window replacement

Our Dream Cottage Nightmare

window replacements MelbourneWhen my husband and I got married it felt like we had everything in common. We were alike in all the right ways and different in all the right ways and we tended to bounce off each other’s ideas. Our dream was to get a cottage by the beach and it seemed like we were going to be on our honeymoon for the rest of our lives. All of that came crashing down when it came to moving in together.

We’d purchased a nice old house by the beach and were planning on renovating it to make it our own. The first thing we had to do was get the windows replaced because the salty air and sunny days actually tend to erode the window seals (although they’re great for the complexion!)  So I called for timber window repairs around Melbourne and that’s when all hell broke loose. My husband suddenly said that he wanted aluminium windows but I had already ordered the timber ones and we had this huge argument about it. After that, it was like we couldn’t agree on anything!

We had disputes over everything from the windows to the tiled floors, from the colour of the paintjob to how many roses we should have in the garden. We started to grow apart in other ways too, not just timber and aluminium windows but important life choices as well. We could no longer agree on a common future from how many children we should have to how long we should stay in Melbourne. Replacement windows were only just the beginning.

The window repairs company ended up doing a nice job of fitting us the timber windows and even though he wanted aluminum we were both quite pleased. Ultimately, we still love each other very much. Hopefully we can find a way to make this work, or maybe with time, we’ll start growing in the same direction again.

Ice skating

No penguins

SoIce skating Melbourne I may have made a seemingly minor mistake a short while ago that is now coming back to bite me on the behind. When my son was falling asleep the other night I was telling him a ‘bedtime story’. I’ve put that in quotations because, after reading him the actual story from start to finish, he wanted me to keep going so I just started making things up. Nonsense mainly. This is a pretty standard practice in our household and I usually don’t think anything of it, except that he latched onto one, relatively minor detail, when I thought he was pretty much asleep and now he’s become kind of obsessed with it.

From what I remember (hey, I was tired too) I may have told him penguins lived in Melbourne ice skating rinks. On the scale of story telling to lying, I feel like it’s pretty obvious where that tale stands, but unfortunately it’s not so clear for Tim. When he woke up in the morning I was totally unprepared for the excitement surrounding going ice skating. Usually when he wakes up he doesn’t remember the stories at all! Why did this one have to be different?

All of this is magnified tenfold by the unhelpful fact that we promised him he could have his birthday party anywhere and now he’s desperate to go ice skating. Have you ever tried organising birthday party venues last minute? It’s pretty much impossible. Everywhere requires a certain amount of notice that we didn’t give. In fact, since the offer for Tim to have his party anywhere has been open for months, we’d just assumed we were going to have it here. I’d even started organising all the decorations and everything like that. This has just gone and thrown a huge spanner in the works. It’s okay though. Finding an ice skating rink that’s still available is going to be way easier than convincing Tim penguins don’t live there.


A Conveyancing Clash

man with clientsAll through my life, people have given me flack for my name. That’s why I mostly go by my surname, ‘Foss’. It’s short, easy to understand, pronounce…and I’m happy for people to call me that. If only my parents hadn’t forced me into it by calling me ‘Rudolph’. I’m a man of business, and it’s not fitting for one of my calibre. No one wants to associate with a man named Rudolph. No one will take a conveyancing solicitor seriously with a name like Rudolph. It’s especially unfortunate around the Christmas period, for reasons which should be abundantly clear. Everyone in my office wants me to wear the nose. They KNOW I hate the nose. Everyone knows. Don’t even get me started on the antlers.

And look, I see their point. I might be a conveyancing specialist with a long list of cases under my belt and a full list of satisfied clients, but I’ve never been great at learning to laugh at myself. There’s still time- I’m not over the hill yet- but sometimes I wonder if an official name change would be more appropriate. It’s just one of those things that you ponder, but getting around to it is infinitely harder. After all, I’ve lived with this name my whole life. The nicer classmates called me Dolph, which I grew to appreciate because I’ve always been fond of dolphins. The worst thing is, my parents can’t remember why they did it. I’ve asked so many times, and Mum and Dad always just look confused before admitting that they must’ve just thought it sounded good. Maybe the song wasn’t out then.

If it hadn’t been for the other successful conveyancer in my position, I might’ve quit my job and gone into children’s entertainment. Just think…a respectable Melbourne property conveyancing person named ‘Dorabella Moo’. It’s one of those few times when I’ve really appreciated my cursed title.



Red Scare: A photobooth history

photobooth hireDo you ever find yourself getting curious about life’s oddities? I do. I love unearthing forgotten inventions at Trash and Treasure markets and learning about the obscure professions that people have. Recently while browsing on ebay I discovered a retro photobooth up for sale. The thing was long out of order but a collectable nonetheless and it got me really curious about photobooths. Did people still use photobooths? I assumed that they were for people in need of a last-minute passport headshot or teenage girls drunk on seven eleven slurpees. Turns out, the humble photobooth has a long and fascinating history.

I was also surprised to discover that these days there’s also a market for photobooth hire. Melbourne has just about everything if you look hard enough, and a lot of people will hire a photo booth for a party or wedding. I wonder how many of them are aware of the origins of the photobooth, how it all started with a Russian émigré in the States. Anatol Josepho was a born photographer, who travelled to China to draw up plans and raised a fortune from his rich friends to build the first “Photomaton Studio” (love the archaic name). It was put on a street corner in New York where it earned a hefty profit for its investors and of course, modest Anatol Josepho. But here comes the juicy part.

Perhaps it was Josepho’s Russian heritage and socialistic predilections that inspired him to donate half of his enormous profits to the poor. You’d think that an act like this would garner respect and admiration for the man but instead it embroiled him in scandal. At the time that this was going on in the twenties, it was the beginning of the “red scare” and the press decried him as a communist.

I never expected to learn so much good history from a photo booth. Melbourne companies that loan photobooths are actually on to a good idea.

tree removal

Trees are like bird apartments

tree removal MelbourneFor the past couple of years we’ve had a family of magpies living in our eucalypt. They built their nest there in the spring and have been living happily ever since. The pair have had two sets of chicks since that year and this year have added a couple of colourful additions to their nest including a shiny bottle cap and red ribbon. My partner and I love hearing their birdcall in the morning. IT’s a very soothing way to start the day!

Sadly, we recently had to call a Melbourne tree removal company. The eucalyptus tree was getting way too big for the backyard, getting the way of powerlines and upsetting the earth under the foundation of the house. We didn’t know what we were going to do about the poor family of magpied. Obviously we didn’t want to just lop down their home in the tree felling process. I thought of those poor little birds flying back to their nest in the evening to find their bed completely vanished. Then I started to worry that they’d even lid some eggs already as it was coming into spring and I didn’t want to destroy the poor hatchlings.

What we did was we pulled out the old ladder and climbed up to the nest. Thankfully, there were no egg inside. We thought we’d take the nest out and put it in another tree .Perhaps the birds would never go back to it and have to build a new one but at least we did what we could. I was just thankful that we weren’t hurting the baby birds at all. After putting the nest in a nearby tree, we left the rest to the Melbourne arborist. They did a nice clean job of felling the tree, but hopefully we won’t have to go through this again. I’d hate to destroy another bird’s home.

game design courses

My Ultimate App Plan

appsHouse hunting is simultaneously soul-crushing and exciting. After all, this is a home…something you’ll be living in forever, and you’re browsing through entries and squinting and photos like you’re at the toy shop. It’s exhilarating, looking through the listings and seeing what’s new, trying to get in before anyone else…and then you realise that your budget isn’t unlimited and there are plenty of people like you vying for positions, and it all becomes little bit of a slog filling out form after form and knowing that you’re probably going to get rejected.

Fortunately, I have a cunning plan. My cousin’s second cousin’s aunt’s step-daughter is doing an app development course, and I got them to hook me up with some killer app designers. What I want isn’t just something that alerts you to new houses, because those already exist. No, I need something streamlined, something designed just for us to give us the edge in the hunt for houses. I’ve already supplied a list of ‘ingredients’ as such for the app, though without proper experience I don’t know if any of them are possible. Hey, what am I…an app development student? I’m not one of those!

I’d like the app to send me a buzz whenever there’s a new house available, obviously. That’s just a given. But I need to it to really get my attention, so I want it to produce a high-pitched whine, the sound that gives you a feeling in your ears like nails on a blackboard. Then, it’ll scream all the details so we know how much cupboard space and how big the back garden is (for the dog). I want a child-friendly rating out of ten, also screamed in the voice of a major celebrity, and by that time I just have to pull out my phone and take a look. Oh, and I want it to instantly send a pre-filled application when the house is made available. If we look and see that it’s not what we want, we’ll withdraw. Easy as that.

I’m still thinking about what I want, but this seems pretty efficient for a start. Hopefully just being in an app design course means one is able to make such a thing. But what would I know? House searching is really tiring…I need to make this quick.



Nurturing myself after menopause

anti wrinkle injectionsGoing through menopause was one of the most stressful experience of my life. It was a transformation that I wasn’t ready for, an initiation into true maturity. Aside from the strain it took on my body, menopause also took a toll on my emotional well being. By the time it was over, I was utterly exhausted. During the period after my menopause I took my beautiful daughter’s advice and decided to take extra special care of myself.

I splurged on everything from massages to spas, day trips to the country and even painting as a new form of self expression. However, the real self-healing came when I took a renewed interest in my appearance. I’d been neglecting my looks for the past twenty years or so – you know the story, I was just too busy raising kids, paying off the mortgage, working full time, the list goes on. There simply wasn’t time to primp and pamper. I also had the silly notion that older women have no emotional need to look and feel beautiful. I quickly discovered how very wrong I was.

Again, it was my daughter who suggested I get anti wrinkle injections. Melbourne clinics can give you treatments based on the latest innovations in skin care. After getting it done, couldn’t believe the impact it had on my self-esteem. Not only did I look fresher and revitalised, I felt the part too! It just goes to show that you’re never too old, never too young, never too anything to take pride in your appearance, and the emotional benefits are what it’s all about. I’m even thinking of driving out to the new clinic for lip injections. Ballarat recently got the same services as Melbourne – yay!

My husband didn’t notice that I’d had injection any more than he’d noticed my new haircut (men, typical!) but he did notice there was something different about me. ‘You’re in a good mood today!’ he said, ‘Whatever it is you’re doing, keep doing it. You’re acting about ten years younger!’

laser hair removal

From feminist to fashionista in 30 days

laser hair removalBack when I was at uni I really got into the whole female empowerment thing. I read Simone de Beauvoir and Germaine Greer, went to marches and hung out with a lot of women. Being a strong woman has its perks. You get to tell chauvinistic people off and stuff like that. But at the end of the day I found it easier to be relax a little. Instead of struggling against the all-consuming patriarchy I decided to embrace my power and go with the flow. So that’s when I made my conversion. Now, my aim in life is to please myself and gain my own confidence through self improvement.

The first step of my transformation to femme fatale was to shave off all that body hair that some people hate so much. Shaving gave me a lot of painful ingrowns though so I decided to take a more extreme and permanent measure: laser hair removal. Melbourne literally has tonnes of clinic that can perform this treatment and a few months later you’re practically hair-free. After laser hair removal, I was well on my way to becoming my best self.

I loved the benefits of laser hair removal so much that I started looking into more cosmetic style treatments can could enhance not just my body but also my entire visage. That’s when I stumbled upon lip fillers. Melbourne just happens to be full of clinics that do this kind of thing so it was no trouble finding a really good clinician. You know, I always thought there was a lot wrong with my lips, when I discovered that dermal fillers actually exist I though, hey, if it’s going to make me feel better about myself then why not? So I got the lip fillers too at that Melbourne clinic and my lips look amazing! I’m just starting to wonder though, how come so many women get these services done to improve their appearance and men don’t?

game design courses

From technophobe to tech addict

gamedesigncoursesMy story is a bit of a strange one. I went from being terrified of technology to addicted to it in a matter of months. Usually people are one way or the other, but somehow my personality totally flipped one-eighty degrees. It all started when a mate of mine was looking into game design courses in Melbourne. I thought this was a rather ambitious undertaking on his part, as he wasn’t particularly arty or creative. I also didn’t realise how much IT and programming was involved in studying gaming. But when he started his course, he really surprised me with how smart he was.

I guess this mate of mine had a particular talent at dumbing down techy concepts for an outsider like me to comprehend. Whenever I had problems with my computer, my other friends would scoff at my ignorance while my mate who was studying video game design was much more patient. He would explain in everyday language how I could do simple and then complex things using on the computer. I started to realised that computers aren’t all that arcane after all. In fact, most problems or queries can be solved by looking up simple instructions with a google search.

I think the reason why it took me so long to overcome my technophobia was because I tend to become flustered when the computer doesn’t do what I’m expecting it to do, and because it’s not human, I can’t even talk to it! This to me felt like reaching a frustrating impasse, but these days I’m less intimidated by computers like my friend in the video game design course. Melbourne has a few courses like these and I actually find game design and web development quite fascinating. And now that I’m pretty much glued to my computer screen, I’m actually thinking about taking one of these game design courses  myself! Thank God I’m not the hopeless technophobe I used to be!

funeral homes

Becoming a funeral director

funeral servicesI have no idea why but I’ve been to an inordinate number of funerals. Nobody in my immediate family has died, thankfully, but still a lot of people close to me: all of my grandparents, some aunts and uncles and even a couple of friends. I’ve seen a lot of death and grief and been to a few funeral homes in Perth. Throughout this time I’ve had dealings with some really great funeral directors and learnt a thing or two about funeral services and how the whole process works.

What I’ve noticed is that different funeral directors have different ways of organising everything and handling the grieving, sometimes stressed, relatives. Some take the cool and calm approach, while others take the compassionate, caring approach. Each has their unique personality, or perhaps they change their personality to accommodate the grieving family and their special needs.

People sometimes don’t realise how busy directors get at funerals. Perth has a lot of great funeral homes and directors but they’re only human and there’s only so much they can do. As a result, I’ve found myself in the position of having to take charge of some things and help grieving relatives. It was weird that I kept finding myself in that role, perhaps because I cope well during difficult emotional times, and perhaps also because people recognise this strength in me. I found people turning to me not just for practical assistance but also for a shoulder to cry on. I also get a deep sense of satisfaction out of helping people out in this way. Funeral services are a really difficult time and it makes me feel like I’m doing some positive work in the world, kind of like a social worker or philanthropist I guess. Now I’m even considering a career in funeral homes and funeral direction. It’s satisfying work, and with the aging population of Perth, sadly we’ll be having a few funerals in the coming years. It’s a strange vocation in life, but oddly satisfying despite the sadness.