food in the cupboards, and sometimes, like…the actual house itself.
Treehouses are nice, but I didn’t want the kids to have anything too ordinary. Maybe I’m just a competitive parent, but I couldn’t stand the thought of them having a few bits of wood tied together by string up in a tree. It’s unsafe, for one thing. And I’ll tell you another; it’s not much of a ‘fort’.
That’s what a treehouse is supposed to be, in my opinion. We always grew up with one in the back garden way out in the country, made of wood, and while it was alright for a time, I got bored quickly. It just didn’t feel like a hidey-hole. More like just another room in the house, with windows big enough for Mum to see what we were doing at all times.
So I’ve gone industrial. Piles of aluminium trestle ladders now fill our back garden, because I’m going to build a fortress that would make supervillains jealous. I’ve even done the calculations, and with the weight I’ll be hefting up there, the oak should be able to support it. In fact, it would support double, and kids certainly don’t weigh anything near that amount. They can have as many friends as they like up there and my engineering skills will make sure it stays. I guess it’s just a really good tree for the project, as well.
Also, I’ve got some really sturdy aluminium ladders and platforms that should get the job done nicely. I’m not about to go for the cheap option; this is as much for me as it is for the kids, so I made some investments! Hopefully they’ll be able to enjoy this tree fortress for years to come, while I can sit in the garden and admire what I’ve built. It’ll be made of aluminium platforms, so a bit hodgepodge, but…I can work with it. We’re going for substance, not style.
Another day, another tourist confused about what there is to do in Perth. Honestly, I’m running out of answers, because there isn’t that much. It’s a lovely place to live, but tourism? Well, you exhaust all the really exciting stuff in the space of one hectic day. Some places are just better to live than visit, I guess.
I do my best, sitting in my information booth and talking to all the British folks who probably wish they were at a theme park in Brisbane, with air conditioning services all around. Even had some lovely conversations, and I especially enjoy the ones where a person really delves into why people want to live in Perth. If it’s monuments and museums you’re after, I can help you to a degree. But why this is a really great city in which to live? That’s something I can go on about for hours. It’s in my blood, you see.
We have air con too, you know, as well as heating. Now THAT’S a good story, and probably our main tourist draw at the moment. The whole heating grid thing has blown over, several times now, but people still come to see what once was. And then they think they’re in for some sort of cooling grid on top of it all. Sorry, folks…we’ve just got regular air conditioning, usually mounted on the wall. See that white thing on the wall behind you? That’s what it looks like for most of Australia.
I guess a real appreciation of the place is essential for a good tourism advisor, even if there’s not that much to do. You want people who truly appreciate the soul of a place rather than just parroting facts, because immersing yourself in a culture is the only way to travel. Just looking at things? Only skimming the surface. Trust me, when I travel, I do it really well. So people often head to Brisbane, air conditioning in Perth not good enough for their tastes I suppose. I think it’s fine. And there’s lots to do if you want a really full day.
I believe everyone should find their niche. It brings great fulfilment in life. Forget about being bored and lonely, everyone should meet the people that they really truly get along with and share interests with. Life is all about having fun anyway
I found my niche in the most unlikely of places. I started dating this girl that I thought I had nothing in common with. I just met her at a bar one night and thought she was cute so I started talking to her. Then after a few minutes of mediocre conversation, I realised she was actually smoking hot. She also had a unique style and makeup mad skills. I asked her about that and she told me she had taken a few makeup courses in Brisbane in her twenties but had decided it wasn’t for her. We started seeing each other. Still, she wasn’t perfect for me as we had little in common but we did have chemistry in the bedroom so we had an extended fling. One day, we had a bit too much fun and she sprained her wrist on her right hand. I had to do pretty much everything for her, including apply her make up.
When i started, I was a bit shaking and she scolded me a lot for getting liquid eyeliner all over her face. But I started getting the hang of it. I wasn’t as good as her (it’s hard to apply makeup to someone else!) but I found myself enjoying it. I was also getting creative, and although my technique was clumsy, she liked my instinct for colour and style.
That’s when I started looking into beauty courses around Brisbane for myself. I know, it’s a little uncouth for a man to get into a traditionally female industry. But as soon as I started the course, I knew I’d found my place in the world. The girls and I hit it off immediately. We were chatting at like a hundred miles an hour and going out for drinks after every class. That’s why I recommend everyone find their niche
I don’t think people can really comprehend the process of selling a home unless they’ve been through it. I’ve done it six times in the last ten years, so trust me, I’m basically the wise home-selling guru. Throw in the fact that I’ve done it while raising three boisterous sons and a husband who works most of the time and you can just call me the grandmaster.
I don’t blame Ted, of course. He’s out there working to support the family and he works so incredibly hard, but it when we have to move for the umpteenth time it’s mostly up to me to make sure the place is spick and span. I know of services in Melbourne that offer home staging, and I will admit I’ve thought about it a few times. Just to have someone come in and do up the place to make it sell-worthy would be just lovely. I’ve never actually called them as yet, however. I don’t want to inflict my boys and their mess on an innocent interior designer. That’s my problem to deal with. Sometimes just getting them to pick up their toys or wind up their game console wires for an upcoming open house is a nightmare enough without having someone in telling me that the wallpaper is a bit drab. It probably IS drab, but more people in our home is stress I really don’t need at the moment.
Maybe it’s a career I need to look into. I’ll admit, I’ve got quite an eye for what people want, purely from all that lovely experience. Some weeks I talk to real estate agents more than I talk to Ted, so I know the industry pretty well. And if I ever had the time to start my own home staging based in Melbourne, I think it’d be quite satisfying to step into someone else’s home selling nightmare and direct them to profits and success. I won’t, though. I’ll leave the home staging to Melbourne people who actually have the time for it.