Sunday, 31 May 2009

And On The Seventh Day He Rested... And Barbequed Some Lamb...

My landlord is a wonder of 'I figure this will work' ingenuity.

Since I've moved in to my current abode he has landscaped the entire garden, replaced the flyscreens on all of the windows, built a greenhouse and erected* a chicken coop to keep foxes out and chikkinz in.

This marvel of industry often result in me not having anywhere to put my rubbish or recycling for the week as his resourcefulness stretches to seeing wheelie bins as the perfect way to move and store mulch but it's hard to be fussed when he's building a little patio type dais around the base of a tree or making a cactus garden part of which is mounted on top of artfully arranged bits of old furniture.

The greenhouse did come as a bit of a surprise.
It wasn't there when I left for work that morning, when I returned in the evening he had built a framework around his favourite flowerbed and nailed opaque plastic sheeting over it in an attempt to keep his plants alive through the winter.
That day he had also thoughtfully installed a sensor light near the staircase for those winter evenings where you get home after dark and want to get up to your home and put on the heater without stubbing your toes or accidentally Home Alone-ing down the stairs in a humorous fashion.

Of course when you walk through the gate into a darkened yard and a blinding light suddenly hits you in the face illuminating a frosty quarantine tent full of ominous shadows and shapes it can cause you to stumble into a cactus, twist your ankle on an ornamental stone arrangement and drop your bag in a newly mulched and fertilised garden bed... but that's a small price to pay for having free vegetables routinely abandoned at your door because they can't possibly eat all of them all themselves.

*Hurr hurr

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Can I Get Them With Metal Points?

A handful of weeks ago I went on a medical appointment extravaganza like a hypochondriac at Christmas.

The physio appointment went well; the doctor gave me my flu jab, took my blood pressure (110/80 I think which I'm told is good) and sent me off to have my blood harvested and tested to see where my cholesterol is at these days*; but the dentist...

Internets, it looks like I'm getting braces.

This is a strange thing to say as a 26 year old grown up person.
Obviously I'm not hugely dentally deformed or this would have happened years ago, according to the dentist it is just that some of my lower teeth rest against my upper teeth in a way that will result in unnecessary wear.

I can imagine getting hooked up with the framework and I can imagine the gentle heartbreak of no popcorn for however long it takes, I can even imagine the hysterical laughter at the point when the orthodontist uses the funny thingies to hook your lips out of the way to photograph your teeth in their current incarnation thanks to having gone along when my sister was having her braces put on... and being the person who was laughing at her...
She's been waiting for this for years apparently, she and her now perfect teeth have been enjoying this idea so much she's been unable to put them away since she heard.

I haven't had the orthodontist appointment yet so I have no idea what exactly it is they're planning to alter or where all my teeth are supposed to end up.

All I know is the whole time I have them I will be pretending to be Jaws out of James Bond and will probably be enjoying it a hell of a lot more than I should do.
A lot more than I would have ten years ago certainly.

Chomp Chomp Chomp!

*I've never had a cholesterol problem but my family has a history of heart disease so I'm starting the monitoring process early because I'm not going to take that kind of insubordination from within my own body, no sir.

Monday, 18 May 2009

In Anticipation Of Silence

The annoying family nextdoor is moving out.

Turns out all the exciting and exuberant late night ball games they've been playing against the 25 year old wooden fence have completely wrecked it and the landlord is less than impressed.

I knew that already of course.

Not the bit about the landlord, the bit about the fence.

We looked after a friend's dog a little while ago and whilst our goofy-assed labrador has no interest in going anywhere without us*, temporary extra pooch is sly and curious and would have investigated the ever growing gaps in the fence. So I spent about three hours before it was dropped off levering two-thirds of the rusty antique nails out of the boards and replacing them with shiny new nails that actually secured them to the framework.
I was quite proud of myself really and probably kept the damn thing from completely disintegrating.

Anyway when the landlord went around for the rental inspection and found a busted fence was the very least of what had happened to the property in the six months since the last inspection they gave the family notice to evict.

But the notice was for 120 days.

That was at least two months ago so we've still got at least another couple of months unless they find somewhere else sooner.
But I don't think they will.
Because the mother works a lot and also uses phrases like 'oh I'll talk to them' or 'I'll see if they'll stop' when we've asked if maybe the kids could not go tearing through our front yard kicking plants and I'm guessing this isn't the first time this has happened.
The kids don't seem to care they're ruining their mother's rental record, they're too busy feeling rebellious and hard done by.

So in a couple of months things should be a lot quieter on our street.
But for the last couple of months I'm not going to be leaving anything important outside and I'll be keeping an eye out because the kids seem to be under the impression that somebody ratted them out to the six-month inspection police** and that they will have their revenge.
Sadly enough they're not bright enough to know that if they trash something the night before they leave the police would still be able to get their secret identities from the real estate agent.
Now if only the people who live around the corner would stop letting off fireworks on total fire ban days we'd be set.

*Or doing anything that doesn't involve collapsing against us, coating us with hair and wagging her tail so hard she verges on dislocating her spine...
**Uh durrrrrrrrr...

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Yea Though I Walk Through The Valley Of The Shadow Of Snot

It begins again.

Sniffle season.

Pandemics aside, during winter my workplace becomes a seething mass of germs and the inhabitants are divided into two camps: the martyrs and the prophets.

The martyrs could be at death's door and yet they will still drag themselves wheezing and dripping to their workstations where they stare blankly at their assignments and overdose on sugary fake hot lemon drinks.
If you suggest that maybe they should be at home in bed or possibly calling a priest for a dry run of their last rites, they wave a pendulous tissue and rasp something about people depending on them and the pain not being that bad.

The prophets are of the fire and brimstone variety with blazing eyes and saliva flecking from their lips as they roar and pontificate that maybe if people stayed home when they were effing sick we wouldn't all effing get it and it wouldn't keep going around and effing around all effing season.
Whilst the martyrs are in nearly every day getting almost nothing done in their feverish haze, the prophets follow an almost uncanny week-on, week-off schedule as they power through their uninfected days and then retire to convalesce when the miasma overtakes them.

The output of the two camps is roughly equal, the suffering is relative.

Personally, I take strategic sick days when my body so demands and double my intake of garlic for the duration of the conflict which has the following three benefits:
  1. Garlic - it's effing delicious.
  2. It is said to boost your immune system and even if some of the effect is psychosomatic it is a tasty placebo.
  3. Everyone mysteriously seems to maintain a steady distance. I like to call it 'the exclusion zone'.
For any of the martyrs too blocked up to sense my garlic barrier I have my second line of defence, namely Meshuggah, Heaven Shall Burn and Devin Townsend.
Martyrs don't dig the metal.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Are You Ready To Contemplate The Possibility Of Having The Capacity To Rock!?

Oh God, Internets! I don't know what to do!
In the interest of keeping my promises to both you and myself about not being such a lazy [expletive deleted] this year I got myself all geared up to move onto a second New Year's Resolution (namely Take Up The Guitar) after having a good three months to get over the shock of having started one of the others (Take Italian Lessons).

So I did what you usually do when you're about to buy or do something in these modern times.
I went to the internets.
It was worse than the WebMD incident!

I found websites telling me that it's best to learn the basics on an acoustic guitar.
I found websites telling me that electric guitar is easier to pick up and you might as well start there if you're intending to rock out later on.
I found websites talking about how to choose your guitar and not get ripped off by the music shop duders.
I found myself looking at the prices of amps and trying to tell the difference between a Telecaster and a Stratocaster.

I can't even reliably identify the order of strings on the damn guitar yet!
What am I doing comparing amps!
I have no idea what I'm doing!

Some of the websites also had sections on drums and I found myself getting wistful about the possibility of dragging a kit up into my flat and then finding out that I have insufficient timing and very cranky neighbours :-b

I know I could just go into a couple of stores and pepper them with questions until I find something that looks about right but my buying behaviour comes in two flavours: impulsive and excruciatingly drawn out.

I don't want to just buy an instrument just because I want to get started and then have to buy a new one shortly after when I figure out that it isn't what I'm looking for.
But I also don't want to get so turned around by the sheer amount of options out there that I never manage to buy anything at all.

I'm probably going to have to ask for help.

There's no trouble finding it. Almost every one of my friends is going out with a dude who owns at least three guitars, some of which have been given names*.
It might be a bit weird going guitar shopping with one of my mates' bed-buddies but they're all nice fellas with the parts of their brains that relate to guitars properly wired and pointed due 'axe' so it's the logical choice.

And then after that I just have to work out how to play the dang thing or gear myself up to take lessons without having flashbacks to my school music lessons.

Oh God, the recorders all tasted of disinfectant...

*The guitars, not the boyfriends. The boyfriends already have names.