This Place Is NEVER Going to Sell

This Place Is NEVER Going to Sell

This is the worst job ever. I’ve half a mind to ring up those conveyancers and complain, except I know I’d just be taking it out on the messenger, since they’re not the ones who gave me the case in the first place. No, no…that’s all part of the fun of being a newbie in the property sector. Go here, bring some coffee there, pick up your paperwork from the conveyancing office in Melbourne– that is, about an hour’s drive from our office- and go scope out this completely infeasible property.

Well, I’m here. And looking at it, I’m convinced that they gave me this as some kind of brutal initiation. Or maybe I keep making the coffee wrong, and this is my punishment. I mean, just…just tell me. Who in the name of all sanity is in the market for a big old abandoned zoo-type area, heavily reduced in price as it may be? Melbourne already has a zoo. You know…the Melbourne Zoo. I bet the conveyancers for that one had a great time shuffling together all the paperwork, since it’s kinda different to your average property. Whereas the guy who handed me the paperwork on this one had some serious pity in his eyes.

The place isn’t that bad. If anyone could use it for something, it’s got a decent location. The facilities just need a bit of a tidy up, and the climate control is industrial strength. It’s just unfortunate that it’s dumped right here, taking up a load of space in an area that could be so lucrative. Foot traffic, good transport links…and a giant, stupid abandoned indoor zoo. Great. Might as well be Melbourne’s biggest paperweight. Maybe that’s how I’ll sell it. ‘Come see (and buy) Melbourne’s biggest paperweight!’

Got a bunch of missed calls from that conveyancing solicitor place in Melbourne. Probably should’ve been paying more attention…but meh. Just missed a bit of paperwork, I guess.


Be Safe

Be Safe

It bothers me when people neglect to maintain their vehicles. After all, a minor issue left unchecked can lead to a major one, which has the potential to endanger other people on the road. Even when it comes to things like rust and dents, I feel like there’s a basic standard of upkeep that I’d like to see upheld. I don’t trust car owners who feel otherwise – it’s like, this is your chariot, people.

I realise I’m being pretty judgemental here. Not everyone can afford to have their scratches and scrapes immediately repaired. The real concern is when people put off having, say, a wheel realignment or a brake pad replacement. Ringwood has too many cars on the road that wouldn’t be up to scratch in the event of an unexpected hazard. And, as harsh as it may sound, I’m not okay with that.

There’s a good explanation – it’s because I’ve been personally impacted by road accidents in my time, and I wouldn’t wish the same on anyone. Both of the incidents I’m referring to could have been avoided if the driver responsible had kept their car in better condition. Of course, accidents can happen even in a factory-fresh car, and there are a lot of different factors in play. But in these particular circumstances, I believe that the most significant one was long-term vehicle neglect.

Blah. I didn’t really want to get into all that, but there it is. The road can be a dangerous place under the best of circumstances, so don’t take the risk of skipping out on essential car repairs. Ringwood is a busy place and a peak hour hotspot, and we all need to do what we can to minimise the likelihood of road accidents.

This is why I get triggered when I see superficial damage to cars on the road – I extrapolate it to other issues that might be more hidden, but which can dramatically impact the lives of other drivers.

Winter Is…Cold

Winter Is…Cold

In my household, you know that winter is coming not because the calendar says so, but because of the incessant sound of sniffling. Like clockwork, everyone gets hit with hay fever at pretty much exactly the same time, which is usually precisely a month before peak chill sets in. It’s weird because I know heaps of people who get it at the start of spring, but I’ve never had that, nor has hubby. I guess the kids have inherited our exclusively pre-winter allergy situation.

In my experience, there’s not a lot to be done about it, although it probably wouldn’t hurt to book in for a ducted heating service. Melbourne tends to start off its cold season in dribs and drabs, so turning on the heating is not yet a daily event. By my calculations, now’s the last window of opportunity to get the ducts cleaned and check that the gas is all good before it starts becoming necessary to have the heating on most nights.

I always forget this, but having the system touched up tends to make the allergies settle down a little bit. I don’t know if it’s because there’s dust in the vents that gets blown out into the air or what, and the effect is kind of subtle, but still. I’ll take anything I can get at this point, what with the number of hankies we’re going through at the moment. I’ve had to ration them to two per person per day. Any usage beyond that number is allowed, but it means washing your own hankies.

While I’m at it with getting the heating serviced, I need to remember to call in a carbon monoxide tester. It does feel like just another annoying thing to think about that’s most likely not going to reveal anything out of the ordinary, but hey – that’s the price we pay for having gas appliances.

I suppose the one upside of all this sniffling is that it’s a perfectly timed reminder to get this stuff looked at.

Danger Zone

Danger Zone

My parents have this hair brained notion of building their own boat and using to sail up the east coast of Australia. Doesn’t sound at all dangerous, does it? Not that people can’t do such things; of course they can. It’s just that my parents are known for being a bit… well, not very detail-oriented when it comes to DIY jobs. That’s putting it diplomatically.

For example, they once did an overhaul of the kitchen in which they ripped everything out, rebuilt it and then realised they’d forgotten to leave a space for the oven. Then there’s the time they set out a meticulously planned overland driving holiday, only to realise after a day’s driving that they’d left behind their trailer. I’m sure you’re getting the idea.

You can see, now, why I’m a tad iffy about these two embarking on a waterborne adventure without professional guidance. I can’t help but predict that they’ll spend all their energy on things like bow rails, bait boards and custom fishing rod holders, and in the process forget something indispensable, like adequately researched navigation skills.

Trust me, I want to support them in their ambitious endeavours. It’s just hard to do that when their track record strongly advises against it – especially in something where lives could be at stake. Maybe it’s just me, but marine fabrication really seems like something that ought to be left to the experts. At the very least, it probably shouldn’t be carried out by two blithely uninformed scatterbrains without professional supervision.

I don’t even know how they’re planning to start the process. I mean, where are they going to get the stainless steel from, and the tools needed to cut and weld it? It’s true that my parents have a lot of friends with a diverse range of skills that are forever being shared around. That might be part of the problem, actually.

Stranded Sister

Stranded Sister

My sister Tammy just called to let me know that she can’t make it down from down south this week after all. This is not at all a problem for me – on the contrary. It’s a cause for celebration, if anything. I really wasn’t look forward to Tammy and her random companion making themselves at home in my house.

Anyway, her car seems to have broken down in a major way, and is currently in the hands of an auto mechanic. Mornington is a perfectly nice place, so I don’t feel especially badly for Tammy, although she’s horrified at having to shell out for accomodation. It’s not that she doesn’t have the money, it’s just that she’d arranged to take advantage of the free option provided (somewhat grudgingly) by yours truly.

I’d be more than happy to put Tammy up if she’d only do the same for me when I visit Hobart. She has a big house with plenty of room to host me, but she insists that I’d prefer to stay at a hotel. I can’t get away with suggesting the same to her, of course. So it seems that her little motor breakdown is giving her a bit of comeuppance.

Of course, I hope she can get her car fixed so that she can eventually hop back over the pond and be further away from me. That’s why I’m keen to make sure that Tammy has chosen a decent auto repair shop. Mornington residents, do you have any ideas?

That said, I don’t want her car to get fixed too quickly, because that could mean her having enough time to pop up and take over my house for the weekend. From what she told me, I don’t think it’ll be in working order any time soon, but who can say?

I don’t really care how all this makes me sound, honestly. I’m tired of feeling obligated to this girl just because she’s my little sister. This could be a useful reality check for her.

Watching the Sparks

Watching the Sparks

The world is seriously lacking in real electricians. It’s true: the local electricians Bayside area has on offer are swamped, because electricity has become our very lives, and without it we have to do awful things like talking to each other and playing that game where you chase a hoop with a stick. I mean, seriously.

I’m not an electrician, because I have a violent allergic reaction to rubber, but I do run a website called where I call for more qualified electricians to join the fight against having to chase a hoop with a stick, or play Risk. Ugh…Risk. The worst time-filler since swing dancing.

I used to think I was the only one who truly cared about the electrician crisis, until I joined Odd-Match. I thought I’d make a profile, state that electricians and home rewiring and commercial electrical installation were things about which I was quite passionate, and maybe after a few months I might make contact with a semi-like-minded soul. Imagine my surprise when I found a whole miniature society of people just like me, with a forum and everything.

These people, like me, vehemently support the work of electricians, and they also see the consequences of there not being enough of them to meet demand. We’re all hamstrung by not being able to become electricians ourselves, too. Tamika has a mortal fear of lightning after a thunderstorm incident in her youth, George has taken a vow to never wear a hard hat in honour of his late hamster, Zachary has a compulsion to shock himself that makes him stay away from all power outlets…but we’re all united by a common goal: to make sure there are enough commercial electrical specialists.

It’s so nice to find more people like me. Although I did ask if they knew Spark Watch, no one did, and I found out that I’d never set the site to go live after four years. My bad.


The Conveyancing Queen

The Conveyancing Queen

Anastasia just needs to stop. For real, Anastasia. It’s bad enough that you have a super long name, that you insist on everyone using it and not shortening it to something more manageable, how you kissed Derrick at the School Social and tried to say you didn’t even though there’s an actual PHOTO on the school intranet of you doing it, and that you came back from a week-long trip to Switzerland pretending you’d picked up a thick “Swiss accent.”

You don’t even know what a Swiss accent is, Anastasia…no one does.

But now she’s trying to say that she’s going to TAFE to learn how to join a property conveyancing company in Melbourne. For starters, Anastasia, I don’t even think you know what conveyancers do. She probably just heard it somewhere and thought it sounded good. I know what they are because my parents own a few investment properties and they’re talking about conveyancers all the time. I played dumb though and asked Anastasia what they do, and she looked at me like I was dumb (I was only PLAYING dumb, for the record) and said “they convey stuff, duh.”

Dangit. I forgot how clever she can be. Now everyone is convinced that Anastasia knows more than me, which is NOT true. It’s the opposite! I’m the property conveyancing expert, not her! This is the worst. She already took the credit for our group project on how baby formula is killing the environment, and now I have to deal with this.

I need to ask my parents about more specific stuff that I’ve always tried to ignore, like title transfers and something about the section 32 vendors statement and maybe also…um…okay, I’m gonna gather some intel. I WILL prove that all of Anastasia’s conveyancing lies are truly lies. She probably doesn’t even know how to rent a place, let alone buying one. That’s way too much paperwork for someone like her.


Residential Kitchens

Residential Kitchens

I read something recently about someone living in the kitchen, with a bed and everything, and all I can say is YES. Yes please, all the way. So many winters I’ve been loathe to go to any other room. It’s the whole reason I’ve dragged my comfy chair in there, even though that’s not the safest type of furniture to have in a room with naked flame. Don’t care, and I’m careful. If I’m making cookies or muffins, I want to be in the room at all times to make sure they turn out just right. I’m particular like that.

Companies that do kitchen design need to make this a major part of the services they offer, because I can’t be the only one. The kitchen is just, like…the place where all the good stuff is. The food is there, which is a huge plus. Also there is the means to prepare the food. And then modern home design has the audacity to make us move to a different room for eating, as if you needed anything else.

I guess my perfect apartment WOULD just be the kitchen. You’ve got a humongous kitchen island right in the middle, equipped with everything you need from aga to microwave. And then, arrayed around this island as if insignificant, are things like chairs, your bed, a wardrobe, or whatever you want that isn’t kitchen-related. You could call them kitchen apartments and they would take the kitchen designer scene by storm. Everyone would want them, and they’d be my idea so I’d get a cut of the profits, and that would be enough to actually get a kitchen apartment of my own.

It’d sort of be like a studio apartment, I think, except entirely based around the kitchen in a nice little circle. I guess your only concern would be the wires and gas pipes coming from the wall, but that could be dealt with creatively. Gosh, I’m good at this…I should do kitchen and bathroom design professionally. I’m sure my parents would be my only clients, and even then dad would want to redo all my hard work.

The Icemen Cometh

The Icemen Cometh

Alright, fair play: freeze rays are a popular method of world domination. When I was drafted into this secret science division I just assumed I’d be the only one who tried to create a giant particle gun that would cause a catastrophic seasonal unbalance that would freeze the entire world forever in the icy grip of an eternal winter.

Then I met my co-workers, and I was soon disabused of that idea. Gerry tried it, Leroy tried it, and Kelsey over there made a massive freeze ray that could freeze entire army platoons into ice blocks with pinpoint accuracy. So yeah…I’m not special. I bet my idea was the best of the lot, though.

Now we’ve all been put in a team working in Brisbane, air conditioning services in that area are the best in the business. It’s sort of like being the CEO of a Fortune 500 company and the next day you go into work owning a milk bar. At least the air conditioning we have in here is good quality.

We all know that air conditioning hasn’t reached its peak. Give me an average air conditioning unit and I could adjust it so that it uses the same amount of power and also causes a small blizzard in the room, but that’s not what the higher-ups want. No, they’d like us to just improve the current air con technology, make it so that the units are able to maybe clear out some of the dust themselves, and make them more sturdy so that they need fewer repairs. None of that interests me in the slightest, but I’ll play their game, for now. We’ll make air con units so good, every single air conditioning repair company in Brisbane will remove ‘repairs’ from their list of services and just focus on installations! Just see if they can stop us!

It’s a decent enough challenge, for now. And after this…instant freeze drinks.

Swapping for Good

Swapping for Good

You know that show on channel 56, Boss Swap? Does anyone else think that it’s kinda…I don’t know. Vindictive? I feel like it’d be a much better concept if it was just the boss going undercover as a blue-collar worker, learning about his company, working alongside people and getting to know what they think of the company…

Except there’s this other side of it. All employees who work with the boss are told that he suddenly moved to the Maldives and this new person will be their successor. And of course, the blue-collar person is clueless.

Last episode had the CEO of an auto parts firm going and doing ground-level auto repairs in Hawthorn. It was pretty funny because he was obviously trying really hard, but for the last decade he’d gotten other people to collect his set of luxury cars and fix them, and now he’s trying to live up to his pretend resume by servicing an ordinary Corolla. The mechanics are being nice about it, eventually the boss learns how to service cars a little better, and everyone is better off at the end.

Meanwhile, at the upper corporate end, there’s mass panic as everyone thinks that the old boss has gone nuts and put a total novice in charge. Stocks plummet as the blue-collar person makes bad decisions, morale sinks around the office, and things are generally just a lot less…uplifting. To reiterate, a guy in a car servicing garage down in Hawthorn struggling and learning a lesson about his employees is pretty cool, provided everyone’s cars get serviced properly. The flipside…that’s a corporate nightmare.