RSS

Category Archives: not your earth logic

My veggie garden is Cursed … even when I just think about it!

Oddly, it seems that I have never blogged about my very own personal Curse.

Veggie gardens.

No, it’s not the kind of “sucks all my time, darn weeds, get off my lawn” kind of curse. It’s the honest-to-goodness, do-it-and-badness-comes, cost-us-over-quarter-of-a-million-bucks-so-far, make-sure-you-capitalised-it kind of Curse.

Veggie Abundance

It all started in 1996. Freshly engaged, planning a wedding, I had a brief moment of domestic excitement and planted a veggie garden in the garden beds at our old home. A couple of months later, flushed with the money that was going to buy our honeymoon, we were driving down the next street and there was a house open for inspection, and suddenly we were moving into our own TOGETHER home a month later and if the veggies grew we weren’t around to see them.

But that was OK. A couple of years later, having settled into our new home, we insulated the roof and settled in for some domestic bliss … with a veggie garden, of course. That’s what people do when they buy a home. But then the roof started leaking on the new insulation, which meant that the ceiling was at risk, so we replaced the roof … and the contractors threw all the old tin down on top of my just-about-ready-to-harvest veggie garden, and we had to start from scratch. Except we didn’t, because Fraser was rumbling about “how much your veggie gardens have cost us”.

Fast forward a year or two, and the Bigster was toddling around our lives. It’s sort of a parent’s duty to teach their children where food comes from, so we went and had a lovely day planting some tomatoes and basil and parsley. It wasn’t quite a veggie garden, so I thought it should be OK.

That was Melbourne Cup Day, 2001. My mum tells me you should always plant your tomatoes on Cup Day. Sadly, though, the ghost of Phar Lap did not protect me, because look what happened just a couple of weeks later.

Holy crap. By now, the Curse had cost us around quarter of a MILLION Aussie dollars. OK, we got a house out of it, and a nice bathroom, and a new roof, but no more.

It’s been 12 years. TWELVE. Surely, I figured, the Curse had worn itself out.

We’re having some fixer-up work done on the house. After 17 years, there were some weatherboards that had split or started to rot, and there were some other things that needed fixing. We’re even having the outside painted (pretty). We figure, we’re here for the long haul. And I figured, maybe, I might even start a – I can hardly say it – a v-e-g-g-i-e-g-a-r-d-e-n once the work was finished. I nearly bought some potatoes last week but held off, waiting for the work to be finished.

And now, the Curse has struck again. Instead of burning out in those 12 years, it’s clearly been biding its time and has only got stronger – because I HAVEN’T ACTUALLY DONE ANYTHING YET. Just had a little think and touched a plant pot. Bzzzz! (I was going to put HERBS in it! They’re not veggies!)

My builder came to me last week to point some stuff out. Long story short, there is the makings of a termite infestation at one end of the house. And the studs on that side are rotten, and a little termite damaged. It doesn’t sound like much … until you realise that THE STUDS ARE THE THINGS THAT STOP THE ROOF FROM BEING THE FLOOR.

omg.

We’re waiting to hear back from the structural engineer. I felt a little ill when I heard he’d asked whether we were planning on selling. Worst case, we will have to jack up the roof and replace all the walls, plaster and all. Best case, we might be able to put in parallel studs or something. Worst case? It doesn’t bear thinking about. If it’s much more than $100k, we might have to knock the house down and rebuild. Termite baits will cost us a couple of thousand – we’re going for the long term protection ones, rather than the heavy-chemicals-every-three-years ones. Mostly because report suggest that the chemicals don’t work.

Does anyone know a secular exorcist? I think it might take more than crystals and burnt sage to clear this … or maybe I just need to open an account with the Greengrocer.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on July 11, 2013 in grand plans, house, not your earth logic

 

Not blogging, WRITING

I have not been blogging much this week, because I have been focusing all of my creative efforts on my essay.

OK, I lie. I have been juggling school holidays and parent stuff and work stuff AND my essay.

The essay is amusing me a lot. I do not, however, think that that is the primary purpose of an essay, or that my tutor would think that the essay as it currently stands is acceptable.

This is mostly because of that 1500 word thing. Because I think I probably TWEET about 1500 words in a week. Or possibly in a day, when I am writing an essay and being distracted by the AWESOME THINGS I COULD PUT INTO IT.

Things like:

  • a picture of me with Aldie and Reiner.
  • stuff about pervasive games
  • stuff about different content types on BGG
  • an analysis of why session reports, reviews and geeklists are really kinda sorta fanfiction
  • a study of the metagame in online Werewolf and how it transcends the individual games
  • that video of Otto doing the Order Up dance in Essen (actually I think this was lost)
  • stuff about how gamers are fans and analysis of the Superfan concept. I want to cast Derk as Harry Knowles in a movie.
  • a picture of a cat in a box.

Sadly, I suspect I am missing the point.

More than sadly, I think I have now written WELL OVER 1500 words ABOUT the essay. Which, for those who are counting, is currently sitting at around 3700 words, with more to add.

But lots of you have offered to proofread. So when I finish it, I might post some of the lost parts here. Because there is an audience for everything, and you guys are it.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on July 3, 2012 in be happy, games, not your earth logic, study

 

Essays and Telly and Books and Wha!

Time has crept on, and The First Essay In Twenty Years is due next week.

In this Venn diagram, there is only a very teeny tiny intersection between Things That We Study In This Unit and Things That I Want To Write An Essay About. And that very small area is shaded red and labelled BAZINGA!

There really is not a huge overlap.

And I was thinking about this on Sunday night, and about what I want to write, and how it’s structured into an Introduction and then there are sort of three main areas to focus on (but the line between two of them is a wee bit woolly, and there is a maybe fourth area as well), which are like Parts A, B and C, and there’s detail in each of those parts, and then there are some general and some more specific conclusions, and a glossary, and some sidebars and OMG I could put in some photos and diagrams and screenshots that really underline the commentary that I want to make. And there is some stuff that other people with all their expertise etc simply may not know, which should be shared.

And then I looked at the word limit for the Essay. Which is 1500 words.

And at the post I made in the unit’s forum. Which is over 1400 words. And does not even BEGIN to address all that fascinating stuff.

And I realised that the thing I want to write is not called an Essay, it is called a Book. Or possibly a Thesis.

Also that I really need to edit forum posts. Brutally.

Because there is WAY TOO MUCH to say about games and 1500 words just doesn’t even come close. I think I might have to write my essay about Telly instead. At least there I have a hope of editing myself.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on June 26, 2012 in grand plans, not your earth logic, study

 

This week in my life

There was a trip to the dentist. Resulting in a bruised jaw and droopy anaesthetised eyelid. Very attractive, me.

Also two trips to the Children’s Hospital, involving four vials of blood and a chest x-ray.

There was a trip to my accountant to do OMGTAX. And, if I manage to squeeze it in, a trip to the local council offices to view and photocopy the plans for our house.

There were traffic lights on Facebook that made it into my blog. And a bad friend who quoted the Traffic Light song and now I have an earworm.

There was a Diagram of Cheese, which did not. Until now. I don’t think it’s very complete.

There was an ill-advised Trip to IKEA (if I count last Sunday as part of this week).

Two gifts were bought for Fraser. He does not know what they are so I cannot tell you, Dear Reader. But they are awesome. And one might be for Sharing. Tragically, though, neither of them is Spy Cufflinks.

There was lots of work, jammed in between driving the Bigster around and hangin’ at the hospital.

And Nigerian Spam, addressed to Dearest One. Which made me feel happy even though it was from the Bad People.

There were no games at all, and only one very mediocre book. (See my slightly ranty review of the latest Pern novel, Todd & Anne McCaffrey’s Dragon’s Time at Goodreads – warning, SPOILERS sweetie!)

But there were TWO purple vegetables. Neither of which is usually purple.

And there was excitement about the upcoming Doctor Who card game by Martin Wallace.

As weeks go, I’d give it a 7.5/10.

 

Traffic Lights

My friend Brunhilda* recently bought a house somewhere North of here. She hasn’t moved in yet, but she’s been checking out the property.

(*Names changed to protect the innocent.)

And it turns out that there is a set of traffic lights in the roof cavity.

If that wasn’t interesting enough, the set of traffic lights is apparently too big to get OUT of the roof cavity through the hatch.

The guy she is buying from can’t remember how they got up there.

So there has been much discussion about the traffic lights and the other stuff in the house etc etc etc but my mind got stuck at OMG TRAFFIC LIGHTS HOW COOL IS THAT! MOST AWESOME CHATTEL EVER!

Because if the house were local, I would generously offer to take the traffic lights off her hands.

I thought that I would offer them to Otto’s school. So they could have their very own European Right-hand drive Traffic School.

But then I realised that I would probably keep them for myself. And put them at my front door and not let people into the house unless the lights were green. That would keep me amused for at least a week.

And make an Ampelmann cutout so I could have different dudes on my “Go” sign. OMG that would be awesome.

Also, I could Inspect my traffic lights with my Inspection Camera, to make sure they were working. In case there was any doubt.

And so I was sad, because the traffic lights were not somewhere I could get to with any ease (although Fraser did drive to Sydney just to collect a carload of games last year – so maybe it would not be so unreasonable for me to go up to lever off a friend’s roof and steal a set of traffic lights? Maybe?)

And then I discovered that you can buy your very own traffic lights at really quite a reasonable price. And I was momentarily quite excited until ANOTHER old friend spoke to me very sternly and said

Melissa, no! You have a Masters to pay for – no traffic lights for you!

Which really has got to be the best thing anyone has said to me for days.

 
 

When banks and logic don’t entirely mix.

I had an eye-opening conversation with my bank this week. A sort of pre-pre-renovation conversation.

The big thing in Australian homeloans is “100% offset accounts”. What this means is that if you borrow $100,000 but you have $40,000 in deposit funds, your deposits count against your borrowings and you only pay interest on the $60,000 gap. Which is awesome because otherwise you would pay interest on $100k and then earn a little bit of interest on $40k and then pay tax on that leaving only a pittance that is probably not even enough to purchase an Inspection Camera.

This is important because when I get paid, I get paid in lump sums, and then I can go for months without being paid again. (Especially as I am Crap At Invoicing and really need someone to hold my hand to get all that stuff done.) So I have two important bank accounts with varying sums in each:

  • One is the 40% of everything I earn that I put aside for taxes, which gets paid to the taxation department in a lump sum if when I actually get around to doing my tax return.
  • And the other is the account where my money sits until I pay myself – because it seems better to average it over the year and pay myself slowly.

(Note: I know that there are other ways I could do this with budget lines and things and all in one physical bank account. But I would prefer not to do that because it just encourages me to fudge the money and buy shoes.)

What I would like to have is a homeloan with TWO (or even three, if Fraser has any spare cash lying around) of these magical 100% offset accounts.

And apparently this cannot be done.

I could, however, split the loan in half and have TWO homeloans, each with its own offset.Or three, if Fraser wants to do this as well.

Because that makes a lot more sense.

If only there were a Free Gift With Every New Homeloan. I could make a killing.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on May 22, 2012 in extension, not your earth logic, tax

 

Cat poo

Yes. Cat poo. That is what has been causing conflict Chez Nous of late.

See, when we adopted two small, adorable kittens, we did not realise that they were in fact POO MACHINES disguised as small, adorable kittens.

Within a week of coming home, Snowflake had caused evacuations of the dining and living rooms* – and it continued. Despite the very expensive “Indoor cat, low fecal odour” kibble, there is something about our cats’ by-products (read: GOAL IN LIFE) that just carries.

(* turns out, this is a problem of open-plan living. The cat poo fumes just SPREAD. Even to my study which is around several corners.)

I made a schedule, to deal with the problem. It is very simple and looks like this:

VERY IMPORTANT CAT POO SCHEDULE

Monday: Biggie

Tuesday: Fraser

Wednesday: Fraser

Thursday: Fraser

Friday: Fraser

Saturday: Fraser

Sunday: Fraser

OK, maybe not quite like that. It really looks like this:

VERY IMPORTANT CAT POO SCHEDULE

Monday: Biggie

Tuesday: Fraser

Wednesday: Fraser

Thursday: Fraser

Friday: Melissa

Saturday: Melissa

Sunday: Melissa

and on the edge it has a teeny tiny very crafty-looking miniature wooden clothes peg, which shows on which day the kitty litter was last completely changed (ie discarded, tray disinfected and rinsed, then refilled). It is my attempt to make the functional cat poo schedule a thing of beauty.

Schedules are all very nice, in theory.

Except that I forgot to factor in my cats.

Here is what happens every morning:

7:30 Fraser leaves for work

7:45 Cats: WHEE! HE’S GONE! LET’S POO!

The exception to this is Monday mornings, which is Biggie’s rostered day.

7:30 Fraser leaves for work

7:45 Cats: WHEE! HE’S GONE! LET’S — OH WAIT, IT’S MONDAY. *cross legs*

8:00 Bigster leaves for school

8:01 Cats: OMG THANK GOODNESS I DID NOT THINK I COULD HOLD THAT IN ANY LONGER … UGH THAT’S DISGUSTING!

I usually get home from work around 4.

4:01 Cats: OMG I AM SO HAPPY TO SEE YOU I COULD JUST POO! ACTUALLY, I THINK I WILL.

And then we have my favourite, the Evening Special.

7:30 Cats: YAY YAY YAY NEARLY TIME TO GO TO BED WITH OTTO BUT FIRST, WE HAD BETTER POO!

7:31 Melissa (as unbearable fumes threaten extinction to all in the living room and beyond): Yeesh. That’s disgusting

7:32 Melissa (pointedly): IT”S YOUR DAY TO CLEAN IT UP

7:32:30 Fraser (wearing the DUH! face): You can’t empty the kitty litter when it’s fresh! It would be too smelly!

 

BGGcon wrap-up

Well my week and a bit as a lone parent is nearly up. As Fraser and his assorted hats and very full suitcases wing their way home, let’s take a quick look back.

The most challenging part was dealing with Otto, who is not the most self-motivated of children and who needs to be nagged to do anything. Case in point: I don’t think she has showered more than once in the last 10 days. Now I am not a “you must shower every day” person (well, I am, but not where my 8 year old is concerned), but that it stretching it a bit far even for me. I did hit unexpected success with a bribe on Sunday, though.

The best bits were the fun stuff like sneaking off to Cold Rock ice cream (Baileys and Honeycomb ice cream with cookie dough and a strawberry Freddo crushed through it = amazing) and taking the girls out to dinner tonight.

The naughtiest bits were letting the cats cruise around the house overnight. Which was not always a success, as Snowflake gets VERY chatty at around 4:30am. One more night, kitten, then Fraser will put you in your place. Which is shut up the back of the house (living room, dining room, kitchen, bathroom – it’s not like they are really deprived).

The most unexpected-but-nice thing was having a friend drop in on Friday afternoon. Even though I was clearing stuff up while we chatted, it was good to have someone to talk to (and keep me working!).

The ickiest bits were having to clean out the kitty litter Every Day. Ugh. And having to detangle Otto’s hair after the aforementioned 10 shower-free days. She is not a calm child when her hair is being deknotted. Oh – and changing my nephew’s nappy when I babysat him and my niece on Saturday night.

The most difficult bit was carrying Otto to the car, after that babysitting session. I had to get my brother to help – fortunately she was awake when we got home so I didn’t have to break my back.

The most exhausting part was juggling my work. I am available to work 23 hours per week. Last week, I worked nearly 40. This week, by 9am Tuesday, I had already worked 15 hours. And was feeling like I was already behind.

The funniest part was the Bigster having friends over to film a brief movie for her English project. Otto had a friend round too, and the two little girls sat at the back door and watched the big kids. “It’s like we’re watching a movie be filmed!”

And the scariest part was finding that the handle is almost off the back door.

Doorknob

The doorknob is almost off

Now for most people, this would probably not be a problem. I really don’t think that someone has tried to break in, however suddenly this seems to have happened. But I am an absolute coward when it comes to being home alone (in fairness, this came after being a victim of a rather persistent peeping tom in my teens and a burglary while I was home alone not long after), and the combination of that and waaaaayyyyyyy too much diet coke while working late meant that very little sleep was got on Sunday. Even though I locked the doors, I kept hearing Noises. Not-Cat noises. Ugh.

And the most procrastinatey part was writing a blog post when OMG I HAVE WORK TO FINISH TONIGHT.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 22, 2011 in family, food, not your earth logic, work

 

Haunted by the number 2

I am being Haunted by the number 2.

I can say this confidently and with clear evidence, because there have been TWO incidents involving the number two in the last two weeks.

  • First, I had a dream about buying two kittens. This gave rise to much discussion of names for the pair and even led to me finding two kittens that I desperately wanted to adopt (and planned to call Gin and Tonic). Sadly, Fraser exercised the Spousal Veto and the kitties were no more.
  • Then, last night, I dreamed that I found two babies playing in the gutter outside our house. Only, it wasn’t quite our house (of course) and things got a bit weird. But the babies were two.

GO AWAY, NUMBER TWO. LEAVE ME IN PEACE.

Meanwhile, I am working on 2 work projects, co-ordinating 2 up-coming events, and I have 2 children. Also 2 nostrils, but that seems fairly normal (bonus points to friends who know the word for this).

And I have to leave in 2 minutes, so I had better dash. xxx

 
4 Comments

Posted by on January 13, 2010 in not your earth logic

 

Skippedidoodah Skippediay

So, there was a skip. At my house. With a few of mum’s things down the bottom, but not many.

Friday night, all we did was padlock it.

Saturday, I workworkworked all morning and finally got to mum and dad’s at 12.30 or so (three cheers for Fraser, who took the girls to the German School Excursion all by himself). Then we went out to buy them some new furniture, as they had had their sofa and armchairs carted away earlier in the week.

Now, dad has a fabulous armchair. It is a recliner, very big and comfy, made by Moran. We paid over $1500 for it as a gift for his 60th birthday, 18 years ago. He loves it, but lately he has trouble getting up from it.

So after we looked at the sofa that mum likes, I asked the salesman whether he had any OMGElectricChairs – and he did, and even though they are a bit ugly, we found one that literally gets dad onto his feet and into a standing position before he has to leave the chair. And it reclines, too.

Result: 2 Electric Recliners (sooner or later mum will find it helpful) and a rather nice bronzey green sofa. (Actually, it looks a bit like ours, but it is not ridiculously pale-coloured).

They are to be delivered on Monday, which I think is foolish. Plan for now is that they will go into the garage initially, as we have to meet the interior designer at 4pm. 

Now I am considering whether we want to take dad’s Moran recliner, especially as I want to get rid of The Stinky Chair (TM).

Anyway. Skip.

Well, meanwhile, we have filled it. Including one carload from mum and dad’s, but the rest was ours. Fraser was a trooper and did most of it, I took about 15 minutes out from work today (when it became clear that the Bigster was well and truly stuck) to go out, direct, and clean out the shed.

I feel efficient 🙂

Even more so, because over the last 3 weeks or so I have been auctioning old books etc on eBay. So far, I have sold $350 of items. Not bad for about 4-5 hours’ work 🙂

There is one more thing that I want to get rid of, though. See, a couple of years ago, our old VCR died. And I went and bought a new VCR. Then I realised that we couldn’t program the TV to see the new VCR because we’d lost the remote control that is the only way to program our TV. So we jerry-rigged the old VCR to work, then we tuned IT in to the new VCR and basically daisychained the two of them together.

I found the TV remote control a month or so ago, when we gutted the sofa. Technically, we could change that setup – but it was going to be too much hassle to bother.

Then, last week, the VCR (the “new” VCR) started eating tapes. So I went out and bought a new one – which is a combo VCR and DVD player – because that was all you could get.

I looked at our entertainment unit and smiled. Not only could we get rid of BOTH VCRs (and associated remote controls), we could get rid of the DVD player and ITS remote control too. Whee! Down to two remote controls (and the one for the speakers – oops), at least until we go crazy and buy a set-top box.

Only it turns out that Fraser won’t let me throw out the DVD player, because it still works. Even though we have a new one, and we can’t watch two DVDs at once.

I should have expected this. After all, it was only a month ago that we finally got rid of the Beta VCR – and it hadn’t worked since before we started dating in 1992.

Oh yeah – and one more thing.

We got a flat!

It’s kinda small, but looks very nice. My friend is going to go and do an inspection asap, just to check it out.

It’s in Wuppertal, which is right next to Düsseldorf. And I found German language classes for children just nearby.

For a non-religious person, I am very superstitious. I firmly believe that something will come up – and it did, with remarkably little fuss.

Whee!

Back to work now. Procrastination break over.