A House Near the Shipyard

aluminium plate boatI’ve wanted a house by the sea all my life, ever since we lived right out in the middle of Alice Springs and it took us the better part of a week to hike there. Honestly, a beach holiday as an eleven-year-old is just ruined by the fact that our parents refused to drive us there and sent us off into the wilderness as a test of our character. I’ve often thought that gave us trauma, but my brother and I often managed to hitchhike a lot of the way and stay in homeless shelters along the way, so it’s no big deal.

Anyway, now I’ve moved to Melbourne and the first thing I did was get me a place right near the beach! And wow…it’s noisy. So amazingly noisy. I know a lot of trade goes on at the beach, people visit it for holidays, the docks are still full of activity, but…didn’t expect quite this much. I go to the local cafe and even there, everyone’s having chats about plate alloy boats like there’s some sort of approved conversation list for people near the sea. I feel like I’m committing some kind of felony by mentioning how people do things further inland.

Oh, and don’t even get me STARTED on the dock situation. For real, marine fabrication is one of the loudest things ever. I know we need the services of boats to do all sorts of important, economy-related things, but I feel like I should’ve listened to the estate agent when they said you can hear the shipyard from here. You really can hear it. Ah well…I’m used to sleeping rough when our parents used to lock us out of the house and make us scavenge a living in the back garden to teach us life lessons. I even made my own fishing rod holder out of bark and a rod out of  a fallen branch so I could catch the family goldfish right out of the pond, after which my brother cooked it up over our campfire. Oh, that could be a conversation topic for my new community! I think I repressed that memory…

-Y. B.

What is this Non-Plot Twist??

termite inspections MorningtonI’m used to Week of Our Lives throwing curveballs, but this time, it was more of, like…a gently thrown tennis ball. I’m not good at metaphors, or writing in general. That’s why I do what I do and the brilliant TV writers do what they do! But still, there was this massive mystery surrounding Matt and Priscilla’s wedding, with Ugne flying in from Ukraine and almost objecting to the union but then being silenced by a mysterious man.

Oh, and the concurrent storyline with Janene starting a wedding planner business, but having to call in termite inspection from Mornington because she opened up the boxes containing her pavilion and marquee equipment and finding them full of feasting termites. Thing is, there’s no way they could have gotten there. Someone sabotaged her wedding planner business, and they were dropping hints all over the place that it might have been Quinn, despite the fact that Quinn died in that freak mutant possum incident and Janene left her behind to be eaten.

And then the episode promised by all the TV magazines! The big finale that would wrap it all up!

Well…it wrapped up. The guy behind Ugne was just an uncle who saw a young lady about to embarrass herself and thought he’d step in. Also, turns out that Matt and Priscilla’s wedding wasn’t cursed by a gypsy goblin; the caterer just had a flat tyre.

And the pest inspection business? Yeah, they came and said that the wedding pavilion gear had been left outside in the rain while Janene was at that conference, and termites had just…made their way in. normally. And thus, very normal Mornington pest control took place.

Am I…surprised? Is this a new thing, or is this real, true shock value, giving us something we totally expected? So confusing!

-Leticia

Reverse Your Self Talk…

business speakerConfession time: I hate confession time. Look, I’m a very private person about the weirdest things, I get that. When everyone is talking at work about what they did on the weekend, I’m just privately hoping that no one asks me. I do perfectly normal things- taking the kids to the park, going to AFL games, going out to dinner with the wife—but I don’t want anyone to KNOW. Why should they know? It’s my business, and mine alone.

Or that was what I used to think. Can’t promise I’m ‘cured’ or anything, but maybe I understand a bit better than I should be sharing. Basically, we had a bit of a mini-conference in the office. Even got ourselves a business speaker, which immediately made me go into panic mode because they always do stuff like making you talk to your neighbour, and ‘sharing your hopes and dreams!’ Or so I thought. I honestly didn’t have much to go on, seeing as I’d only ever been to one when I worked for that insurance company and they got in some eighty-year-old who spent most of his time sitting on a stool and asking us questions to ask our neighbour. Unsurprisingly, I quit the next day.

But no, this business speaker was a bit less intensive and more…well, inspirational.

So now I’m trying to put into practice what I’ve learned. We need to reverse our self-talk, basically. I’m constantly telling myself that my business is my own and anyone who asks is just being a nosey parker. That’s my negative self-talk. But what if they actually care, or just want to start a pleasant conversation because they’re lovely people? I hadn’t considered that. So starting now…I…am going to talk…about my weekend. Next step is offering details that weren’t part of the question. After that…well, I might as well just take up a job as a professional conference speaker, since I’m so into sharing.

-Zac

Inspired and Aspiring to Needling

dry needling courses MelbourneTV has lied to us in so many ways. And like…I don’t expect it to start raining during the most stressful part of my life, like the sky is so upset with my situation that it just starts spontaneously crying. I’m also pretty aware that a last minute airport dash is really illegal in many cases, unless you manage to catch them before they check in their bags and walk through the gates that lead to immigration.

Yeah, whatever. But still, there are so many handy things from TV that I’d love to pull into the real world. Like acupuncture, and all the stuff surrounding it. TV acupuncture basically gives you super powers, or at least solves all your problems and makes you remember important events from your past and what to do to solve the lingering trauma. I was so inspired when that happened on Week of Our Lives that I took a dry needling course in Melbourne, which is like a five hour drive away from me. On the show, Sandrella was trying to get her Echidna Petting Zoo off the ground, but was also dealing with childhood trauma from that time she got lost in the forest, befriended a kangaroo only to watch that kangaroo sacrifice its life to stop her from being eaten by a rare forest shark. She kept having all these flashbacks, and India suggested that she go to see a guy who does dry needling, to help her relax and make good business decisions and what not.

So we had this entire episode where Sandrella was reliving her memories, because usually she’s all busy and tense, but now she was undergoing dry needling and actually found time to cool down and think introspectively. And she came out of the place with a new lease on life.

When I came out of my own trigger point dry needling course? Mostly I learned how to treat deep tissue damage and sports injuries. Which is…fine. I need to cut down on the soaps, clearly.

-Prue

Infiltrating the Conference Center

convention centreA budding journalist has to take time off sometime, right?

WRONG. The true news reporter never sleeps, which is why I’ve combined my reporting with a bit of rest and relaxation. True, I’m not doing either of those things, but I’m writing this on the beach, under an umbrella, holding an ice-cream and wearing one of those Hawaiian shirts that’s about three sizes too big, so it still counts as a holiday.

But the beach isn’t where I’ll find my big scoop. Lawrence Corp always sends their new employees on a trip to a convention centre near here, and that’s the place I’m planning to infiltrate. True, the trail could very easily go cold, just like it did with the function rooms. Maybe I’ll spend hours working on a character and a disguise, only to spend the weekend doing trust falls and listening to motivational speeches on how to be an employee who cares for my fellow workers. That one is going to have to fall on deaf ears, because I’m not a corporate type; I’m a lone wolf, out here to get my big scoop for me and me alone.

Anyway, it took me long enough just to FIND the convention centre, so long that I already have my character worked out. I’m Boris Gregorov, a Ukrainian immigrant eager to start a new life in corporate Australia. My English skills are still improving, but I’m very excited to be working for Lawrence Corp and getting to know some Australian friends on this company retreat. My European accents are pretty good; I just have to practice tonight.

Crikey, with how long it took me scouring regional Victoria, conference venues turning my requests down at every turn, you’d hope this will turn up something. I’ve definitely found the place, however. The weird goings on at Lawrence Corp will be unveiled, by me.

Did I mention Boris likes cats? He’s just an animal person in general, actually.

-O.B.Q.

Where to get the Best Tubes

steel fabrications Melbourne

If I wanted a steel tube in Melbourne, where would I go? New to the job and the boss is treating me like I’ve been his PA for the last ten years. It’s nice that he has so much confidence in me just from the job interview, but I did specifically say that I only have a couple of years of experience and have never worked on a building site before, so it’s not like I have a list of construction contacts as long as my arm. I have maybe…three.

Don’t get me wrong I’m grateful to be working in the office. But when the boss says ‘alright, we’ll need sixteen steel lintels for this project. Leo, you know where to find those, order us some. I’m going for a three-hour lunch’, I sort of panic a little bit. What if I get bad lintels? I haven’t the foggiest when it comes to where in Melbourne to get that stuff. I can do a search, of course. That’ll have to be my go-to until i can actually build up some contacts.

I guess I could ask Jerry over there in the corner- I think he does the accounts and he’s been here for years, apparently- but I don’t want to wake him up from his nap. I’m sure he’s been working very hard and he’s earned it, although…have I seen him do any work?

It’s such a tiny office here at the construction yard. Just me, Jerry, the boss and another desk which might have someone there. And outside,a load of construction people, all of whom seem to be going about their jobs with ease, their lives unburdened by steel lintels. Well, I tell a lie there…they’re going to be working with the lintels I order, so I could make or break the entire operation. That’s a lot of pressure for someone as fresh as me, but I’m taking it as a challenge. Alright, I’ll plumb the depths of the Melbourne steel fabrication industry, come up with something great and prove myself in the job. All without a nap. There’s a lot of noise outside…

-Leo

Non-Professionals, Stay Off the Roof

roof tile installationI’ve never liked roofing. It’s probably something to do with my fear of heights, but not completely. Fears of things have never really stopped me from doing jobs before, because I pursue basically everything with enthusiasm once I’m hooked on a project. Perfect example: renovating the old factory. I HATE the dark. Can’t stand it. But once I was working I just sort of…forgot. The outside world evaporates, to a degree, because I’m so focused that I just don’t notice. I also spend a lot of time in my shed, where seemingly every spider in Melbourne has some kind of time-share, but I’m usually distracted enough to not notice that I have severe arachnophobia. Winning!

But roofing? That’s tough stuff indeed. There are professionals in Melbourne, and roof restoration is their game. I’m happy to leave fixing roof tiles to them, although I’m always interested to see what they’re doing. There are just so many different types of roof, and roofing repair folks have to know about them all. It concerns DIY, so obviously I’m intensely interested. I just don’t want to get up on my own roof, slip on the roof tiles and fall and break my foot and have to hobble around on crutches for weeks, wishing I hadn’t been so stupid as to walk around on a roof without proper qualification. I wonder what that would involve? I mean, there’s got to be some kind of hazard pay involved, same as if you installed antennas or something. At least in my workplace, the worst thing that can happen is spilling a test tube and having the concoction burn through your shoes. And then you might inhale some of it, though I’ve been there and I can tell you it causes nothing but some dizziness and the smell of burning fish in your nostrils for days afterwards.

No, the Melbourne roof services aren’t my area of expertise. I can’t have my finger in every pie, after all. Just…most of them. I know when to fold!

-Risk

Getting My Will Up to Date

executor of will MelbourneGosh, my will is out of date. Wildly out of date. I drafted it even before I had kids, so there’s no provision for them! Obviously it’d just be a matter of common sense at this point…everyone would agree that my sister would take the kids, the house would go to them eventually, along with everything inside it, and that’d be pretty much it sorted. I mean, I do HAVE a will…it was just drafted online quite a few years ago and doesn’t really apply much to my situation right now.

Great. Need to remedy that. I’ll have to meet up with Kerrie for coffee, if either of us have time. Kerrie is kind of a go-to legal document person, and I hope she never finds out how much I rely on her. She’ll know every place in Melbourne for making a will, along with a rundown on exactly what I need and how soon I can get it done. Maybe it’s just because she’s extra organised, but Kerrie just seems to know everything about everything. Last time we met up she talked the whole time about how she managed to negotiate her car insurance down to half, and the time before that she’d managed to barter a few thousand off her home. See, that’s the type of negotiating skill that I wish I had. In fact, it’d be helpful for anyone.

You know, it’s that tenacity that lets you barter and haggle over anything, thus making life a lot cheaper. You always know that kind of person…they’re the ones sending back their coffee because it’s not hot enough, while you sit at the same table and try to make it look like you’ve only just met. I bet when Kerrie was trying to find an executor of wills in Melbourne, she looked around for two weeks and managed to talk the people down into giving it to her for free if she didn’t die in the first ten years. A bit morbid, but I really can’t argue with a strategy like that. If it works.

The Great Plumbing Crisis

Melbourne plumbing contractorMost folks nowadays don’t remember, but back when I was young, Melbourne was having a crisis. No, it’s not the war…I’m not THAT old! Nope, this was something far more devious: bandits. Specifically, the Pipe Bandits. The Pipe Bandits of Old Melbourne Town, as the papers phrased it.

Everyone just thought it was a set of shufty youths going round and cutting people’s outdoor pipes wide open. Things were a bit more fragile back then; one snip and you could cut off someone’s hot water supply. Just…snip. Gone! Now, it was a fragile time for plumbing contractors in Melbourne as well, because the industry was shifting and changing, people wanting electric heating systems instead of boilers and everyone wanting their pipes to be buried so far underground that you needed a digging machine to get to them. I myself was just starting an apprenticeship as a painter, so I thought all this plumbing talk was a lot of nonsense. Nobody took the Pipe Bandits seriously at first, because they thought they was silly youngsters who needed to get back to school, and maybe a swift slipper to the behind. But then the attacks got worse. They cut the water supply to the village hall, which was supposed to be a place for everyone to gather. Then the hot water went off in all of Church Street. And then, when I was in the middle of running a bath…the it happened to our home.

I was just looking forward to having along soak to wash off the day’s paint, and that was taken from me. I sat in my cold bathtub, heated by my burning rage and vowing revenge. Fortunately, Melbourne’s upstanding plumbers had already mobilised, and I joined a team that set a watch on various key targets. Finally, we managed to catch one of them in the act, trying to tamper with the mains pipe on the gold course. He was…a grown up! An unemployed grown up, one of many who were sick of poor water pressure, and had created a secret group to take revenge on Melbourne’s plumbing companies, even though that was very stupid!

He squealed, anyway, and the crisis was over. We never did get water pressure that was particularly good, however. Wonder why that is?

No More Orphanages, Try a Play Centre

indoor childrens play centreSo…apparently orphanages don’t actually exist anymore? I know I’m still in school figuring out what to do with my life and stuff, but I do really want to be a mum. Like, more than anything. I had it all planned out, as well: as soon as I turned 18, I’d go to the nearest orphanage and pick out a kid, maybe even two if I did my research and I was feeling ready. They’d be out of the house by the time I was 38, so it’s not like I was sinking my whole life or anything. Not that I’d mind, because being a mum is all about love and sacrifice. Maybe I’d adopt more if I had fun with the first batch!

Except it’s all foster care now. Maybe it’s best that you can’t just check out a kid like a book at a library, but it does leave me struggling to know what to do. Maybe I’ll work at an indoor play centre in Croydon somewhere? Do they even have those? I’ll find a play centre, because I’m ALL about making kids really happy. I’ll do anything, really: clean the floors, swab the slides, wash the windows, serve tea and coffee too all the tired mums and dads, go through the ball pit to find that one ball with a puncture that needs replacing and anything else that needs doing. Or…I guess if they really want me to, I can dress up in something or other. I’ve heard those costumes can get pretty stuffy, but the kids love it and it’s for them! Really, anything for the kids.

I guess there’s always foster care, but to me that just sounds so temporary. I just did a school project on it and it sounds so much like you just hand them over once the timer expires. That’s no way for a child to be. Though if I do, I’m going to make it really fun for them while they’re in my care. Like, ice-cream all the time. Lessons on how to deal with bullies. Jenga. Loads of Jenga, because all kids love Jenga. Or just, I don’t know…a bit of normalcy, with a bit thrown in more along the lines of that birthday party venue place. Croydon doesn’t have that much to do otherwise.

Or, OR…I could just go to Zambia and adopt there. That’s a thing, right?

-Karen