DIY Project Excitement

I can’t disclose why I’m confined to my home for the next six weeks, but unfortunately I am. I’m also out of a job for the next six weeks, and so I have nothing but free time for over a month. Now to a lot of people this may sound like heaven, but to me, this is my personal nightmare. There’s nothing I dislike more than lounging about doing nothing. It’s a waste of my time and talent.

So to combat the feeling that I’m lazy and good for nothing, which will inevitably wash through me by the halfway mark, I’ve decided to take up a new hobby. I’m going to start doing home DIY projects and build things to go around the house. Today is the last day I’m allowed to leave the house, so I’m going to the Hampton hardware store to buy as many tools and supplies as possible. I’m not really sure what I’m going to buy, I’m hoping that I’ll get inspired once I’m there.

I’m lucky enough to have plenty of disposable income, and I understand the importance of investing in my happiness so I’m more than willing to splurge at the hardware store today. This one shopping trip is going to set me up for the next six weeks, and so it’s got to be a big one. I think I’m going to buy some electrical supplies. Near Cheltenham, where I live, there aren’t anywhere near enough decorative fairy lights, so maybe I’ll make my own and start a trend among the other residents. It’ll be like making a statement that this is the new cool, and that everyone should follow. I’ve been known to have that effect on people before. 

I’m not looking forward to being stuck in the house for the next six weeks, but I am looking forward to seeing how many DIY projects I get under my belt. My house is going to be decorated from wall to wall by the end of all this.

Student Career Advice

There’s nothing more stressful to me than thinking about my future. I’m in year ten at the moment, and I’m struggling really hard to choose VCE subjects because I don’t know what I want to do with my life. I just feel like I’ve spent the last ten years of my life asking teachers whether or not I can go to the bathroom, and all of a sudden I’m expected to make decisions that define the rest of my life. I’m really quite down and stressed about it.

I spoke to my parents about it and they’ve suggested that I get some student career path advice. Melbourne has so many opportunities for tertiary education or TAFE, so they understand why I’m anxious about making a decision and think talking about it with a professional would help. 

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it these past few months and I’m not even that much closer to making a decision. I know that deep down I would love to be an artist full time and move to the countryside and paint scenery pieces, but I also know that my parents wouldn’t consider that a proper career path and so it’s out of the question. I know that I definitely want to do VCE Art at school though, so at least I can enjoy one subject over the next two years. 

My parents have promised me that the decisions I make now won’t determine my whole life. It really does feel that way, but they’ve told me in the future I can always seek out some career change advice. Melbourne is a busy city, so they promised me that something out there would suit my skills and interests. I hope they’re right because I’m still quite overwhelmed.

I’m just going to try and enjoy the next two years of school without thinking too much about my future. I know that whatever happens happens, I just hope that what happens is something that I enjoy.

Windows Extravaganza

I can’t believe how successful our concept album Fixing Cars was! People really loved the down-to-earth depiction of a working-class mechanic, toiling through the Australian summer to make enough money to feed his family. It was even better than Buying and Selling. Naturally, we started on album number four straight away. At first, we thought that window tinting was the next big thing, but we were really struggling for inspiration with it. All we got was one good song from our recording sessions, which we released as a single, The Window is Dark Now.

Turns out people loved it. That made us review. Windows are popular, but tinting just didn’t feel right. Then I was struck by inspiration. What if we just made an album about windows in general? We could write songs like Replacement for Sash Windows and I Like My Coffee How I Like My Windows. I can feel it in my bones. This is the album that launches us to global stardom. The Cockroaches? Who are they? Music theory classes will revolve around the band Concept Artists. We’ll finally go diamond.

I’m loving the beat on Timber Window Replacement Near Melbourne, along with its killer guitar riff. Not to mention It’s Not Just A Computer, which is a genuine gem of a track. Forty-five minutes of pure bliss, and that’s just the intro. I’m thinking we’ll name this album Windows Extravaganza, so that people know exactly what they’re getting from the start. By the time you’re into the first of fifty awesome tracks, you’ll be swept along for the ride.

Tomorrow we’ll be playing our longest concert yet. We’ll be performing Buying and Selling, There Are Lots of Blocked Drains in Melbourne and Fixing Cars back to back to back. Only our most dedicated fans are going to be there, and they’ll know all the lyrics. I can’t wait to hear the roar of the crowd as we sing 5000 Wrenches in the Wind together. Things couldn’t be going better.

Therapeutic Driving

I love driving. I know a lot of people find driving stressful and I understand why, but for me the act of driving is the most therapeutic and spiritual experience in the world. Driving to me is like meditation; it’s how I reflect, it’s how I remove myself from situations that cause me anxiety and how I take myself to places that make me happy.

Until two days ago, I had never had a bad experience driving. 

I was driving through Midvale, listening to music and thinking about my day, when all of a sudden my car made a noise and broke down. I was shocked, but I wasn’t panicked thanks to all the meditation I had done just seconds prior. The first thing I did was call a mechanic shop. Midvale has quite a few of them, luckily, so I didn’t have to wait too long for one of them to send someone out. I got myself a hot chocolate whilst I was waiting, still in my post meditation euphoria. 

When the mechanic arrived, he tried to explain what was wrong with the car and what needed to be done to repair it, but I don’t really know much about cars at all. I don’t really care about cars, I just like driving. He told me that I needed an auto suspension repair. I obliged because I wanted to be back in my car driving with my music on and loving life, and that seemed like the only option I had. 

Thankfully for me, the process didn’t take a crazy amount of time and I was back on the road yesterday. I had to go on an extra long drive to combat the stress I was feeling from the day before, but it worked and I feel a lot better. I guess it was always a matter of time until something went wrong, seeing as I drive, sometimes for hours a day. If I can go another five years without another mishap, I’ll be one very happy and relaxed person. 

Turn On The Heater

I feel like a lot of young adults still living at home would relate to what I’m about to say: it gets to a point in life where dealing with your parents’ weird quirks just gets to be too much. I first noticed this feeling when I turned twenty and my parents would do little things that would really grind my gears. These were things that they had always done, but as I was growing more independent and cultivating my own opinions, I realised how much these quirks annoyed me.

The quirk that annoyed me the most was my parents’ weird obsession with not having the heater on. If it’s five degrees outside, I seriously do not understand what the issue is with turning on the central heating. Sydney can be a cold place but that doesn’t mean we have to be cold ourselves! I put up with this for three more years before I simply couldn’t take it anymore and moved out. It wasn’t a reflection of my relationship with my parents, it was just that I had formulated my own opinions and needs and they didn’t align with the practices put in place in my home. 

When I moved out with housemates, the first thing I did was check that our views aligned regarding what an appropriate temperature to turn the heater on was. This was very important to me, seeing as it was one of the reasons I moved out of my very comfortable and superior childhood home in the first place. Thankfully, the apartment we moved into had central ducted gas heating. Sydney locals of my age group apparently don’t have any issues turning the heater on like my parents do, so it was an absolute blessing to have the heating blasting all winter and have no one tell me to turn it off. 

Moving out was a fantastic decision because I was ready to do so. I visit my parents every week and the house is always cold, but it will always feel like home.

Plumbing Millionaire

Closeup Of Plumber Fixing Pipe With Wrench; Shutterstock ID 231389278; Customer_ID: TI HALTER001

“Who can perform the best boundary trap replacement? Who’s the most talented plumber this side of the Yarra? Let’s find out, tonight on Who Wants to Be A Plumbing Millionaire!”

It was three years ago, when I’d just begun my apprenticeship. Steph Jennings, arrogant, overconfident, and criminally naive when it came to the ways of plumbing. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into.

“Let’s meet our contestants,” said the host, walking around the stage that I stood on with two men. One was a traditional-looking plumber and the other seemed more like he’d walked into the studio after riding with a bikie gang.

“First, we have Charles Buckwheat, the best plumber when it comes to blocked drains around Thornbury!”

Mr Buckwheat showed off his leather jacket with spikes on it and gave the audience an exaggerated wink. The host moved on to the standard looking plumber, named Mario.

Finally the host introduced me, the show’s theme music played and we waited for an ad break to finish.

“And we’re back! Let’s get started with the competition, shall we?” said the host. “Our first question goes to Steph. Are you ready, Steph?”

“Sure am, Mickey!” I said.

“My name’s not Mickey, but we’ll move on anyway. For one-thousand dollars, tell us how you would begin the process of boundary trap replacement for Melbourne homes.”

One thousand dollars? My heart caught in my throat. I couldn’t answer this for a thousand dollars. I couldn’t answer it for a million dollars. I’d never even heard of boundary trap replacement! What was that?

I thought, oh I thought, that I could come onto this competition and wing it with only one week of formal training. How hard could plumbing be? I was so wrong.

“Well, first I would take the boundary trap thingy out of the place, and then I would get another one and put that in where it used to be. And then I’d make it work by doing all the plumbing things.”

The host was shocked. “That’s absolutely correct!” he said. “Congratulations, Steph, you’re off to a great start!”

Never-Ending Story

The problem with buying property is that it’s never done. That’s a little-known piece of information, and you can thank me later if you weren’t already aware of it. It’ll help when you inevitably find yourself questioning life as you slowly find yourself unsatisfied with your status quo as a homeowner. 

I’m not just talking about the process of buying an individual house, which in itself feels never-ending – from observing the market, organising finance and interpreting a Section 32 through to conveyancing and settlement, it’s a stretch to say the least. Nor am I referring to the lengthy period of repayments, which people seem to forget is a part of the buying the buying process that generally goes on for decades. 

I’m actually referring to the fact that, once all of that is done and dusted, you’re still not done. Why? Because by then, you’re ready to sell up and buy another property. You’ve spent the past years coming to terms with the fact that your ‘perfect’ house is not so perfect – that, or it was clearly imperfect to begin with – and now it’s time to level up, whether that means upsizing, downsizing, moving two streets away so you’re further from the main road, or adding room for a pony. 

You’re in a position to conceive of this, having dodged the bullet of paying off someone else’s mortgage for the past however many years, and you’ve also learnt from your previous buying mistakes. That means you’re obliged, on some level, to go through with it. It’s time to once again pick up the dance of constantly scanning the real estate market, obsessively checking your finances and organising conveyancing solicitors. ‘Mentone townhouses’ suddenly becomes a go-to predictive text term in your phone. Before you know it, you’re officially back in the game.

You see, it’s always possible to do better in this pursuit, and most people who’ve bought property find it difficult to settle for second best when there’s another option. That’s fair, I suppose – life is dynamic, and no one wants to be  unnecessarily stuck in one place forever.

Powering with the Sun

Who’d have thought that selling powdered broccoli would be such an energy intensive business? It was only supposed to be a small side-hustle, and I could not have foreseen how quickly it was going to take off. Still, here I am, saddled with not only three organic broccoli farms in Tasmania but also a large manufacturing plant in the suburbs of Melbourne. Granted, we’re leasing most of it to other businesses – the chocolate team, the probiotic jam crew and a couple of others.

This is good, I suppose, because it means I can keep producing the broccoli powder like I wanted to. On the other hand, I’m now responsible for powering this big ‘ol factory, which is completely outside my range of expertise. My guides tell me I need to get the place onto solar, but it’s a massive job and I don’t rightly know where to start. Between processing invoices from the broccoli growers and recording the podcast, I’ve barely got time to think about it.

Bernard says I should just bite the bullet and go the 100kW route. How much power does a 100kW solar system produce? It seems like it would be too big for our needs, but then I guess there’s always selling the power back to the grid, or starting a solar farm or whatever. That’s a thing, right? I know virtually nothing about this. This is why I never officially signed up to run a factory, but I guess it’s happening now I have to roll with it.

When it comes to commercial solar installations, Melbourne probably isn’t a bad place to be positioned relative to the rest of the country – not so much on a geographic level, but at least in terms of customers getting behind it and paying a bit more for a product with a lower carbon footprint. Putting the price of the product up to accommodate the transition to solar seems a tiny bit counter-intuitive, given that solar is supposed to reduce operating costs, but the fact is that it’s a big upfront investment.

 

Melbourne’s Newest Homeowner

Ten years ago I backpacked across Australia and fell in love with the country. I was born and raised in Italia, but have been looking to move to Australia ever since I travelled there. I’ve always been a free spirited person, which in my mind means I can’t stay in one place my whole life. Italia was the place of my child and young adulthood, but the rest of my life needs to begin. Moving to Australia is the start of my next adventure. 

When I was travelling Australia, Melbourne stood out to me as a place I would love to live. The cafes, restaurants and culture reminded me of Italia, so it had a nice comforting sense of home about it, whilst being different enough that I knew I was out of my comfort zone. Six months ago I made the arrangements to move to Australia on a working visa, and I will be living in Australia for the next five years. I am in the process of looking for a house now that my visa has been granted, and I am liaising with someone who does conveyancing. St Kilda is where I’m looking to buy, because from memory it’s an extremely vibrant suburb and is close enough to the city that I can walk the laneways on my days off. I also like being near the beach, and the theme park seems like it would be fun too!

As soon as I’ve got my house sorted, I am ready to start my new life. I’ve already got a job lined up as I work for an international company and so I’ve been transferred to the Melbourne office. It’s all working out perfectly, really. I just have to finalise a few things with my conveyancing solicitors and I’ll be ready to start my new life. When I’m all settled in, I’ll invite my family and friends to come and stay with me. I don’t think I’ll be moving back to Italia for a long time, so I’m sure they’d like to see where my life has taken me. I’m so excited.

Bright’s Alright

What’s people’s take on bright colours in offices? Personally, I’m in favour of it, but I understand that some people struggle with it and believe that neutrals are the only proper choice. The receptionist at my office made a faux-retching action at me this morning when I acknowledged the new fushia paint job and coordinated turquoise upholstery in the lobby, and I’m just wondering if her response is closer to the norm than mine.

I guess it depends on the context. A pink wall would have very different effects in, say, a corporate law firm’s offices compared to those of a fashion magazine. That said, I think it could work in either context, provided the design was of sufficient quality and sensitivity to the purpose. Here in Melbourne, office space design is something that’s taken seriously across many fields, and you won’t be thought any less serious for having stylised aesthetic elements incorporated into your work environment.

Presumably, there are different ways in which people respond to colour. Generally speaking, people find large expanses of bright colour somewhere between invigorating and somewhat full-on, but perhaps some people lean more to one or the other side of that, or even have a different response altogether. If done well, I find that it puts a light pep in my step, while perhaps Kirsty at reception finds it distracting or overwhelming in some way.

When it comes to office space  fitouts, Melbourne designers do tend to take the ball and run with it, often to extremes. I’m in favour of that, and there seem to be plenty of others like me – enough that we tend to forget about the Kirstys of the world and expect them to tailor their sensory experience to meet ours. That’s why I’m interested to know if there’s a dominant inclination around this. I suspect there is, and that it’s the one I identify with, as that would explain a lot.