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Dreamhouse Overload

So my sister, Leanne, is looking to buy a house, and apparently this is the world’s biggest deal. She’s constantly plugged in to three different real estate apps, and has been texting me daily to report some new dream home she’s unearthed. To be honest, I’m sceptical about most of her finds – either they’re insanely out of her price range or there’s something seriously undesirable going on.

Over the long weekend, I finally agreed to go with her to check out a block of land south east of Melbourne. It was a cool area, but it wasn’t clear from the real estate agent’s online description whether or not it could be connected to power or support a building permit. Plus, the agent had evidently forgotten to email Leanne the Section 32 Statement. Help in Melbourne for this kind of thing can be hard to come by on a public holiday, so we were left to our devices in pondering the possibilities of this find.

With no info on hand regarding rates, zoning, building restrictions and the like, we instead turned our attention to assessing the notion of erecting a tree-house among the old trees up the back of the property. They were pretty huge, and looked relatively strong for the most part. There was one that looked like it might come crashing down at any moment, though. That got us to thinking about property insurance, and then vulnerability to bush-fires… frankly, it’s a lot to take on.

This has all made me aware of the need to get some professionals in on this action. If Leanne expects me to get knee deep in deciphering the legal ins and outs of buying property, she’s got another thing coming. Recruiting conveyancing services in Melbourne’s south-east should be her first port of call, I reckon. Let them harass the real estate agents for the vendor statement.

Meanwhile, I’ll be on hand to advise on the placement of rope ladders and flying foxes that will feature in the treehouse of dreams, which is obviously going to happen.

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Just…Get Rid of the Termites?

I’m trying to think of an Australian equivalent for the situation I’m in right now. What’s something that Australians REALLY like? I’m thinking sport, barbecues, beaches…probably more stuff. None of that seems really culturally ingrained like in other countries though. Like, if you said you didn’t like beaches, people might just shrug. Loads of people aren’t into sport.

Whereas in an Albjerian family, if you say you don’t like animals it’s like a thousand-year-curse on your household. Even people who don’t like animals have to pretend, because it’s THAT important.

So when I finally snapped and asked if we can’t just call someone about termite control. Dandenong has a bit of problem with white ants lately, according to the local newspapers. I had my fingers crossed that the pest control people will take care of the mound in the garden. The parents did not approve. I was given a stern talking to revolving around Kallii, the termite goddess who was personally responsible for the creation of tent pegs, back in the ‘Anima-Ren’ (Wild Days. Like, before time began or something). Oh, wow, I hope she got the rest of the day off afterwards, because that must’ve been tiring, poor thing. And that comment got me grounded.

It’s dumb though. We have a real termite problem brewing out there, and the parents are so steeped in tradition that they don’t even seem to care. So here’s me, the teenager, being the responsible one. In this, anyway. There are also those festivals where they cook up all kinds of insects, and everyone brings their dogs and cats and exotic lizards and we’re all supposed to handle them while thanking them for their acts of living. I don’t want to touch ANY of those things. I don’t want to eat bugs, and I do not want to go out to the termite mound in the garden and pay my respects with a short prayer. I’d rather be calling in the pest control people from Dandenong who can deal with it. Permanently. Forever. But I can’t, because…I’m grounded.


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Caring for Kitty, South of the City

My cat, Marleybone, and I had have a long-term, love-hate relationship with our local vet (nb. the hatred was not on my own part). Now that we’ve moved down near Moorabbin, the two of us are in on the hunt for a bayside vet.

Marley-bone isn’t in bad shape for a fifteen year-old cat. He loves to rip into anything woollen, and is known to have a red hot go at the mouse that occasionally cuts through our living room. Still, he’s no spring chicken, and benefits from the occasional health check up at the vet.

His dental health, in particular, is something that I’m keen to stay on top of – some vets say that caring for a pet’s teeth can add up to four years to its life. I have enough trouble keeping my own dental appointments, so it might seem a bit of a stretch for me to shell out the time and money for Marley-bone’s chompers. The way I see it, though, he’s not ‘my cat’; he’s a friend, and I’ve taken on responsibility for his health and happiness. 

As I’ve said, though, Marley-bone’s certainly not getting any younger, and it would be good to be connected to an emergency vet. Bayside fortunately, has options for this kind of service (note to self: pay attention to where these are located). I have particular concerns about his wellbeing over the approaching summer months, which, here in the Melbourne region, seem to get hotter with every passing year. It’s possible for animals to experience heat stroke – particularly fluffernutters ones like Marley-bone.

Again, this might seem like an over-the-top concern to have on behalf of one’s cat, but timely veterinary health care and treatment is part of what we owe our animal companions in exchange for having them in our lives. Experienced veterinarians and vet nurses have the specialised skills that enable us to provide these things to our pets, and I’m more than happy to spend up on that, as required.

Posted in vet
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Best Playground for Bub?

It’s been a couple of weeks now since we move down here, and we’re finally starting to settle in. Even Beatrice! She seems really keen to interact with other babies – every time we pass one, her eyes are out on stalks. I want to find a good indoor playground in Melbourne; we used to take Billy to one when he was her age in Darwin, and it was a cheap way to get both me and him out of the house when it was too hot to do anything else.

Bea is not quite walking yet, but can stumble forward in an increasingly coordinated fashion. Every day she manages to stay up a bit longer before tripping over. I think it would be fun for her to interact with some unusual objects – she’s never been down a slippery dip before, and I think it’s about time (on my lap, of course). Climbing furniture is something that she’s showing a keen interest in (ha), so I’m interested to see what she makes of a space filled with colourful objects designed to be climbed on. Some of these play centres have special areas for toddlers to explore without getting knocked around by the bigger kids – that’s what I’m on the lookout for.

So, Victoria: indoor play centre recommendations for a soon-to-be toddler and a mum who’s new in town? I’m looking forward to pottering around the play area with her and showing her how it’s done. Billy, on the other hand, will probably want to tear it up on the tallest, fastest or most challenging piece of play equipment in sight – he has a particular passion for towers. (Maybe I’ve read him one too many fantasy books, but he’s obsessed with anything vaguely medieval, and apparently towers count.) Anyway, a secure indoor play area would go quite away towards keeping my peace of mind intact if I’m there with both of the little monsters.

Help this mama out!

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Do it! Read my (perfectly symmetrical) lips

I’d had a few beauty appointments in the run up to my wedding, but by far the best of all has been having having my lip asymmetry addressed by a clinician who specialises in lip plumping treatments in Melbourne CBD. My town is teeming with great places to go for this kind of stuff, but it turns out that doing the research was worth the effort.I had so many questions and concerns-  I was worried about looking like I’d had them done, I was hyper aware that something could go wrong…but the actual event was so far removed from that, I can’t believe I ever felt worried.

I’ve had a dent in my lip from a scar, falling off my bike as a twelve year old- and now, twelve years later, you can still see it and that drives me crazy. I didn’t want the photos of my wedding day to be something that reminded me of the scar, so I went looking for a solution, and found a place that looked great for lip enhancing treatments. Melbourne based clinics can be expensive, and though I was prepared to pay a lot more for my treatment, I was really surprised and how affordable it was to fix something that worried me so much!

I booked an initial consultation and thinking that I’d just talk the procedure through, I bought a bunch of questions with me and made sure that the clinician I saw understood my big concerns. One of the biggest reliefs for me was finding out that injectables can be reversed if they go wrong- so I decided to take the plunge on the day.

I can’t believe how much changed in a short appointment. I’ve always been conscious of my lip, so to walk in and out of a building within an hour and have those concerns completely removed was like a dream I didn’t want to wake up from!

I’m no longer nervous about the wedding photos- in fact, I’m really looking forward to them. I can’t wait!

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Lip Fillers: We did it!

OMG. Christina and I finally had it done. We’ve wanted lip fillers since forever. Christina is scared of pain and I was almost always out of money to burn- but I’d recently received a pay-rise and with our weekend away to the city on the horizon, there was no reason to put it off any longer. We booked for lip fillers in the Melbourne CBD, nothing couldn’t have held us back!

We wanted to get the appointment in as soon as we arrived. Christina looked online and found a salon that looked super professional. We read up on reviews and booked ourselves in through the salons’ online service. By the time we touched down in Melbourne you couldn’t have calmed us down. We checked into our Carlton hotel and found out where the salon was.

Christina went first. She had a nervous but excited look on her face, and I stayed in the waiting room and read a pamphlet on lip injections that increase your lip size. Melbourne city seemed a world away, and the salon was so calm- it was a huge contrast to my excitement. There was a lot to consider- our friend Amy had a bad experience with fillers on an international trip, and that was our biggest fear factor. I wanted to be able to ask anything I wanted without feeling like I was hassling a professional with silly questions. My face, after all!

When Christina came out, what I noticed first was how happy she looked- once I got a good view at how great the result had been,  I was completely ready for my turn. The cosmetic nurse was so nice, she was like some kind of artist! I felt 100% understood and my lips are exactly what I envisioned they’d be. We ended up having the best weekend ever and our lips were the most exciting souvenir either of us have ever taken back from a holiday. Best weekend ever!

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A Sensible Energy Plan for the Future

Most of the reason I still read ‘The Daily Moon’ the cartoons. I’d appreciate it if they didn’t keep changing the page they were on, but still, I think in terms of short newspaper cartoons they really do have the monopoly on quality. I like the one about the lazy dog. Always makes me laugh!

Still, their agenda has gotten really aggressive lately, which is why I don’t read the articles. All stuff about how the government is ruining the country, and how we shouldn’t eat certain foods because they’re full of sugar…and the celebrity stories. SO many celebrity stories. The only page I read besides the cartoons is the opinion page, usually because it makes you think a bit. This week’s was all about industrial solar power. Now, if this had been a traditional Moon story, they would’ve been saying things like ‘everyone should be running on 100% solar power and if you’re not then it’s discriminatory to the concept of energy!’ But fortunately, the opinion pieces are a bit more lax on the agenda. This one presented a thoughtful discussion on the nature of solar power, and how we currently think about energy monitoring. Currently, all our stats come from energy monitoring, which is fine and dandy until you get to people who interpret the facts in their own way. Instead of looking at solar power facts and figures and flying into a doomsday panic, we should instead take a good long look at our energy usage and work out a plan for the future.

Sounds great. Except The Moon actually ran a front-page piece last week where they declared that Melbourne has commercial energy monitoring that has proved that we’re all doomed, and global warming will soon mean that Australia is underwater. They said that, last week. So they really need to make up their minds on the issue, you know?


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Venue Hire Woes

Mismatched table cloths, well hung exposed light bulb chandeliers, home brewed beer and ciders, this is how I’ve always pictured the big day. In terms of venue, I hadn’t really given it that much thought. I suppose I always pictured it under some kind of canvas but that’s as far as I’d ever thought. This weekend Mark is whisking me away to look at options for venue hire in Melbourne. I think he has more of a ballroom, long gowns and champagne approach so I have a feeling we are going to have to battle to meet each other in the middle. He is refusing to tell me the actual locations he is taking me to see as potential Melbourne CBD party venues, probably because he knows I will refuse to go in the first place. In exchange for my agreeing to go and look, just look, at his chosen function rooms, he has agreed to come with me to look at home brewing methods to create our own wedding blend.

I think the wedding planning will go on like this for a while, give and take, an exchange of compromises. We are going to end up with some kind of glamorous, bohemian chic hybrid wedding. It actually doesn’t sound too bad but it has made it hard to picture the end result. I never pictured myself being someone that would be arranging function room hire in Melbourne. I suppose though, there are two of us planning this party, and if we can’t come to some kind of compromise about the party venue then what does that say about our impending marriage? We do have a way of finding a balance between our two outlooks, so far it has served us well and created a pretty lovely equilibrium. Hopefully the equilibrium extends to our wedding and beyond!

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Curse of the new house

In the last few stages of building our new house I became increasingly anxious about moving in. I was worried it wouldn’t feel right and things would not work or break as soon as we started using them. For two years we had watched the bricks being laid, the wiring fitted and the ducted vents installed. I had gone over every last detail to ensure it’s exactly what we want and suddenly I felt it just was all too good to be true and I was anticipating a major flood or wall collapse within our first week. Luckily I can safely say we have now lived in the new house for two months without any major disasters. We have had a problem with our air conditioning. Canberra is currently experiencing an unusually warm summer so it has been a little sweaty in the house leading to some rising domestic tensions.

We managed to get it fixed quickly but honestly I was just so glad it was a solvable problem that didn’t result in major structural damage so I felt pretty relaxed about it, much to my husband’s dismay. The company that installed our ducted air conditioning system were on hand to come and fix it. They were extremely professional and we had our cool air blasting through in no time. The air conditioning breakage put my mind at ease, I figured that was our moving in crisis and from now we are plain sailing. With our completed air conditioning repairs, Canberra was cool again! And I was cool again too. I was no longer inspecting every single crack and squeak with a fine tooth comb. I read too many tales about the curse of the new house, one woman reported that after two weeks of moving into her new home a major underground pipe exploded and caused damage worth more than the renovations they had completed. All I’ll say is I had our pipes serviced multiple times.

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Hardy Plants for the Winter

I think I can see the end of winter! It’s the little bit of blue in the clouds. Yes, we probably have another month or two of chilly air and cameo sun appearances, but we’ll get through it. It might not be time for me to go out there, planting and sowing (I  just don’t have the energy any more) but maybe I should be looking into some hardier winter plants. After all, it’s not like every flower in the entire world just shrivels and dies for a whole season every year. And it’s also unlikely that places that are always cold have no flowers at all.

According to my research, hippeastrums are quite hardy. Ooh, the hippeastrum apple blossom looks ravishing. And the ambience…looks like it lives up to its name. How have I not discovered this flower type before?

Oh, here I am, kidding myself, silly old girl that I am. It’s not like I’m an avid green thumb. I might plant every year and take care of things, but I’ve always been solely focused on the easy plants. I don’t much care for the flowers that require lots of effort and care.

There’s not a great variety in my garden but what’s there is rather nice. It seems to be a collection of what I’m comfortable looking after and what looks good for when we have visitors. I think that might come from that ornamental liquid amber I bought a few years ago. It was my pride and joy, until it withered one summer, right before we had a dinner party. I had to get Reggie to rip it up just before they came, I was so mortified.

Well, it’s time to branch out, no pun intended. It’s never too late to learn something new, or in this case, plant some gorgeous ornamental Japanese maples. I might even keep this one alive! Let’s hope it’s hardy.