Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Rude Awakening

It's not unusual to be woken by the garbage truck on rubbish morning. We live on a laneway shared with apartments and commercial properties including cafes, a nursery, gift and antique shops, so there's lots of bins and bottles and noise, but this week, the garbage man outdid himself.

It was 6.06am (I looked at my phone).  There was plenty of what I suspected was unnecessary revving before the truck's brakes were jammed on, and it was brutally slammed from drive to reverse, beeping beginning. It stopped, the cabin door was slammed, and then there was a lot of banging and crashing before an extended moment of eerie silence, broken by the very angry yell of the worker;

You people can GET FUCKED!!


I lay there feeling nervous and guilty.

Geoff, did you hear that? I ventured, assuming he was also awake.
I certainly did.
Did you put the bins around the right way, handles facing out from the curb?
I did.
Gee - that guy is very cross.
It'll be the commercial bins, he assured me.

Relaying the story, someone asked if I'd called the Council to complain. I most certainly had NOT. That guy has some serious anger management issues, and a telling off by his employer isn't going to help.

I just hope he's feeling better next week.

Friday, 6 July 2018

The Moroccan Bath

The girls and I have come up to Dubai for a few days to escape the Melbourne winter. It's in the 40s so we've thawed out - quickly.

The girls were having a mani-pedi yesterday and as my nails were all fine, I decided to book in for a 45-minute Moroccan Bath at the same salon. I'd had one in Jordan a few years ago and it was quite lovely.

On arrival, I was ushered into a curtained change room, handed a disposable G-string and instructed to change. 
Is there a robe? I enquired. Looking about, spotting only the berqa and bra of another client.
No. No robe.

Hugging my possessions for modesty, I was shown a locker where I was obliged to deposit the lot - including our shopping from the day at the mall. There was a small argument between the attending ladies as to whether 'madame' was allowed to use a second locker. I wasn't, so jammed everything in one with a purposeful shove.

Now exposed, I was taken from the air-conditioned comfort of the lounge and locker area into a very warm, fully tiled 'wet room', decorated like a Roman bathhouse, where other clients and therapists were splashing water about for various beautifying purposes. Fatima, the executor of my treatment, indicated that I should sit on the marble-like stool and plaited my hair, trying to make it stay up without an accessory - that wasn't working - so she gave up and sloshed water all over me. I was then soaped, rinsed and pushed into a small steam room.

Now if I thought the wet-room was hot, this was totally redefining. Visibility was about 60cm due to the dense mist. I could make out one other occupant, also resplendent in a disposable G-string, who would occasionally throw water on herself from some unseen urn. 
Is that water cold? I asked hopefully, and seriously concerned about expiring. I usually like a steam room but this was a level of heat and humidity beyond anything I'd experienced before.
No, it's all hot, she said.
It's so hot in here, I commented, trying to sound casual and not too panicky.
I think you're sitting where the steam comes out, she offered. Maybe sit over this side.

She was right. I moved and although I felt like I'd stopped cooking, it was still excruciatingly hot and claustrophobic. I asked how long we had to stay in there and she said just as long as you like.

I wasn't liking, so popped out in less than 10 minutes. Fatima wasn't impressed. She asked if I wanted to go back in for more. I declined, so we moved on to the scrub. I lay down on a plastic covered yoga mat on a bench.

I'd had to buy a mitt from the salon for the scrub. It looked innocent enough but it may as well have been a pot scrubber. Laid out like a slab of meat, I was scrubbed so hard I expected to emerge tattoo-less and two kilos lighter as the exfoliated skin formed worms and rolled off along with my excessive sweat. At times, I had to count in my head to distract myself from the searing pain. On and on it went with no spot spared, arms and legs were lifted and bent to ensure full coverage was attained. I was rolled from back to side, side to side, and side to front, skin left tingling from the relief of being left alone.

Finally, it was over.

I was asked to sit on another stool and Fatima said she'd wash my hair in a way that suggested this was a bonus. She wandered off and came back with two large, unlabelled pump packs; one resembling apricot jam, the other custard. The 'jam' lathered and smelled like cheap dish washing liquid. I was instructed to tip my head forward over the urn for the rinse. Now I've never been water boarded and I don't want to make light of that heinous practise, but as Fatima held my nose and scooped continuous bucket-loads of water that streamed over my mouth, I had a small insight into what it might be like. I tried to make a veranda over my mouth with my hand so I could get some air intake.

Time for the 'custard'. She left it in like some exotic hair treatment while she soaped me down again with a product I suspected is also used in the shopping centre toilets to wash your hands. 

Rinsed off for a final time, Fatima yanked off the paper G-string and plonked a large towel in a plastic bag and a smaller towel for my hair on the bench.

I shakily made my way back to the 'lounge' area and drank three glasses of water. Fatima soaked two cotton pads with some kind of lotion and popped them on my eyes as I leant back in the recliner, recovering from the ordeal. With eyes shut, she opened my hand and dropped something into it. I wasn't sure what it was - it felt like the cardamon seed mix you sometimes get at Indian restaurants after a meal - I wondered if I should eat whatever it was? I slipped off an eye patch and saw it was my necklace that I'd popped in a shoe for safe keeping. While my eyes had been shut, my belongings had been piled on the side table next to me. 

Rousing from my recovery and removing the cotton pads, I noticed other clients, clearly regulars, with small plastic baskets filled with luxury products they'd brought along. No jam and custard for them!

My skin felt like I'd been whipped with stinging nettles and the rash confirmed it.

Yes that shine is because it's been polished to within an inch of existence. 

Finally, I made my way, dazed, back into the room where the girls were still having their nails attended to. The laughed and said I looked like a drowned rat. I had been offered a hair dryer but I required no more heat that day. 

As soon as I could, I got back to the apartment and into the shower to condition my hair that felt and looked like raffia from the Reject Shop. The water stung - like I had sunburn - and when we went out that night, the heat from the seat in the taxi had the same effect.

So that was yesterday and today, the rash has receded and my skin does feel amazingly soft and super-smooth - but not sure I'd be rushing back.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

My life changing appliance

A stick vac.

Yep. I'm addicted.

In fact, Elle said if she was ever asked about my hobbies, vacuuming would top the list.

And Sass (not to be outdone) said if she had to nominate her parents' occupations, then Geoff is a builder, and I'm a vacuumer.

They all get very annoyed with me, but I like to have some vague feeling of order about the house and just because they're sleeping, watching TV or on the phone - I take no heed - and vacuum on!

Geoff bought it at great expense, and I must confess, to begin with, I was skeptical - now I can't leave the damned thing alone. It's just so handy!!

So, when the girls were cleaning Elle's car, and she ran over it - twice - I completely lost it at her. I'd probably have been calmer if it'd been the cat. God knows what the neighbours thought, but I dredged up my angriest of angry mother voices and let fly.

Geoff taped its poor broken head, but it does now tend to cut out fairly regularly. But like a mother with an empty pram, I keep moving it around until it eventually kicks back into gear.

Unusually, Elle had cause to use the stick vac recently, and I was speechless when she dared complain that the cutting in and out business was really annoying....

Friday, 8 June 2018


So easy to acquire - so hard to offload!

The renovation is finally underway, and the first task is to clear out the excess of 'stuff' (I'm using the term generously!) that's accumulated the last couple of decades.

It's highlighted how easy it is to buy - click a button, pop your details in and voila! Disposing? Not so simple.

I have stuff on eBay and Gumtree. I even Googled the legality of listing on both (you can). We have art and furniture and collectables and light fittings and god knows what else to get rid of. I didn't realise it was possible, but I actually maxed out with the value of what I was selling on eBay in a single month - so I started listing more crap on Geoff's account! We've become quite good at it - the app is the way to go.

Sass had a stall out the front last weekend. The mandarins and oranges from the trees in the garden, which we also had excess of, were quick to sell out. She managed to move a bit of junk, but geez, there's loads more.

Overwhelmed, I jumped online and booked a Camberwell market stall. We've culled CDs, DVDs, (do we really need any of either??), books, photo frames, video games, prints and goodness knows what else. Lucky it's a few weeks away as it'll give us time to gather even more.

Things have been priced to sell, and still, buyers want to screw you down. I listed a mahogany filing cabinet for $200 and got $160.
Do you know how much we paid for that? Geoff asks, affronted, every time I get excited that something else has sold. I tell him I don't want to know. But he often does. Oh well.

I'm even agreed to drop a chair to Werribee to a buyer this long weekend - just to get rid of it.

Everything that's staying is being stacked into the garage, and I'm sure at some stage, we'll be living in there too!

How long do you think this will take? I asked Geoff, the builder on this project.
I reckon Christmas, he replied. It didn't escape my attention that he didn't specify which one.

Where are we putting the fish tank? Geoff asked.
eBay? suggested Elle quietly - not really joking.

And here it is... on a bench in the garage.

Sunday, 27 May 2018

The Aldi Ski Sale

So Proof-Reader-Penny and I are dragging our families to the north of the northern hemisphere at the end of the year. Yep – the middle of their winter, with 4 hours of daylight and temperatures that could be as low as minus 30.

Such an adventure requires a top-up of the thermals and snow gear and what better time to do that than the famous Aldi ski sale?

Being virgins to such an event, our strategy was to start queueing a bit before 7.30am. Aldi opens at 8.30 and we figured we should get in a hair before those who thought lining up an hour before would be a good idea.

Penny got there before me and sent a text: she was at the front and there was no-one else there.

By the time the doors opened, it was packed.

As the roller doors were being raised, I started my 'snatch and grab' warm up routine. Sass told me to cut it out - no one was laughing. Not true. I was!

There'd already been words between an older, thin woman who'd apparently come early, gone away, come back and slotted back in behind us in the queue. A younger, larger women (I make this observation only because there's no way they'd be buying the same sized stuff) was not happy with this and let her know it. They bickered on for the next 15 minutes - so ridiculous.

In we went and it was surreal - people ran! They grabbed. They tried to sneak each other's stuff and that drew more words. It was quite the experience.

Stupidly, having gotten what we needed and loaded it into the car, I went back to do the grocery shopping. There were people trying on pants in front of the canned tomatoes, people leaning on the cleaning products trying on boots - the mayhem reigned on.

Back there today, there was still quite a bit of gear left - and not a sausage fighting for it.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Parking - The Podcast


I honestly think I was a better parker before I got a reversing camera.

I read an article on self-parking cars once, that concluded the best course of action was, in fact, to learn to park.

When I drove a van, that I think only had rear sensors, I was an excellent parker, but now I often seem to make a meal of it.

And as if my assessment wasn't enough, one of the chicks I used to row with was dropping her daughter at Sass's school to coach netball and had this generalisation to share about the mothers:

They're in their big black four-wheel drives, with all their cameras and beepy things - and none of them can park for shit.

Now, I'm sure that's not everyone - but it is me!!

Rude Awakening

It's not unusual to be woken by the garbage truck on rubbish morning. We live on a laneway shared with apartments and commercial propert...