Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Monday Mayhem

It was the Monday from Hell and back, something interesting really needs to happen so I can blog about it rather than this constant drivel about bad luck.

It's a normal Monday apart from the torrential rain and slower than usual traffic so I started a little earlier and headed to workk. I'd arranged a half day with my supervisor so that I could attend an interview in the city so wanted to get there about 8am, shite and briny and put in a decent effort even if it was only half a day. About 5kms into the journey and smoke begins billowing from beneath the right hand side of my bonnet (hood for you Americans). I'm stuck in peak hour traffic against the median strip and the lights are red and I'm on fire and freaking out, hoping the rain might cool the issue.

After what seems like an eternity, the green turn right arrow glows and I limp around the corner and stop the car. The temperature guage isn't out of the ordinary so it has to be a fire right? I lift the bonnet with a soggy towel in hand to douse what must be emerging flames but it's not smoke thank God but steam bubbling furiously from the overflow in my radiator and bright green coolant sploshing everywhere.

I'm supposed to be at work by now and very aware of the half day call so getting a bit anxious. I call the NRMA roadside assistance who, given the horrible rain and wind, are running at 90 minutes behind schedule. Then need to call my supervisor at the second largest soft drink manufacturer in the world but I don't have the number. Since I'm a bit of a dolt with data on my iPhone and my plan doesn't actually include data, instead of going on the net, I ring Clare and ask her to pass the message on that my car is banjaxed and I don't know how long I'll be. She tells said supervisor that I "Could be half an hour, could be hours, I don't know". At least I rang in and they're aware of a major auto disaster.

So finally the NRMA dude gets there and of course the radiator is empty and cooled down so he fills it with water, tells me to get it to a mechanic for a check and I pop on my merry way. Only 200 metres down the road and the temperature gauge goes off the dial so I pull over again and ring roadside assistance. This time there seems little point in getting a 'man' out so I ask for a tow. I've forgotten completely about work by this stage. It's all sorted isn't it?

Another hour and the tow truck guy arrives, winches up the old Honda and we begin trundling off to my mechanic back at Castle Hill. Then the Agency embryo with breasts rings and says, "I just had a call from supervisor at the second largest soft drink manufacturer in the world and she said she was expecting you hours ago, is everything alright!" Stupid supervisor had only heard the 'half an hour' bit of the conversation and frankly was a little pissed that I hadn't turned up. So, I apologetically clarified that by the time I get to the mechanic and somehow manage to arrive at work, it will be time for me to leave to attend the pre-agreed interview so I wouldn't be in.  My agency embryo agrees to talk to her on my behalf as my battery now has half a bar and is about to konk out.

So with the car dropped at the automotive shop and a very nice receptionist who offered me a lift home in the torrential rain. I managed to grab some toast and a cup of tea before ordering a cab to take me to the bus stop. I was armed with an overnight bag since I'd decided to stay at Clare's to make the 8am appointment on Tuesday a little less stressful and boarded the Citybus.

An hour later and I'm in the CBD. It's raining cats and dogs, gutters are gushing, umbrellas are colliding as all the black suits hurry to wherever it is they're being very important and hurrying towards. I haven't got an umbrella and it's far too wet to just 'risk it' so I hit the closest shop and buy myself a cheap little black number that if it lasts four openings will be working hard! I find myself standing on the curb at Martin Place waiting for the lights to change when a Sydney Bus, sploshes through an 8 inch puddle and showers me and about 12 other punters with a mini tsunami of grimy city water water.  This is now 15 minutes before my interview with a rather large fund manager. So, I'm dripping wet, mucky, my hair is now no longer frizzy but hanging in rats tails around my face and I'm plooking across the road making squelchy noises. I have images of me getting into their foyer and doing a Jamie Lee Curtis in True Lies by grabbing a vase or some such thing, slicking my hair and instantly looking hot and sexy. Didn't work.

So, finally I am ushered into the usual sterile interview room with two impeccably dressed women. Goes OK after I've apologised for my rather dogged and soggy appearance. After an hour or so, we say our fairwells and our 'be in touch's' and I duck downstairs for a heartwarming cup of coffee. Then I get a call from my Agency telling me that "The second largest soft drink company in the world have actually recruited someone for the position you were temping in so you won't be required this week" What? They recruited, the same day my car blew up and I couldn't go into work . . yeah right! I wouldn't have minded but I cleared it with her first and it wasn't a problem. So now I'm unemployed, wet, miserable, drinking coffee in the middle of the city watching the steam rise from my wet boots.

So, finished my coffee. Found the right stand to catch the M20 North Sydney bus which took me about half an hour because 'stand R' no longer exists despite being listed on the timetable and get on the bus. "It's prepay luv, where's your ticket". Shit. Lost my ticket haven't I? $26 worth of pre-paid trips slooshing down some watery gutter and into the stormwater system. Mind you I must have looked such a state that he took pity on me and let me ride for free. I won't hear a bad word about bus drivers. They're champs.  Disembarked at North Sydney and headed down towards Clare's place with my umbrella battling to remain inside out when she calls, "Meet you at the pub" says I, "I need a drink . .or two . .or three . . ." Which I promptly did and chain smoked four cigarettes before she arrived and we wondered back to hers for warmth and Masterchef.

So in one short day, a Monday at that, my car blew up, I lost my temp assignment, got soaking wet and today I found out that I haven't been put forward as a shortlister for the job because apparently I talked too much. If only they'd asked me how I handle pressure!

Ah well, at least I had a nice Chicken Parmigiana and some good company for the evening. And my car? Just the thermostat so no huge damage done. The old girl is a 1999 Honda Accord though and it's just a matter of time before her head cracks or the transmission goes more than clunk.

The only really pissy, horrible fucktardy thing about the whole day was it cost me the grand total of  $670 . . . and I didn't even get shortlisted! 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Is this all there is?

Awfully quiet in the real world here at the Banterhouse, son's in Bali, daughter no longer living here and frankly I'm getting a feeling for the empty nest. While it's wonderful having a small amount of laundry, one dish in the sink and a superbly clean and tidy home, I'd be lying if I didn't say it wasn't a little lonely. 

I had dinner with friends on Friday which was lovely but not much else on a chilly weekend other than plodding through Lonesome Dove and a load of drama as an admin for another site which has thankfully resolved itself and of course, long chats with he who is awesome in the US and short chats with he who loves gardening also in the US. I couldn't even be arsed getting out of bed early on Saturday to hit the grower's market the weather's been so grey and cold. And this from someone who's normally awake and about at 5:30am.  Coffee with my sister was a nice distraction but otherwise, it's been a weekend of solitude as an empty nester - good practice for August when Adam moves out I guess. I did take the stir-crazy dog for a little stroll this afternoon.  So yes, not sure how I'm going to cope with living alone from August. Initially it's wonderful but now I'm ready for the noisy boy to return and the house to be full of dirty socks (don't tell him I said that).

Dinner with Friends

Grey Heron thingy

Oh the Shag and the Moor Hen can be friends

Man Made lake at the bottom of my street

Not many flowers this time of year - Captain Cook Calistemon

I Have no idea what it is but took it for Tom

Another bottle brushy thingy
Of course the third love of my life schnoofin'

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Gratuitous Plug

Sorry not much going on over here this week  .  . . I will improve, I promise, but if you're in for some decent short stories, a bit of a shock and a load of confession. . .take a look at The Tenth Daughter of Memory entries for "White Lies Belie a Darker Truth" - Serious fun. You can't vote unless you play but nothing to stop you clicking on each link and going along for the ride!

Baino will be back . . behind the 8 ball . . . soon . .  ish!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday Phonewit

What a God awful week. Well at work anyway, I'm bored as hell applied for over 70 jobs, 3 rejections because yes, I'm overqualified too old! Although had the fam here most of the week. Clare's between flatmates and awaiting a fridge, Adam and Amy were busying themselves with pre Bali holiday preparations and wedding invitations so the evenings were full and fun.

In recent travels with my intrepid American (also when driving my critical children) I have been accused of not focussing, driving like a Nana, not being able to park perpendicular to a curb and turning left when instructed to turn right. All valid I might add but I never, never, drive whilst using my mobile phone:

A bus driver in the Italian capital has been suspended from duty after being videoed while speeding through the city's notoriously dangerous traffic using a mobile with one hand and a smartphone with the other. He was steering with his elbows.
The soundtrack shows he was taking instructions on the mobile on how to set up email on his smartphone. Visitors to Rome will be interested to know that the video was made on a journey from the Anagnina metro station to Ciampino airport – a route much used by low-cost airline passengers on their way out of the city.
The regional official responsible for transport, Francesco Lollobrigida, said the driver had been suspended and an inquiry would be held

Yeh he's a fone fuckwit. 

Busy weekend ahead for this empty nester, entertaining tomorrow night which involves lots of mortar and pestle crushing of Indo spices (or maybe I'll just buy them in a jar) and moving fridges and washing machines via manual ute on Sunday so . . . if I don't injure myself in the process  . . should be interesting to say the least. Interesting how all the burly men in my daughter's life disappear the very weekend she could do with a little muscle? Hmmmmm?

Have a good one folks!

Thanks Jeffscape for the heads up on this one but he's clearly not 'Indian'

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Kitchen Whizz?

We're addicted to Master Chef. Have been for about 4 seasons. One of the repercussions of watching is Adam's propensity to 'invent' new dishes. He's a decent cook actually but ignores the basics. Roux? What's a roux? Custard? Why use cream when there's ice cream? And there's always some secret ingredient that doesn't 'quite' go but the outcome is to say the least, entertaining and usually very delicious. So with the onset of a very early winter (it's cold as a witch's tits down here at the moment), the Friday Master Chef cook off has begun. I'll miss his culinary enthusiasm when he leaves.

Last night, three pizzas. Home made base which frankly is perfect and crisp, one topped with Thai Sweet Chilli Chicken, the other with buffalo mozzarella and home made tomato sauce, onion and snow peas, the other . . I really can't remember but it was salami and something. Then dessert. OK we didn't have cream and all of us were a little over the limit so ice cream, vanilla bean and eggs managed to turn into some sort of custard on crepey stuff with orange zest. Not bad actually. But seriously, the fun is in the making bless his cotton sox:

Chilli Chicken Satay Pizza

The Master at work

Love a man who cleans up

Separating yolks from the whites, harder than it looks

"Dinner's taking forever"

Whisking it up

Orangey, crepey, custardy stuff

 Did I tell you I think he's awesome . . .delish sweet man, a little peculiar but just delish.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Twitter for Gentlefolk

Remember the days when you went on holiday and spent evenings writing "Wish You Were Here" on postcards? Doesn't happen much these days - now we just Facebook "At the 12 Apostles" or msg "Good times on the road"  but occasionally some sweet person, usually a fellow blogger, sends a postcard and it ends upon the fridge only further exacerbating my wonderlust. Alan Burnett at News From Nowhere has started a bit of a craze that's taken off all over the world. Twitter for Gentlefolk has seen a huge postcard exchange take place on the blogosphere and, well, bless his Yorkshire socks, he sent me one! Jeff and I returned the favour but God knows what he'll make of the drunken and badly written ramblings on the back of our cacky handed contribution (yep we're both left handed with awful handwriting), barely worth publishing . . .  Unlike Alan's contribution to me which was far more genteel. Just wish I looked like the slim blonde!

Well it wasn't quite a motorcycle ride around the country but the Holden Cruze was a comfy ride. So nice to have friends 'across the water', all 12,000 miles of it! God, did I remember the air mail sticker or did I just write it on the back of the card?

Saturday Sillies

Well thanks to the recent Blogger debacle, no Friday Fuckwit this week, just some Saturday silliness.  It seems there's a craze out there that police are not taking lying down:

Police are cracking down on "planking" which involves lying down on various objects, taking your photo lying down on various objects and uploading them onto Facebook. 

THE internet craze of "planking" has come under fire from Victoria Police.  Facebook page Planking Australia has more than 10,000 supporters and hundreds of photos of people lying on desks, train tracks, escalators, Eskies, fire hydrants, and motorbikes.

But police have warned that dangerous stunts will not be tolerated.  A police spokeswoman said planking on roads or public transport was dangerous and against the law. (What? Against the law to lie down?)  Penalties range from fines to jail in extreme cases.  "Clearly, conduct that threatens public safety will not and should not be tolerated," she said. (Yes because we're constantly tripping over people) 

"Police, authorised officers and transport providers strongly discourage this type of behaviour around public transport and roads areas, and those caught will be prosecuted."  At least one person claims to have "planked" on a Melbourne airport travellator.

Federation Square is also a good spot for planking and a member of the Planking Australia Facebook group said the MCG would be a perfect location.

Photos of plankers balanced atop raised cherry pickers, railway signal boxes and even basketball rings are displayed on the Planking Australia Facebook page.

One person was fined for planking on a railway track, according to the Facebook page, where an image of the dangerous stunt was still displayed yesterday. (Surely it's only dangerous if there's a train coming)

Planker David Tyrrell, from Gladstone in Queensland - where a man has been charged with allegedly planking a police car - said there was no need for dangerous stunts.  "Those guys would be a minority - the people that do something stupid, like a traffic light," he said. "Obviously we don't want any injuries or deaths from it, but you do get stupid people that will test the theory of gravity." 

Mr Tyrrell, who has planked naked, said enthusiasts varied from 10-year-olds to grandparents, but most did it for a bit of a joke. "It's the same as extreme ironing. It probably started as a joke - the most random site, or somewhere a bit exciting to do it," he said.

The Facebook group has chosen May 25 to be annual planking day, to encourage new plankers and group planking. (oooh! Group planking for plonkers).

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Such is the Life of An Every Day Temp

After three weeks of reasonably entertaining posts and a fantastic time with he who has now gone home, the doldrums have set in big time. I miss him, I miss being on holiday, I have no money, need a proper job and Winter's hit us with a vengeance.  I shouldn't complain too much,  since I managed to acquire a contract job the day after his irreverent loveliness went home but oh the banality of it all.

So for the next few weeks, I'm working for a major cordial/bottler of a high profile range of soft drinks - not quite the number 1 but a close second if you catch my drift  Although to look at the security around here, you'd think they were bottling Dom Perignon Front door is on an open on bell system, I have to lock down EVERYTHING before I leave. Everyone has a security tag to get in and out although every tag has the name of the company ON IT which I thought a bit stupid "Hey, Gazza, Look just found a (popular brand soft drink manufacturer's) security tag! Let's go nick some (not quite the number 1 soft drink)"  Of course I lost mine after a week and have to pay twenty buckaroos to replace it.

There are perks of course. I can help myself to the drinks fridge but I don't actually like it much.  The premium drinks aren't available to staff . .especially that energy drink that makes you fly and the other one that has you dancing to heavy metal bands in your lunch break. There is a little Iced Tea or that Water which is supposed to make you smarter.

Anyway. The job is half a day of Admin and relief reception while my partner in crime has a cuppa or a wee. Then reception from 1pm when the other receptionist leaves for the day and whatever admin I can squeeze in between calls, which isn't much.

In the morning I receive some emails with very pretty graphs and spreadsheets noting the sales teams efforts. These I dutifully cut and paste into A3 charts and hang on the wall that nobody ever looks at. Seriously, I could hang the same ones back up again and not a soul would notice. Much to the wonder and amazement of the girl who used to do them, she is absolutely flabbergasted that I can do this in about 20 minutes when it took her hours to adjust margins and change page orientation. Er hello darlin' just cut and paste special into a Word doc as a Metaphile and bring to front to adjust?  Apparently that's a stroke of genius. Yeh, imagine, me wicked smaht?

Then there's usually a bit of binding to do. Whenever anyone asks me though I remember that line from "The Craft"  and ask them which member of staff they'd like me to shut up with a spell.  Seriously, binding can be quite dangerous as I hurt my finger slamming down the guillotine handle and jamming it against the lever for the spirally thingamebobs.

Then I've had to do some really exciting stuff like check serial numbers on PDA's and accessories and ring a few reps to find out why they have so many batteries when the only have one iPhone and charger. So you see, this position is intellectually stimulating and packed with variety and requiring me to dig deep into the gamut of skills I have honed over the past umpty years.

At about 10:30am, I feel like a caffeine hit and wonder into the rather nice canteen where thankfully I can get an espresso, whilst perving at bunch of burley blokes in hi viz vests, hair nets and safety glasses. A rather rotund canteen lady with an enormous rack and netted white hair, grumpily makes me a flat white with one, and laments the fact that I only have a $5 note and she needs change before whining about how hard it is making corned beef and mash for 150 factory workers.

Then there's the big project. An Excel database of contracts, dates, orders and contacts because even though they have a very sophisticated SAP system with provision for all of this information (and much of it already keyed), it seems only a handful of people know how to extrapolate reports so we're going back to the 'old ways'. That sort of takes me through to lunch which at this point in my economic doldrums is a cigarette and a free Iced Tea or Smart Water (God knows I need a litre of that each day) which I hate but  . . . hello? It's free!

Then all afternoon on reception, fiddling with the database but mostly signing those funny little courier pads that make your writing look retarded, (What? You didn't expect political correctness here did you?) answering phones, guiding lost fork lift drivers to the right part of the building - one was rather gorgeous - and downing a double Twix at 3pm from the vending machine.  No wonder I'm breaking out in zits.

The most exciting part of the day happens from about 4:30pm when the Startrack dude comes to pick up the overnight envelopes. Yeh, he's cute, and chatty (Hmm seem to have a penchant for cute and chatty). Then, I lock the fridges and the storeroom because apparently if it isn't nailed down it will take flight, put the console on 'night mode' and trundle home.

So that's it. . . kinda sad innit? Over 50 jobs applied for, 5 rejected, the rest unanswered or in the process of being short-listed and me . . surrounded by huge stainless steel tanks of tonic water and creaming soda.

Soda soda everywhere and not a drop to drink. But I'm very helpful . . .

Friday, May 06, 2011

Friday Fuckwit

OK I couldn't resist. He'll probably kill me but . . . Having the most lovely three weeks with a American visitor $2000, having him eat me out of house and home $800 . . having him steal my glasses and take photos of himself after complaining about the Paparazzi Nazi . . Priceless! .  . . Suck it Trebek . . suck it!

Have a splendiforous weekend folks and for those celebrating Mother's Day on Sunday, I hope it's awesome. My son is off on his Buck's Weekend and Clare and I are doing the girly massage, pedicure thing and lunch. Happy day!

Sunday, May 01, 2011

The Best of British

I iz a little hung over today. My bestie's kids, yep, both of them . . are heading to the UK for an indeterminable amount of time on 11th May. This will leave her and her husband as empty nesters although the kids actually moved out recently. One's married, the other in a relationship and left home some months go. It's rather sad to untie those apron strings but in the true spirit of friendship, a party was held for Tom and Kate at my friend's gorgeous house. These two kids have grown up with mine. They're close, fun and we wish them all the best in England over the next couple of years. Of course, last night was not one of sadness at all, apart from my darling girlfriend worrying about noise. It was all good. No police arrived, no fights, no tension, just a bunch of youngsters having a good time and a load of oldies who should have known better. So, while I take a sip of the 'hair of the dog', massage my hip and wounded knees, here's a rather introspective view of the shenanigins. The theme . .  "British". I don't normally post photos in respect of anonymity but if you recognise anyone here . . well the best of British to you . . .

Edina, Bubble and Patsy - Absolutely Fabulous

John and Yoko

Posh Spice and . . er . . . Freddie?

Ok the soccer player is always Clare's fallback position

Ozzie had trouble focussing

James Bond takes a walk in an English Country Garden

Freddie carves it up

Three out of five Spice Girls

Kate? Seeing Double but where's Wills?
Ah . . there he is

The Queen and  . I have no idea . . .

Ok I'm supposed to be AbFab but with that hair? Double for Slash. Seriousy half a dozen people asked me if that's my real hair!


Alice and Amy Winehouse get their thing on

Dirty Dancing

Two Old Boilers and a Spring Chicken (my knees hurt!)

Redcoat and his flag

Apparently the British invented the toilet roll and perforated toilet paper . . Guess what my son went as?

Family who goofs together . . . stays together.  Wait a minute, that doesn't even rhyme.

Bon Chance Kate and Nev, Tom and Binny  . . . we'll miss you . . keep in touch on Facebook. MWAH!