Sunday, July 26, 2009

Pat, Pat, Roll, Roll

The title to this post may be weird but that is the technique we used to paint the Caravan’s (our bedroom) walls. It sounds like child’s play buy it has worked for us! We were virgin painters until Tuesday evening when we tried it for ourselves. That evening, we tried to stick to advice printed on a leaflet M collected from Bunnings and a DIY book we had borrowed from the library. I also tried to imitate the actions of the painters that painted the living room at the end of last year. When we downed tools after midnight, we weren’t very happy with the results. M declared that he would never paint again.

We woke up to a surprise on Wednesday morning. The walls looked surprisingly good after 7.5 hours of drying time. There were a few patches that we weren’t too happy with but we weren’t too bothered because another coat would certainly hide them. That evening, we started on the remaining two walls. We were more confident and spent at least an hour less completing the work. When we were painting around the wardrobe door, we noticed consistent results when we applied the paint with a paint pad before going over the area with a paint roller. The two walls looked perfect even before the paint dried that night.

On Friday, we gave the walls a second coat of paint to finish the job. We started at around 7 pm and we were so confident by then that we got the job done around 9:30 pm. After cleaning all the tools, tidying up and a shower, we were in time to watch my team Carlton losing to Collingwood. Wicked me totally believed that Carlton would definitely thrash Collingwood again and had planned to go to bed in my Carlton jersey to annoy M. Even though Collingwood won, M was too exhausted to celebrate. He wasn’t just physically exhausted but the special duty he has been performing in the last week and a half has also exhausted him mentally and emotionally.

We used Nippon Paint Advance for our DIY painting project. The tint we had chosen is a Dulux one though. I had wanted to use Dulux paint because of its washability but had opted for Nippon because it was cheaper. Because I am asthmatic, my mum was a bit worried that the smell may be a problem especially since we were painting so close to bedtime. It turned out that the Nippon paint didn’t smell much at all. We bought a roller plus tray kit when we bought the paint. The friendly man serving us at Bunnings suggested that we buy an extra sleeve for the roller and we chose one that wasn’t the most expensive. Of all the little things we have bought for this project, the paint pad is my favourite. M chose one with an adjustable global handle. If I get to buy this item again, I would pick the one with a non-adjustable knob on its back. The handle on our one was supposed to give the user greater control but we found the opposite was true in our experience. So we ditched the handle.

While we were busy doing work inside the pigeon hole, something was also happening in the communal area of our building. A team of men returned on Friday to lay the new surface for the communal tennis court. They were here a week and a half ago to remove the old worn-out surface. When M left to perform his special duty in the morning, a man was already working on the tennis court. By the time I came home around 4 pm in the afternoon, a team of men were in the middle of finishing off their work in the tennis court. One man was riding on what looks like a ride-on lawn mower going round and round. That looked fun to me. It can't possibly be a real lawn mower because the surface is synthetic. By around 6 pm, people in our building were once enjoying tennis again. That week and a half or so must have been the longest time the court was not used in the history of our building.

Friday Morning

Friday Afternoon

Feeling Mean Sometimes

No, this post has nothing to do with regret over what I said about M earlier this month. This post is about my Guinea Pig. By the end of the 3rd quarter of the Carlton/Collingwood match on Friday, I was pretty sure that the chances were slim for Carlton to make a major comeback. My mind wandered off when I laid eyes on the beautiful picture of our Guinea Pig. I feel like a mean pet-keeper every now and then because I think that my decision to keep him was a selfish one. From the day we bought him in 2003, he became our friend and for years I thought he would be content to just have us because we showered him with so much love. I sometimes wonder where his siblings/cage mates are now. Did they have a good life? Are any of them still around? I also wonder if our Guinea Pig missed the companionship of another cavy friend and whether we had ruined him for not buying another one. I only learned the importance of keeping at least a pair when our Guinea Pig was a little older. By then, we were told that an older male Guinea Pig may not accept another same-sex companion. I also read somewhere that it was OK to keep a single Guinea Pig provided that we showered it with heaps of attention and care. That’s exactly what we did with our little friend. He was literally smothered with LOVE. Even so, that still didn’t stop me from wondering if we have been mean to him.

My Guinea Pig popped up in my dream again recently. In the dream, M and I had separated. He had moved into a flat and for some reasons, I was visiting his place one afternoon. As I approached his building, I noticed an American style letter box next to a block of identical letter boxes. The metal flag on the American style letter box was up, indicating that it has mail. I was curious to check out this all so American object. When I got the letter box door open, out came my Guinea Pig! Well, I think he was my Guinea Pig except that his colour markings were slightly different. I was somewhat annoyed that M had decided to keep him in a letter box. LOL.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Almost Ready to Paint

We are almost ready to paint the bedroom (aka the Caravan). We washed the walls with Sugar Soap on Saturday and then let them dry. On Sunday night, I assisted M in filling in little cracks and gaps with Selleys Multipurpose No More Gaps flexible filler. For best results according to the instructions, it is best that we let them cure over a period of 24 hours. Even though the cracks and gaps were only minor, we chose to pretend that they were more serious and so we have decided to not start painting until Tuesday evening, thus giving them more than 48 hours to cure properly. Luckily it hasn’t been very cold today and it has been pretty windy all day too. The window is left open in the hope that everything will be dry and ready for when we do start painting on Tuesday. I really hope that everything will go smoothly.

Camping In The Cave

We have been sleeping in the ‘Cave’ (the spare bedroom) since last Wednesday. Although I have never been camping before, our temporary sleeping arrangement is probably similar to it except that we are not confined inside a tent. The first few nights of sleeping on a mattress on the floor were more uncomfortable than I had expected. M adapted much sooner than me! I grew up sleeping on a latex mattress and when I was around 4/5, I started using a latex pillow as well. Other than hotel stays, I didn’t have my own spring mattress until I came to Australia but when it comes to pillows, I still prefer latex ones to this day. Even M prefers latex pillows now. LOL.

Unable to fall asleep easily, I had been wondering about other people’s sleeping arrangement these last few days. A cousin of mine still prefers to sleep on top of a straw mat placed above a sheet of plywood. The piece of plywood sits above the bed slats. He is not poverty stricken and he is not in jail. He does live in a remote part of the world but most people around him have pretty much upgraded to proper mattresses since the 60’s or 70’s. I have also been wondering about the thickness of the futons used in Japan. They must not have been very thick if a child’s futon can be washed in coin operated washing machines at a Laundromat. When my brother was in his late teens, right through to when he was in his 30’s, he used to sleep on a latex mattress on the floor. I, at the time, assumed that he did it because he thought the idea was cool. We have also hosted a student who preferred his spring mattress on the floor too.

Funnily, I slept pretty well last night but that could be because I was totally exhausted. I wonder if I will miss our current sleeping arrangement when we eventually move back to our freshly painted bedroom.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Absolutely Fuming Still (Super Long Rant)

The last 10 days or so have been horrible. It has not been fun sorting out the junk in the pigeon hole. The amount of junk is also forever increasing. We keep finding things that we thought we chucked out long ago. M, the much needed helper turned into a slave driver insisting that I speed up my effort. Instead of sorting things out systematically, his way was to box everything up and send them all to the storage unit. I was apparently spending too much time deciding what to keep and what to chuck. 3/4 of what we want to store in the ‘shed’ is complete and nasty M seems to think that the success has every bit to do with his push to speed things up. He totally believes that if he didn’t help out last week, nothing would have been accomplished so far. M is not a very nice person when the bully within him comes out of the closet and I know very well from whom he inherited this nasty trait from.

We completed our trips to the ‘shed’ on Friday and I was allowed two days to rest to prepare me for hell. His so-called ‘holidays’ started on Monday. He had to take time off work for a specific duty that I can’t reveal for now but it has nothing to do with the ‘Global Financial Crisis’ or any other personal reasons. We were hoping that the whole kerfuffle would turn out to be nothing and we could use the time off work to tackle the ugly pigeon hole even though I don’t really like working with him. That was not to be. We found out today that M will have to perform a special duty for the next 15 week days. That’s just absolutely great! He is going to be stressed and when he gets home, he is likely to have a go at me for doing things too slowly.

On Monday, we spent the afternoon moving things around within the living areas to make way for when we have to empty the bedrooms. I also spent some time re-arranging my Montessori bookcase and my ECE bookcase. Everything was going great until we stopped work early in the evening. M went to take a shower and he apparently used my freshly laundered PINK towel by accident. I love the feel of freshly laundered towels and had been looking forward to using it all day. I instantly chucked a hissy fit of course. M didn’t seem to see what the big deal was about. He stormed into the ‘cave’ (spare bedroom) to retrieve another one for me but the slave driver had forgotten that I had been so busy of late that a big pile of dirty clothes (including towels) were still waiting to be laundered and there were no fresh bath towels left in the wardrobe. He offered me a beach towel only to aggravate me even more. The beach towels we have received as gifts over the years are all poorly made. They shed a hell of a lot of fluff when used. Anyone reading this probably thinks that I was behaving like a spoilt brat but I think the pent up emotions gathered from previous days just exploded. I love doing things my own way and hate to be forced to do a crappy job just to fit someone else’s timetable. I also do not believe that M picked the wrong towel up by accident because someone like him wouldn’t choose anything PINK unless he had been forced to. Sad to reveal this bit of info but M was conditioned to think from a young age that all things PINK are for girls.

Things calmed down after we walked to Safeway to buy bread and milk but it didn’t stay that way for long. M was surfing the net after dinner and at one point he walked away from the computer for a brief moment and I happened to see a photo of him on the screen. It turned out to be his Facebook account and he had placed a photo of himself on it. The photo looked familiar and I didn’t recognise it right away. When asked, he explained that it was a photo of the two of us but he had cut me out of it. The photo didn’t look like a digital image. I next asked him to show me the original photo and to my utter horror, he clicked on his Facebook photo album to find it. I really believed that M had thoughtfully cut me out of the photo because he knew full well that I prefer to not be shown online. When he showed me the original photo of the two of us from within the photo album, I flew into a complete rage. At that instant, I realised that he had placed a photo of me online without my permission. It was not a digital image and so it was not from our collection. The scanned photo was taken a long time ago by his VIP and I look absolutely UGLY in that series of photos. I am not joking. Whenever the media makes fun of Michael Jackson, they always show a famous mug-shot of the singer. Well, in this series of photos (including the one he had added online), I actually looked just like an oriental/Asian version of MJ in that mug-shot pose. Again M didn’t seem to see why I was offended. The thing is that it didn’t matter if he had posted that photo or another one, I just do not want hideous me to be posted online for the world to see. It is hard enough to put up with stares on a daily basis to worry about what the rest of the world could be thinking as well. I do not wish to interfere with what is going on with his Facebook. I had long accepted that the thing is used by him to maintain contact with his family and other shallow beings but he has absolutely no rights to add a photo of me without asking me first. I have no proof as to who whipped up the idea of adding my photo; it probably was him like he said but I know full well where he got the photo from.

To make matters worse, I also found out that he had decided to tell the world what he had found in my collection of old CD’s. He thought that most of my CD choices were hilarious and had to share it. He conveniently left out the fact that the CD collections he was referring to were ones that I bought as a teenager. Some teens have shonky taste and I admit that I belong to that group but that doesn’t mean that he had to go around mocking me behind my back. As predicted, one shallow being responded with a “Hahahaha...haha…haha…ha”.

OK. If I don’t like him mocking me online and showing a photo of me without my permission, I therefore shouldn’t do the same here on my blog. I don’t think I am contradicting myself though. Here, so far in this post, I have not mocked him. With regards to posting a photo of him, I did indeed post one not so long ago but he was well aware of it and it was a shot of him from behind. When I started this blog, I had never intended to say so many nasty things about M but lately, I honestly feel that he has turned into someone else altogether. I wonder if him being testy has anything to do with how his parents react (ever so positively) to recent events that has happened to his siblings.

Anyway, when I woke up on Tuesday morning, I showed him my dissatisfactions by verbally blasting away at him for 3 hours straight. It wasn’t a good idea because I developed a slight fever after that and conked out after lunch. He probably enjoyed the peaceful hours that afternoon when I was knocked out by a couple of paracetamol tablets.
When I finally got up, I gave him the cold shoulder for the rest of the day and refused to work, full-stop. The Cold War would have lasted longer but there is just so much to do around here. I don’t believe that I have achieved anything by yelling at him.

One of the first things I was taught when I came to Australia is that no one can change another person. The changes have to come from within. This is why I found it amusing on Sunday when I saw people marching down Swanston Street. Are these people so na├»ve? Do they really think that they are capable of bringing forth true harmony by walking together once in a blue moon? It was just one big media publicity stunt. I found it more interesting to observe the facial expressions of shoppers and visitors who were ‘interrupted’ by the loud and colourful procession.

I have not been very happy since I last blogged. I don’t think I will be cheerful for a while. Oh yeah, there was another thing that happened on Sunday night that ruined the start of this week. It was German Grand Prix 2009. Not only did my favourite driver do poorly, the one and only driver that I had always wished to never win ended up winning! He wasn’t just up on the podium coming in third or second, he won! He came first! Believe it or not, Mark Webber won? I was really hoping that his engine would stall just metres from the finishing line. That would have been a great start to the week. LOL. Mark Webber is actually quite cute but I have never liked him since he started racing in F1. Not his fault actually. My dislike for Mark Webber has a lot to do with how Eddie McGuire ‘introduced’ him to the world during his first race. I won’t go into it too much now or this post will never end.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

14 Months On Already

We are still in the middle of de-cluttering the ‘Cave’. Because there is still a lot to do, I have very little time to blog. The Pigeon Hole is still a complete mess. Our current situation is quite overwhelming at times.

On Sunday, before M went to a family get together, we visited the Bunnings Warehouse in Port Melbourne. That’s the nearest branch to our home. We didn’t know that it existed until around late last year. After all of the de-cluttering, M and I are looking to give the bedrooms a fresh lick of paint. We are also looking to change the door knobs of our bedroom and bathroom. So, we went to Bunnings to get some ideas. It was a bit of a break from all the sorting and packing. M and I love the large garden centre. M saw this sublime plant in a pot and fell in love with it but because we won’t be dealing with the state of our balcony until we have completed the projects inside the pigeon hole, I refused to let him buy it. We may eventually buy one because there is a particular dish that uses lime that M and I really like. Limes can be quite pricey in Australia. I will blog about our plans for the balcony later. Let’s just say that I have been pretty inspired by some of the blogs I have been reading in the last year.

At the garden centre, I also saw other things that I would definitely buy right away if my Guinea Pig was still around. It doesn’t matter that our Guinea Pig had left us 14 months ago. His comfort and happiness is still very much important to us (me, in particular) today. We have always wanted to put a piece of rock in his cage to help wear down his claws. When our Guinea Pig was little, we used to take him to the vet to have his claws trimmed. Later, M bought a pair of special scissors to do the trimming ourselves. It was never easy because our Guinea Pig used to move around and I used to get really distressed, worrying that M might accidentally injure him. It did happen once and our Guinea Pig yelped and bled a little. I nearly fainted on the spot. Anyway, we saw a pile of marble off-cuts; each one the size of a small child’s head. How I wish to have bought one for our Guinea Pig. The marble pieces were $8.95 each. There were also bricks and square pavers that would do the job as well. I used to think that people must buy things like these in bulk because who would buy just one brick?

In the 60 Minutes episode that night, there was a segment on animals helping autistic children to calm down. It was very interesting. Even though there is still a lack of scientific evidence supporting this idea, I totally subscribe to it. It was so true when someone in the show said that people lie, animals don’t. An expert explained that interaction with animals is easier because they have far fewer facial expressions than humans. I totally second that too. Humans can be totally weird. They may seem totally warm and friendly for a while and then transform into something else without disclosing their reasons. That is just so annoying. I really wish to stay here and keep blogging but I have to get back to sorting out what to keep. There is something happening on a street nearby and I can’t wait to blog about it.

Grrr… Don’t you just hate it when posts are loading up too slow? I had wanted this post to be dated 7th of July but because things were so slow, I ended up being minutes late!