Indoor Birthday Party a Treat

kids party venue Bentleigh EastTo pin, or not to pin the tail on the donkey? That is the question. What a way for a kid to spend an afternoon – inflatables, ball pits, rock climbing, games…it’s the ideal kids party venue. Bentleigh East has a lot going for it but this takes the cake when it comes to kids.

Which is pretty much why I love the place and will hold every birthday there until they’re a) teenagers or b) dare to rise up against me. Every parent that’s ever tried to arrange a birthday party will understand me. Because parties are a nightmare. They aren’t fun affairs where everyone smiles and you hand out the cake without dropping it. They’re not smoothly oiled machines that can be effortlessly maneuvered around the birthday boy or girl’s mid-pinata smash tanty. And they certainly aren’t crowd pleasers. For every child gleefully smearing his or her face with neon coloured icing, there are four adults unhappy with the party planners.

One of the best discoveries I have made as a mum is that holding a birthday party at the play center makes you look great. . I’ve never ever seen a kid happy to leave an indoor play center. Bentleigh really does have the most outstanding play arena for kids to enjoy. It’s like pulling barnacles off a rock. Kids are guaranteed fun in a place like this, the red cheeks and breathlessness of it all is evidence of that. When they do stop playing, there’s a solid selection of classic party fare, coffee for the big people and a cake at the end, and everyone is happy. Best of all, you’re not left with the clean up. Better than best of all, the kids are so exhausted from all the fun, they fall asleep in the car and let you listen to that album you’ve been meaning to check out. There’s just no need to run yourself thin during a party, or in the time leading up to one. I say, pay it forward to a local business and let a play center take care of the honestly exhausting situation.

The Jacoby Clan is…Behind the Times

commercial solar systemsOh dear…now I have to explain to my family the concept of energy storage. And trust me, the Jacoby clan do not specialise in electronics. I only know about them because I took a vague interest in high school that eventually blossomed into me starting the Electronics Club. The club is going well, despite me being the only member, although our school DOES only have 26 students, so I wasn’t expecting any big numbers.

If it came to 70 different ways to milk a cow, or how to service a problematic tractor, our family have it down. But now that I’ve discovered that commercial solar systems in Melbourne can cut down on our spending by almost 40%? The thought of trying to tell Ma and Pa makes me wish I’d never done the research. It’s true, though…everyone in Melbourne is picking up commercial solar, so it would help us around the farm if we did the same. I’m not saying we need to clear the cornfield and replace it with a vast plane of solar panels, but a few on the roof would be enough, for now.

I know what Pa is going to say. He hates anything to do with that ‘new-fanged techie-palooza’, and Ma will probably think that the some of our power is going to the government. Ma thinks the government are involved in everything. The chickens aren’t laying as much as they used to; must be the government. Cousin Abigail has come down with a case of the pox; gotta be the government!

I can’t predict what she’d do if I ever mentioned the sensible concept of adopting commercial energy monitoring for Melbourne business practices. That actually sounds like something the government would do. Suppose I’ll have to start them slow…a few solar panels here, and there, and then I’ll show them how much they’re saving in our daily upkeep. The hardest part is getting to the solar panel stage.

-Forrest Jacoby

The Perfect Home…Probably Doesn’t Exist

Melbourne property advocatesSo London is getting snow right now, and we’re here just making do with slightly cool breezes. Boring. Not that I’m surprised, because all the weather around here is unpleasant or boring, or totally unpredictable. There’s no happy medium of it just being pleasant, not for long.

Really, I think from my one year living here, the best way to survive Melbourne is just to buy a really nice home with all the amenities. Double-glazing to keep out the heat, air conditioning to keep you cool inside, efficient heating services to make you feel warm and toasty in the winter, and a decent system that can change on a whim. Maybe also a pool. And a tin roof, because rain on a tin roof is just lovely when you’re trying to sleep.

I don’t know where you’d find THAT combo, however. I know there are property advocates in Melbourne to help you out with all your buying needs, but I’d feel bad handing them a list of things that just don’t go together. “So yeah, I’d like a really large home, but it’s not too expensive to heat, or keep cool. I want it to be modern, spacious and look impressive from the outside, but it also has a tin roof. A large garden, but also one that’s easy to maintain, because often the weather will be such that I really don’t even want to go outside and I don’t want it turning into a jungle. Oh, and it both retains the heat in winter, then releases it in summer.”

Yeah, I’m the quintessential nightmare client. Those ones that the buyers advocates would be very polite to, because they’re professional and very good at dealing with the public, but then they go home and cry themselves to sleep because I’m just impossible. Guess I’ll just have to deal with the heat of summer and the frosts of winter like everyone else. The buyers advocate professionals in Melbourne have enough on their plates dealing with that, without me knocking down my door and asking for a home that doesn’t exist.

Children Are Everything. End of Story/Poem

indoor play centre MelbourneProse makes for a fine line between poetry and story, but I think I’ve successfully found a way to marry the two. Like pretty much everything I create, this one is to do with my children. They ARE my world, you know. The writing group may tell me to move onto something new, but I say no, because I’m a good mother. I’m interested in their lives, I want the best for them…and if that means they’re all I talk about, well so be it. I, personally, think they’re pretty interesting.

This latest piece of mine is called ‘Ode to the Ball Pit’, and I wrote it while I was at my local indoor play centre. Friendly staff in Melbourne are hard to come by, but they’re paramount for me when I’m looking for a play centre. That’s when I take a little bof of a break from my mothering duties and let my kids be free to discover. They climb over the frames, dive into the ball pit, slide down the slides, create imaginary worlds…they’re creative like their mum, clearly. Here’s an extract, because I feel the internet at large will appreciate my artistry far more than this group of neanderthals.

‘Ball pit. Ball pit. BALL PIT. So full of balls. Colourful balls, of smooth plastic. Diving. Diving. DIVING in the ball pit. Child is gone, child emerges. I drink my herbal tea, unconcerned.’

Alright, I don’t want to spoil the whole thing. I have an anthology book coming out soon and you need something to give your relatives for Christmas. If they like ball pits or kids birthday party venues, Canberra or the surrounding areas, would work. On sale in a few days, maybe!

I’ve given up taking this group’s opinion on anything really. I mean, half of them aren’t even parents, and even the ones who are talk about things other than their children. What’s the point of being a parent if you can’t even talk about your kids all the time?


Moth vs Me: The final straw

termite control DandenongI’d just binned the fourth moth-eaten garment from my wardrobe in just a few weeks. I was fed up and contemplating a move when I remembered that my neighbour had made a recommendation for a  pest control company in Mornington.  I may sounds like I’m overreacting but it’s not like they’d eaten just any old woollen coat. I’m an antique clothing collector and dealer, and they ate right through the most incredible beaded head dress from a stage production my grandmother was in in the 1930s. This means war.

I have always had to be careful in my house, it was  susceptible to bugs as lots of the old houses in our street are, and like them, we had to resort to termite control. Dandenong has some wonderful living to offer, but the house I fell in love with was old, and somewhat compromised and nevertheless I took the risk and moved in knowing full well that moths and termites and rising damp could be my new enemies.

I’ve lost some incredible garments to silverfish and moths, so I guess getting onto pest control was something I’d been putting off because I desperately didn’t want to have to leave my house or move all my garments for a long period of time. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the treatment could be done in a day, and I made doubly sure to protect my important stuff in plastic bags.

I’ve recently purchased some really special pieces, and I’m desperate to keep them in great condition until the next auction comes up. I guess the curse of loving old things is that you have to love what comes with them, dust, fluff and the decorations of old age.

I won’t quit collecting because it’s such a huge art of my life- but at least now I don’t feel like my work is disappearing as soon as I find it. I love preserving these special pieces!

Remembering the Old Chandelier

designer lightingOla friends!

It’s pretty different here in Australia, but I really like it. All the forums I read said it was a country where people didn’t like those who weren’t like them, but I haven’t seen any of it. People seem really interested to hear that I’m from Mexico, especially when they hear that I’m studying home design.

Okay, so they do seem a bit TOO surprised when I say that, like they think I should be doing something more…stereotypical? Nah, it’s fine. I’m teaching my classmates Spanish, and they teach me Australian slang. It’s tougher than you’d think.

As for class, I’m learning loads there too. There’s a lot to know about home design, especially in Melbourne. They really like their designer lighting, for one thing. Oh, that’s, like…lights for you home, but ones that look really good. A bit like the ones that my grandpa had in his home; chandeliers, they call them. It’s funny, but that’s one of the things I remember the most about visiting grandpa. No one else had a home like him, but then, he had a good job. I think that was where I became interested in home design, even though things have really changed, and homes in Australia are totally different to his.

I’ve had a few assignments where we have to submit designs, and grandpa’s house has always stayed with me as I’ve been drawing. Of course, I’ve put in a lot of my own style. Done a bit of research on Melbourne’s commercial LED lighting and combined what’s in my head with some real facts! That’s what my friend always used to say.

“Your head is like a home. Only invite someone inside if you’re planning on entertaining.”

I think he’d be really proud, although he’d probably think all this lighting talk was stupid. That was my grandpa, alright. Always practical.


People Here Need Orthotics

arch supports CheltenhamHi Mom and Dad,

To answer your question…no. It’s not as hot here as everyone thinks. I think if I’d taken that job in Brisbane it’s be different, but Australia is so big, it has different climates depending on where you are, just like America. So Melbourne is like…Seattle, I think? Anyway, it’s winter here. Not much sun, loads of clouds.

Big spiders, though, so you can tick that one off the list. Apparently you see more of them in summer, so not looking forward to THAT. Oh, and people really love their sport, so tick that one off as well. The most common foot conditions in Melbourne are athlete’s foot and Achilles tendinitis, which seem to mostly be caused by that thing they call ‘football’. Oh, and netball. That’s really popular here, and it’s really hard on the feet and the ankles. Often we get people coming in with conditions bad enough that we can’t just give them orthotics and move them on. There are podiatry clinics around the place, like in Cheltenham and other places, so we send them there.

Seriously, if I had a dollar for every time some teenage girl came in having sprained her ankle real bad, or with some kind of fungal nail condition from just not treating her nails properly, I’d be able to buy an apartment in Manhattan. Sports is tough on the feet: fact. Gives me a bit of faith every time someone comes in and says they’re about to start playing Aussie football or netball or whatever, and they want orthotics to make sure their feet are fine.

So that’s life here at the moment. Handing out all kinds of custom orthotics, and sending them onto a podiatry clinic somewhere when it’s too bad. Some friends from work want me to join a local Aussie football league, which I’m still not sure about. But I know I‘m getting myself some arch supports before I go anywhere near that sport.


I’m Still Just the Net Guy

cricket netsHey family,

Australia suits me, I think. It’s been a big change, going from living with all of you in the English countryside to being by myself right in the heart of the city, but I think I’m starting to enjoy it. Things are open later, there’s always sushi when you want it (that’s like, rice with stuff inside, wrapped in seaweed…it’s really hard to explain) and I’m discovering a lot of stuff as I go.

Work is pretty cool as well, though being a ‘pom’ in a sport environment leads to a lot of ribbing. Like, people just can’t shut up about cricket, even though I don’t care and never will. If the indoor cricket nets need replacing they always send me to do it because…I don’t know. Something about the Ashes and having to make up for it. I’m REALLY hoping we win next time they roll around, because I want to rub it in their faces. Maybe hand my boss the cricket nets and tell him to do it himself.

Actually, don’t get me wrong; they’re really good people. Aside from the cricket thing,w e get on really well. I even got invited to the pub last night, and it’s pretty much the same as an English pub, except without all the good food. People mostly do the same things, though. Like, they still all make that one sound when someone breaks a glass. I had been wondering, so that’s good to know.

Otherwise, it’s just a lot of work at the moment, inflating various sports balls and setting up nets. If I’m good, they’ll let me set up the AFL nets for the big pro games. Apparently they think that’ll be some big honour for me, but I’ve seen at least one game, and I know they don’t even HAVE nets. So…that’s suspicious. Maybe it’s a prank.


Explosive report on residential subdivisions

Melbourne conveyancerRising land prices are driving an increase in subdivision of properties, with conveyancing companies reporting that they are working through weekends in order to keep up with demand.

Subdivision is a simple process when organised through a conveyancer in Melbourne, according to resident Steve Peterson, who sold off his backyard.

“We had this big backyard that we weren’t using, so we split the property into two titles with the help of a conveyancer, and sold it off to a property developer,” he said.

“They’re building a small house out the back, and with the money we were able to pay off our loans and take a holiday.”

The previous year has seen a record surge in land value, with many Melbourne suburbs enjoying growth of over ten percent on the previous year. Following unbroken upwards trends since recordkeeping began, many Australians are unable to afford the large properties enjoyed by previous generations.

In turn, homeowners with large backyards are taking advantage of the strong property market by selling their backyards to property developers.

This is a particularly appealing option to those with grown-up children, who no longer require the expanse of a large backyard.

Young families are among those most likely to purchase a house on a subdivided property.

Single parent Katrina Lewis, who has three children under five years old, is one such new owner of a unit of a subdivided block of land.

“I never thought I would be able to afford a house, but I think the places I was looking at were just too big,” she said.

“We don’t have much of a yard, we just have a small courtyard, which is not ideal but at least I am finally out of the rent cycle. It’s a modest place, but I am so glad it’s mine.”

The trend towards subdivision is not unique to Melbourne, property conveyancing professionals operate to subdivide properties in other cities with high land costs.

Scaffolding that Practically Builds Itself

aluminium scaffoldingAnyone remember that movie, Ledge of the Moro? I honestly don’t remember much about it…something about people cliff-diving while eating terrible off-brand chocolate. Also, aliens. Creepy CG aliens that didn’t move like normal living creatures, which I guess was a deliberate design choice to make them seem even more unsettling. Hard to describe, but they were all shifty and warpy, like they were characters in an online game with loads of lag.

That was how I felt going into work today. Jim brought along that new set of mobile aluminium scaffolding that he’s been raving about for so long, he empties it out of the box and it just…sets itself up. It landed in a huge pile, all loose and higgledy-piggledy. Just a pile of metal. Then it starts to hum and sets itself up, this massive bit of scaffolding assembling bit by bit until it’s absolutely huge. Honestly? Really unsettling to watch. Not sure why this was necessary either, because the guys and I don’t usually have any problems setting up the scaffolding. It’s not exactly the hardest puzzle in the world once you’ve done it a few times, and then you get the satisfaction of knowing you’ve handled every piece of the thing you’ll be walking on.

Unfortunately, the boss was totally fine with the weird moving metal thing, and we had to spend most of the day on top of it. Can’t say I was too happy about climbing that thing, and even less about spending time up there, but it at least felt okay. Definitely didn’t feel like a flimsy thing that just assembled itself but…still makes me uneasy. I like my custom ladders to be just that: custom, set up by me. I don’t even care if Lawrence Corp brings out a construction bot that does our job for us, aluminium platform setting up and all…it just makes me nervous.


Be your best self, or Batman, always be Batman