Of Bikes and Balustrades

We had a killer long weekend away in the mountains. It would have been perfect, if not for the fact that we returned  last night to find that our neighbour had ploughed his motorbike directly into our front garden. Just what we needed!

Not only are our new season plantings looking worse for wear, there’s a mighty crack in our new glass balustrade. Melbourne’s south eastern suburbs aren’t exactly a hot spot for this sort of thing, so it’s a bit of a surprise for all concerned (including our neighbour, who has apologised profusely). I’m sure he’s got enough on his plate what with his broken bike and all, but he’s going to have to foot the repair bill for the balustrade nonetheless.

We seriously just had that thing installed last month. We didn’t really need it, but we were updating to glass pool fencing out back and figured we might as well give the front of the house a face-lift while we were at it. This glass is supposed to be really sturdy, but I guess barrelling a motorbike into it will put even the toughest fencing material to the test.

Well, we might not have to replace it – Steph says a repair job might be possible. I’m not sure how that would work, though; how does one repair a cracked glass panel? I suppose the only way to find out is to call in a professional glass fitter. Melbourne – any recommendations for someone trustworthy who can get this done fast?

While I’m at it, I should consider getting them to have a look at our kitchen glass splashback, which I’ve been wanting to have replaced for a while now. There’s nothing wrong with it, but it’s a terrible shade of terracotta. Maybe said glazier could give me a quote on that. A splashback on our front steps wouldn’t go astray either – just in case Ed decides to slam his bike into them again.

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The Jacoby Family On the Move

So as it turns out, that letter of eviction that came through Cassius’ door wasn’t fake. He, his wife and their six kids have a month to leave, since their property is being claimed by the council.

Now, I know I’m going to be the one who clears this up. Obviously I am, because Mother and Father don’t know the first thing about moving; almost no one in the Jacoby clan does. We’ve been in the same place for over a hundred years, so no one has the slightest clue what to do when you have to up and move somewhere else entirely.

No, Cassius, you don’t just pack everything into the ute and go to find a house that isn’t occupied. That only worked the first time because Great Uncle Homer left you his house after he had that shotgun-possum incident. But I can’t just go to Cassius and Clara and say “So, guys, there are conveyancing solicitors in Melbourne, and they help you out with transferring ownership of property. Now, this here ain’t yours any more, so you have to find a place on the market and put in and offer, after which…”

I would lose them on the second syllable. It’s not that Jacoby folk don’t have the smarts to figure out conveyancers, vendors statements and buying a home- well, we might not, but that’s besides the point- but the fact that we ain’t never done it before. I only know because I read some books and I like to keep up with the local property market. For…research. And other stuff. Hey, hey, I gotta be getting my own place at some point. There are some benefits to sharing a room with four brothers, but privacy ain’t one of them. Reading time is more limited than I’d like.

Anyway, I’m helping them out. If I have to find a conveyancer with quality service in Melbourne somewhere, I will…and it’s gonna have to be top-class, because they’ll be dealing with first-timers. That is, first-timers even less initiated then regular first timers.

-Forrest Jacoby Jr. Jr.

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The Time of Light Shall Come Again

25From now on, historians will divide the days of this office in twain. There will be the time of joyous light, when power flowed freely, hair was dried in the warm breeze, hot brews were boiled as kettles flowed like rain…and the dark times. Those are times in which we live now, where we are denied such a basic right. We claw out a wretched existence in the darkest of places, labouring without dignity or hope.

Yes, the office placing restrictions on the amount of power we use was cruel indeed, especially since the commercial energy monitoring was purported to be used for good. The greatest of tools can be used for good or ill, and they fell into the wrong hands.

And yet, a resistance thrives, hanging on by a thread. Whispers among the cubicles, clandestine lunchtime meetings in the old breakroom, discussions regarding the state of industrial solar and energy storage; any frail, glimmer of hope that will bring light back into our lives, hairdryers back to our desks, the toaster-oven back to the main breakroom. Oh, for the days when cheese toasties would spill forth from its gates in a torrent of dairy loveliness. Alas, it was deemed to be an energy drainer and cruelly banished. But now, hope has arisen. We are close, oh so very close to reviving the great days of light and plenty, and possibly getting charger privileges back because *come on*. Charging your phone? That’s like a human right now, seriously.

Anyway, yeah. Battery storage and industrial LED lighting has made great advancements in the last few years. Perhaps enough to convince the overlords to loosen their tight grip on the energy monitoring controls. At the very least we should be able to turn up the brightness on our computer screens, which would be great because I was talking to my optometrist and she said that people my age can get cataracts in low light, and I was like ‘yes, obviously!’

I just want to charge my phone…


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Plotting My Formal Look

School formals are stupid. School is stupid, but formals are even stupider. Why would I want to get all dolled up to ceremoniously part ways with this hole? I’d rather leave abruptly, thanks very much. The fact is, though, that my parents really want me to ‘get into it’ and experience the whole shebang – as in, pick out a stupid outfit and go get a stupid new look for the occasion. Anyway, I’ve agreed just to shut them up about it.

One good thing to come of this is that I am actually keen for a trip to hairdressers. More to the point, I’m keen to have someone else fund said trip. So I’m going to go in all guns blazing and get the cut, colour and style I’ve never been able to have due to my school’s strict dress code. Obviously, this can’t take place til after I’ve made it through the exams, but I can start plotting my look right now.

I’ve noticed this swanky salon in St James Place – Melbourne has no shortage of stylish salons, I’ll acknowledge, but this one’s a standout. That’s where I plan to go for the experimental hairstyle to end all hairstyles. I’m going to let that stylist really go wild. As for a colour job, it’s hard to imagine a shade that  makes a statement nowadays. By my school’s standards, though, it shouldn’t be too hard.

I expect it’s going to be difficult to convince the hairdresser to go as hard as I want them to go, me being 17 and all. It’s also going to be hard getting my avant garde ‘do past my parents. I’ll have to go to the salon en route to the formal. Maybe there’s a luxury salon in South Melbourne that’d be more convenient.

I have plenty of time to figure it out, anyway. Then there’s the outfit to consider. All I know for sure is that I’m going to make the biggest splash possible on my parents’ dime. If I’m lucky, I’ll get kicked out for deviating from the dress code.

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In a tizzy over TV reception

This is a nightmare. I’m living inside a nightmare, and not just anyone’s nightmare. My nightmare. I am getting married in almost exactly a month and something so ridiculously insignificant has gone wrong that I would never have even thought to have factor it into my plans. Suffice to say, it has upset my soon-to-be husband to the point where he’s out of control. At this wedding, there isn’t going to be a ‘bridezilla’, it’s all about the crazy groom.


If you’re unable to count, then I should probably tell you that I’m getting married on Grand Final Day. That was totally intentional (I figured we could take advantage of the holiday) but Grant only agreed to it on the proviso there was a TV screen available in the chapel. Fine, I said. It’s our wedding, but sure, you can watch the television. No problem.


But there was a problem, and it happened yesterday. Grant found out that the venue doesn’t have an antenna installed. In Melbourne you would expect that all churches and chapels would have TV antennas on their roof, but in all honesty I’ve never seen one up there. We’re not in some random country town in the middle of who knows where, we’re in the city. And they don’t have a television. I mean, I kind of see his point, it’s a little bizarre, but also, it’s a wedding venue. They don’t expect people to be crowded around a telly on the day their friend/family is getting married.


What was completely uncalled for, was Grant’s reaction. He just lost it. In the four years we’ve been together I’ve only seen him lose it a handful of times, and, bizarrely, he had a complete meltdown over this. He was on the phone to an antenna company in Melbourne for over an hour, and even when they said the installation wouldn’t be a problem, he was still fuming. He just kept darkly muttering things I couldn’t quite hear under his breath, honestly, it was a little bit scary. I just hope it’s all ironed out before our big day. I can’t imagine what he’ll do if the TV antenna isn’t putting out a crystal clear signal for his beloved football on our wedding day.

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Nobody Touches the Palm Trees

I only planted these palm trees for a laugh. Yeah, it doesn’t sound very funny, but I was at a meeting of the Carnegie Neat Garden Tending Committee and one of the guys happened to have the seeds with him. He got them free as a promotional item with his latest copy of ‘Pruning Monthly’, and didn’t want them. Next thing you know, we were all joking about what would happen if one of us actually tried to grow palm trees in our garden, I ended up with the seeds and I planted them in total disbelief, thinking that even if it sprouted a few inches above ground I’d be able to see what palm trees looked like in their infancy.

And now I have three massive palm trees in my garden.

Was it…the weather? It HAS been rather dry as of late. I took good care of them like I do all my plants, and here they are. In comparison to the rest of my garden collection, they’re quite the eyesore.

I’m sure a tree removal company in Caulfield would have to dealt with palm trees before, right? They should be able to lop them down with no problem. Lickety-split, bit of a saw and they’re gone. An easy job, really.

…I don’t want them to though. It’s like the IKEA effect, but with trees. I grew these fellows from tiny seeds, and even though I didn’t expect them to flourish, flourish they did. I tended to them, kept them alive, watched them grow big and strong, and now I can’t bear the thought of tree loppers coming in to take them down.

Now that I really stand back and look, they do add quite an elegant dash of the exotic. They might even bear coconuts in due time, and coconuts have all sorts of uses. And while I’m not into flower arranging, I know it’s all about making an arrangement around a central theme. Maybe it IS time for a change. Out with the old, in with the palm trees. Oh, and if those tree trimming people in Melbourne are still…in Melbourne, there are some OTHER trees that can go. That Japanese Maple is getting to be an eyesore. And the Venetian Willow? SO last year.


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One Man, One Boat, One Indeterminate Fish

Everyone is busy getting their five seconds of fame. When is it going to be my turn, I wonder?? So much reality TV, but no one has thought to create a show called The World’s Greatest Fisherman, or Catch of the Millennium. I don’t think they have, anyway. I should probably google it. Then I’d find out that it’s already been a thing on some obscure American channel, but that’s not good enough because I don’t live in America.

That’s why I’m trying my hand at a documentary instead. It’ll be a thrilling account of me and Bessie (that’s my boat) and our journey down the Yarra to catch the biggest fish ever caught in Melbourne, if not Victoria. I’ve only got my phone camera and no one else to hold it, but whatever. Found-footage is all the rage nowadays.

Obviously I need to get Bessie seaworthy first, since she’s seen better days at the moment. Need to fix the hole, and the oar-holders have snapped off. Funnily enough, couldn’t find any outboard motor repair people in Melbourne who were willing to work for the exposure, even with my promises of documentary stardom. I can’t row AND film AND fish at the same time, so that outboard motor is going to need servicing at some point. Still, this is exactly the type of setback that’ll add twists and turns to my documentary. How will he get the motor fixed? Is this the end of the quest for the greatest catch in Melburnian history??

It’s not; if need be I can just walk along the bank and fish at random intervals. I just don’t think it’ll be quite as interesting though. Also, it totally ruins my ultimate tagline: One Man, One Boat, One Monster Trout.

Obviously the name of the fish is variable, depending on what I catch. But if my search for very affordable outboard motor servicing in Melbourne keeps going the way it’s going, then Bessie will just have to languish in the front garden. I can’t think of another tagline; it took me long enough to just come up with that one!


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That’s a Real Light-Bulb Moment

You know you’re getting desperate when you’re up at 2am, searching for Wi-Fi-enabled light-bulbs that steadily brighten in the morning and supposedly help you get up naturally. except it obviously isn’t natural, because it’s a Wi-Fi light-bulb. And then it’s not going to help me in the morning, because the whole point of not waking up properly is the fact that I chronically go to bed late, due to severe insomnia. So a Wi-Fi light-bulb is just going to make things worse at this point, since I won’t be getting ANY quality sleep.

Doctor couldn’t do anything about it, though he did give me contact details for a psychiatrist’s office in the Mornington Peninsula. Not too far off.

Is it in my head, though? I don’t want to go to a psychologist and waste their time when it turns out I just have a messed up sleeping pattern. Sure, I know it’s because of my poor life choices- not to mention the fact that I cannot for the life of me dump screens before bed- but still, it could just be something I have to deal with myself.

Yeah, yeah…said every single problem procrastinator ever. It’s 2018, and all that. Mental health isn’t something we stow away in a cupboard while we take a stiff upper lip and hope for the best. There are whole days devoted to asking people how they are. Video game addiction is a disorder now. And if this is seriously damaging the way I live my life- which it totally is, come to think of it- then it needs to stop.

Guess I’m making a quick trip to the Mornington Peninsula. Seeing a psychiatrist might not be quick, come to think of it, but at this point I’ll do anything to break out of this cycle. I COULD try the Wi-Fi light-bulb, but I have a feeling I’ll be $40 poorer and no closer to an actual solution.


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Quality Aggregate Driveway

It’s that time of the year again, when I have most things around the estate redone for no solid reason other than it’s been a year, and things just get old. The entrance hall is so terrible 2017; nobody uses marble anymore. I’ll leave the remodelling of the spare bedrooms up to Cecelia, because that woman really needs something to do around here. True, most of them were never actually used between now and back then, but still. It’s the principle of the thing. My father before me said: “Now, son, make sure you change things around the family estate every year or so, more if you can manage it. Leaving things the way they are is the way of the common man.” And his father before him gave the same advice, and so on. We didn’t get where we are today by leaving things the way they are!

I suppose the driveway should be on the list. Last year I had it concreted, but again, that’s last year’s style. Luckily, there’s are a few humble, expert aggregate places in Cranbourne that’ll give me a few options. The problem with most such businesses is that they often balk when they hear the length of our driveway, protesting that they do not have the resources and that I simply must pay an extra fine for the length of the job. I know the technique well, of course…but these are the ultra high-end, exclusive driveway contractors who refuse to be listed in any address book, have no website and will only work for a maximum of two hours a day. Of course, their work is quality, but sometimes I find the practice tiresome.

Much better to find a decent place for driveway toppings in Cranbourne, a humble suburb that nonetheless offers excellent service. We must all indulge in the common things every now and then. And when the common things are of a surprising quality, why not? They also seem spectacularly unbothered by our driveway’s length of 4.2 kilometers. Pebbles this time, I think…

-Percival Clancey V

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Quality time with lip fillers

My sister and I have always been very close but we’ve grown apart over the past couple of years. You know how it is with work and the kids, you hardly have any time for yourself let alone your siblings. Both of us have been in serious need of personal time as well as quality time with each other. We’ve been so busy that we haven’t been taking such good care of ourselves too. So we decided to spend some quality time together at the beauty clinic.

We were each having a treatment to improve the appearance of our faces. For her it was eyebrow tattooing and for me it was lip fillers. In Bendigo where we live, there are some good services in the area with experts that can give you the look you’re after. I’ve always had thin lips and wanted to get them plumped up a bit. After the treatment, I couldn’t have been happier. It gave me a renewed sense of confidence and inspired me to take better care of myself. I’m going to ask my husband to help me look after the kids a little bit more because while I’m making their lunches and taking them to school and going to work and picking them up and taking them to basketball and getting them ready for bed, he’s just sitting on the couch doing nothing. If he helped me out a little I’d have time to put on a bit of lippy in the morning and do something nice with my hair.

My sister’s treatment also went really well. The clinic we happened to choose offers the best  permanent eyebrows Bendigo has to offer. It’s really brightened up her face and added some definition where there wasn’t much before. She felt great afterwards but most of all it was important quality time between sisters and also treating ourselves to some much needed self-care.

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