Doing the adult thang

tile and grout cleaningI feel like there comes a point in everyone’s life where they decide they are no longer going to clean their bathroom. I think I have – finally – reached that point.

I have lived on this earth for 28 long years, that’s a grand total of 13,870 days – 332,880 hours – 19,972,800 minutes – 1,198,368,000 seconds – and for half of that lifetime I have been forced to clean the bathroom. Not that I’ve literally spent half of my life cleaning bathrooms (that would be amazingly depressing) but during that time, once a week, I have faced the bathroom head on, armed only with antibacterial spray and a can-do attitude. For an hour. And most of that time has been spent cleaning the shower. My arch nemesis.

Well you know what? I’m done. I have a disposable income, no mortgage, no children, no pets, and so you betcha bottom dollar I am going to do this. For my sanity. So, in my spare time (I’m such a nerd) I’ve been gleefully looking at different tile and grout cleaning companies in Melbourne. Because, far out, if I’m going to clean this bad boy, you bet I’m going to go all out. I want to have to shield my eyes from the glare of that blindingly white grout, and if there’s even a scrap of mould left anywhere, I swear, I’ll shoot someone.

Well maybe I won’t murder someone, but I’ll be bloody tempted.

I’m also seriously considering getting someone to do some high pressure water cleaning. I mean, I’ve seen it all over the internet and, I’ll confess, I gave up on cleaning the shower when I decided to hire a guy. That was weeks ago now. It’s foul in there. What can I say? I’m lazy. So it actually does really need someone to go in there with some high powered gear and blitz it.

Bored, Trimming Some Hedges

stump grinding MelbourneSpending time around the house doesn’t feel right. Even though it’s something I know I’m supposed to do, I get bored quickly. You should see the garden; even though it’s winter, I’ve turned been doing a lot of work. It’s pretty neat, I suppose. People keep stopping in clusters to take a look at it from the street, and this morning I even noticed some people pulling up in a minibus and all piling out. They were taking pictures as well, and now I’m paranoid. Was the formation of seraphim clustered around an exploding star too much of an elaborate hedge formation? Yeah, I probably went a bit far. I’ll have to go out and make it rougher.

That much aside, I do have a new appreciation for contractors around Melbourne, stump grinding is not an easy thing. I found one yesterday, and it was one of my first experiences getting them out of the ground. The last time this happened I was landscaping my workplace and it seemed too easy. Maybe that stump was just a baby, or…I don’t know, a weaker tree. This one was an absolute beast. It became a war of attrition between the stump, with its ally of ground and roots, versus me, with my low-quality pickaxe and eventually my bare hands. I’m seriously going to completely ruin my spine one of these days. Well, I know I don’t, but…

Doesn’t matter, never mind. I now see why extra-special tools are recommended when digging a stump out of the ground. Pro tip for all budding gardeners/tree removal specialists: getting down into the small ditch you’ve dug for yourself. And trying to heave the thing out of the ground with nothing but muscle and willpower is going to give you a new appreciation for the power of nature. I should just stick to tree pruning. Melbourne has people who do that too, so…yeah, I need a new, less dangerous hobby.


Replacing Interaction with Television

digital antennaI’m getting far too intimate with people. By my standards, that is…I’ve never really connected with anyone at a job before now, since I often just went home, smiled at everyone just enough and kept to myself at all other times. So yeah, not so much of the social interaction. Now I’m going away on company retreats and a feel fine with it. It’s no good. I have to start withdrawing…yeah, for those mysterious reasons again.

Maybe I should get a digital antenna. Companies in Melbourne that do that kind of thing are always around, and I can even see a few on the rooftops from where I live. I really should be learning about a whole lot of things, and that’s difficult when you come home and all that’s on are reruns of Week of Our Lives (don’t really see the appeal) and some old movies. I’ve already memories the entire bi-monthly schedule just from seeing it twice, and once you analyse things to the depths I have, you start to realise that all plots are the same. Even soap operas abide by the hero’s journey; it’s just that multiple storylines are happening at once, over a longer period of time. It’s harder to notice, but definitely still there.

Honestly, I don’t think digital TV will be all that different. A little antenna isn’t going to teach me everything there is to know about the human race, even if there are fifty channels. I’ll have the broadcast schedule down in a few hours, and then it all becomes so predictable. I just have to hope that somewhere, there’s a show that ends up being more than mildly distracting. I doubt it. But it’s not like I’ doing much else with what I get paid, so I’ll consider tv antennas. Companies in Melbourne are pretty good at installing them, digital antennas that is. So at least it’ll help to make people think I’m normal.


Really good at packaging

Dear faithful readers, I’m sure you’ve tolerated through my insufferable complaints about my superabundance of talents and the trouble they get me into. Well, I’m sorry to have to subject you to this yet again, but, if you’re still reading, i guess you’ve asked for it.

So I’m at the post office the other day buying courier satchels in order to post a gift to a friend. I needed to buy some good secure postage bags with bubble wrap cushioning on the inside so that the object wouldn’t break (it was a glass spider man figurine). I’m getting all these weird stares as I’m taking the postage bag off the shelf and I was even approached by someone asking if I worked there. I told her no I didn’t work there but pointed her to the service desk which was right in front of us.

Later that day, with my glass action hero man figurine all wrapped up and ready to post (I had blown it myself and was marketing it to the official franchise as merchandise) and strolled on over casually to date post box. Then right as I’m dropping the parcel into the red post box, I this guy rides past on a bike and shouts out, ‘Nice posting action, man.’ I didn’t think much of it because I get compliments all the time. But when I got home I found a letter in my mailbox saying that the Australia post want to offer me a job and their gold star delivery boy. Of course, I already have a much higher paying job and I don’t want to go postal, however, it did make me consider a change in career trajectory.

It occurred to me that I might like to work in food packaging supplies because well, I’m obviously naturally talented at making stuff and I reckon I could contribute some new inventions to the packaging industry. But that, dear friends, is a story for another day.

Where Do I See Myself?

Melbourne steel fabricationWe had work evaluations today, where we had to grade ourselves based on a whole load of criteria. Stuff like ‘how much on average are you committed to the company’, and ‘where do you see your future in ten years?’ That last question is always awkward for me, for reasons I can’t explain here. I know I won’t be here, but that’s not what I wrote on the form. There’s no stopping what’s coming, so why bother giving them warning?

Of course, the whole ‘name your greatest flaws’ thing was the question everyone hated. I suppose we all know what they are, even if it’s a bit deeper down, but we don’t want to write them down and have people look at them. And then there was the ‘if you did not work at this company, where would you be?’ That was actually an interesting think piece. I’ve always admired Melbourne’s steel fabrication industry, from a distance, so I said on the form that I thought I’d be doing something to do with that. Smelting steel tubing, delivering steel beams to construction sites, whatever needs doing. There’s just something about the job that really appeals to me; maybe the physical side? All this time in an office is getting to me more than I thought, and steel fabrication seems like it’d be at least physically demanding. Depends on your specific job, I suppose. Maybe I’d move from being in an office to steel supplies, and be immediately stuck behind the wheel/controls of a machine, thus doing exactly the same amount of sitting. At least in an office you can get up and move around whenever you like, maybe go to the water cooler or make a cup of tea. When you’re fabricating steel, it’s to do with much bigger machines. If you need a cup of tea, it’s probably a matter of shutting the whole thing down, stopping  production…

Okay, so convenience is nice. This job has me operating nothing more complex than a scanner. But still, this evaluation has made me wonder if it’s time for a change. Not that it’ll matter soon, but…eh, I could try steel tubing. Melbourne could always use some more people fetching tea for the folks on the machines.



Retreating the Company to the Country

Company retreats make me nervous. Not afraid- I can handle a bit of socialization with work people- but I’m always a bit wary of people acting out and then having to be around them when we get back to a normal working environment with that hanging over us. Last year we went to Philip Island and mostly had a great time, except on the final night when Sharon had just a little bit too much to drink. One thing led to another, there was dancing and tables and…well, it got a lot worse from there. Then she came into work on Monday and didn’t speak to anyone for weeks. And she was usually so quiet…

So this year, we’re heading off to regional Victoria! There’s a conference venue that Dan managed to find, and it’s sort of focused on the process of detox. No heavy drinking, no smoking areas or slot machines. There are normal-looking conference rooms, but otherwise, everyone has the option to engage in relaxing activities in their spare time. So things like floatation tanks, isolation tanks, oxygen tanks…there are more things that aren’t tanks, hang on. Yep, got the brochure…there’s a squash court, a meditation room, a pool-sized hot tub, sauna, actual pool-pool, yoga classes and a whole bunch of other things that help people to really calm down. Of course, the juice bar is included. In terms of a corporate getaway, I think we’ve hit the nail on the head of something that’s safe, yet still enjoyable for everyone. We can spend our mornings learning about business strategy, and then nip off to the reiki room to…do whatever it is you do in a reiki room. I’m not big into that stuff, but there is morning tai-chi at 5:30am sharp, which I’m looking forward to.

For once, we’ve actually found a convention centre that minimises the risk of incidents. Hopefully. Though people can really get aggressive during squash games, so I’ve heard.


Now in a Tree Stump Conference…for Some Reason

So…Sandrine sent us on a conference. Seems a bit weird, since ‘Responsible Laying of Asphalt and Other Varieties of Bitumen’ doesn’t seem relevant to what we do as a company, but she said that there will be parts we’ll find very interesting and helpful, especially when they start to incorporate Brisbane’s methods of land clearing to lay the way for driveways and car parks. I don’t really like leaving the office when there’s so much work to be done, but…well, it’s a free trip to Brisbane, flying business class. Stepping inside a plane always puts me on edge- you’re in a metal box where a quick escape is a complicated matter of stitching together a makeshift parachute and flinging yourself out of the nearest open exit- but it’s not the longest of flights.

And now I get to see Brisbane again. Brisbane and its perfectly clean, clear streets because they’re mad on keeping the place clean, like it’s some kind of tyrannical dystopia. Trust me, I’ve seen dystopia…it looks nothing like this. Though the flawless asphalt jobs combined with tree removal and the lack of rubbish really do make the place look spick and span, as Sandrine would say. Not sure why she didn’t just book herself in for the conference, since she loves things being neat and tidy and learning about how trees are lopped perfectly to create a suburban paradise seems like the type of thing that would totally be into. Of course, I know exactly what she’s doing…I just don’t want to put it in writing. Maybe I’ll take some pictures of the streets and their perfect lack of pot holes and send them back to her. Sort of like holiday snaps, but ones she’ll appreciate.

Actually, this trip won’t be a bad time for some reconnaissance. I’m here, my fellow employees are involved in enjoying the sights of Brisbane and I don’t have the normal office obligations. Maybe I’ll have a look around, see if there’s anything relevant to the mission. Well, at least I can get some tips on how Brisbane gets its firewood, it seems like people just get them by government mandate. Makes tires last longer, I suppose. Among other things.


Asphalt, Trees, Oxygen, Same Thing

I don’t often get bored, because I’m pretty fond of learning new things. But when it came to that Asphalt conference…phew, too much even for me. We had to sit through twelve modules, each at least forty-five minutes long, and all of them focused on laying asphalt in a specific location. Car parks, play parks, driveways…and the person taking the course had a hypnotic voice. Not in the good way; the ‘sends you right to sleep’ way.

So I snuck out, to my shame. I’d learned everything I could, and I knew there were other courses going on at the venue. Didn’t take me long before I came across the course on how to operate a hyperbaric chamber. Melbourne has these, because a few of my co-workers have said that they kind of like being inside them. It helps with your health, relaxation and the general healing process. So they’re curious machines, but here was a class teaching how to use them. It was a far better option than sticking around to hear about module 11: laying asphalt over a dirt road, is I illegitimately joined the class. I have to say, I’m not really keen on using oxygen therapy myself. That’s partially due to the fact that I’m healthy and don’t really need it (I get all my oxygen from breathing), but also the climbing inside and being shut in. I’m not claustrophobic, just cautious. I suppose if something went wrong I could just break out- they’re not designed as prisons- but I don’t really feel like putting myself in there anyway. Not until I have a genuine injury that needs healing.

But now, because the alternative was going back to learn about more asphalt, I know how to handle and operate a chamber for hyperbaric therapy. Places in Melbourne could be hiring; maybe I’ll look for a job. Except no, I’m not leaving everyone with Sandrine…


A crazy lady’s last will and testament

My neighbour passed away. You’re never going to believe this but she actually gave me power of attorney. I didn’t even know about it. And now that she’s dead, I get a letter in the mail saying that I’m the executor of her estate. I was like, what the heck? This crazy old lady I’m not even related to has written me into her last will and testament, Melbourne grannies are crazy, that’s all I know.

Come to think of it, she did have a soft spot for me. On weekends, she’d knock on my door at the crack of dawn. I’d stumble out of bed, crotchety as all hell for being woken up, and find her standing there with a plate full of muffins and a cup of hot cocao. She was annoying, but it was pretty hard to hold a grudge when she was trying so hard to be sweet. Other times she’d invite herself in at the worst times, like when I had a girl waiting for me, and offer to help out around the home by doing the dishes (typical bachelor pad over here). Boy was I red faced when I re-emerged from the bedroom, to find her standing in front of a sparkling kitchen and having to introduce her to the girl on her way out.

The mad old bat was a sweetheart that’s for sure. So I feel that I owe her at least my very best effort at this executor thing. While I have no experience in these matters, I find I can pick up pretty much any skill that I put my mind to (this blog attests to that). Estate planning near Melbourne can’t be so hard, can it? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to do it myself. I’ll surely seek legal advice from an attorney. But there is only so much an attorney can do. And that’s where I step in.

An unexpected win

Well, I don’t know exactly how this has happened, but I’ve managed to win a prize. No, don’t worry. It’s not a scam. I checked that quite thoroughly, I would not enjoy being taken in by someone’s attempt to wheedle my credit card information out of me. This is real. A friend or family member or perhaps even my university faculty or something has entered a competition to attend a conference in a to be decided venue in Victoria and I have won. Good on me.

It’s not that I mind, particularly, going to a conference. Don’t think that because it simply isn’t true. Rather, it wasn’t something I had originally factored into my outline of the next month, and I generally resent having to change my schedule around unforeseen events. At the same time, however, this kind of opportunity makes for a wonderful experience. I’ve managed a quick glance at the list of speakers, and several are extremely inspirational. In may ways, it would be an honour to get to hear them speak. But at the same time, there are still so many question marks around the conference in general.

Firstly, as the location is, as yet, still undecided, the question of time looms over the event. How long will it go for? I’ve seen the shortlist for possible conference venues and they’re all in regional Victoria, so obviously there will be some level of travel associated with it. How long will it take to get there? What costs are associated with the trip in its entirety? Who else will be on the trip? Perhaps, if I knew exactly who would entered me in the competition, it would be easier to ascertain who my peers would be, but as it stands, it could be for anyone. It’s even unclear what the subject matter is.

In theory, such an opportunity of this is the chance of a lifetime, but the reality is I instinctively recoil from something I know so little about. I may just have to walk away from this one.