Renovations Make Happy Relatives

I think my parents have a bit of a problem – they can’t seem to stop renovating. It’s as though they’re uncomfortable with not having a project on the go. They fill in any spare gap in their calendar with everything from maintenance tweaks to full on room makeovers.

When they run out of things to update, they go right back to where they started and repeat the process. Every few years they accept that there’s really nothing more to be done, which is when they sell up. I’ve wondered where they find the money to do all this, and have since concluded that it must be their due from improving the value of their investments so diligently. Hey, whatever floats your boat. It all looks a bit stressful to me, though.

For example, they’re currently overseeing a renovation of their downstairs bathroom, which has seen a continual stream of designers, builders, delivers and other tradespeople coming in and out via the kitchen for past month. Who knew that renovating a single room could be such a process? Well, it’s probably at least partly due to my parents’ very particular taste in bathroom design. Melbourne minimalism meets industrial Berlin is, according to mum, the look they’re going for. Okay then.

Next on their agenda is going to be the kitchenette in the self-contained one-room flat out the back. They haven’t said as much, but I know it’s going to be that. You see, I noticed that a couple of the tiles are coming slightly unstuck, and the wall is a tiny bit discoloured over the cooktop. If there was ever a need for a drastic kitchen redesign, this would be it… not. But I’m going to leave them to do their thing in peace.

I wonder if I’m going to be like this as I get older (and wealthier – here’s hoping). It’s hard to imagine myself investing quite so much in custom cabinetry, hinge designs and bespoke built-in storage solutions, but I guess you never know.

My New Doggo Friend

When I first heard about micro-chipping for dogs and cats, I was a bit disturbed by the concept. But I’ve come round to it now. You see, I’ve fallen in love with my girlfriend’s parents’ Labrador, Pancake, and was was distraught when I heard he’d gone missing during a recent thunderstorm.

As it happens, Pancake was micro-chipped and his family was contacted a couple of days after his disappearance by a Bayside animal hospital. Vets, it would seem, are able to scan the microchips to find out the contact details of an animal’s owner. Well, that had me sold on the whole micro-chipping business, didn’t it? So much for my conspiracy theories. 

I never had a pet when I was growing up, and Pancake is basically the first non-human animal I’ve really formed a connection with. I hadn’t realised how upset I’d be if an animal I was friends with went missing from its home. I still think micro-chipping is a bit weird, but I can see the point of it now. A lost dog can’t speak up to say where it lives, or explain that it’s not a stray.

I’m casually toying with the idea of acquiring an animal friend of my own (there are only so many times I can pretend I want to go over for lunch with my girlfriend’s family, when really I just want to hang out with Pancake). But I’m not sure I’m ready to take that step. I definitely need to percolate the idea for a good bit longer.

Aside from the requisite 10+ year commitment to caring for a dog, there are so many random little things to consider – vaccinations, animal nutrition, training, desexing. Dogs in Bayside, I’m pretty sure, are technically required to be desexed… or are they? I really have no idea, actually.

It’s exhausting just thinking about all that. I reckon it’s best that I keep hanging out with Pancake for the time being, and using those family lunches to pick brains about the intricacies of pet ownership.

Teen Fatigue Gets Real

One of my son’s good friends – let’s call him M – has just been diagnosed with chronic fatigue – not what you want when you’re about to start your first year of university! According to his dad, who I ran into at the chemist today, it seems to be a spin-off of the glandular fever the poor kid had last year, which was why he’d deferred starting university until mid-year. Talk about one thing after another!

On the positive side, it sounds like M has been getting some quality support in the form of sessions with a dietician at a psychological health clinic on the Mornington Peninsula. Apparently, dietetics is an allied health profession that can be really helpful in supporting wellbeing when it comes to conditions of this nature – makes sense, although I’ve never given it much thought.  

In addition, M has been having some psychological counselling to deal with the depression he was experiencing while sitting his year 12 exams last year. I vaguely recall my son saying that one of his mate’s had been referred to a psychiatrist around that time; maybe that was M. I don’t like to pry too much into the kids’ private lives, and especially those of their friends, so I hadn’t pressed for information. I’m sure plenty of kids these days see mental health professionals, anyway.

My brother had a referral to a psychiatrist a couple of years back, didn’t he? I’d forgotten about that. I don’t think I ever found out if he’d followed up on it. Does that make me an uncaring person? Or just one who’s very respectful of other people’s privacy? Either way, the Mornington psychiatry and allied health scene seems to be something that quite a lot of people I know have had some involvement with.

Maybe people should be more open about it. Or should I be more open in encouraging people to open up about their experiences when they mention it? Or perhaps there’s just the right level of openness going on as the situation stands. I don’t know.

Timber Doors Are in Vogue…Now

Apparently, our door is just not good enough. And if it’s now the door, then it’s the windows, and if it’s not the windows, it’s the bathroom, and then the kitchen, the garden, and so on and so forth until the universe implodes. And even then, Ian will find some way to improve upon the blank void around us.

Oh, the joys of home ownership. It’s everything I ever wanted, except for the fact that we never have any money left at the end of the month. To be honest, it’s probably my fault. I said, back in the mists of time, that we needed timber door replacement. It was the one thing I asked, because our previous door was awful on the eyes and doors are the one thing people see upon entering the home. Well…they’re the first thing. And then, open the floodgates to a bunch of really super necessary things, until we finally move past the necessary and into the realm of indulgences. Yes, Ian, getting the shower re-tiled is an indulgence. the previous tiles were just perfectly okay, unlike the door which was horrible and needed a new frame. A TIMBER window frame, no less. Now I seem to have unleashed a DIY beast within Ian that certainly wasn’t there when I married him. Would’ve been good to know beforehand, just saying…

So this is our reality now. Find something in the home that doesn’t need changing, change it, rinse and repeat until we die. And then our children get the finished product, so good for them. Last ones standing. And THEY can worry about aluminium door replacement, because it’ll probably be back in vogue by then. Yep, that’s just the world of the future: aluminium everywhere, purple shower tiles, and a garden full of azaleas. Basically, everything will be put back the way it was, because that’s how trends go, Ian.

-Sheena

Children, Respect the Bubble

I usually try to maintain a strict no-child bubble. As in, no children may come within about two feet of me. They very rarely respect this, because children have zero special awareness and are just continually bumping into my legs and whatever else, but the important thing is that I have standards. They’re never actually met, but the standard is indeed there.

And then last night I was offered up to babysit, so thanks MUM. I live independently and Mum doesn’t know my schedule, but Ian and Sandra needed someone to look after Jacqui, so sure, I’m available! I’ll cancel everything! Jacqui is an aspiring hairdresser, as it turns out. I asked what she wanted to do once I got there, and she said that she was available for hair appointments in South Melbourne, because that’s where she’d opened her salon, right next to the school. I had no use for any of that information, but sure.

I was the only person in the house, so naturally, I became the hair salon client. And I don’t even have much hair to work with, so I already felt pretty stupid. Plus, having Jacqui work on my hair was a clear and constant violation of my bubble. Couldn’t even sit on a chair, either, since that was too high for her. I just sat on the floor while a relatively unqualified hairdresser ‘cut’ my hair with safety scissors. Thankfully that was all pretend, aside from one curl near my ear.

Though in terms of hair salon person banter, it definitely wasn’t too bad. Clearly the girl had been to a hairdresser and heard what they said, so we talked about what I did for work, where I’m going on my holidays, and then how I manage to keep my hair so soft (papaya). She called me ‘darl’ a few times as well. Very authentic.

Okay, so it wasn’t the worst experience. I didn’t even have to do anything. And if I ever DO make a hair appointment with a South Melbourne hair salon, I’ll have all my conversation topics prepared, surely. I don’t know what scares me more: babysitting or small talk with strangers.

-Lewis

Television…or Streaming?

What to do, in this new and exciting information age? I like television…but I also like streaming…but can I have both?

Neat-Flicks has my absolute favourite show of all time, Fiends. It’s the one about the six mortal enemies living near each other in Toronto, and getting into wacky, day-to-day adventures while actually hating each other quite a lot. But then, I can’t really watch live sporting events on streaming, because someone thought it would be a good idea not to invent that yet. Plus, you get to witness television events, and the GF really likes it for Week of Our Lives, so…

I guess we need to get onto that antenna then. Antenna repair company in Melbourne work at a reasonable rate, and it’s not like regularly scheduled programming is going away any time soon. Like digital radio, television just got better. Not that I’ve had it for a while, but I was cat-sitting over the weekend and they said “hey, turn the television on, Jester really likes the sound”, and I did. Their Wi-Fi was down, so I started flicking through the channels and I didn’t even make it through all of them before I had to go. How many channels are there nowadays? Why do we need twenty-six different news channels, and who’s making all the shows about trucks driving long distances? Who’s making any of this stuff? Although that one about people driving on ice was flipping wild. SO stressful to watch, but it kept me on the edge of my seat, for sure.

TV has definitely moved on to the point where there’s actually something to watch at any time of day, while streaming…streaming is just great in a totally different way. And then there’s Week of Our Lives, and I’m definitely not getting out of that one, so…guess I’m springing for Melbourne’s best antenna installation, AND a subscription to Neat-Flicks. Gotta have my Fiends.

-Raquelle Greene

Laser Focus

My sister gave me a voucher for laser hair removal for Christmas… what are you trying to say, sis? Nah, I’m joking; we agreed to gift the same thing to each other and go for the treatment together. Basically, we added up the amount we both spend on professional waxing treatments in a year and decided we might as well invest in a more permanent hair removal solution – we’ve been doing it for so long (since the 80s!) that it’s hardly like we’re going to stop any time soon.

Here in Melbourne, laser hair removal clinics are quite easy to come by, so we weren’t too sure how to narrow down which one to use. We ended up going with a recommendation from a mate who’d had a good experience with the whole thing. This person also has a brother who’d gone to the same team’s Bendigo clinic for anti-wrinkle injections and been happy with the outcome. So the referral looks pretty solid.

Anyway, we haven’t done the deed yet – what with the runaround of the holidays and then getting back to work, we just haven’t been able to line up a time when we’re both free. The other thing is that you’re not supposed to have waxed for a month before having the treatment, so there’s that. I’m a little bit nervous about it because I’ve always had quite sensitive skin, but I’ve been assured by the clinic that the cosmetic technology they use is designed to minimise irritation and that my skin should be all good if it stands up to waxing.

Our mum has always been a bit funny about our sisterly hair removal obsession – in her day, she tells us, it just wasn’t a thing. Interestingly, our teenage daughters aren’t wild about it either; the people in their social circles just don’t get down with it. That’s just fine with us, but like I said, we’ve been doing it for so long that we’re not about to stop any time soon – so bring on the lasers!

The Lemur Sanctuary, Revived!

You’d be surprised by how much legal jargon is involved in setting up a lemur sanctuary, even if it’s just the sanctuary…moving. As in, we’re moving to a new place. Yep, the Lemur Sanctuary is saved! Honestly, I think the Keymore location is what was dragging us down a bit, being on the outskirts and all. Now we’re in a conveniently abandoned zoo-type area that we got for an absolute steal, and it’s a hop, skip and a jump away from the CBD. Everything worked out perfectly.

Of course, I’ve had to help out Sofia dealing with the business lawyers. Seriously, I know it’s Lawrence Corp and everything, but it’s like they’ve found every business lawyer office in Melbourne and got them to come and check out all the sponsorship details. I guess they are a business, and quite a big one. Makes sense that they want the business law to be top-notch.

Speaking of lawyers, we sure have been seeing a lot of them recently. Turns out that buying an old zoo isn’t as easy as a normal house. Fortunately Sofia had some connections in the property law world, the same ones she used to get us the old sanctuary. So it’s been Monday speaking to Lawrence Corp and their business lawyers, then property lawyers the day afterwards, and then another property law meeting with the shareholders, and another one with the business lawyers on Thursday to iron out the legality of the branding.

So we’ll soon be re-opening as ‘World of Lemurs, Brought to You by Lawrence Corp’. It’s wordy, but apparently all the official branding is going to just be World of Lemurs, or ‘WOL’. I like it a little bit better than just ‘Lemur Sanctuary’. It’s been a long, stressful road, but we pulled through. The new facility is great, the staff are happy, and I can now tell you every commercial law firm operating in Melbourne, because wow, meetings. A necessary evil, I guess.

-Lance

My amazing life thanks to the beauty salon

I’m married to a wealthy stockbroker, my darling Kyle, who is my love and life. His well paying job also means that I can spend my days relaxing, rather than work all the time like most people are forced to do. But don’t get me wrong, I’m not a slacker. I do lots of things with my time. I volunteer at the local animal shelter, I take Pilates class, and lunch with my friends.  Once a month I usually like to have some kind of beauty treatments because I need to look my best and make my hubby happy. Let me share with you my day.

I’ll wake up at 10am and spend some quality time with the kids Jackson and Jacobs. They’re not human children, they’re my fur babies. I take a long shower and then inspect my face for any signs of aging. If I find anything of concern I book an appointment in Melbourne for anti wrinkle injections at my favourite salon. After a light breakfast I go to the gym for an hour of cardio and squats.

A proper workout is a great start to the day, and a gym certainly beats going for a job along the main roads near us. I like everything about it, and I can go and chat with my friends and meet some cool people. If it’s a Friday I’ll usually go to my favourite beauty salon, just down the block from the gym.

The beauty salon is filled with lovely and cool people, we’re all friends over there. It means I can share with my friends everything about my life- about Kyle and the kids, and any problems I might be having at the time.

They love to listen and help me while they go about the process of laser hair removal. Melbourne is known to have some of the best beauty clinics in the country and for good reason. I find the whole experience really relaxing. I just love having facials; skin replenishment is something that many girls forget about, and it’s really important stuff.

We, as women, need to take care of our bodies and deserve to feel good about them.  It means that when I go home at night, I’ll feel great and when Kyle gets home I can be everything he wants me to be.

How I overcame the nightmare at my feet

A structural problem to my toes that developed when I was a 23 year old flared and fluctuated through the years. In my early thirties, this became unbearable. I found out through visiting a specialist that I had a condition, in which my toes were subject to poor healing and constant breaks. The worst was yet to come, though. Even reading it now takes my breath away, because two of my toes on the left foot would need to be amputated. Suffice to say, it wasn’t a great time, but thankfully, relief came in the form of hyperbaric treatment. Melbourne won me over again with a place specialising in hyperbaric treatments that I could regularly visit just a few main roads away.

Thankfully, around the same time, I was referred by a friend who played football to a place that offered hyperbaric chamber sessions. He made sure I knew about about the benefits of oxygen therapies and why not trying one would be a mistake. He was right.

In the end,  I wasn’t able to save my toes but I was able to deal with the amputation wound, which threatened to be very difficult to treat. Areas of the body far away from the heart are notoriously more resistant to healing, due to the fact that oxygen is firstly used in the central regions of the body, leaving legs and extremities to go with less. a long period of recovery behind. I was able to focus on intensive return to health though, and what made that easier than I expected was the introduction to leading Melbourne hyperbaric chamber oxygen therapies.

My first session in a chamber made me realise how much pain I’d been in. A level down from the pain I’d normally been in was the eye opener. I guess I had become become complacent with compensating pain, and my body showed the aftershocks of this, with tiny niggles opening up all over my body, which I guess were the small but numerous readjustments my body needed to make now that those pain-led movements no longer happened.