The Secret Life of Melanie O.
Monday, January 28, 2008
Australia Day
What I did on my day off: pure unadulterated Aussie fun!

posted by Melanie O. at 11:01 AM - 2 comments
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
The plumbing from Hell
The water main to our house broke three days ago, due to the roots from our very large and beautiful crepe myrtle tree getting in the way. No doubt the crepe myrtle would argue that the pipe got in the way. The result, however, was that we had water all over our driveway, and not in our house.

In a panic over the ensuing water bill, we shut the water off (after filling up the tea kettle, of course.) In a panic, we called our very accommodating neighbour, who also happens to own his own plumbing business, thinking that we were out of luck, since this happened on a Sunday.

Despite it being Sunday, our wonderful neighbour loaded his shaggy English sheep dog on his truck and showed up later that afternoon to fix the burst pipe. Within a half an hour, the gale force winds and hail storm started, but not before a hole was dug and the broken pipe exposed. There was no going back now.

"I'll have to get a part in for you," he said. We don't have normal residential pipes on our property. They're classed as rural agricultural and there were none in town.

Our plumber made the mistake of thinking that the town adjacent to ours, which has more than population: 5,000 in it, would carry it. We had no water for the rest of the day. I was starting to feel icky. And I've never been so thirsty. Normally, I drink about a litre per day. For some reason, with no water, I became incredibly parched and drank all of the Diet Coke in the house. I know this was a psychological reaction to the lack of water, but, there you have it. We went to bed that night, dirty and thirsty.

The next day, the plumber sent 'round a couple of his employees, who said that everything should be fixed by noon. By this time I was dying for a shower, the toilet hadn't been flushed in a day, and the dirty dishes were aromatic. I was hoping that I had enough clean underwear to last me a few days.

The big town didn't have the part available, so, they had to get the part from a major supplier two hours away. Noon came and went. It started to pour with rain again, turning the work site into one big mud pit. I had visions of pioneers carting water in buckets from wells and streams, but we didn't even have that.

There were tree roots that had to be removed. I had to relieve myself in the outside "dunny" or outhouse. Visions of being bitten in the ass by redback spiders crossed my mind as I gingerly straddled the toilet seat. I wondered how many spiders were watching me heed the call of nature. It was disconcerting to think of all of those eyes upon me, but I somehow managed, and was proud of myself, considering I hate outhouses enough to put me off camping.

By 4 in the afternoon, the plumbers still hadn't shown up with the needed part, and I was past the annoyed stage and well into the irrational, panicky stage. I called Dan:

"You'd better pick up a couple gallons of water on the way home," I told him, forgetting that you can't buy water in gallons here. They sell by the litre. "And forget about me being able to cook dinner."

Dan called our neighbour, who assured him that someone should be there within the hour to finish the job.

Six o'clock came and went. It was starting to get dark. My hair was greasy. I felt parched, despite all of the tea I had drunk that day. The dirty dishes reeked. And a mosquito decided to try to breed in the one bowl of water that I had set aside for brushing teeth. I caught it and caused its untimely death.

Finally, at 8:30 pm, we were rescued. The water was back! Finally! Hot showers, clean dishes... life is normal again.

Next time I see our plumber, I might have to kiss him.
posted by Melanie O. at 1:55 PM - 7 comments
Sunday, January 13, 2008
High rollers
I decided that I needed to get out of the house this weekend. I've spent almost every day since Christmas Eve, with the exception of Boxing Day and one day in our city office, cooped up in the house. It's not because I don't have a car or my health is bad - it's because every time I leave the house, I wind up spending money, which is a rather bad habit to get into.

This weekend rolled around and I was gnawing the trim off the walls and putting dents in the ceiling from where I had been bouncing off the walls. My right arm and shoulder has a permanent cramp in it from working constantly at the computer. I announced to Dan that we were going out.

I don't know why Dan didn't notice the fact that I was displaying the same behavioural abnormalities as a prisoner at a detention centre, but he's just like that. He spends all day on the road, in a truck, so when he gets home, he's happy to relax in front of the television.

I did convince him that I needed to get out, though (I think the screaming was what did it), and we made plans to visit our local RSL (Retired Serviceman's League) for a nice dinner and a few games of Keno. Surely, since we hadn't been out for a while, we were due to win Big Bucks.

Boxing Day 2007 - A moment of sanity at someone else's house.

We enjoyed a leisurely roast dinner and a decadent dessert before choosing our numbers. We always go for the five number win. There's always a winner on the five number games. Always, that is, except in the club we were in last night.

We spent $80 on Keno tickets and won a total of $5. Five number wins were coming up all over the map - but missed us entirely. Undaunted, we put our meagre Keno winnings into a poker machine, hoping to at least double what we had. The poker machine ate up our change in no time. For our $5, we got about five minutes of entertainment. A dollar a minute - pretty choice entertainment for nothing back. I decided I'd make more money selling my old underwear on my website, and we called it a night.

Ultimately, I felt better for having gotten out of the house. $80 won't buy much, except perhaps a few days of sanity. And a little wood putty should cover up those gnaw marks. Next time, though, we're going to hit that five number win. And if we don't, that leaves an excuse to get out of the house again.

Sanity is expensive.

posted by Melanie O. at 11:55 AM - 1 comments
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
2008 - Goin' Retro
It must be a sure sign of getting older when you start yearning for things from your childhood. What's scary is that I'm yearning for things from an era when I was just a twinkling in my father's eye. What seems to be happening here is that I'm turning into my grandmothers.

Grandmothers probably don't realise what an effect they have on granddaughters, but they do, by the mere fact that they exist, and, unlike our mothers, didn't have to raise us, so were able to be fun role models.

I grew up with both of my grandmothers around, for which I feel extremely fortunate. Not all of my friends were as lucky.

So, in my slow but steady transformation to my grandmothers' era, I have purchased this year:

Vintage dinnerware - auction finds. In my opinion, if Franciscan wants to perk up its dinnerware sales, it should revive such patterns as Starburst, Oasis, and Silver Pine.

A starburst clock. Yes, I bought one off eBay. It runs on batteries so I didn't have to worry about the whole 110/240 voltage conversion.

Previous purchases:

Composition dolls from the 1940's - more eBay acquisitions. They sit, like little silent sentries, on my bookshelves, a reminder of times gone by, and a give me a sense of continuity with the past.

Anthropomorphic kitchen items. Yes - I like the idea of my fruit and veggies having a bit of personality. I imagine they call to me, saying "eat me! I am good for you."

Heywood Wakefield bedroom furniture. An actual gift from one of my grandmothers. She got the set in an auction. I blame my grandmother for introducing me to auctions.

A Danish Modern veneer wardrobe. (Auction find)

No doubt there are more bits and pieces and treasures out there, just waiting to be discovered. I'm really looking forwards to 2008.

Happy Retro New Year!
posted by Melanie O. at 7:09 AM - 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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