Friday, January 13, 2006

Water Dogs

You can lead a horse to water... but a dog, you have to drag.

We'd taken the pups for a walk down to the foreshore the other night (hence the pictures from Kathy) and we immersed them up to about their knees in the river. Unfortunately neither of us was adequately dressed to lead the dogs in any further, so I vowed to remember to dress suitably and try again tomorrow.

Tomorrow came, a day of hurricanes and lots of rain. The walk down to the foreshore was postponed until better weather. Thankfully, the very next day or, to use somewhat confusing terminology, yesterday's tomorrow (ie today) was quite pleasant for an evening walk. I dressed suitably (thongs and bathers) and we trooped down to the foreshore yet again.

I started with Shadow, since I was leading him at the time. He was... reluctant... to put it mildly. Picture if you will, a fully grown weimaraner at the river's edge with all four legs splayed out in the classic "I don't want to go there!!" pose and me standing in the water dragging him in and hoping I wasn't about to step on a cobbler. Eventually I coaxed him in and got him in water up to his chest. He was not terribly amused but he wasn't pulling to get out either.

Having decided that was enough for the first attempt, I let him leave the water and I grabbed Bella's lead. She was a little easier, being shorter it didn't take as long to get her into deep water. As I led her into the water (she was reluctant but more eager to please her humans) she got to her chest and she paused for a moment... looked at me... splashed a paw out... and then she started swimming! Bella pretty much turned on the spot and headed for shore but she did it! I led her out a few more times but she turned for shore the moment her paws left the riverbed.

I tried again with Shadow, who was far less reluctant to head out with me this time and he ended up swimming too! Big, powerful strokes... I made him swim around me first before heading back to the safety of the shore. I took both dogs out several times, Shadow was clearly more comfortable with the idea than Bella. However, Bella "chatted" with us the whole way back home. I don't know if she was trying to tell us that she'd rather not do that again or if she was saying "Wow... that was actually kinda fun, I wanna go deeper next time. Can we go again? Can we? Huh? Can we?".

We'll take them swimming again sometime soon, perhaps in the evening like tonight when there aren't as many people to witness the spectacle of dogs that are afraid of water. Am I proud of my hydrophobic puppies though, today was a big accomplishment. Hopefully there will be much more swimming to come.

On the way back, we got to admire yet another spectacular sunset. I'd forgotten that on the foreshore, these sunsets are almost a dime a dozen. Hopefully I won't ever take another one for granted again. Kathy actually turned to me on the way back and asked, "What made you move out to South Guildford?".

The answer, of course, was to be with her. I'd taken all that living in this area had to offer for granted. Having moved away and moved back, I think I've grown a sudden appreciation everything South Perth has to offer. It definitely has a bit of a "village" feel to it, which I guess is both good and also bad in some ways. I don't think we'll be moving any time soon if we can help it.

Pictures from our walk the other night....

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Wired for Sound

It should be noted that my old pair of headphones decided they were under a bit of pressure and ended up with a distressed cable (you know the one... it works but only after you jiggle the cable a little bit). Initially I solved the problem by looping the cable around one earpiece which supplied just the right pressure for everything to work.

Unfortunately that didn't last and I was left with sound in only one ear, which was annoying to say the least. I decided to be a bit of a home electronics handyman and promptly set about unscrewing the headphones to discover their inner workings... after all, I reasoned, I can't possibly make them any worse.

Luckily, I didn't make them any worse but I didn't end up fixing the problem either. What I did discover is that apparently soldering connections is entirely out of vogue... why solder two wires together when you can kinda stick them together and then tape them? Yes... tape... I shit you not. Anyway, after a lot of fiddling, some swearing and learning something special about tweezers, wires and tiny contact areas the damn headphones still only produced sound in one ear.

Enter Sean, who offered to go and buy a pair of headphones for me. I did the right thing (I think) by politely declining the first time, the second time he offered I decided it would be a lot better than the mp3 player earbuds I was using (the cable on them was entirely too short). Boy did I score nicely! I have no idea what the headphones cost, although Sean assures me they weren't terribly expensive but they sound much better than what I'd been using and have a certain... solidness... to them that suggests they probably used solder rather than tape to hold the inner workings together (I could be wrong on this but I'm not willing to find out).

Thanks Sean!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Just a brief note to everyone to say that I've placed a few anti-spam measures on the comments feature. Hopefully nothing too onerous that might otherwise prevent genuine comments!

Real Estate Redux

So I stood out the front of our old property waiting for the RE agent to come along and carry out the second "final" inspection. I thought back to how it was when we were living there and what it looked like now.

It looked so promising when we first decided to move in -- this big house for 3 adults and one child, a huge backyard for the child to play in and explore, a huge shed to park the cars in and several vegetable gardens to grow a variety of vegies and herbs. We had such dreams, but soon our dreams soon turned to dust... actually it wasn't that bad, I just wanted to get a little poetic and segue into dust.... dust, dust and more dust.

My poor, poor computers were never terribly happy there. Their fans groaned, creaked and often refused to work for the dust gathered on them. I have no idea how I survived in that place, particularly since one of my asthma allergies is dust mites (perhaps even the mites refused to live in that much dust?). There was never any point to pro-active cleaning... within a few days you'd hardly know that we'd swept the floor at all. Having visitors always meant a lot of last minute cleaning to try and at least look like we didn't live in a dustbowl.

We're out of there... or almost anyway. The only thing tying us to that dust place is our bond, which involved cleaning the dust... repeatedly. It also involved raking the driveway and the front yard. It also involved cleaning the large shed (that ended up being too small for our cars anyway) which we largely had not used since shortly after moving in there.

Which brings me back to this very day, standing outside the old property and admiring the orange dust already settling on my leather shoes. The RE agent arrived on time and began the inspection.

To cut a long story short, basically everything was ticked off the list apart from a few small things which should take a leisurely morning or so rather than 8+ hours of hard, hard labour. The items in the shed are still contested, we're waiting on a list from the owner regarding what stuff they left in the shed (and on the property in general). There was some temptation on my part to manhandle the RE agent to the floor and say "SEE?!?! That is clean... we cleaned it again so now it has been swept, vacuumed, mopped and then mopped a SECOND GODDAMN TIME!". Thankfully I managed to resist the temptation... it may have biased the rest of the inspection process against me.

We're so close to never, ever having anything to do with that place ever again that I can almost taste it... and it tastes like victory (which, strangely enough tastes like dust... or perhaps I'm getting a little obsessed with dust, dust, DUST, DUST... uhhh... never mind).

If you're ever looking to rent (or buy) and you see that the RE agent is Chard-Walker Harwood & Brown, run a long way away. Or mock them. Mocking them would be good, but I'm not telling anyone to do that... just, y'know, putting the idea out there.

Friday, January 06, 2006

What can you do but laugh?

Well Paul went in to the RE Agent and picked up this “list” of things we had to do. Already we could see that this wasn’t about us but about their incompetence.

Some of the gems in the things we had to fix were to remove the ladder from the property – ah would that be the ladder that was supplied with the property so we could clean the gutters? Sure it’s a you-beaut-super-dooper ladder – we will remove it!

There was also mention that we had to remove the 6 ft happy plant from the driveway that is worth about $500. It also came with the property. Sure we can take that!

While we are at it would you like us to remove the air conditioner from the wall?

There are some genuine things on there but I think the best one was that we had to clean the dust of the pelmets (which we had done, with the ladder as we have 12ft ceilings) We wonder how she, being 5 ft nothing, checked the said pelmets when the ladder that we used to clean them with was still down the side of the house…hrmmmm. I didn’t know property agents could fly!

General comments such as clean the obvious marks off the walls have brought us to the conclusion that she had to find things to pick at and if she couldn’t she made them up.

So we will go back and work off her list of phantom duties and then work out where we are going to store the $200 ladder and $500 potted plant (nah we were honest and told her they belonged to the house – the joy of showing her and her incompetency up was worth ever cent in my book)

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Not so fast....


Ok they have done the inspection and we are not done...apparently there is 3 pages of stuff we didn't do!! WTF?!?! I would have said the place was in better condition than when we left it, but when they spoke to Paul they said that the floors hadn't been done, the picture rails were dusty, all the stuff I spend the last couple of days doing. He wanted me to go in there tonight and pick up the list but I couldn't, I just couldn't face them. He is going to do it tomorrow. And I thought it was over.....

Oh and who is me who left the last comment? I would love to catch up if I knew who you were ;-) Let me know and we will call and organise something!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

And it is done!

Well we are done. We have handed in the keys to the old property and everything we own is here at our new “home”. Paul and I are completely exhausted. It hasn’t helped Paul any that he is on the 3.30am shift. He has worked so hard and I am so proud of him. He deserves something special this weekend, a bit of spoiling is in order J

I ache in places I shouldn’t, such as my right elbow from all the scrubbing I did. I am pretty house proud and a bit of a neat freak and so it came as a bit of a shock to me as to how dirty the house was, things that you just don’t notice while you are actually living in a place, like the dust under the fridge, or how grubby the pots and pans cupboard is. I made mental notes this time around of those nasty spots and they will get regular attention while we are here.

In the middle of the cleaning we had a visit from friends over east. It was so good to see Lil and Pixie. The arrived new years evening and we ate and caught up. Paul geeked with Pixie, he loves it when we catch up with them and Lil and I reconnected. I have missed her. I have so few “close friends” and when she left I thought of it as loosing one, but we have worked out ways to stay in touch that allow for my horrid lack of emails and my inability to pick up a phone. The thing I loved the most was that after 18 months of not seeing her we just picked up where we left off, there wasn’t a pause or a stutter…it just flowed. The sign of a true friendship.

Having them stay also made me realize that Paul and I don’t get out and socialize enough. We are so content with each other and our own company that we have let many friendships slide. 2006 will be the year that changes and I will make the effort to be social and get out more and if I have to drag Paul kicking and screaming so be it. But he enjoys small gatherings and likes all of my friends so I don’t see it being too much of an issue. And the full moon dinners will start again as well. It will be good to see the girls on a regular basis.

Ok I really must feed Zac and get some sleep. Hopefully this will be the last night of takeaway for awhile and life shall resume as much as normal as it possibly can in our household.