I know I’m your classic city goer these days, but I’m a real country girl at heart. I grew up on a dairy farm in the near the beach, a solid hour’s drive from anywhere to anywhere, and there’s something about that kind of intense isolation I find myself really missing living in the city. Everything’s just so close and jammed together here, there’s no peace to be had. Even sitting in a park, you can hear the distant thunderous hum of the traffic, the chatter of other people located just a little too close for comfort. So to get that true solitude I so desperately crave, I make a point of going away every couple of months or so. Not necessarily back home, I’m a more adventurous spirit than that, but somewhere relatively isolated where I can just relax and be my truest self.
The last few months have been a completely crazy period in my life. I don’t think I’ve ever felt a more chaotic type of energy. I’ve worn myself thin by all this endless running around and excitement and I just really need some time to myself. I need to calm down and find my centre again, so I’ve booked two luxurious Lorne beach apartments for myself and my best friend Cassie for the long weekend. Cassie’s one of those friends who just understands me on a deeper level. When we’re together, I don’t have to try to have a conversation all the time, she understands my need for silence. I can be on my own with her.
Cassie also has a work thing on at a conference venue near Lorne the next week, so going down there with her is a perfect plan. I just can’t wait to escape from the city and centre myself again. Getting back to my roots, in this round-about kind of way, is just so important.
I’ve finally moved in and I desperately need to get a clean for my new house. Moving all the furniture and stuff from the moving van into the house has caused the carpets to get dirty. For some reason the couches also have a funny smell now, I think it was from the moving van. At some point the couches may have gotten wet as there is a distinct damp odour coming from them.
I had used the services of a cleaning company in the past when I was leaving my old place, and I really wanted to make sure that I got a decent cleaner. I can’t have visitors over until I get this mess cleaned up, first thing I need is carpet stain removal, Melbourne CBD isn’t far from my new place so it shouldn’t hard to find someone.
I was given the name of a place that sorts out carpet stains by a friend. It’s such a surprise too, since I hadn’t heard about them until recently. That was my mistake apparently, as there have been many reports about the truly wonderful work that they do. I didn’t know that we could still be surprised by anything that happens in this world.
It’s great when people stick together through thick and thin, letting nothing tear them apart. I don’t know what to say, I guess I’m just a people person. When these carpet stains are gone I plan on throwing a fantastic house warming party for all my Melbourne friends. The couches still smell a bit funky, I thought a few days outside would help but it hasn’t done the trick. I guess I really do need the best odour removal Melbourne has to offer. I can’t have my new friends sitting on a smelly couch. Perhaps I should spray the couches with air freshener and wait until after the party to have the cleaning done. It occurs to me that there is a chance that people could spill their drink on the couch anyway, might was well wait.
Local legend and author Christopher Alberton, writer of 2006’s “Past Present”, attributes the success of the book, as well as the inspiration, to a Victoria winery tour Alberton took by himself in the summer of 2004. “I really wanted to get outside my head, and not do anything. I ended up doing everything because of it.”
Alberton, known at the time for his series of short stories and essays, had yet to find mainstream success. “Having come off the failure of my previous efforts, I vowed to take time off and just unwind. That was how I came up with the winding narrative structure and lonely character in Past Present.” The wine tour, set amongst the Bellarine Peninsula, served as the primary catalyst for what would be Alberton’s most accessible and acclaimed novel. “It made my career, in every way. I’m also so proud of that book and everything it’s become.”
The peninsula also served as the setting for the novel, which “chronicles the lifetime of a lonesome recently divorced man, told over the course of a single day, in a snaking and folding fashion.” Alberton himself states that he was never lonely on his Bellarine Peninsula winery tour, “I always had my notebooks full of ideas, and having a bottle of red by my side was never a bad thing. I can’t remember how many bottles I bought over the course of that trip but I hesitate to say over fifty.”
The interview comes in time for national winery month, celebrating the production and distribution of Victorian wines throughout February. Alberton, a notoriously secretive artist, allowed a one-time interview to “get out everything that’s been building inside me for years.” He went on to say that “the wine itself might have been more of an inspiration for Past Present than I gave it credit for at the time. I can’t recommend solo winery tours highly enough for people wanting to get their creative spirits to shine.”
At the moment my makeup routine takes up about 40 minutes of my time each morning. Allowing an hour to get to work, Bendigo’s morning rush can be a nightmare, I have to wake up at 6 am in order to be on time. As I don’t do that well with early mornings I have been looking into ways to cut down my routine. A friend suggested I look into eyebrow tattooing in Bendigo, apparently she went to a great place to have hers done and now she doesn’t have to worry about her eyebrows at all. I had never really considered any kind of cosmetic tattooing but this seemed different, it would mean I wouldn’t have to spend 15 minutes every day painting on my eyebrows. I spoke to a cosmetic tattooist about the process and it seemed too good to be true. I could just have my natural eyebrows filled in with ink so they appear permanently fuller.
I couldn’t believe this has been right on my doorstep all this time! I booked in for an appointment and ended up looking into what else I could have done. Turns out I can also cut down time spent on my lips. At the moment I do a three stage process of lip liner, lipstick and gloss to achieve plump lips. Turns out as well as eyebrow tattoos, I can also get lip fillers. Bendigo had an excellent cosmetic beauty salon all this time and I didn’t know! I mean who knew that Bendigo had such modern facilities to accommodate my cosmetic needs, it is so nice to not have go all the way into the city. Between the time I would save on my lips and eyebrows I could get an extra 35 minutes in bed each morning. It may seem drastic but I figure in the long run it is a far more sustainable option than pushing myself to be up by 6 every day and no doubt my lips and eyebrows will look much better for it.
I have been looking into ways to create a mobile dog washing business since my great idea. Of course, it would have to be Scott’s business, seeing as I never made it to dentistry school. I have been looking at how to modify a vehicle to incorporate all the necessary gear for washing dogs. It turns out that the dog cleaning equipment is quite hefty, so if we get a ute we would have to look into ute under tray drawers to maximise storage space.
I have not yet informed Scott of my incredible idea for him to run a mobile dog grooming business. As far as I know, no such service exists yet. He could be a pioneer. This is part of the appeal, but also part of the difficulty. Because there are no mobile dog washers, there is no precedent for how one would operate or what type of equipment they would have. As a result, I think it would be most proactive for me to focus on the practical details before bringing my idea to Scott.
If a ute with a custom aluminium fit-out seems unconventional, it’s because there is no convention. I am thinking that some of the more hardy equipment could be strapped onto a roof rack, while the rest could be stored in a custom ute under body boxes. I have even thought of the perfect name for the mobile dog groomers, but I do not want to reveal it just yet. You have to be careful with what you put on the internet, and the name is so perfect that I am worried a conniving reader will steal it.
While researching vehicle modifications for the business, I found out that you can get removable service bodies for extra storage. When you have a mobile business, your vehicle needs to have not only all the tools of the trade, but also your office. A drawer system would allow storage for all the hallmarks of being a dog grooming professional. I can’t wait to see all the cute puppies!
I was back in my office with a fresh cup of hot tea and a new magazine to read. Unfortunately, the office was still incredibly uncomfortable because of the cold. The heating unit had broken down over the weekend and it was a particularly cold day in Brisbane. Heating is something you take for granted until you no longer have that luxury. Thankfully the heating repair team were in the back room working on the problem.
I had been complaining about the cold to with my manager earlier in the day. My complains were falling on deaf ears, mainly because my boss had a portable heater in his office! He told me the repair company should be able to have the gas heating back up and running within a few hours.
It wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I couldn’t barely stand a few more minutes in this icy box let alone a few more hours. I had a lot of work to get done and it was hard to focus while shivering. Also the lack of airflow was making me feel sick and I could barely concentrate on my mountain of work. I guess those deadlines would have be pushed back. I sure as heck wasn’t going to take the blame for late work because of the lack of heating. Brisbane is supposed to be nice temperatures all year round! It was one of the main reasons I moved from Tasmania after all.
The gas heating repair team were also making a lot of noise. The room where the heating unit was situated directly behind my office. I entertained myself by listening to the technician’s conversations and pretending I was somewhere else. I wasn’t going to attempt any work. I had a feeling I’d do more harm than good.
I heard a brief rumbling and then warm air started falling from the vents in the roof. Feeling that first bit of warm air land on my skin gave me goosebumps and instantly relaxed me. With only an hour left of the work day, I thought it best to go home early.
Development has been going really well with the game world recently. I’ve had a good patch, the game is finally taking some serious shape and I’ve even been chatting with a couple of production teams to start planning some details for the launch. Although that is still years off. During this good patch I ironed out some kinks in the house building mode and made construction and furnishing a far more complex and thus satisfying process. I had a breakthrough when I was coding the various exterior options for home builders. I realised it would be great if homeowners faced domestic challenges, much like in reality. Simple things of course like chipped paint and blocked drains. Melbourne is a city filled with building niggles and servicemen just waiting to repair them. Why should this be any different in a virtual world?
I needed to do my research. I wanted to replicate actual drainage issues and provide multiple options for recovery. I spoke to various drain specialist companies throughout Melbourne to see what I could find. That’s when it hit me. I had to build a drain mode. Turns out when there is a blockage in your drain professionals can actually use cameras to carry out drain inspections. Melbourne is a hub of drain expertise just waiting to be assimilated into virtual reality. I figured as well as gamers experiencing domestic issues like this why not let them actually see inside it. With drain mode, users would be able to not just solve the block but actually see inside it. Extra rewards will be available to those that can correctly identify the cause of the blockage. I wanted this to be as immersive as possible so I even programmed some extras such as audible gurgling from drains and sinks within homes and a signalling system for when there is an odour produced from blocked sewers. This will delay a release of the game by at least 6 months but I think it is essential in order to create the ideal gaming experience.
When my mother gave me a gift voucher for my birthday I was a little disappointed. We had a rule in our family – no gift vouchers or money for birthday or Christmas presents. As soon as Mum saw the disappointment on my face she told me that she was buying me a day of pampering, not just a gift voucher. Mum went on the explain that this cosmetic beauty salon is one of the most prestigious in Melbourne, and that people have to book weeks in advance. When I heard that I was pretty excited. I asked her when she had booked the appointment for and she told me I was booked in for the entire day tomorrow. I gave her a huge hug and let any traces of disappointment leave my body. She had made the effort months in advance, this was not just a last minute, thoughtless present.
I walked into the facials salon and was overwhelmed with relaxing smells and a rejuvenating atmosphere. The calming music gave me confidence that I was going to be pampered and come out of the salon feeling great. The beauty therapist led me to a room to get the laser hair removal. Melbourne is a city of beautiful people and I deserve to be one of them!
I was taken into a room with a long table and lots of beauty products on the benches. I was prepped for my laser hair removal and after half an hour of pain I was feeling silky smooth. After my treatment I had anti wrinkle injections, Melbourne ladies have a right to look their best. It was honestly incredible.
Whatever they used on my skin was a miracle. My skin had never been so soft and line free. I finished off my day with a full body massage. When my time was up I floated out the front door and into my car. I was going straight home to thank my parents for the best present I had ever received.
This whole situation with Marie is starting to stress me out. Her cooling system is out of action, apparently, and she is waiting until the off-season to do anything about it. This means that when Pat, the kids and I visit for her New Year’s Eve celebrations, we are going to be housed in inhumanely hot conditions. Of course, I did not hear this news from Marie herself. I had a chat to Adelaide, her adult daughter. How Adelaide managed to become a well-adjusted adult is beyond me. I do try to get along with Marie seeing as she is my sister-in-law, but she is not exactly the most agreeable person. On the matter of air conditioning, Adelaide completely agrees with me. She thinks her mother is being inconsiderate, making no effort to understand that the heat affects me greatly. I am really trying to be grateful that Marie has kindly agreed to invite the family to celebrate New Year’s Eve.
However, as I learnt the hard way from my positive thinking phase, it is not enough to believe that everything will be sorted out. Positive thinking needs to be combined with positive actions in order to achieve the result you want. This applies to everything, from weight loss, to learning to juggle, to dealing with your mildly irritating sister-in-law. So in cahoots with her daughter, I hatched a plan to ensure that my trip to Marie’s will not involve sweating in a hotbox.
To try to get Marie to organise the air conditioning repairs, Adelaide has been visiting her mother often and commenting that it is uncomfortably warm inside her house. It does feel a little silly to have to plot to get Marie to do anything about the cooling situation. However, I feel like I have no choice as asking her nicely has only been met with derision. I will continue to present a positive front to Marie and maybe it will one day rub off onto her.
I just LOVE it when we waste our time in meetings with stuff that’s already done. ‘Appliances’ was on the agenda tonight, which I thought was weird because we already sorted all that. We got three fridges, a dedicated laundry room for any delegate who needs to use it, a fully-equipped kitchen…what else do we need? I even got on some guys in Melbourne who do air con repairs, because they’re coming down to the expo and they can sort us out if anything goes bust. See how well-connected I am? Mm-hmm, I’ve got all of this under control. And then it comes up in the meeting and Sharlene’s all like ‘We gotta sort out getting’ air con for the kitchen.’
Sharlene, we got that stuff fixed up ages ago. Remember, you were there? Or maybe you were checking out your nails at the time. I swear this girl has no brains or memory whatsoever. Makes me wonder what her home life is like. If her air conditioner is busted or the fridge goes out, what does she do? Wait three weeks until all the food is mouldy and then maybe suggest to her husband that they need some repairs? I’m just hoping that her husband fills in her mental gaps, because otherwise those kids aren’t getting any proper nutrition.
I can imagine it…the fridge off, flies buzzing around. Surely, as the chairwoman, Sharlene can at least make an effort to remember anything we’ve said. Or better still, she could actually go down to the venue and check what we got before she wastes all our time pointless meetings. I had it all under control, air con repairs, all the services. I had important stuff to discuss, she just cuts across and asks me if I can double check my contacts for air conditioning in Melbourne. See, they’re fine Sharlene. Maybe we need to get some repairs for that hole in your head- a lot of important stuff appears to be leaking out.