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Painter Pranked Me

I can’t believe I have been pranked, on the eve of pulling my own greatest ever prank! That dang painter pulled a fast one on me, while I was planning on doing the same to him. I’ve got to say, this is quite an elaborate prank, though. I’m impressed. This painter has more skills than simply painting. It turns out he’s also an expert at creating rope traps. As I walked into my living room to check up on his progress, painting one of the best interior walls of all time, I tripped on a wire, triggering the trap. 

Now I’m suspended from the ceiling, bound by ropes not quite tight enough to stop me from accessing my phone and typing this blog post. Sure, I could probably call for help if I rang the emergency services or a family member and put the phone on speaker, but I respect this painter’s work too much to do such a thing. I’m sure he’ll be back soon, if only to gloat about how well his trap worked. Besides, he’s still got to finish my wall. What kind of professional interior painter, servicing the Melbourne area—the world’s most prestigious area for painters—would leave a job unfinished? Not one worth his salt, for sure. I’m still willing to give this guy a five-star review, provided he comes back and actually finishes the job.

I wonder if all painters are so skilled at setting clever traps. For example, if I were to hire a group of the best exterior house painters for walls, would they have the necessary skills to prank this interior painter even greater than he has pranked me? Jumping out of a box and giving him a fright simply isn’t big enough anymore. All the blood is going to my head, so I have to pay him back somehow. I’ll need to get the professionals involved, I think. My next prank is going to be bigger and better. It has to be, because I have a point to prove now.

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Replacement Window Design

My mum is at it again! Going against my better judgement and making decisions that affect both of us without my agreement in the matter. You may remember last time I really wanted the kitchen done but she really wanted the bathroom done, and she won. Yeah the bathroom looked good and she made the right decision, but she’s not going to go two from two. 

Mum wants to get our front room and front door upgraded, and I agree with her. However, the replacement windows she’s chosen are so ugly! It would actually do our house a disservice and embarrass us in front of the neighbours. The windows at the front of our house are the first things that our neighbours see when walking by, and it means it’s the first impression they get of us and our style. I would hate for us to be laughed at by the neighbours, but Mum doesn’t see an issue with them! I swear she has the worst style. But she just thinks I’m arguing with her for the sake of it. That’s not the case. I’m arguing with her because she has ugly taste.

I could find her a much better timber window replacement in Melbourne than anything she’s found so far. I don’t know why she doesn’t use window designers and experts in the city. I’m all for supporting local, but these businesses in the city have gotten themselves there because of their expertise and style. I love the style that comes from the city of Melbourne. It’s so modern yet has a hint of traditional class. That’s the style I want for our home, but instead my mum wants to go all crazy and install windows that are all different colours. Like Mum, please. Just go for a traditional, simple and classy style. There’s no need to get all creative with the colours, it’s ugly.

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Chronicles of Plumbing

Welcome to the Chronicles of Plumbing. 

The Chronicles of Plumbing are a bunch of stories that have been passed down by people in Melbourne with the first story originating around ten years ago, and the last story being as recently as a couple of weeks ago. I always thought that the Chronicles of Plumbing were fictional stories intended to scare children into saving water and practising proper hygiene. However, now I’m not sure. I think the Chronicles of Plumbing could actually be real.

The reason I think this is because my experience was the latest to be added to the Chronicles. It started about a month ago when I had a blocked sewer. Melbourne sewers are notorious for causing problems and in the stories, it’s because they’re old and for hundreds of years children have been putting miscellaneous things down the drains. One hundred years ago the children put quills and old toys down the drains. Today, kids put gadgets and mechanical things down the drains, which are causing more problems than the children one hundred years ago did.

I personally thought this whole concept was a myth, because who would put toys down the drain? Even in adulthood, I thought the concept of the Chronicles of Plumbing was laughable. Until the plumber did drain repairs in Brighton, which was the source of my blocked sewer. Apparently, the cause of the blockage was hundreds of different toys all clumped together in one big ball of God knows what. Some of the toys were new, and some looked like they had been there for a century, which made me second guess everything I had thought about the Chronicles of Plumbing. I mentioned it to the plumber and he had no idea what I was talking about. I guess it makes sense, he isn’t from the area.

My peculiar story is just one of many weird things that have happened in the plumbing world. I sure hope nothing else happens.

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Staged Conversation

Katrina really needs to get some perspective. She’s such a drama queen! Maybe that’s why she’s such a success in the home staging scene. Personally, I’ve never seen what the big deal is – how hard can sourcing giant wood-framed mirrors and unrealistic couches with artfully draped cashmere throw rugs really be? But I’ll grant that she seems to be doing well at it, and maybe it’s due to her flair for the dramatic. 

Anyway, she’s just been talking my ear off for an hour about how hard it is to look at properties for sale given her line of work. She claims to be able to see through all the ‘smoke and mirrors’ and ‘tricks of the trade’, which seems fair enough, but I’m struggling to see why that’s a drawback. 

I’d understand if she was, say, a real estate agent, or involved in conveyancing. For St Kilda properties, the price tags on the extravagant side, and having to watch those numbers stack up day in and day out could induce cynicism after a while. Even then, though, you’d think it would still be in your interests as a buyer to know what’s what. 

Katrina couldn’t really give me a satisfying explanation as to why this whole thing is even the slightest bit of an issue, which leads me to think that she was just seeking attention. I’m increasingly convinced that she loves to remind people that she works in the property industry, albeit in a role that’s kind of peripheral, in my honest opinion. 

Just quietly, I suspect that she hopes people will believe she’s in property conveyancing and assume she’s a lawyer. I realise that this sounds rather judgmental, but I don’t know how else to explain her obsession with bringing every conversation back to the property market. ‘Maybe she’s just passionate about it,’ I hear you say. Well, look – I’ve known Katrina for nigh on 20 years now, and I know what she’s about. I’m sure this is all about shaping her public image. Maybe that’s why she’s so good at staging homes.

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Lack of Cooling

I got to work this morning and the place felt disgusting. I work as a hotel receptionist and apparently some time last night the air conditioner stopped working. The lobby was stuffy and I couldn’t stand to think about what the rooms would be like, considering you can’t open the windows at this hotel. My manager was rushing around, handling complaints from guests and trying to get the problem fixed. I had no idea how the air conditioning system worked in the hotel but I did hear the manager talking sternly to someone on the phone. I walked over to her and she handed me a business card for air conditioning services in Burwood. She must have been trying to arrange a repairman to come out immediately.

The next two hours at work were brutal. The stuffiness in the hotel changed everyone’s moods. The guests were annoyed by the inconvenience and the businessmen here for a function were not looking impressed. I kept looking at the clock hoping the repair crew would arrive soon. 

The sun was getting low in the sky before we had any sight of the company doing the air conditioning repairs. Melbourne is getting to be ridiculously uncomfortable in the summer without proper cooling. 

I was relieved when I saw the crew pull up to the hotel car park. I was outside having lunch when the men arrived. They carried their gear into the lobby and I saw my work colleague direct them to the maintenance room. I wondered how long it would take the men to fix an air conditioner that is big enough to cool a hotel. I started imagining what that air conditioner must look like. By the time I was ready to go back inside and get back to work the air conditioning service was complete. They must work super fast because I swear they were only in there for half an hour. I thank them as they loaded their tools back into the van and drove off. When I walked into the lobby a wave of cool air floated over me. They had fixed it, thankfully. The guests are going to expect a discount. I’m going to take tomorrow off.

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Magazine Maven

I’m proud to call myself a successful business owner, and even more so to be doing what I love every day of the week. What is that, you ask? Here’s the elevator pitch: I source and supply curated selections of magazines for waiting areas. Doctors, physiotherapists, hairdressers – whoever you are, I’ll customise a magazine package tailored to your reception zone, and which your customers, clients or patients are guaranteed to love. 

Just this week I completed a job for a podiatrist near Cheltenham. They were seeking to replace their worn-out collection, composed mostly of titles such as Paralegals Monthly, Mechanical Specialist and Hello Finance. These are all fine publications, but the moment I saw them I was dubious about their relevance to the general public. In the context of thumbing through a magazine to pass the time while waiting for a toenail fungus treatment, people don’t generally want to read detailed articles about professions that are not theirs. 

I was on the case immediately, carrying out surveys in the waiting room across three full days. Some people claimed they were happy with back issues of Hello Finance because it had a comic strip at the back that’s surprisingly entertaining, but most felt the selection was below average. One woman, who was there to be fitted for arch support insoles, spoke up plainly about how the magazine offerings made her feel. “What do I care about legal jargon or financial in-jokes?” she said. An elderly man attending the foot ulcer clinic chimed in that the font was too small in most of these mags. 

I used this wealth of research to design an on-target magazine collection tailored to the needs of the clinic’s clientele. I started with a base of Dog & Garden Summer Specials (2016 through to present), as these are a hit in just about any setting. Then I added flavour with popular titles like General People, HappyFace and On The Streams. I topped it off with a couple of recent Fancy Footwork editions for topical interest. 

They don’t call me the Magazine Maven for nothing!

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Cars = Freedom?

When I was a little kid, I always thought that cars equalled freedom. On some level, I still believe that – there’s a certain sense of convenience that I can’t help but associate with feeling unburdened. Over the course of my adult life, though, I’ve gradually come to realise that freedom and convenience are not one and the same. In fact, convenience can sometimes curtail freedom, as I discovered last winter when my car wouldn’t start.

What I mean to say is that I realised I’d become overly reliant on the convenience of my nice car, and unable to move through the world without it. In a sense, I’d effectively reduced my freedom by attaching my ease and comfort in life to the functions of a material object. And I’d made that material object a car, of all things – one of the material objects most likely to conk out when you least expect it. Good choice, idiot.

There’s also all the costs involved in car ownership – they tend to diminish the impression of freedom, too. The open road is worthless if you’ve got a busted tyre or your brakes aren’t working. Sure, you can get it fixed, but you’re at the mercy of your mechanic for brake repair. Moorabbin area locals, you’re probably familiar with this old chestnut. It’s not that hard to get your car to a mechanic, but it’s also a big drain on the old time and money. It’s a burden, not a ticket to freedom. 

Look, I’m not saying it’s not worth having a car. I’ve still got mine, and I love it. I just don’t associate it with freedom anymore, at least not by my former whimsical standards. Arguably, there is a certain freedom in being able to book car servicing and maintenance. Bentleigh mechanics are good for this, and I’m happy to use my hard-earned money to pay for their services – provided that it’s something I’m choosing to do, rather than an obligation I’ve bound myself into by necessity.

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L-Plate Adventures

Turns out, the Easter long weekend isn’t the worst time for your kid to practise their driving. I was pretty against taking Janice out on the road when she first mentioned it, as I’d been looking forward to kicking back outside the steely grip of traffic. But I’m happy I agreed to it because, by Monday, she’d gotten a lot of hours in and improved her driving game significantly.

One of the adventures we managed to have together was having a flat tyre. Ringwood auto centres are plentiful, but most of them were closed due to the public holiday, so we had to DIY it. Luckily, I always keep a spare in the back and know roughly what I’m doing, and we were able to pull off a successful tyre change. I think it’s good for Janice to experience this. I mean, even if she still doesn’t know how to do, she won’t freak out as much if something like this happens down the track.

I’m always encouraging the kids to keep a cool head under unexpected circumstances, as I believe that that’s the best state from which to solve a problem efficiently. As well as during roadside tyre changes, it’s also a good way to be when seeing a mechanic for car servicing. Ringwood mechanics have been pretty good in my experience, as far as costs and things go, but it’s still handy to have a cool head on your shoulders.

All that aside, the sooner Janice can plow through her logbook hours and get on her Ps, the better for everyone – myself included. This thing is way more of a marathon than it was back in my day, let me tell you. I’m happy to teach my daughter to drive and all, but really, it’s a bit much. I don’t know what people are supposed to do if they don’t have two parents who can drive and both have the time to help.

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Most Likely Survivor

My friend Clarissa is the only person I know who’d be capable of looking after themselves in the event of a zombie apocalypse. Not that I think there’s one on the horizon, but it’s a fun thought experiment to scan your social circles for the most likely survivor. Clarissa wins the title on account of her skillset, which includes building and carpentry, archery, edible weed identification, navigation by the stars and Brazilian jiu jitsu.

I was thinking about this because, as of recently, she’s added fishing to her list of practical accomplishments. In fact, she’s so into it that she’s now in the market for a small boat that she can use for the purpose, and is firmly fixated on comparing rod holders, snapper racks and bait boards.

If anything, I’m surprised she’s not taking up custom marine welding herself, although I’m guessing that part of her secret to being so prolific is dedicating herself to one thing at a time. Many people I know run around picking up little bits of this and that – just enough to distract from their inner knowing that, come the apocalypse, they’ll be completely unprepared. Clarissa, on the other hand, takes the time to become proficient in a craft before looking around for the next thing.

As I understand it, she’s still in the process of becoming a fishing master. That’s the way she sees it, at least, but I think her standards must be pretty high because she seems to be doing pretty well at it. I mean, how much better at fishing can you really get past a certain point? It’s all a bit of a game of chance, isn’t it?

She did tell me that she sees fishing as inhabiting the role of ‘fish whisperer’. I’m assuming that ‘fish whispering’ is about maximising the odds of landing the type of catch you want in the most efficient way. Then again, we’re talking about someone who’s been known to spend the day engaged in conversation with a field of dandelions, so who knows?

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Sailing Into Winter

My parents have finally returned from their sailing world tour, a good two years after they set off. I was beginning to think they might have opted out of the landlubber life, but no – they’re back now, and they’ve dropped anchor in Canberra.

That’s all well and good – I’m pleased to see them and everything – but they seem to have developed a taste for tropical climates and appear to be a tad challenged by the local winter. It doesn’t help that they got rid of all their warm clothes a few months back when they were hanging out up north over summer. They’re now getting around in thin spray jackets that are completely unsuitable for keeping warm.

The unit they’ve moved into, fortunately, features a pretty sweet ducted heating system. Canberra is finally starting to turn on the really cold weather, and I don’t know where they’d be without indoor climate control. I’ve told dad that I’m taking them both shopping for bedding on the weekend, but in the meantime, they’re cranking the heat 24/7.

Why can’t they go shopping for bedding themselves, you ask? They’re capable of sailing around the world, so surely they’re able to take on a shopping centre, right? Well, apparently they need me to go with them because otherwise they won’t be able to control their newfound desire for luxury homewares.

I wonder if I’ll have to explain other things to them, like how to book a heater service. Canberra hardly has a shortage of companies that do this so, again, you’d think it wouldn’t be a problem. But it seems that living on the high seas for a couple of years does strange things to a person’s ability to run basic errands.

I’m sure they’ll pick it all up again pretty quickly. After all, it was mum who finally convinced me that my reverse cycle air con was responsible for my hayfever symptoms, and that I needed to get it serviced annually. They know what’s what.

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