Saturday, December 20, 2008

Out and about in St Kilda #13

What is it with personal grooming and whimsical sculpture on verandah roofs? We are in Acland Street, St Kilda on the opposite side of the street to where these sculptures are. I recall that Tram Walker pointed out to me similar sculptures in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The week off

I have had a week off work. I have done some extra things but really, I am a much more of a high achiever when I am disciplined by work.

Tick to many things though. New computer connected to net and set up, shower cleaned, auto trolley cleaned, Chinese nest of tables in bedroom cleaned, balcony cleaned and christmas light decorated, bedding all washed, christmas cards all sent (yours is in the mail Jahteh), gifts bought. The highrise is looking spic and span.

We are a little stressed by the new car purchase as it is costing us more than we budgeted for, sorry that is nonsense, more than we thought. I have never done budgeting and I am not about to start. So long as I go to work, money comes in and just as quickly goes out.

Also a little stressed by our tenant who is going to bolt in January. He has been there for more than two years and we have treated him well. He is sadly aspirational and has bought his own house and deserting us. Now we are told the place needs to be repainted, problems with the Venetian blinds which are of a far superior quality to the ones we have at home, lights, hot water, heating. Given the paintwork is only five years old, as are the quality Ventian's, I am not so sure about this. The lights perhaps, hot water problem at the sink, maybe. The heater is a lousy old log fire model. When I authorized its last repair, R said that I was dumb. We should have put in reverse cycle air con.

We sould sell the flat and clear up all our owings, but it is not necessary yet. And who knows, one day it may make a profit.

Writing subjectively, the amount we rent it out for is reasonable and average. Objectively, it seems usury(?). I can't afford to be bleeding heart about it. Market rate is not unreasonable.

What has really caused me stress this week is this bloody (there, I swore) new machine. It is mainly when browsing, but other instances as well.

It just restarts. I am actually getting used to it and plan to do something else while it does so. But it is inconvenient, to say the least. I took it back to the pc shop on Wednesday. I should have rang first. The pc shop dude is o/s until early January.

This morning I wanted to download camera pics to the pc and realised I had not installed the camera software. You can do it without, but with the software, it puts the photos in a nice date ordered manner. I loaded what was on the cd and added it. Nothing happened. I then realised it was a cd to do with an old camera. I loaded the new cd. But still nothing. Perhaps conflict between the two. I uninstalled the old one but must have deleted recognition of the dvd/cd burner thingy, and it would no longer show. I was very unsure how to reinstate it. No experience of that. Then I thought of system restore, and I switched it back to yesterday and dvd/cd was back.

I then had the bright idea of switching the computer back to the day when I first picked it up and if it was something that I had done, all would be well. I did that and the browser worked for ten minutes almost and I thought I had a win. Nah. It seemed even worse. I tried to switch it back to yesterday, but it would not. So then I had to reload all programs. While the constant stuff happened while you are staring at a screen and waiting, I managed to tidy up after a Little Jo babysit visit the night before while Sis and the Bone Doctor saw a fillum, and get the ironing done. I am such a girl with my multi tasking.

Gauranted to cause browser crash is Highriser Celebs, Xtube, The Age, pretty well anything Google related, maps, street directory dot com. After the restore today, even Google Reader kept causing a restart.

It is not Spybot, not AVG, not Zone Alarm. It is mainly when web browsing, but not exclusively. Click on something and it may restart. While loading one of the above, it will crash. Offer you help if you know, but I really thing there is something defective. I have been around computers for a long time, and I have an instinct about them now.

Just to wrap, and let me assure you, I am a survivor, dying Step Father wants a radio for his pallaitive care bedside table. I checked in RetraVision in Chapel Street and prices were high. I liked dealing with the old Jewish owners who would negotiate a price. I went into JB Highfi, and they did not have small radios. They had some expensive models and I thought, bugger the expense, he is dying, it will be the last present. I then burst into tears in the middle of JB Highfi.

I could not go into the next elcheapo electrical shop, as I would have to take my sunglasses off.

Normally Scotch is saved for saved for Saturday night, but I visited Dan's and bought some for tonight.

Once home and doing more domestic tasks, I sat down for a bit to watch the commercial tv news. I laughed too loud and too long when I heard of a householder's christmas blow up Santa being blown up. The weirdness in me thoroughly approves of blowing up external house decorations with a fire cracker. The first couple of years of house light decoration were fun.

Highriser's life will get back to its selfish normality at some point in the future, won't it?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

This week's flowers

The maid had bought some cheap chewlips at the market. As usual, they were cheap for a good reason and would not stand up in the vase. After much bad language, sweat on his brow and swapping of vases, we ended up with a reasonable display.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Patrick Swayze

Poor Patrick. I don't think he is too long for the world. He is still fighting his battle against cancer with optimism. I vaguely recalled him as being quite nice when he was younger, so I searched for some pictures and added them to HighRiser Celebs. He was hot!

Little Miss Trouble

I saw a book for kids in a department store called Little Miss Trouble. I reckon Little Jo will Little Miss Trouble, so for a couple of bucks, I grabbed it.

I showed it to Sister and she agreed with me. Little Jo is not getting it. Down the rubbish chute.

It is a horrible book. It teaches name calling, nastiness, revenge and violence.

Little Miss Trouble says bad things about people to others. People are hurt. Some take revenge. There is some violent revenge. It concludes with the words, 'A taste of your own medicine'.

Little Jo will learn about all the above matters in her life. I don't see why she needs to know about them now.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Transport Survey

What was wrong with me? I let an unsolicited caller get past her first words. She wanted to survey me. Many do. It was a survey about public transport within City of Port Phillip, where I live. I emptied the dishwasher as she gave me a decent old survey. I had been saving that task and others for when Mother rang, instead I read the paper while murmering a couple of yesses and thoughful hmmms.

There were some general questions about the State Government's new transport plan and some motherhood questions. Even though everyone I know who makes it their business to know about public transport is against it, I enthusiastically praised the government's decision to build a rail tunnel, purely for my own selfish reasons. Bugger the poor in Upper Kombuctor West and them not even having a tricycle to get to the local shops.

I was then asked about the 606 bus. I am aware of it and where it runs, but it is no use to me as it not near me. I was surprised to hear that it is a very minimal, almost peak service only.

It spite of it being clear in early questions that I don't live near the bus route and don't have any reason to use it, the surveyor went on to ask questions such as, if the service was improved, would you use it? Answer no. If the route was upgraded, would you use it? No.

So sorry to you folk who would like a better 606 service, but what could I say? If this survey is in part to decide whether to improve the service, the questions seem to be very slanted towards it not being improved.

Oh yes, to save you checking, the 606 runs from St Kilda, near Luna Park, to a loop around the streets of Port Melbourne. I did look it up a few months ago to see where this bus in St Kilda actually went. Half of the route runs parallel to tram lines anyway. A tram along the beach front from Beacon Cove to Elwood, then you would be talking about making serious money for public transport coffers. Brian, send us over a couple of your double deckers pronto.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The new motor

I now have the new computer connected to the internet. I must keep saving my words as the bitch of a monster keeps restarting of its own accord. I am unsuccessfully so far trying to narrow the problem down.

Kezza who is about to reinvent himself most kindly offered to give advice regarding us choosing a new motor. It was too late as we had narrowed down to a head buy and a heart buy.

The Hyundia Lantra that I am about to get to be my own is a great car. As it has a spoiler on the rear and quite nice enough wheels, it looks ok even at eight years old. My 1985 Mazda 626 Super Deluxe does not look modern, but still not to bad. As the car sales person was was going through the list of features of our new car, I thought ho hum. They are are all on my old car. Ok, not steering wheel control for the wireless, or air bags, or ABS. But yes, air con works with the motorised swivelling central vent, adjustable shockers, absolute flat rear when the back seats are put down, head light washers (what a wank) and a plethora of courtesy lights.

Car sales people are so stupid when they are dealing with old queens. In the handbook for car sales people, it must say something along the lines that gays have plenty of disposable income. Flirt with them, mention your brother's 'partner' in a gender ambigous manner and see how they react. Seen and heard it all before. So tedious. Also tedious was when I was parking the test car and the sales lad became nervous about clearances and kept saying to me, check your mirrors. I don't park by mirrors. I park by looking over my shoulder, while I am still able to. I haven't got it wrong yet. Well, I have parked badly, but never hit anything. Oddly, the tighter the space, the better I am at fitting the car in first time. Give me a large space to park in and I am not so good.

I can never see the point of buying a new car when they devalue so much as you drive them out the door. However, R wanted a new car and at his age, he ought to have what he wants. The mortgage and a credit card are paying. We are good at repaying debts. Not so good at saving up for things. The nieces and nephew may be in for a surprise when the gay uncles die. 'They were effing well mortgaged to the hilt. Barely anything left for us.' And then they will read the wills and realise that most of the money has gone to preventing animal cruelty.

Ok, off topic. Refocus. Our heads told us a Hyundai Elantra, though their extremely competative pricing was not as good as it used to be, but still not too bad.

But our hearts said Mazda 3 Max Sport, and that is what we bought.

While I am terribly good at the theory of buying a car, I am not so good at putting it into practise. From the first price, a few thousand was knocked off and we, or someone (gnash teeth) readily agreed. I/we are not up to screwing for a mega price. I can do it in a Bangkok market, but not readily on home turf.

R observed and told me later that I was a grumpy old man (yes, and???) and the poor young kiddie salesperson had to send the big boss out to try to get some sort of connection with me. He tried, but I can tell you how many overhead lights and air con outlets there are at their spanking new showroom.

So the perfectly adequate for me 1985 Mazda 626 has been traded in and will go to the wreckers I suppose. I will get the year 2000 Hyundai to travel in to and from work. (ok, its air con is better and at least the heater and dash lights will work). R will have a heavily tinted Mazda 3 in a dark blue, with the after sales body and interior treatement, to drive to work and take us about as the need arises.

The sales boi insisted when we were test driving the car, that we try the brakes. Must say, ABS is well worth having. Full braking, dead stop with not a swerve.

We may have the new car later in the week, or at least before christmas.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Family Matters

The occupants of the highrise are somewhat stressed at the moment. It has been a frantic couple of weeks. I know my blog posts have barely reached their usual low quality.

Step father now has tubes to drain his bile into plastic bags as three attempts at stents had not worked. He had been home with a nurse visiting daily. Last Sunday he had a visit from his four sons from down the west district. He was cheered by their visit, but tired and fell asleep in his chair while mother took her late afternoon nap. Mother heard a crash and step father had gotten out of his chair, fallen and his head hit the fireplace hearth. Mother called 000 and an ambulance arrived promptly and carted him off to an older large far eastern suburb public hospital. They scanned his head and found an intact brain. They did not xray where he had directly fallen, onto his shoulder. Maybe they did not know.

No doubt he wanted to go home and the hospital agreed. A friend picked him up but he was so weak, he could barely get up the two steps at his front door. The friend managed to get him to his chair. Later he wanted to go to the toilet but in spite of Mother trying to lift him up, he could not get out of the chair. He said, 'Bugger it, I will crawl'. He tried but collapsed face down on the floor in severe pain. 000 again and this time Mother insisted that he be taken to the closer and fairly new public hospital where she spent some time earlier this year when her blood pressure was out of control. The para said that she would try and if they departed straight away, they were headed for the closer hospital, if they came back in, it was to delay things in the hope that they could avoid the hospital they had been told to take him too and get him to the preferred one. As he was loaded into the ambulance, he was screaming in pain.

Things went uphill from there fortunately. It became clear that he could not go home. Mother is not up to caring for him. He must have realised this himself and is now relaxed in the care of the hospital and when we saw him today, he was looking better than we have seen him for ages and with a better aura. An xray showed that he had a shoulder break. His arm was put in a sling and a bed found for him, the precise same bed that my mother had earlier in the year. His hospital care has gone from pretty ordinary in the old one to excellent in this present one. Both are just public hospitals, but very different. I guess you medically experienced types can work out what is an old hospital half an hour from Pakenham and a new one 15 minutes from Pakenham.

Early in the week, the Bone Doctor made some calls and smoothed some things out. Her advice was a family/hospital conference. I was doubtful of the benefit, but the long and short is that it was a good idea, I think. Bone Doctor organised it. She is a treasure and has been most helpful.

I am under some criticism by R for not attending but I felt it was not necassary for me to take time off work to be there. R left work early to look after Little Jo while Sister and the Bone Doctor attended. Others attending were sis in law and her two daughters, 19 and 16 (a mistake to take the younger one in my opinion, but she wanted to go. She and her sister only buried their other grandfather a couple of months ago and went through my father's illness and death a few years ago), one of Step Father's daughters from down west, Mother, Oncologist, Doctor and Charge nurse at Palliative Care unit. Even after looking after Little Jo, R went off to the building's christmas get together, the biggest yet. It become more sucessful each year.

At the meeting Mother was in tears, as were Sister, Sis in Law and two of her daughters. What? You think this was going to be a good outcome?

Palliative care was decided, against Mother's opinion. She wants his to stay in hospital where he has company and interaction with people, rather than a room on his own. Fortunately a palliative care room was not immediately available.

He had been started on morphine, but I think that has been stopped and he is only on one medication, I believe just a relaxing drug. After a few days of hospital without too many worries and relaxing into an extended hospital stay without fighting to go home, he is looking better than he has looked for a long time, and joking and telling stories like he used to, and ready to sack his dietician for the soft food he has been told he must eat.

Mother who would never stay at home alone at night seems to have adjusted and now can be alone, in fact is annoyed by the constant phone calls and visits by friends to check on her. She had not had a proper meal for a week and last night opened one of the non supermarket prepared meals that Sister had bought for her. It affected her system and she is blaming the food. I think, no, I know, it is just the shock of a proper and full meal. Regardless, she has decided on supermarket pre packaged now and gave me one of these meals remaining home meals to take home. Yum, I love free food, a roast no less. R can't believe how well she is coping. I can. It is all still about her. Good signs were that she asked me to show her how to reset the power surge switch. I checked that she has a working torch. I opened for her, tricky for me even, a bottle of Phenyle bin cleaner and pointed out that she should use the jar/bottle opening tool for all other jars etc. I fixed her roll of Glad Wrap, Sarin I think, if you are reading Daisy, that she had gotten in a terrible mess.

Tradie brother attends to Mother's house regularly and maintains the lawns. Brain damaged Acquired brain injury brother (ABI) does the daily shopping. Sister takes her out once or twice a week and the oldest brother, moi, will take her out one day this week to relieve pressure from Sister. Otherwise, older brother in the highrise de-stresses by writing a blog post and knows at some point he will have to step up to crease and stop pretending that he is older brother who knows everything and will take charge when the time comes. It is going to be a long hard road with Mother over the next year while we both help her and help her to manage on her own, although nothing like Jahteh experience.......yet.

R is pretty stressed about the above, buying a new car, feeding the family on christmas day, work, but in just two hours in the city this morning, we pretty well ticked off christmas presents. He vaguely thanked me for my quick and spontaneous choices. I did not mention that I had given a lot of thought to the matter and with some given information, steered things well.

All sad and depressing,? Nope. We had a good laugh with Step Father, who does not actually know what palliative care means. Mother is always entertaining and amusing. I passed a hospital cleaner who had a face like a busted arsehole and smiled at her and she returned with a grin and I admired the alstramerias (I know, it is wrong) fellow bed occupant at the hostpital and we had a nice chat. As such an anti social person, I amaze myself at how well I do at it.

That only took 90 minutes to write, but I do feel better now.

The Tattslotto Man Cometh

Well he hasn't, but I suspect some people will think he has. Just for once in my life, I had enough money to actually pay for something significant. That is, a new computer. Files are being moved across as I speak. I keep having to swap the monitor plug over.

A year ago, I had a quote from out computer man, OK, I will give them a plug. HTek in St Kilda Road, St Kilda formerly of Carlisle Street, Balaclava, for a new machine, $770. The company has done well by us over the years and I would recommend them. The price this year for a superior machine was $660. I bit the bullet and ordered it. I sits beside the old one now, ready to connect to the net, except I forget how to do that and so will need to ring my isp and hope Sol doesn't answer the phone. I have looked at the online instructions, and they are too complicated. I have never had to ftp anything before, and I am not about to start.

Our five year old model was tired and I would hate to loose the latest email if the hard drive buggered up. I do back everything up every so often. Even just file transferring, the new one is lightning fast compared to the old. The case is small and neater too. Our first computer did not have colour coded plugs, but what a marvellously simple thing it was to add colour coded plugs and sockets.

It has four rear usb ports and two at the front. That will work well. As for the specs, I don't care about them, but it has 1gb of RAM and a 250gb hard drive. That should be adequate for us.

It is a nightmare to set up a new computer and get it to a state of what you are used to on your old actually takes months, but the basics in a couple of days.

Oh, and we bought a new car today. More on that later. Now, can any cobber lend me a quid?