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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Solar Confusion

I’ve been looking into the whole deal of installing solar energy systems in commercial buildings and, dang it, it’s pretty confusing. Not the question of whether it’s a good idea; that’s a clear yes. What I mean is, it’s confusing in terms of how to go about it in the most efficient way.

One logistical question I have about installing solar in Melbourne is this: what happens in the middle of winter? Is a couple of hours of sunlight each day enough to power a large building that uses electricity in a fairly heavy duty way? You see, I’m looking into this on behalf of my dad, who claims he wants to move the whole company towards running on renewable energy but has gaps in his schedule to research it for the next four months.

One obvious answer is that installing a solar system doesn’t necessarily mean that the entire load of electricity must come from the system. I suspect that dad feels that the system would be pointless if the grid still had to be in effect for providing some of the building’s power. I don’t see it that way, though. I mean, of course it would be ideal if the entire load of energy could be harnessed from rooftop solar, but in practice that might have to be the goal of a work in progress.

From what I understand, there are a few ways of moving closer to that goal. For starters, the company could take down their overall energy consumption by installing commercial LED lighting. Dad could also look into an AC-connected commercial energy storage system. Melbourne gets an abundance of sun in summer, right? If I’ve got this right, any excess energy can be stored in a battery for later use. The other option is to feed the excess into the grid, get paid the feed-in tariff, and then buy the energy from the grid during solar down-times, knowing that at least some of it is still coming from solar.

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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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The perfect place to turn 15

Mum told Gray he could have his birthday anywhere he wanted this year, as long as he organised it himself. Gray is a fairly safe bet.  He’s quiet and not very outgoing. He’d much rather be with his mates out on a field before popping party poppers.

“You can start by researching kids birthday party venues. Melbourne places are busy this time of year so don’t put it off too long.”

Mum is super busy herself. She runs two businesses from home and flies in and out of the state a lot on business trips.  When it came to finding a great place to have a party in Melbourne, Mum would actually already know. She doesn’t leave a lot up to us, but when she drops a responsibility bomb on us, we’ve learned that she expects us to come back at her with a result.

Gray had to ring around and get quotes and work out everything he needed to do. Mum gave him a list, and on it was everything he’d need to find out to make sure they could walk in and walk out of the party without needing anything else.

I tried to talk to Mum about how much I thought it was a bit much, I reminded her about how Gray could hardly look anyone in the face without blushing.

Mum widened her eyes and gave me the shtick about doing the things we are frightened of the most.

‘We don’t go around problems. We go through them.”

Anyway, Gray sailed through his problem like nothing we expected. He bought mum back a print out of the quote he’d been given for a party for six of his friends at an ice-skating rink near one of Melbourne’s docks. Mum took one look at the quote, nodded and looked him right in the eye, folding the quote into her handbag.

‘Get started on your invitations,’ she said.

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DIY date: ice skating edition

To help all you poor, hopeless souls out there, I’ve put together a template for the perfect date. I know what you think you’ve heard it all when it comes to date ideas, and what I have isn’t new. It is, however, basically foolproof and while have your girl smiling away.

Step 1: Pick her up from her house and bring her flowers. I know, it sounds cheesy, but girls love that kind of stuff. Trust me. Note that the flowers should come out nonchalantly and be given to her when you open the door. That way she has time to put them in water inside and she doesn’t feel awkward carrying them around with her.

Step 2: Make sure where you’re taking her is a surprise. Tease her with a couple of well timed puns involving a variety of different activities. Make sure to keep conversation light and easy.

Step 3: Take her ice skating in Melbourne. This fun, romantic activity is sure to be totally unexpected. If neither of you have been before (which is preferable) then learning together can provide a bonding experience, as well as giving you something to base the conversation around.

Step 4: Do something to bend the rules. The best ice skating rink in town also offers birthday venue hire in Melbourne, so chances are there will be a party on while you’re there. For fun, encourage your girl to sneak into the party with you and try and steal some cake. This will show her your fun, cheeky side, as well as implying that you break the rules.

Step 5: Drive her home and ask her to have have a great time during the week performing literally any activity she told you about. This is important as it showed you listened and you care. At the same time, ask her when you can see her again. It is important to make the first move and be decisive, so she can tell you’re really interested in and committed to having a relationship with her.

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From Scream to Dream (Bathroom)

I’ve just bought a house! How big a deal is that? Well, it is for me. But you know what it’s not bigger than? I’ll tell you – the hole in the floor of the bathroom in said house. I never thought I’d find myself in a position to say this, but I need a renovation, stat. The whole house needs some serious work, and I knew that when I bought into it, but the bathroom is in particularly dire need.

I don’t even know where to start with finding a bathroom renovation company in Melbourne, but I’m sure they can’t be too hard to come by. I’d like to find one that specialises in design, seeing as the extent of the current bathroom situation is such that I’ll pretty much need to replace it entirely. The silver lining here is that it gives me the opportunity to create my dream bathroom from scratch.

The room itself has good bones – it’s quite spacious, with a high ceiling and a big window that looks out onto some dense plant action that allows for just the right balance of light and privacy. There’s a small bath in there, but it has a massive crack in it. I reckon there’s enough space for a designer bathtub that stands free of the wall, plus a separate walk-in shower. I’m picturing one of those shower heads where the water falls from directly above, like rain. I’ve toyed with the idea of having a double shower, but thought that might be a smidgen over the top.

Bathroom designers in Melbourne are most likely in the know about new bathroom trends that I’m in no way aware of, so I’m not getting too attached to any one plan just yet. One thing I know for sure is that after this installation is done, I’ll be renovating the rest of the house on the smell of an oily rag, as they say. Not to worry, though – if I’m going to be blowing my budget, this is the room to do it on.

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Discrimination Against Fishing is Real

Can two people be friends with such differing ideals? I’d like to think that you can be friends with people despite their horrible beliefs, but I’m not too sure anymore. I mean, you think you know someone…

Now, I come from a family of people in the fishing industry. I can proudly trace my ancestry back to even MORE people in the industry, and further back, people who were also in the industry. My family name is all over the records when it comes to Melbourne’s stainless steel fabrication industry, or at least it would be if people kept records on that sort of thing. We’re big into fishing as well; it’s how we spend all our weekends.

But now I have this friend- we’ll call him Dave- and he’s the opposite. In fact, he has this weird idea that people shouldn’t go out onto water at all. “The ocean is for fish. If people were meant to go into the sea, they would’ve been born with fins”

So Dave is totally against ship-building and marine welding in general, particularly since we now apparently live in a more enlightened age where we can fly places, and now boats are totally redundant.

So that’s already pretty strange, but he told me last time we met that he doesn’t support fishing as a sport because it’s removing fish from their natural habitat, and humans don’t have jurisdiction over the sea. So basically, he has these ideas that mankind and water should be totally segregated. No boats, no marine welding, no fishing, no nothing. And all this was in the middle of me telling him about the advantages of plate alloy boats, so he didn’t pick the best time either. Can we truly be friends, or is this friendship doomed to fail since we so fundamentally disagree? Well, I say ‘disagree’…I mean with him being so wrong, obviously.

-Jamie

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