Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Been a while between drinks

Contrary to rumours, I am still alive and kicking, just flat-out at the coalface. But working with a whole bunch of nerds and fanboys does give you the chance to experience some of the more wondrous sides of the dubdubdub. I didn't even know there were species of nerd this nerdy living deep in the labyrinth which is the information superhighway. And I pride myself with being up there with the latest in nerdity. Well, to an extent.

Otherwise, all these four-day weeks have been playing havoc with my liver; although, so far, it does seem to be holding up. And holding up these four-day weeks have been for a little project I have been devoting much of my spare time to over the last few months. Yes, that dreaded word R E N O V A T I O N. Now, along with all the other beaujolais-swilling*, ABC-watching, inner-city-living lefties of my generation, I decided a few months back that my digs were no longer satisfactory, and that I should exercise my exquisite taste by spending thousands upon thousands of dollars that I don't have to get them up to scratch. Florence Broadhurst, marimekko and the like have nothing on my plans—whihc primarily include demolishing an outdoor dunny and bringing the WC inside, reshaping the apricot-laminex kitchen, and adding a dining zone, coz I'm sick to the shit of eating off my knees in front of the telly (it plays havoc with my PS2 controllers).

Around Novemeber the local council approved my pans without so much as a whimper. And since then it's been the hard yards of getting the plans up to scratch and finding me a builder. It's taken quite some months, but I've found one, paid an exorbitant amount of money to "lock him in" and as of about 5 weeks ago, it was meant to be a quick dash down the home straight. All we had to do was get ourselves a building permit, which, I was advised my all involved—my good mate the architect, the builder and sundry other professionals—that this was really just a matter of process.


Since that fateful day, I have run into the biggest problem of the entire campaign—cue the creepy music— dum de dum dum—the nextdoor neighbour FROM HELL. Now this old cow is renowned around my 'hood as being on very good terms with the devil. She does not actually live in the house nextdoor to mine. She used to, but has now moved to the more genteel environs of Doncaster to grow her tomatoes and harass anything that can move. I was stunned, nay, mortified, to find that she had not objected to my bourgeois aspirations, but at the same time, heaved a very long sigh of relief.

Six months on since the granting of council approval for me to add value to my nest, the harridan has wised up. I need her approval to build over a drainage pipe that runs off her roof. I also need her approval to work on the wall that joins our properties. All pretty much procedural stuff—with the plans approved, there not fucking much she can do. But that hasn't bothered this karma-killer. I have had her round gesticualting madly at me and shouting unintelligible insults ina forrign tongue. I have had her on her hands and knees outside my place with her arm shoulder-deep in the drainage pipe in question. I have had her informing all and sundry that she is going to do her best to stop this "development", as she will be losing "light" [erm, if you bothered to look at the planning submission beeyatch, this aint true] and "air" [like, how is that possible?] and that she will do anything within her forthright, stout and dowdy powers to ensure this doesn't proceed.


Should've thought of that six months ago, stronza! An old saying comes to mind: "Too late, too late, she cried as she waved her wooden leg". Not that her leg is wooden (it certainly didn't seem so when she had her arse in the air and arm down a drainpipe, but there is something rather arboreal about her head. Even her son was shaking his head as he watched her.

And this crazywoman is just one of the myriad nightmares that crowd my waking life at the moment. Just wait for the one about wheelchair access. It's a cracker.

So, rather than dwell on such minutae, instead, I give another installment of the South American odyssey. Peace out.

*Beaujolais is just a red herring. The reality is more like pot-swilling, Big Brother-watching. Though I do have a thing for Teachers at the moment. Or any repeated series the ABC runs in the 11pm timeslot. Like Wild Side.