What are you going to do next?

Melbourne dog walkingI have pretty much stopped socialising now. Every time I went out I ended up having the same conversations with different versions of the same people. It always centered around what we were going to do after our final year of university. The doctors and lawyers are all sorted. The corporate sell outs all have jobs making the rich richer and feel very pleased with themselves about it. The do-gooders have flights to Africa booked and are ready to make very little difference at all. Leaving me. I had no idea what to do. I had applied for some part time work with a dog walking service based in Melbourne but it’s not currently intended as a career. Dog walking appeals to me quite a lot right now, I get to spend time outside, have little contact with people and meet loads of adorable dogs. It’s doing something good for society and keeps me active.

Maybe I will pursue it as a long term goal. The degree then may be slightly irrelevant but university was more for the social anyway! Anyway to save myself telling people that I do not have a graduate job lined up and am not planning to travel to the world to find myself I have just stopped talking to people altogether. I’ll deal with my parents because they’ve settled for my canine aspirations and every once in awhile, if I do have to exchange words with someone on the topic, I make up an elaborate lie about my upcoming internship with NASA or my acceptance into a rocket engineering phd. Perhaps being a dog walker, Melbourne is quite glamorous, it’ll be like working on rocket ships. I have a feeling it may be slightly more realistic than that. Although I haven’t technically got that job either yet. I might try and just tell people I am working on creative projects and leave it at that.

Termites out + parents in = freedom

termite inspectionsEvery summer my parents insist I spend at least one week with them down at the beach house in Mornington Peninsula. I know how it sounds. Oh poor me having to go to my beautiful beachside holiday home and relax, what a tough life. The thing is, it sucks. The summers are for me. Finally my parents are out the way down the coast and I get the house all to myself! It’s luxury. I get to have friends over whenever I want and cook late at night without my mum going crazy. I love a late night grill session. This year, it’s all gone to pot. My parents have a major termite infestation at the beach house and I overheard my Dad saying that it looks like we’ll all be spending summer in Melbourne. No no no, my summer dreams of freedom suddenly dashed I became intensely involved in finding a solution to the termite problem. I went as far as arranging termite inspections in Mornington at the house so they could figure out the problem and get it sorted before the summer. They have been extremely grateful for my assistance but apparently I am completely transparent.

My mum has already told me that even if the problem does get sorted I will either have to be with them at the beach house or staying at my grandparents place in Cranbourne. Oh good lord this has backfired. She has figured me out. I considered calling the pest control company in Mornington to cancel the appointment for the termite inspection but figured that would only put me in an even worse position. Hopefully the problem will be sorted and I can win over my grandparents to get them to tell my parents that I am indeed staying with them when actually I will be cooking up steaks for my boys at 2am after a heavy drinking and movie sesh. Plan.

I’m pathetic, I know

boatcatchSo at the moment it kind of feels like my dad is using me as his slave.

It’s not like it’s a big shock to the system or anything, I’ve always seen it coming. He’s made me shine his shoes since I was old enough to hold the cloth, but it still just kinda plain sucks. It’s like he doesn’t see me as a person, just a means to an ends. And no matter how well I do at school or anything like that, he just doesn’t seem to care.

He actually bought a boat last weekend, according to mum on a whim, and he’s told me that he’s going to teach me how to sail. That feels like a whim too. Not that I told him that’s how I feel. The amount of times I practice defying him in my head make no difference, when he asks me to do something, I do it. When he told me to look into this outboard motor servicing in Melbourne he’d found, I knew immediately what was happening. He’s going to make me run around like his secretary and servant, having the boat cleaned, serviced, polished, and whatever else it is boats need done with the promise that, at the end of it, he’d take me out on the water. And the thing is, I’m so attention starved, that I’m happy to do it. That says a lot about me. I mean, not happy, but naively hopeful. Even though I’m putting my own life – school grades, social life, everything – on the back burner so he might spend an hour or two with me.

I know. I’m pathetic. But knowing I’m pathetic doesn’t make me any less so. Even as I write this, I’m look at this really great boatcatch I can surprise him with. I just want to make him notice me.

What have I gotten myself into?

business accounting

Gosh I wish I had the freedom all my friends have. They can do whatever they want with their lives, they can be a painter, a musician, a philosopher, a lawyer, their parents don’t care. Their parents support their dreams, no matter how high they aim. They’re allowed to take all the electives they want as long as they have a good time and enjoy themselves while they’re doing it. Their parents don’t force them to study for hours when they get home from school.

I know I’m painting this in a pretty bad light right now, but you have to understand just how sick of it I am. I get that my parents are coming from a good place and just want me to have a stable, dependable job, but the truth is I just don’t want to be an accountant. They know two of the best business tax accountants in Melbourne. My parents are pretty good at their job but are far from the best in Melbourne. Growing up it was always expected that I would follow in their footsteps. Even as a little kid, when a teacher asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said I wanted to be an accountant, just like my mum and dad. You can imagine the look on the teacher’s face.

It wasn’t until I started doing accounting subjects this year that I realised I was doomed. I have zero aptitude for this stupid subject whatsoever. I just don’t get it. It goes in one ear and out the other, and my marks reflect that. The thing is, I was so excited about starting accounting at the beginning of the year that I told everyone I know – I can’t back out now or they’ll think I’m stupid. I understand that doing business accounting in Melbourne can be rewarding and fulfilling, I just don’t think it’s ever going to rewarding or fulfilling for me.

One heck of a fall

orthotics CheltenhamI am so embarrassed right now I can’t even deal. It’s just been one of those days, you know? Or, even worse, it was more five horrible minutes that I’ll never be able to erase from my memory for as long as I live. Worse still, I have this constant reminder of it for the rest of my life thanks to the diagnosis I got from the orthotics place in Cheltenham.

I have always been a clumsy child. Mum’s had me tested for glasses more times than I can count, just to make sure there wasn’t something really wrong with my vision or anything like that. I have the special ability of being able to trip over anything: the joints between pavement, the tip of my shoe … heck, I can even fall up a flight of stairs. Anyway, today, like it so often does, my extreme clumsiness managed to get the better of me. At school, there’s a flight of stairs that runs from the first story down to the ground in one long line – without any sharp bends or anything. While walking down, carrying a load of books, I tripped (over who knows what) and fell down the whole freaking thing, messing up my foot in the process, only to end up lying with my skirt around my head as the school principal walked past, unable to move through the pain.

It turns out that in my fall (which I swear went for at least an hour, but my friend watching from the top says was only a maximum three minutes of hilarity) I managed to do something to my foot. Obviously, I knew that at the time, due to the fact that it turn like a mother – but it was only the next day, at the podiatrist in Cheltenham mum always goes to, that I found out I’d seriously wrecked it. May for good. Who knows? I guess I’ll have to wait and see.

The school gets a bit of a makeover

tile cleaningI’m not really sure what’s happened, but something must have because the school has finally cracked. For pretty much the whole time I’ve been going here, the place has been in need of some serious renovations. Not just a paint job here and a good scrub there – the real deal. They needed to employ a bunch of people to come in and spruce the whole place up. Ugh, you should have seen what a state the bathrooms were in – it was simply ghastly! Well, it might have been pressure from parents, the school board, a government, a student (I guess there’s really no way to know for sure) but they’ve finally decided to do something about it.

Standing at the gates yesterday, my friends and I bemusedly watched a brigade of tile and grout cleaning people from Melbourne trudge in, looking hilarious in all their gear. We weren’t the only ones watching, either, there was actually quite a crowd gathered. I guess, when any a group of people that size enter a school it’s always going to create a bit of a fuss. In any case, what was funny became considerably less so when we discovered that having a troop of high pressure cleaners lurking around the place meant it was going to be nearly impossible to find a bathroom not in the process of being scoured from top to bottom. It meant that, if you needed to use the bathroom, it became a quest to find one. Of course, if you wanted to miss out on a little bit of class, this was quite a useful excuse, but for the attentive student like myself, it was nothing but a nuisance.

In any case, I’m sure all the confusion and delays will be worth it once the bathroom looks how its makers originally intended it. I just wish they’d thought to do this all sooner.

Family time in Melbourne

tours of MelbourneEvery once in awhile my parents decide that we are going to have some good old fashioned quality family time. I think they freak out that we all spend too much time on our phones and don’t really know each other to the point that I could be a serial killer and my sister could secretly be really into tennis or something like that. This time round they have decided it would be great if we all went sightseeing together. When I first heard this I thought, ok that’s not that bad at least we get a holiday out of it, but no I was wrong. When they say sightseeing they mean Melbourne sightseeing. We live in Melbourne! I tried telling them that going sightseeing in your own city isn’t really sightseeing but they argued that we take living here for granted and it would do us all some good to get out and experience the city’s splendours. Unlike them I don’t drive everywhere so I experience the city’s ‘splendours’ everyday via the bike lanes and tram lines thank you very much. Alas my arguments fell on deaf ears because next weekend we have all been booked onto not one but two tours in Melbourne. My main problem here isn’t actually with spending time together, I can, despite their beliefs, see the benefit in hanging out with family. My issue is with the chosen activity. I’d rather go for dinner with them, or go take a hike out in the country, I just didn’t see the point in being shown around your own city. I told them I could give them the same tour of Melbourne and they could pay me but again, deaf ears. Eventually just to shut me up they agreed we could go out for dinner and I could choose the tour if I didn’t complain about it anymore.

An OH&S nightmare

roofing repairs MelbourneSo unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past couple of days, then you probably know that Melbourne has been experiencing some pretty crazy weather. Flash floods have been raging on all around us for days, clogging drains and creating puddles too wide to leap over. But that’s not the only thing they’ve been doing. In a city that’s been as dry as Melbourne for this long, when it rains this heavily, there’s bound to be a little bit of havoc wrecked. Apparently, my school was not quite strong enough to stand against the full force of the storm.

While we were sitting there in homeroom this morning, the wing and the rain howling around outside, the roof began to drip. It’s an old building, and it hasn’t been renovated since the seventies, but when Claire McDuff started to get dripped on during a class, there was a moment of confusion. In our hesitation, we watched as the roof began to collapse, running for cover as plaster dusted down from the ceiling in large slabs.

Even though I’m trying to relate this pretty calmly, at the time I was in full panic mode. It was only afterwards that we found out the school had neglected getting roofing repairs done until Melbourne holidays, but it was too late for that. Only a week out, the rain had destroyed their plans and created one heck of a PR / OH&S problem. I definitely don’t envy head office trying to clear up that mess. What’s even worse, though, was that they’d noticed the leaking roof, but repairs in Melbourne have to be done during the week, when the classroom needed to be in use. They knew there was a problem and they’d ignored it! Personally, I think it’s all pretty hilarious, but I did really appreciate getting the rest of the day off school.

The younger generation get all the best stuff

city sight seeingOkay so here’s probably the most unfair thing I’ve ever heard about in my life.

My sister is in year 9. She’s just been away for a whole term doing this super fun live-out-of-home program that our school offers. I did it when I was her age, it’s a blast. A bucketful of fun from start to finish. You find yourself and learn how to be responsible (ish) and make a ton of friends who you keep with you forever. There are literally no downsides to it and, frankly, it’s an experience that every grumpy moody little teenager should have the fortune to experience.

So naturally, when you re-enter the world as most of us know it, a drab, dull, on the whole boring place, there’s a certain restlessness you just can’t shake. Besides, since the camp is only eight weeks long, there are several weeks of school left to go after you arrive back and before the holidays. When I was in year 9, those weeks were pure torture. They would always try to teach you the syllable, but in the end, most teachers just gave up and put a movie on instead.

In my sister’s year, however, the teachers have recognised the futility of their struggle, so she and everyone else in her year at school are just being let loose in Melbourne. Well, they’re on tours, which are then supposed to enhance their understanding of the heritage of the blah blah blah who cares? They certainly don’t. Bella was telling me her class just wandered through Chinatown the other day for no reason whatsoever. How unfair is that? When I was her age, I would have killed to do that. Where I had to be bored out of my mind doodling in the corner of my notebook, Bella’s busy exploring the city, sightseeing and travelling all over Melbourne. It’s just unreal.

Freezing schools

central heating needed

It’s here. It’s finally, finally here.

I don’t know what you know about Canberra, but if you don’t know this, you’re about to learn something. It may not be anything particularly valuable (I’m not really in any position to evaluate the way you evaluate information) but it is something true. Canberra, over the winter, gets freaking cold. Like, you can see your breath frost up in front of your eyes every single day for at least two months. All this fine, provided you’re somewhere with half decent central heating during the Canberra winter.

Here’s the thing, though. Until way, way, way too recently, there was an almost complete lack of central heating at my school. Or any kind of heating, in fact. It was more of a barren, frozen wasteland where you were forced to wear layer upon layer of clothes just to avoid getting frostbite. Okay, well  maybe it wasn’t quite that bad, but it still sucked. Talk about failing to provide a decent learning environment. Being cold like that just made everything harder. Have you ever tried to understand differential calculus while simultaneously trying to get even just a little bit of feeling back in your toes? Believe me, it’s hard.

Having heating in Canberra is basically an essential, which is why it’s even more ridiculous that the school didn’t have any. It’s not even like the school can blame it’s frosty interior on the fact that it’s old, either. Canberra was only founded in 1913, they would have known about central heating by then, right? Anyway, pretty much everywhere else here has some kind of hot air circulatory system that blasts heat through it in the winter to keep it nice and toasty. There’s simply no other way to survive the winter. Unless you want to keep all your toes, that is.