Saturday, August 31, 2013

New Carpet

The carpet layers arrived at 9.30am. Ralf and Jamie. Ralf the master carpet layer with the fucked back the carpet laying has obviously given him. Jamie the baby-faced blond apprentice in loose tracky pants, that looked good on him, on his curves, read his thighs and his arse, who had a penchant for smoking cigarettes.

“We’ve got a problem with parking?” said Ralf, straight up at the front door, the first words out of his mouth.

I don’t know what he thought I was going to do about it, if I had been one of those inner city dwellers who didn’t have a back yard and off street parking, as Fitzroy is Fitzroy. What was he thinking? Surely he has worked in the inner suburbs before?

But, I guess I did fix it. I moved my car out the front, which gave him two car parks for his car and trailer. He struggled to get the two of them in there, but he did, with Jamie helping, and I felt by giving him the carpark I had, in fact, done my bit, I felt no compunction to help him. I made myself coffee and signed into the internet on the kitchen.

Santo and I swept and the carpet layers worked all day. It all went smoothly.

They were finished around 3pm. The car, the trailer and the old carpet, the boy filling out his track suit pants and the old man were gone and it was quiet. The new carpet looked good and felt soft under our feet. I gazed at it from different angles.

Santo sang, “I feel good.” And suddenly danced around the lounge room like a go go boy. 
He’s cute, adorable really. I love it when he gets that cheeky look on his face. “I knew that I would.” Tah da da, dah da dah da dah.

I started to put the desk back together again, but before I put the draws back in I decided that I should vacuum out the dust. With everything removed from the desk, I could see the debris of marijuana… from days of old. Just at the moment I was going to suck it all up I thought I could scrape it up and roll a joint. The next moment I was scavenging pot and I managed to roll two joints… possessed? I wouldn’t say that. Santo was having a shower. I shared the joints with him when he came down stairs.

We walked to Sunny and bought pork rolls. The sun was shining.

Jill came over with her failing father Lachlan, who kept telling me the carpet was a very neutral colour. She was very pleased and wanted me to tell her that I was pleased too. She had been encouraging me, in fact, she would say if it wasn’t for her it wouldn’t have been done now.

“Aren’t you pleased now it is down?”

“Oh… yeah.”

“Oh come on, you must be pleased.”

“I’d be pleased if it was an Alfa Romeo,” I said. “Not just replacement goods. These are just repairs.”

“The carpet is a very neutral colour, I think.”

I bought sultana cake and made tea. We sat around the ottoman with plates of cake on our laps. Lachlan had a tray and a good eye kept on him. He’s looking very frail.

Jill was all smiles.

We continued putting things back, things were everywhere, the rooms were full of stuff. As we were putting all the furniture back into the top floor bedroom, we found Shane’s change buckets. Two plastic containers of silver and two black tie bags of gold coins. The bags were heavy to hold. I never understand why people do that? It is why Shane will never have any money, he doesn’t look after the cents…

We ate dinner at Masak Masak (cook cook) in Smith Street. It was nice. Beef Rendang. Pork Spareribs. Nice. I drank chinotto. Santo drank longan.

It was a gentle night, not too many tourists in Smith Street. Who knows what it will be like when that terrible Banco development is finished. The Banco development will inescapably change Smith Street for the worse for the benefit of the developer and absolutely nobody else. Nobody wanted this development other than the developers. It is sad to watch Smith Street destroyed.

We went to the supermarket. It was quiet, not many people are out shopping on a Saturday night. The isles were almost empty, the fruit and veg was empty. It was nice, easy and quiet and it was nice to be together. We bought $50 worth of groceries with Shane’s collected change. I fed $20 worth of 50c pieces into the Woolies Self Service machine, without a care.

“Thanks Shane,” we both said.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Tony Abbott

"Gather around girls, gather around," said Tony Abbott. He was at a girl's school. The girl's were dressed in their sports outfits.

"We're touching your suit," said one of the girls.

"Aaaaaa. That's okay. That's okay" said Abbott. He was looking around in that self conscious way of his.

"Aaaaaa aaaaa aaaaaa, a bit of body contact never hurt anyone... girls. Aaaaaa aaaaaa aaaaaa," said Tony Abbott to the group of school girls, in the middle of which he was standing.

He laughed that creepy laugh of his and, as he did, you could see the extra drool covering his lips, they were all shiny and wet and glistening as he looked from one girl to the other.

Euw! He turns my skin into centipedes.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Paying rich women to have babies is rediculous

The top 3000 business’ get taxed a levy for the Liberal Party's expensive parental leave scheme and those business' pass that tax on in higher prices, so everybody pays for couples to have children. Outrageously, we all pay for wealthy women to have babies. 

What costings there are show that only half of this expensive parental scheme will be paid for by the levy.

This expensive scheme that favours the rich couples and disadvantages the poorer couples is really only being proposed to indulge Tony Abbot and his Prime Ministerial aspirations.

As many households don’t have children as do have children, so this is a scheme, that at best, only applies to 50% of the population. So, it is an inherently unfair scheme.

However, the biggest problem with this scheme is the fact that the world is now overpopulated. At 7 billion people on the planet we are now at a critical stage of over population where the planet is faltering, at best. The world population will, most likely, double in the next 50 years and at 15 billion people planet Earth is unsustainable.

I know politicians have their heads buried in the 3 year term sand bucket, but we, actually, should be discouraging couples from having babies. We should make it more expensive for couples to have babies, not paying them do to so.

Immigration will fix any problem with the short fall in the ageing population, as it always has in the past. The world population must be looked at as a global number, not a country specific number.
Driving home

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What is next, my friends? Don't they always come in 3's?

The Asko deliveryman arrived just after 8am. Santo had just left for work and I had just thrown the cat, little miss shitty pants, outside, when the doorbell rang. I thought it was Santo back having forgotten something, but when I opened the door there was the Asko man with the new machine, on a trolley, on a wooden pallet, looking huge.

Buddy raced through the door, I didn’t try to restrain him as I thought it was Santo.

“You’re not scared of dogs, are you?” I quickly asked. It is amazing how many people are.

Buddy jumped up to say hello. “Hello pooch,” he said.

I put the dog out. Santo left. The Asko man got to and installed the new machine.

The new machine looked far too big to fit into the space where the, dwarfed in comparison, old machine sat.

I opened the doors in front of the old machine to show him where it was.

“Interesting,” said the installation man. That only seemed to confirm what I’d been thinking, that the new machine was far too big and this was going to be a monumental disaster.

“It is full of water,” I said.

“They usually are,” he said.

“It made a terrible burning smell,” I said.

“That usually happens when the motors burn out on these things,” he said. He pulled it out of its safe place. “There is water in the base…”

“It tripped the power circuits…”

“That’s what happens when water comes in contact with electricity.” He laughed. “They don’t like it.”

He wanted towels. He didn’t want to spill water all through the house. He arranged the towels in a circle in the middle of the kitchen floor, as you might do with flour when making pasta. He tipped the old Asko up and it dribbled out water like a woman pissing. When the flow slowed, he set the old machine back down on the floor again and he pushed the towels in absorbing all of the water trapped in the middle.

I though, he has done that before.

I disappeared into the lounge and to my computer.

He didn’t say any more. And then he was done.

He was gone by 8.35am. I continued on my computer for a while before I had the realisation, “Oh yes, I guess I should be going into work. Oh damn!”

I think I got to work at 9am. Not bad really.

I ate lasagne for lunch. Lovely it was too. It is always nicer the next day. The overpowering herb taste seems to have lessened, as well. Lasagne for a week for lunch, it is great.

My car wouldn’t start again when I came out to it after work. A quick fiddle with the battery terminals got it going. But… what does it mean?

I tightened the battery terminals when I got home. Well, I attempted to, but they just didn’t seem to be that lose. I wondered if it could be something more sinister? I hope it wasn't going to develop into one of those slow, creeping, ongoing problems.

The new dishwasher washed its first load of dirty dishes. Sad isn't it when you are excited to come home and play with your new dishwasher. Not that I was excited, as such... I'll want to get married next. At least the last of the dirt dish backlog was cleaned away in one sweep of the cleaning arm. Um? Er? A new broom sweeps clean. The dirty dishes that had littered the bench since Saturday were all now cleaned away.

We ate hot potatoes. Santo, Buddy and I walked to Brunswick Street. It was warm, it is warm this week. It has got warm. It was lovely walking in the warm night.

The streets were relatively empty, being a Tuesday night. A woman stopped as we stood outside SpudBar and said, “There is that cute dog again.”

I looked down at Buddy. He continued panting. I wondered when the woman had seen him before. It crossed my mind to ask her, but she was gone and I didn’t really care that much.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Driving home

Doing stuff

There seems to be more warmth in the air. The days seem to be warmer and more summery, less wintery. It seems like the cold is drawing to an end. It is nice, an invigorating feeling. The world is expanding again, becoming bigger and more open and more vibrant.

Colour is slowly seeping back into our lives with every day that we edge towards the new season. Soon the buds will be on the branches and the sun will be high in the sky, lighting us well.

Santo swears it is because of the clean windows.

I bought in Sultanas to munch on as snacks for work. My snack of choice around 11am has been Twisties. I was surprised when I checked out the fat content, the other day, and I was taken aback when the fat content was high. Trans fat was listed in the ingredients. WTF? Sultanas are not nearly as satisfying as Twisties, or the odd chocolate bar, um… or the occasional cookie. Sad face. They are not the substitute I had hoped for them to be.

My appetite is still reeling from stopping the smokes a week ago. Nicotine takes away you appetite. When you stop, when I stop my appetite comes back with a vengeance for a short period of time, which is the last thing you want when you have quit.

Ah Monday, four days to go.

I called my sister Roz, as I haven’t heard from her since before I went away to Vietnam. I keep thinking she’d text me to go and see our mum, but she hasn’t. I thought she’d call to comment on the three postcards that I sent her while I was away, but she didn’t. She answered the phone with her customary greeting, “If you are calling me, I had better sit down.”

Really? I don’t think that is quite so true any more. “I haven’t heard from you.”

The call broke up, I got every second word, every third word. She was in a Telstra shop and had to call me back. I was heating up my lunch in the kitchen, which is, actually, under three stories of building. I headed out the back into the sunshine and spoke to her as the sun gently warmed my face.

She said she has been working very hard and that the lambs are being born and she is up to her neck in them. (Up to my neck in Lambs, I reckon that could be a good title for a kids book)

It was nice outside, the sun was warm like a puppy. I could have stood out there for the next four days.

It is good leaving work at 5pm, out the door on the dot, everybody here agrees. They all leave on time. It is good. Too many Australian’s give their work free hours every day. Funny, that companies don’t work for their clients for free. However...

I went to Victoria Street, on the way home, and bought an OzLotto tats ticket for the $15 million draw tomorrow night. I parked in one of the blocked off side streets, the one that runs parallel to Nicholson Street, one street to the east. I always think of this area as the area Rachel lived in when she first moved to Melbourne, although that is a couple more streets to the east again. In the street I parked in, there were a few houses being renovated and there was a really awful circa 1960’s one for sale. If I win the fifteen million I’m coming back to buy it. It wouldn’t matter what you did to it, it could only improve it. It had quite a large front yard with quite a deep offset, you could build a big room at the front a la warehouse style and hide the original building altogether. My mind bristled with the possibilities.

There was a gentle ease and a slow swagger to Victoria Street at 5.30 on a Monday afternoon. Half pace, slowing down.

Santo was already at home when I got home. He was already in his pale grey track suit. He said his manager left early, and so he did too. He opened the back door and smiled at me as I got out of the car.

We stacked the wood, it still lay in a pile in the car park out the back. Santo insisted when I said we could leave it until the weekend, and good on him for that stance. Buddy was determined to play and get in the way, until he found his bone and then he lost interest in us altogether. There is already a longer amount of daylight at the end of the day… and now the wood is stacked. The evenings are becoming longer and warmer and bigger.

I cooked. I made lasagne. It turned out okay. We warmed the meat sauce just so the fat melted and it became more viscous? (Is that the word?) I made cheese sauce. The first batch wasn’t enough, as we had increased the size of the finished meal, so I made a second batch of cheese sauce. I thought it would look too small in the big glass pan? I always seem to have dishes that are too big. But then when we’d assembled it and it was threatening to over flow the edges of the pan, I thought, ha ha ha, will it actually fit? It was very full. It over flowed a little in the oven, just some drips and we had pans underneath to catch the drips.

The new dishwasher is coming tomorrow, which is a great reason just to worry generally. Will it fit under the benches? Will the cupboard doors covering it still function? Will the old one come out easily? Will the power point and the taps all work properly? Will the deliveryman arrive early, and work quickly and be finished in no time, so I can get to work?

So many factors to worry about. Stupid, really. I never used to worry about such things.

I cooked lasagne

It wasn't bad, considering I haven't cooked it for a while. I put a touch too much oregano in the meat sauce

Sunday, August 25, 2013

One thing after another

Late in the afternoon, the house filled with a terrible burning smell, like electrical wires were melting. You know, that acid, metal smell. Our first thought was that it was the open fire, it had been burning since I got up. We sniffed at it like two dogs may sniff at each other’s arses. I used to throw electrical wire into the open fire one when we were off our faces because it burnt as pretty colours, orange and blue, so I kind of knew what that smelt like. (Sorry planet) No, it wasn’t the fire. What could it be? We sniffed around the house like a customs Beagle might sniff at you and give you a fright at the airport, as if it was accusing you of being a drug mule, when in fact it was sniffing you for contraband fruit. We wandered the house with our noses in the air. Sniff sniff, sniff sniff. Eventually, all noses lead to the kitchen and, on our knees, to the dishwasher. It was switched off but it was definitely secreting an awful smell. It had been on, but it had stopped working. We were soon to find that it had tripped the circuit board and the power points in the kitchen had all been turned off. Not only that, it had stopped mid cycle and was still half full of water. Shit! We tried turning it on again and the circuit board tripped instantly.

It is going to be a long clean up in the kitchen this morning, I thought, as I wiped the sleep out of my eyes, as the coffee brewed. I was going to have to wash everything by hand. Boo hoo. Everything. By hand. I pride (well, pride isn’t exactly the right word, I don’t really give a shit. It is just nice to get through it) myself on being able to clean away the night before’s dishes in the time that it takes for my morning coffee to brew. Not this morning though.

It was cold and quiet. Pots and pans lay higgdly-piggdly on the sink and in it. Cold, congealed fat formed circles on the surface of the varying sized ponds, receptacles, of water. Plates were jammed in between the pots, scrapes of chicken skin and red chicken fat hung from the white porcelain like scabs. Ants covered the dishes like chocolate sprinkles, moving in lines, removing the skerricks of waste, packed in their backpacks, marching away. Tea stained cups were jammed in between the saucepans. Milky glasses were jammed in between them. Cutlery was scattered around the lot like pick up sticks. Food waste littered the chopping boards, falling off the edges onto the bench. A puddle of gravy sat next to the lettuce spinner. A squashed tomato skin slid under my foot on the floor.

I built a fire, but as it was only 9am, so I didn’t feel like I could chop kindling, so I gathered scrap pieces of wood from the back yard and improvised. I went out into the back yard a number of times and the only recognition I got from Buddy was his eyes
moving as his head lay still on his pillow. 

The new delivery of wood was coming between 12 and 1pm, so there was absolutely no reason why I couldn’t have a fire (other than the early morning issue). There were only a few logs left as it stood it is true, but before they would have finish burning I’d have a lovely new ton to pick from.

I might as well be warm. There can’t be too many fires left for the year.

Santo came down some time later. I said, “Good morning honey.”

He pursed his lips and made the Buddy call sucking sound.

“Oh lovely," I said. "Buddy gets a hello before me.”

“Where is he?” was Santo’s only response.

“Oh charming, he’s not even apologetic about it.”

I guess he’s still cross (he wasn't cross... this is my mock outrage) about all the time I spent on my computer transferring my photos from my Mac Hard drive to my iPhotos, when he wanted to clean up in preparation of the carpet coming, next weekend. When I was finished, and all the photos had been transferred to iPhotos and I had deleted them from my hard drive and my trash bin, iPhotos some how glitched and I lost half of them. I wasn’t happy. Santo wasn’t happy about my moaning about losing my photos. He got them back from back up and then he wasn’t happy all over again when I spent more time transferring them all over again.

“But it wasn’t my fault.”

Lovely isn’t it. I’m under no illusions who is more important in his life, me or the dog. 

I'm kidding, of course. It's not personal. Buddy is precious, as Santo says. He's Santo's first dog, we must remember  The first thing he does every morning is let Buddy in. Then he kisses me. This morning was no different.

I went out to the car to move it in preparation of the wood being delivered. I turned the key and nothing. No sound, no lights, nothing. Lovely, I thought. It all happens at once, now doesn’t it? One thing after another. How many replacement requirements can stack up one after the other, I ask? I guess I was foolish to ask, but I did. The carpet next Saturday, the dishwasher as of yesterday, surely it can’t be the car as of today. No, not fair. 

“Grrrr, I hate you world!”

I whipped open the bonnet, I whizzed the cover off the battery and I twiddled both connections. I got back in the car and it started first turn of the key. Just as fucking well.

I always think of that greeting card form my childhood at moments like these, with the elephants pissing on the cover and the caption, “It never rains but it pours.”

Muesli, coffee, crumpets, coffee.

I finished off my photos over breakfast, after Santo showed me how to retrieve the images from back up. How good is he, he didn’t really want me to do it, but he still showed me how to do it. He’s lovely, really. Still lovely, definitely.

Santo was still so pleased with the clean windows, and I don’t think he could sit with me and watch me continuing with my photos, so he decided to clean the windows again this morning. Apparently, I was to help.

However, the hunt for the new dishwasher had to proceed. It has to be done, sooner rather than later, otherwise it will be next July and people will be saying, “Is your dishwasher still not working?”

And the old one is sitting there half full of water. Yay.

We’ve been researching them this morning. I’ve always had Askos, my parents always had Askos. Mum and dad had one for 25 years with nothing ever going wrong with it. I had one for 17 years trouble free. The one I have now was probably a rather foolish purchase, as it was a reconditioned unit that the service guy talked me into buying, at half the price of a new one at the time. It has lasted for 6 years. But there is Bosch and Miele too. The forums and reviews say the pick is between these three makes. The Miele is too expensive, twice as much as the other two. So, the choice is between Bosch and Asko.

We headed off to Warrigul Road to the combination of The Good Guys, Harvey Norman and Bamboe Indonesian restaurant for food. Everything should be covered by that arrangement, and it was. The food was great and Harvey Norman is, quite possibly, Santo’s favourite shop.

I bought a new Asko, it is to be delivered on Tuesday.

There goes my new SLR camera. I wanted a Cannon 700D, but I am getting an Asko. I harrumphed to Santo on the way home.

“I am spending all of this money and all I am getting is replacement goods, just maintenance. I’m not getting anything new. I'm not getting anything nice for me.”

“Shut up and stop complaining, there are people on the planet who don’t have access to fresh water.” Don’t you hate it when people quote you back at you? I know I do.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Cleaning and tidying for something new

I was awake at 8am on Saturday, you've got to love it. Why is it at 8am on a weekday I feel like I can sleep for many hours to come and yet at 8am on a Saturday I am wide awake and wanting to get up? Why is that? Is it just my mind being perpendicular? I dreamt about attempting to test drive Audis and having the salesmen ignore me, like he didn’t care. I drove up in my A8 that I parked out the front. I wanted to test drive an A6, or as it was, a 5 series Audi. (Maybe that is why he ignored me?)

I dreamt about rummaging through shelves of army green and shiny bronze cameras, in Target, trying to find which one was an SLR. They were all sorts of shapes and amazing designs, with lenses and viewfinders of every proportion possible.

I shook my head and pulled on my tracksuit pants. The cameras were amazing, like retro, futuristic army space age. Actually, it was more your highly lacquered metal finish meets your Greville Street retro chic.

I came down stairs and brewed coffee as I cleaned up the dirty dishes, which I’d left from last night. They were all covered in ants. A steady line of black ran from the kitchen sink, across the bench top and up the wall and into the light switch. That is where they are left, bodies up the wall, as a warning the colony of ants that may be considering taking their place. We get them in the winter when it rains, it is as if they come inside for shelter.

Oh the kitchen was a mess, where to start? Shrug? The coffee brews and the kitchen is tidy.

Vanilla fridge spray kills ants, if you hate fly spray as much as I do. It seems to kill them dead and leave the kitchen smelling lovely. Fly spray is just evil shit.

The coffee had just brewed and I was well into cleaning the dishes when Buddy started to bark. It was the first I’d heard from him all morning. I quietly walked over to the back door, just as Buddy ran out of his kennel and headed to the back of the yard. He stood there and sniffed at the wind.

The carpet man called. He didn’t need to come over and measure up, as the original measuring guy had passed on his measurements. He’ll be here at 9am next Saturday to start laying the new carpet.

We had a big fry up lunch. Sausages, eggs, spinach, mushrooms, toast. (Remember, I bought too many sausages the other night) I made the scrambled eggs, Santo made the rest.

We cleaned all afternoon. We have to move all of the furniture out of the lounge room for the new carpet to be laid. I have two big sideboards in the lounge, which are full of shit. Actually, one is a big writing desk with shelves above it, but it is still full of shit.

I threw away all of my treasures, things I haven’t looked at for years, true, but treasures none the less. There were three garbage bags of videocassettes, with everything on them. But, I don’t even have a video player any more. (I do in my bedroom, not that I use it, but not in the lounge room) There was another garbage bag of papers and photocopied articles and cards and business cards and scraps of things cut from newspapers that were mementos of… well, a life lived, I guess. And there they were being carried to the bin in a garbage bag. Lovely.

Nothing lasts forever. We must let go of everything in the end. Possessions are only temporary as we are, we all just gather together for a while. My new resolution, if I haven’t looked at it in ten years, I shouldn’t think twice about throwing it out, if the need arises.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Love and food

Buddy was very sleepy this morning when we let him in, some mornings you can see that he just wants to stay in his kennel. He headed straight into the study and lay under the desk on the carpet, flat out, nose – such as a Bulldog's nose is – between his paws.

That was until I called him.

“Come and entertain us bulldog, come and perform tricks and be funny and earn your keep. Come and make us laugh.”

Then he came and sat between us at the coffee table, his eyes closing slowly, his chin drooping repeatedly, his head sinking towards the ground. We ended up both patting either side of his head, with our spoon, crumpet in our other respective hands. His eyes closed again. Does he think he is here just for his benefit? Man’s best friend. It’s funny that man has killed and made enemies of so many species on this planet and yet the dog and man are best friends. The dog prevailed where no other animal did. Two pack animals, I guess.

Santo was gone before I was. But then, I was out the door at 8.10am myself. Out the door at 8.10am, my how back into the swing of it all we suddenly are. I stopped momentarily with my hand on the driver’s door handle and gazed to the sky and many images ran through my mind… I shook my head and got into the car. 8.15am said the clock on the dashboard as I reached for the roller door remote. Tick, tick, tick, go the mornings.

It is still wintery. Grey. Overcast. I am waiting for the cold weather to click off suddenly, like it did last year. I'm hoping it will click over. I seem to remember, about this time last year, one day it was cold and the very next day it was much, much warmer. And the winter was gone. Is it global warming? Who cares really? I just don't want to buy another load of firewood this year.

The working days are passing quickly. I have a nice team to work with. We all chat and laugh all day, you can't ask for much more than that. The office, the hallways, the kitchen out the back, all seem so familiar to me now.

It was raining as I walked to the car, after work. There is a certain melancholy walking to a wet, half empty car park on a damp, grey afternoon. All the cars sitting silently as the gravel crunches under your feet.

Santo called me halfway home, “Where are you?”

“I’m nearly home.”

“Oh good, go to the supermarket and get salad and sausages.”

“What?” I asked. Oh really? I guess I could do that.

“Go to the supermarket and get sausages and salad,” he repeated. “Or, anything you like, it is up to you. Be imaginative.”

“Where are you?”

“I’m nearly home too, but it is cold and wet and I don’t want to go out again.”

“I see. Really?”

“Follow my instructions,” he said. “You have a car.” Santo thinks I need supervision to shop successfully. He thinks I am “vague” when it comes to such things.

What could I say? He so often goes into the supermarket as I wait outside with Buddy. He usually drives the whole “dinner experience,” I had no choice but to obey. He, he, ha, ha. (It's our little joke) Santo so often says, if you follow my instructions every thing will be fine. It is that simple.

He’s funny, he makes me laugh. I let him think he runs the show… you know how relationships go…

At the supermarket I got more phone calls. He doesn’t really trust me to remember the finer details, which kind of suits me because then I don’t, actually, have to remember them. “Sms it to me, honey.” I got a long shopping list in instalments via text, as I tried to order black olives and feta cheese from Mr Blue-eyes behind the deli counter at Woolies.

"Would you like something else?" asked Blue eyes as I reread my text message.

"Oh, um, er..." I mustn’t forget cat food. “Ah… no.” Smile.

Apparently, I could decide. I could decide? The world was wide open to me, anything was possible. But, rather unimaginably, I decided to go with the sausages.

“Don’t buy the boring ones,” Santo said. “Be imaginative.”

Be imaginative? Be imaginative. What?

It was the end of the day. It was raining. It was cold. Who can think? What did he say first? Sausages and salad. There was chicken and pork. Chicken sausages? They were white. That is just a crime against nature. And Pork? It just seems like a waste of good pork, although I could be tempted.

I bought herb & garlic, and honey & sage. I couldn’t decide. I moved from one foot to the other as I stood in front of the sausage fridge and wondered. I felt the pressure, “don’t be boring.” I could have played it safe and bought chorizo or bratwurst or white rhino, but that almost seemed too obvious, so therefore, in itself, boring. I wanted simple and classic, so that is why I went for what I did.

I got raised eyebrows for buying too much, when I thought I’d get brownie points for choice. So many sausages, there was too much to eat in one meal. What was I thinking, so now the (unnecessary) pressure is on to eat all the sausages that were bought before they spoil.

Stupid me.

I tousled Santo’s hair and he rolled his eyes and laughed in equal measure.

The sausages were lovely, we chose the herb and garlic ones. The salad was lovely, the key to a good salad is avocado, I always think. And then the second key ingredient is feta cheese.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Out to dinner

This nervous thing…

It is probably some need for approval by the great god Ra, or Ismail, or Beelzebub. Hands together, bow, Namaste. Ha ha, kill me now… I’ve got it all wrong and the lord in heaven is gazing down on me with contempt, marking off each transgression with a shot of adrenaline straight into my central nervous system... as he fingers the virgins in his knee. (That's what every other red blooded omnipotent all powerful dictator would be doing)

Jill says I need to go on anti anxiety pills, she says they have done wonders for her. But, oh… I don’t know. She is on her own, she stress eats and she boredom buys. She doesn’t have much in her life other than food and online buying, other than the care of her 94 year old father. In the last few years her blood pressure has shot up sky high and she has developed type 2 diabetes, as well as obesity. I’m not sure I am the same. I think I am just…

Apparently, Jill’s 94 year old father wants to die. Rachel said, “Just crush up all his pills and give them to him.” She shrugged. “Easy.” She turned to me. “Crush them all up. Give them to him. Nobody is going to do a postmortem at 94.”

We went to dinner in High Street Armadale with Jill and Rachel.

Rachel wanted to go to Misty’s Diner, which served deep fried Japanese food, but Jill vetoed it because she wanted to eat something healthier than deep fried food.

"She was eating Hungry Jack's with me last week," I dobbed.

Jill, amazingly was first at the restaurant yes, early. There she was sitting at the circular table on her own as Santo and I scoured the names on the shops for Sushi Sozai. The restaurants in Armadale have very subtle signage, so subtle you can hardly make it out.

Rachel was last to arrive, but only by minutes.

We ate sushi and sashimi. We ate Agedash tofu. Rachel ate steak but couldn't finish it, so we all helped her. They drank sake and I drank pear cider. We ate green tea ice cream and drank coffee. The deserts weren’t much, otherwise Jill would have ordered them all. I would have encouraged her.

Rachel had her wide-eyed, fixed happy face on when she updated us on her kids. The gorgeous Amy is being stalked by her ex boyfriend who quite possibly deranged. The beautiful Anton has bought himself a motorbike. He is too handsome to be marked coming off a motorbike. The lovely Freida has a bad knee and her youngest, Oliver, has continuing stomach problems.

Our fat, mutual, pretentious queen friend of ours, David Monsoon, has been on sleeping tablets for 30 years, otherwise he can’t sleep.

“Oh, he is on some many tablets for whatever,” Rachel said. “I am surprised he doesn’t rattle when he walks.”

So many people I know have trouble sleeping. None of us had trouble sleeping. There seems to be more and more people who claim not to be able to sleep.

Jill is investigating buying bed-sits and renting them out. She said she is contemplating selling the mountain of shares she has. The two friends of Jill’s who were in dire financial trouble have gone with airb&b and are renting out the second bedroom in their south Melbourne flat and are doing okay. Apparently, the room is taken most nights. Jill made a point of telling us, me, as she suggested I do it with my house but I ignored her, much to her chagrin. She’s not a girl to be ignored.

Jill got a car park right across the road, which was usually the park that I scored. It was a cool night as we walked back to the car, waving good bye to Jill as she waddled to her car. High Street was practically deserted. Rachel was parked down the street a bit, just behind us.

Monday, August 19, 2013


I’ve been feeling that nervous thing again. Anxious, like things are going to go wrong, may go wrong. Wah! I’m sure it is just my version of new job nerves, but it manifests itself as anxiety, or stress, rather than just nerves. Does that make sense? I don’t feel nervous about going to work, as such, I feel some general sense of anxiety about all things in life. Brrrrr! I feel vaguely nervous about all manner of things. I think there is some sort of transference. Nervous smile. I'm nervous about work, which makes me feel generally nervous, to mask the fears about work.

I don’t feel anxious about Santo, or sleep, they are the two things that are never effected. Santo is so lovely... as is sleep. My anchors in life. It is hard to explain. I like it best when I am cuddled up in the doona with Santo, then I feel relaxed. Maybe, it is Vertical disease?

This "nervous" thing seemed to start this year after I took the summer off, when I went back to work at Easter. That was the Tuesday after Easter, I think it was April 09th. I remember going to my first assignment in the city and feeling like I didn't have a clue. What was that, four months off? I guess I should look back and see what was going on around me then. How my aura was? What my vibrations were doing. Maybe there was a crack in my time line continuum?

I've been feeling nervous about my current assignment, I didn't want the weekend to finish. It seemed to pass by so fast and it seemed to be Sunday night in no time. This morning I woke up and it was 6.45am and I felt, kind of, relaxed that I had fifteen minutes to go. I looked over at Santo’s handsome, sleeping face on the pillow and everything seemed calm in the world. I lay there and enjoyed the peace and the quiet. Everything was still. I wondered why every minute of every day couldn’t feel like that? Still and serene, not a care, everything with a feeling of green and the smell of lavender. There is nothing like goose down to sooth the soul.

I know it will pass fairly soon. It is like I have to prove myself to myself all over again... all over again... and over again. It is just tedious. I guess, it is because I have been on holidays and I'm out of the work loop. I have slipped out of my comfort zone into a new reality, a holiday mentality and now I have to reprogram my brain for the 9 to 5 strain. It is just time... time to dumb it down again and join the working world.

Oh it is just annoying really. Stupid me.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sunday cleaning day

I woke up first just before 8am. I can’t be awake that early, I thought, on a Sunday, it is unreasonable. I don’t have to get up. I rolled over and fell back to sleep again. I am sure I dreamt again, all negative about failing or falling, no need to remember them. I woke up some time later and it felt like it was hours later and I was pleased. Oh I feel so much more rested, I thought.

I go up. Santo continued to sleep. I always try to be the slippery man, the stretchy one, is he out of Xmen? I always try to slither out of bed so smoothly and so quietly, so as to move the bed the least, therefore disturbing Santo as little as possible. He looks so handsome with his head on the pillow, slightly to one side, so angelic, really. My legs slip out from under the doona first horizontally, like a envelope coming out of a letter box slot, then once they are completely clear of the bedding, they bend down at 90 degrees and my feet touch the ground. Then I do one of those B-boy stand straight up from the ankles moves, except my whole body slides out from under the bed clothes in the same movement, as I stand up. All so I don’t disturb my beautiful boyfriend and so as he can sleep.

If he remains undisturbed, he stays still and quiet. If I wake him, he starts to bleat and grunt, like a baby animal stretching and calling for its mother in the same breath. incoherent sort of grunts and groans.

This morning, he was silent.

I looked at my watch it said 8.34. Oh, bugger. Really? Just half an hour? What happened to those days when I could sleep until the afternoon, not a problem?

I made coffee and cereal and sat at the coffee table in the lounge room. It was kind of a cool morning, still windy, as the air whined somewhere outside in the trees. But then Buddy was jumping up at the door, unusually as he is a good sleeper too, so I let him in and he came and sat next to me and pushed up against me and kept me warm.

Santo got up sometime later. He arrived with his laptop and sat next to me. I made him coffee, he pointed at the kitchen when I suggested it. He ate ciabatta bread with butter and vegemite, which is quite possibly the nicest thing you can eat for breakfast.

This is day 2 of quitting smoking and I can feel the withdrawal, yes I can. That unsettled feeling. The “ahhh.” The knots in the back of my neck, in my shoulders... I gather that is withdrawal anxiety? The butterflies in my stomach, I’m sure that is just “want.” That mad rush of desire when, like at the dog park last night, someone lights a cigarette and suddenly I feel like I am missing out, like I am being denied... I’ll just ask him for one… he’ll give me one… we are all on the same team, essentially... he wouldn’t deny a brother in need? ... Just relax, don’t ask anyone for anything… back away from the smoker.

Oh boo hoo, it will be good when this stops.

Santo wanted to clean. His nerd news must have been short today. Oh groan, we had to clean. Sunday afternoon cleaning… it is a sickness, shake of the head. He was very serious about it, my least favourite type of cleaning, with determination. We need a schedule, apparently, and a list. (kill me now)

“Since we are getting new carpet, we need a new shoe off policy…”

“No, I am not agreeing to that,” I replied. I have never been able to buy into that anal shoes off at the front door thing. I’ve always been suspicious of the people who insist on that? Are they germ phobic or mentally deranged, or both? It just isn’t normal. What do you think carpet is for? It is for walking on... you morons.

“Oh yes,” said Santo.

“NO!” I insisted.

I got so over the cleaning. It didn’t take long before I didn’t want to do any more. I turned into a child and moaned. I did vacuum the atrium, the kitchen, the lounge room and the front hallway, the whole down stairs. I did replace the vacuum bag. I did unblock the vacuum hose, which I may, or may not have blocked up in the first place. It was a drag. It was a chore. I hated it. I couldn’t get into it. I got pouty when I didn’t want to do it anymore and Santo insisted. I abandoned my post, in the end, I had no other choice. I lost (good boyfriend) points, I know.

“I don’t care, you can’t make me!”

Santo was gung-ho, he kept at it like a madman.

Oh clean clean clean. I don’t get it. I don’t get a charge out of it. It just seems like a waste of time, setting yourself up for disappointment. What you clean, just gets dirty again, it is a never ending cycle that you just shouldn’t buy into.

“It is pointless.”

Santo was very impressed with Jill’s cleaning products. She gave me a whole tub of cleaning products that were excess to her needs. Who buys so many cleaning products they have to give them away as the only means of getting rid of them? I tell you it is a sickness and we have become enablers by taking them from her. She can’t stop herself from spending, it gives her meaning in her life, it relieves her boredom. I’m sure it is sexual, like those rogue firemen who go out and light fires…

Santo got stuck into cleaning all the windows, after I had stopped. Oh yes. All the windows, with newspaper and windex, which we have in the traditional blue shade and which we now have in the more modern clear formula also.

I was coerced into window cleaning as, apparently, I had rested by that stage. I cleaned one door and one window above the said door. Then I was done. I have to say they did shine though, with relatively little effort.

I just don’t see cleaning as a fun thing, even with the pleasure of the end results in my head.

Santo spent an awful lot of time glaring at me, through the windows he was cleaning. Every time I looked up. I could hear his brain ticking over. “Does he sweep up? Never sweep up? Does he clean up? Never clean up…” But it isn’t true, I’m good at cleaning, I am house trained, I’m just not that convinced by it. It is just not a good idea to ask me to do such things on day 2 of quitting smoking. Day 2 of quitting smoking is draining, it is hard to get the energy for, well, anything really.

Cleaning? If I think it looks dirty, I’ll clean it up. Just don’t ask me to schedule it.

Finally, I got up on the windows, he was cleaning from the outside, and cleaned the inside. I made cutesy faces at him as I cleaned. It didn’t really endear me to any great extent, but it got more of the windows cleaned. It made him laugh instead of scowl, so that has to be a good thing.

The light faded. The windows gleamed. The day outside fractured into late afternoon. A hint of night started to descend.

We took Buddy for a walk to the French Bakery and bought apple crumble, cheesecake and Portuguese egg tarts. We came home and I made tea and we had afternoon tea cakes on small plates. I think it was Santo’s way of appeasing me after all the nazi cleaning directives.

Over dinner, Santo kept commenting on what lovely windows we have. “Look at those windows, they look so fresh, so vibrant.” Then he’d slide his bare feet across the kitchen floor tiles and he’d remark how smooth they felt. (Yes, we mopped floors)

Apparently, the home brand floor cleaner I buy is incomparable to Jill’s luxury name brand.

I cooked risotto for dinner, my specialty. Bacon, leek and mushroom. Yum! Even if I do say so myself. I must make the calamari and lemon one again, that could be my very favourite.

“Have you ever seen such clean windows?” asked Santo. “It is as though there is no glass in those frames at all.”

Saturday, August 17, 2013


I felt tired for the last few days, like that is a surprise. It's only to be expected, really. I wondered about DVT and all that sitting I did on the plane. Should I have taken aspirin? I know, I should have taken more Valium, getting really out of it is really the only way to fly. No, really, it is. The more drugs the more enjoyable the flight it, that is a well known fact.

I wondered if anything would have helped?

This morning was sleep in day, the first since we went back to work, so we slept in until 10am. That’s pretty good, I thought. We had an appointment at The Genius Bar at 11.30am. I thought Santo was going to make it for later in the day. And he said he did, as originally it was 11am. Ha ha.

The immediate problem was coffee, we’d been out of beans since Thursday. Santo didn’t want to come with me, he wanted me to go on my own. I wanted him to come too and I wanted to walk Buddy also. So, without really making a big deal out of it, I simply put Buddy’s harness on him, so he was excited and Santo couldn’t say no to his cute little face. Then the two of us just stood there and looked at Santo.

It worked. The sun was shining.

I bought coffee and ciabatta bread and bananas and butter. I brewed the coffee. I toasted the bread smothered it in butter and then squashed the bananas onto it.  
 I bought a bag of oranges too, they are a great desert substitute. Good snack food.
So Chadstone? How to get there? My CityLink needed to be toped up, I’d had a “low balance alert” for ages, so I did that before we left. I asked the nice guy at CityLink why I hadn’t had a statement for 12 months. He told me that I got one in July, but they were now online.

“I could make it…something, or something, or something,” to tell you the truth I didn’t listen to what he said. “You just log on using you account number and the same password.”

It is time to embrace everything online. I spend most of my life sitting in front of my laptop. “Thanks. I can look them up online.” Easy I thought.

And I did look it up. Easy. It showed me that it cost nearly $6 to travel along the south eastern freeway. $12 return. I promptly decided not to use CityLink and to use Burnley Street instead.

Is that stingy? $12 is expensive to pay CityLink especially when the South Eastern was an existing road. I put $10 worth of petrol in my car instead.

Chadstone. What a sad place. All those people who can’t think of any better form of entertainment than shopping. All those people who can’t find a more interesting way to spend their time. Spending money, more often that they don’t have, is the only thing they can think of to fill their lives?

Santo’s iPhone developed spots on its digital images. Great. All the photos we took at the end would be spoilt, if I wasn’t a whizz with Photoshop. They replaced the phone.

I looked at a new Cannon SLR 700D in JB. My Cannon Powershot has developed focusing problems. It has been my first non SLR camera and it was always a mistake, I felt. SLR’s have halved in price too.

We ate Indonesian at the group of restaurants up Warrugal Road a bit. Bamboo. The food was great. Yum. I’d recommend it. It is quite different to other Asian food. I reckon is could almost be my favourite.

We visited mum, she is just up the road from Chadstone and the Indonesian restaurant. Santo came with me. He was going to wait in the car, but it seemed a little stupid. He said he’d come in and he met mum for the first time. We took her to her room and sat on her bed and chatted. We didn’t stay for very long, maybe half an hour. Santo told me I was mean not staying for longer. Mum seemed fine. Kind of fine. Fine for someone who has had Alzheimer’s for four years.

We came home and drank coffee, as the afternoon light began to fade. But, I wanted to go out and breath in fresh air, so we too Buddy to the dog park. It was 5pm, there was just enough time, besides it is nice to see the day out, to watch the light fade, to witness another day end, in the middle of an open field surrounded by grass. It is the luxury of winter, seemingly transitioning halfway through the afternoon to night. Pull your collar up, feel the night air blush against your cheek.

We went to woollies or, at least, Santo went to Woolies at the Hive. Buddy and I hung out on the street, rather than waiting in the car, waiting for Santo to come out. Everyone seems to smile at Buddy. We loitered at the doorway for our honey. He came out with bananas, a huge bag for $1.50. Bananas for everyone. I must make a banana cake. What about coconut banana cream pie, I have always wanted to make one ones of those.

We watched TV, Ocean’s 11 and Journey to the Centre of the Earth. Hollywood makes some shit films.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Back into life

I took photos driving to work, as I did yesterday. I like the contrast between what I have been doing over the last three weeks and what I am doing now. Urban shots of every day life in Vietnam, compared to urban shots of where I live and my life as I live it. It is funny how everything seems so clean in Melbourne when viewed with relatively new eyes. Clean and new. That won’t, of course, last for very long as we very quickly become blind to what is around us and we don't see those things right in front of us. But, while it seems new again, my journey to work can be documented with the images that I see. I like capturing the everyday. I like capturing those small things. I like capturing the everyday happening.

I have to be careful taking shots from the driver’s seat, however, as cars have come up behind me so silently a couple of times, I guess, I have been concentrating. Oops, suddenly there is a set of lights and a grill bearing down on me, like a benign Christine. I am sure, the drivers were thinking, what is this idiot doing? Move! you fucker. Blush. Like I'd be thinking.

I'm documenting life, my friend. Stop and smell the roses… life IS too short.

Get out of the fucking way.

Friday and I am already slipping back into work mode, already settling into those rhythms, the daily grind, sadly. Why wasn’t I that fabulous travel writer as Mark suggests I could be? Morning, day, night, the vibrations are settling where they are, 9 to 5, this is what life is, head down, hold on the first step was a doozie, but it should be all plain sailing from now on. Fingers crossed. 

I felt tried for the first few days. 

I still haven’t managed to quit smoking. I didn’t smoke all day yesterday until I got home, but today I caved and headed out to the shop at morning tea for a gasper. Idiot! Still, there is the weekend to do it. I think it is always easier on the weekend, not so many stresses.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Ready for the upheaval

Day two and the roads are relatively clear and the driving conditions are good. My car already knows the way to go. As my mum used to like to say, Boom chick, a boom chick.

I got the carpet, $20 a metre for wool carpet. That’s pretty good, I reckon. Everybody I have told, well, the three people I have told, have inhaled at the price and rabbited something about it being suuuuch a good deal.

“Oh you must be sooooo please.” Ernest look. Big smile. Wide eyes.

“Neyh.” I guess, I think to myself. All I can, really, see now is me having to take a day off work and having to spend a night spent removing most of the furniture, hopefully it will only take one night. Oh, all that furniture. Two side boards, including contents of many books in one and much crockery in the other, the oversized coffee table (it is a dining room table that has had its legs chopped down to dwaf size), the otterman, the smaller cabinet and whatever the hell is in that, the potted plants… and then hoping, fingers crossed, the carpet layers can work around my 3 oversized couches. They can’t be removed, not easily, not really. The furniture problem is what has stopped me replacing the carpet up until this point, you know, defeated before I start. So, there is lots of work to be done before I am sooooo pleased. Wide eyes.

It is maintenance, people, that’s what it is. It is not really something new, as such, it is money being extracted as the cost of living. COGS. 

It is simply repairs.

But, I have to say, I am looking forward to that first pad across the new fibres with my bare toes, that should be lovely. I wonder if it will shed endlessly like new wool carpet can sometimes? I am pleased, of course. Recently, a friend of Mark’s came to the house for the first time and I have to say that I felt a twinge of embarrassment, for the first time.

I have to say, it has been pretty simply thus far. I just have to send a cheque and the deal is done. And, “Post us a cheque and the deal is done.” Old school. Lovely.

Oh, it doesn’t seem real yet, something crossed off my five year list. The five year list is the slowest of all the lists, not so many things get put on it and not so many come off. However, I’m finally giving up my rags in my Pygmalion moment. 2013, the rain in Spain… We'll be all new again, like Joan Rivers, shiny and lovely again, except, of course, carpet doesn't shine, so, we will be all matte and lovely again. If you will excuse the pun.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Back at the salt mines

Work, work, work. I'm back at a company I worked for earlier in the year. Nothing much had changed, well, it has only been a few months, really and nothing changes that fast, no matter how much we may like to blame our stress on such things. In fact, the work that I did for them hadn't progressed since the last time I worked for them. I am, actually, taking up where I left off... kind of.

I’m not complaining, at least I know what I am doing straight up. It is just an observation. We all blab on about the wonderful technology and the amazing advancements, but in all reality, those things are as flawed as the humans that set them up and use them.

I managed to get through the morning without a cigarette, but at lunchtime I caved in. Oh well, after smoking on holidays it is two steps forward and one step back with the return quitting. I kind of hit the home ground with the best of intensions, stumble a few times, bounce, fall over and then I quit, if not before, by the weekend. It is like Little Toot and all that “I think I can,” stuff, not really knowing if I really can, and then I have.

Santo is not happy about my smoking, he punches me every time I light one up. So, a couple of days, as they say.

I ran into the HR director in the car park when I got there this morning and he said, "You know you are Mr Popularity around here, it wasn't so much the job as we all just wanted you back." So, you know, that was kind of nice... and I like them too, so it is, kind, of mutual.

I was told, later in the morning, that they will probably want me till the end of January. Yay. The end of January, I thought? Goodness me, all that work. Yay. Just be positive, Christian, that was my next thought. Oh yes it was. Yay. How many months is that? Fingers. One, two , three… I've got to be that glass half full man, you know. Wonderful! How many months is that until I can loll around the lounge room with Buddy pissing the time away? Six months. Six months shouldn’t kill me?

Last year, when I worked in Collins Street with Chuckles for five months it began to feel interminable in the end. But, I am sure, that was mostly because of Chuckles sparkling personality. Dour bitch.

Up at 7am, iron a shirt, prepare my lunch box (actually, my lovely boyfriend does that for me) get in the car, negotiate the morning traffic, arrive at 8.30, be smiley, be fun, work till 5pm, drive home, cook dinner (my lovely boyfriend does that for me too) clean up the kitchen, go to bed at a time that the schedule dictates. Repeat. For six months. Every day. Big smile. Be happy. Woo Hoo, fists punching the air.

And, you know, after all of my carry on, I know, work is, actually, beneficial. Oh yes, big sigh, it is true. It socialises you, it engages your mind, it takes you out of the house, and out of yourself and it is, actually, easier to work than to stress about having no money. I think it is far less damaging to one’s psyche. Work.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

House repairs disturbing the peace

Santo went back to work today, lucky him. I had today to myself, or at least that is what I thought. A day just to settle and centre and lay on the couch with my hand gently stroking Buddy's back as he lay asleep next to me. Sounded grand.

However... Jill had organised carpet samples and she had organised the carpet measuring guys to be here at 11am. She sprung it on me yesterday.

She, of course, would be here at that time too. She had been looking after my lap-top. It is backed up on two hard drives wirelessly, but if the two hard drives and the laptop are in the same place? Not best practice.

"Have coffee ready," said Jill.

Of course, she is a woman who will be late to her own funeral. (she was late) "You look so well."

"Thanks. I think it is beginning to fade now."

She smiled.

I smiled.

“So, where is my laptop?”

“Oh,” said Jill. I could see her mentally recalibrating the truth, as she spoke it. “We’re going to my house after this for lunch…”

We are?

“…and then to the carpet place, you’ll pick it up on the way.”

“You forgot it?”

“No I didn’t.”

“But that is why you came over here.”

“No, I didn’t,” said Jill. “I came to see you.”

“I’d rather see my laptop.”


“Well.” Shrug. She had kept an eye on my place during the holiday, I guess I had to be nice to her. “You with the laptop.”


Jill had the key to my place while we were away and she was itching to do the repairs that she has deemed necessary for the longest time, that she has been nagging me about for years. (Oh, it can't be years) But, I made her promise she wouldn't do anything unless I was here. So, the carpet samples were all laid out on the kitchen bench when we returned home from Vietnam.

Most of them were awful, but one.

Then, of course, we were off to the carpet place, Jill and I, to look at carpets. I was going to make excuses and get rid of her after the measuring guys had been, but, of course, that didn't work. She was gung-ho, I was, literally dragging my feet. Rolls of carpet are ginormous, now aren’t they? The man at Fowles was nice. $20 a metre instead of $110, if we are lucky. (something like that, anyway) I wasn’t too tired to listen to that fact. Lovely! Secretly, I am pleased, my carpet is, literally, threadbare at the entrance to my lounge room. No, really, it is non-existent, there is a great big hole where carpet used to be. It is time to open the purse and let the trapped butterflies escape. (Is that moths?)

Fortunately, Jill had a massage appointment at 3pm, which meant I could grab my laptop and scamper home and catch up on my blogging, which was what I really wanted to do with the day, not look at stupid carpets. It was 2pm as we left Fowels.

“Can we go and get my laptop now.”

“I don’t think I’ll have time…”

“Sure you will you have an hour.”

We were on The Princess Highway, just up the road from Jill’s, we just had to pop in and get my laptop on the way.

“I really need something to eat, though,” said Jill. “Before my massage.”

“Oh,” I said. “We can still do that.” I looked at my Nike band. I don’t think I was really convinced that we could.

“There is a hungry jacks just here,” said Jill. “Let’s go there.”


She was able to pull off an astonishing traffic manoeuvre, across two lanes, to pull in quickly to the Hungry Jacks.

“What do you want?”

I just had what she was having, a chicken burger meal deal.

“We’d better pull over here (in the carpark) so you can eat your burger…”


“You can’t eat a burger as you drive along?”

“What?” said Jill. “You can when you have as much experience as I do.”

It was getting on to 2.20 something as we pulled back onto to The Princess Hwy, with Jill behind the wheel chomping at the chicken burger, taking out a quarter of it at the time. She had fries in one hand, the drink in another and the burger in another, or so it would seem.

We now, in all reality, didn’t have enough time to pick up my laptop as well. Boo Hoo. “Don’t worry about the laptop.” I was crushed. “I’ll get it another time.”

“Oh, okay. Now if we shoot down Warragul Road and onto City Link, that should be the quickest, shouldn’t it?”

“Yes.” All I wanted was my laptop, that’s all I wanted from the day, like your front teeth for Xmas, but somehow it wasn’t going to happen.

Still, I shouldn’t complain, I still have my small laptop, the MacAir, to write on. But, my 17 inch MacPro is the mother ship, it is what stores all of the data, with its dual hard drives and huge capacity… and I wanted it back, to transfer my photos across.

Still, I believe, there are boys who don’t have access to a laptop at all. How awful.

We ate porkbelly and bokchoi. The porkbelly wasn’t quite as sublime as normal, something about a lack of fish sauce, or oyster sauce, or something.

I start a new assignment tomorrow, full time for the rest of the year. I'm exhausted.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Holding each other up

Collecting Buddy

I was up at 8am. Oh yeah, got to love that after a thirteen hour flight and turning off the bedside lamp at 1.11am. But, you know, the old story... bing! Awake.

I still felt a little, oh how do I put it, hit in the head when I padded down the stairs to the kitchen. You know that jet lag feeling, there is the feeling of ringing in the ears and a thick head, without having either of those things. What would you call it? It's like having your brains pulled out of your head, stretched tight like elastic, hit with a timpani hammer and then relocated between your ears.

I don't know how else to put it.

The coffee was dangerously low, a little shocking upon first sighting. You know, considering my eyes weren't, exactly, focusing correctly and I couldn't immediately tell if there was enough, or not. Sharp inhale of breath. Pulled by the centre of my head to the pinnacle of the roof. Release, it's okay, we have enough beans.

I was talking on the phone to Jill at 9.30, when Santo was showered and standing at the lounge room door tapping his foot wanting to head to the country to collect Buddy. 

That was a four hour round trip, up the Caulder. It was cold, it was wet, the skies were grey and then they were black and then they were silver. The doors were nearly blown off the car when we stopped at the Caulder Park servo to eat Maccas for breaky. You know, like you do on your days off. The wind swept across the flat planes and shot through the car park like a hurricane. It was that kind of wind where if you lay into it, it would hold you up. I love it, I am a wind baby. Not many people do, it freaks them out.

There was Kath, in her nylon stretch pants and her oversized cardigan, and Jude, with her post menopause crimson hair and her egg shaped figure, enjoying a lunch time treat of KFC at the local servo. Jude was commenting on the price of Macca’s macaroons.

“One macaroon,” her eyes widened, “two dollars.” Her eyebrows raised up and her forehead creased. “For one.” She waited Jude’s response and when it wasn’t forth coming. “Two dollars for one.” She was shaking her head. She left her mouth open like a guppy to, I assume, emphasise her point. She nodded and screwed up her lips. “Six for nine dollars.” She said the words carefully, as if, to make sure she said them correctly. She looked incredulous. She removed the plastic lid to her coffee and sipped at the rim of the cup hesitantly. She looked around the restaurant. She picked up a chicken nugget with her thumb and pointer finger, her remaining fingers raised in the air, and she nibbled at the breadcrumb covered meat.

It was sunny, but cool. Santo punched me on the arm as I lit a cigarette as we headed to the car. The wind moved the car across the freeway lane, as we headed around the Digger’s Rest bypass. The rain bounced across the road and the bonnet heavily, each drop bouncing and then splattering as they strummed the metal of the car.

Santo remembered the place I call “Canada,” the area where there are pine trees plantations. I was impressed.

There were huge puddles on the road, once we had turned off the freeway and were on the back roads. What are they? B roads?

Buddy stank like a sheep farm. He did his little bulldog dance when he saw us. Then he walked straight to the car, and where he usually waits at the car door sill to be lifted in, he climbed right in there, crawled his fat bull doggie arse up on to the back seat and sat looking straight ahead, as if to say, okay take me home.

Santo declared it an emergency shower situation and Buddy was bundled into the bathroom as soon as we got home. He looks adorable post shower wrapped up in a beach towel dripping wet.

The rest of the day was a blur.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The bling bling of Melbourne as we approach home

Leaving KL. Both our cameras developed problems. My Cannon had a continuing auto focus problem and Santo's iPhone, which actually takes good photos, developed increasing numbers of spots. I haven't got my MacPro back from Jill's safe keeping to be able to Photoshop out the irregularities