Dog blog, by request

sleeping beauty

Here she is, sleeping on the couch.  Yes, her fur is as soft and silky as the picture suggests.

Sari sleeping

Not as good a photo, but so you can get an idea of scale.  This is an IKEA three-seater.  She’s now almost eight months old.



784 Responses

  1. She’s gorgeous! And probably bigger than your youngest, by the looks of that couch. What colour are her eyes, now?

  2. She’s lovely. I love ginormous puppies. And the big dogs they grow into.

  3. Her eyes are just holding on to a tinge of green but I think they’ll end up topaz. Like a Weimaraner.

  4. You’ll have to get pix of her eyes sometime, when she’s not passed out on the couch.

  5. I thought it was the Wildebeest for a minute, but not even Pantene can get his fur that silky soft. It must be nice snuggling up to her.

  6. I’d say that’s what the burglars think. She doesn’t look terribly focused on protecting the perimeter. Good thing you’ve got cats for that. 🙂

  7. She is a complete sook. But fond of a stoush. When the kids are wrestling she always wants to be in on it. As long as the burglar is a bit shouty and physical we’ll be all right.

  8. Too bad she wasn’t visiting when Mr. Meth was trying to bust in to Jen’s, across the road, we could’ve given Sari some practice at mangling morons.
    Poor Jen, she’s so upset about the night of the smashing FKtard that they’re talking of moving into a gated secure unit complex down near the river in West End. She asked if they could rent our place & I said no. If that’s how she feels about one drunken idiot going on a rampage I can’t imagine how she’d cope with an entire boarding house full of them, right next door.

    Have I told you about the Garbage Bag Slapper?
    There’s a young couple in one of those rat holes & every day when he goes off on his bicycle, she follows him out with a couple of bags of garbage, waits till he gets to the middle of the street to kiss him goodbye, and then she starts berating him for not treating her right. She has a long list of complaints, all shouted in broken English, once she’s confident she’s in the best possible spot for the acoustics to carry it to as wide an audience as possible.
    He bears with it quietly for a while & then he tries to evade her & escape on his bike, but she uses the garbage bags to block his path. If she drops one she sticks her hands in the spokes of the wheel & then screams with pain & starts shouting for witnesses to view how he’s abused her. NTO & NTBF watch all this with relish from their Scritching Posts in the garden & feel no obligation to ask them to STFU or consider the neighbours & take it indoors.

    This little ritual started up the other day while we were waiting for the concrete truck to arrive. Half a dozen concreters were lounging on the footpath, on the lookout for it, so she ramped up her act & started slapping the BF (without putting the bags of rubbish down) & yelling about how violent and abusive he is. The concreters rolled their eyes, had a word to the guy driving the pump, who promptly fired up the engine. She soon gave up trying to yell over it & moved down the street. Once he was off the flat the boyfriend got loose & bolted down the hill.
    And the boys switched off the concrete pump & sniggered.

    A few more months, and I will be away from these loons.
    The original slumlord used to enjoy having tenants who provided a rich vein of drama that outdid anything funded by Screen Australia, & from what I’ve see of NTO, the Bloke & I keep wondering if she’s the original slumlord’s bastard daughter, come to claim her birth-rite. She’s even started up his Bin Sifting ritual, but being NTO I don’t think she’s concerned about banana peels stuffed in the recycling, I think she’s just found a more rewarding way of going through their mail.

  9. I think you should film the next outburst, and try to get a grant from Film Australia.

    I’m pretty sure I saw something similar on SBS.

  10. True. The cast of The King & I are just down the road & they’ve had lots of practice doing English as a second language accents. Although I’ve heard Teddy carries a bit of UnZud into the role with Ut Suttera Ut Suttera.

  11. I toyed with going to see that, but decided not to sully my memories of Yul.

  12. Nat did a review for the BT after she took her mother & her gran to see it. They had a ball. She said it was a bit awkward listening to the fake accents and a bit cringeworthy watching Teddy acting Siamese, he is 6″3 or so. She said he was very funny with his reminders ‘subjects must have head lower than King!’
    They were both wonderful in South Pacific, so I regret not going to see it but meh, theatre isn’t part of the renovation budget.
    I rented the movie for $1 from my local video store & wound up not enjoying it as much as I remembered when I were a lass. I must rent the Jodie Foster take on it, some time.

    How was your day with Uncle & Aunt RV, MM?
    Miserable cold wet day here, and of course now the long weekend is over the sun is shining & it’s a glorious day. Or it was, till my tradesmen started ruining it for the neighbourhood.
    I gather the neighbours have had enough. Mrs Crazy & Lesbian Barbie put their heads together in front of my driveway, scowling and pointing. I just beamed at them & thought how much happier they’ll be when we’ve moved & they get to deal with our tenants instead. I’m sure it’ll be a huge improvement on their quality of life.

  13. We had a lovely time up at the farm – Gigantor did some fencing with Uncle RV.

    In re your tenants, it’s never to early to start putting out feelers. Perhaps you can get a listing in a German Death Metal mag, or put up flyers in a Swinger’s Club? Swingers would really stuff up the parking in the street.

  14. I think we’ll be hard pressed to find tenants more annoying than any of the freaks around here so I might surrender that ambition. Besides, NTO is doing a fabulous job of driving her own tenants crazy so I doubt that she’ll need any help.

    Meh. One of our tradies turned up with his cattle dog, today. I wondered why the cats were freaking out & it wasn’t till I heard yipping that I realised there was a dog tied up to the clothesline out back. I spent a fortune on prescription only vet-strength flea remedy last week when I got swarmed by fleas, so I was Not Impressed to see a new source of potential pestilence scuzzing up my back yard.

    I told the guy I’d rather lose half a day’s work than have a dog here upsetting my animals & would he please take it home. So he tied it up to his truck, on the street. Not good. There’s too many dogs and children running loose around here for that to be a good idea. I kept nagging him to take the dog home & he kept ignoring me, until finally I rang the bloke & said ‘i’ve got one of the old school tradies here who can’t hear a female voice. You need to ring his boss and tell them the dog has to be out of here by 2pm before families start walking home from the child care centre (10 doors down, Catty) & the two primary schools at the end of the street.’
    You guys know how that procession works, right? Mum 50 yards behind with the pram bombed out from 6 years of sleep deprivation & two kids under 5 scampering up ahead with the (unleashed) family dog.

    So they went, but they left in a snit, convinced I’m a neurotic worry wart & there was nothing to worry about.
    Boo Hoo.
    It took two days for my rash from the damned fleas to go down last week & I’ll be damned if I’ll subject my animals to another dose of that. And the last thing I need is a toddler or a family pet getting mangled if they fall foul of a tradie’s cattle dog, guarding his tools on the street.

    When I told the tradie about my concerns he just laughed and said he was confident his dog would come out on top of any altercation.

    What a mentality. ‘My dog will come out on top.’
    Yeah, and what about the toddler who might rush in and get in the middle of that?
    One of my sister’s stoner friends learned the hard way about toddlers and dogs. The kids had been teasing the neighbour’s dog all day, and when her toddler walked past it, the dog snapped & tore the flesh off half of her face. Because she was only 3, it meant that the poor little kid was not only disfigured for life but she’d have to have surgery all through her childhood until she stopped growing.

    So yes, I’m neurotic, and the tradies are pissed off.
    But because I’m neurotic, nobody under 5 in my street is at risk of getting chewed up and spat out by a big red wolf.

  15. It’s a bit rude bringing your dog to an occupied … and heavily petted … house. Quite different to a building site, say. And then extra rude not to remove it from said premises when an occupant requests you to do so.

    I’d expect you’ll be getting a bit of attitude, too. When are they finishing up?

  16. I reckon we have another two months to go.
    The others have been great; the dog guy that showed up today is rarely here but he’s high up in the food & talent chain on Simon’s team, so I think they need him to set up some tricky stuff for the next stage of the work.
    So I’ll probably just have to put up with him for the next few weeks.

    He has some personality issues that I haven’t enjoyed on the few days when he has turned up.
    The most irritating thing is that he doesn’t listen when I set a boundary & he immediately lists some reason why he knows better or else he says ‘yes’ and then doesn’t do what I’ve asked.
    Frankly I’d rather have his dog here, than Dog Builder himself.

    The boss man said it was just unfortunate as this guy had been on a dog-friendly work site & expected to go back there.
    I am annoyed that the dog just appeared and nobody bothered to ask me if it was OK.
    I didn’t even bother raising the flea issue as its customary for dog owners to insist that their animal is flea-free even if they’re scratching like a leper colony.

    Since the dog has spent the last two weeks on a ‘dog-friendly site’ then what I infer from this is that there’s multiple dogs on site and, therefore, multiple colonies of fleas.
    Riley has such a terrible time if even one jumps on him that I tend to avoid contact with any dog who’s owner doesn’t share the same horror of fleas & skin allergy that I do. He’s on comfortis for the fleas & Atopic for his skin irritation and I’ve found that so long as I keep him away from big dogs/not-so-well-loved dogs and from rolling in the grass, he’s fine.

    Once he starts itching, though, it’s a nightmare to get him to stop and those drugs& remedies are bloody expensive. I nearly went mad when one flea got in my sock last week after our day at Burleigh so there was no freaking way I was going to let some scratching yipping cattle dog sit under my clothesline all day shedding eggs and vermin.

  17. Speaking of vermin, guess who brought lice home from school, again?

    Gigantor says he was scratching his head in science and a huge louse – over a centimetre – plopped onto his book. Eeeeeeek!

    Do you think Comfortis would work on the kids?

  18. Urgh. Poor you.
    I came home scratching from bookfest myself, so I’m tempted to run my own set of human insecticide trials, right here. I combed out my hair with a double-bladed louse comb & couldn’t find a thing, so I’m hoping I just got bitten by midgies while I was on the porch in the sun. Thanks to my loathing of things that go Scritch, I’ve got three different bottles of nit shampoo in the bathroom cabinet so if I’m still itching today I’ll wash my hair. If Dog Builder shows up I might lock him in a nice long forgiving bear hug first, though, so he goes home with a few new itches of his own. 🙂

    I have NFI how you two cope with adolescent boys and the ‘yeah yeah’ not listening crap. If I had to put up with that all day I’d eat my own young. Fondued, so I could skewer them before roasting them over hot flames & dipping them in boiling cheese.

    I don’t know how you do it.

  19. Gigantor’s still pretty good. Sometimes he doesn’t listen, and/or is disrespectful, but pretty soon afterwards he’ll apologize. While he can still reflect on his actions and then make amends, I figure it’s all good.

    But then I’ve put 13 solid years of consistent boundary setting and ethical framework into him. You’d hope that would pay off.

  20. With a child who shares that much of your Uncle RV’s genetic makeup I’d expect nothing less. Well, maybe a few pregnant pony club lassies tossed in to the mix, but good stock is always good to pass on. So what’s your excuse for Elf Boy, Rogue DNA or else switched by the pixies at birth? 🙂

  21. Father’s side.

  22. ROFL. His, or yours?
    Don’t answer that.
    It’s the genetic equivalent of a Molotov cocktail.

  23. The Teenie is finally starting to show signs of settling down. It’s lovely, as he really is a good boy. Unfortunately, the Middle Kidlet is starting to show signs of acting up. I predict she’ll settle down at about the same time Littlest Kidlet starts acting up. Joy! Still, it’s comforting to know that all three of them at their worst aren’t half as bad as the Teen at her best. If I can survive that (*twitch*), the others will be a doddle.

    Speaking of the Teen, it’s been about 6 weeks since I last heard from her. She won’t answer her phone, respond to texts, or reply to Facebook posts. I thought she was trying to avoid repaying the money we loaned her. But then I saw a Facebook status update along the lines of “For those who know, I’m out of hospital and looking for somewhere to stay”. Whatever that means. I’d ask her, but I doubt she’ll reply unless it’s to invite herself to move in and take over the lounge room again. (*twitch*) Somehow I think I’d rather not know what’s going on.

  24. That’s a fairly nonsensical remark, Catty. The hospital must have given her some fantabulous meds. I wonder if she tripped over a cat and broke her leg?
    Hang in there, you know her patterns. If she’s not contacting you it’s because she doesn’t need anything. Deep breaths. Calm Blue Ocean. CAEK!

    Miracle Girl’s mother is still muttering crossly about MG’s motorcycle accident in Italy 5 years ago. She broke her leg, and the first they knew of it was when the surgeons sent her parents the bill. The guy who built our pool 10 years ago turned up last week to do some troubleshooting & his theory on kids is that they don’t become remotely civilised until they turn 35 and start having kids of their own. At which point they dump their kids on the grandparents & they get to enjoy having fun with the grandkids, fill them up with sugar & then send them home to their hungover parents.

    By my calculations you’ve got 15-20 years of torment to work through before you reach the gratifying part of parenthood.
    i.e. They finally leave home.

  25. Out of hospital? It can’t have been serious, Catty, or she would have had you bring pyjamas, flowers, chips, chocolate, cigarettes and a monkey or two up for her.

    Oh no, Q. I don’t want the boys to ever leave home. They can just bring their girlfriends here. Hmmm, I might need a floozy extension.

  26. Think positive, Catty. Perhaps she’s just had a tattoo removed. Unless she’s decided she can dispense with her uterus & her ovaries.

  27. You know, the spaying might be a sensible move in this case. The littlies can give you plenty of grandchildren.

  28. I think spaying is a marvellous idea. If they change their minds later & decide they want children, they can do what Jango Fett did in Star Wars, and raise a clone.
    Think of the satisfaction to be had from that, Catty.

  29. That’s a fine plan, although Boba isn’t much of a name.

  30. Happy Birthday, MM!
    I hope you have a wonderful day, with lots and lots of spoiling and no dirty or broken dishes to show for it. And plenty of fudge and home baked goodies tomorrow, at Nambour Show.

  31. Yes, Happy Birthday, Morganarama! May your CAEK be plentiful. Big Birthday Hugs!

  32. Thank you, thank you both. I have some photos of cakes and embroidery that I will blog shortly. I would have got some truly magnificent chooks, too – but Gigantor said my phone camera was upsetting them.

  33. It wasn’t you, it’s all that chicken salt they sprinkle on the chips at the show.
    Of course they’re nervous.

    Looking forward to crafty pix, and I’m glad you had a nice day, MM.
    No sign of a fairy floss wheel, I suppose?
    Bizarre, having seen the force of their tractor beam sucking in the kiddies at Kitefest last year.
    They should have subbed one of those for the spinning wheel in Maleficent.
    Then again, hard to prick your finger on a floss wheel, I suppose. Might be possible to get your hair caught up in it & strangle a disney princess, though.

  34. There was no spinning fairy floss. Actually, I didn’t see a great deal of floss at all. Many Dagwood Dogs, but precious little floss. Gigantor got to shoot a .22, which made him very happy. And EB enjoyed hooking ducks.

  35. Heh heh. Send them round here & they can go after the Rooster.

    MM, we’re showing our age. Funny how children’s tastes in sweets have changed. I wonder if that happens every generation or if, as I believe, the current fascination with sour lollies should have been mentioned in Revelations?
    i.e. ‘Behold, I saw a white horse, and the man that sat upon him held a bag of sour gummi bears, and his name was Death.’

    One of the reasons I love Perth so much is because of all the British ex-pats, and they have cute little shops filled with shelves and shelves full of sweets that were popular when my grandma were a lass.

  36. Someone posted this on Facebook:

    It made me laugh, especially when they got to the Vegemite. I kept thinking, “These are the people who like stink-bug… um, ‘cherry’ flavoured lollies, and who make chocolate that tastes like lard”. Go figure.

  37. Every time I think about Americans and Vegemite, I wonder what they put on dry toast when there tummies are a bit upset, and how they manage to make breakfast half the time.

  38. Lucky Charms with Ipecac.

  39. Pop tarts and cheerios.
    Then when they throw up after, it’s like technicolour confetti & the disney fireworks, all rolled into one.

  40. Vomit the rainbow.

  41. And evacuate the unicorns.

  42. The middle Kidlet assures me that Mickey Mouse farts rainbows and poops Smarties. Now we know why.

  43. This thread makes me want a big frosty glass of Quik. And a lot of Valium.

  44. Bananana Quik, or strawberry? Strawberry tastes better, but bananana masks the Valium aftertaste better.

  45. Chocolate, to help me savour the chemical aftertaste.

  46. Or skip the Valium and Quik, and have Milo instead – it has its own chemical aftertaste.

  47. I remember vomiting strawberry quik.
    How did they get the colour for that. Dehydrated placenta, or cow’s blood?

  48. Crushed bugs, surely – as EB delights in calling cochineal.

  49. From my memories of vomiting Quik, I’d say they crushed cockroaches.

  50. Speaking of bugs how’s the head, Q? We seem to have been parasite free for more than a week, which is nice.

  51. All good, glad to hear you have bested the pests.
    I lathered up in banlice, even though I couldn’t find any of the damned things. I tend to get a very characteristic reaction to the bites, though, so I’m pretty sure a few jumped on me at bookfest & they haven’t survived The Reckoning. I combed the snarls out of my hair yesterday & went through it with a fine tooth comb & Nada, so perhaps it’s safe to go to the hairdresser next week & get my 2 inch long roots tended to.
    The dog is still scratching so I’m taking him back for another flea bath at the vet. He often does get some itches a day or so before his flea medication is due so as wonderful as the Comfortis is, I guess it’s only just holding up to the current flea plague. Horrible things. Hows Sari, has the Flea Plague reached the north coast yet?
    The most resilient bugs around here seem to be the ones that have taken out our tradesmen. Mind, the ones that have been levelled by it are all smokers, and those chesty things do seem to hit smokers & asthmatics hard. Touch wood they haven’t yet managed to pass it on to me. Yet!

    I’m expecting the builders to do a few half-days, while the Flu & school holidays decimates Simon’s team. They needed three men to get the framing up for the deck today, and they’ve only got two, so I guess they’ll down tools & go elsewhere once they reach the part where they need the third man.

    I probably could have driven up the coast yesterday but it was just so blissful to have the house to myself for a change. Even with Scritching, and Harmonica, and Pestilence, it was lovely to have just one day where I didn’t have to interact with human beings & pretend to be sane.

  52. Yes, friends gave me a Comfortis tablet for Sari the other week and it does seem to work amazingly well. I will change over from the other, they’re cheap but a couple of times a week is too annoying.

    The boys have had lice so often already this year. I think there should be a nation-wide Shave At School On Detection policy. Maybe I’ll start a No Nits Party? It’s no stupider than Motoring Enthusiasts.

  53. I’d go one better and start a No Nitwits party.
    Given the competition we’d win a landslide victory & the LNP, PUP & half of the fools in the ALP would be down at the dole office, looking for tea and sympathy.
    Which of course, we could promptly cut off.

  54. Most of those people would qualify for a disability pension by reason of insanity. Personally, I think we should eat them. It works for lions.

  55. I wouldn’t want to eat them. But I’d happily feed them to lions.

  56. Nah, too perfunctory. For a truly awesome spectacle, feed them to bears.

  57. Nup. Give the tourists something to write home about.
    Crocodile pit, Australia Zoo.

  58. And now we know what to do with the Opposition when the Pyjama Party wins the next election.

  59. I think at least some of them should be dehydrated and sent overseas as food aid. Then at least the end of their lives would be useful.

  60. True. How many ounces of reconstituted Queensland government ministers would it take to poison Boko Harem?

  61. Half a cup?

  62. If we mulch them to use as fertiliser, we’d have bumper crops this year. Shit makes a good fertiliser, right?

  63. Also excellent garden bombs. I think we’re ready to take on an extremist militia.

  64. I’m ready to take on a sofa. And a little light reading. This week has exhausted me. Mercury is retrograde or some crap.

  65. Oh is that what it is.
    I just thought I’ve been feeling extra Meh because we are at the midpoint of renovations, and it’s at that pesky stage where they’ve done lots and finished nothing.
    It does seem unfair that we’re headed for a soggy solstice, though.

    Some happy tidings from Miracle Girl, she texted me back yesterday saying that she was getting day release so that she could go sailing with a friend. I think she’s due for some major facial reconstruction in July, but I could be getting my dates muddled. I know she’s looking forward to that, as she’s assured us she’ll come out of it looking like Sophia Loren. 🙂
    Love how she’s kept her sense of humour through all this, I feel terribly weak-minded by comparison given the way I’m snarling about dust, and mud.
    I just found a trail of muddy dog prints all over the white tiles in the bathroom. There’s none leading in or out of there.
    How TF?

  66. Ninja Dog is muddy pawed. They’re more agile than you think. EB noticed our puppy swarming over the $700 side gates that were supposed to keep her in the back yard. She balanced on one front and one back paw, to his amazement.

    Good MG news. Wish her our best. 🙂

  67. Yes, what Madam said. I hope that’s a young Sophia Loren.

  68. Thanks. 🙂
    MM, given the length of that puppy’s legs, I’m surprised you don’t find her on the roof chasing crows. When Riley was younger, he used to be able to leap from the floor to the top of the dining room table. The garage is below the dining room, Catty, with timber floors. So I’d drive in & hear a series of thuds as our pets jumped off the dining table before I could get upstairs and yell at them for being barbarians. Since the number of thuds matched the number of pets, & the dog lands with far less grace than the cats, I knew that two cats & the dog had all been sunning themselves on top of it in my absence.
    Sometimes I think they only do the ‘cat hates dog’ thing as an act for the humans, while we’re actually here to view it. The rest of the time they’re probably sitting here watching MTV & conspiring how to open the pantry to bust out the kibble.

  69. So, maybe I should hobble her? Surely when she gets even bigger she’ll be too heavy?


    Q, if you’ve got any razor wire spare from the renos I’ll pick it up in the school holidays.

  70. I think Jen has some leftover from her house decorating.
    No need for it here as the mud slide down our driveway seems to be quite effective in persuading the little treasures to Revel elsewhere. I heard a few shrieks from the girls that came home with the Roman senators last night & I don’t think they were having fun, I think they were sliding down the concrete & landing hard in the gutter.

  71. Didn’t the Roman senators move out?

  72. Yeah, what Catty said. Maybe that day they were really quiet they were just working off thermonuclear hangovers?

  73. Only one of the Roman Senators moved out.
    By the looks of him, I think it was Caligula.

  74. Well, that should cut down on the slayings, anyway.

  75. No, no, it was Confucius who had all the slayings.

  76. That’s odd, I could have sworn it was Buffy.
    We might need her to dispatch the remaining members of the Roman Senate.
    I just stepped out in the 10.6C chill to ferry the bloke to the train, & I noticed that once again they’ve gone to bed leaving all of their casement windows open. I assume they’ve left the AC on to compensate – it sends NTO nuts so they ‘forget’ and do this often – but I suppose the other possibility is that they are, in fact, Undead, and they require arctic temperatures to slow the decay of their flesh, and their dinners.

  77. Maybe they’re from Svaalbard, which also explains their peculiar diurnal rhythms?

  78. They’re from Everton Park, and as such are used to Mumsy doing tedious things like closing the windows when they turn on the AC and putting the milk back in the fridge after they’ve had their wheaties.

  79. It’s gloriously icy today, isn’t? Good old winter’s finally arrived.

    How are you coping with the wild Melbourne weather, Catty? Oh, and don’t stand near any walls. Melbourne walls will kill you as soon as look at you.

  80. Glorious. Although it hasn’t left me terribly inspired to do much other than sit in the sun with a book, enjoying the brief respite from Brisbane’s melting heat.
    My tradies have been complaining how hot they are out on the deck so here’s hoping the temps stay down till they manage to get the roof on – hopefully next week.
    I should have some interesting progress to show you when you come to town, MM.
    They’re away today, while the main post sets, but the scaffolders should be here to set it up so that it’s safe for them tomorrow.
    I’m getting ever so excited by the prospect of having pavers in my back yard again. We had to pull up 40m2 of them, which means that there’s been 40m2 of mud for the dog to track in – not counting the garden beds that he ferrets about in.
    The paver guy is keen to get started so cross your fingers for me, ladies, 3 months worth of mud to that scale is about as much as I can endure.
    Pleasant day planned for your day off, MM?
    Looks like beautiful weather for walks on the beach. The south coast surf cams showed the water almost glassy, yesterday morning. It does look magical, you are so lucky to live so near the sea.
    What became of your show photos?
    Or should I not ask?
    I went to load photos of our new French doors so I could blog about them, but the big mac wasn’t speaking to my iphone. It does that occasionally & it usually gets over it, but perhaps this time it means business when it says I have to install updates on the iphone, Or Else.
    Damnable computers. If these stupid updates are so important to them, why don’t they do it themselves?

  81. It is lovely weather at the moment so I’ll spend my day off inside chatting to my writers’ group. Still, they’re all adults and none are deadbeats so it’ll make a nice change.

    I’d forgotten all about the show photos. They might make it off my phone this arvo, depending.

    Happy paving!

  82. I’ve got the scaffolding guys here today.
    Paver guy should be here tomorrow, we hope, and he’ll need two days to get it all done.
    The fly in the ointment is the electric company. They have to move the power line to the other side of the house as it’s in the way for where the roof of the new deck has to go. We’ve been trying to book them in for over a week & nobody can get an answer out of them as to what day to expect them.
    Whey they do turn up, the power will get disconnected for several hours so obviously there’s no point having any tradesmen here that day.
    It’s making it a bit tricky for the various tradies to plan their schedule as they all need power for things that go BANG!

  83. Dammit I did not mean to hit post. Why on earth aren’t your writers meeting outdoors in some lovely al-fresco setting, MM? There must be lots to choose from up there, and they can’t be all a-swarm with children just yet.
    How long do the kids get, it’s two weeks starting on Friday, isn’t it?
    Any movies worth seeing with them? I haven’t had a chance to look.
    I assume Catty’s must have started already & her computer has been taken over by Minecraft.

  84. I did meet a friend and her dogs down at the creek in the afternoon and we saw some sail boats out to sea so there was some immersion in nature’s beauty.

    Good luck coordinating anything with Energex! Unless you tell them you’re Newman’s sister-in-law or something? Actually, that might make them take longer …

    You are correct. Probably the best thing would be How to Train A Dragon II but EB’s already seen that with his class.

    Catty, if you’re stuck without access to your own computer in holiday terror, we miss you! And drink up.

  85. Nah, the holidays start next week. The high school had a day off yesterday so they could write report cards, so the computer was requisitioned for some new computer game craze called Happy Wheels. I don’t know what it is, and I don’t want to know.

    Today is Gran’s birthday, so I’ve been up at the nursing home. She didn’t want anyone to make a fuss, so of course I went up there with banners, balloons, whistles… but no hats. They fell out of my overstuffed bag and I didn’t notice. Bugger. But I did keep hold of the musical candle, which bleated out a tinny version of Happy Birthday from the top of her cake. We had pizza and wine, and made a lot of rude comments about a lot of things. MIL was in fine form with the grotty jokes – she had FIL speechless a couple of times. It was hilarious!

  86. Good old Gran. Sounds like a hoot!

  87. Heh heh heh. Good on you, Catty, it sounds like a fabulous BD party.
    One year a GF gave me one of those singing cards for my BD. It was a chorus of Kittehs, singing happy birthday, rather off key. She handed it to me in the kitchen, where there was, of course, a Kitteh standing beside me, mooching around.
    The look on the cat’s face was priceless.
    Ah, the horror.
    She sat there for a moment, stricken, and then ran around the house in a mad panic trying to get clear of the Singing Cats.

  88. Singing cats! That sounds nearly as bad as EB’s yodelling groundhogs.

    Welcome back the the Interwebz, Q – I take it your power’s back on?

  89. It was just the internet, NFI WTF was wrong with it but it just didn’t connect for 24 hours. The power company hasn’t been out yet & won’t even give us a date when they will come out. So the builder has gone on holidays & aside from Team Pave Man, Casa Q will be bereft of tradies this week.

    And however bad a chorus of cats may be, I’m quite sure they can’t hold a stick of dynamite to choir of groundhogs with Elf Boy wielding the conductor’s baton.

  90. Yodel-ey-eee-oh!

  91. My dear old dad is a country singer/songwriter, so I sent him a birthday card that plays duelling banjos when you open it. Apparently he’s been carrying it around for the last two weeks, opening it at all sorts of inappropriate moments. It almost makes me wish I’d sent him a card with singing groundhogs. Maybe next year. Where can I get one of those, Madam?

  92. They’re going to be our next sure-fire business venture. I’ll draw the cartoon, you write the score and Q can teach the groundhogs how to yodel.

    Q, are you there?

    Silence indicates consent, I believe.

  93. Silence, in this case, indicates technical failure, but I would be delighted to train the groundhog choir. They can practice under NTO’s bedroom window, once the paver cutter guy has moved on to create noise & dust elsewhere. I will ply them with daiquiris and once they have mastered yodelling, I will teach them to play the bongoes. They’ll fit right in here, the neighbours will just think there’s more hippies.

  94. Or Wildebeests.

  95. When they’ve perfected the yodelling, you can teach them to line dance!

  96. And for this I’ve enlarged the top courtyard to 7 x 4m.
    Jen took one look at it and said ‘Dance Floor!’ when I told her I plan to install cocksucking cowboys in situ.
    Just think of all those Achey Breaky Hearts clicking their spurs together & yodelling, up there.

  97. Hehehe. Achy Breaky Groundhogs. That will keep me going until dinner time.

  98. Given the trend for Cyruses taking off their pants, you’d be better off with line dancing beavers.

  99. Should the plural be Cyrii?

  100. The plural should be shot, with elephant strength trank darts, and kept in captivity in same-sex enclosures, to prevent them from breeding.

  101. Quokka should be P.M.

  102. Thank you for your faith in my leadership.
    My first move, as benevolent dictator, will be to replace the entire LNP membership with a herd of line dancing groundhogs.
    No-one will ever know the difference.

  103. Hang on, I’m not sure if that’s wise. They might be more popular than the incumbent Government.

  104. Not only more popular, but probably better at the job. I’d vote for them.

    Hey, none of my comments from yesterday are here! What’s with that?

  105. I don’t know. It brings to mind the Troll Snot issues I had over at yours.

  106. Troll snot?
    That reminds me, I meant to ask after the health of your clan & the contagion of Elf Boy. I hope he’s on the mend & has failed to spread his misery.
    I went to bed thinking I’d wake up with a sore throat this morning but it looks like last night’s honey-ginger-lemon marinade roast chicken has fought that off. Maybe that half kilo of cherries I ate yesterday has helped, too.
    OTOH my scalp is itchy so it might be time for another Nuke ‘Em session in the bathroom. Must learn not to hug people with children. Oh wait, that’s everyone I know.

    Hey, I have discovered yellow cherries down at the expensive fruit mart. They are sensational. Best cherries ever.
    They’re $25 per kilo, which means I’ve developed another expensive addiction, but OMG they are wonderful.

    Have any of you seen Smith’s tomato flavoured chips in the shops? i think they’ve discontinued them & as they are a favourite of Irma’s I’m wishing they’d left it till she’d discontinued her visits to me. I wrote them an email to that effect yesterday, but I haven’t had a response, so I’m not sure that Mr & Mrs Smith understand that this is a Life or Death kind of a problem.

  107. I’ve barely seen any sort of Smith’s chips. It’s all Kettle Rock Kale and Oyster flavoured in our chip aisle.

    I love cherries, I’ll have to see if Matt the Mad Fruiterer stocks them.

    I regret to report that I fear EB’s contagion is creeping over me. I’ve got that feeling like my eyes are full (sinuses), aches and pains and a slight feeling of detachment from my body that usually precedes a good dose of the lurgy. If so, I will stay at home this weekend. Is it too annoying if I let you know tomorrow, Q?

    So, Catty – how was the catch-up, and has Mayhem been rehomed successfully?

  108. No, but I may eat your BD present if I have to join the Bloke with Operation Pave Man cleanup on Saturday, rather than taking in the pleasures of the SB fudge stall with you.
    Rest up, MM, hopefully if you take it easy then the lurgy will go easy on you.
    How will your first-born cope if he misses his sleepover? I fear there will be blood.

  109. Oh, what a lovely day! Not everyone could come, the new girl (can never remember her name) was caught up in a meeting, and Melbo had a sick little one. But the rest of us had fun. Mayhem’s recovering from a bout of ‘flu, so we thought she might not make it, but she couldn’t resist the temptation to drive her new car into the city. She was also wearing divine boots which I would have stolen if I hadn’t been wearing my own pair of divine boots. Also, her boots had heels which would have floored me.

    After lunch, GB and Fifi shopped for the Grand Evil at a delightful little bookstore, then they shot through before I could suggest we find a chocolate shop. Once they left, I ndragged Mayhem and Bangarr to Haigh’s. Poor Bangarr isn’t big on chocolate, so it wouldn’t have been much fun for him, but, you know, chocolate.

    Afterwards, I nagged them to take me to my favourite chocolate shop, but Mayhem declared it was way too far to walk in new heels. Thank goodness Bangarr suggested a tram, or I would have missed out on some spectacular chocolate coated Italian jellies.

    Mayhem hasn’t found a new home yet. It’s a tough market in Melbourne. Sometimes a rental property can have as many as 40 applicants, and I’ve heard some agents are giving the lease to prospective tenants who offer above the asking rent – which I’m sure must be illegal, but there you have it. Fingers crossed she will find the right place soon.

  110. Yes, fingers crossed. I remember house hunting for a rental, with our petting zoo. It wasn’t fun.
    Anyway, it sounds like a fabulous time was had by all, I wish I’d been there. I am also very jealous of the boots; I must get around to hunting for a new pair of brown boots this season, the cat ate my last pair.
    I’m glad you all had a good time, and you ended the day respectably with our tradition of lurking in the chocolate store.

  111. Gigantor’s devoted Grandma came and fetched him for his play date, so there was no blood. Only tears when EB realised he was being left behind, which swiftly turned to delight at basking in my undivided attention.

    Glad you had fun, Catty. And chocolate.

    What news of the Scritching, Q?

  112. Heh heh. Glad to hear it, MM. Although from what you said of your Drip, Elf Boy mayhap wound up basking in snot.

    The Bloke did some scritching of his own, yesterday. There’s lots of little piles of builder poo about, and no sooner have you cleared one pile than they create another. So he made a start on clearing some of that.
    Bits of concrete from where they’ve emptied out a bucket. Paver off-cuts piled beneath a palm. Rubble heaved up against a murraya’s trunk in the misguided belief that the shrub will enjoy that. The occasional surprise discovery of a bit of rotting sleeper, discarded behind a compost bin. Bits of turf cast aside to create new paths. And over all, a suffocating layer of dust.

    So we were up on the back terrace when the agent came through, he’d bought some prospective tenants with him, young Seppo couple who went through it and said ‘Hmm,’ and couldn’t find anything nice to say about it. The Bloke did hear them say ‘If this is what $280 pw gets you, we might start looking in the higher price bracket.’ The agent didn’t hang around for more than 10 minutes before packing up his flag and leaving, on the excuse that he had to drop the youngsters off elsewhere & he’d had no other interest in the flat & would be in touch next week. yeah right, good luck with that, NTO.

    Normally when someone moves out of that flat, the other tenants are fighting to take over it. Not this time, though. Proximity to our tradies, and the prospect of having nothing but a few pine slats between yourself & NTO seem to have put them off that.

    Our tradies are due back on Wednesday, they are just finishing off something else that we have probably held up. If Energex has showed up to move the cable they will start on our deck, if not, they will start on the roof for the garden room. Nbob said it took 21 working days to persuade Energex to shift his cable so I very much doubt we will see them this week.

    So I’m hoping Energex have better things to do for the next two weeks, as I’d really like to get the roof up over the garden room, if only to stop NTO gawking out at me from her kitchen windows.

    Not sure what we’ll do today. We contemplated house hunting yesterday, but the stuff we like that’s new on the market is all rather over-priced so we’re not in any rush to view it. There’s a new house listed in the same street as the Fossicker’s house, so I went to check historical listings. They’ve tried to sell it a few times before – overpriced so of course, no luck. What floored me, though, was discovering that after the Fossickers told us in January that they were taking their house off the market if we didn’t buy it for 630 G right there and then, they promptly listed it at the higher price of $669,000 in March. After spending 2 months trying to find tenants for it, and eventually getting that house full of P-platers.

    Those people are crazy. As much as I’d like to buy the house, I doubt that it will happen. That’s deranged. They had two offers for 600G for it, and absolutely zero interest, because it’s a renovator. They must have lots of investment properties, if they can afford to carry on like that. There’s a lot of that at the Old Coast – greedy stupid boomers. Oh well.

  113. We are constantly being amazed by the prices here in our suburb. I reckon if we auctioned off our house, we’d get almost three times what we paid for it. Not that we plan to do that – we kinda need it to live in.

  114. Yes, but that’s fair given that Melbourne is a booming metropolis.
    The only growth industry on the Gold Coast is liver spots, and meth-amphetamines.

  115. There’s plenty of other fish in the sea. Houses on the GC market, I mean. And you’re not in a screaming hurry, so you can afford to wait.

    I’m still amazed by how much NTO is asking for that rat hole. Is that what the previous tenant was paying? Astounding.

  116. Well, this will prompt us to look a bit harder, that’s for sure.
    I was just boggled by the madness of the logic behind that.
    First they can’t sell it because nobody was willing to pay more than 600G, then it went untenanted for 2 months because nobody even wanted to rent it – so they then decide to list it again for a price 70G over what the market was willing to pay for it.
    That’s just bizarre.
    At least 1/3 of what’s listed on the GC market is horribly overpriced, but normal people drop their price after a few months when they realise they are asking too much & there’s not much interest in their property.
    That’s deranged.
    The town house that we looked at up on Knob Hill at Burleigh in January has been reduced by 100G & it’s still overpriced, so we may yet consider that as an option if they’re willing to drop the price a bit further. The tiles in the bathroom are cracked & it’s not going to be a simple repair job – it’ll be New Bathroom, and since tilers and plumbers are high on my list of Tradesmen I Least Like to Deal With, and renovations have to be OKd by the Body Corporate, that one can just sit and fester. We are still hoping we’ll find something with real timber floors around Currumbin or Elanora, so we’ll see.

    The ambience at Casa Q has been improved considerably by the removal of The Rooster – that only took 4 months – and the Bongo House nearby in the valley has just sold. The students inside it have been partying every night to celebrate, but their days are numbered, and I would think it’s highly unlikely that it will continue to be a rental. Family wanting to get their kids into state high, most likely.

    Yes, all of NTO’s ratholes are leased for between 270 – 290 pw.
    It is astonishing that more haven’t left, given the horror we’ve been creating in here, and the Acropolis under construction up behind it. Still, the entire suburb seems to be renovating so it’d be hard to get away from it if you want to live around here.

    There’s some happy news re: the prospect of seeing it get razed to the ground, though. The new town plan says that you can demolish things that have been built after 1912, so that does pave the way for Bog Hollow & the ghastly boarding house beside it to get bulldozed.

    Heh heh. The Bloke did lots of yard work on the weekend.
    I considered joining him but decided against it, when I saw NTO setting up a staging area with ladders and improvised scaffolding so that she could sand another weatherboard/keep a close eye on everything he was doing.

    The Bloke came inside to mutter crossly at intervals, because having her spying on him took much of the pleasure out of of tidying up the garden.
    I just rolled my eyes and said ‘Now do you believe me when I say that she deliberately finds excuses to stare over the fence, or have you realised that you’re just neurotic and paranoid like you think I am when I complain of it?’

    Heh heh. I got an apology for that. She & NTBF drove him nuts, and that was without even trying to talk to him over the fence like they usually do.
    He said that what really annoys him is the likelihood that one of those idiots will fall off of their improvised rig & shriek for help. I just shrugged & said ‘Why do you think I’m inside with the TV turned up loud when they start climbing DIY scaffolding?’

  117. I do hate being overlooked. Which means I have some serious landscaping to do along my western fenceline, as the neighbours who are demolishing to start from scratch have given their block a Brazilian in preparation.

    Guy the plant man says Heliconias but I’m considering something more antisocial. Bougainvillea with carnivorous plants at intervals in hanging baskets, perhaps?

  118. Go with the Triffids.
    Heliconias, though?
    I’ve never had much luck getting them to do anything other than straggle. Perhaps it’s the hill & the drainage, they might want wetter feet than our slope can provide.

    I would have thought murrayas, durantas & lilly-pilly were the best screening plants for our climate, I guess it depends if they are looking down at you or looking directly through your windows.

    I’d suggest a hibiscus hedge but I’m not sure they’d cope in the back yard with all those light-thieving Tea-trees. I have long admired all the lovely thick hedges of red hibiscus out around Redcliffe – the plant they use has a small, single, deep red flower & it’s gorgeous. I saw a few of them at Bunnings last week, in large containers, taller than me, flowering & ready to Block. I’d love to grow some but I know they wouldn’t get enough light and water here. Hopefully I can use them in our next home, to screen out hopefully less deranged neighbours than what we’ve got here.

    Where do you want to screen, MM, between the houses or further out in your back yard?

    And how’s the lurgy? Did your eldest return from his sleepover or has he elected to stay there till you’re all out of quarantine?
    Hope you’re on the mend.

  119. The eldest went out to sea in a boat before dawn with my friend’s husband. I expect fresh fish for dinner and many a whale sighting. He’s had a splendid holiday, the little devil, he’d better return to school with more application to his studies.

    I’m fine, thank you, other than Irma sapping my will to live. On balance, I preferred the month she stayed away. Further to the Blessed Pause!

    Down the side, Q – which now there is no foliage whatsoever on the neighbour’s side might well get a fair bit of sun. I do love murrayas for the glorious scent. Maybe murrayas interspersed with lilly pillys, for the birds. Then again, there’s Flot the Destroyer.

  120. I had no success with lilly pillys at all. They’d grow beautifully for about 18 months, then die literally overnight. Seriously, I’d get up one morning and the plant would be completely brown and withered. It was as if someone had hit it with a flamethrower or something. At least when the golden palms died, we knew what caused it. (Frost, neglect, the Boss’s mates running over them with their utes….) The only thing I could get growing was Pigweed, and although it’s pretty, it won’t give you a great deal of screening.

    When we moved to Victoria, I tried a few plants and managed to kill them all within weeks, so it’s a good thing you’ve got Quokka to give you advice.

  121. I’ve managed to grow murrayas and lilly-pilly in the Western shade of the fence by bog hollow. The murrayas seem to cope with less sun & provide a much thicker screen. They’re slower than lilly-pillies but worth it. I started with tiny little $4 plants because of our budget, so I’d opt for more advanced plants, these days. They’re wonderful because if a neighbour snips at them, they just grow back thicker in the snipping zone.

    I’ve had trouble with lilly-pillies blowing over in storms when the ground is soaked and a high wind picks up. Even though it’s sheltered, they seem to be much more surface rooting & less resilient than the murrayas. Something to consider with those coastal winds, MM.

    The possums do love the lilly-pillies, and they haven’t been terribly resilient to attacks by neighbours with their shears. Mr. Greasy was fond of pruning them 6 inches over the fence while we were out & they looked awful & took ages to spring back.

    There are some great hedging varieties of syzygium at Bunnings now, and lots are resistant to those pests that lilly pillies are susceptible to, can’t recall the name, but they cause that ugly pitting in the leaves. They do need a fair bit of sun, though. And since there’s a two storey MacMansion due to go up next door (it is on that side, isn’t it?) They may suffer.

    I’ve had good results from researching plants & their growing conditions on Burke’s back yard & ABC gardening Australia.

    I’ve never had any luck with Port Wine Magnolias but there’s a wonderful line of them growing outside the Fossicker’s House on Wallaby Hill. They’ve got a lot of northern light so perhaps that’s what I did wrong. Those things do make for a glorious hedge.

  122. Don’t feel bad, Catty. At least you’re good with kidlets and most domestic pets.

    Maybe I’ll craft a lifesize replica of Nessie in fiberglass. With halogen spotties for eyes and a foghorn that sounds the hours. Round the clock. Oh, and a smoke machine!

    Take that neighbours.

  123. Something is missing.
    I’m not sure what.
    Bongoes, monster sized ukelele, Hello Kitty! karaoke machine.
    You decide.

  124. And severed heads on spikes. You simply must have severed heads on spikes.

  125. Those are best served fresh, on Sunday mornings after loud parties.

  126. So much in landscape design relies on good old severed heads on spikes.

  127. Perhaps that’s why Energex are so understaffed.

  128. No, surely it’s the fault of solar panel people and those who believe in Global Warming?

  129. I thought the government had all of their heads on pikes outside parliament, along with the people who invented wind farms & all those pesky scientists from CSIRO that they so resent funding?

  130. Yes, naughty science. Apt to prove Mr Rabbit wrong, etc.

  131. Global warming is real. I blame Un Zud and all their farting sheep. Yeah, Un Zud, you may have tried to hide it by sending your flatulent livestock to Canberra, but we’re still blaming you.

  132. You mean our new senators, Catty?

  133. According to twitter, Clive stormed out of an interview with the 7.30 report rather than answer a few pointed questions about what he does with his investor’s money. I wonder how long it’s going to take for his sad little troop of misfits to decide he’s not the messiah, he’s just a very stupid greedy boy. Must give the bloke another bollocking for voting PUP at the last election. Although I think he is truly remorseful that he didn’t simply print ‘Go suck a smurf turd’ on his ballot sheet instead.

  134. The Bloke, too?

    I say we send him and the Plumber to Palmersaurus until they’ve seen the error of their ways.

  135. The Bloke saw the error of his ways the moment he saw Antony Green’s figures pop up on the election count on TV. He put his hands to his head to clutch hair that’s long gone and wailed ‘What have I done?’

  136. A Very Not Good Thing, tell him.

  137. No, no, no! Admit to nothing until we find out what the Prosecution has on him!

  138. Well, he’s a fast learner, I’ll give him that.
    Well MM it is a great shame you couldn’t come to lunch yesterday, as usual it was lots of fun. Pity about the body count from manflu, though.
    Catty now that GB is in Ringworm we’ll have to get him to set up skype so we can hook you in to these gatherings.
    The only thing was that since it was so very cold yesterday am, I got off to a late start with the cheesecake. So it was too hot to travel by the time we were ready to leave. So I left it to cool on the kitchen bench, and Spanner and the Beards came back to Casa Q after lunch. Probably better as we had a small rest between the Turkish gluttony & dessert.

    I must put in another plug for my Breville scraper-mixer.
    With the Rum & Raisin cheesecake, you need to beat the whites of the eggs separately and then fold them gently into the mixture. Up until now I’ve always used my hand-held Tiffany. The Breville came with a special bowl & whisk designed for aerating egg whites & OMG, wow. The R&R cheesecake is always good but I swear it rose an extra 2cm due to all the air that the whisk puffed into those egg whites. I am very impressed. Now I want to experiment with meringue, to see the difference it makes with that.

    Wasn’t one of you muttering about getting a new mixer?
    This one really is fabulous.
    Wish you could have been there.

    Well, today we are off to the beach to view that house on the canals at Currumbin. I’m expecting it to be an utter dog, like everything else down there that they built in the 80s. We’ll see. Looks like a lovely day, I’m glad BOM cancelled the rain; so at least you won’t get damp administering therapeutic bacon to the hoi polloi, MM.

  139. Mmmmm…. cheesecake….

    I just found a recipe for cheesecake brownies:

    It’s on my to-do list. If it tastes as good as it looks, I may have found a new favourite recipe.

  140. Damn. That won’t open – my ipad must be too cold to go there. I’ve got one of those recipes somewhere but chocolate & cheesecake is just too rich & sweet for me. Viva la difference, as they say on Bastille Day, Catty.

    Well, we looked at the canal house & it was quite the Swamp Dog. Marriage break up, so she’s kept the kids and the pets and she’s completely trashed the house. There was chicken shit in the living room and a dog turd in the bedroom, and the agent kept saying ‘All it really needs is a really good clean.’ The front doors were off the hinges & wouldn’t close, when I went to switch on the lights & the fans it was to discover they’d been removed from their sockets. Tiled roof, and it was obvious that it had been leaking, and the tiled floor was terrifying – split level and the slab had not been laid so that it was level, it took all these drunken leans, and basically it formed a ramp uphill towards the canal front in the open plan living. Maybe it was designed to catch the leaks in the roof?
    The agent seemed shocked when we pronounced it only fit for tipping over, and not amused when I said perhaps she hoped the dogs (loose, and being jack russells, jumping all over us) would do it for her.

    Wow. That was scary. Pity we can’t afford to build as its a fabulous site, though. North north-east over the canal. I’ve checked with the locals & unlike Palm beach & Tally they don’t get sand-flies or midges, because the canals are on rocks & concrete so there’s no sand for the little blood-suckers to breed in. Good to know.
    The Bloke is getting really sick of house-hunting, I might have to start going down on my own on a week day, otherwise he’ll just get too cranky to be bearable. I’m better at spotting defects than he is – and the agents are utterly shocked by that as they take one look at me and assume I’m a bubble-head.

    Meh. Never mind. Today is another day & the builder has given us a price for the garden room. They should be here to start it on Thursday & they plan to go gangbusters & move straight onto the deck once Energex show up on the 30th. The deck should be quick, as he won’t want to pay for that scaffolding for a day longer than is necessary. So the end is in sight, hallelujah.

    So that’s our weekend. How were yours, ladies?
    I still have leftover cheesecake – so if you want some, get cosy on the sofa & tuck in before Irma shows up. I can hear her broom circling overhead & if she smells cheesecake she’ll touch down for an early landing. Best we get rid of it.

  141. Well, I’m sorry you had a wasted trip, Q – but on the upside I feel a whole lot better about my own housekeeping, now.

    My weekend was sadly brief, and now the children are wracked by deep back-to-school depression. So am I. The Curse of The Lunchboxes is again upon me.

    Kindly pass the cheesecake.

  142. Heh heh. Those poor children. Such a lovely day, and off they are, back in their cages. When are you going to hand over the lunchbox curse onto them? Dad had me making my own from the time I was ten. It was a very effective way of preventing me from tossing it in the bin. How I didn’t develop pancreatic cancer from all the ham sandwiches I ate, though, is a matter that still boggles me. Nitrates, urgh.

    As for the Swamp Dog, ah well. We had a day at the beach, and we got shot of the duelling bandsaws either side of Casa Q.

    Most GC property viewings are wasted trips, MM, so we always make a point of taking the dog so we can walk on the beach & go have a yummy meal somewhere. 🙂
    That way it’s a nice day out with the dog & a meal that I don’t have to cook or clean up after, and whatever ghastly thing we’ve viewed is just a half hour of horror that can be shuffled aside.
    And with the dog in tow, it makes it easier for me to corner a local & drill them with general questions about life in that area. So I got the full run-down on midge & mosquito invasions from a lady with a Lassie dog who’d lived in the area for 28 years. She loved it and said there’d never been midges and only one summer (last year) was ever a mosquito problem; they think council got slack and forgot to spray.

    So there’s always something to be had from it. The bloke does get miserable house-hunting so I might start doing it mid-week on my own, once we’re a bit closer to the end of our own build. That’s partly to stop him from wasting his precious weekend time & partly because after August the market will start to get busier again, so if something good does turn up we will need to be quick and pounce.

    We went there with very low expectations, MM, but I was a bit horrified to discover the house wasn’t structurally sound. It’s one thing to renovate, it’s another thing to have to rip up an entire slab and start again. If the Chicken Shit Lady was smart she’d set fire to it and burn it down. If we had the money I’d love to buy the block & bulldoze it & start again, though. Houses with a northerly outlook on the water at Currumbin are rare, and it would be glorious to be able to wake up every day & step out your back door to go paddling on the creek.

    Oh well. Something will turn up.

  143. Well, with days like these you’ll be happy as a weasel pottering around open-for-inspections.

    Might be less crowded mid-week, too.

    Still no power line relocation, then, I gather?

  144. Yes, and with spring there should be a stack of new houses on the market; sellers tend to wait for the September school holidays and for the holiday-makers to return to the coast. FWIW, though, every disfigured concrete monstrosity that we view tends to make the Fossickers house look like it’s probably worth it.
    We went up there at the end of the day to walk around the local park (beautiful views of the surfers skyline & the ocean) & to stalk the house & check for beer bottles (none, it looks very well kept). We continue to be amazed by the silence of the neighbours, so much so that yesterday I turned to the bloke & said ‘Perhaps there’s a gas leak & they’ve all been evacuated?’ and yesterday we were surprised at how sheltered it was from the howling southerly that had nearly blown the dog off the leash down at Currumbin. That augurs well for how effective that southern ridge should be at blocking out noise & dust from the quarry.

    Didn’t I tell you guys about energex? Sorry, that must have slipped my mind. The builder turned up in person late one day last week (Thursday? Friday) to break the news to me that Energex have decided they can’t possibly get here till the 30th of July.
    I think the builder expected me to pop a vessel & he seemed shocked when I shrugged and said ‘But of course, that’s what I expected of them.’
    He’s coming round to meet with us tonight so we can discuss construction of the Garden Room out back. We’ve tweaked the plans for that, right down to stealing ergonomic outdoor seating design from the GC horsepiddle – hee hee – and he is sending the boys around to make a start on that this Thursday, I think.
    He said that they’ll get that finished in the next fortnight and then hey should be able to move straight on to the deck.
    So they will go gangbusters on that from July 31. I expect he’ll put extra men on it so he can do it in a reduced time.
    Every day that scaffolding is here it cuts more from his profit margin so he is not pleased with Energex.
    So that’s OK, I get my garden room.
    I’m happy!

  145. You know, I vaguely recollect you telling me that. I can barely remember anything these days. I’m going to have to start tattooing things on myself, like Guy Pearce in “Memento”.

  146. I would have done the same thing last week, but I forgot.

  147. What were we talking about, again?

  148. You look familiar. Have we met?

  149. Of course we have. You’re the lady with the cheesecake.

    Well, the kidlets have survived their first day back at school, but the Boss didn’t fare so well. He had a day off to get a fibroid cut out of his leg. He came home with a massive hole and 10 stitches. So he promptly took off to his mother’s with a stack of bourbon. He’s not home yet, but I think his mum would have called me if he’d bled out – unless she helped him drink the bourbon, which can’t be ruled out as a possibility.

  150. That’s strange, Catty. Were you even using the crockpot?

  151. No. Odd, isn’t it?

  152. Maybe its mystical power has now been reversed. Get it going and see if it brings him home.

  153. Will do. I’ll let you know how it goes.

  154. This is exciting. It’s like the laws of space-time have been scrambled.

  155. Well. I made a curry in the crockpot. The Boss was home to eat it…. but didn’t. He nibbled a few mouthfuls and went to make himself some toast. I’m frightened. Am I turning into my mother?

  156. Hmm … that’s disappointing, but traditionally mere use of the crockpot would have caused him to stay away.

    I think we need further testing.

  157. I’ll give it a go, but now all I can think of is my mother’s gravy recipe. Flour lumps and water.

  158. What, no ratsac?

  159. Don’t forget the cockroach droppings, for extra crunch!

  160. Move over, Heston.

  161. Hey, that’s an idea! We’ll get Coals to market a line of Mother’s dinners, for people who want their houseguests to leave.

  162. Think of the nagging as a side-dish.

  163. Although it’s probably just as toxic.

  164. Indeed.

  165. Elf Boy says he’s big enough to stay home next holidays – rather than attend vacation care. I say he’s too tiny to stay at home, where he risks Gigantor beating him to a pulp and then feeding the scraps to the dog.


  166. Well, that depends. Would he be locked in a steel cage?

  167. The law says you have to be 12 or over to be left without adult supervision. Personally I think it would be better to leave MM at home alone, and take EB to work with you. Park in the shade, leave a bowl of water in the car and open the window a little bit, and he should be fine.

  168. Unless there’s a clothesline out the back of the office, in which case you could string a tarp over it and tie him up under that.

    Ditto to what Catty said. When DM went missing from Woombye, I wasn’t sure about the protocol for leaving kids alone at home, so I researched it. The parenting advice was, go with what the laws in your state say, and then consider the maturity of the child, and, if more than one child, the nature of their relationship. If the kids are likely to kill each other when there is adult supervision, or if the older child resents being left alone with younger siblings, you can guarantee that’s a disaster just waiting to unfold.
    Given that it’s Elf Boy, and having seen your two fight, I’d classify the danger rating to that scenario as ‘Cluster bomb’ or possibly ‘Gaza Missile Strike’.

    FWIW my mother worked full time & she made a habit of leaving me home with my two older sisters. Eventually they became my guardians when I was 15 & both parents were dead. I was far from being a difficult child, and I went out of my way to smooth the way for them, as the alternative was being left to the tender loving mercies of mother’s family, and being stuck with their OCD & their bigotry one day a week was almost more than I could bear.

    My sisters resented me being dumped on them when they were teens, and as young adults they were more mature about it but still resentful of that burden.
    And by ‘burden’ I mean, 15 year old sister who was already accustomed to running a house, looking after a garden & cooking all my meals as well as getting myself to school & doing homework unattended, because it was years since Dad had been well enough to be remotely capable of that.
    A friend from those days who knew me & my sisters rather well said I was like Saffron from Absolutely Fabulous.
    It hasn’t made for healthy adult relationships.
    The baggage of You Are In My Way and You Owe is still circling the carousel & I’ve given up waiting for that to be unpacked and let go.

    FWIW I think you’d do well to give them space from each other if that’s what they need. An older sibling in a single parent household invariably takes on a lot more responsibility for a younger sibling & my $0.02 is that they’ll have a better chance of a harmonious relationship as adults if you limit the scope for conflict & resentment now.

  169. Thanks ladies. Yes, I think they’ve already got plenty of time together to fester resentments and go the biff. Better keep him in jail.

    It’s a great shame I can’t apprentice him to a chimney sweep, though, isn’t it?

  170. I’d use it as an opportunity for personal growth.
    i.e. every time he annoys his older brother, remind him that this is why you don’t trust him home alone and if that’s his goal, he needs to work on his conflict resolution skills.

    I’d need to see six months of ceasefire before I’d relax my boundaries on that one.

  171. I’d start a pestering chart, but I’m not sure if I can find a big enough bit of cardboard. Maybe an opened-out fridge carton?

  172. Well I suppose it depends on who gets to keep score.
    Aren’t the neighbours about to build a 40m long fence?

  173. A Colourbond Pester Chart!

  174. Pesterbond! It comes with a lifetime guarantee to drive you up the wall.

  175. Hehehe. Maybe our house is roofed in Pesterbond. I wish they’d used Tranquilgalv instead.

  176. Pesterbond: 20 year warranty; regardless of how many times your children prompt you to hit the roof.

  177. How cold is it? I’m going to abandon the unequal struggle and go back to bed. Sweet, sweet flannelette.

  178. Blergh Mars Bar Kettle chips.

  179. You know, this is the sort of weather when one should really start deep-frying chocolate bars.

    It’s a mercy I don’t own a deep-fryer.

  180. Pork dumplings.

  181. I made chow mien last night. The only edible part was the noodles. (Blue Dragon – Fail.)

    Our local Coals finally have that Cadbury’s toffee brittle. They also have Strawberries and Cream flavour. I bought both. One for me, one for Irma. Sounds fair, right?

  182. Did you try the Toffee Brittle yet? I adore it, it’s just like Almond Roca only 1/6th of the price.

    You must review the Strawberries and Cream for us, too.

  183. Irma has not yet landed but she has hit the Bloat and Crave switch to keep her hovering just over my roof. Bitch.
    I scuttled out when the builders got busy with paint (rafters, they must be done before they go up in the roof as it will be hard to reach them later) as I figured they couldn’t do too much damage to themselves with a 5 litre bucket of Taubmans in a shade of Sauron’s Tower.
    Wrong, the younger one managed to get wood chips in his eye. So they’ve gone home early so he can do something about that. I suggested seeing a doctor. Am betting he’ll just down a few coronas & hit the sofa.
    Being pleased to have them back after a two week absence, I bought them each a BBQ pork bun from Happy Little Dumplings, just to ensure that they are pleased to be back, too.
    I’ve got pork shui mai dumplings and I’ve inhaled a bar of cadbury’s.
    In desperate times it’s best to stick with the basics, I find.

    Bloody Irma. It can’t be all the salty snacks making me blow up like Harry Potter’s aunt.

  184. Mmm … pork dumplings. Sulk. I’ve only got rissoles for dinner. At least there are mashed potatoes.

  185. Pringles. I need Pringles. And cocoa. Hot, steamy cocoa with marshmallows. Plus your leftover mashed potatoes, Madam. On a sandwich. With butter. Lots of lovely dairy butter, slathered on white bread in big, gloopy lumps that melt beneath the hot mashed potatoes and dribble over the crusts to ooze down my fingers in little rivulets that just beg to be slurped up. Oh, and Cadbury’s for dessert.

    On a completely unrelated topic, has anyone else had trouble with their bathroom scales lately? I weighed myself this morning and the little LED display inexplicably showed a number that was at least 2 kilos too high. Obviously it’s the scales that are the problem. Solar flares, maybe? I hear they can play havoc with electronic devices.

  186. Funny you should mention that, Catty, because my scales have done exactly the same thing. And I think the hot water must be setting itself to Boil because something has shrunk all my trousers. It’s very odd.
    Now, I wonder if I should make raspberry muffins this morning, or date loaf?
    *Wanders off to make a crumpet. La, la, la, la la Not Happening La La la.*

  187. Mmmmm…. crumpets….

  188. Crumpets with their dear little craters full to the brim with melted butter and honey. Crumpets so saturated you have to eat them with a spoon.

    If your scales are malfunctioning, best put them on the footpath for collection. And pass the chips.

  189. We don’t have hard rubbish collections any more. *sob* Doesn’t the Council know how much I love looting? If I wasn’t so sad… o.k, lazy… I’d run for Mayor just to fix this travesty.

  190. You’ll have to visit Qld to enjoy ours, Catty.
    I got the builders to stick our old chook pen out on the curb and it was gone in two days.
    It’s never functioned as a chook pen, the bloke used it to hold all his kite surfing gear. Bunnings was all out of sheds that weekend & the chook pen was just the right size. I’m still disappointed we never got to teach any roosters to kite surf.
    I suppose there’s still time, and plenty of opportunity given that on average there’s 3-4 of the suckers popping up every year.

  191. I don’t think chooks can windsurf. I think they’re more base jumpers.

  192. Oh, I thought that was lemmings.

  193. Catty’s here all week, ladies and gentleman. Don’t forget to tip your waitress.

  194. The only tipping going on around here is me approaching Tipping Point.

    Remember how, months ago, the pool guys showed up and attached most of the new pool equipment to the rickety timber fence between us and the Flanders, and then they assembled the big stuff – filter, pump, heater – in a shocking configuration of pipes and tubes designed to trip the drunk & ungainly if one is foolish enough to try to access said equipment. They set the sand filter up with the instructions facing backwards, so if you can’t read upside down you’ve got to slither in behind the pipes in order to figure out which setting is ‘backwash’.

    This is what happens if I’m not here to actually supervise a job – if a tradesman is feeling lazy they will just take the easy way out & then it takes forever, and a lot of passive aggressive resistance – to get them to fix it.
    In this case it was because the lazy little turd had forgotten to bring a concrete drill. He had a drill that would go through timber, so instead of putting all the equipment back on the block wall where it had sat for the last ten years, under a custom built colourbond shade structure – he attached it to the timber fence, and then announced I’d need to get the electrician to set up new power points as the leads wouldn’t reach back to where the power was on the block wall, under the colourbond shade hood, where all of this electrical crap was meant to go.

    (Insert snorts, eye rolls, profanity and shouting here.)

    Well, they’ve had a few goes at fixing it to my satisfaction since then.
    They never turn up when they say they will, and every time they come out and fix one thing, something else goes wrong.
    i.e. they came out last week to do handover, having rearranged the ridiculous configuration into something which is far more functional, and that’s with me making one or two compromises. (sand filter remains facing backwards because of the directions the pipes need to go, I hope our tenants can read upside down because I can’t) – but when they switched on the spa heater they discovered that it doesn’t work.
    The fan runs, but the engine doesn’t.

    So I’ve waited home all week for the engineer to fix it, as it’s under warranty.
    He came out on Tuesday, looked up at the sky, said ‘it looks like rain, I can’t do anything to it if it’s going to rain,’ and he wandered off.
    Because obviously he wouldn’t have seen rain clouds by checking BOM or the weather report (rain) or even by looking out of his van window. Best to make me wait for him here, in the rain, and then show up, do nothing, say how shocked he is that it’s raining, and leave.
    (insert more profanity, grinding of teeth and shaking of fists.)

    Since our tradies were skipping along with their project quite happily, all questions answered, and they were happily absorbed in a tin of black paint, I went off to the tile shop on the other side of town.
    We’ve wound up using a different type of timber and a different paver than we’d originally planned on (availability issues, these things happen) so the tile I’d chosen for the courtyard doesn’t work & as Tiling Day approacheth, I needed to pick a new one.

    Hours later, I return home to discover one tradie having canniptions because despite each of them having one of our visitor parking permits on their windscreen, one of them has a ticket. He’d parked the wrong way around on the other side of the street while they were packing up, because, No Parking available outside Casa Q. (students back from holidays & the street is packed), so that’s $115 or some such. So while I was soothing them down, they told me that while I was out Spa Man returned and announced that there was nothing wrong with the heater pump. His diagnosis: the pool plumber had not switched it on properly (it’s computerised) and there was nothing wrong with it.
    At which point he left.

    So I trotted up the back, after consoling the builders with Pork buns, and found the spa heater sitting in a bubbling puddle of water that was easily 1.5m in diameter. I flicked all the power off at the mains, waded through the puddle, switched off the spa heater manually.
    It had been on for an hour and the water was 1C warmer than it was two weeks ago, so I think we’ll attribute that step up in warmth to the Sun God – and I alerted the pool boss via text.

    A day later he texted me back saying it was normal, just pool condensation from the heater, like an air con, and he would have his guy adjust the tube that feeds the trap so it doesn’t overflow. So I texted him back that a 1.5metre diameter puddle seemed like an awful lot of condensate for heating the spa by 1C in the space of an hour, and to heat it by another 20C was more likely to drain the spa than heat it, and would they please look at it.
    At which point he admitted yes, that doesn’t sound good and he would send someone out.
    So even though the builders haven’t been back since Tuesday, and won’t be back till Friday, I have to sit at home waiting for these morons to turn up. I am fairly sure that the spa heater isn’t heating, so no doubt I’ll have to wait for that jackass to come out again, too.

    I try to let most of these things slide rather than bore you guys with every little detail, but since this kind of nonsense is stock-standard part of my job as Site Supervisor, perhaps I should mention it.

    The reason being; Mayhem asked me to take a day off to drive her up to see you, MM, and boggled when I said I couldn’t leave the tradies, and wondered why I started snorting and grinding my teeth and muttering bad words when she said ‘what could possibly go wrong?’

    I’ve had a few people roll their eyes at me like I’m some sort of rabid control freak, when I’ve said ‘That sounds fabulous, sorry I can’t join you for your mid-week playdate, but I can’t leave the tradies.’

    So all I can think is that the Eye Rollers must never have had the dubious pleasure of supervising a large scale renovation project that involves co-ordinating a misogynistic pack of inept rock apes to actually do their jobs.

    So. Today’s fun activity involves waiting for a truck & a crane to deliver the roofing for our garden room. I left notes out yesterday saying ‘BIG TRUCK ARRIVING’ as I usually do, asking the little darlings to leave outside Casa Q clear. And of course there’s a brand new car that I’ve never seen before parked right in front of that notice, in the spot where the crane is most likely to go HULK SMASH as it lifts the roofing up over our front retaining wall.

    Did I tell you guys that last week when the crane was lifting a stack of timber joists up over the front garden wall, a woman with a stroller came through and walked underneath the swinging pack of timber? I saw her coming and I thought ‘Oh well, there’s a caution sign and witch’s hats, she’ll stop and wait or else if she’s in a hurry she will cross the road,’ but when I turned back, there she was, head down, glaring, pushing her toddler under the dangling joists.

    So here’s hoping Stroller Mummy isn’t around when the crane shows up today.

    So in case any of you are considering renovating – consider yourselves duly warned. Stroller Mummy is a new development since last time we *improved* Casa Q, not sure what medication she’s on but I plan to be out on the footpath today to prevent splatter marks, so if she tries to get past me, I think I’ll ask her.
    I could use that degree of chemical resilience, just think, I could sell it at marked up price to everyone else who’s sick of Lady Epilator & her weatherboard project next door.

  195. Bloody hell, what a rigmarole!

    Just keep chanting, “it’ll be lovely when it’s finished”. Although Life Without Tradies might seem a little tame?

  196. I doubt I’ll get to enjoy it for long, MM, and with the steady Scritching from NTO and the yipping cattle dog & the other serial pests around here, I seriously doubt there’s much enjoyment to be had from staying here, regardless of how nice it is.
    My mantra is ‘Soon I can leave.’

    That kind of thing is just par for the course with renovations, and having done it before I know what to expect. The hard part has been having to say ‘No’ to friends when they want me to skip off for a mid-week outing, and have them question what possible use I serve by staying on site.

    I’ve had a lot of that, and several people who have rolled their eyes when I said that I deferred study this year so I could supervise the tradies. All I can think is that they’ve obviously never done it.

    The thing that really pains me – other than being watched by NTO, who really needs to Get A Life and find someone more interesting to stalk – is having to play parking cop.

    Because of all the stuff that’s coming and going, and the lack of off-street parking, access has been an ongoing issue. So I’ve found the easiest way to deal with that is simply to plant our car out the front of the house and then shift it when a truck or a skip arrives, so it doesn’t block traffic trying to get through the street.

    The downside to that is that is domestic captivity.
    Peak hour for parking starts about quarter to three, so it means that I need to keep the car in situ from at least 2pm until the next day. It’s meant that I can’t nip out to do groceries at night like I used to, we can’t go out for dinner or a movie, and we can’t even nip out to pick up takeaway or a bottle of milk without returning to find that the parking spot outside our house is taken. Unfortunately there are cars that, once parked, simply do not move for days at a time. Impossible to know where they’ve come from and as such it’s impossible to ask them to move.
    So, operation Road Block has taken over my life.

    Whatever other nonsense the renovations sling at me – such as Pool Builder BS – is really just par for the course. That stuff just happens and you simply have to roll with it, and I’m pretty familiar with it, having done it several times over in the the last 25 years. What really gets me is the limitations on being able to leave.

    I don’t know how the BCC is going to resolve the parking congestion in streets like ours. Residents are really sick of housing like Bog Hollow, where there’s 9 flats and 20 residents, and off-street parking for one car. Council issues them all with resident parking permits, but there’s only 2 spaces outside Bog Hollow so it’s a steady game of musical chairs, with cars.

    I keep nagging our local councillor to junk the resident parking permit thing, or at least limit it to one per household (they charge $25 per house for permits now, or $10 per permit) and just install metre parking in streets like ours that are 2.5km from the city.

    The permit system is a pain, there’s an influx of cars every day that obviously have a friend or a relative in the street so they use their parking permit & then catch public transport into the city.

    Oh well. We’re on the downhill run, now.
    And at least by the end of today, the back of our house should be screened from NTO, because the high roof over the garden room is going up, and the boys should be able to rig up some shade cloth between that and the fence to screen her out until they get around to finishing it. That’ll happen after the deck.

    Aside from not being able to come and go as I please, what gets to me is having her spying on us. The eavesdropping on conversations with tradies is just nuts, and the climbing of scaffolding to see in here is just ridiculously dangerous.

    I’m beyond feeling charitable for whatever mental health problem is at the root of her obsessions, I just find myself wishing she’d fall off one of her ladders & snap the neck of her femur.
    I know this makes me a terrible person, and I really don’t care.
    I figure if she’s stuck in hospital for months and months on end, they’d notice whatever the hell is wrong with her, medicate her accordingly, and the result would be an improvement in peace & sanity for all that have to deal with her.
    So the femur snapping curse is for the good of humanity, really.

  197. Happy roof news. Hopefully you’ll feel a lot better when you’re not constantly under surveillance.

  198. If not I suppose I can always go on Etsy and buy that AK-47.
    I haz pecan danish.
    How can anyone’s day not be improved by pecan danish?

  199. Mine would be. Although we did have maple-pecan danish for breakfast yesterday, so I can’t really complain.

    Now tell me, ladies – what the smurf should I cook for dinner? Please be advised that my motivation level is currently around “bring home a cooked chook from the supermarket”.

  200. You’re a genius, that’s what I thought when I trawled through Coals yesterday.
    Then I smelled the roast pork across the other side of the mall & I got us roast pork rolls for dinner, with pecan danish. I considered the bird option, but when I weighed it up there was the problem of washing up the greasy plates, as opposed to eating RPRs in the garden & tossing the paper wraps in the bin afterwards.
    So laziness and environmental vandalism won the day.

    Well, Huzzah, finally I haz Bonkers Blockout.
    The boys got the main part of the roof up over the garden room yesterday. We had four tradies out there for most of the day & NTO climbed her scaffolding and kept her eyes trained on them all. She spent the entire day epilating the paint around her windows. And, because she cleaned the windows first, she had a wonderful view of the reflection off them into our courtyard. There’s about a 2m wide gap between the high roof and the fence, where eventually we will have a lower roof over there & permanent screening. For the time being, the boys have put the shadecloth back up to block her out, and its heaven.
    So The Bloke and I got to wander around out there yesterday without her pokey sticky nose leaning out to watch what we were doing. She came out to listen in, of course, but short of throwing pots of boiling oil over the fence there’s not much we can do about that.
    He plans to spend most of the weekend treating the timber battens that will go up under the polycarb roof, and before he does that, he plans to set up an extra length of shadecloth to reduce her stickybeaking into our house to Zero. She came out to watch him paint the joists all of last weekend so having sampled her obsessive interest in watching paint dry, he’s keen to nip that in the bud before she smells the varnish & comes out to roost on her perch.

    The Brisbane Writers Festival program is out in today’s print of the Snail, MM. Just in case you can be tempted.
    What plans for the weekend, folks?

  201. EB and I are off to a big car boot sale in a little while, then I have some housework to do. Nothing, you’ll be pleased to hear, that will stand in the way of a nice nap in preparation for The Baconing.

    How about you?

  202. Well that sounds like fun. Does he know you’re planning to sell him & has he had enough phenergan to fetch the best possible price?

    Lots of chores and cooking, today, so that we’ll be free to enjoy tomorrow.
    I have to do most of the washing on weekends as otherwise it soaks up builder dust. We’re actually enjoying it this weekend, as for the first time since April, NTO isn’t staring down at us while we trek back and forth from the laundry.

    I’m hoping that BOM’s promise of a storm tonight comes to fruition.
    Pitiful I know, but storms are my idea of good entertainment.

    I might trawl through my copy of the BWF guide later; I was going to do that before but for the second year in a row the Snail has decided to cut costs by not including an index of artists with a cross-reference guide to who is on doing what with whom, when. The BWF website, like last year, has a list of the authors sorted by their first name rather than by surname. They must be trying to attract hipsters and weed out attendees from Gen X and BB who prefer an organised approach to all that’s hip and cool and chaotic.
    Such a clever marketing plan, do you think a hipster came up with that?

  203. How frightfully odd!

    Libraries list the in order of surname. And if it’s good enough for librarians …

  204. All I could think was that the person in charge of publicity must be a complete moron.
    I just flicked through the lift out & ran through the list of who’s who on the BWF team. There’s someone called Cinnamon Watson in charge of publicity, so that’s all I need to know about what’s gone wrong.

  205. She should change her last name to “donut”.

  206. I was thinking Teacake.

  207. No, I’ve got it – “Sprinkles”!

  208. Hee hee hee. You win. I’ll be sure to suggest it to her if I venture down there & encounter her near the cake stand. Then again, with the bulk of WF attendees requiring bionics to hear, see, wee and walk, I’m sure I won’t be the only one.
    Stupid program, I sat down and pored through half of it over a cup of tea and a salted caramel cupcake yesterday and I still can’t make any sense of it. The one thing that did jump out is that Rebecca Sparrow features prominently on every page of the guide. So I assume she lacks my impulse to insult and demean any spice girls who I catch smurfing about with the alphabet.

  209. On another note, perhaps it’s time we all thought up suitable pen-names in case we become published, and Miss Sprinkles idea catches on.
    Dibs on ‘Arsenic’.
    Best that my reading public know what I’m made of.

  210. I think I’ll be Darrel Lea.

  211. Catty would probably be Haighs.
    Where is Catty?

  212. I hope the WIlderbeest hasn’t bailed her up. Catty dear, are you OK?

  213. Hey, guys. Sorry about my extended absence. Blame the Boss. Or the computer. Actually, blame both of them.

    We had some stupid pop-up telling us that we could upgrade our Mountain Lion OSX to Maverick for free, and the Boss accepted it. As far as I can tell, the Maverick OSX was designed by Tim Cook taking the Mountain Lion software and taking a massive dump on it. The Boss agreed, and figured it couldn’t be that hard to downgrade us back to Mountain Lion.

    That’s when our computer problems got really bad. I won’t go into detail, but suffice to say, don’t let menfolk near the computer if they have a hangover.

    Now I have my computer back, but I also have 97 emails to answer and a tax return to lodge. So I probably won’t get much commenting done over the next two days. Nor will I get the toilets cleaned or the washing folded – but I blame that on pure laziness and a lack of pecan danish.

    Good news on the roof, Q. Now all you have to worry about is whether NTO has ordered a periscope (or one of those toy spy helicopters) through mail order.

    So, Madam, did you get a good price for EB at the car boot sale?

  214. I couldn’t possibly let EB go. Not in winter when he’s keeping my bed warm, anyway. I’ll get back to you when it’s hot and sticky summer again.

    I didn’t really understand any of that computer stuff but welcome back and good luck with the tax returning.

  215. The tech nerds told me I needed to upgrade from snow leopard to mountain lion, or maybe it was the other way round. I told them I’m happy with Wylie Coyote and I’d settle for Daffy Duck.
    So good luck with all that Catty, and welcome back.
    You won’t miss much in the next few days. I’ve got Energex coming out tomorrow, so the power will be off all day, & I will probably head out to zombiedale so they can fix the ipad. It’s not connecting to the internet, in case anyone had wondered at my lack of doona-time posting.

    There’s scaffolders due here on Thursday – assuming all goes well with Energex tomorrow – and even though they shouldn’t need long to finish off setting up what the started 6 weeks ago, I saw far too much butt crack for my peace of mind to stay here through that again. I’m planning to head north for lunch with Morgana, and dinner at the horsepiddle with Miracle Girl. I’m just loathe to tell MG that’s my plan until I’ve seen that Energex actually do turn up and do what they’re meant to do, as if they don’t, I’ll be at their mercy for the next random date they pull out of their butt cheeks.
    Wish me luck keeping the freaks out from under the power pole tonight, ladies.
    I need room for that cherry picker to park there tomorrow, otherwise – Nada.

  216. That’s one advantage of builders crack. They don’t have any trouble accessing the dates they’re pulling out of their butts.

  217. Heh heh. So true.
    Well, I’ve staked out the front of the house so there’s no reason for Energex to whine & stomp off in a huff. Unless of course Irma lets fly & tells them what she thinks of their 6 week delay to our renos.
    It must have stuffed up her flight schedule too, as she showed up last night at least 10 days late. I was just starting to think perhaps I’d seen the last of her, and I was telling myself that perhaps the new normal is to want chips and chocolate for breakfast every day – but no. She’s back.
    The builder boss-man visited yesterday, still immensely frustrated by the energex delay. He said he’d been speaking to a colleague who said that the way around that is to get the tradies to *accidentally* knock the power supply loose from it’s hook while they are working around it. Then you call them in a panic and they get someone there within half an hour to do the job.
    Not his style, because he has ethics.
    Depressing, isn’t it, the rewards for bad behaviour.

  218. Wouldn’t that be incredibly dangerous to the knock-er, though?

    I’m scared of electricity. It’s invisible, odourless and deadly. So in one regard, just like Catty’s Mum’s cooking.

  219. Maybe some builders have staff and neighbours they’re happy to electrocute.
    Four months into the renovation, I can sympathise with that.

  220. Looks like the next-door demolition is going to start today. A big clanking pile of scaffolding or something was delivered before 7 this morning. Fun & games!

  221. oooh exciting.
    Speaking of scaffolding, I just texted you re: ours.
    Now that energex have changed the point of connection over (Huzzah!) the scaffolders have announced they can’t be here to finish setting up tomorrow.
    Of course.
    (Said in dripping tones of Daria voiceover)
    So the builders have decided to send their team over to finish setting up the damned scaffolding, and since they have to be here they will stay. So looks like I am not free to zip off and play ladies and eat gelato with you, MM.
    I’m glad I didn’t tell MG I was thinking of coming up. I’ve had far too many Builder moments such as these, and I know she would have been really disappointed.
    Oh well.
    Bugger about our lunch date, I was looking forward to that.
    Looks like I get to stay here and herd cats instead.
    Remember how the goblins looked in the last Harry Potter film when the kids put the Imperio curse on them? That’s how the cats look when I spray Feliway around the room. Pity its only me to see the change, from the running around going ‘Oy! Energex! You aren’t supposed to be ratchetting around up a 6m ladder outside my window!’ to ‘My, what a lovely shade of orange. That really suits your complexion. Would you like a greenie?’

    What will you do tomorrow, MM, stay home and watch the destruction or go out in the world and have fun?

  222. I think I’ll stay in my pyjamas. It will make it a bit awkward when I have to go to Woolies, but at least I’ll be well placed for a nice long nap. Clanking permitting.

    Good luck with the builders, Q. Hope it all goes well!

  223. Thanks MM. FWIW I don’t think the scaffolders next door will bother you, unless they crank up the radio, and you can always ask them to switch it off. If they protest, tell them there’s a shift worker with schizophrenia and a winchester who is off his medication staying with you & it would be most unwise not to comply.

    The pool guys have announced that they plan to come out and look at the pool equipment again, today. The pool guys have had an uncanny capacity to pick the one day of the week that I was free & hoping to be elsewhere, so I’ll say this for them – they’re consistent.

    Builders have arrived and are moaning that they forgot to shift the optus cable and it’s going to cause them problems & they can’t set up the rest of the scaffolding till it’s gone & they want me to fix it. So I’ve told them to call their boss & get him out here to look at it. I didn’t think the optus cable would be overly much in their way so I think they are creating drama unnecessarily.
    Anyway, if I Go Dark suddenly, it’s because one of them has resentfully shunted a piece of scaffolding through the Optus cable.

    Irma is being particularly vengeful so I think my main effort for today will be restraining myself from committing justifiable homicide. Wish I could have been free to leave & lunch with you. Oh well, it looks like Irma had plans to scupper my social life today, if the builders didn’t put dibs on that first. C’est la vie, for this we have chocolate, and kettle crisps.

    Enjoy your slothing, and don’t forget the pecan danish when you trundle into Woollies.

  224. Good luck to both of you. I shall join you in renovation hell shortly – the Westfield across the road is about to start building a new extension, complete with multi-storey carpark. Most of the work involving big trucks will take place at night, so you can expect much wailing and gnashing of teeth when that begins.

    Meanwhile, I shall join you on the couch in my PJ’s, Madam. There’s no brownie cheesecake left, but I do have lamingtons. Shopbought lamingtons, but hey, CAEK is CAEK.

  225. Oh noes, Catty. Invest in industrial strength ear plugs and learn to sleep with them. That’s the worst of it here – however loud and offensive and obnoxious the neighbours are, if only I could sleep through the night I would probably deal with the freaks far better.
    In addition to the helicopters & the seemingly endless night works on the railway line half a km away, they’ve been working on the nearby rail bridge to build something that’s designed to reduce the number of bridge strikes.
    Night works stink. I have NFI how the Bloke manages to sleep through it night after night. I do envy those who can sleep like the dead.

  226. I missed you, Q, but it was hellaciously noisy here. Not only much clanking but the workmen did a lot of rowdy singing, too. They must be soccer hooligans by night, I think.

    That sucks. Maybe if you got really drunk before you went to bed it would help, Catty?

  227. Oh dear. Did they get it all finished, or will they be back for more tomorrow?
    When I outlawed the radio two of mine took to singing, but it didn’t sound like skinhead nazis, it sounded quite sweet. I think they’re closet Glee fans. yours sound more like Romper Stomper.

    I got rather twitchy by the end of the day so I ducked out briefly to get dog food, and I took off again after the builders left so I could trawl West End. I just could not cope with any more bloody scritching without going over there and smacking her with a wet fish. She’s been sanding her house since April, now, pretty much every day.

    I am amazed that none of her tenants have punched her. If I was under contract to pay her $290pw and I had to listen to that, I’d be calling up the Comancheros to arrange a contract to everyone’s liking.

  228. She obviously needs to keep busy. It’ll be like Sydney Harbour Bridge – as soon as she’s finished she’ll start all over again. On the upside, you’ll be well away!

  229. It can’t be a Hello Kitty! epilator then. Pretty much everything Hello Kitty! lasts for three uses, then implodes.

  230. Thus far we’ve had a scritch free day. Perhaps the covert agent in Flat 4 had her gaffer taped and removed before I got up this morning.
    I live in hope.

  231. Maybe she’s dies of lead poisoning – how old’s the paint?

  232. There are kids enrolled in prep who are older than her freaking paint.

  233. That’s not so bad – I think I was in Prep the last time my house was painted.

  234. Yep. It’s not that the house needs painting, it’s that she needs medicating for the OCD.

  235. Ooh … maybe you could slip some medications into the paint!

  236. Good idea. I’ll go squeeze some batteries right now.

  237. Break a few thermometers in there as well, why don’t you?

  238. Good idea.
    Scritch scritch scritch scritch.
    It’s always a shock to come back to it.
    I have been out all morning; I took the car in to get it serviced and came home via a brief stopover in the city. So that’s two hours less scritching in my life.
    Speaking of household pests, d id I tell you guys about the possum I saw in Rooster House on Saturday?
    They had sheds, it being 2700m of land, and as one shed didn’t have lighting she handed me her torch/iphone so that I could look around. ‘Just watch out for the possum,’ she said. The bloke didn’t see it. I didn’t see anything else, because when i stuck my head in, there was Poss, eyeball to eyeball with me in the rafters on my right. He was ever so pretty. Very black, and a different build than the brushies I’m used to around here. I checked my wildlife book and I think he’s what you call a mountain brushtail possum.
    Do you have these up the north coast?

    Apparently they like creeks and mountains so you can see why he’d hang around that close to the water-course. (creek on other side of the road)
    So I’m kind of disappointed this house didn’t work out. Poss looked like he’d be much better company that NTO & he didn’t look the type to share breathing space with any rats.
    I got an email from the agent this morning asking if we’d consider buying Rooster house for any price, and offering to get the owners to negotiate Rooster Removal with the neighbours.
    Pfft. Like there wouldn’t be another one, five minutes after you move in.
    The things agents will say to get you to buy on the gold coast.
    Double Pfft to that.

  239. I’ve never seen one like that around my place, just ordinary old Ringtails and Brushtails. He’s very handsome.

    You do seem to be a little cursed by roosters, don’t you? Maybe your Chinese Astrological sign is their natural enemy, or something.

  240. Wood snake. So your logic is sound.

    I think it’s just that the hills are full of stoner hippies; between their homegrown organic longbottom leaf and the home brew beer kits, they sleep like the dead & rely on the roosters to wake them in time to make it to their jobs as council town planners in the morning.

    I’m not surprised we’re having trouble finding something halfway decent – pretty much everything down there has been designed by a builder rather than a draftsman or an architect. And they’ve been built by some equally stoned tradies.

    So it means you get some appalling stuff ups, like, no shower, no oven, or in the Fossicker’s house, the pantry in the corner on a 45 angle that’s going to hit the fridge doors beside it because they’ve only allowed a 600mm deep cavity for the fridge when a minimum of 700mm is what’s actually required.
    The other problem is that lots of the houses built in the 70s and 80s were retirement homes for my father’s generation, so while they may be three bedrooms, the rooms are the size of shoe closets. And bad design, when coupled with bad construction, is very expensive to fix.

  241. I still can’t get over no shower.

  242. Well, there is a small shower downstairs adjacent to the guest bedroom. Being downstairs it’s all rather dark & dingy. There’s a kind of a basement living room down there attached to a home made bar. There’s some weird wall cavities for storage. Not sure what you’d use the cavities for, but I imagine if you left the screen doors open in summer, the mountain brushtail’s family would find a good use for them.

  243. You say “basement living room”, but I just hear “dungeon”.

  244. Now that you mention it, the wall cavities at Rooster House would make wonderful hanging coffin-closets for toddler sized vampire bats.

  245. Or severed heads.

  246. Why would you want to hide those away?
    Nup. That’s what the pickets are for, on the fence line.
    The agent is begging us to buy that house ‘at any price’.
    Hunph. Shows you how keen they are to get away from the rooster.

  247. What isn’t she telling you? Forget the rooster, I reckon they’re about to start fracking next door. Or a bongo school’s been approved.

  248. The problem is greed.
    And it’s a common problem, down there. The boomers put their properties on the market for 100 – 200G beyond what they are realistically worth. So they go ‘off’ very quickly and when they do eventually drop the price to a realistic amount, buyers are doubly put off by the desperation in the price drop and don’t want to know about it.

    There’s a lot for sale, and the most attention a property will get is during it’s first two weeks on the market. So if it doesn’t attract a buyer in those first few weeks, and it’s not realistically priced, it’s not likely to sell.

    I’d say at least 1/3 of what we see on the market down there has that problem.
    If the property has something going for it so that it’s unique, and its likely to be prized by a buyer, then they can hold out for a bit more. But the bottom line is that all of those houses in each of the suburbs are exactly the same, because they were built as estates by the same handful of builders.

    We’ve certainly taken the attitude of ‘Plenty more where that one came from.’

    The rarity, of course, is what we’re looking for – real timber floors, in a house that’s not too big for us. Rare as hen’s teeth.

    Rooster house has a water course running through it, as it’s close to the creek. It was dry when we viewed it, but I would think that in the 29 years they have been there it’s come up a few times & left a shocking mess of mud and sticks and crap in it’s wake. I’m guessing they’re just getting old and sick of cleaning up after torrential downpours.

    Usually the price on a boomer’s house is easily explained by asking the agent where they plan to go. Usually it’s a unit up near Jupiters & the minute they tell you which one they’ve got their eye on, it’s easy to see that the price on their property matches the price on the unit they’re planning to buy. So perhaps it’s cruel of me to label it as greed, when the Bloke terms it Wishful Thinking.

  249. Yes, good luck finding something not too big. Houses seem to be enormous these days, and I’m not sure why. I mean, you can only be in one room at a time, right?

  250. Yes, I can’t imagining what it would be like trying to clean some of these things, they must have maids, or an ugly combination of hyperactivity and OCD.

  251. The Boss is muttering about moving house again. *sigh* I hope he realises that if he wants to move, he can move – but buggered if I am packing or cleaning anything. Ugh. Oh, well, at least it will give him something to do other than screw with my computer. I’ve been trying to post here for days, and I don’t even know if this message will get through. Facebook lets me in, but Hotmail doesn’t. There are several accounts I can no longer access. I may have to get a new computer – one with the word NO! emblazoned over the settings button, to remind the Boss not to touch it.

    That possum looks just like the tiny baby one we found cowering under our car one afternoon last Spring. The wildlife rescue people came and took him away, but promised to release him back into the reserve behind our house once he was big and strong enough to look after himself. How could the Boss possibly want to move away from cute baby possums? He’s mad. Mad, I tell you!

  252. Woo hoo! It worked!

  253. Yay, I’m glad you’re unjinxed! Welcome back, Catty. We saved you some cheesecake.

    • Cheesecake? Bring it on! Unless that’s it over there next to the Wildebeest, in which case I’ll pass.

  254. Huzzah! Catty, it’s lovely to have you back, I’ve got fresh heads on pikes to welcome you back into the fold. Bloody computers. My ipad hasn’t connected to the Net for weeks and I’ve lost count of the number of genius bar appointments I’ve had to cancel because a tradesmen wants to talk to me at that exact time. It’s like the pricks have access to my diary and the minute I set a time for a meeting, the plumber or the electrician or the roofer insist that the time I’ve allocated to do X is the only possible time they could manage to fit me in.

    When I googled mountain brush tails the first site that came up as ‘habitat’ was your area, Catty, which confused the hell out of me. I think they’re more prevalent up here on the coast & in the rainforest as Victoria is just a less amenable climate for them. He was very, very pretty. I did like that house. If they shoot the rooster I’d probably be quite tempted by it. Given the agent’s desperation, I wouldn’t be surprised if she sneaks out with the winchester and does it herself, tonight.

    The Boss won’t be serious about moving, surely?

  255. Oh, he’s about as serious as usual. He’s already started asking the agents for email alerts. We generally go to about half-a-dozen open houses before he remembers why we like this house, and decides to stay put. I go along with it, but I do worry that one day he will find ‘the’ house. Seriously, if he thinks I’m packing a single box, he’s got another think coming.

  256. Simple solution to the packing dilemma – torch the place and start again.

  257. Then you could spend your days shopping to replace it all.
    Probably more fun than my suggestion at conflict resolution; you only need one box, it’s six feet long and made of pine.

  258. The box doesn’t need to be that long. The Boss only has two feet.

  259. Heh heh.
    concrete boots and a long nap in the swamp, eh, Catty?

  260. Mmmm…. nap….

  261. I could go a nice long nap. As long as it’s not a dirt nap.

  262. I’d like to send the events organisers at the high school for a nice dirt nap. It’s Cosplay day tomorrow. I was just about to start cooking dinner when I was told that I have to come up with a May costume. May is a character in Pokémon. Huh. I’ve been forced to watch several seasons of Pokémon, and still can’t remember who May is. So I looked her up. A very slow internet search later (the Boss has used up all our downloads – again. Bastard), we couldn’t work out how to make a May costume from the items at hand. So I rushed the kidlets down to Target (thank goodness for late closing), and managed to find all the things we needed for a pink Powerpuff Girl. It’s not May, but unlike May, people will know what she’s dressed as.

    Thank goodness the Teenie turned his nose up at the whole Cosplay event. Given his recent weight gain, I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t have found any Powerpuff Girl things to fit him.

  263. This week is Shark Week, Catty. I saw it in the TV guide. An entire week of Shark flicks on the Discovery channel.
    Send him in looked munched on with half a bloodied shark biscuit & tell the school he’s too old to celebrate the kiddy channels and he’s chosen a costume from Discovery.

  264. Cosplay day?

    I’m thankful, yet again, that my kids don’t go to your kidlets’ school, Catty.

    When you’ve outgrown Powerpuffs, you can always go as the Staypuft Marshmallow man from “Ghostbusters”.

  265. They’d have much more fun as Zuul.
    With any luck, enough fun to discourage dress-ups next year.

  266. ‘Round these parts, Shark Week means something entirely different. Here’s what the Urban Dictionary has to say about Shark Week:

    Shark Week
    The week during which a woman has her period. There will be blood, an uncomfortable sense of tension and a bad tempered, unpredictable beast.

    Take heed during shark week. If you show signs of weakness or aggression, you will be attacked. If you get attacked, it will be all your fault, infinitely more traumatic for her and you’ll never be allowed to forget it.

  267. Hmm, I dunno. Do sharks eat Tim Tams?

  268. No. You’re mixing it up with Lobster Week.
    They’ll eat anything.

  269. Interesting. I must have some lobster blood. I wonder what I’d taste like in champagne sauce?

  270. JB is the food reviewer, but at a guess I would say, luscious and mildly tart.

  271. Hehehe.

    What news of NTO today, Q – and how many hours did she spend up on her home-spun scaff yesterday?

  272. Five & three-quarter hours scritching up her scaff in total.
    She started at 7.30am today with a half hour of bucket noises before the scritching up the scaff began.
    Ekka show holiday so the students are trying to sleep in, windows jammed shut against the stench of dynamic lifter. When the Americans in Flat 4 do wake up, I would not be surprised if they send a message to Mom saying ‘Send guns.’

  273. On a plus note, nobody will notice the smell of her decomposing body over the stench of the fertiliser.

  274. Hehe. And at last she’ll get her lifelong wish, of watching her flowers grow better.

  275. And she’ll be next to Q for eternity, watching over her from beyond the grave. Or flower bed. Whichever.

  276. Well, since that’s her life’s ambition I’d imagine it’s her after-life’s ambition.
    If only her house was like the one in Beetlejuice & she couldn’t step outdoors without being consumed by a giant sand worm.
    Or in her case, any resurrected super-sized wildlife she’s knocked off in her gardening career.

  277. Scrub Turkey of Doom?

  278. Scritch Scritch.
    It seems like a fitting way for her to serve her time in the underworld.

  279. Perhaps that’s it! Perhaps she’s possessed by the restless spirits of the scrub turkeys she poisoned, condemned to spend her days scitching in a totally inhuman fashion.

    You don’t need a mental health team – you need an exorcist.

  280. That won’t be enough.

    The painter came over to quote today. He was early, and as usual NTO appeared and found urgent business to tend to, hiding behind the fence.
    So I decided public humiliation was in order, and, taking advantage of the wonderful acoustics afforded by my deck on a cloudy day, I took to chatting with the painter. When the subject turned to the ugly dive next door I said ‘yes, that’s a boarding house. The owner is the neighbourhood sticky-beak. I should warn you, she’s hiding behind the fence eavesdropping right now, and when you leave she’ll probably chase you down the street to find out what I said, under the pretext of getting you in for a quote on her place. She’s quite mad, she’s done it with all our tradies, so far.’
    Painter ‘That house doesn’t need painting.’
    Me: ‘No, but because she’s obsessive and she’s too mean to pay a professional, she’s started doing it herself. I should warn you that she’s set up some scaffolding to spy on all our tradies so she can watch their every move. She’s been driving us all nuts. She sat and watched their every move when they repaired the fence. We’re not special, she spies on all her tenants too. She’s harmless, she’s just nosy, and obviously she’s very, very bored. So just so you know, if she tries to talk to you, it’s because she’s a very strange duck.’

    Scuttling noises from next door as NTO ran off up the path so the painter, chuckling merrily, wouldn’t be able to make eye contact with her.
    She shut herself indoors and yanked the blinds down & I haven’t heard Scritch out of her since.

    The Bloke has had a stroke of brilliance. He pointed out that some of the weird scritching sounds she makes sound just like the Horcrux noises from Harry Potter.
    So that, obviously, is what’s really wrong with her.
    We don’t need an exorcist, we need a basilisk fang. That or the sword of Gryffindor.
    And I don’t like my chances of that presenting itself to me. I’m born in the year of the snake, after all.

  281. I bet they’ve got a basilisk fang on eBay. I’ll do a search.

  282. Excellent.
    Until then, the venom that flows forth from my jaws will have to do.

  283. Save it in a Tupperware jug. We can dip one of Gigantor’s fangs in it, next time he loses a tooth.

  284. I’m not sure I can wait that long. Perhaps if I try a star picket?

  285. Very similar specs to one of Gigantor’s fangs. Worth a try.

  286. Heh heh heh.
    Well, by the sounds of things I’ll have plenty of metal stakes on hand, as the builder wants to turf the front footpath before council fines him 2.5 grand for the wasteland that our build has created out there.
    There was a heavy downpour late on Saturday night that turned the footpath into a river of mud, and all the sand they had stored in the driveway wound up half-way across the road. It took them an hour to get it all off the road & out of the gutter, & Simon is worried that some busybody cough*NTO*cough will ring up and complain to council. She was outside on the footpath Agitating & trying to attract our attention when we got in from lunch yesterday & we both pointedly ignored her.

    I knew she would be in a right flap about her tenants trampling all that nasty mud up her freshly painted stairs & the retort ‘Then tell them to FU out of it until the builders get here to fix it’ was ready to roll off my tongue. She was sneaking steadily closer towards us until I called out to the Bloke ‘Watch out for that nasty creeping fungus!’ – and that made her pause in her tracks & think twice about calling out with her ‘Yoo Hoo can I just have a word to you about…’

    OMG when will that woman learn, Your Crisis Is Not My Emergency.
    I will be so glad when our scaffolding goes & we have our driveway back & we don’t have to pay any attention to her unless we reverse over her.

    So we should have turf out there sometime this week, and the builders plan to fence it off with stakes and orange hazard mesh to discourage the little treasures from stomping on it. I don’t think anything short of an electric fence will keep them off it, but hey, Simon would rather try that than argue his way out of a 2.5G fine so fair enough.

    The mudslide, of course, did not deter NTO’s tenants from parking in the slush on Saturday & Sunday. They parked, sank in the mud, exclaimed, and then went clambering up through the worst of the ruts with their bags of groceries and alcomohol. I had high hopes they’d go Splat & wind up in the gutter but no such luck.

    Tinky Winky has parked well clear of it so she, at least, must have learned her lesson after going for that muddy grass slide back in June.

  287. Tinky Winky… heh heh heh…

    I’m still struggling with the internet. Fingers crossed it will be back to normal by Friday. If it’s not, I shall have to make the Boss some gaffer tape mittens so he can’t attack the bloody computer again. But as he has a shiny new iPad to unbrick, I’m not even sure gaffer tape will stop him. Does anyone have any spare handcuffs?

  288. Poor Catty. If not we may have to entice Greybeard to help you. Stop wasting your time trying to fix the innerwebz and just bake a nice tray full of almond biscotti. I’m sure it’s a much better use of your time.

  289. Mmm … biscotti.

    Maybe you could just password protect your computer, Catty? That’ll work unless he gets one of the kids to hack it for him.

  290. He can hack PC passwords, but not iCloud passwords. Hence the computer problems. He’s been signing up for programs that make him do a ‘survey’ before they’ll give him the secret to hacking iCloud. So not only is my computer on a go-slow and full of malware, it’s also filling my email box with offers for American mortgagee sales, discount pharmaceuticals, and multi-million dollar lottery prizes from multi-national companies run by Nigerian noblemen with cancer. Or something. I didn’t read them too closely, as I was busy finding my bank account number and my mother’s maiden name so I can claim my winnings. Oh, and I’m being offered some fabulous insurance deals. Anyone want life insurance for a dollar a month, with a guaranteed million$ payout? All you have to do is move to America and give the company your bank account details. And your mother’s maiden name.

  291. Catty, can’t you just haggle with them to see if they’ll take your mother, instead of fussing around with all that pestiferous paperwork?

  292. Probably not. I think her culinary infamy has gone global, so there’s not much for me to put on the bargaining table. Not much that’s edible, anyway.

  293. Rats!
    Perhaps she could roast them?

  294. I should ask Greybeard to get some of Mayhem’s Mum’s rat recipes for her.

  295. Sounds like the smells that issue forth from next door at tea time.
    Keen’s curry powder, oh how I loathe it.
    I’m sure it causes brain damage, and NTO & NTBF are walking proof of it.

  296. Gotta get me some of that sweet life insurance action. Send them my Mum’s maiden name, please, Catty.

  297. I’m getting a shirtload of pron spam from people (I use the term loosely) with limited comprehension of the English language. BiG F_Un.

  298. Oh, yeah. I get those emails too. They seem to think I want to Have Rock Massive Between Legs For Make Her Happy Smile Good Time.

  299. They can’t think much of you if they offer you rocks, Catty. Love-you-long-time offered me the quarry.

    I’m still trying to figure out if he meant as prey, or as future landfill. Then again, given his confusion, he may not know either.

  300. Ask him. Actually, that’s probably not a good idea. He’ll probably be so excited to get a reply, his head will explode.

  301. I have been tempted, but I think I’d need to do it from a faux email address as I’m sure I’d be bombarded with fifty times as much of it.
    I’d need the right name to get his attention, though.
    How about ‘LoreenaLikesKnives@ hotstuff. com?

  302. LOL ROFL.

  303. Rain, rain, glorious rain!

    The only thing that would make it better is if I could stay on the couch with my Kindle and enjoy it, instead of go to work. Oh well, maybe Saturday.

  304. I know, isn’t it fabulous?
    I’m about to seal us all in the back of the house with the kindle. That is about as far away from the jackhammers on the porch as we can get. The wonderful thing is that NTO will be unable to run the super-epilator or scritch in the rain. And she’ll get very, very wet if she feels compelled to do her turkey runs up and down the path spying on my builders.

  305. I’m spyin’ in the rain, just spyin’ in the rain …. Eeeeeeeek! *splat*

  306. I wonder how slip-proof that ugly brown paint on her garden stairs really is.
    When the rain reaches the fungussy stage, I guess we’ll find out.

  307. Why would you paint concrete stairs? Only DSM V can tell us.

  308. I just read an article from a link in Radio National saying that everything in the DSM is rubbish because it’s not based on neuroscience. So the talk is that in a few years time when they’re done dissecting enough wastrels and psychopaths, they’ll have to chuck the lot and start over.

    Oh Goody, just what I want to do, another qualifcation where that happens.
    Fun times.
    Perhaps for the hell of it I should just go off & study architecture.
    That way the Bloke & I can team up & design houses at the Gold Coast in our Golden years. Sweet little timber beach shacks for middle-lifers & empty nesters to live in.
    Smurf knows, given the horrors that we’ve looked at thus far, there’s a need for it.

  309. Use lots of corrugated iron. I like a bit of corro.

  310. It is marvellous to block out snooping neighbours. And I do enjoy the sound of it being battered by rain. Another heavenly blob lurks above us. Isn’t this simply glorious?

  311. The only thing left to make this the perfect weekend would be if Baconing was cancelled. Trotters crossed, everyone!

  312. Well it does seem wet enough. Fingers Crossed!

  313. Huzzah! It’s off. I’m going to stay in my pyjamas all day tomorrow. Thank you, glorious rain.

  314. Excellent. Congratulations, may you have a pig-free day.

  315. Yes, Morgana, enjoy your day off! Just don’t let yourself get bored. Might I suggest keeping yourself busy by coming over here and cooking us some bacon? No? We have brownies….. Still No? *sigh*

  316. Well, EB is keen to win the Wonka Golden Ticket promotion. If we do, we;ll be down your way and I shall cook you bacon to your heart’s content.

  317. If he misses out you can always take him swimming in the chocolate fountain at the Stamford hotel.–bar/brisbane-high-tea
    I went there for a chocolate high-tea hen’s party god knows how many years ago, and JB took one of his kids for a BD not that long ago so the syrup is still flowing.
    I can just imagine Elf Boy frolicking cherubically in the chocolate fountain,
    while over the PA there’s a burst of static and ‘Security! Security! Bring restraining bolts, and the chocolate coated Ritalin!’

    I did my usual Sunday trip up to the local markets for fresh juice and baked goods so I am feeling rather replete. Guess what? I found Bertie Beetle chocolate cupcakes at the cupcake stand. The cupcake guy was telling me that he knows someone that does showbags so he buys them by the 6kg box.
    So now I know who to suck up to when I need a Beetle Fix.

    Well MM, I just dropped your boy & my old boy off at the AFL.
    We made it a block from the Gabba without incident making polite conversation & then the Bloke & I both started pointing and shrieking with laughter.
    NTO, in her painting kit, clutching a straw bag and looking for all the world like a demented bag lady, was pacing back and forth in front of a rather grand old house on the hill, looking frustrated that she couldn’t get a better view of the inside and the occupants than that which was afforded from wearing a hole in the footpath out front of it.

    I told you she follows me everywhere. Now your first born can confirm it.

  318. That is spectacularly peculiar. I’m glad Gigantor got a first-hand look, though. He can give me an in-depth description.

  319. I think he was too busy boggling at us to focus on the bag lady. I meant to take them up in the back yard for a viewing of her Scritching Post but we were having a nice time, so I forgot.

  320. He had a lovely time, please thank AB again for me. And EB is over the moon with the Mac. We didn’t tell him until this morning because we were too lazy to want to set it up last night. So he’s been wandering around, smiling broadly, saying “Is this a dream?”. Many thanks!

  321. The pleasure was ours. I am still immensely gratified that the freaks in the street came out to put on a show, and thus I have witnesses to testify that I haven’t gone mad from exposure to builders’ dust & am hallucinating it all.

    I hope the MAC is OK, they promised me that they scrubbed it’s memory and had it set up to go with whatever store settings are available in a 10 year old fossil.
    I think the hardware is out of date to go with the very latest software, but it should run OK, and hopefully you’ll be able to get tweetdeck up and running on it. Password protected of course, considering Elf boy has access to it.

    D did look disappointed when he said ‘For me?’ and I said ‘For your brother, in hopes it stops him from destroying yours.’ Although from the somber nod he gave in response, I gather he could see the sense in offering up a sacrificial lamb in order to protect his Preciousss.

    Let me know how the Freak Races go on your tea break at work.

  322. Bloody Mac. Bloody stupid Mac! The Boss spent the whole weekend arsing around looking for iCloud hacks again, so I woke up this morning to a Macful of malware and spam. I couldn’t access the internet for about 8 hours while I tried desperately to shovel the spamnure out of the software. It is beyond frustrating. Honestly, if I’d wanted a crap computer that was completely useless, I’d have bought an Acer with Windows 7.

  323. My mac works fine, Catty. Probably because the Bloke has no idea how to use it and even if he did, he doesn’t know my passwords.
    Good luck fixing it.
    I’ve had a lot more spam than usual in my gmail account but thus far no bugs in the system. My ipad hasn’t connected to the internet for nearly a month, since I bought the new bluetooth keyboard – so hopefully this week I will be able to get out to Zombiedale to get the damned thing fixed at the Genius bar.

    This week the goal is to tile the deck. The tiler showed up yesterday, created a hideous cloud of dust, and then stank the place out with chemicals applying the water-proofing layer. Supposedly he’s coming back today to apply the second coat, and then from tomorrow he’ll start laying tiles. Casa Q will be the land of Stench & Dust, so I’m hoping to escape to the mall, the movies, or at very least, the very back of the house, where the cats have set up camp since we nixed their enclosure.

    I’ve tried putting the boys out on the back patio in their pen but the minute I walk outside NTO takes that as her cue to come outside and start scritching. I put them out at 11am, yesterday, thinking that by that point it was safe & she must have found something else to obsess over. Nup. She went out & started up the sander.

    The Bloke has commented that she’s like one of those annoying little dogs with fence aggression & he’s not wrong.

    Still, now that I have my driveway back & I don’t have to do laps of the street looking for a parking place & then circle past the old buzzard, my quality of life has improved dramatically.

    Our deck will be lovely. So long as you don’t look west, to see the crows and the ibis picking garbage out of NTO’s bins out on the street. Nothing says Ghetto like a flock of crows feasting on the contents of your recycle bins.

  324. I think, for a truly ghetto look, you have the neighbours feasting out of your recycling bins.

  325. Given the rents she charges, I’m surprised it doesn’t happen already.

  326. Maybe THAT’S it! She’s running a covert health spa. High rents reduce the cash available for junk food, and the constant scritching keeps your nerves on edge.

    Adrenaline makes you mobilize glucose and therefore lose weight, right?

  327. You may be onto something.
    For bonus points the rising damp dulls their sense of smell by stuffing their sinuses full of mold spores and snot, thus reducing interest in food, so that they can’t smell the biscuits and cakes baking in at Casa Q.

    That would explain why her builders have dispensed with the need for water-proofing in the new bedroom formerly known as The Foyer.
    And to think I had foolishly assumed it was a cost cutting measure on the builder’s behalf and pig-ignorance about building on her part.

    Irma & I had business in the bathroom & we overheard an hilarious exchange between the tradies and NTO regarding the asbestos ceiling & walls in her new *improved* bedroom. They had some qualms about drilling holes in it for the light fittings & the fan that she requires and she told them bluntly that she wasn’t paying to get it taken away so they’d just have to deal with it.

    Charming. Perhaps she plans to install NTBF in it?
    The asbestos would work slowly but the rising damp, come the monsoon season, could give him double pneumonia.

    Sometimes I’d prefer that I don’t live with a construction type, because when I reported on the progress to him earlier & said ‘Well, they’ve got the frame up but they haven’t bothered with waterproofing, so perhaps they’ve got some clever way of dealing with that which you & I are unaware of.’
    He snorted derisively & said ‘Perhaps NTBF has told them there’s no need, they can just encase the whole thing in lead.’

    So I’ve been wandering round the house doing chores & warbling ‘The Rising Damp it Stole My Man Away.’
    I don’t think that’s what Cold Chisel had in mind when they wrote that tune but hey, it’s entertaining me.

  328. “I left my lungs to the spores all round Khe Sahn”?

  329. LOL.
    That’s it.

  330. “I used to cough up green stuff, but now it’s black and tan”

  331. LOLZ.
    You’re very good at this.
    We must gather, soon, for a singalong with kindred spirits – or perhaps just straight spirits, on ice – on the terrace at Casa Q.

  332. I got nothin’. But I will be happy to partake of straight spirits. Do you reckon the Abbott government would be incompetent enough to award me an arts grant to pay for the flight up there?

  333. Yes.

  334. Well, what an annoying day I’ve had. I was called away from work soon after 10 because Gigantor had allegedly had a head injury so severe they called the ambulance. When I got there, the ambulance had given him a Panadol and he wanted to stay at school so he could play tackle footy at lunch.

    It’s obviously the High School equivalent of purple spots.

  335. Oh Noes. You didn’t even get to stay for desk-top Freak Races at elevenses. That sucks. Although I do admire his spirit for wanting to stay on and enact retribution on whoever thumped him on the head hard enough to warrant calling an ambulance.
    Did his evil plan work? did someone else’s mother get called and told to bring needle and thread & rubbing alcohol when her child required stitches?

    Speaking of the Forces of Darkness, MM, how goes your young Sith and his foray into world domination via 10yro IMAC? I told twitter what I’d done & they are deeply concerned. They’re all cursing me and putting extra-strenght hoodoos on their social media security settings.
    On the plus side when twitter has a psychotic episode now, they’ll have someone else to blame other than me.

  336. Oh, yeah, that reminds me. Thanks for the heads-up; I just installed extra security on the Mac, Hopefully it is now EB proof. But I suspect no matter how strong the security, it’s not going to be Boss proof. *sigh* We’ve just discovered he’s changed the Apple Store password, but he’s not home tonight so we can’t find out what he changed it to. Also, there’s a warning telling us that he’s stuffed up iTunes on the Mac, so we’re not allowed to plug any iPhones into it, just in case the problem stuffs up our phones. No word on when/how/if this will be rectified. Did I say *sigh*? *sigh*

  337. Oh Catty. Perhaps if you sever his fingers?
    Although that won’t help with the state of the ensuite.
    Over to the rest of you, beyond amputation or at very least threats thereof, I’ve got nothing.

  338. EB is delighted with his new acquisition. He keeps saying “Are you jealous of my beautiful computer?”. He also keeps offering me a turn on it, which is sweet. But I’ll stick to my clunky old PC that keeps going until it crashes.

    I’ve got an idea for Catty though – password protect your computer against the Boss. Either that or send him up to play tackle football with Gigantor.

  339. Heh heh heh.
    Yes I just got his thank you email, your manners training has paid off and as yet whatever virus he has added to his gratitude has failed to activate the Skynet countdown apocalypse.
    Macs are lovely things, I am sure he will enjoy it.

    I’ve just realised I forgot to windex the kitteh snot off of it, Bear liked to sit on top of it and view the Full Frontal Scritching of the morning’s bucket watering, and it set off his hayfever, so I do apologise for that. I was a bit distracted when the Bloke was dismantling it so I cant remember if I gave him the magic mouse or the corded mouse. The magic mouse is awesome so if not, you must help him find one. It is wonderful & no more computer addict RSI in my wrist & shoulder since it became an integral part of my life.

    I hope there is no concussion today, and no purple spots.
    Huzzah to another Mac convert, Khan GB will be appalled.
    I apologise right now for all the future nagging that will accompany trips to the Fruit Store.

  340. Magic mouse, hey? Is that the motion activated one you attach to your fingertip, or is it one the kittehs left on the doorstep?

    I’m in a bit of a daze at the moment. Mother just called. My father had a massive stroke today. He’s in the critical stroke ward or something, and is paralysed down one side of his body. The bleed was a big one, and is too deep to operate on. He can’t talk – which, knowing my father, must be immensely frustrating for him. That’s about all we know yet.

    Meanwhile, I have cakes to decorate for the littlest kidlet’s class party tomorrow. Joy! But it least it gives me something to do other than fret about my father.

  341. Oh Catty, that’s awful news. Can you count on your mother to give reliable information? We’ve found with the Bloke’s parents that between their lack of understanding of medicine & their um, *personalities* that it’s best to speak to the medics if we want to get an accurate picture of what’s going on. Sometimes their level of distress tends to add a lot of colour to whatever is really going on.

    Which hospital is he in, and what news?
    I’m guessing you’ve had a long night.
    Thinking of you.

  342. Oh, Catty. Big virtual hug. Sometimes you get acute brain swelling and when that settles down a lot of function comes back. I hope that’s true in your Dad’s case. Take care.

  343. Dad will be in the Toowoomba stroke ward for about a week. They want to make sure he doesn’t have any more bleeds. It’s still too soon to know if the paralysis is permanent, but as you said MM, there’s a possibility he will regain some function when the pressure subsides. When my girlfriend had a stroke last year, she had a blinding headache for about three months, but dad doesn’t appear to have any headache at all, which is a blessing. Mum’s a pretty smart woman, so I’m sure she will give me accurate information – if she was going to play games, it would have been by not telling me at all. But I think she’s way too shaken up for that at the moment. Thanks, guys, I feel a lot calmer now. Oh, and the cakes look gorgeous – it could be because I was too distracted to lick any of them last night, but I’m about to rectify that right now. Shhhh, don’t tell the kidlet!

  344. Mmmm – cake. If I didn’t think bacon was such a good idea, I’d be out there licking cakes, too. It probably gave you extra focus, by way of needing the distraction, so I say – MOAR CAEK.

    Well, fingers crossed, Catty. At least they are keeping a close eye on him & that is good news that your mother is being reasonable. Are you thinking of coming up for a visit? Although I don’t see how you could, with your hubby away for work so much & all those kids to wrangle. Much less the computer troubles you’d have if you left them all unsupervised. You’d go back to Spamalot.

    Jeebus. The poor sod.
    Well, lets just hope that’s it and things improve as the swelling goes down. Look at Miracle Girl, she had all that blood and pressure on her brain from cracking her head open as she bounced down the cliff and she’s still here as resounding evidence that the brain is a wondrous thing.
    More air kisses. Mwah!

    Oh & MM, while I think of it, did Elf Boy find the disc drive on the mac? I forgot to mention it was there. I emailed him, even thought I figure he is quite wily enough to figure that out for himself, but if you have any questions, let me know.
    Only asking because I had the mac for 6 months before one of the kids asked if they could use the disc drive to play a CD and I said ‘What disc-drive?’

  345. The same thing happened with our TV. A week after we got the TV, I saw the littlest kidlet stuffing a DVD into the side. I was just starting to go ballistic when the other kidlets told me it was a DVD player. Ooops. So even though you didn’t know about the disc drive on the Mac, EB’s probably already modified it to read Windows discs.

  346. I suspect he knows it’s there, he’s taken to the magic mouse like a duck to water. He’s so proud of the Mac, he keeps showing me its features. “And the mouse doesn’t have any wires, look! Look at the graphics! Do you want to watch me play Assassin’s Creed?”

  347. Heh heh heh. Yes, he does sound ever so happy. Well, at least you have another DVD player now, MM, so you can banish him to his room with the Smurf Movie & no-one else need be tormented by it.

  348. La la la la la la, la la la la la.

    Oh dear. This isn’t helping my migraine.

  349. Oh Noes. Who do we blame for that, Irma or the new and improved graphics on Assassin’s Creed?

    Poor you. I prescribe kettle crisps and remedial chocolate, STAT.

  350. I’m just glad it went away after one day. The last one I had went for 2 1/2. All packed for your getaway, Q? We expect many pix.

  351. Well that’s a mercy.
    Nup, I will pack on Monday morning. It’s only two nights, Kindle swimmers pyjamas, what more could I possibly need?
    The hardest thing to pack will be the cats, into their cages, as we ferry them to the vet.

    The tiler will be back first thing Monday morning to lay the last 3m of tiles and to get started on grouting. I’d say we’ll leave after they’ve had smoko, so that we can sort out any last-minute trouble shooting, lock up and get down to the ‘Gatta in time for lunch.

  352. Not as hard, I’d wager, as it will be to unpack the kitties at the other end.

  353. I have something you can take with you. The Teen. She showed up here on Friday with some cockamame story about a psycho housemate or something, saying she needed somewhere safe to stay. We have made her visit as unpleasant as possible by forcing her to wear purple leopard-skin flares, and making her do all the washing up. Also, I hid all the cigarettes. Heh heh heh…

  354. Good timing Catty. NTO has a room vacant next door. Although since I’ve suggested council tell her to use it as a bin enclosure, you’d want to get in quick.

  355. I had thought of that, but ditched the idea when you mentioned that NTO expects her tenants to pay rent.

  356. Purple leopard skin flares? Yeah, baby.

  357. Oooooh! Bee Have!

  358. Off-topic, I’ve thought of something NTO can do with the bicycle shed – torture chamber! The mould will be an advantage.

  359. Agreed. Bicycles are torture.

  360. As are bicycle pants.

  361. Those lycra monstrosities are not pants.

  362. At least you can’t HEAR the pants. In stark contrast to the tippy-tappy shoes they wear into cafes and shops.

  363. It’s their secret method of communication. Morse code shoes. “.. .–. .. … … . -.. — ..-. ..-. ..— ….. -.. .-. .. …- . .-. … – — -.. .- -.–“

  364. Oh God, don’t talk about cyclists. There’s a whole stack of wobbly arsed old men decked out in lycra all over Currumbin. And by ‘all over’ I mean legally blind & unable to see where the hell they are going. It’s like Mr. McGoo got cloned and formed a peleton.
    They are particularly fond of wobbling their way out along that windy road that follows the creek into Currumbin Valley. There’s a landscape supplies business and a concrete packing company (very noisy, glad we found it as it explains why all those seemingly lovely houses for sale nearby are being vacated) and given the way their trucks drive & the way the McGoo squad cycle, I’d hate to think how often one goes Splat.

  365. For some reason, all I can think of is those little bottles of Mr McGlue we used to have in our pencil cases at school. I wonder if they make it out of squashed cyclists?

  366. Sure used to smell like it.

  367. Yeah, but it was so much fun smearing it on our desks (and fingers) just so we could peel it off when it dried.

  368. Another thing I don’t remember. Pass the ginkgo, and perhaps some electric paddles. I’m finding it hard to get motivated today. I’ve just emerged from beneath a stack of large cats. Apparently they missed us and now they’re done with yelling at us for dumping them for two nights at the vet, they want Mummy Cuddles. It’s kind of sweet, but with the little one insisting on sleeping on my page-turning hand, kind of unproductive.

  369. I wish I had a pile of cats to whimper under – I just got my gas bill. It would appear the gas company has not only ignored the repealing of the Carbon Tax, but they have also hired Steven King to write their bills.

  370. We just had to fill in Gigantor’s subject selections for next year. Fair enough, you might reckon, but the school required payment of $400-odd dollars in fees and charges NOW. In August. He hasn’t even finished Grade 8 yet!

  371. OK, I’ve just realised it’s September but that’s still hellaciously early.

  372. Year 9, hey. That’s a fun age. (Calculates number of bongs likely to be consumed in the afternoon) Say, do you get a refund if they make him repeat a grade?

    It’s OK, I’m in Spring Denial too. It’s now six months since the builders started & NTO’s Scritching Scaffolding has been in the same spot for over two months.
    Sigh. Lots of washing do do, today, and as it’s heavy stuff like cat vomit – er, I mean, doonas & stuff, I’m having to sit by the machine in case it throws itself off balance and goes back to the beginning of the cycle.

    I understand the logic, I find that if I forget what I’m doing it’s best to go back to where I was when I knew what the plan was.

    Stoopid singing Korean POS. Is it really all that hard to remember that ‘spin’ comes after ‘rinse’?

  373. Yes. Yes it is.

  374. All I can hear now is Dead or Alive.

    “You spin me right round baby, right round
    Like a record baby right round round round”

  375. Add the Boogaloo Death Rattle & that’s what happens when you wash the quilted doona.

  376. Washing the quilted doona is all well and good, but how the heck do you dry the thing?

  377. Hair dryer? No, that wouldn’t work, would it?

  378. I am a great one for layers on a bed, MM. So there’s the fluffy snuggle blanket that stays on the bed all through winter & then I have a very light washable cotton doona – it’s the lightest one from the sheridan range. I think it’s the ‘ultracool’. I don’t know how they’ve made it but it’s a wonderful thing, as it’s so easy to chuck it through the Korean juke box & it only takes a few hours to dry in the sun.

    When you have animals that sleep on beds and are prone to retributive upchuck, it’s best, I’ve found, to have the kind of bedding you can wash & dry easily. And a nice thick plastic/terry towelling mattress protector to ensure the memory (and the smell) doesn’t linger.

  379. Wish I’d had one of those for the Teen. When she moved out, it took months to get the stench out of her room.

  380. Some people have a Presence, Catty. Pity you didn’t bottle it and sell it to the Kurds, they could use it around now.

  381. If the Kurds are prepared to house, feed and clothe her, and let her lie around drinking all day, and supply her with plenty of cash, cigarettes, internet access and dole bludgers to keep her entertained, I’m sure she’d be happy to go over there and give them all the ‘presence’ they could possibly need.

  382. I don’t think they’re down with the drinking. She’d be quite happy smoking hash, though, surely?

  383. Thank Dog I don’t have children, and I have you two to remind me to be grateful for it.
    Well, since there are no tradies here today (rain) I have made an appointment to go to the Fruit Store to get my ipad fixed. So hopefully by the end of the day it will be connecting to the internet again, and I’ll be full of donuts.

    Is that a plan, or what?

  384. Sorry for your tradie void, but I have been enjoying the rain.

  385. Mmmm…. donuts….

  386. Donuts in the rain!

  387. There was a long queue of tattoo beasts at the donut stand so I decided to skip the donuts & go to the carvery, where there was nobody queueing at all. I have a nice big TA box of roast veg & creamy potato bake.
    Also my ipad is fixed and I loitered at the Apple TV section. Essentially it’s just a hard drive that allows you to watch itunes movies on your TV, but now that there’s no such thing as a video store in our area any more, I deemed it essential to my sanity.

    Might pick it up next trip, assuming I can upgrade the software on our TV between now and then.

    Bzzt. Zap. Zing.

    maybe later. I really should have had that donut.

  388. Would it also let you watch, say ABC catch up programs as well? That would be very handy.

  389. Yes, but I’d talk to an apple nerd about what you can access from the antique that I gave you – the high-school lap top may be a better option. He showed me how to access it from an ipad so there must be a lot of cross-over. Older tech won’t have the hardware to access some of the newer software.

    There’s a whole stack of things that you can watch on it & when netfix comes out, the software will update itself so that you can watch that.
    You just need to check if your TV is compatible with it.
    The nerd said that if it’s recent tech it should be designed for that.

    The new LG we bought last year says it can access the internet but I’ve never tested it, preferring to watch iview from my Imac. (Too lazy to figure out how the TV works)

    I find that I need to go back to the store 2-3 times to ask the same questions about how it all works before it sinks into my non-tech head. You’ll probably fare better than me as you’ve got digital-age children to translate, or, better yet, do it for you.

    Its very cool. If we weren’t low on funds I’d have bought it yesterday, but we’ve only just had the rest of the loan get approved today. The Bloke is heading in to the city this morning to sign his life away at the bank. After all that faffing about & indecision by the valuer, they’ve decided to give us what we asked for in the first place. I suspect that what happened is that someone else looked at it all, realised the valuer had devalued our property by the exact same amount as we’d spent on it, and then decided he’s an idiot. Apparently his problem was that he doesn’t know how to cost building projects, just the finished project. Oh well.
    That’s bureaucracy for you.

    Meanwhile our builder is having canniptions because one of his best workers busted his knee playing rugby last night. So the boss man is here today filling in for him, doing some very tedious things to battens, and answering his phone every five minutes to trouble shoot at all his other jobs. Poor sod.
    Sigh. I foresee even slower progress at Casa Q.
    Oh well.

  390. The Curse of the Scritching?

    Still, at least it’s progressing. And good valuation news, too.

  391. Heh heh. Our temporary shade-cloth screen fell down again while I was out yesterday – funny that, as there was no wind. I’m quite sure NTO gives it a good prod when her curiosity can bear it no more. I got up early to move the car & I don’t think she twigged that the Bloke was at home this morning.

    So when I went up to feed the birds & rake the leaves at dawn, he had a clear view of her as she gawped out at me from her kitchen sink & then rushed outside up the back to peer through the fence slats to see what I was up to.

    So much for his theory that I make this shit up.
    He went out very promptly and secured the shade cloth to block her view.
    I do so enjoy it when the silly bint puts on a show to demonstrate my point for me.

  392. I still think the valuer factored NTO into his final figure.

  393. Jen across the road thinks he met the Freaks either side of her.

  394. It’s the whole package, I suspect.

  395. Yep. Discount on Freak Street.
    Still, Jen popped over before for a cuppa & told me they’ve found a house they might buy up the road. I showed her my crime-app statistic finder & she had a fit when she realised how much worse the break ins & drug arrests are up in that neck of the woods. I knew there were junkies in that street but I’d never realised they had so many friends & were so very busy.
    They seem like such an indolent lot.

    Meanwhile, NTO & NTBF have just made an enormous ruckus with tape measures and standing on paint tims (the ladders aren’t available as they’re holding up her scritching post) to work out if she can get legal head height in her potting shed by blowing a hole in the floor of the bathroom upstairs. I wondered WTF they were on stake-out for all day today (dealer watch, perhaps?) until they cornered the kid that lives in it & persuaded him to let them in without 24 hours notice to do some measuring.
    Which he did, and she came back ever so cross as she’s realised that there’s pesky things like structural walls and bathrooms and cabinetry blocking her path to council certification.

    I am starting to understand why Spanner enjoys his job so much.
    Thwarting slum lords. It does make you feel warm all over.

  396. That’s sealed the deal for me. Blow a hole in the floor of the bathroom? Lunacy!

  397. What makes it even more ridiculous is that this is the same flat that she lived in when she first moved into the dump. So you’d think she’d know what’s up there.
    Aside from anything else, that flat above the foyer/sponge box is an enclosed sleepout so it probably doesn’t have legal head-height for an enclosed dwelling to begin with. But since it’s been that way since WW2 it’s one of those ‘existing non-conforming’ things that council accept because they’ve been there since the time before there was such a thing as building regulation.

    A woman a few blocks away (dog walking gossip) told me that she & NTO worked in Qld housing together for many years so you’d think the silly bint would know what council thinks of Slum Lord extensions.

    Oh well. At least it’s given her something fresh to obsess about so that’s a little less time each day that she spends gawping up her Scritching Post.

    And I am feeling considerably heartened by how Casa Q is coming along. The shrubs are springing back with fresh new growth, the grass has never looked so good, and last night we got to sit on our new deck & bask in the full moon.

    The word from the builder boys is that they don’t think Simon will have time to finish our garden room till next year (sigh) so it looks like we’ll be here for a while longer. I told you one of his best workers busted his kneecap playing soccer on Monday night?

    Oh well.They’ve made a start on the battens on the deck, so hopefully by the end of the week that will be done & the Gold Fish Bowl experience will be behind us.

  398. Well, on the upside that give you plenty of time to browse property on the Old Coast and find the perfect place.

  399. Yes. I saw this one coming so I’ve been preparing myself for it. There’s no point trying to buy a house down there on the summer market, the good stuff will just have too much competition until the monsoons start up next year.
    Aside from that, we’ve pretty much decided that we will be happy to take on another renovator, as it’s the only way we’re likely to get what we want – and I don’t think I can launch straight into another one after this has dragged out for twice as long as it was meant to.
    It will be nice to enjoy the renos for a bit before we leave. Jen is very sad that we are leaving. She said she was worried how she would cope when/if the lesbians come back from their travels overseas. I said ‘Yeah whatever happened with that?’
    She said they were going to Thailand for 8 months & I said, aha, then that means my suspicions are correct. The Bloke & I had a theory they’d gone there to buy a baby from one of those contraband IVF baby shops & that times out perfectly.

    She’s probably right. Where else will she find a neighbour as evil as me?

  400. I didn’t realize the lesbians were away. Can you imagine how noisy their surrogate offspring is likely to be?

  401. Yes, yes I can. Although I can’t imagine it’ll be a problem as I think the Thai Authorities plan to ensure all that noise never leaves Bangkok.

  402. My cousin recently acquired a lesbian lover with an infant. Put it this way – I wouldn’t be surprised if the infant asks for scaffolding and a Hello Kitty! epilator when she turns 18. Although for her own sake, she’d be better off asking for 12 months’ worth of therapy.

  403. More like 12 years.

    Well, in addition to the builders, the painter has been here all day, painting our posts & battens in the courtyard out the back.
    NTO appeared early in the piece and has put in a full day of Scritching, not departing her scritching post until the painter left for the day.
    I went out to give him a frosty fruit & he gave me a worried look & said ‘Your neighbour – does she know she’s doing it all wrong? you’re not meant to strip the weatherboards bare & gauge out the cracks between them like that. It’s not good for the timber. You’re meant to leave all the old crud there and seal it over with a new coat of paint.’

    He didn’t get to explain to me why – I assume damage to timber from exposure to the elements & lots of little gaps for the bugs to crawl into and build little nests, fortified by easier access to the pork grease on their cooktops – as NTO switched off the sander to listen in & I put my finger to my lips and said ‘Works for me.’ and left him to enjoy his ice block.

    We’ve got her all wrong. She is an animal lover, it’s just that they need to be small enough to fit between her weather boards where the turkeys can’t get at them.
    She’s building a wildlife habitat for insects.
    Which makes sense as students are messy beasts and you always need MOAR ANTS and MORE COCKROACHES to clean up after the little sods.

    I take it all back, she’s a genius.

  404. Maybe she’ll sand and scritch until it’s just a pile of flakes. I think there was something like that in the Bible. Catty?

    • I don’t remember a pile of flakes. Just a pillar of salt. A LOT of salt. (hee hee hee!)

  405. LOL. I think ‘pile of flakes’ is a term that’s applicable right now, but that’s just psychological profiling.

  406. Actually MM there’s something about that in the Dulux catalogue.
    According to the painter, she’s insane to be sanding those weatherboards back to nothing as it’s bad for them. Aside from which, if you do need to do that, you need to undercoat with an expensive oil-based undercoat. She’s used a cheap water-soluble undercoat & he says that it won’t take long before everything she’s painted flakes off.

    I’m finding the Scritching so much more palatable for being assured that in a few years it’s all going to look like mouldy fish food.

  407. Mmmm … fish food. Now all I can think about is hot chips.

    • Or battered flake. A whole pile of it.

  408. Yum.
    There’s been 7 or 8 tradesmen here for most of the day so I haven’t been able to nip out and procure anything greasy. And now that they’ve all gone I don’t have the energy.
    I gave the builders beer and the painter arnica; he tripped & turned his ankle & from the sounds of things he’s done his ligaments – he did them last year & having torn them myself as a teenager it’s all too familiar.
    I made him sit down & do the RICE thing & as he insisted on driving home to the gold coast, I bandaged up his foot, wrapped it in a compression sock & sent him limping south.
    I had some arnica leftover from my last trip to the dentist so I sent him home with the bottle & ordered him to keep taking it every 30 minutes until he made it home. He’d been gone thirty minutes before I realised I should have offered him panadol.

    Anyway, that’s it – we have a deck, with hand rails & battens.
    They’ve still got a few fiddly bits to tend to, but the painter (the ones with functioning feet, anyway) need to get up the scaffolding and paint those bits before the builder can finish off. So for the next three weeks we’ll have painters here. Five bucks says NTO will stick her neck over the fence & tell them they aren’t doing it properly. With any luck, she’ll fall off her ladder.

    The word on the builder boy who fell over playing footy is that he’s done his ACL, has broken his leg in two places, and is waiting to see a surgeon.
    Thankfully Simon Says that he’ll be available to build our garden room in a few weeks, unless someone else in his crew decides to injure themselves between now & then.

    I loved the attitude of the builders when the painter fell over. It’s like ‘Meh. The Show must go on.’ I think they posted some sneaky photos of me dosing him with arnica & holding ice on his foot to FB & they all ran around him like ants, getting on with it. I grabbed the first flannel I could find & I didn’t realise till later that it had Tinkerbell grinning up from it. Whoops. Might take him a while to live that one down.

  409. You’ll come for the Frosty Fruits, but stay for the fairy flannels and arnica.

  410. Heh heh.
    That sounds almost pornographic.

  411. Speaking of prOn, I’ve become addicted to Game of Thrones. In my own defence, dragons!

  412. yeah I must try to get through more than the first ten minutes of it, sometime or other. Are you watching it on TV or DVD or the net?
    Meanwhile I am enjoying my freshly debugged ipad. I downloaded season 3 of Prime Suspect from itunes last night & sat there happily immersing myself in low life scum. I was going to buy an iTV on sale but JB persuaded me to wait until the new one comes out in a month or so.

  413. DVDs, hired legitimately from the video shop. Gigantor disapproves of intellectual property theft.

    Is that the one with Helen Mirren in it? She’s very good.

  414. Yes, Helen Mirren. She’s fabulous & I do tend to revisit La Plante.
    And no, I didn’t think there’d be any torrenting, but I am surprised your boy hasn’t hooked into Netfix with a US account, like the rest of the supernerds who tut-tut at intellectual theft. It does seem barbaric that we have to wait for stuff down here in our isolated island penal colony.
    I thought you might have been buying the GoT episodes on iTunes & watching them late at night on D’s Precioussss while he’s unconscious. Perhaps I read too much twitter, that’s the way they do it there.

    I am very envious of your access to a local video shop, though. They’ve been dropping like flies around here, and while I only went down there once a month or so, I’m missing the freedom to browse around & see what I refused to pay good money for at the movies until it’s in the $2 section at Block Burster.

  415. I also like chatting to the clerks. Well, you know, brandishing a cover at them and asking “Is this crap?”.

  416. Yes. I tunes doesn’t tell you that. I miss the cuzzy-bro girl at our local, with her dreads & tatts & piercings, and the whole ‘I’d rather be at the dole office’ demeanour. She was always willing to call a movie if it was utter crap, and she was good at deciphering my requests sans actor’s names.
    ‘you know, the redheaded bint, back in the days when she could still raise her eyebrows without needing Gepetto to yank some strings.’

  417. Nicole Kidman?

  418. You’re good at this. I think you’ve done it before.

  419. It’s a gift.

  420. Speaking of gifts, I have 4 painters here & NTO has just blown up another sander. She asked them what they use so she is off to buy a super-sized super-expensive industrial strength sander. Since they aren’t designed to be run 5 hours per day, it will blow up too.

  421. That should speed up the flakification.

  422. Can you imagine the earful she gives the staff at Bunnings every three weeks when she shows up with another fused out sander?

  423. Poor Bunnites. I doubt they pay them enough to deal with all the shouting and arm waving.

  424. She’s in for a shock when she gets back.
    There’s four painters here and having quickly roughed up the outer shell & given a rough undercoat around the windows, they’ve pulled out some electrical spray pump & have undercoated two sides of the house with spray paint in the space of half an hour. The front & the back are too fiddly for this procedure, but she can’t see them anyway – well, not without craning her neck & risking a fall from the scritching post.
    The boys said it’s an expensive piece of machinery, the starting price is 5.5 grand, so if she gets gadget envy she’ll have to jack up their rent.

    Impressive. I’m used to the old style painting, and was convinced I had weeks and weeks of whistling painters to grind my teeth to, and lots of angst trying to persuade cats that the warblers aren’t oversized magpies pleading for a slow & violent death.

  425. It’s amazing how quickly they do things these days. They’ve already got about a third of the new house next door to us up. Sure, it’s just a shell, but still …

  426. Yes, it’s the fit-out that takes forever. The Acropolis is still under construction, up behind us, that must be at least 2 1/2 years, now. Still, that’s due to all manner of smurf-ups and I would imagine next door to you are far better organised and they have the added advantage of having a nice level block, to begin with.

    NTO is back & it sounds like she’s got exactly the same make of sander. I reckon she bullied them into replacing it citing ‘warranty’. I didn’t think she’d be willing to fork out the big bucks for the kind that the professionals use.

    She’s hard at it so I reckon my guys will start a pool tomorrow taking bets on how long it will take her to fuse this one.
    At least she’s moved around the corner of the house. Not that she’s finished on this side, I just don’t think she can bear to see the three walls of nice shiny undercoat that my four painters managed to slap on in the course of a day.

    Where is Catty? cybergremlins, or jail, for strangling her errant teen?

  427. I suspect Catty’s absence is described by a simple equation: Boss + software = smurfed.

    I can’t fathom NTO at all. Does she not know of the delights of a couch and a Kindle? She seems at odds with the spirit of retirement.

  428. I know. But trust me on this, no-one is more boggled by it than the painters.
    She was up bright and early to corner them & ask more advice about noisy machines to reduce Bog Hollow to fish-flakes.
    The painters have been ever so polite, little do they know that the moment she’s gone they start sniggering about how bad it’s going to look once the grey dandruff kicks in. And how much money a proper painter will have to charge her to strip it back to bare boards (again) so that it can be treated properly with weather-protective stuff that won’t peel off like strips of sunburnt flesh.

    Poor Catty, being held hostage by cybergremlins.

  429. I hope there are chips in cyberjail.

  430. Yes, both sorts, chocolate and Smith’s.

  431. Damn. Now I really want bikkies. I saw a recipe for bikkies that had crushed potato chips in the batter. I can’t work out if that’s vile or genius.

  432. I would think it defeats the entire purpose of chips.

  433. Yeah, they wouldn’t stay crunchy, would they? Shame.

  434. Although I have heard of people mashing them up and using chips like breadcrumbs, and they’ve said that it’s good.

    Waste of perfectly good chips, if you ask me.

  435. Mmm … chicken and chip fingers. I’m going to try that tomorrow. One for the coating, two for me …

  436. I’ve been wanting hot chips all week, but I’m going to put it off until my nose can smell something other than paint. Oh well. Nearly done, I can’t believe how fast they are ripping through it & what a happy little bunch of chipmunks they are. I gather from what they’ve said that painters are the Untouchables of a building site & are used to being treated accordingly. They’ve been looking at me like I’m some sort of saint because I bandaged their mate’s foot when he fell over last week. And then there’s been the ice blocks & cold water & yesterday they all got beer. The Boss man cheered me up immensely when I showed him the google street view of the Fossicker’s house & asked him for a rough price on how much to paint it (the exterior is in a dreadful state) & he said ‘Hey, we painted a house in that street a few years back! Nice spot!’ and he quoted half the price I expected. So that was a pleasant surprise. I do like that house.

    Urk. I have cabin fever something wicked, but the painters made me promise I’d leave all the windows open for at least 24 hours to give them a chance to dry.
    I may have to do something horribly tedious, like chores, while we’re stuck here waiting for the windows to stop feeling clammy.

    Where is this rain that BOM promised us? I woke up feeling hopeful, looked at the radar & saw an enormous blob floating out to sea. Hope, dashed.

  437. Yes, I had hoped it would rain so hard Baconing would be cancelled. Can’t get that lucky twice in one year, I suppose.

  438. Yes. Stupid rain, it’s still all out to sea.

  439. We’ve been getting heavy showers, but nothing that lingers long enough for my liking. Meant to be more today, hope you catch some.

  440. Four painters here today so you are welcome to my share of the soaking. We did have some last night, but I had to turn on the AC to blot out the noise – QR closed down the train lines so they could do 24 hour works on the rail bridge near Casa Q from Friday night up until the first service today. There were about 15 trucks down there doing that beep-beep-beep thing, so I think I had at best 2 hours unbroken sleep since it started.
    They’d only just sent us a notice saying ‘thanks for being patient, the new bridge-strike works are finally completed so things are back to normal.’
    In the 19 years that we’ve lived near that railway line, if there’s one thing I’ve learned its that work on the railway line is pretty much an ongoing feature of life.
    Oh to be like the Bloke, able to sleep through any horrible thing.

  441. I share your pain. I’d put myself to bead early on Saturday in preparation for the Baconing, only to be woken by the sound of Gigantor dribbling a football while he fried bacon and eggs. At 11:30 p.m.

  442. Almighty Cthulu, how very horrible. I hate being woken after a few hours, it’s not the actual dropping off to sleep initially that’s so hard, but getting back to the Zed state after being woken.
    Well, I drove past the rail bridge just then & the 15 beeping reversing trucks have gone, and in their place there’s a team of plumbers with an electric eel and one of those turd sucking vacuum trucks. Fun with effluent.

    My painters have had lots of entertainment again today. Trail bike freak has been doing more naked laps around the block, which may draw guffaws from them on a Friday, but which frankly horrifies them on a Monday, and they’ve just pointed out that I’ve got kookaburras carving out a nest in a cut-off leader on my poinciana tree. I might just have to keep an eye on that in case they burrow far enough through to destablize the next main leader. Gorgeous, but potentially a big THUD on our roof which could do some nasty damage.

    Sigh. I love the kookas but I think I’ll have to call in the arborist to see if she things they’re planning a happy addition, or a patch of Spring homicide.
    If so I’ll sympathise, I can totally relate.

  443. I never realized kookaburras excavate trees. Do they dig with their beaks, or what? I’m going to have to Google it.

    Poincianas can be a bit unstable, though, I know what you mean.

  444. They are hard at it with their beaks. Apparently they’ve seen them do it down where they live at the Gold Coast. (leafy green bits thereof – one has parents at Tallebudgera)
    I haven’t seen them this morning so I’m not sure what they’re up to, possibly they were after termites or grubs or something. I would have thought they’d want someplace more sheltered for a nest. Perhaps they’ve come to the same conclusion.

  445. Fascinating how long you can live (i.e me) and how little you still know.

  446. I used to know more stuff but then I developed insomnia & it eroded the memory space in my brain.
    Five years of being a HD student in Latin & I doubt I could string together three words of it, now.

  447. Veni, vidi, vici?

  448. I thought it was veni, vidi, Visa. I like shopping.

    Well, I’m back online. Sort-of. In five minutes I have to head out with the kidlets to several medical appointments, and when we get home the kidlets will be taking over the computer again. Murphy’s law – I finally get my internet back, but it’s school holidays. But I will pop in when I can force them off the computer. Maybe I can buy them a sander to keep them occupied…. what brand does NTO have, again? Hello Kitty!, right?

  449. Yay! Catty’s back!
    We missed you, Catty. I hope you’ve hung your hubby out to dry by his toenails for making us miss you so much.
    Well – according to the painters said she’s bought a top of the range Ryobi orbital sander & I’m not sure what the compressor one is. Hopefully it’s a product with a shorter fuse than mine so it will burn out before I do. (Twitch, shudder)
    She’s looking more than ever like a scarecrow, I have NFI why she has all that money & she can’t even be bothered getting her hair done or just putting a bloody rinse through it.

    My hair is driving me nuts as I haven’t been free to get to the hairdresser for months – and now, of course, my hair dresser is off on school holidays doing what you’re doing with her four kids, Catty. So I’m stuck here looking like NTO & are a matching set of bedraggled lunatics.

    Oh well at least my bins are clean. You know how it’s a major sticking point with me that she keeps her 7 overflowing bins on the street – well, the Bloke got to sleep in & work from home today. So he got to experience The Stench that arises off her bins as the heat of the day sends the maggots into a feeding frenzy & the wind off the river picks up and carries the Stench in here. He thought there was a dead possum out front & he went & checked to be sure. He was most apologetic once he realised that nup, that’s just the 9am stench arising from her steaming mounds of garbage.

    Must. Move. Soon.
    Good to have you back, Catty. You must have sensed me browsing fudge online, thinking I’d need to order rice-crispy fudge in order to lure you back.

  450. Mwah, Catty! We missed you.

    Where do you browse fudge, Q? I’m in the mood …

  451. Link at my blog. Rice crispy…mmm. Like a chokito, only betterer.

  452. There’s something betterer than a chokito? Hmmmm… I don’t know about that. Let’s sample a few. For research purposes. I dibs the vodka slushie chokito swizzle stick experiment.

  453. I love the insides of Chokitos, but the outside is compounded chocolate! Oh, the humanity.

  454. Yeah, it’s not too flash, but I’m willing to put up with it for that smooshey, rice bubble filled caramel.

  455. I’m sure that chokitos were much, much nicer when I were a lass.
    I’m sure that’s why there’s such an abundance of crap in the junk aisles at Coals, now. It all tastes like chemicals so instead of having a small number of really fabulous things they just tempt us with a vast array of cheap crud.
    Even the sweets aren’t like they used to be, I had a mint-leaf lolly the other day & you could barely taste the mint in it. I remember buying bags of those things for my BD parties as a child & eating just one would make your mouth zing.
    Now – nothing. Insipid as.

    I think this is why I like the old English sweets, they don’t seem to have changed so much.

    Meh. We’re getting old.

  456. I’ve just been talking about this to Melbo on Facebook. You know, there are only two things that haven’t changed since my childhood. One of them is Ribena. The other is Ovaltine. Everything else has been ‘reinvented’ in the grand scramble for profits. Even Minties don’t taste the same. *sigh*

  457. I contend that neither Milo nor Vegemite have changed. But then again, my memory is so shot how would I really know?

    • Milo’s changed. It’s milder now. Vegemite still tastes the same, but for some unknown reason I seem to get bladder infections every time I eat it. Of course, I do eat whole tablespoons-ful of the stuff…. mmmmmm….

  458. vegemite has changed for the better, in that they no longer use sulphor based preservatives. Meaning I can eat it without ill effects.

    Sigh. Uni is out, meaning that I’m wide awake at a barbaric hour, having been woken by the little treasures coming home Pished.
    Two more cups of tea & I intend to go outside & do some Scritching of my own. I’m heading out to the mudslide on the footpath with a sack of grass seed and the garden cultivator & I hope to have it sown & hosed before NTO gets up to do any Scritching of her own. Apparently you can’t plant grass seed till October as otherwise it won’t germinate & things just eat it. I can’t see why they’d bother, given all the tasty morsels Things can pick out of NTO’s garbage, but there you have it. If nothing else the mud-slide will be nice and gooey & sludgy for anyone visiting NTO to watch the fireworks at Sausage Fire tonight. She gets really pissy about Mud on her lovely yellow & brown painted stairs so Dog help the tenants if they slush it up.

  459. Happy grassing, Q. Perhaps you can sow it in a pattern? I recommend “smurf off!”.

  460. That’s assuming the little dears can read when they’re smashed. How about planting big arrows that point at the footpath? Or better still, an 8 foot fence with spikes at the top. Then you’ll have somewhere to put all those severed heads the Muslim extremists seem intent on providing.

  461. True. If they’re coming home blind rotten drunk I need something they can read in braille. FOAD dotted out in cactus on the front lawn should make my point.

  462. Perhaps something in a nice stinging nettle?

  463. Poison ivy. That way FOAD will remain on their skin in rash form, as a reminder when they sober up.

  464. With a nice border of deadly nightshade.

  465. Don’t forget the triffids.

  466. Secret to many a prize-winner at Chelsea.

  467. LOLZ.
    Bunnings had none of these. Useless sods.
    We need to start up a mail-order flesh eating plant co.

  468. Can someone else do it? My fudge business fizzled, but not before I’d gained 5 kilos. Same thing happened with the erotic cupcakes. (so sorry for nomming our profits, but, CAEK). And we all remember what happened when we tried to buy that ship to start our own offshore school. *sigh* I just don’t have a flair for business, do I?

  469. Perhaps not, Catty, but so long as you’ve got purple leopard flare pants to torment your children with, you have a flair for creative parenting.

    * Caveat: I endorse & respect the rights of the flare-wearer to vigorously disagree with my opinions.


    How goes the couch surfer, or have you progressed to burnt-orange princess smocks to help make room for the wildebeest?

  470. It’s summer, so both the Teen and the Wilderbeest should be in sarongs. Something floral, to hide the stains.

  471. The Teen has split up with Troll Baby again. I hope they don’t get back together, she looks much nicer without the black eyes.

    At the moment, both she and I are wearing jeans that the Teenie has outgrown. He’s getting sooooo big! He’s taller than the Teen, and substantially heavier. I blame tomato sauce. Last night he was trying to convince me to let him put tomato sauce on his ice cream. Bleargh!

    The Teen is living in Boronia now. She’s found another family to spoil her. She’s constantly bragging about all the stuff they’re buying for her – including jewelry. On Saturday they took her to the Show. Her sense of entitlement has grown accordingly, and she has told us that we have to give her a new iPhone if we want to be able to call her. I give the new living arrangements a month at most before they get sick of the little princess and toss her out. She must agree with me, as she has already lined up another home, just in case. Can you hear that sighing? It’s my very relieved sofa.

  472. Oh, congratulations. Maybe you could bribe the lucky family with regular fudge shipments? It’s worth a shot.

  473. What Madame said. Except I think they need almond bread as well, and a few cases of pork cutlets to sweeten the deal.

    • Donations have included weekly supplies of bread, bags of chocolates, copious quantities of potatoes, and a slushie making machine. Not to mention the many, many cigarettes that the Teen has smuggled out in the pockets of her baggy hoodies… as if she thinks I won’t notice. *sigh*.

  474. Mmm … cutlets.

  475. Indeed. I stopped in at the butcher to get some ready-to-go marinaded goodies for the new BBQ. So we have honey-soy chicken kebabs, some pork belly marinaded in something tasty, and some chipolatas to grease up the BBQ tray, for starters. the butcher says you need to sacrifice some sausages to grease it up & absorb the PRC factory smell. Otherwise, Urgh.
    I’m thinking I should serve them on the thong platter, they look like severed pinkie toes & once I splatter some sauce on them, it’ll add some amputee style ambience to tonight’s meal.

    Severed digits, anyone?

  476. Mystery bags! The perfect thing to serve on a thong platter. The other obvious serving suggestion would be cheerios. And or party pies.

  477. Party pies & cheerios.
    We have a winner.
    When Boylan comes to town, make sure I remember this.

    I’m really glad I finally got to meet Zoe over the back fence. She was rapturous in her compliments about our renos & was tremendously disappointed that we aren’t going to build the giant architectural box up in our back yard (as per our DA – being on one boundary, Town Planning sent them the plans so they could have some input). They have a very handsome & obviously very well cared for Tonkinese cat called Harry, who came up to smooch me while Zoe was restoring the hen to it’s coop. So it’s nice to know we have one neighbour on side if we decide to go ahead with that down the track. She was also very grateful about the pool pump that we gave them & very apologetic that she hadn’t been over to thank me in person. Since she has a toddler and runaway chickens and a lecherous duck, not to mention Satan’s Gardeners mounding in her back yard, I can see how that one would get away from you.

    Anyway – that was nice, as now that Jen is leaving (end of October) I won’t have any sane neighbours left. Well there are some, but they hide behind 6 foot fences & electronic gates. So since Zoe roared with laughter at my NTO stories & would have been keen for more if she didn’t have a toddler sitting in an empty bath-tub playing with sudsy toys (tick tick tick does anyone else hear that time bomb? I know that sound well & I’m not even a mother) – well, that’s heartening. It would be nice to know there’s one or two sane human beings to report in to us when we leave the house tenanted & given that the houses around us are either rentals or privately run insane asylums, this is encouraging.

    I am thrilled to know that she’s actively harbouring the feathered devils, as it’s only 13 m between her boundary & NTO’s along our back fence, that’ll ensure that there’s a plentiful supply to join her in her Scritching.

  478. Kindly supply further information about the lecherous duck.

  479. You’ll have to be more specific. Do you want it’s facebook page, or you want to soak it in honey soy sauce?

  480. I want to know how you can judge the carnal appetites of poultry.

  481. Not my area of expertise. You’ll just have to come to our renovation warming & ask Zoe. All I know is that the duck was amorous & the hen ran away.

  482. One day a lecherous hawk was scouting his territory for unsuspecting birds to sate his carnal appetites. He saw a dove, and swooped down to have his wicked way with her. As he flew away, he heard a little voice chirping, “I’m a little dove, and I had a little love, and I liked it!”. Feeling proud of himself, the lecherous hawk looked for another bird to defile. A blue tit was nearby, so he swooped down and again, had his wicked way. As he flew off, he heard a little voice chirping, “I’m a little tit, and I had a little bit, and I liked it!”. Smirking a hawky smirk, the lecherous hawk searched for another opportunity to whet his – ahem – whistle. He spied a duck, and flew down and did the deed. As he flew away, he heard a little voice quacking, “I’m a little drake, and he made a big mistake, but I liiiiiiked it!”.

  483. There. Now, you see what I mean? Thank God we have Catty to explain the Call of the Wild.

  484. Hehehe. I bet the Wildebeest told you that one.

  485. I’ve had an old friend from boarding school visiting today. We went out to get sushi before & the frigging bird was back roaming up and down the street.
    I just sighed & rolled my eyes.
    Hippies. That’s taken what, a day? Zoe said she’d keep her locked up so she’d be safe till the duck was gone.
    So much for that plan.
    I don’t blame Red for leaving even if the duck is gone, though – not if they’ve got turkeys mounding beside the chicken coop.

    Oh well.
    If I find Red in my back yard again, I think she might go live with my vet.
    I’m quite sure he wouldn’t tolerate a sexually abusive duck monstering his poultry, and I’m equally sure that Tim does a much better job of keeping his hens in his yard & safe from foxes.

    I see that council are trapping foxes around The Gap for the next few weeks. I wonder if that means they’ll be heading out our way soon? I was busy with the concreter when that was on 612, but it wouldn’t surprise me. Sounds like BCC are on a mission, with that, and good on them.

  486. We currently have an infestation of loud, nocturnal youth in our neighbourhood. The Boss says it’s because our local ice dealer has just gone to gaol for a year. I didn’t ask the Boss how he knew this.

  487. Perhaps it’s because he ratted them out?
    While Jen was house-hunting I showed her the police crime-map app that Nblob gave me – handy little link for the house hunter hoping to improve rather than worsen their circumstances – and when she clicked on our street & looked at all the details of the drug busts, I was going ‘Oh so they nicked that guy with the green convertible in Flat 4. Sweet.’ and ‘Oh yeah that was Brian the meth dealer.’ etc etc.
    Her eyes widened & she said ‘How do you know all these things?’
    I shrugged & said ‘Because I called them in.’

  488. I would have thought the absence of the local dealer would make them quiet and twitchy.

  489. I’d say they are substituting alcomohol, or possibly paint or turps. Depending what’s on sale at Bunnings this week.

  490. Blue drinks all round.

  491. Now you’ve got me reliving the draino scene from ‘Heathers’.

  492. The don’t make movies like that any more. Whatever happened to Christian Slater?

  493. You know the answer to that question even before you google it, MM. Substance abuse, domestic violence, relationship break-downs; the usual thing when the glitter fades: they go nuts.
    Pity. He’s a fabulously talented man. Perhaps he’ll grow out of it & make a Jack Nicholson style comeback. I’m sure he’s got it in him.

  494. And more than a passing resemblance, too, when you think about it.

  495. I can’t remember if he said it in an interview or what, but I think he styled himself on Jack, because he admired him.

  496. You’re our new go-to for all the celebrity goss, Q.

  497. And brownies. Don’t forget the brownies.

  498. Celebrity gross is probably more like it.
    It’s too hot for brownies. Tis the season for baci gelato with fudge sauce & toasted nuts.
    All those in favour say ‘Parfait!’

  499. I’d prefer dulce de leche, but I second the fudge sauce.

  500. Bring it on! With or without the fudge sauce – the Wildebeest is just going to lick it off mine anyway.

  501. That doesn’t seem fair. I’ll pour some into a saucer for him.

  502. Pour it into the toilet bowl. It could use a good scour, after all the tradies that have been through here.

  503. Hmmm…. that gives me an idea. I might drop a $20 in the toilet next time the Teen comes over, and suggest that she fishes it out with the scrubbing brush.

    Actually, I’m not ever giving the Teen money again. The Boss loaned her some at the start of the year, and she still hasn’t paid it back. Not really an issue, as we never expected to see the money again, but we’ve just found out that Faith No More are playing at Soundwave – and the Teen has tickets. We can’t afford tickets. We could if she paid us back, though. Which she won’t, as she’s used all her money to buy tickets.

    *sigh* I’d stamp my foot and have a petulant little tanty about it, but the Teen would just laugh at me and send texts from the concert about how good FNM are…. as if I didn’t know that before she was even born. *sigh*

  504. Children. They’re the gift that keeps giving.

  505. Not to me. I will be consumed by cats, when I go. At least the teen will turn up to check your pulse & then your credit balance, Catty. And if you’ve made this a memorable experience perhaps she’ll ensure that Faith No More is played at your funeral?

    Someone was grumbling to us recently that he sold a kidney or some such in order to help his young adult son buy an expensive house in the western suburbs. So that the Dear Child wouldn’t have to suffer through a crippling mortgage like the rest of us have done.
    Son kept it for a few years and then sold it & blew the proceeds on a two year holiday in South America. Now he’s back home living with Mum & Dad & nagging at them to give him the deposit for another house.
    Needless to say the Bloke & I are thanking the luck of the draw that denied us a set of financial leeches of our own.

    Speaking of concerts, there was something truly, truly awful on at the river stage last night. I know this because we were out on the deck trying to enjoy our new *outdoor* chairs & the ghastly strains of Whoof Hoof Doof kept floating in on the nor-easterly. Urgh. I googled the program & it said it was some guy called hardwell. So I spent the rest of the evening calling him Hard-On & wishing he were Hard-Up for fans.Then I stuffed ear plugs into my ears & went to bed & cursed the wind-direction & the fact that we bought here before the river stage became a Thang. A bit like we bought here before they put the helicopters on the roof of the nearby Horsepiddle.

    Oh well, at least we’ve had a relatively peaceful weekend while the Freaks were down south visiting with Catty. The Bongo boys got in about an hour ago, as did the drummer from the garage band, so they’ve been working off the last of their uppers smacking up the wheelie bins & letting off fire crackers. Something smells burnt so here’s hoping its their mattresses catching fire.

    All up though I’m feeling quite chipper because we’ve had a nice lazy weekend & while I’ve been sitting by the sofa with books & box sets, the Bloke has been outside doing chores that make him come inside & say ‘That woman is NUTS!’ and he then makes the same complaints to me that I complain to you about all week long.

    It’s so nice when he cops it at close range & I get to listen to him bitching about her for a change. Bwahahahaha. And it means he’s got extra enthusiasm for departing Freak Street.

  506. I’m not sure, but I think Westfield over the road have installed a helicopter pad on their roof. Either that, or the police helicopter is out looking for bongo players. I’ll send it up to your place, shall I Q? You already have the earplugs, and I need to catch up on sleep now that the nightly ruckus has abated. I wish I’d taken photos to show you the startling array of broken outdoor furniture poking precariously out of all the rubbish bins along the street this morning.

    Well, the kidlets are all back at school, so I am allegedly free to clean up the horrendous mess they made over the last two weeks. This morning I awoke with every intention of being productive. Then a voice in my head said, “ha, ha, good one!”, and we laughed and laughed and took a nap. So my house is still a wreck, but it’s worked out pretty well. I told the kidlets to start cleaning when they got home from school, but they all declared they had masses of homework. They’re doing homework right now, and I haven’t had to nag them once! Now I can’t work out if I’m a bad mother or an evil genius.

  507. Thanks for the tip, Catty. Now I know what to say to mine when they get home from school today.

  508. My house is a sty, too. If only I had an assignment due that’s worth 60% of my semester grade, I could muster up real enthusiasm for cleaning the builder dust off these frigging windows.
    I just haven’t had the same passion for windex since I graduated.

  509. You still like the taste on the rocks with a slice, though, I assume?

  510. Arghh. Don’t mention rocks.
    NTO’s latest cover for surveillance is to come up to the fence right beside whatever we are doing and yank rocks out of the ground & chuck them into a bucket.

    She came out to do some rock-gathering while the landscaper visited before. I’d warned him before we went out there but even so, he just boggled at me.

  511. Is she making a cairn under which to place NTB’s corpse, perhaps?

  512. Too small, he’d get out. Surely she’d need boulders to keep him down.
    Nah, I thinking it’s a warning pile for the shameless hussies in the rental behind her. And she’s going to show them her idea of the term ‘stoned’.

  513. Sharia law comes to the Inner West.

  514. From what I’ve seen in all those nature documentaries, penguins collect pebbles as part of their mating ritual. Perhaps NTO is a penguin on heat?

  515. The real estate agent just left, after listening to a series of my NTO stories & saying ‘No! You’re making this up!’ at which juncture I pointed out the newly painted grey corner, the 2m square non-compliant bedroom she’s built blocking the entry, the straw covering the car port roof, the bleaching cinder blocks, and the billowing tomato tent.
    And she stared, gob-smacked, and said exactly what you’ve said, Catty.
    She’s Nesting, and something will hatch.

    This agent sold the rental across the road to the lesbians & when she saw NTO ratcheting around in her garden, she said to me ‘OMG, she came thru that house we sold. She wouldn’t give us her name, she just said that she lived in the flats across the road. Actually now that I think of it she was a bit nuts.’

    She also thinks that there’s some sort of insurance fraud or dole-office fraud going on & she’s going to do a bit of checking into just how much property she owns, because she probably shouldn’t be living there if that’s how she’s invested her super.

  516. Unfortunately, she’s unlikely to do time. Although if she gets community service, she might be sent off scratching elsewhere.

  517. Perhaps they could get her to weed the bruce highway. All of it.
    * Happy thought for the day.

  518. Or fill the potholes.

  519. There aren’t enough OCD lunatics in the world to fill all the pot-holes in the Bruce Highway. Besides, after a few weeks they’d decompose & get chewed up by carrion & the we’d all be back in the same ruts, but stinkier.

    How was Uncle RV’s visit, MM?
    (Said in Rocky Horror Time-Warp tones – don’t mind me, I’m on Day 2 of the Windex Wars. Farken I hate windows but they must be done.)

  520. Just don’t look through them. You’ll only see NTO.

    He’s coming back to finish up this Sunday and then he should be able to make the perimeter hot. Zap!

  521. She follows me around so unless I walk around blindfolded, that’s out of the question. I do hope to rig up a few more NTO screens over some of her gawping gaps this weekend, though. We would have done it last weekend but she just Would. Not. Leave. The tomato tent required her undivided attention & all those bleaching cinder blocks on her car port roof, well, she’s been painting them white & arranging them in rows where her scritching post used to be. Thank Smurf she’s finally dismantled that. Who knows WTF she is building but I think Catty’s Penguin Nest theory is sound. She’s got rocks, she’s got straw, she’s got white paint. Hell, she could build her own detention centre with all that.

    How lovely that Uncle RV will be back for another visit. I bet Sari has no idea what this sweet man is plotting for her. Meanwhile, how on earth are you keeping this beast contained, until zapping time? I have visions of her locked in the house, chewing your kindle & leaving wildebeest type skidmarks on the sofa by way of retribution for stopping her from roaming free with the hippies.

  522. She’s been visiting my father in Brissie. The cats have been in Heaven, even Fearless Flot comes in and curls up on my lap for a cuddle. They will be very disappointed when she comes back on Sunday.

  523. There is little in this world that is nicer than a lap full of kitty cuddles.

  524. Still, the boys miss the wretched puppy so I suppose it will be nice to have her back. I hope she’s a quick learner – zap!

  525. Let’s hope she’s thick as a plank & doesn’t turn her escape efforts into tunnelling out, MM.

  526. That doesn’t necessarily follow, Q. NTO is thick as a plank, but she scritches constantly.

  527. So far so good. Zap!

  528. Who was first to be zapped? Puppy or EB?

  529. When Gigantor thought we were going to force the dog against the fence, he volunteered as Tribute … but so far it’s only the dog.

  530. Having seen Uncle RV in action, my guess is that he’d be the first to get zapped.
    ‘Is this thing plugged in?’ BZZZZZZZZT!
    There’s a bit of Christopher Lloyd’s Doc Brown in Morgana’s uncle, Catty.
    Darling man.

  531. It was pretty funny when I was helping him yesterday, We were trying it out and it wasn’t working, although we knew it was plugged in and the earth was wet. Then I pointed out that we hadn’t closed the circuit over the gate. Thanks, Physics 101!

  532. Heh heh heh.

  533. I think she might have got zapped this morning. She was lurking outside the back door looking disconcerted.

  534. I want Uncle RV here making my fence hot. She’d burn her nose so often the place would smell like BBQ all day.

  535. We’ve got a fair few supplies left over. I’ll bring them next time I come.

  536. oooh. Halloween supplies.
    Trick or BZZZZZZZZZT!

  537. It’s zaptastic. So far, no escape.

  538. Excellent. When do you test it on the metre men?

  539. The landscaper came today, but because I like him I gave him fair warning.

  540. This could be fun.
    First thing tomorrow Imma call Tracey Grimshaw & tell her there’s a boatload of Tamil tigers hiding in the cat enclosure in the back of your yard.

  541. It’s not likely Tracey would leave the comfy confines of her studio. But it would be fun to see one of her interns being zapped on national television. Or being ambushed by a disgruntled gang of Tamil tigers. I’d watch it, even if it did mean their ratings would double.

  542. I’m just sorry we didn’t do the front yard as well. It would be sweet irony to zap those pesky electricity company door-knockers.

  543. And the God Botherers. Let’s not forget them.
    Lord knows, they never forget us.

  544. I’ll see your Word of the Lord and raise you 10,000 volts.

  545. LOL. Now that’s a stairway to heaven. Or the express elevator, more like it.

  546. Perhaps I should start offering home ECT? Zaaaaaap!

  547. Let me know when you want customers, I’ll give NTO your card.

  548. There is some crazy even high voltage can’t cure.

  549. For this they designed the electric chair.
    She must have absolutely no sense of smell.
    I’ve just been out the front hand watering the turf – the sprinkler doesn’t reach into the far corners so it needs this at least once a day. The reek of her bins just about knocked me over & made me want to retch. I have NFI how she spends half the day out there OCDing amongst her flowers. We’ve had the front bedroom windows shut since Saturday because all I can smell is maggots, when the wind blows in.
    I don’t understand why she spends half her life scrubbing cinder blocks & concrete paths with liquid ammonia & she can happily disregard the stench of swarming death coming from her bins.
    She must think the stink comes from the concrete.
    Anyway, I’ve complained to council (again) about the bins, so they’re sending someone out to sniff them & tell her to sanitise them (again) and to get them off the street (again).
    Hey, perhaps we could electrocute the bins? That at least might stop the filthy little grubs from dropping their rotting meat in there, five days before collection is due.

  550. This is probably how Ebola started.

  551. LOL. From bleaching cinder blocks, or from driving your neighbours into the depths of dark insanity?
    Greybeard has that evil lair & he likes to mix things up in glass tubes. Perhaps I should send him some of her termites & maggots & a bottle of white king & see what he can GM. Perhaps he could produce a hybrid that eats the concrete & sanitises as it digests?

  552. I was thinking of the slime in the bottom of the stinky bins. By all means send samples to Greybeard. Biological warfare is one of his favourite hobbies.

  553. Hm. I don’t think I could get close enough for that without keeling over.
    I’ll tell him to bring collecting vials on his next visit. No doubt as the summer progresses her maggot soup will get even deadlier & more disgusting.

  554. I’m not ready for summer. I miss my flannelette sheets.

  555. I’m not ready for summer either.
    I miss my sanity. Well, what little I had of it before the obsessive Stawky Scritcher moved in next door.

    I went out to get a few hours of peace at Westfield. Irma ate half that packet of pumpkin marshmallows so I had to get more. $2 each, value.
    Let me know if you guys can’t find them in your Big W & I will go back for more. I had to hunt for them, this time, as they’ve brought in new halloween stock & they’ve got all the new stuff out on display.

    I plan to make my red velvet cupcakes & freeze them, in case it gets hot or I lose motivation or my antisocial leanings grow stronger as the prospect of having the Dark Hordes shambling up my stairs looms closer.

    On a more satisfying note, I spent the morning designing our entry portico/trellis over the front stairs. Assuming the Bloke approves of my design it will block the loony out from all angles unless she decides to come up the stairs. At which point she will find that access is denied to all those who don’t have the key, or a fireman’s axe. So that cheered me up. We were going to scrap that from our budget now that she’s taken up rock-harvesting as a full-time hobby we’ve decided it’s essential to keep the suburban homicide rate from spiking.

  556. So, have you decided to use triple-thickness razor wire, or just camouflage netting?

  557. I’m thinking of using Geoff Goldblum strength fly paper. She might think twice about pressing her nose up to the fence if it’s stuck there for 6 hours before someone goes past who might be willing to release her.

  558. Speaking of Jeff Goldblum, some velociraptors would be nice, to patrol the front yard.

  559. Maybe Greybeard can do something to modify Satan’s Gardeners to eat more than worms. I must ask him what he could come up with for a kilo of brownies.

  560. There would be a certain poetic justice. Since she’s such a keen scratcher herself.

  561. I looked out the window in the middle of the day to see WTF the latest bout of mad clunking was about (you’d think I’d learn not to look) & she was out on the street cleaning her bins. There’s six. One by one she pulled all of the rubbish out of the bins & arranged it in a protective semi-circle behind her on the road. Cars had to slow down & veer around her mounds of stinking refuse, not all of it bagged. It was much more effective than witch’s hats, I must say. Nobody wanted to hit one of those.

    So, bin collection was Thursday. Council ordered her to clean the bins on Thursday, and rang me to say so on Friday morning.
    Meaning: I’m still boggling as to why she wouldn’t clean them when they were all empty…unless…this is her chance to go through their garbage & count how many condoms & noodle packets they’ve burned through since then.
    I wish I’d got a photo of her protective garbage circle.
    Seriously. In the noon day sun, on the street.
    Her tenants walked past her, grinning merrily.

    What do you want to be that now that there’s BCC declared Bin Duty, they take it in turns to chuck old bits of mullet in her precious bins, the day after they’ve been dosed with White King?

    The Bloke reckons the Greeks probably reported her the last few times (apparently there’s been several complaints) & that they’ve been tossing fish guts in there as Payback. One of them used to slink over & piss in the bins 15 years ago, if the coot’s tenants got out of hand.
    I miss those days.
    He’s still there, but I don’t think he can work up a steady stream of urine quite so easily, these days.
    I do adore those Greeks. They know how to handle a problem. If she’s pissed them off, it’ll be a fish guts themed summer.

  562. Eeew, fish guts. I hope you’re gone when it comes to that.

  563. I’m sure it was either that or chicken that caused last week’s stench.
    She’s pulled out the sander today & she’s out scritching and banging in the back corner. At least that’s almost as far away from me as she can get. There’s Greeks behind her & also one door over beyond the other boarding house, & I doubt they’ll be impressed. She hasn’t used it since our painters left & that must be what, three weeks now? I assume it’s because tenant contracts were due & she wanted to sucker them all into thinking she was all finished. They’d have to be pretty thick to believe that.

    At least now she’s over there I can get away from her on our front deck with my ipad & my books. I can hear the faint whine of her distressed sander from there, but it’s a helluva lot better than having it 6m away from my eardrums, for three freaking months. She’s got NTBF on bucket watering duty & he’s making the occasional random BANG in the back yard so I have NFI what that’s about.

    I’m still amazed that her tenants haven’t bolted. The Bloke thinks they will all leave at once, the moment exams are over.
    I do hope so.

    Oh well.
    Deck time.
    I’d go to Westfield, but they warned us on twitter & the radio that it’s a student free day. Does that apply to the private schools too? or do they try to quarantine their precious darlings from mingling at Westfield with the Hoi Polloi?

  564. I’m not sure what happens with the Privates, but mine are certainly off. I’m sending them shoe shopping with Grandma. I’m not sure who that’s crueler to.

  565. Oh you are a cruel woman.
    I went to the pool & did laps.
    They’d forgotten to undo the customary pool lane closures for the pupil free day in their website lane availability list, so it was blissfully empty.

  566. That sound nice. I wouldn’t mind a swim. Except then I’d have to change and go to a pool.

  567. Don’t change MM, we love you just the way you are.
    I must say, the lack of humanity was marvellously restorative.
    Pity it can’t be like that more often.

    Wonderful news – the frame for the gate into our external stairwell will be ready in a day or so, and the timber battens for it arrived yesterday.
    I’ve felt naked without my security gate & the horror, every time some gangling uninvited human appears on my deck…urgh.
    I’m skipping with delight as this means I’ll be able to child-proof the house come halloween.
    I don’t mind them coming up here angling for sweets around dusk, but I don’t want the Ferals that start roaming after 9pm, most of them probably just latch-key kids who are left to their own resources but occasionally you see older kids who look like they’ve come in off the train from Woodridge, looking for houses & old ladies to knock over.

    My hedging plants arrive tomorrow, too. Murrayas, over 1.2m tall in nice thick pots. Such a cheering thought, to know they will grow 3-4m tall into a nice dense hedge that not even NTO’s long sticky nose can penetrate.

    Huzzah, Huzzah, Huzzah.
    Not even the constant freaking flyovers of military helicopters at all hours of the day & night can dampen my happy mood.
    They’ve started *practicing* for the G20. I wonder WTF use they’d be if there was some sort of problem, what the hell are they going to do, fire rockets at Kodak Beach?

  568. Oh I do love the scent of Murrayas. Did you know, that was what my Grandma’s wedding bouquet was made of?

  569. That is so sweet. I miss the simplicity of those days.
    The tupperware lady told me she was off to the USA for a wedding & she was outlining the itinerary, it sounded like a three day event. I cannot believe the fuss they put into it these days and how that crap is taking over here.
    Rehearsal dinner? WTF is that for, so the wedding planner can prowl around and rap people over the knuckles if they’re cutting their fish with a steak knife?

  570. We sometimes have a rehearsal for dinner. We call it “lunch”.

  571. We call it cheese and crackers at 5pm.

  572. Mmm … cheese.

  573. Speaking of cheese, I’m missing the Queen.
    Let’s hope Catty gets her internet time back soon.

  574. Yes, imagine The Boss buying a boat when what Catty really needs is her own computer. I’ve been wondering how Gran’s going.

  575. Great minds, MM, I was just thinking the same thing.
    I think it must be the season for male stupidity, I’ve been getting furious with mine for being utterly unable to reseal the lids on the tupperware & for wanting to play Empire Building Monopoly. His latest idea is that we can rent something horrid at the Gold Coast while renting out Casa Q & he waits another 10 years for it to improve in value before we find something nice to buy down there, or can afford to build his Dream House.
    I dont’t know who he thinks is going to maintain the Dream House he plans to build in 10 or 20 years time, but it won’t be me. If my foot & my hip continue in the same vein that they’ve run in for the last 6 months, I’ll be mixing up a nembutal daiquiri & heading for the pain-free rest of the great Beyond.
    I’m trying very hard to beat it into his head that I have maybe 10 years left before I’m completely crippled by pain & dependent on meds, & if anything we should be saving for the hip replacement surgery I’ll need, not a freaking dream house.
    Irma is a week late so possibly I’m not entirely rational, but FFS how much damned real estate do two people need? How many houses can you live in at any one time FFS?
    We’re at odds. I think we should sell Casa Q, it’s a nightmare living next to NTO and opposite the Freaks. And I can’t imagine we’ll have tenants who think differently.
    It’s a bit sad, looking across the road at Jen’s empty house. I still can’t believe that stupid social worker said they couldn’t access their driveway to build under their house ‘because Jen is such a bitch.’
    It would be hard to find a milder, kinder & more balanced gentlewoman in the entire suburb.
    I’m hoping very hard that someone exceptionally nasty moves in who shows the social worker the meaning of the word ‘Bitch’. Then again, she has the bathroom mirror if she feels the need to ponder that.

  576. Not to mention that with renting comes tenants. Who are not always the reasonable, property-maintaining and rent paying people he is envisioning.

  577. Testify, sista.

  578. My recent occupational exposure to the general populace has not filled me full of confidence in their financial habits.

  579. I bet.
    It’s over 20 years since The Bloke played landlord & back in those days, tenants still lived with the fear of the local Plod turning up to hoof them out at dawn – following the surprise discovery that the downstairs washing machine had suddenly filled up with bags full of weed & narcotics.

  580. People just don’t give a rat’s anymore. Other than you and I, naturally.

  581. They don’t need to. The rats are sitting tenants. It’s BIY rodenticide, here.

  582. They’re probably resistant to most things. I don’t suppose you’d like to try killing them with kindness?

  583. Not while there’s the option of NTO’s cooking.
    At least once a week the stink of Keen’s Curry Powder wafts out of there, and if I kept track, since she runs to a strict routine, I could probably tell you which day it is.
    For now, instead of guessing at Tuesday or Wednesday, we might just settle for calling it Rat Killing Day.


  584. I’m off to the carnival where I shall probably have a hotdog for dinner. Curry would be better.

  585. I got my internet back, finally! It was reset during the week, but didn’t come back. So I had to ring Telstrarse. First time, I got some Hindi bloke who ‘couldn’t’ help me because he specialised in Windows computers. The second one ‘couldn’t’ help me because we don’t have a Telstrarse modem. (where do they find these clowns?) The third one said it was our fault because we have apps with continuous roaming. But he did say he would help… if we didn’t mind waiting a few days. I did mind. Still, ‘in a few days’ is better than ‘never’. So here I am back on line, for however long I can keep the Boss and the kidlets off the computer.

    Any advice on service providers and/or cheap plans that doesn’t involve Telstrarse or Optarse?

    Meanwhile, I have almost 600 emails to check. It’s tempting to borrow NTO’s sander and just scritch all the emails off the computer. Nah, I’ll just read them all, while drinking the café mocha valium vodka latté that Mayhem posted on Facebook. Mmmmmm…..

  586. Oh, Catty – we’ve missed you. Mwah!

    I have this advice for you – I’ve heard from a few people that Dodo will debit your account whenever they feel like it, and for however much. So maybe not them.

  587. Not Optus. I can never understand WTF is going on with my account and occasionally I have to call them for them to explain it.
    Ask the nerds at Twitter, esp. Greybeard.

    I don’t even know what a continuously roaming app is. Can’t you lock it in the garage, or will it bark all day like all these frigging cattle dogs and staffies & Mama Mia’s yappy puppy do, all day?

  588. Don’t get an electric fence. That’s how we curbed the continuous roaming, around here.

  589. Roaming is what they call it when an app automatically looks for updates. Some apps will check weekly, some daily, some hourly. Other apps, like traffic updates, weather conditions, or apps with multiplayer online functions, will check for updates continuously. It sucks up heaps of downloads, and apparently we have apps that do that – which is clever, as we haven’t downloaded any new apps in the last 3 months. I’ve made everyone here delete most of their apps, but we’ve still managed to go through 12GB in just 5 days. Personally, I think somebody is piggybacking off our internet, but the call centre clowns claim this isn’t possible. Yeah, right, suuuure it’s not possible.

    Thank goodness the thunderstorms have stopped. I couldn’t sleep last night for worry our house would be hit by lightning – until I remembered that the neighbours have a homemade aerial on their roof. Essentially it’s an upside down bedpost with a metal bar sticking out of it, but any lightning rod will do in a storm. I felt much better and went back to sleep. Mmmmm…. sleep….

  590. Lucky you having thunderstorms! I hope we get a thunderstorm. One a day for a week would be good.

  591. Khan GB said on twitter that it was a pussy thunderstorm and not like the real thunderstorms he misses in Qld, Catty. And yet I see on the news today that it took out the entire Melbourne train network, so plainly the weather gods were focused on creating gridlock for all rather than bedlam for the few.
    The BOM people on 612 said that today is our best hope for a storm until the weekend, MM, but he doesn’t think they’ll make it past Ipswich because the sea breezes are too strong & will keep them all west of Brisbane.
    Another week of being stalked by the madwoman while I shift my sprinkler.
    It’s getting dryer and dryer and she’s looking madder & madder as she scuttles about trying to keep her plants alive with a 9 litre plastic watering can.

    I switched on the AC early today because Smoke from Bribie – urgh – and have ventured out into the horror as little as possible.
    If I was a less slatternly soul I would probably clean the refrigerator.
    I suppose I could start by emptying it….
    *nom nom nom.

  592. What a wonderful idea! I think there may still be some CAEK in my fridge.

    Not any more.
    *nom nom nom.

  593. All I’ve got is a salad roll!

    Oh well … nom nom nom.

  594. A salad roll? That sounds healthy. Ewwwww!

    O.k, so after my mammoth Telstrarse session on Friday, we’ve somehow managed to go through 10GB of downloads in three days, despite not downloading anything. So I’m conducting a little experiment. I’m going to make a note of our downloads, then I’m going to completely disconnect the internet for 36 hours. On Thursday, I will start it all up again, and immediately check our downloads. If there is one megabyte used, I will be ringing Telstrarse and ripping them a whole new Telstrarsehole. So I’ll be offline until lunchtime Thursday. But don’t worry, I’ve left apple slice in the sulking corner, and the Wildebeest is locked in the shed. See you Thursday!

  595. Mmm….apple slice. Nom Nom Nom.
    But golly Catty, that’s taking a risk. I hope you didn’t lock him in with your knitting again. Remember what happened last time, when he ate it, needles and all?

    As for your experiment, I suggest you devise another one, which is that you leave all devices on, and then, having confiscated anything electrical, lock your children & husband in the shed for three days with the wildebeest and see if your internet problems continue.

    I’d put money on it that they’ll stop, and after three days locked in a shed with the wildebeest, they might have learned not to keep downloading games on the sly.

  596. Good luck with the sting, Catty.

  597. Yes, and come back soon.
    I have plans to make Mary Berry’s fairy cakes today. It’s a sponge mix so while my test run was ok the other day, this time I’m going to take better care to smooth it all down so it’s level.
    I’ve gotten far too used to making muffins where you just heave it in and leave the blob to sort itself out.
    They were delicious and ever so light & fluffy, but slightly irregular tops.
    I can do better, and can think of no better purpose for my life than telling myself that this is my mission, to create the perfect cake.

    • My sister calls that ‘Procrastibaking’, the art of ignoring your housework and baking cakes instead.

  598. With real fairies, or just essence?

  599. Freeze-dried and ground.
    I have this wonderful Melbourne-based supplier.
    Sadly her internet connection is unreliable but the crushed fairies, when they arrive, are the perfect ingredients for a light English sponge.

  600. Damn ISPs. All run by Nargles,

  601. Damned nargles. I’m sure they’re responsible for half the frigging dust I find on the floor.
    In fact, I don’t think it’s dust at all, blowing in from NTO’s dust-farm.
    I think it’s nargle crap.
    *slinks off to vacuum, cursing.

  602. Well, the experiment isn’t really working. I’ve got Telstrarse running an extensive check, but it would appear my internet problems are a combination of a Teenie with a Pokemon addiction, and a Boss who lies through his teeth about his online activity. Although Telstrarse did manage to steal 800MB of data downloads while my modem was unplugged.

    When you’re done with the vacuuming, feel free to come on over and do mine. But don’t clean my windows. I’ve finally got the grime thick enough to qualify as SPF 30.

  603. How do Pokémon cause downloads? Do they snack on megabites?

  604. Procrastibaking. Heh heh heh heh heh. Nice one, Catty.
    For some weird reason there’s been a time delay on your posts.
    I assume the pokemon ate them and then vomited them all up.

    I’d offer congratulations on discovering the source of your internet woes but it sounds like commiserations are more in order. I still think you should use all the yarn that the wildebeest passed to tie the offenders to the clothesline, until they learn better.

  605. Nah, I’ve tied them to the clothesline far too many times for them to be scared by that.

    The Teenie has almost every Pokemon game available, and most of them have some special critter that can only be captured if you know the secret, i.e, playing for exactly 11.5 minutes between 12 and 1 am on a full moon, with a level 97 shiny water-type Pokemon that you captured immediately after battling the third gym leader in a special edition release game from 2 years ago. To find out the tricks, the Teenie has been hiding under the covers in the middle of the night, watching instructional Youtube videos for hours. Allegedly. Or, it could also be as you suggested, Madam, and the Pokemon have been eating the downloads. If so, I’m going to have to start leaving a cheese platter near the computer to lure the little buggers away from my megabytes. If Telstrarse calls back and says the result of their investigation is cheese-deficient Pokemon, I’m going to put arsenic in the crackers. That’ll learn ’em.

  606. Oh, YouTube. Yes, that eats many a download around here as well. Telstrarse keeps sending me letters asking if I’d like to pay twice as much for the same service because we keep running out of downloads. Since I’m not terribly affected when it slows, they’d have more luck catching one of those rare Pokémon.

  607. Somehow or other when I was battling spam I managed to reset my internet settings so that it won’t let me view anything on youtube that arrives via twitter.
    Annoying when it’s a sneak preview off the Avengers set by Robert Downey Junior, but importantly it’s curtailed my internet downloads, too.
    It keeps asking me if I’d like to undo the safety restrictions but it seems complicated. I’d have to click on something and then click on something else and then answer some really annoying questions.
    I have better things to do, like read my library books, and eat cake.

  608. Mmmm … cake.

  609. Ah yes, Cake.
    I made some more orange fairy cakes for Halloween; that Mary Berry sponge recipe really is FaBliss. Sent you both some pix as too lazy to post them to my blog. I took a box of them over to Jen’s last night while they were prepping for their first viewing & her children literally skipped with excitement once they realised they had halloween cakes. Suspect Jen’s main motivation for moving is to ensure I don’t give her kids type 2 diabetes.
    Hallelujah, my gate was built by 2pm, complete with lock, so we were able to do feed the ghouls & then shut the damned thing at 10pm, by which time I’d been asleep for 2.5 hours anyway.
    We only had a few troops of young teenage girls up the stairs, impressively they were all mostly dressed as Zed. As I suspected, we were shunned by the children immediately around us, they are all friends with the Madwoman who has driven poor Jen away so as Jen’s only friend & ally, myself, my cupcakes & my candy are all Unclean. Works for me.
    So that was quite fun, really. Pity I was asleep by quarter to 8 as that’s when they started to appear. Probably they have mothers with my metabolism who had passed out on the sofa beside a bottle of vodka & a packet of valium.
    How did you guys fare?
    It’s definitely becoming a thing around here, we could see their light sabers & hear the shrieks as they ran up & down the streets attacking each other with super-soakers & nerf guns. I think they stuck to reputable parts, though, the boarding houses & the student rentals around Casa Q probably got notched by the parents with some sort of Dark Mark that only shows up when you train a fluoro light on them.
    Avoid, Avoid.
    Lovely night for it, though, out on our deck.
    Hope you guys had fun, whatever you did for it.

  610. I locked the gate and watched “Lost Boys”, so that was fun. Now I have to drive Declan and two other of his mates all the way to Maleny to play cricket. Where, to add insult to injury I’ll probably have to score. Nice relaxing Saturday to prepare me for my return to Baconing tomorrow.

    Whimper. Someone pass me the vodka and Valium.

  611. Would you like razor blades with that, Ma’am?

  612. No, I’d only cut my fingers. Ask the Wildebeest if he’s finished with the straight razor.

  613. True. Look how dangerous you are with screen doors.
    And which of you left the wildebeest to play with the razors?
    What on earth will the neighbours think about his hipster goatee?

  614. I’m more worried about the rude word he carved into his chest hair.

  615. Sorry, that was me. I did it when I found him in a sugar coma on the front doorstep. In my defence, I thought he was the Boss. (I really must start wearing my glasses).

  616. Oh that’s what happened.
    I don’t think that word is meant to start with a ‘K’, Catty darling.
    Understandable, though.
    what ever happened about that boat?

  617. For some reason I just heard a snatch of the Gilligan’s Island theme. Catty, if he offers to take you for a three-hour tour, say no.

  618. That’s odd MM. I could swear that when Catty first mentioned it I could hear ‘Sink the Bismarck’ playing in the background.

  619. Maybe it’s “Frigging in the Rigging”?

  620. Well I’m no master of show tunes but I’m quite sure it wasn’t the theme to ‘Love Boat.’

  621. Maybe it was the theme tune to Fantasy Island.

  622. True. That or ‘Lost’.

  623. Catty, where are you? The Bermuda Triangle is nowhere near Melbourne, is it? Is there a Ballarat Triangle?

  624. Possibly but I’d think that would be a traffic snarl involving boats on trailers with hail & road rage.
    I’d say she’s been snared by the Blairgowrie triangle.

  625. If that’s a shopping mall with three chocolate shops, you might be onto something

  626. Well there are some nice places to eat down on Mornington & it would explain The Disappearance.

  627. No, I’m trying to hide from a nervous breakdown. Aunt Irma is prodding me with her broom, and all I want to do is scream. And stab. (thinking of Arlo Guthrie). If I disappear for 12 months, you know I’ve joined the army.

    The boat situation resolved itself. Miracle of miracles, the Boss was sober when he went to pick the boat up. When he got there, he discovered that it was a 6ft tinnie on a homemade trailer, and was sporting an outboard at least double the size it needed – and that he suspects might be stolen. So he backed out of the deal, much to the annoyance of the seller. But it may only be a temporary reprieve – our ‘watch’ list on eBay has a couple of pages of boats. Some caravans, too. *sigh*

  628. Caravan? Oh no. Unless it’s a gypsy caravan, made of wood and smothered in folk art.

  629. No such luck. That would have been wonderful, touring the Great Ocean Road in a gypsy caravan towed by the Wildebeest. No, the Boss is looking for those aluminium and canvas pop-top monstrosities. He thinks a full-height caravan in the front yard would be construed by the Teen as an invitation to move in. He may have a point.

  630. How hard is it to work out to pop the top up, Catty?
    She’s a clever girl. I’m sure she could get her hands on a plasma TV.
    A caravan would be awesome – There’d be room for her boyfriend and all of her friends to come round and do movie night.
    Then, when you do pack up the littlies and head south, you wouldn’t have to worry about leaving the house empty. The entire caravan of gypsies could fill every bedroom in your house while she rents out the rooms per night, via a complex system of Means-Testing.

    I think you should have taken that tinny.

  631. I think you need a hydroponic setup. You could grow enough weed to forget about what the Teen and the Boss – and the Wildebeest – are up to.

  632. The Teen wouldn’t pop the top. She’d find some way of getting someone else to do it.

    Funny thing about that weed suggestion. I was looking out the kitchen window at the Boss’s row of tomato plants, and to paraphrase Sesame Street, “One of these plants is not like the others….”. I hope I’m wrong, or we’re in for trouble when the Wildebeest finds it.

  633. Gosh Catty it would be just tragic if a cricket ball should land on that & crush it before the Cultivator gets home.

  634. But it would be fabulous if it made its way into some brownies.

  635. Staff room morning tea?
    It’s probably how they think up these ridiculous cosplay things in the first place.

  636. Oooooh, I LOVE cosplay! You show up in a business suit and stare in horror at all your dressed-up co-workers. When they ask what’s wrong, you say, “Didn’t you get the email about the staff cuts? Head office are sending in their assessment team today.” It works best if you can keep a straight face.

  637. You’re evil, Catty. I like you.

  638. Heh heh heh.
    You’re a very bad person, Catty.
    I like you, too.

  639. Awwwww, thanks! I like you guys too.

  640. Why do Mondays come around so quickly, yet Saturdays drag their heels for ages?

  641. Oh yes that’s right, Cricket. God help you.

  642. The only good cricket was Jiminy. And I didn’t like him either.

  643. I don’t like anyone today. You guys excepted, of course. And hopefully I’ll feel better once I’ve seen the osteo at midday. I had no trouble booking in, even though there’s only one staff member working in there this week because the others have decided to stay clear of the militarised zone that is now West End.
    Poor kid, she’s only been there a few months & when I looked online she had pretty much every single appointment this week free. My remedial massage therapist said the same thing last week. Maybe I should take her some lunch as I have NFI how some of these new businesses will pay their rent this week, much less eat.

    Meh. A friend of mine (from my boarding school days, and one of the few I’ve retained as friends because, Um, private school girls, do I need to explain further?) asked if The Bloke would be willing to have her daughter do – and I quote ‘Work experience placement’ at his work. ‘Is this part of their assessment for uni?’ I inquired. ‘Oh yes,’ she said.
    Child is studying architecture, so I thought ‘OK, fair enough.’
    The Bloke made some enquiries & of course nobody wants work experience kids doing placement because they’ve had so many that are a massive pain in the arse. Remember my story about the one that wandered into the board room before a meeting, sat down in the director’s chair, spun a few times & then put his feet up on the board table? and then said ‘What?’ belligerently when someone told him he couldn’t sit there.
    Hum, yes, there’s lots more stories like that.
    Meanwhile I am kicking myself for my stupidity in saying ‘yes, I will ask him & we will ask around,’ because it turns out it’s not bloody work experience placement for uni, she wants a job & they thought they could strong-arm us into giving her a job – as a second year student, mind – ‘shadowing’ my spouse around in his job at the construction site. I’ve said ‘I don’t think that will work out,’ a few times & I’m still getting pressure for it. So I had to tell her bluntly that the construction firm won’t take work experience kids, construction sites are dangerous places, people die & are injured on them all the time. Aside from which there is a delicate balance of politics between the CFMEU & project management & nobody wants to take a risk on a work experience kid pissing the brothers off.

    So I can see a cooling off in my future for that particular friendship. If she had of been up front with me about what she wanted I would have straight up told her no.
    So the kid can take her chances with the rest of the plebs in her class pounding the concrete, or else she can go put pressure on someone in the Old Girl network who wasn’t as appalled as I was by her mother needing to kick her out of her investment property near UQ because she was the worst tenant she’d ever had, and she bullied her flatmates mercilessly so that she could have the house to herself.

    Grr. Hidden agendas. When my spine is out it’s so very tempting to go all Hulk Smash when I stumble over one.

    So I am kicking myself for my stupidity in not seeing that one coming.

  644. Heh heh heh… ‘delicate balance of politics’… The Boss has some classic stories about that balance. Most of those stories involve a slab of beer and a scapegoat.

    It’s a pity the Bloke can’t get the girl on site. He’s perfectly capable of making life so completely unpleasant for the little madam, she’d be switching to a hairdressing course within the week. If it didn’t work, at least he’d have someone to make his coffee – and wake him up when his train gets to the station.

  645. The truth was that we were quite happy to pull some strings to have her sit in someone’s office for a week stuffing up the photocopier settings & updating her FB posts.
    But given what her own mother has said about her behaviour there’s just no way that I’d be setting up a job opportunity with one of our friends for her, and I’m cross at the attempt to trick me into that and, now, to try to gaslight their way out of it.
    I’ve deflected that by insisting on calling it ‘prac’ – which is what it was at the beginning of the discussion & I see no reason to allow them to switch horses now – and suggesting that she asks the faculty to help her find placement for her assessment as sadly, we can’t help.

    So we are all moving on, but OMG that school. In my next life when I come back if someone tries to enrol me in a WASP finishing school I will run away from home & join the circus, it is more fun & less of a head feck.
    Oh well.
    I’ve done some steady pruning of that school set over the years & when moments like these come along they just serve to remind me, its for good reason.

  646. Does she understand the meaning of “professional qualifications”? Someone needs to explain to her that you actually have to, umm, graduate before you can be employed in the field.


  647. I’m sure she’s very Special.

  648. A Special Architectural Snowflake.

  649. I am still chuckling merrily at the response ‘Oh, I didn’t know he worked on a building site.’

    I wonder how she and the architect daughter think you build a hospital from scratch without leaving the safe little bubble of your office.

    Perhaps they break that news to them in third year?

  650. Perhaps she’s studying some sort of non-site remote architecture?

  651. I believe the landscape changes considerable once you start to backpedal.
    In the initial conversation she told me that her daughter particularly wanted to get some practical experience on a construction site so that’s why she thought of us.

    She’s probably just trying to save face, & save the friendship.
    Now that I have been ironed out, beyond the Iron Curtain down in West End, I feel much more forgiving.

  652. Tell her you’re sorry the “work experience” didn’t work out, but you DO have some filthy windows that need washing at $8/hour.

  653. Yeah I’d want someone with experience for that.

  654. I’d be no use to you, then.

    If, however, you want a Ferrero Rocher tart, I’m your girl. The newly minted Teenie found the recipe in a magazine, and announced that was what she wanted for her birthday cake this afternoon. I cheated and bought a frozen flan base from the supermarket – but the filling is easy to make. It’s basically a chocolate soufflé. Once it’s properly chilled, I’ll pile whipped cream all over it and cover it with chopped Rochers. Also, some gorgeous little chocolate ‘Happy Birthday’ cake toppers I found in the baking aisle. With a few sparklers, it’s going to look wonderful, and I expect it will taste just as good.

  655. Yum!
    Catty that sounds awesome. It sounds like your newly minted teenie has exceptionally good taste. I’m sure she’ll be thrilled when she gets in from school.

  656. Mmmm … tart.

    My Mum made a delicious quiche for dinner last night. Gigantor and I scoffed it gratefully, but EB described it as “a terrible waste of bacon and eggs”. Still, at least we were spared any references to the Revelations of St John the Divine.

  657. The fourth horseman would appear if Elf Boy was forced to eat quiche?
    I had no idea he was so, er, Manly.

  658. No, he’s just been spouting off a lot about pits of fire and lakes of sulphur, etc. lately. I think elves are gender-neutral.

  659. I’m allergic to sulphur. Hopefully I make the cut come the Rapture, or I’m in for a seriously painful apocalypse.

  660. Let’s hope they don’t add it to the slops in the canteen at either venue, or I’ll be adding considerably to your discomfort, Catty.

  661. Better make a mental note never to visit Rotorua, Catty.

  662. Nah, wasn’t planning on going – sheep make me nervous. But thanks for the heads-up.

  663. I never knew that, Catty. Can you eat shepard’s pie?

    • Yes. Yes I can – if somebody else goes out to catch the shepherd.

  664. Melbourne must be a nightmare for you in winter.
    All those beannies…

  665. I LOVE Beanies! They’re those Smartie-type chocolates Red Tulip puts in their Humpty Dumpty Easter eggs.

  666. mmmm…Beannies. I went out yesterday to stock up on kettle crisps & dips & calamari and beer battered chips (sorry Catty) so that we could at least enjoy being battened down 3 blocks from the restricted zone. I should have bought extra, as no sooner had I cut the wedges of lemon for the calamari than Aunt Irma appeared. Bitch. Pity she didn’t try to get into the G20, I’m sure the snipers would’ve taken one look at her and turned her into swiss cheese.

    So yes, I have been on the sofa in the AC, paying some attention to the circus down the road & napping when Irma requires it.

    Meanwhile, I think we should check the bathtub to see if MM needs more ice & a bottle of tequila. Catty if you adjust the ice pack on her temple, I’ll check her pulse & charge the paddles. She may need a few volts to revive her. Perhaps I can run a jumper lead off of the dog proof fence?

  667. My word it was hot. Still, I’m alive. Barely. I just found out that for the office Christmas party we’re getting in a minibus and going to a comedy club in Brisvegas.

    It’ll be like a cruise. I won’t be able to get off. Whimper.

  668. A minibus full of co-workers…. ugh! I hope you bought that tequila in bulk, Q.

  669. I’d be arranging for an elderly aunt to die that day, MM. (yes, Irma, who else?)
    There’s no freaking way you would get me on a bus on that highway in that traffic in those conditions. What the hell are they going to do if it gets hit by someone on meth & those that don’t die then sue their employer for damages?
    Who the hell is meant to raise your children if you become a Xmas traffic casualty?
    Call me neurotic, but honestly.
    That has to be the most idiotic idea I’ve ever heard of.
    If the organiser wants to go to a comedy club, tell her to go there with her friends.

  670. MM – can’t you arrange to be in Brisbane that day so you can leave at bedtime (that’s 8pm for the likes of you and me, right) get an early night & then enjoy a weekend in Vagus with your friends?
    At least that way you don’t have to do the bus trip.

  671. I knew you’d know how I feel. I’m horrified. Last year was seafood platters and all you could drink for the so-inclined.

  672. I think they’re either completely insane or else they just have never had to listen to a relative who works A&E come home with glazed eyes & recount the horrors of what the ambos picked up off the road on a Saturday night.
    The comedy club is bad enough but road trip?
    There are just so many ways that can go wrong, and I would think drunk vomit sexual harassment would be the least worrying things on that list.

  673. Seafood…. urgh…. almost as bad as a comedy club. You guys need a new social club president.

  674. I’d punish them for that by fielding a call from the school nurse at ten to three saying that Elf Boy has come down with mumps. Give your boss a big hug as your parting gift (although he may be too ignorant to appreciate the sentiment behind that) & rush home to join your child in Camp Quarantine.

  675. I sent my mother to Toyworld to buy EB the Lego advent calendar. The lady behind the counter informed her they’d had 200 – 200! – but the online store had taken the lot.

    So know I have to pay $10 shipping for something that used to be down the road. Well, in Kawana, anyway.

  676. I have to go back to zombie dale today because yesterday’s efforts there count as a fail.
    i.e. I’ve bought the same lego architecture series that I bought him last year & which he has yet to build, and when I went to sloth on the couch in front of my new DVD I realised the staff at Big W have failed to unlock it.
    So since I’ll be in Big W & Myers anyway, do you want me to keep an eye out for your spoils?

  677. Ugh… Christmas shopping. Right up there with comedy clubs and seafood.

  678. Thanks for the kind offer, but I ordered the damn thing online, for fear that they’d run out.


  679. Well let’s hope it arrives on time.
    I’ve just done laps & once I can no longer hear the screams of the learn-to-swimmers ringing in my ears, I will head out to the mall.

  680. You should hear the way the kids next door scream on their trampoline. What is it with some kids and screaming? Thank goodness mine were never screamers.

  681. Mine aren’t so much screamers as naggers; a bit like this:

  682. Now I want to go to Mt Splashmore. Or ignore everyone, either/or.

  683. I got the second one covered. At the moment they’re arguing about the words to Itsy Bitsy Spider. *sigh*

    No, scratch that, they’re now arguing about the relative benefits/disadvantages of eating Coco Pops for breakfast. Loudly. *sigh* It’s going to be a long day.

  684. Disadvantages? There ARE no disadvantages to Coco Pops.

  685. Not unless they get spilled on the floor. In which case, summon the dog.
    I can settle the words to the song thing. All songs sung at the breakfast hour must be done via sign language or there is to be no singing at all.
    Problem solved.

  686. Sign language is very popular in our house. Only one finger really gets a work-out, though.

  687. My hexing finger gets rather busy in the lead up to Xmas, too.

  688. I’m going to renew my campaign to have Xmas every 5 years. I mean, the 2 Christmases a Decade party isn’t any stupider than Palmer United.

  689. Ah, that reminds me. Yesterday we got stuck in traffic (I forgot about all the damned schoolies, my god that was a terrifying trip dodging reckless red p-platers) beside a mini-bus full of what looked like someone’s office Xmas party. They were all having singalong & it looked ever so festive. Apart from one person slumped against the glass in the back seat who looked like she wanted to hurl.
    The bus had some sort of Christian insignia on it but I couldn’t make out what, it was all a bit flowery.
    Your bosses don’t belong to a revivalist church, do they?

  690. No. More like The Illuminati.

  691. I LOLd but that is just scary.

  692. I LOVE Christmas singalongs! Join in, ladies!

    Oh, I want a hippopotamus for Christmas….
    Only a hippopotamus will dooooooo….
    No kangaroos,
    No platypuses,
    The only thing I like are hippopotamuses,
    And a hippopotamus would like me toooooo!

    Hey, where did everybody go?

  693. Yup.
    I’m pretty sure that’s what they were singing on the minibus yesterday.

  694. Here’s another one we can sing:

  695. That’s brilliant, I’d never heard of them till now.
    Must learn to stay awake at night long enough to watch more UK TV.

  696. Absolutely. I really must start demanding a turn of the remote control now and then. And some instruction on how to use it.

  697. My friend’s Mum had a record – yes, an actual disc! – of them when I was a kid. I never realized one of them was in a wheelchair.

  698. Yeah I had to google them.
    Polio during the WW2 years.
    Always sobering to think of some of the horrible things we missed out on thanks to vaccines.

  699. We’re big fans of shots in my house. Eb’s disappointed there’s no Ebola vaccine.

  700. I quarrelled with a Louise Haye believer last week.
    Now I’m kicking myself that I didn’t think to quiz her on the Louise Haye meaning of Ebola.
    I think it comes under the category of viruses & power which are about giving up power to others.
    That’ll teach ’em to keep cowtowing to all those gun-toting dictators.

  701. There is an Ebola vaccine being trialled in Canada, according to the littlest kidlet. When he comes out with stuff like that, I don’t feel so bad about the amount of TV he watches.

  702. Can you ask him to let me know when EB can get it? Hopefully, in time for his birthday.

  703. I want something in a vial that I can sprinkle over NTO’s mail that will make her hands blister up in a horrific rash every time she touches sanding/painting equipment.
    Is that so much to ask, Santa?
    Our painters are back today touching up the handrails on the front deck & painting the timber louvres & the new timber gate.
    What this means as that NTBF & NTO are wetting themselves with excitement trying to see in, so they are both up on those stairs into flat 4 that overlook our courtyard/bedroom, scritching busily.
    No hats of course, and it was 28C at 9am out there.
    considering that BOM is predicting three days of likely rain & storms I don’t know WTF they are thinking but then again, we’ve established that they don’t think these things out, do they?
    Paint is just spyware, where those two are concerned.

  704. I’d been happily wearing my wedding rings for over 10 years when I dropped a bed on my hand. The rings were mangled, and it was almost two years later before I could get them fixed. But ever since, I can’t wear them without getting a blister under them within 24 hours. It looks and feels like a chemical burn. I’ve tried wearing other rings on that finger, and now any gold causes the blister to swell up and ooze. I’d advise you to find out what Prouds uses to clean rings, and get some of that for NTO’s tools. Or her ring. Yes, that sounds better. Smear it on her toilet seat.

  705. You a need a good old-fashioned curse. Google “Strega” in your area and find someone to put the Evil Eye on her.

  706. I’ve already tried DIY with my Evil Eye.
    It’s not working.
    Perhaps it’s time for a Brown Eye.

  707. I see the moon,
    the moon sees me….

    To be honest, I can’t see that working. Did Greybeard ever get back to you about that motion-activated neurotoxin dispenser for your fence? If not, ask the Bloke to get you one for Christmas.

  708. I had a motion-activated neurotoxin dispenser but thanks to her obsessive stalking, the drug dealer moved out. I’d say that’s why she’s given up Fish Flaking the western boundary.
    1. It’s really blurry hot
    2. Without the dealer & his clientele to watch, it’s very boring over there & the best fun she can have is watching my washing flapping in the breeze.
    If any of you know any homeless drug dealers do put them onto this, I need someone shady to draw the heat of her OCD:

  709. Maybe I can convince the lady with two kids next-door to us to go to Brisvegas for the holidays? She drinks copious amounts of wine and yells all day. You’d like her.

  710. That place is woeful – and they want $195 a week? Sad.

  711. I know – isn’t it horrid?
    MM, having seen the new family that are due to move in at Xmas, I think your neighbour would fit right in.
    I am feeling much happier as the Bloke’s dreams of playing Real Estate tycoon seem to be popping & he’s muttering happily about downsizing & finding a nice spot on the hill at Currumbin/Elanora & living happily ever after watching the whales spout off of Flat Rock & going on nice holidays which we could afford if we don’t have a ridonkulous mortgage.
    I think he’s finally seeing sense because of the insane way that NTO lives.
    They’ve been outside scritching & running the orbital sander since 6.30am.
    I guess they got all those leases signed.
    Stupid tenants.

  712. It’s a shame she lives so far away from the Scritching Enthusiasts on the other side of me. They could form a club.

  713. Perhaps we could set up a cruise ship that’s designed for compulsive scritchers.
    They could paint and sand and drill to their endless eternal delight & for a special extra fee we could arrange for the porter to push the most obnoxious in their midst overboard in the middle of the Indian Ocean on a moonless night.
    Unless somebody’s already got a franchise going…do you suppose P&O stands for ‘Painter Overboard’?

    The Scritching stopped five minutes after it started, to which I attributed Rain. (steady drizzle moving in from the NE on the radar & plainly visible in the skies above)
    I was at my desk at 8.25am when I was disturbed by a loud rapping followed by an unfriendly altercation that ended in a door getting slammed in NTO’s face.
    She’d decided to knock on Flat 4 & say in her chipper sing-song way ‘Will you be going out soon as we’d like to start painting.’
    I didn’t hear what that poor kid told her but the entire neighbourhood heard the door go BANG.

    Stupid bitch.
    Why do those children stay there, are they all on acid FFS?

  714. Probably smoking dope. That leaches your motivation.

  715. I’d smell it. They must use up all their pent up frustration blowing apart zombies on X-box, playing Left 4 Dead.
    I can’t fathom why she doesn’t find some other part of the house to strip back to fish flakes, the kids in Flat 4 are perfect tenants & why you’d piss them off & not the Roman Senators is beyond me.
    She was door knocking on their flat every 2 hours & agitating until she got her way. When they said no, she set up a trap for them so she’d know if they’d snuck out without letting her know – she pushed her scaffolding hard against the flat door (it opens out) so that they couldn’t open the door without jamming it on her work station.
    Hardly the best look for fire safety.

    They are lovely tenants, as was the last young girl that rented that flat.
    I just find it boggling why they’d want to wake them with an orbital sander running over their windows at 6.30 in the morning. Those two are beyond nuts, they really are.

  716. You might not have to worry about her for too much longer. If I was the tenant in flat 4 I’d be plotting her terminal demise forthwith.

  717. When we smelled singed flesh last night I thought they might have pulled it off, but it was just the Roman Senators scorching their chops.
    Those poor children.
    When the girl said ‘No’ or ‘FO’ as the case may be, she spent the rest of the morning banging & clattering & dropping & drilling things & generally making as much noise & bluster outside flat 4 as she could muster.
    Oh well. According to BOM, the weather gods have their own noise & bluster planned for much of today so hopefully that will scupper her plans for Scritching.

  718. I do hope it rains. It would be the perfect accompaniment to my day’s solitude and reading.

  719. I’d like some smiting. I’m still cross that the last batch of lightning set fire to a perfectly lovely renovated cottage over in West End & the weather gods did not see fit to ignite the electrical cables from the AC that run across Bog Hollow’s roof.

  720. Smiting is overrated. It’s the gloating afterwards that really gets me going.

  721. I think there would be a good deal of gloating all round if NTO suffered an unfortunate accident in the course of her Scritchings.
    No sandpaper or orbital sanders this morning, but she got the Smoke Alarm test guy in at 8.30am to flush out any malingerers. *cough*WAKEUPFLAT4*cough
    She gets him to test hers first, and that’s the cue for everyone in the other 8 flats to wake up & plug their smoke alarms back in so that they don’t get busted for unplugging them. I’m pretty sure, these days, that there’s a hefty fine for that.
    Those poor kids.
    She’s set up the scaffolding trap for the girl in Flat 4 again, I wonder what the smoke alarm test guy will make of that?

  722. If he’s spent more than five minutes in NTO’s company, I don’t think he’ll be at all surprised if he finds the tenants’ doors nailed shut, with lamb’s blood runic symbols painted on them.

  723. You’ve done the Avenging Angel bit before, Catty. Can you upload a jpeg of the required runes, please?

    I hope it’s raining gently down there the way it is up here, Q. Sander respite at it’s finest. How did you get on in the storms, btw?

  724. I saw your post at my blog so thanks – yeah I haven’t seen anything like it since the big storm of ’85 when I was in a share house at Kedron. Old Qlder. Fabulous house, one of the absolute corkers.
    We were all huddling in the kitchen which only had 1 tiny window over the stove hob & a huge ball of hail shot through the window & missed my head by about a foot.
    After which, we promptly found somewhere else to huddle.
    Same deal here yesterday arvo – I was struggling to shut a window, lots of them have been stiff since the painters came through – & a piece of hail the diameter of a grapefruit – but triangular & jagged, so a very nasty missile – shot through the window beside me. Thankfully it bounced off the screens.
    We’ve never had hail bigger than peas here & storms usually split & go around our hill so I was a bit complacent about it. I’d shut the casement windows but had left all of them ajar by an inch or two & once the wind hit, I had to run around shutting them all properly.

  725. We didn’t get any hail at all – not that I’m complaining!

    Should be an interesting storm season.

  726. ‘Interesting’ as in the Chinese curse, ‘may you live in interesting times’?
    I think I’d like to wait another thirty years before the next storm like this.
    Now that I’ve been out to run a few errands & walk the dog I’ve gotten up close & personal with some of the carnage & it’s pretty bad. It’ll take months to get a glazer in to do everyone’s windows, I rang one company today & she said it’d be next year before she could get to us, even if she put on extra staff.
    We’ve got black plastic & duct tape over the smashed windows & I suppose we’ll have to get the bank of windows nailed over with plywood if we’re to storm-proof it for the next lot of howling winds & grapefruit sized hail. The plastic won’t stand up to much.
    There’s cars that are still crushed beneath trees in the street one block in front of us, and in the side street with the divided road (different heights, Catty) a few doors down from us, every single car in the street has lost the windscreen that was in the path of Ice Storm.
    Windscreens smashed, tail-lights knocked out, side mirrors hanging by a thread.
    It looks like someone’s gone the length & breadth of the street smashing everything in sight with a metal bar. And then they’ve belted every car with a bag full of golf balls.
    All the south facing windows in the suburb have copped it & the more exposed the building, the worse the damage.
    We got off very lightly.
    I feel for anyone who doesn’t have insurance to cover this.
    You guys should see the cars – I didn’t want to take photos, it felt too much like disaster porn – but yikes.
    What a mess.

  727. I heard the Southside copped it worse. Mum and Cousin’s street lost power for a bit over a day but all the damage they copped was a bit of foliage.

    In non-disaster related news, I’ve had a story accepted for a Murican mag. Huzzah!

  728. Huzzah!
    Nice work MM. Unless of course the Muricans come here & are appalled at what we’ve said about them. I thought Muricans had trouble with our local dialect but their president seemed to pick up the local dialect rather easily.
    Speaking of our overseas guests, I’m appalled with mother nature that she didn’t send the Ice Storm to welcome them during their recent visit to the convention centre. it would have been the perfect Aprez-heat wave surprise for them. And no need for that expensive light show, not when they could’ve sat in the Stamford watching Thor sling his bolts at JB’s tech cave.
    Neutered, for the second time in as many weeks.
    Someone on twitter posted this & suggested we sub ‘JB’s gadgets’ for ‘fish’.
    it seems apt.

  729. Hehehe. One of the comedians last night said all jobs basically boil down to this:

    Boss “This is fucked. Unfuck it.”

  730. Great news, Madam! Congratulations. I am too happy for you to be jealous.

    Quokka, I saw some of the damage on TV. Thank God you’re all right. We had a storm like that on Christmas day in Helidon, 12 years ago. Afterward, it looked like God had attacked us with snowballs. I’m glad you were spared the worst of the smiting. Incidentally, when we had a smashed entrance window last year, a glazier wanted over $400 to replace it. Yeah, right! The Boss went to a nearby place that cuts glass, and bought two panes (one was for the other side of the front door, so they’d match). Then he bought putty and beading at Bunnings, and replaced the broken pane – all for under $100. (Hopefully one day he’ll get around to replacing the second pane. It’s only been 19 months.) Perhaps you could get the Bloke to fix your broken windows? It’s not that hard – surely he’d do a better job than he did with the taps.

    We had to vote yesterday. My idiot fellow voters are all idiots. Victoria is screwed.

    I should elaborate….

    When the Libs got in last time, we had a Labor federal government. The first thing federal Labor did was cut state funding by $millions$. Now we have a Liberal federal government, and Labor have just taken the state reins. Hell-ooo funding cuts. Again.

    Also, whenever there’s a party change in state government, the new mob screw with the education system. The Libs did it last term, Labor did it the previous term, and they’ll do it again this time. They mess with the curriculum days, change the curriculum, increase the fees, etc. And because all the changes are made over the Christmas holidays, we don’t find out about it until we send our kids back to school for the year. I shudder to think what damage they’re going to do this time, now that we’ve all been Gonski’d. It’s not just education, either. The new party always changes everything the previous party did, just out of spite.

    Some commentators are bemoaning Labor’s promise to tear up the contract for the East-West Link motorway, leaving us with a $1.1b compensation bill for the dumped contractors and traffic congestion to rival Hong Kong, but I’m not worried about that. Nobody ever lives up to their pre-election promises, and our new Labor Premier isn’t going to be any different.

    I think what shits me most is the pettiness of it all. We need infrastructure, we need fiscal stability, we need maturity in government… but instead we have Liberal and Labor playing slapsies with our taxes. *sigh*

  731. Catty, we feel much the same way. To the point where the voting forms should read ‘These idiots’ or ‘those idiots’ for labor & LNP.
    And then at the top level, because all they do is try to run each other down & do a lot of hate-mongering, you end up with half a dozen wing-nuts in the senate so that the entire country is controlled by a handful of moronic nut jobs who shouldn’t be tasked with anything more complex than shelling peas in the back shed of some rural backwater circa 1933.

    I’m still shaking my head that with all the critical issues that people could be worried about, something like 33,000 of them managed to garner a hate campaign against yoghurt.

    Thanks for the DIY tips but the bloke has done quite enough damage with duct tape to trust him with tools & putty, and in any case the glazier came by & fixed it yesterday. We’ve got photos of all the damage & insurance should cover it.
    It was $730 but of course it was two of the biggest windows that got smashed & not being a regular size – well, you know the score.

    We watched this on the 7.30 report the other night:
    and I would imagine after the bill for the Ice Storm comes in, the insurers will be putting pressure on the gubbermint to give the climate scientists the money that they need to give us 6-12 hours warning for when these super-cells are likely to move through. It would save money & lives (still amazed none were lost, when you see all the trees that have smashed cars & houses) & well, market forces do drive these changes.

    Did you guys see JB’s column ripping into Toned Abs for his cuts to the CSIRO yesterday? It was hilarious.

    Speaking of which, I gather you’ve done your bus trip from hell, MM.
    How did it go?

  732. Where can I get me one of those pea-shelling gigs?

    The comedians were better than I expected, but I nearly cried when it was after midnight and we were dropping people off in Caboolture. I got home after 1:30 a.m. Sob

  733. Dear God. I hope at least they let you sleep on the bus & they dropped you at your door.
    Lets hope they’ve learned their lesson & they invite you to shell peas out the back of the seafood buffet next year.

  734. I’m really taken with the pea gig. I’m going to search

  735. A job without deadbeats. Although deadbeans might be a problem. Especially after the rain we’ve had, think of all the rust.

  736. Deadbeets…

  737. Rust we’re accustomed to. We live at the beach.

  738. Deadbeets – heheheh – nice one Catty.
    Bongo players spring to mind, particularly the ones that had the Banjo & Bongo party late into last night.

  739. I think Bongo players come into the Wish-they-were-dead-beats category.

  740. Boom-tish.

  741. I’ll be here all week. Try the stir-fry, it’ll go off if no-one eats the leftovers.

  742. I’m tempted to go off, myself.

  743. Have you checked your use-by date?

  744. I just go by smell, Catty. And since we ate a lot of legumes on the weekend – yep, I’ve definitely gone off.

    And Yay to Diana. If I’d had my wits about me I’d have taken her with me, although Richard Clapton with his beach-themed 80s rock was probably enough to soothe my scritched-up spirits.

    Well, a day at the beach has improved my mindset, no end. I got in a few minutes ago & just as I was unloading the dog out of the car, NTO cruised back from wherever the hell she’d been, too. Probably out buying more discount fish-flake paint.

    The damnable woman must have my car low-jacked as that often happens when I’m intent on getting away from her. I’m amazed she didn’t pop up on the park bench behind me & the dog at Burleigh.

    Calm Blue Ocean.
    Calm Blue Ocean.
    Calm Blue – SCRITCH!

    yeah, we’re gonna have to move.

  745. Maybe she’s a Karmic Manifestation, confirming your decision?

    Or maybe I just need more coffee.

  746. NTO is more of a Ki-carmic manifestation, if you ask me.

  747. Manifestation is probably the wrong word. Infestation is more like it.

  748. Perhaps there’s a spot-on to treat her then? You’d just have to get the right strength nitric acid.

  749. Or a tub of quick lime.

  750. Perfect for a Murderous Mojito!

  751. I am so stealing that for my next short story title.

  752. And I’m using it as my defence argument in court.
    If the Scritching counts as provocation then the amount of booze required to cope with it must count as Diminished Responsibility, for sure.

  753. Unfortunately this is all cached which will not only argue premeditation, but make Catty and I accessories before the act.

    Or Barberous Bartenders.

  754. Trying to envisage the jury that can read all this stuff without rolling round the floor laughing, and letting me off with a caution.

  755. I’m picturing a jury that not only acquits you, but gives you a fracking great medal.

  756. I dream of that too, Catty.
    I’m wearing an orange jumpsuit, and the medal says ‘for service to the community’.

  757. Dang privacy settings. Orange is so not my colour.

  758. We’ve had blessed scritch-free silence thus far so I don’t think I’ll be getting arrested today.
    The agent came by around mid-morning to patrol through various flats in Bog Hollow, so perhaps she’s trying to pretend that she’s normal. Or maybe he’s pointed out to her that given all the hail stones through their bedroom windows & their car windshields, it’s not a good time to provoke her tenants.

  759. If only she’d been out in it!

  760. If wishes were horses, we’d all be knee deep in fertiliser.

  761. I wish I’d finished my Xmas shopping. Who would like a nice bag of horse poo?

  762. That sounds handy.
    Does it come with a trebuchet?

  763. Sure! With every metric tonne.

  764. A kind offer, but I must say Neigh.

  765. Snigger. Or as it’s that time of year, Hay hay hay.

  766. Here’s hoping you get to enjoy a few Silent Nights, Q.

  767. Thank you. I confess I’m dreaming of a White (Noise) Christmas.

  768. I’d better call off the Herald Angels, then.

    Oooh, that’s the answer. Get a Weeping Angel for NTO’s garden. As soon as she turns her back to scritch – problem solved. If that doesn’t work, we’ll call Davros.

  769. A weeping angel would be perfect. We could station it by the front gate until it’s dispatched the entire house-full back to the great depression, which is only fair, given that this is the effect that living beside the squalid horrid dump has had on me.

  770. No good putting it in your yard – she’ll never take her eyes off it, so it won’t get to so much as flinch.

  771. Yes, God help it if it wants to do it’s laundry.

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