30 July, 2011

As is.

Finally.  Here is the rear garden of the House at Porter Street.  A blank canvas of sorts.  I think I need to gaze at this for a few days in the hope inspiration will come.  Wish me luck.

Foggy days.

My brain is whirling, and not only because my head had an epic run-in with the cast iron fire screen last week.  In the delicious haze of pain relieving medications, anti-inflamatories and muscle relaxants blended with my own special brand of confusion, I am mentally grappling with a number of issues which I intend to outline below in no particular order.

The fish are doing so much better but we're battling still to get our pH and other  chemical elements more deftly aligned with the colour scale at the aquarium so we can introduce a third.  To date are graced with Mr X, the stalwart, and Sunny the lemon comet, both of whom are frisky and happy and thriving.  Such good news after the extended chain of tragedy discussed in previous entries.

The garden remains in a state of flux, awaiting the next round of works. Mum recently arranged a quote from a fine fellow called Sam, about whom Mum had good vibes.  I didn't meet him, so my vibes do not come into play in this instance.  His task is to removed the dilapidated chook shed, grind out, by hand, the stumps from the trees removed a few months ago, help us plan a garden, including veggie patch, remove the rubbish and maintain the lawns on a regular and ongoing basis.

I want to develop a vision for the garden.  But am incredibly inexperienced and wholly clueless.  So until I drift off this is where I hope my attention will settle for today.

I still have one more Malm drawer unit to assemble before the furniture element of my bedroom is completed.  My foggy brain has put a halt to any interactions with flatpack.  Rather than my extensive experience giving me the confidence to proceed equipped with just one functioning brain cell, my self-preservation and mental health alert system has warned me to steer clear until  a few more synapses are firing.  By next weekend we would hope this would be the case.

There were a couple of other incidentals requiring attention this week.  Milo's first themed party last Sunday:  Toby's pirate party.  We considered an eyepatch to be an integral component of the costumery until we saw the beard.  

And finally, the man came to complete the pool fence.  Complete? you ask.  Yes, complete, I confirm.

About a month ago, the glass fence man arrived to remove our unsightly, rusty pool fence and gate and replace it with the new and improved minimal version.

He got to work quickly, cutting out the badness and with a little bit of help from moi commenced fitting the new panels.  All good.  Very happy.

And then, a curve ball: he advised he wouldn't be able to finish the job because the factory had given one of our panels to another customer, and we were one panel short.


Many questions ensued.  Why did you start if you couldn't finish?  How long for the next panel?  What am I going to do with a party of small children due here next weekend for a party?   

It would be around 3 weeks or so before it could be complete, so after a little urging the company agreed to come back in a few days and fit a timber panel to at least make the pool area safe in the interim.

The giant piniata, the birthday boy, his wife and Milo.
Note panel just visible behind the wing of the chair next to Jane's elbow.

Eventually the pool fence was finished.

Mental note:  do something with that stupid hose.

And the timber panel was recycled into a pin board which I just have to work out how to fix to the plaster wall in the corridor outside Milo's and My bedrooms. It's bloody heavy.

So back to the garden I go, at least in my head.  First task, map it out. 

20 July, 2011

I may've been a little hasty. Part 2.

When you're walking up the driveway of the House at Porter, if you cast your eye to the right and squint at the dirt of the nearest garden bed you will spy the symbol marking the peaceful resting place of our dearly departed fish. 

It's now quite a school, with the addition yesterday of dear, sweet, quirky Otto.  Otto of the Grotto.  Otto who spent much of his day resting in the hole in the rock in the tank.  Otto who was only with us for ten days.  Otto.

An autopsy was undertaken at "Passion for Pets" in Bulleen, where Otto was acquired.  It seems he may've been unwell when he came to us.  So they're going to give us another Otto on Saturday. And in the meantime we will fondly remember our little, red-lipped friend with the big personality who has swum off this mortal coil.  RIP.

18 July, 2011


Vinyl parquetry floor, and drapes aside, we are now within two Ikea Malm drawer units of completing my bedroom.  Woo hoo.  All without a great amount of preamble or effort.  Double whooping.

Today Pat Sparks installed my new light feature:  I LOVE IT.  And (apart from the VPF) it is the finishing touch to the revamped "former study nook".  To refresh the memory:

There are no words, really.  But note the flouro light.
The light fitting, a single "Cluster", was sourced from About Space,
a place I used to be enormously enthusiastic about, but now,
after a most frustrating experience with a staff member who was having a very bad day,
find myself a little soured.

Now the bonus part of Pat's visit was he was able to explain why my very expensive 60 watt retro globes aren't bright.  

Expensive retro-style bulbs - note the length of the filament.

Sparing you the rigours of tilting your head up to look at the halogen bulb
most likely  illuminating your immediate environs.

See how the filament of the retro style bulb is really really long?  Well the 60W of power are spread over that extended distance, rather than being concentrated as it is in the normal style bulb.  Therefore the light appears dim, even though it uses the same amount of energy.  

So beware people purchasing fancy schmancy light fittings and bulbs - you may end up eating dinner in the half-light.

After Pat left we went to Ikea to get new bulbs for the family room lights, since we were now in the know about their dimness.  Whilst there we found that the Malm drawers I need for my bedroom, and which were reported online as being out of stock, were indeed available.  So we bought three.  

Hence the two drawers away from completion comment.  Of the three I have put together one.  Two boxes are mocking me from the far corner of the room.

But they can wait, until tomorrow.  After, that is, after I take my car to be repaired.  Dad accidentally got too close when backing out the driveway on Friday. He broke off the passenger side mirror and imprinted a small dent in the door which I'm pretending isn't there. The morning was foggy, my car is silver, I'd parked in a unexpected position - a recipe for a ding.  And behold it was so.

17 July, 2011

A fork in the road.

A fella from Spotlight came to the House at Porter Street about three weeks ago to talk to us about window treatments, but we weren't really sold on him.  We would've been, we DO NEED drapes, but it was a bit off putting that he couldn't be bothered bringing fabric samples in from his car for us to look at.

So instead we went to Evans Home Furnishings in Burwood, on the recommendation of Mum's friend Linda, chose some fabrics we thought might do (including one I knew we couldn't afford, just for the torture of it) and organised for Vince to come and measure up.

The main area requiring attention is the family room: two large expanses of glass (2.55m and 2.86m) currently adorned with the vertical blinds of the previous dwellers.  

For these windows, given they are common areas and not subject to my desire for injections of character, we settled on a Wilton fabric called Mint.  It's a loose weave, a little textured, reminiscent of the 1950s.  The colour is neutralish, with a hint of green and a smidgeon of gold.  It should bring a little of the outside in while complementing the sandy coloured floor tile.  Sounds a little challenging when written, but it should be good.  It was Mum's choice anyway, so her fault if it looks muddy.

The more minor but infinitely more exciting area to be draped is my bedroom - which you may or may not remember is dressed with a peach coloured, embossed vinyl, holland blind.  

Make a statement or be minimal?  Be safe, or be fabulous?   The question at this juncture has to be, "How much the fabulous?"

Given the modest price differential, I've gone the latter and ordered this:

It's called Clarise and the colour is "Hot Tamale".  It was an obvious choice.  Bold and fun in a room of white with a green door, dressing a window overlooking the garden.  FABULOUS.

Also it should be noted that I've gone against all advice and opted for the drapes to open to the left, not in the middle.  I have a myriad of justifications, none of which were shaken by the reasoning of two people far more experienced than I. So we shall see if I live to rue the decision.  I'm sure I won't.

The drapes arrive mid-September. 

16 July, 2011

Hopefully the last word on our pescatorial friends.

Remind me to change the blog banner.  I think I put the moz on myself by making the "it's all happening" claim, because almost as soon as I posted it, the entire House at Porter Street fell in a ginormous exhausted, uninspired heap on the floor.

[Also, my lovely brother, came from Greece for three weeks, so we were a little distracted...]

My last post was almost a month ago.  The saga of the effing fish was the last word and that drama went on and on and on.  I don't mean to sound cruel and unfeeling.  I am completely aware that their suffering was obviously a whole lot greater than mine, but I tell you, finding them gasping, or gunk covered, or sunk, or floating or whatever first thing every morning, was bloody wearing.  

Truth told, I think there was something wrong with our water.  I was putting in the requisite ager, anti fungal and anti algae treatments and water conditioner, but still, in the end, Biggest Fish went belly up.  The water was the only variable, so I'm prepared to pin the blame firmly there.

BF was followed swiftly into the cardboard coffin and shallow burial plot in the front garden, by O'Leo, O'Steo and strike me down I can't remember the name of the other one. I have been authoritatively advised, by the man at the aquarium shop, that introducing three new fish to a bowl most likely meant there was too much ammonia in the water from their waste, and they were gassed to death. 

Oh god.  Those were very dark days.

However now we are looking onwards and upwards.  Mister X has turned his back on the pearly gates and is now rehomed in a proper tank with a filter.  His outlook has been so much improved that I have been heard to declare the tank etc to be the best $88 I ever spent.  And I have no doubt he would agree.

After a week alone and doing well, we introduced Otto  ("I like him and he likes me.  I will call him Otto.")

Otto is a curious little fella.  Totally jaunty and full of fun.  But rather partial to a nap.  He takes himself off to the grotto in the artificial rock at the bottom of the tank and has a little lie down a couple of times a day.  I've never seen a fish do this before and initially it was all I could do to stop myself from prodding him with a chopstick in case he was dead.  But patience, restraint and observation have shown that he's fine - a narcoleptic - but fine.

Anyway, tomorrow we want to get another one, just to keep Mr X company during Otto's down times, and then we can finally draw a line under the fish.  Thusly: