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Surprise cash means a new backyard

Surprise cash means a new backyard

I was able to use my windfall (apparently it’s not called win-fall; news to me) to bring my garden alive, with some sleepers. I love my backyard but sometimes I just don’t know why. This was my cry every time I would wake up at the crack of half past nine, and see the backyard that stood in shambled before me. It has all changed now (definitely for the better though I’m still out of bed at half past nine) and I can honestly say that I love the new backyard. It all started three weeks ago when I got a message in the mail.

I get a letter stating that I’m the recipient of a windfall of some $6,000 and I’m super happy. I mean who wouldn’t be? I decide that since I’ve got this great house, but a not-so-great backyard, I would do it up. I want a cool backyard garden, with veggies and fruit in it so that I can say I’m now a real farmer. I want an outdoor entertaining area where my friend can gather and enjoy the fruits of my labor.

The first step was to get a retaining wall and some concrete sleepers. Melbourne gardeners seems to have this obsession with symmetry, and concrete sleepers are  a great way to create smooth lines in a yard. Of course this meant speaking to the landscaping professionals and as such, it also meant that I was basically just listening to them talk about things that I really don’t understand. I know retaining walls and concrete sleepers are things that I need, so I understood enough.  I didn’t know at the time what concrete sleepers were, but it’s pretty obvious now that I’ve seen them.

The next step that had to get done was to fix up the driveway. Unlike most homes, most normal homes anyway, this driveway was not in the front, but in the back. I’m sorry home, I don’t mean to be rude, but having a driveway in the back of your home is not normal.

The backyard sort of doubled as a driveway of sorts with loose stones acting as the paving. I wanted a proper driveway, Melbourne North is well known for garden parties and I simply want to be a part of the local culture. That meant that the landscapers had to get super special concrete to match the rest of the house, the rest of the yard, and now my massive ego. They delivered in a spectacular way. I’ve got the best driveway in the street if you ask me.

Uni Stress = No Sleep

Uni Stress = No Sleep

I just caught up with my sister, Tania, for a coffee at her uni campus, and was immediately struck by the massive bags under her eyes. I cracked a joke that she’d been partying too hard, but she told me that she’d actually been having heaps of trouble sleeping for the past couple of weeks, to the point that she’d describe it as insomnia.

Sounds awful to me! Tania said she’d first noticed it after submitting a particularly gruelling maths assessment for her engineering course, which she’d been unusually worried about. The stress symptoms have persisted, even though she’s already gotten the marks back for that test. On top of that, the insomnia has started to degrade her overall mental and physical health – she seems to be at the end of her tether!

I asked her if she’d been to a GP. She said she had, and that she’d been referred to a psychologist at the uni, but that she’d prefer a referral to a psychologist in Mornington since she’s going to visit our parents there on her break in a couple of weeks. She reckons she has too much on at the moment. Seems like self-defeating reasoning to me – how is she going to get anything done if she’s exhausted all the time?

In my view, Tania probably thinks it’s normal to not be sleeping. I remember that, when I was at uni, it was de rigueur to go around in a zombie-like state. But chucking an all-nighter to finish an important assignment or staying out til 6am at a party is different to genuinely not being able to sleep due to anxiety, especially if this is in an ongoing capacity.

I have a friend who knows a psychiatrist in the Mornington area – I’m not sure if a psychiatrist is in order in this situation (seeing as Tania was referred to a psychologist) but maybe I could look into the options. I’d like to assist Tania in getting her  mental health support, not to mention a good night’s sleep.

Great Ocean Road, Baby

Great Ocean Road, Baby

I just got a message from my high school pal, Theresa. We haven’t caught up in yonks, so it was a bit out of the blue. As it turned out, the reason she was getting in touch was that she had a baby a few months ago, and wants me to come and meet it. I was mildly put out – just for a second – that she hadn’t thought to get in touch with me before the baby was born, but I got over it pretty quickly and agreed to visit her in Lorne next weekend.

I’m not especially keen to stay with Theresa, even though she’s thoughtfully offered me a fold-out couch. I mean, she has a four month-old baby and a hubby I’ve never met. No thanks! I’ll find my own accommodation. It’s a nice little opportunity for a drive down the Great Ocean Road, actually – a mini break away from Melbourne. I’m thinking I’ll splash out on a luxury holiday apartment. Lorne must have something like that on offer, with a view to boot.

I know the whole point is for me to meet the bub, but I wonder if she’ll agree to meet me for dinner and drinks sans baby. Maybe we can squeeze in some day spa action before heading out for some local seafood and a few cheeky cocktails. I’d love to go for a walk up the coast to the lighthouse as well, or down to Erskine Falls. The last time I was around Lorne would have been for the coffee-roasters conference last year – I’m always a fan of that crew’s penchant for conference venues on the coast. Victoria hasn’t got as many of these as NSW does, but it has its own charm.

Now that I’m thinking about it, it seems pretty clear that I’m in dire need of a coastal getaway. I should probably separate that out from my long overdue social catch-up, but it’s not my fault that that’s to take place in an idyllic beachside holiday town. Gotta make the most of that!