The Secret Life of Melanie O.
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
The first wedding anniversary

Some friends of ours had a first year wedding anniversary. They eloped a year ago, and Dan and I were present to help celebrate afterwards. We were invited to help repeat the fun on their first anniversary, which was really lovely of them.

So, we went out to dinner to the favourite pizza spot (which is where we all celebrated their big day a year ago) and Dan got lost in a diatribe about the uselessness of the show Lost, which he will never live down ever again (because I won’t let him,) and then we went back to their apartment for a glass of wine and some table games. Fortunately, the conversation turned towards how the families were doing and who was now dating – safe topics for the moment.

Sydney has been in a drought for years. However, on this night, the heavens decided to open up – and it came down in buckets. Ironically, the person with the umbrella (the husband part of the duo) got the wettest. Undaunted, though, we headed back to their apartment to have fun with some friendly competition. The skies lit up from time to time with great big cracks of thunder and lightning. It was quite a show.

We got through a card game and were about to start a board game (the premise of this game is to kill all the other players off and run off with Aunt Agatha’s inheritance money), when the power went out. So, we plotted and killed each other off by candlelight – which was fun, considering the theme of the game.

A few singed arm hairs and one six million dollar inheritance later, we were back to card games. After one or two hands of Uno, we decided it was getting late, so we gave hugs all around and headed down the fire stairs to see Security (in the pitch black and emergency lighting) to make sure we could leave the parking garage despite the power being out. No such luck. The manual override was not working. We were locked in.

With our friends. On their wedding anniversary night.

I felt so bad that they weren’t getting any alone time on their special night. I mean, after 10 pm, it’s time to kick the guests out. But they were good-natured about it. Back to card games we went. Uno is especially good to play when the lights are out, since it’s fairly easy to read the cards (even though blue and green sometimes get confused.) Dan won the last hand, so I guess it made up for us giving him a hard time over his pontificating about Lost.

We finally got out around 11:30. I hope they had a great first wedding anniversary - with and without us.
posted by Melanie O. at 2:41 PM - 2 comments
Sunday, February 11, 2007
A rainy day in Sydney
It's's the outskirts of Sydney. We haven't had a good rain like this in at least five years (the five years that I've lived here.) I'm hoping that there will be enough run-off to bring the dam levels up by a full percentage point. That ought to hold off our total annihilation by a year or so.

So, what to do in bad weather, when you haven't had any in ages - especially on the weekend?

Dan's out in the downpour, scrubbing the barbecue and is proud of the fact that it looks in good enough shape to use now, without fear of catching some mad disease. In between scrubs, he's been watching The Prisoner on DVD. So this leaves me to fend for myself. I immediately turn to handbag shopping to soothe my boredom.

I don't really need a new handbag - this is definitely more of a want. In the past few weeks, I've shelled out for a new refrigerator, two wardrobes, and replacement eyeglasses. I want something frivolous.

Should I get a nice leather backpack? After all, shoulder bags are starting to give me a pain in the well... shoulder. Handbags are nice, but I like having both my hands free when manoeuvring the escalators with my laptop during the mad morning commute. I browse through eBay. Should I get a bright red leather backpack? Will someone think I'm wearing a target? I don't want black. Black is blah.

I turn to my old favourite standby - something in pink. I confess that I am a pink person. My favourite handbag is a pink Chloe bag (dubbed "Princess Pink" by my co-workers.) So I'm spoiled now. It can't be just any pink handbag.

Handbags are an extension of ones personality, I think. I like handbags that have lots of room for things, but still keep you organised. They have to be soft - cuddly, even; long-wearing, attractive, well-made and easy to clean. A bit like Dan.
posted by Melanie O. at 4:53 PM - 0 comments
Saturday, February 03, 2007
Playing in the dirt
Dan and I moved back to our house in the country. It was a decision based mainly on economics: it's a lot cheaper to pay just a mortgage, than it is to pay a mortgage and rent. So, we tortured ourselves (and one of Dan's workmates) by renting a container and trailer, and moving ourselves. Moving yourself is a better workout than any gym will give you. Parts of me ached after that, that I didn't even know I had.

We managed to get back to our house with few incidents, except that I lost my glasses. I think I accidentally threw away a $425 pair of glasses whilst cleaning out our rental house! A real disaster for someone like me, who has been nearsighted for as long as I can remember.

We finally got the boxes unpacked and I cleared away the plastic storage containers. This meant a trip to the antique mall so that I could buy an Edwardian wardrobe in which to put my extensive handbag, lingerie, and hat collection. Our house was built over 100 years ago. It has no built-in closets, so we have to buy old-fashioned wardrobes. I kind of like wardrobes - you can decide where they will work best in the room, and can rearrange them with the other furniture.

It's great to be back in our house, but not great to see the damage that our former tenants did. Besides the broken heritage reproduction light fixtures, what broke my heart the most was that they trashed my fragrance garden. Almost all of my lavender was ripped out. I was more angry about that than the fact that they superglued one of the light switches and ruined it.

Fortunately, I had three rose bushes in pots that my father-in-law gave me for my birthday one year, so we planted those in the planter in the back yard - the one that borders the patio. It was supposed to be an easy job - dig holes, take the roses out of their pots, and plant them in the dirt. The problem was - the dirt was full of building rubbish - huge chunks of concrete and rubble that the former owner thought no one would find.

I told Dan, "I need you to help me."

Dan's response, "I'm not in the mood for this." Within ten minutes, though, he was up to his elbows in dirt and was taking his aggression out on the huge chunks of concrete, using a coal chisel and hammer. Ah men - sometimes a woman just won't do, you know?

We gravitated from planting roses to digging weeds and moving the yew hedges to a better spot than in the planter box. There's something very fulfilling about playing in the dirt and making things grow. I just hope we haven't killed the roses, which have struggled to stay alive the past two years, in pots.

After an hour, my roses were transplanted into a spot where they can finally grow, and the hedges were moved to a place where they are actually wanted. Eventually, I will replace my glasses and get new lavender plants. I look up into the trees and see families of galahs foraging for seeds and hear cockatoos and kookaburras in the evening. Home - our little piece of paradise. Somehow, I always knew I'd wind up in Australia.

*all bird portraits by Neville Cayley
posted by Melanie O. at 9:37 PM - 3 comments

About Me
Name: Melanie O.
Home: Durham, North Carolina, United States
About Me: Female, American health and beauty-conscious professional who has rekindled a childhood love of dolls.
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