Monday, May 30, 2011

Sheeting home short work of short sheeting.

I recently attended an annual state-wide conference held by Toastmasters. On a bit of a high at the gala dinner… the event of the year… and helped along with a bottle of red wine I accepted the kind invitation to the after party held by the big cheese.

Somewhere along the line I managed to consume a little more wine and not enough good sense. In a playful mood us three conspirators got up to a little fun…

The next morning, not feeling too much worse for wear, we gathered, all 150 of us, for breakfast presentations. The opening speech was from the Cheese himself. I’ll take a moment to say he’s a wonderful toastmaster, he has a fine sense of duty mixed nicely with good humour and a person whom I have not only admiration, but a good dose of respect too. He’s just a great leader.


“My wife and I held a party for our friends last night in our room. Mrs Cheese arrived just before the gala dinner and hadn’t time to bring her things to the room so we went down to collect them leaving our guests for just a few moments. During these few moments, our friends, did something extremely juvenile. After everyone had left Mrs Cheese and I prepared for bed but I couldn’t get into it. The bed wasn’t made correctly and I was struggling badly with it. Mrs Cheese investigated and burst out laughing…”

At this stage, I must point out; I had shrunk from view behind another breakfast guest. Hoping he wouldn’t see my guilty and embarrassed face even though he was recounting what happened in good grace and humour. But I just hoped I was lost in the crowd.

“Someone had short sheeted our bed!” which brought laughter from the room as he continued “Unfortunately for the person responsible, they left their compendium in the room, and if they’d like to collect it…”

I knew the game was up. I moved back into view and his eyes found me immediately.

“…from Mrs Cheese and I, then bring along a letter of apology and a bottle of Champaign”

Nothing for it but to stand. And there I stood among the 150 of the state's brass.

The room roared with laughter so I missed what was said next, red faced, looking at the ground, I sat down again to dwindling gwarfs and tisks. The only remaining pride I owned was due to the fact I hadn’t given up my conspirators.

The man has a great sense of fun. He paid me back well and truly.

I have it in hand!

So, there I was, as you would be. I recall there's a Toastmasters’ event on tonight so I parked the car at a rendezvous railway station... it being the closest to the arterial road which would lead me to the venue after work.

Later, I confirm I am a month early for the meeting (thanks Greg) which means I can meander my way home tonight instead of turning up to a meeting that's not happening for another four weeks.
On my way home, I arrive at the station, walk to the car, get in and right away my phone receives a txt message from The Minister of the Dark Arts.
"When you get into the car would you call me?"
Frightened, I look around... she can't be THAT good. She doesn't even know about the non-event I am not going to tonight. How can she possibly know?
I call. She's been collected from the gym's car park by The Provisional Princess* and dropped her glove on the concrete. If you know Sydney today then you know it's been raining like mad… flash floods, accidents, commuter system all fouled. She asks if I'll stop on the way home and look for it. I shrug my shoulders which has no effect over the phone, so I voice agreement to have a look... in the dark... in the rain... for a black glove... in a car park of which I have only a vague idea where she might have parked.
I stop the car, approximately in the right area, to begin searching with the light from my phone. I find them after about 5 minutes of sweeping back and forth.

Flushed with success but wet with rain, I give them a squeeze to wring out the water, jump back in the car and head home with the pride of a job well done even against such odds. Spooky odds at that.
I walk into the house, there's a call from above "Who's that?" She wasn't expecting me home so early**.
In I sludge with the booty in hand, actually a pair of gloves in hand. "Here you are dear, one pair of soaking gloves, luckily I found them!?!"
Her face drops, "That isn't my glove."
My face drops. I unfold the gloves and it's all wrong. They are garden gloves. I've found the wrong pair!
Spooky's Baaack; I found someone else's lost gloves in the dark rainy night.

*I love the fact TPP is actually dropping-off and picking-up one of us for a change. As any parent will tell you that's just sooooo weird and yet sooooo satisfying!
**Always a risky thing; coming home unexpected.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Meanwhile, back in the kitchen...

Y'know, things just aren't fair.

I get dragged around dress shops and sit in the man-chairs while SWMBO checks out every little thing on the racks and scours the "sales". I complain, but SWMS, gets her way and enjoys her shopping regardless. Now days I just enter the store and sit and wait like a good husband. A good bored husband. A good bored defeated husband.

But when, on the rare occasion, and I can't think of one right now, but there must be, we go to a hardware store I don't get the same... I dunno... the same patience in return.

This afternoon she thrusts a brochure in front of me. Our oven has been on the blink and we've struggled with it, on and off, as it were for quite a while. The kitchen needs re-doing after 18 years so I want to buy a decent free-standing 6 burner instead of spending the $800 to repair an 18yo oven. I figure the $800 can be put towards the new one. Well, there's the nix. We can't afford to re-do the kitchen for at least 18months and SWMBO doesn't want to put in a super-duper stove before then.

The brochure.

It contains a cheap $485.00 oven that is so cheap the only thing it has over our current one is that it works more often. The local hardware store has one left in stock, which she has reserved, so we must toddle off there, now, to check it out.

If this had been a frock then there wouldn't be any brochure, nor any phone call to reserve the last one, nor would it be found in a hardware store. I doubt the price point would have been an issue either.

I note with chagrin that hardware stores don't have man-chairs like dress shops do. I can't sit her down and wander off.

First problem is her car. It's a Mazda 121. I barely fit in it so there's no way this going to happen like she thinks it will. However, as soon as we arrive at the store she stops the first shop assistant, a senior who probably just stepped out of his shed to pop down for a few hours paid work at hardware Nirvana. Asks where the ovens are and strides off. I raise my finger to let her know I know every inch of this store but the whole encounter is over in seconds and she's gone. The sales guys gives me a look of practised pity as I race off to catch up.

It's a satisfactory kit for the money although a brand I have never heard of, but seems solid enough for the cheapest oven on the planet. I couldn't be bothered arguing for my 6 burner any more so I agree that a new cheap $485.00 oven is better than a $800 repaired oven; just to tie us over but I do manage to convince her that her car is "insufficient". So the oven is still there, in the store, with our name on it right there next to the other ovens which haven't sold yet. So much for "last one". We plan how I am to wrestle my car from the Provisional Princess to come back to collect the oven.

Anyway, I'm in a hardware store so it makes sense to stock up on a few thing while I'm there. We need 6 power-boards (4x 4-way and 2x 6-way) and 6 extension leads (2 each of 3m, 5m and 10m) for a project at work so we wonder off to "electrical". SWMBO stops and huffs and says something like "Men! We're only here for the oven. I'll meet you in the car" and walks off.

Alone & free at last I find myself at the specials bin which is in the opposite direction from electrical. There's a nice fat drill bit in there for only $20 marked down from $30. It's a top quality bit but I resist the purchase. I eventually grab the powerboards and leads and head for the register. On my way I detour via the BBQ section. Our bar-bee, like our oven, is feeling the pinch of time and needs replacing. Lo and behold but whom should I meet there? Yup, SWMBO has had the same thought.
She's decided which one we're going to buy next pay day and is searching for an assistant to see if she can reserve one. Sheesh! I've been researching BBQs for months but she's decided in mere moments! It's a fair enough BBQ, but I don't know if it can be converted to natural gas. The assistant says the person who knows all about the BBQ is the Tong Master who is at dinner (go figure) and wouldn't be back for a while. I convince SWMBO to let me sort out the BBQ and she reluctantly agrees.

So, tomorrow, after taking The Earl of Hornsby half way across Sydney for his basketball match, with any luck, in my own car, I will to return to pick up the oven.

I wonder if the drill bit will still be there?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

I'll top up the oil in 30 seconds

Yesterday's near disaster. The Provisional Princess drives my car more than I. So when she was asleep on Christmas Eve, ie before the crack of noon, I borrowed my own car to do some Chrissy shopping. The noise from the tappets was frightening so I made a mental note to add some more engine oil ASAP.
Zip to Christmas day and I am downstairs in my suit and tie topping up the oil before heading off to lunch. I prepare everything just nicely so I don't spill a drop of oil on my lovely powerful, if leaking, 1.8L Hyundai motor... or myself. The filler cap removed and general area wiped clean, the funnel is wrapped in a oil cloth to guard against drips, the bottle of oil ready to one side, dipstick checked and clean, my tie tucked into my shirt and a spare oily rag ready to catch drips from the oil bottle. I open the screw cap of the oil bottle I notice, just in time, that the seal on the bottle looks wrong, the colour isn't right. My hand freezes above the funnel.
It's 30 seconds. An acid wash that one normally uses to clean paving... I can only imagine the effect pouring eve...n just a smidgen of acid into my motor. Perhaps it would have corroded, beyond repair, the insides of the delicate machine... or perhaps simply exploded and let me off lightly.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Solar, Kitchen or Ski juggling act part 1

I broached the subject of solar power this morning (Mothers' Day) with The Minister of War and Finance.

I've been looking into installing a 1.5kW system on our heavily shaded roof. The guys over at Sydney Energy Cooperative have been very helpful with quoting and providing efficiency information. After RECs the system will cost us about $6000.

Back to this morning...

After the discussion over eggs Benedict I think I have the following options.

1. No solar power but new kitchen and ski trip to Whistler*.
2. No kitchen until mid next year but have solar power & trip to whistler.
3. Kitchen, solar power but no ski trip to Whistler in January.
4. STFU** and eat my eggs***.

Upon reflection, I think she said the "3. Kitchen, solar power but no ski trip to Whistler in January." was out of the question. I seem to remember too that there was a stern look to go with it.

I think option "2. No kitchen until mid next year but have solar power & trip to whistler." is the way to go.

Problem is, the kitchen needs a new cooker and the one I want is about $2500.00. To repair the existing one is $800.00 but if I am going option 2. then the $800.00 is a waste for just one year. But to install the new cooker means destroying half the kitchen. Chicken and the egg. Bummer. Looks like I might have to work on option 5. half a new kitchen and solar power and trip to Whistler.

*A once in a lifetime trip; well, twice in a lifetime but the first was a long time ago.
** She didn't really say that on account she doesn't swear, but you get my drift.
*** Actually, I had the mushrooms, she had the eggs.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Way, a dead cat and a spider

Watson, a blue Persian cat (friend of Holmes a blue point Siamese), was found deceased in a driveway of a neighbours home. The poor Minister of the Dark Arts was most distressed; it being her cat and all. Anyway, it was up to yours truly to inter the recently-alive in the back yard. Unfortunately, for all of Sydney's good weather, winter can be pretty yucky. And so it was that I was to be found at night, during a cold winter, in light rain, trying to free up some of the yard for the ex-pet.
Now, I am sure you can picture me negotiating our steep block of un-cleared land while balancing the umbrella in the crook of my neck, holding the torch under one arm, using the shovel with spare hands and tottering on one leg to dig. Watson, dearly departed, was wrapped in a towel on the ground to one side.
It was pretty miserable in anyone's book.

It only got worse with the appearance of Funnel Web spider.

I am a grown-up male armed with a shovel, a torch and an umbrella therefore I should be able to do away with a deadly spider, rudely woken on a wet night, right?


The hurried and frantic slamming of the shovel onto the spider was, at best, inconclusive.

I didn't have closure. He was gone. Not dead. Not alive and cross. Just "gone".

I struck a pretty hard, if panicky, blow but he was nowhere to be seen from whence he sprang legs akimbo in attack mode. The sudden realisation that he might be squished on the shovel struck me with a shock, you see, I had raised the shovel near to my face ready for a second blow. In true Hollywood horror movie style I slowly turned my head toward the danger, half expecting to see the monster on the shovel ready to strike just as I scream. With heart pounding I quickly put the shovel in the light. Uh huh, not there either.


Spider dance.

Wild torchlight flashing in bushes, in the rain, at night, in winter. And a grown man going "oh" "ah" "eee" "eww oww".

All the time there's a dead cat who's obviously remaining at peace.

I can't locate the spider! Dead or alive! Panic! I've got to find him or he could crawl over me!

I calmed down, eventually, and with no spider to be seen I carried on digging with occasional quick torch-glances around my feet. The rain worsened. I never got on with Watson. Holmes was my cat, and Watson knew I had favourites. Sort of teachers pet pet. Anyway, I'm thinking this cat, past tense as he is, is having the last laugh.

The deed was done. Dr Watson was safely buried in a nice spot, albeit among a funnel web spider's nest, but a nice spot, if a little hastily done under the circumstances.

It was then, as I gathered one last look around for the spider, that headlines flashed through my mind. With my constitution, I'd probably faint if I were bitten by this brute. I'd collapse right there and then. SWMBO wasn't home yet, so I might be there long enough to slip into a coma. What would they make of the scene? A torch, an umbrella, a shovel, one dead white male, one dead cat. Headlines: "Man killed by dead cat. Scotland Yard baffled"

Monday, August 17, 2009

I've changed my name.

Every five years I have to renew my driver's license. So, on the 1462nd day, yes a day late, I trot down to the local RTA office to do the deed.
I take a ticket, fill in the form, for the second time... I've lost the one that came in the mail, sit and wait. There's a few security cameras about because I can see myself on a screen hanging from the ceiling.

The form asks you if you need spectacles to drive. I've been wearing glasses for about 10 years but I've always passed the eye-sight test. So far.
However, as with most people, my eyesight is getting worse. Albeit, slowly. I am not too sure if I need glasses to drive and not too sure how to go about finding out. Do I tick the "No I don't wear glasses" box? If I do and I fail the test what do I do? Will I have to re-fill-in the form? Get back in the queue? Get in trouble for lying on the form? Will the RTA teller call someone if I fail the eye-sight test? This paranoia is much more entertaining than simply sitting there watching my seated-self reappear on the security screen in it's endless rotation.
I decide to wear my glasses and hang the pride and inconvenience. It's unlikely I'll get pulled over when I am not wearing them anyway, but the risk is there because my sunglasses aren't prescription. I can see fine without glasses but bare eyes are a little uncomfortable.

"Ticket number A184 please go to window 7" calls the automated voice-lady. I'm up.
And wearing my glasses.

I hand over the form and my "current" driver's license.

The teller taps away, then frowns, then taps away some more.

I didn't have glasses for my last license, and now I do, so is she confused?

"Mr Wayfarer* have you changed your name?"
"um.. no."
I wasn't expecting that. The RTA has had me on file for 30 years. They're supposed to be worried about my eyesight not my name.
"It says here your name is Mr Clayton-Wayfarer"
"Um.. "Clayton** is my second middle name. My Surname is Wayfarer"
"Well, in here the computer says your name is Clayton-Wayfarer; with a hyphen"
I show her a credit card; "See, no hyphen. Just Wayfarer"
"Well, you're going to have trouble if you leave it like that. Your identification won't match. You'll have to fill out a change-of-name form and bring in your birth certificate."
I'm thinking to myself I'm already without a current license, I'm really busy at work and can't afford the time for a second visit, God knows where my birth certificate is, and this is so wrong.
"It's not my fault your computer is confused! I've never changed my name; there's a glitch."
"I can't ignore the name change now that I've seen it, I'll get into trouble." she says.
She hands me the form and I look down at it despondently coloured with resignation... can't fight bureaucracy . Oh bother.
"Oh, hang on" she says. "It just fixed itself"
I raise an eyebrow at her. Who ever heard of a database record fixing itself?
She wanders off to see the supervisor. There is the obligatory whispered discussion, the dual synchronised look-at-the-customer stare, then some nodding and shaking of heads before she returns.
"It's all fixed" she reports and returns to her typing and clicking and frowning.

"Right" she says "Please read the bottom line". She holds a remote over her shoulder without turning. The screen with the eye test has been blank since I arrived. Each teller has one and they're all lined up in a row above and behind the tellers' heads.
"I can't" I reply.
She looks at me.
It's my turn to be difficult "It's blank."
She says, with a puzzled look on her face "The bottom line, please."
"It's not there."
"You can't read it?" she asks?
She still hasn't turned around.
"No. The screen isn't turned on. There is no test."
She turns round, looks up and waves the remote at it. Nothing happens. She leans over to the next teller's window, grabs his remote, no luck. Then she tries his remote on his screen and it comes on.
Proudly she instructs "Please read the bottom line."
What a dirty trick... it's further away but I read it without a problem.
She says I passed the test, goes back to her typing, then stops. "You didn't have glasses for your last license?"
I explain I wasn't sure that I needed to wear them for the test. She asks if I wear them when I drive, I answer that I do, but I can see pretty well without them. She suggests that I try the test without the glasses.
She picks up the wrong remote. Tries to work her neighbour's screen. Swaps remotes and tries again. I read it out without a problem, thinking how even un-fairer it was; no glasses and further away.

I'm puzzled, of course; after having said I normally wear the glasses for driving that she suggests I try it without them.

I pay, I thank, I sit, I wait, I get called to collect my new drivers license.
Thank goodness it's another 5 years before I have to do that again!

*Not my real name
**No. This is my real second middle name.

Friday, June 26, 2009

I gave in.

This is the log from MSN between Rodney and me.

Rodders says:
did you finally succumb?
Way says: twas an accident
Way says: I slipped and fell on a button or something
Rodders says (11:40 PM): and accidentally signed up on facebook
Way says (11:40 PM): it involved a complicated series of buttons
Way says (11:40 PM): amazing, really, when you think of it
Rodders says (11:40 PM): damn did you hurt yourself?
Rodders says (11:41 PM): you even accidentally managed to upload a photo
Way says (11:41 PM): my head hurts. The loss of pride will come later.
Way says (11:41 PM): Photo? Uncanny, huh?
Rodders says (11:41 PM): true
Way says (11:42 PM): Then, like magic, all these spam emails started to appear in my Outlook. So many I had to create a rule and send them to their own box.
Rodders says (11:42 PM): lol
Way says (11:44 PM): Tis amazing. Such a seemingly small accident, granted it involved astronomically probabilities, has suddenly branched out and affected other things (like the spam emails and a whole lot of new friends that, totally like, random man, I already knew)
Rodders says (11:45 PM): lol
Way says (11:45 PM): then photos of me started appearing. I existed on FaceBook before I existed on facebook. I mean, how weird is that Mal?
Rodders says (11:46 PM): Mal?
Way says (11:47 PM): Rod. It's a line out of Serenity, the movie? Mr Universe got himself killed...
Rodders says (11:47 PM): dick
Way says (11:47 PM): No. his name was Mr Universe
Way says (11:48 PM): See. He had connections to all the solar system's media...
Way says (11:48 PM): err..
Rodders says (11:48 PM): oh yeah
Rodders says (11:48 PM): him
Way says (11:48 PM): you're not seeing the parallel here, are you Fids?
Rodders says (11:48 PM): the jewish dude
Way says (11:48 PM): with the doll?
Rodders says (11:48 PM): yup
Way says (11:48 PM): "He killed me Mal, How weird is that Mal?"
Rodders says (11:48 PM): shes was teh sexy
Way says (11:49 PM): Make a man want to invest in plastic, eh?
Way says (11:49 PM): anyway. I have all these new ways on FB to annoy people, so must be off.
Way says (11:50 PM): Oh... any tips how I hide this fact from The Princess?
Rodders says (11:50 PM): is she on FB?
Way says (11:50 PM): I think so. She's 16
Way says (11:50 PM): and female
Rodders says (11:50 PM): there is a way to block people from seeing you
Way says (11:51 PM): duct tape?
Rodders says (11:51 PM): no
Way says (11:51 PM): good, I like my monitors the way they are
Rodders says (11:51 PM): just trying to remember
Way says (11:51 PM): (had to scrape off the liquid paper... learned good not to edit that way again)
Rodders says (11:51 PM): yah
Rodders says (11:52 PM): its under settings
Rodders says (11:52 PM): privacy or something
Rodders says (11:52 PM):yeah settings>privacy
Way says (11:52 PM): Yeah, but on-line is one thing.... she sits right next to me... like 50cm away. She's gunna see I have more friends that her.
Rodders says (11:52 PM): just enter her name in the box and she won't be able to see you nor her
Rodders says (11:52 PM): oh is that what you're worried about
Rodders says (11:53 PM): shes female, 16.
Way says (11:53 PM): yah
Rodders says (11:53 PM): who the fcuk do YOU think is going to have more friends dickhead.
Way says (11:53 PM): Hey, I'm popular
Way says (11:53 PM): in an odd sort of way
Rodders says (11:53 PM): not as popular as a 16yo female....
Way says (11:53 PM): She's not THAT sort of female.
Way says (11:53 PM): We're talking my daughter here
Rodders says (11:54 PM): doesn't stop lots of peeps wanting to be "friends" with her...
Way says (11:54 PM): nah, she only let's school friends join... we talked about it
Rodders says (11:54 PM): good
Way says (11:55 PM): crickey, 14 emails in one hour
Rodders says (11:56 PM): yeah go turn all the email alerts off
Rodders says (11:56 PM): and block any application invite anyone sends you
Rodders says (11:56 PM): or you'll go mad
Way says (11:56 PM): "go" mad. Sniff. You're the first person ever to suggest I'm not already mad
Way says (11:57 PM): Slow, yes, mad, no
Way says (11:57 PM): Well, more like special really
Rodders says (11:57 PM): oh dear
Way says (11:57 PM): I'm all sentimental with this love from FB
Way says (11:57 PM): And that loss of pride thingy we spoke about
Rodders says (11:58 PM): right
Way says (11:58 PM): gtg. too much in my head atm.
Rodders says (11:59 PM): bai
Way says (11:59 PM): bye
Way says (11:59 PM): be good
Rodders says (11:59 PM): nah fcuk that