Feeling old at the skating party

I’ve been researching what kids like to do nowadays, and it’s making me feel VERY old in the process. I might add, I’ve come up with nothing. It’s still a mystery to me as much as it used to be. So now I’m supposed to plan my nephew’s birthday party, and all I’ve got to go on are pictures of people in crowded rooms waving around colourful, glowing sticks. It all looks very obscene and not for a ten-year-old.

Do they like lasers? I loved lasers at that age. I did see that few places in Melbourne had ice skating, with lasers. It’s like an ice skating birthday party set-up of some kind. The only problem there is that I think ice skating is kind of like skiing, or paragliding, or parachuting. You either fall in love with it or it’s absolutely not your cup of tea. My sister and her husband certainly picked a great month to go backpacking in the mountains, with no communication. Who does that when their son is turning ten? It’s double digits! They said they never had the money to do that sort of thing before they were married, or when they were newlyweds…which doesn’t make sense to me, because all they’re really paying for is the flights and my home country isn’t that far. After that it’s one of those ‘sleeping rough, kill to eat’ holidays. So it’s easy to see why they didn’t bring the kids along, but I can’t help but think this is all part of a grand master plan to get out of birthday party organising.

And now they’ve left me in charge, even though they know I love music from the 30s, knitted vests, swing dancing and I basically have the soul of an eighty-year-old. So, ice skating…maybe if we got an ice skating instructor, it’d offset some of the nerves. All the kids could do it! Add in the lasers and it’s practically the best Melbourne party venue around, hopefully.

Finally fixing the air conditioning

Every home has that one issue that never gets sorted. Growing up, there was a step in our staircase that had a crack in it and made it extra bouncy on the way up and down. My dad always said he was going to fix it but he never did. At my house our step is in the form of our air conditioning. It is always broken. We do occasionally get it fixed and we are always told to replace it but that seems like a lot of bother so we just continue to use it until it conks out again. I am practically on a first name bases with multiple guys who do air conditioning repairs based in Melbourne. The AC gave up on us again last weekend and this time it sounded worse than usual. I actually thought I heard it give out a large sigh and power down for the final time, it had a certain drama to it that it hasn’t had before.

Something about it signalled to me that it might actually be time to invest in new air conditioning. I used to really begrudge spending money on household things. It’s so not fun. Why would I choose to spend thousands of dollars on ducted air conditioning vents when I can spend it on a holiday, or buy some really cool clothes! Anyway, thinking about my children over heating during the summer months I decided to be grown up and not buy a kayak that I don’t really need but instead buy a shiny new air conditioning unit. I dragged my husband to various air conditioning companies in Melbourne and made him choose one. With the money we’ll save from not paying for AC repairs every two months we should earn the cost of the new air conditioning unit back in no time! I have no doubt that as soon as the air conditioning is working another problem will take over that will take us years to sort but I’m just praying we get at least a few months of cool hassle-free peace in between.

Paper Boats Just Need Motors?

We’ve never once succeeded at the Paper Boat Race Championships, but that’s no reason to stop trying. One day, this shall be a great mainstay of Melbourne, even a tourist attraction. But for now, it’s mostly just a laughingstock that amuses people every year. They’ll get their comeuppance, I swear it.

‘Just do little boats with no people in them!’, they all say. But that would defeat the entire purpose of it being a RACE, now wouldn’t it? I’m not putting up with people putting their little paper boats onto the water and trusting fate to see them over the finish line. No, they need to be manned, crewed, occupied. Nothing else matters.

This year, we’re looking at outboard motor services. Melbourne’s industry has helped us in the past, but there’s only so much you can do when a boat is made of paper and can barely support the weight of a person, let alone an entire boat motor. Still, I feel like there are ways you can make them more structurally sound. I recently took a trip to Japan to undertake an entire origami course, and the secrets of paper folding were unlocked in my mind. So much wisdom, years and even centuries of fantastic technique…I feel sure that this will be the year we finally make it work.

We’ll need to look into this motor business, in any case. Do they make motors that are lightweight enough for boats, or will we have to have them custom made? It’s only for one race, so perhaps they don’t need to be the most durable. One use, and that’s it. A disposable boat motor, that’s what we need; lots of them, in fact. Obviously I still have all my old Melbourne outboard motor repair connections, because they’re the ones who keep telling me that this idea is crazy. But once I present my disposable motor idea…they’ll come around.

-Penelope

Garden landscaping competition heats up in the finals

The annual garden landscaping competition is upon us and in less than 24 hours, Melbourne will have crowned its newest, and best garden design in the whole city. It’s the night that homeowners and garden enthusiasts look forward to the most, with dozens expected to arrive in Essendon for the announcement.

The competition is fierce this year, but it’s clear that a single winner has risen from among them. 9 out of the top 10 designs were from a company that garden magazine critic John Wilson called “The designers and installers of the best garden landscaping Melbourne North has ever seen.” It’s hard to argue with the results, with all but one of the final contestants being a representative.

“We love the standard of competition this year,” stated tournament organiser Ho Shill. “We are so happy that a record number of people, and homeowners, were able to make it out, and submit their beautiful garden landscaping designs.”

The favourite this year looks to be from homeowner Charles Xander, with an elegantly designed victorian garden and driveway, that “flows seamlessly from the back, to the sides, and out to the front, like one huge organism, moving into our hearts.”

Alongside the main competition will be “a myriad of small garden projects and contests,” including a statewide landscaping and retaining wall competition: “our biggest one yet.” The event is in it’s tenth year and organisers are expecting numbers to far exceed previous years. An estimated ten thousand people will make the trip to Essendon to witness these garden marvel in person.

Melbourne North landscaping architecture is set to light up the stage as these mini side-event occur all weekend. The winner will be decided by the judging panel at 3 pm tomorrow. Stay tuned for more information, as the 10th annual garden and outdoor design competition comes to a thrilling climax.

Pet Friendly Garden Upgrades

I’ve been having loads of problems recently with my garden. I don’t really know what the problem with this specific patch is, but both my animals are having endless problems with it. My little kitten has gotten three rose thorns in her toes and my dog keeps getting sores that are getting infected from sharp nettles that are dropping from the trees. I’m sure you understand that I can’t afford to keep getting all of these vet bills! I’m not made of money! So I’ve decided the best solution for me would be to change up my garden to make it more pet friendly. Getting new plants should definitely fix the problems with the animals (or so the vet tells me) but to be honest I’m pretty excited about  the ground cover plants for other reasons as well.

I feel like it’s probably healthier to have more fruiting plants in the garden. I’m pretty keen on growing my own strawberry patch so I can have fresh fruit in the morning. I know my dog loves strawberries so I’ll have to put them in a planter box.  I’m also considering a vegetable patch but that’ll all depend on how good the soil is.  I also suffer from allergies, including hayfever, which will restrict the types of flowers I can have in the garden. It’s all supposed to help with getting rid of the pollen, right? I simply adore daffodils so they’ll have to be in the mix. I’d love a field of bright yellow daffodils but I don’t have the space. I know it’s going to be a lot of work to get everything planted but I’m determined to make this garden more safe for my pets. My cat spends most of the time inside but my dog loves to explore the garden. If my dog ever goes missing I know the first place to look is in the shrubs. He likes to bury his lamb bones in the shrubs once he’s done playing with them. I’m rather excited to get started on this garden project. I wonder how much it’ll all cost.