Training to be an opera singer is expensive. Also, I’m fairly sure we’ve been blacklisted by about 90% of sash window repair people in Melbourne. Madame Verre is the best in the business, having trained generations of successful opera stars, and just to be accepted into her school…well, it was a dream come true. Graduating from here practically guarantees that you’re going to be an international star.
No one mentioned how hard it would be, however, far more than I was expecting. There are thirty levels of training, and you have to progress through them all by practising eight hours a day. Slack off and Madame will smack you with a beech rod before making you sing interval scales for a week. And nobody likes interval scales.
And after all that, there’s the final step of every each level of training, which is shattering a window with nothing but your chosen aria. Thirty arias equals thirty windows broken, and Madame makes us pay for them. Window repair, every single time. You’d think with how expensive the tuition is she’d be a bit more forgiving, but this is Madame Verre’s Operatic Excellence Academy. You do what you’re told, even if it involves breaking perfectly good glass. I’m up to level eleven, and by this time I’m starting to become slightly ashamed every time I have to call in the window replacement people. I’m pretty sure they know our number just by looking, because they always know exactly what we need when I call.
And Madame just had to have the most expensive, ornate sash windows all around the place, the most expensive to replace. Whatever small satisfaction I get from seeing the glass shatter from my very own high notes has steadily faded. By level thirty I’ll probably be blowing out every pane in the place and feel nothing. Yep, whatever Melbourne window replacement and repair place will have us, on the double please. Madame Verre is at it again.
As a business owner and entrepreneur, I’m always trying to stay at the forefront of innovation. It’s not enough to be as good as everyone else, the key is to be better, to work smarter, and stay one step ahead of the competition. One of the best ways I’ve found to do that is by trawling through the inter webs and finding the burgeoning trends for the next few years. In doing this, one of the biggest similarities I’ve noticed is the rise of operating your business in an eco-friendly manner.
Of course, this is a pretty vague term. Being eco-friendly can mean just about anything from having an office recycling bin to installing commercial LED lighting, but over the last few months, one simple measure has stood apart from the crowd: solar panels.
I know, I know, it’s not a new measure by any means, but the benefits behind it from a business point of view are more sound than one might think. Not only can they dramatically reduce your business’ carbon footprint, but employing such a drastic measure signals to your competition, staff, and potential clients that you’re serious about improving the state of the planet. This then has a flow on effect of improving your business’ brand image. Furthermore, there are real economic bonuses to be gained from moving over to solar energy. Although the initial installation may be a bit of a commitment, having a well-tailored commercial solar solution will actually start paying for itself in a short time. And I’m sure we’ve all heard the stories of people who have actually made money through their solar. To be honest, I’m not sure how realistic that would be, but it certainly is an enticing idea.
The more I look into it, the more it sounds like a sound investment. I think it’s time to take the next step.
I might have just pulled off some kind of world record, shameful as it is. I told Templeton to have the boat repaired and in literal ship-shape for my big party, and I was assured that the entire thing was functioning correctly after our cruise around the Bahamas where we were set upon by a shoal of killer whales. Not Killer Whales, mind you. These were ordinary whales with a killer instinct, and they proved it by their kamikaze attempts upon the ship. Fortunately, that was what we signed up for- an extreme trip to see the ocean’s most deadly and aggressive beasts, one we were assured carried a significant chance of ending us all- but to celebrate our survival I wanted to throw the biggest boat party Melbourne had ever seen.
Technically, that’s exactly what happened. I just thought that the preparations had included more…outboard motor servicing? Melbourne docks are renowned for their fast work, so I had everything planned out: we’d start off with general revelry in the docks, then head out to sea for the second phase. That’s right…my parties are all about escalation, just like my extreme, thrill-seeker life. Unfortunately, things didn’t pan out. The boat was booked in for the wrong week, making it more or less a very expensive floating paperweight. The killer whale attack even affected the power systems on board, so we weren’t able to plug anything in or light the place up.
Obviously the outboard motor servicing part was the most important, but for such a large vessel I wasn’t able to get the work done in a mere hour. So I thought quickly, lighting up the place with candles, bringing in battery-powered strobe lights and fog machines and re-terming the whole thing as a memorial party. Half the crew were eaten by whales, so it worked. Really need to get the ship booked in for some proper outboard motor repair in Melbourne somewhere. Also, that blood on the side of the hull is really killing the mood.
People keep asking me why my house is so dark. Obviously that’s because I have a crippling fear of windows. Windows are terrifying, and so when I moved in here I made sure I had all of them removed, so basically all I have right now is walls. It drives up electricity prices a bit, but eventually I’ve managed to develop my night vision to the point where I don’t even need to turn on the lights, using a crude form of echolocation when it’s truly pitch black.
I don’t have problems with the sun, in case anyone is wondering. No, it’s specifically windows. You see, I had a bit of an altercation back when I was a young lad, when a bat attached to a brick came through my window during a storm, riding a branch. Quite a package, right? It was very shocking, and even after my parents called whatever Melbourne window replacement people were available at the time, it was the perfect devastating combo to give me a lifelong trauma.
Fortunately, I’ve come up with the perfect solution by removing all windows and sunlight from my home life, which I feel like is a very healthy and reasonable way to deal with things. I also don’t have to deal with window problems if I don’t have any windows, plus my impeccable night vision and echolocation mean I save a lot of electricity nowadays. I think I may also have started to grow scales around my eyes. Didn’t see THAT coming, but I’m sure it’s fine. I don’t even have to cook anymore, since I’ve developed a real taste for raw meat and my teeth have become sharp enough to tear it to shreds, so really I’m a paragon of being budget-conscious.
For reference, that’s very little electricity (the fur means I don’t get cold), no money spent on gas and I certainly don’t have to worry about aluminium window repair. Melbourne should live more like me.
I bask in the sunlit garden of utter defeat. Little did I know, all would be taken from me so swiftly; my dignity, my honour, my standing in the community, cruelly torn away at its zenith.
My son just beat me at lawn bowls. At this point, the fact that he is my son matters little, because he is eleven and inexperienced, while I myself am a renowned champion. Nay…a former champion. I no longer deserve the title, after my humiliating and highly-public defeat. The dinner table has been transformed into a place of scorn and mockery. Who knew a teenager had such a capacity for vitriol, constantly reminding me of my immense failure?
I need to be stronger to reclaim my crown, and I’ll do anything. I’ll drink disgusting smoothies, wolf down supplements…and I’ve heard that Melbourne’s hyperbaric medicine industry is currently thriving, especially for sportspeople. Also, those with breathing issues and those recovering from injuries. My injury may not be physical…but my heart and pride are deeply wounded. Meditation within a hyperbaric oxygen chamber may be exactly what I need; I shall meditate on victory, banish thoughts of victory and all the while increase my physical state. I need to be in prime condition to defeat this upstart eleven year old and take my place at the top once more.
Practice will also be necessary. My previous level of greatness was clearly not enough, and thus I’ll need to extend my training regime into the night. My technical skill must be perfect, my mind in a state of constant readiness, and my body…well, hopefully Melbourne’s fine oxygen therapy can help with that. Also, smoothies. Whatever it takes to be the king again.
‘Wanderlust’. It’s a strong desire to travel and see the world. Funny how sometimes you can just discover the perfect word for you, like all your feelings have been stuffed into a few little letters. The only vaguely exciting place I’ve ever been to has been Indonesia, and even then my family just stuck to the overcrowded tourist areas. I think I saw a sea turtle at one stage, but it’s not a story that tends to bowl people over at parties. “One time I might have seen a sea turtle. Could’ve been a really dense pile of seaweed, but I’m pretty sure it was the first thing. Most charismatic guy in the room, right here!”
I can’t talk about it at work. It may be an office, but it’s an office for a plumber’s company and there’s this sort of unspoken agreement that everyone here is a total patriot and never wants to leave Australia. Even our equipment is all from Melbourne. Aluminium toolboxes to plungers, you name it; if the boss finds out that we’ve sourced something from overseas, he gives us all a tirade on how not buying local is killing the economy and how buying Australian is ALWAYS THE WAY TO GO. Sometimes if we say that a part we need is in Perth, he goes a bit off. Like, he’s not just proudly Australian; he’s proudly Victorian. I get that, but it’s also not a place where I feel like talking about my hopes and dreams of seeing the world. One minute we’re talking about aluminium toolboxes and ute trays, and the next I might casually mention that I’m thinking of taking a trip to Japan. Whoops.
Hasn’t happened yet. Still new, don’t really know who I can trust. Right now I just need to join in the conversations on roof racks and bars and other tradesperson things. Maybe I’ll grow to appreciate them, who knows?
What do you do in your uni lessons?
Well…I interview tradespeople. Not what I thought I’d be doing when I signed up for an Economics course, but I’m starting to see why. We’re supposed to be studying the economy and how the world goes around and such, and tradespeople are all part of that great circle of currency. Now I just need someone to talk to and ask intimate questions about their business.
I want to do well on this one, too. I almost failed my module on Enterprising and Opportunities since I forgot to include the statistics and graphs attachment. Stupid mistake and it almost made me repeat the subject, so this one really needs to be good. Something that no one has done before. Well, I live around Rosebub, and pest control people are always going to and fro in front of my house. Maybe one of the people who works for the company lives on my street, or something. It could just be that we have a lot of pest issues, but I’m thinking probably not. In any case, I’m willing to give it a go.
When you hear ‘tradesperson’, most people will think of builders or plumbers. I mean, that’s what I thought of first…but everyone will be interviewing them. I want a slightly off-kilter industry, so the tutor at least has something new to look at. And I’d say it was a pretty stable industry as well, since it’s not going anywhere. No one’s invented a magic spray that keeps the termites away from every home, ever, so termite inspections will always be popular.
So now I guess I just need some kind of company. I’ll do a search, find one with a friendly-looking website. Some termite control agency in Frankston or wherever will want to have a chat about their economic impact. Maybe.
As caretaker of one of Melbourne’s premier attractions, it pains me to see that it’s in a state of disrepair. There’s really nothing I can do about it, either. I’ve sent in multiple applications to the tourist board all through last year, asking for extra funding to repair the place, and I’ve only just got the go-ahead this morning. At this stage, one of Melbourne’s premier attractions is going to fall into obscurity!
I need to act fast, obviously. It’s going to be a painful few weeks, with the place covered in aluminium platforms and under construction for…however long it takes. But that’s the price you pay for preserving history: sometimes you have to cover them in platforms for a while. Well, what needs doing needs doing. The pub where Ned Kelly’s friend’s mum’s cousin’s dog was born needs to be preserved for the sanctity of future generations. I just hope the regulars won’t be put off by all the scaffolding. I’ll have to set up sandwich boards stating clearly that we’re still open, and to come in while minding their heads.
The story of Ned Kelly is a fascinating one, but people so often miss out on the crucial details surrounding his life, as well as the details of those around him. Ned Kelly’s friend’s mum’s cousin’s dog is reputed to have visited the original farmstead at some point, with the wild nature of the dog inspiring Kelly to take up a life as an outlaw, free from all obligations. There’s no actual proof, but I do have a real photograph framed in the pub of the cousin with the dog, and it looks pretty wild. It’s no unreasonable to assume that at some point Ned Kelly met the dog, and soon afterwards the legend was born. Thus, I am the custodian of one of Melbourne’s premier attractions, and I deserve the appropriate funding.
Took them long enough to realise. Oh, and the mobile scaffolding has arrived, right on schedule. I must get to work on that sandwich board…because we wouldn’t want visitors to miss out on one of Melbourne’s premier attractions.
I used to wish I was a pirate, purely based on the Colonel DugScrub books I read as a kid. That guy was a pirate, but he was always clean and never killed anyone. Sometimes he’d search for buried treasure, or maybe brandish a sword at someone, but it was kid stuff. Very sanitised. Then I did a project on pirates in Grade 4 and learned that pirates DO still exist and they’re absolutely no fun. Just a lot of guns and being a pain in the butt of the local coastguard.
So much for that dream, but I do feel the call of the sea. It’s why I got intersted in a plate aluminium boat. Sure, I don’t get to RIDE on boats all that often, but I’m often dangling beneath the hull of a cruise ship and drinking in the atmosphere. It’s a rich atmosphere indeed. I still hope that one day I can be a legit captain of a cruise ship, and I’m hoping marine fabrication is what’s going to get me there. I know exactly how a ship’s hull is welded and fabricated, which has got to count for something. In fact, I’ve also picked up the ins and outs of how big ships work in general. Could probably fit a plate alloy boat if you really needed me to- and that reminds me, I’ve been meaning to ask the boss if I can get into that.
How do you become a captain, anyway? The movies would have you believe that it’s as simple as owning a boat or ship and calling yourself a captain, and sometimes you don’t even need that much. Something tells me that becoming the captain of a luxury cruise liner isn’t quite like that, unless…no. Nobody owns a cruise liner all by themselves. That’s such a huge waste of space, and nobody has that many friends.
Nope. I’m hoping Melbourne’s stainless steel marine welding industry is my ticket in. Someday, at least.
I move every year and it’s getting really old. One rental after another, always squirelling away funds for some great house purchase that never comes. One half of me wants to be on the property ladder, and by now I could probably buy myself a mansion if I wanted. And then I think of how I get bored with places so easily, which is why I just keep moving on. Packing up is really taking its toll, however. Got to make a decision soon.
Maybe I need a houseboat. Or I could go backpacking in Nepal for a few months, sort myself out and find my zen. Or…I suppose there’s always buyers agent. Melbourne has then, from what I can tell, and whenever I raise this issue at work Amelda always tuts and says “Daria, just get yourself a buyers advocate. They’ll do the pavement-pounding and you barely have to decide a thing except that you want one of the houses they come up with.”
Amelda is just full of great advice, given that she’s worked the same secretary job for sixteen years and spends 90% of her time doing her nails. Sometimes I think she gets paid to file and dispense life advice, but maybe there’s finally something in what she’s saying. Wow, that’s a first! We should put that up on the running tally: 1.
But I mean it: perhaps I’ve spent the whole time doing this because I’m looking for the right place and I just don’t know where that is. Maybe I should let the experts take over, see how they handle it. It’s not like I have to pick one, anyway…I just look at the best options. In fact, they can look for things that are perfectly suited to me and make all the decisions in my stead. I am getting tired of moving, so maybe it’s time to take a step forward. Melbourne’s property advocates probably aren’t ready for my level of indecision, but let’s give it a go anyway!