I’ve stood all I can stand, I can’t stands no more

Wow, almost two weeks since I posted to my own blog. Been spending far too much time using Google+ as a substitute blog.

I hate to start the new year with a downer, but I screamed at a neighbour last night. I don’t want to be accused of slander so I won’t go into all the stuff they’ve done in the last 8-9 months since moving in, but I have been very tolerant of their antics. I have not once been the one to call the cops on them, who pay them a visit at least three times a week and even three times a night at times.

But last night snapped in me.The family had been out for New Years Eve celebrations but came back around 2am and sat out the front of their house, directly opposite our house, with their car radio up real loud tuned to the local top 40 station. It didn’t immediately wake me but Suzanne stirred and we couldn’t get back to sleep.

After 30 minutes I’d had enough. I got dressed into some street clothes and marched over the road and asked them very civilly, if not in a civil tone to “TURN THAT RADIO OFF PLEASE“.  Not wanting to appear the party pooper, I suggested that they “TAKE IT INSIDE, OR TAKE IT OUT THE BACK. THE WHOLE STREET DOESN’T WANT TO HEAR IT“. I then thanked them for complying with a courteous “THANK YOU” and walked back home over the road.

A couple neighbours popped their heads out of their doors with “Thanks, Brian” and clapped in applause, so I knew I’d done the street a service.

Was I too harsh? Should I have allowed these guys to continue partying in their front yard, especially given that it was NYE? Or was I right to ensure the rights of the neighbours to a good night’s sleep?

Regardless, I’ll need to watch my car, plants, and letter box for a while as I suspect they will be targeted.

Easy Rider 2: Back in the Saddle

You may remember, from about a year ago, Jett’s horrific facial injuries sustained while performing his rite of passage into manhood. Or rather, you may remember that he fell off his bike while learning to ride. But to Jett, I guess, it was a bigger deal because after the tribulation he never got on his bike again. His bike has been sitting in the garage in pristine condition, unused since that fateful day. We’ve tried different techniques like praise and encouragement, threats and intimidation, promises of rewards or punishment, and ridicule and derision but he has never budged.

But last week he finally cracked. He’s a stubborn little bugger, I’ll give him that. We had to start from scratch in teaching him to ride and he fought us every step of the way. I got a sore back from leaning over trying to hold his bike up while he gained balance and confidence, but flashbacks of the pavement rushing up to smack him in the chops would come back to haunt him and turn him into a blubbering, frozen mess.

It took about a month but we finally got there. In baby steps we got him to ride from one neighbors house to the other. Then, all the way to the corner (one way only, he wasn’t about to ride all the way back). Then, in one bold, ambitious expedition and with the help from a couple neighbours kids we made it all the way round the block!

Then this week I came home and he was proud to tell me he rode all the way to school and back on the new bike track to pick up Ashton with mum. For some reason he was too unwell to attend school himself that day, but that wouldn’t stop him getting some peddle time on his bike. It turns out it took about an hour each way to ride 2km but hey, it’s a great achievement.

Art is either plagiarism or revolution.

So we played a bit of Junior Pictionary the other night, and a fun time was had by all. Ashton and Jett thought it’d be fun to play kids vs adults, a challenge we were all too willing to accept. I was quite proud of my “wand” attempt:

Ashton managed to guess “chicken” from a drawing by Jett:

It was going alright for Suzanne’s drawings, until this picture. I had to remind her that “Ice Cubes” don’t necessarily sink to the bottom of the glass:

Jett somehow managed to guess “Tattoo” from a plain square box drawn by Ashton, but I think he might have been looking at my picture instead.

The first round was a close one but the adults won it by a slim margin. There were howls of how unfair it was to allow “Stamp Collection” when the clue was clearly “Stamp Collecting”. So in the second round the adults decided to forgo allowing the little indiscretions we’d witnessed from the kids in the first round. No more Mr Nice Guy for us; no more looking at the other team, we’d claim winners instead of allowing “draws” if the call was close, and the guess had to exactly match the clue. This was all much to Ashton’s dismay when she guessed “Sun” from one of Jett’s pictures, but it was disallowed. The clue on the card was very clear that she was supposed to guess “The Sun” and not just “Sun”.

Junior Pictionary is a great game for young ‘uns to develop their imagination and artistic talent, and should be part of every family games collection!

 

I’m being tormented by a heavenly body.

Not cool, moon.

I’m being tormented by a heavenly body. I wish I could say that Jessica Alba has been tickling me constantly, but no such luck. It’s just the moon. Yep, Luna has been finding ways to make my life miserable.

We recently upgraded from Hillbilly style newspaper window coverings to ultra deluxe roller blinds. They were cheap and a snap to install, what with my mad handyman skills and awesome power drill.

But, as with any recessed curtain that doesn’t conform to micrometer tolerances, there’s a small gap on either side in between the fabric and the window frame. This gap, small though it may be, is like a red rag to a bull for the moon. It’s able to reflect sunlight over a distance of about 385000 km into a 2-3mm gap right onto my pillow, which is where I usually put my head when I’m trying desperately to sleep. 2mm over that distance is mind-bogglingly accurate.

Also, we have a wide but short window above our bed. Between the eves and the house next door there’s a tiny gap where if you put your head in just the right spot you can see the sky. That spot, again, happens to be my pillow, and I’m sure that the moon has been changing orbit so that it parks itself directly in front of that gap. It’s like being woken up by high-powered spotlights.

But the other night the moon found a third way to exploit the law of maximum inconvenience. We have a spare fridge in the garage, and I’m always wailing on Suzanne and the kids to “shut the freakin’ door” when you’ve finished getting drinks out. The other night, as we’re about to go to bed, Suzanne orders me into the darkened garage and says “Look at that. LOOK!” There was a thin sliver of light shining onto the garage door, perfectly placed so that it seemed to be coming from the fridge. “You left the door open!”

“No way,” I thought. I’m never that tardy. I’m the one who closes doors and turns off lights. I’m the only one who can be relied upon to maintain order in this chaotic household. I couldn’t have left the fridge door open, it’s such a rookie mistake.

Sure enough the door was closed. But where was the light coming from? Sure enough I looked back out through the darkened house and saw the laughing, taunting face of the full moon on the horizon. It had found the tiniest gap through the rear houses, clear through three doors inside the house and onto the garage door. It had conspired against me again and taken advantage of Suzanne’s desire to catch me out at my own game.

Curse you, moon!

9th Birthday: Why So Serious?

We had Ashton’s 9th birthday party last night with a bunch of her friends coming around. The theme was “make overs” where they did their makeup and hair. There was lots of games and dancing and general shenanigans.

Ashton’s first attempt at doing her own makeup made her look like The Joker

The unholy stench under the kitchen sink

Our 6-month maintenance has finally come around. This is where the builder of your new home contacts you and asks if there’s any new issues such as cracked walls etc. We have a couple:

  • Water doesn’t want to drain from our shower, sometimes. This probably means that the pipe has collapsed and is filling with sand. It occasionally gets washed away because the water sometimes does drain.
  • The front door seems to be sagging, so the locks are difficult to operate because the bolt doesn’t line up with the recess and the door tends to stick. This can make it difficult to open the door in the winter because it’s usually dark and nobody thinks to leave the light on for me when I come home from work.

There’s a few minor things, too, which aren’t worth mentioning. I’m happy with the brick- and plaster-work because I haven’t found any cracks in the walls so far. Man, our previous house looked like it was on a fault line because there were so many cracks.

Bu there was one minor issue which we thought we’d let the builder know about. From day one there seemed to be this strange, sour smell coming from under the kitchen sink. We’d take out the pots and pans to take a look, but never found anything. We’d take them out again a few days later to scrub it all down with cleaning agents to try and mask the smell. We’re both pretty easy going about things, but this was really driving me nuts. Since we couldn’t find anything obvious we concluded one of two things: it was either the glues used to stick the benchwork together, or tradesman had left his lunch underneath one of the panels and it had been sealed in. Either way there was nothing we could do.

We thought we’d throw it into the 6-month maintenance to see what the builders could do with it. We might be lucky. To give someone in their office a laugh we described the problem as:

  • Unholy Stench emanating from underneath kitchen sink

Indeed, when the maintenance guy called back he went through each of the points one by one saving this one for last. “In all my time as a maintenance guy, I’ve never had to deal with anything like a “Unholy Stench” before”. This had been passed around the office, he said, and everyone had had a good laugh. He knew exactly what it was right away, and it is easily fixed but he was surprised that hwe had put up with this Unholy Stench for 6 full months. What can I say? We really had no way of knowing what it was or how to fix it, so we thought we could manage and get by.

Anyhow, it’s all working out in the end.

Floors are in, mostly

So Dad came up for the last couple weeks and has been helping me lay the floors. Well, in reality I’ve been helping him, but hey. Took a couple shots to share. It’s that click-clack snap together stuff which is fairly easy to lay but there’s some skill and finesse involved. First, you gotta scrape and clean the concrete then either apply an oil-based sealant or, as we did, roll on some plastic. On top of that goes a layer of squishy foam to give it a bit of bounce. Then go the floor tiles. I still have a few corners and stuff to go but I should knock them out by the weekend.