Handymen

While having some electrical work done on the house last week, the electrician we hired notified us of a minor problem. When they were on the roof installing new cables, they noticed that the capping for a corner our tiled roof has slid off. They immediately claimed that it was like that when they got up there. I reassured them that I already knew about it. It was like that since we bought the house.

Since buying the house, I’ve been itching to have that bit of roof fixed. I would’ve fixed it myself but I have no idea how. I’m no handyman. Never had been.

It was only now that we own our own house that I’ve begun to accumulate handyman tools. I even bought a how-to handyman book from Bunnings Warehouse for reference when I need to get some do-it-yourself work done. Unfortunately, it’s not as comprehensive as I would’ve liked. Nothing beats asking learning this handyman skill from a Dad as I’m growing up.

Here in Australia, it seems like all blokes are handymen. It’s expected for them to be enamored by new power tools available in the market. They’d dearly love a ute (pickup truck), handy for those trips to the hardware shop when they need materials and tools for their DIY projects. When something needs fixing in the house, they’d prefer to fix the problem themselves. Or at least, they’d want to have a go at it first. And so, I sometimes feel such a wuss that I’m not into all that tradies and do-it-yourself stuff.

I looked up the local paper for ads of handymen I could call up to fix our little roof problem. One of the company names I found there was even called “Hire-a-Hubby”. Yeah. Talk about rubbing it in. Well, I think they’ve just alienated any potential customers who are like me (a nerd hubby).

Anyway, I found a guy who was willing to do it for cheap and got the roof fixed. He also assured me that there were actually a lot of guys out there who are not into handyman stuff based on their past customer experiences. I’m not sure if this was factual or if he was just being nice.

In the times I did hire somebody else to do any fixes around the house, I watched them closely so that next time, I know how to do the fix myself. And now that I have enough tools in the garage/tool shed, I can do my own little fixing if necessary. But for the bigger stuff, I’ll still leave it to the experts.

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Published in: on April 29, 2006 at 11:08 am  Leave a Comment  

Big Brother, year 6

The sixth season of Big Brother started last Sunday and the current batch of housemates are certainly a more interesting bunch than last year’s. Our favorite housemate is David, a model turned organic farmer, he’s hot and down-to-earth. He remains popular today, specially after announcing last night that he’s gay! Much to the disappointment of fellow housemate, Camilla, who thought that he was flirting with her.

The promised world-first twist was no big surprise at all, with a mother-daughter team among the housemates unbeknownst to the other housemates. Karen and Krystal, both with newly acquired breast implants, are keeping their relationship a secret. Viewer-voted insider/saboteur Michael, must try and discover their secret or face automatic nomination come Sunday.

Mildly interesting to say the least, but I don’t think it’ll have us glued to the television everytime it’s on. Just like the previous year, we normally catch the late night live feed from the house before we go to bed just to see if anything interesting is happening. Then, there’s always the re-cap shows to keep us up-to-date with what’s going on.

I caught each and every show of Big Brother’s third season, the first BB I watched as a new migrant in Australia, mainly because I want to get used to how Australians talk (accents, slangs, phrasings, etc). This time around though, I think I’d rather spend my time living my life rather than always looking in on the fake reality lives being orchestrated by Big Brother.

Published in: on April 28, 2006 at 12:01 am  Comments (5)  

Makeover

Apologies to our regular readers for the lack updates for about 2 weeks now. Hubby and I took time off work (and most everything else) after Easter and only got back to our routine yesterday. We had some grand plans before Easter to catch up on sleep, reading, playing and living. Well, we did some of those but most of our time were taken up by a pet project – the front lawn.

You see, the lawn was overgrown with ugly, unwanted weeds and seem to attract litter like magnets attract shiny, metallic things. We could have paid for someone to do all the grunt work and design the garden but we weren’t too sure if our bank balance would survive it. So we went the DIY way. We did our own planning, purchaing materials, weeding, laying down the weed mats, shoveling, edging… the lot! What’s more, we worked regardless of the weather. Rain, shine and strong winds saw us trying to finish the garden makeover on time.

Four days after we’ve started and some seriously aching muscles later, the front yard is now looking better. We’ve decided on creating a gravel garden and I know it’s not much to look at yet but it’s way better than what we started with. We plan on adding a flower box in front of window and some plant cover along the edges plus other greens in containers. The rocks beside the path looks is a monotonous brown right now but it actually contain different coloured stones and should look a bit better once the dust settles down.

After all that, we still have the path beside the garage to take care of and as well as the backyard. Hmm… maybe we should have bought a place with more paving and less soil to cultivate instead. On the other hand, I have to say that seeing the result of our hard work in the front yard is pretty satisfying and I’m sure that once the greens are in place, it’ll be a much better place to spend some quality time in.

Published in: on April 27, 2006 at 9:57 pm  Comments (2)  

Home work

We wanted to take advantage of the long Easter weekend and the upcoming Anzac Day holiday early next week so we took leave off work between Easter and Anzac Day. Originally, we wanted to just get some rest and relaxation in during this short vacation. And we thought that maybe we could use a day of that short vacation to get some work done around the house.

We needed to have some electrical work done, for one. We wanted some more power points, antenna points and phone points, some halogen downlights, a couple of outdoor sensor lights, an exhaust fan for the laundry room and a ceiling fan for the dining area. Outside the house, we wanted to cover most of the front and back lawns with weed mat and top it all off with mulch or coloured pebbles.

The electrical work was not a big problem. I called several electricians in the area a while back to ask for free quotes. We got the electrician with the second cheapest quote only because he looked more professional and least dodgy.

As for the lawn work, we decided to do that ourselves. And I now regret doing so. We thought we could save some money if we did the job ourselves. We didn’t realise how much work is needed though.

We kept going back and forth to Bunnings Warehouse, Mitre 10, and garden nurseries buying all sorts of tools, gardening materials and handyman equipment. So far we’ve bought a couple of small weeder tools, a pair of leather gloves for Raquel, a small hoe, two shovels, a wheelbarrow, a saw, a workbench, plastic edging, wooden edging, a lot of weed matting, bags of mulch and a truck load of pebbles to name but a few. It hadn’t been all that cheap actually.

It’s probably still cheaper than if we just had the landscaping job done by a professional landscaping team. However, we’ve been working on the lawn for three days now digging out the weeds, laying out the weed mat, putting edgings in place, and shoveling mulch and gravel around. What’s worse is that we are far from finishing the stupid lawns. My back, feet and shoulders hurt. Raquel’s back, wrist and shoulders hurt. We’re both suffering from hay fever from all the weeds and grass we’re digging out.

So, yeah, we’re now regretting not having had the lawns done by pros. I think it’s too late to get them in to continue the work though. The only upside to all this do-it-yourself work we undertook was that we now know more about doing lawn work than before we started. I’m just looking forward to getting all the work done and finally getting that rest and relaxation we originally wanted when we took leave off work for the week.

Published in: on April 19, 2006 at 9:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

Easter Mass at Werribee

I confess that I haven’t gone to hear Mass for a while now. This Easter Sunday, I decided to start going again at the nearby St Andrew’s church here in Werribee.

I actually thought there’d only be a dozen people there like when I went to the Easter Mass at South Yarra a year ago. Surprisingly, there were a lot of people. In fact, the church was so full people had to stand outside to hear Mass. I was one of them because I didn’t get there early enough.

Still, it felt good to be there with everybody celebrating Easter morning at church.

Published in: on April 18, 2006 at 8:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

Bunnies, no. Bilbies, yes!

We’ve all heard about the Easter bunny but have you ever heard of an Easter bilby? Easter what, you say?

Well, rabbits are considered a pests here in Australia and ever since there has been a campaign in the past to replace Easter bunnies with bilbies. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of chocolate bilbies goes to a fund to save this endangered marsupial.

If you ask me, those bilbies look oddly like a cross between a mouse and a bunny. And with that piece of Easter trivia, I greet each and everyone of you a Happy Easter!

Published in: on April 16, 2006 at 12:02 am  Leave a Comment  

Saturday shopping

Shops were closed for business yesterday and will be close again tomorrow. Good Friday and Easter Sunday are both public holidays here and most shops are closed, even the grocery stores.

Anyway, we had to run some errands and get some food into the pantry so we went to the shopping centre around noon. Unfortunately, it looked like all roads lead to the malls today with people grabbing Easter eggs and chocolate bunnies for tomorrow’s egg hunt. There was a long line of cars going into the parking spaces and people walking everywhere. Fortunately for us, we got a space fairly quickly. Unfortunately, the post office inside the mall was closed and we had to send something we sold in Ebay.

Walking into the parking lot, we were a few steps away from our car when we noticed that there is already another car waiting for a space to become free. The driver of the car blew is horn at us and I told hubby that the driver seem to be really glad to see us walking in his direction (hey, parking space for him!) After a few more paces, the driver blew his car’s horn again and this time, I told hubby that the guy seem to be in a real hurry. He agreed and apparently looked at the driver of the other car a few moments later as he said, “Hey, it’s M-!”

M- is a friend who lives nearby and it such just a great coincidence that he’d be waiting at a spot near our car just when we were about to go. We chatted with him for a few minutes and went on our way to go to another shopping centre to find an open post office.

When we got to Highpoint, there were a lot of cars already waiting for a space but as luck would have it, we were able to get a space just a couple of minutes after arriving. Better yet, the post office was open and we were able to send out the package to our buyer. We also went to Target to check out their Easter eggs on sale and bought a bar of Toblerone and a sinful box of rocky road heaped on top of a half eggshell-shaped chocolate. Bonus.

Next, off we went to Bunnings on our way home to purchase some materials as we were planning to do some gardening tomorrow. 3 bags of wood chip mulches, a weed mat, a shovel and some border edging later and we’re on our way. Afterwards, we swung by the grocery for get something for our meals tomorrow and went straight home afterwards feeling like we accomplished a lot today.

Tomorrow, we’d put all those gardening materials we bought to use as we attempt to makeover the path beside our garage. Fingers crossed that it gets warmer tomorrow as the past two days were definitely chilly and with some downpours too. Brrrrr!

Meanwhile, I gotta keep hubby from finishing off that chocolate.

Published in: on April 15, 2006 at 11:32 pm  Comments (2)  

Jesus Carries His Cross

Last Easter season, I thought I could draw all 12 Stations of the Cross as part of my panata for Lent but couldn’t. I was only able to draw the first station of the cross: Jesus is Condemned to Death.

Well, although it’s a year later, here is the second station of the cross: Jesus Carries His Cross.

I never thought I’d draw anything at all for the Easter season. I just picked up my tablet stylus and started doodling and decided to draw the second station for kicks. Then it came to me that it was actually Holy Week again. Anyway, since I haven’t drawn anything nice for some time now, I was hoping I still know how to draw. Well, it’s finished now. Hope you like it.

Published in: on April 14, 2006 at 11:44 pm  Comments (5)  

Why Maundy Thursday?

Today is Holy Thursday, also called Maundy Thursday. In the Philippines, this is a public holiday. Here in Australia, we have to come to work. At least we get Monday off though because of Easter Monday which was something we didn’t have in the Philippines.

This reminded me of a story of when I was still working in the Philippines for an American company’s new Philippine-based office. There were only a handful of us working for the company and we were left almost entirely unsupervised in the first few months of operation. However, we are required to make a conference call to the bosses in the US every week to monitor our progress.

On one of these conference calls, we mentioned to the boss that there would be public holidays coming up during the Holy Week. We said that there would be no work on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.

Our boss couldn’t believe it. He said that he was surprised to hear that there was a week-long public holiday coming up. We were a bit confused with his reply. Week-long? We clarified that there’d only be no work on Thursday and Friday.

He said, “then why did you say there’d be no work from Monday to Thursday and Friday?”

Ah! There it is. We corrected him that we didn’t say “Monday to Thursday” but “Maundy Thursday.” We had a good laugh about it. He still complained though, “why didn’t you just Thursday. Why did you you have to say ‘Maundy’?”

We didn’t actually know why it is called “Maundy”. We’ve only ever known the holiday as Maundy Thursday and sometimes as Holy Thursday.

I did a little research and found out the reason for Maundy in Maundy Thursday. According to scholars, Maundy is derived from the Latin word Mandatum that means Commandment. It is taken from John 13:34 of the Latin version of the Bible: “Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos ut et vos diligatis invicem,” Jesus Christ said to His disciples during the Last Supper. In English: “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.”

Well, now you know why, too. For more information regarding Maundy Thursday, you can read the Catholic Encyclopedia entry here.

Published in: on April 13, 2006 at 1:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Jesus look-alike contest

I mentioned in past entries that Holy Week and Easter isn’t given as much reverence here in Australia as we do in the Philippines. Here, Easter is about chocolate and the Easter Bunny. Forget the part that the season is about Jesus Christ dying on the cross for the sins of humanity and defeating death itself on Easter day.

Okay, I’m sure there might be some of you who will contend that Easter is a pagan-derived celebration. Well, the Resurrection of Christ was celebrated by Christians in the early years of movement at around the same time of Easter (and the same goes with the Jewish Passover ) even before it was ever called Easter. It was only named that later on to help convert pagans into the Christian faith. So, even if the name “Easter” may have etymologically been derived from pagan sources, the reason why it had been observed by Christians and why it is still celebrated widely today was because of its Christ’s Resurrection. Anyway, my apologies for digressing.

Let me get back to the point of this blog post.

I expected that there would be little mention of Jesus in popular media this year’s Lenten season. Not so. Our current favourite FM radio station, 101.9 Fox FM hosted a “Jesus Look-alike Contest” on their morning breakfast show hosted by Matt Tilley and Jo Stanley (and co-hosted by Troy and Adam Richards).

I’m a little conflicted about the contest. On the one hand, it seems borderline blasphemous. On the other, it does let people know that Easter is about Jesus more than it is about the Easter Bunny. I can’t help but be slightly offended by their irreverence toward Jesus. I remember feeling offended a while back when they were poking fun at Pope John Paul II’s death, too. I’m really tempted to stop listening to their station just for the principle of it.

There were a few complaints from listeners objecting to the contest. But one Anglican priest called in to say he’s okay with it. God would just probably think it funny, he said (I paraphrased him). He did gave kudos to the morning breakfast team for helping getting the word out that Easter is about Jesus.

To see the pictures of those who joined the contest, go here. What do you think? It does seem like a harmless contest. But names like “Motorbike Jesus” and “Taco Bell Jesus” (which are reminiscent of the movie Dogma’s “Buddy Jesus”) make me feel uncomfortable. It’s like poking fun at Jesus.

Well, like I said. I’m conflicted about the whole thing. At the very least though, I could use the photos of these Jesus look-alikes as reference if I wanted to draw or paint a portrait of Jesus. Also, they did have a Jesus trivia portion in the contest so people who knew nothing about Jesus would’ve picked up something about him if they were listening in. The good news, though, is that the contest ended this morning. That means I could look forward to listening to Fox FM again without hearing anymore nonsense about that silly contest.

Published in: on April 13, 2006 at 12:06 pm  Leave a Comment