When I was about twelve my father decided to take our entire family out on a boat in the bay for a day. He rented a fairly sizeable motor boat and we packed it full of food, games and enough spare outfits for all the kids you’d think we were performing some kind of play. We actually went out a little farther than the bay and sailed the open seas. That trip changed my life. I spotted a yacht not too far from us that remains so vivid in my memory I almost believe I stepped on to it. It was a 60ft sunseeker luxury yacht and it stole my heart. I was lucky enough to spy it being retrieved by its flawless boatcatch system back at the docks. It sat so elegantly in the harbour, bobbing in perfect harmony with the waves, it looked like it had been born from the ocean. I decided on that day that I would one day own my own yacht. I studied engineering and took an apprenticeship at a boatyard as soon as I graduated. Whilst I do not technically own one yet I do spend every day building and designing these elegant vessels. I spend a lot of time talking owners through the specifics of each yacht, they like to know the details so it is my job to know these boats as if they were my own children. I tirelessly demonstrate boat catches procedures, docking protocols and sailing practices day in day out. The real reason I do it sits at the back of the boat yard and gets my attention pretty much every weekend and the occasional evening. My very own bespoke ocean worth yacht. It’s in its final stages, I have built every inch of it with my own hands and in about three months I will take it on its maiden voyage.
I was pretty upset with my Mum about the whole lunch fiasco. Ever since she got her new puppy it’s like I don’t exist anymore. Fair enough, I am a grown woman with my own life but I am hardly crying for my mummy. I just wanted her to come to my birthday lunch, it was my 30th by the way. Her excuse was that her precious puppy, Sprinkles, couldn’t possibly go without his lunchtime walk. I explained that her only daughter’s 30th birthday is probably somewhat more important and surely she could either shift the walk slightly earlier or slightly later or hire a professional dog walker, Melbourne is full of them! Apparently not. The walk had to be at 1.15pm and had to be done by her or Sprinkles would realise and never forgive her. So yes, Sprinkles approval is far more important than mine. The day of the lunch I called her and explained that I felt her priorities were way out of line and I would be deeply hurt if she didn’t at least make an appearance at my lunch. At 1ish I received a text along the lines of I am sorry but Sprinkles is at a very sensitive stage and I can’t miss this walk, I will come round later and buy you dinner. I should have expected it but I just couldn’t really believe she had made the decision. I couldn’t bring myself to reply so I just emailed her a link to a dog walking service in Melbourne and said I won’t be hungry later, see you soon. I suppose there are some larger issues at play, in a sense my Mum sees Sprinkles as a replacement child since I fled the nest pretty quickly. Even if subconsciously I think her choice of Sprinkles over me is tainted with revenge.
Melbourne is a thriving young city, it promises opportunity and new beginnings. When I first arrived it was hard not to become disillusioned. Everything was so difficult and covered in red tape. There was so much paperwork and business jargon that I didn’t understand. I was snowed under with contracts and proposals before I had even decided which business venture to pursue! My knight in shining armor came in the form of a professional small business accountant in Melbourne. I happened to meet him through a recommendation from a friend, he had offered to help me over hearing one of my numerous rants about the difficulty of opening a small business. He was indispensable to me and is the reason my business was formed in the first place. I managed to come up with a pretty good idea to sell adjustable reading lights that could be attached to tablets, phones and of course books. The light is completely natural and provides a reading experience unlike any other. There is so much bureaucracy surrounding production and distributing, Australia is particularly strict on its business laws. The business is now going pretty well, mainly thanks to my incredible tax return accountant in Melbourne city, I am planning to expand internationally in the coming years and release some more diverse products. At the moment it is just two reading lights, different in size, but I am hoping to design and manufacture a few cases and alternative reading accessories. Of course expansion does mean more paperwork but it also means increased delegation. When a business grows it becomes far easier to pay people to do the slightly less glamorous jobs. Looking back now I was crazy to think I could do all my own taxes and finances, I am a designer and at a stretch a salesman but by no means am I an accountant.
Shakespeare is unavoidable for any young actor. It simply has to be done. It’s like trying to build a house without walls. Some people embrace it and end up dedicating their whole careers to acting out the works of Shakespeare. For me it was simply a right of passage and I wanted to get over and done with quickly. I had been drafted in as a very minor character but was mainly being cast because of my off stage connections. The theatre company was in dire need of financial review and wanted the help of business tax accountants based in Melbourne. Word had got out in the theatre world that prior to my career on the stage I had worked in Melbourne as a tax accountant and may have some friends that would be willing to help out. I tried to cut ties with my old accountancy lifestyle, it doesn’t quite fit in with the thespian vibe I am going for. Although it pained me to do so I did call on an old friend to come and help with the theatres tax returns. I figured it would make my Shakespeare experience far easier if I was well regarded by the crew. I knew of a very friendly and smart Melbourne based business tax accountant, he owed me a favour from way back when so I asked him to come and look over the theatres accounts and lend a hand with the tax returns. While he may not be the Juliet to my Romeo, he did help my Shakespearian woes a lot. Due to my friends in high accountancy places I was given a far easier role and allowed to choose who was going to star opposite me which makes a big difference! The show goes up next week and it looks as though a large number of Melbourne’s accountants will be there.
It had taken me a while to get my name known at work. I am not really an outgoing person and it takes me a while to warm up to people. So when I was asked to plan the next team getaway I was a little taken aback. I wandered if perhaps it was some kind of test, or maybe they were challenging to be a little more social. Anyway I immediately did some research and asked around at what people would want to do and one idea came up that I liked. Melbourne winery tours are apparently pretty popular and can be done for groups of ten. Perfect! There are four different wine regions to choose from but all accessible from Melbourne and do-able within a day. I figured this would be a good option, they all like drinking and this is kind of a sophisticated way to do it. I asked around further at any particular wine regions within Victoria that people would be interested in and most of them said, if there’s wine, they are there. It seems I had come across a winner. I decided to go with Mornington Peninsula because it’s close by and has some lovely wines on offer. When I presented the whole idea to my boss she loved it. She said she had been worried about setting me this task because she knows I have struggled to settle into the team, I did remind her that I have been working there for nearly a year, anyway she said she was very pleased with how I’d gone about and we will definitely do the wine tour near Melbourne. It seems there is no room for being an introvert within this team. Hopefully they will all start to like me more after the wine tour, I’ve heard I really come out of my shell when I drink.
I stayed up really late last night. My mind was running around in circles and I couldn’t put it to rest. I started to looking into a new career path. I haven’t been happy recently and I think it’s largely due to my job. I work in property and it is just a little soul destroying. I want to join the tech revolution and work for a trendy startup that has an open plan office in which people ‘vibe’ ideas off each other and sit on bean bags. I looked into a few IT Courses based in Melbourne that I could take flexibly around working until I could earn money from it. I think I want to be involved in website design and development. There is just so much business there, so many people wanting their own website but not possessing the tools to make it happen! I wanted the tools. My brother has been teaching me some HTML basics to start me off which has been going well. It’s so much more exciting than showing people around houses they can’t afford. As the clock continued to tick well beyond the time I should have been asleep I took the plunge. I applied online to enroll into a web design course. I figured now or never. This act of progress sent me into a deep sleep and I woke up to an email saying my application had been received. I want to specialise in designing for websites for small businesses and entrepreneurs. I want to be the right hand man to the ideas man, they bring me the theory and I put it into practice. The course is structured to last a year but can be completed at my own pace so I am hoping to quite work in 6 months time and speed through the end of the course while developing my own business strategies.
A very good friend of mine, Denise, has recently completed some work on her house. She invited me round last week to have a look as I have expressed interest in doing some of my own home renovations! Her pride and joy of the house was her newly renovated bathroom. She had used an excellent bathroom renovation company based in Melbourne and recommended them to me. They helped her with the design right through to constructing the finishing touches. I can’t quite believe I am at an age where a social gathering is dominated by a bathroom renovation but god bless Denise, she had put on quite a spread. We had smoked salmon canapes and champagne while I admired her slate tiles and glass doors. I had a lot of time for Denise.
Her husband left her a while ago and she really just grasped life by the horns and went for it. She downsizes her house and funded the renovations entirely on her own from her incredible nail art business. It must have really taken off for her to be able to afford all the renovations on her lovely Hawthorn home. Last time I checked, bathroom renovations in Hawthorn weren’t cheap! After seeing the new look of her home I decided to push forward with my own renovations. There is nothing like a new lick of paint to improve things! We hadn’t done much work to our house since we moved in and it was looking a little worn. Having kids grow up in it and go through various phases of throwing things all over the place does take its toll on a house. It was probably time to get rid of the height measuring wall seeing as the kids were all over twenty now. I figured we were due some grown up furnishings and sophisticated appliances.
I cannot stare at this blank page any longer. Writers blocked has plagued me for two years now and the pressure has mounted into a definite immovable, impenetrable block. My agent constantly calls me asking how many words in I am and what kind of food I would like at the release party. I can’t handle it anymore. My last novel was a fluke and I can no longer deny it. The standard iceberg rose was nothing more than a stroke of luck. Its name came from my wife’s obsession with the beautiful stem roses we had in our first garden together. She would spend a few minutes every morning staring at the long stems holding up our crisp white rose bushes. I managed to draw enough magic from each of those flowery moments to produce one above average book. I simply cannot find it within me again. I have started so many times, I have written over a hundred first pages but the second and thirds are nowhere to be seen. My dear wife is constantly trying to inspire me, she is forever ordering roses online and planting new spring flowering bulbs for me to dwell on. I told her I need to look beyond the flowers now, the iceberg rose is no longer my muse. The problem is I do not have a new one and I fear it cannot be chosen but rather it must choose me. The money has pretty much stopped flowing in now from book sales so I do what I can in terms of readings, events and freelance jobs. It doesn’t compare to the cash flow of a few years back, we were jetting off to Italy for long weekends and impulse buying whenever we fancied it. These days even the online rose ordering has to be spaced out between paychecks.
For as long as I can remember I have taken my mother to see the spring flowers bloom in the countryside. When I was younger it was her taking me but now the roles have reversed. As her mental state has deteriorated many have told me there is no point taking her to the roses as she has no idea where she is or what is going on. Tell me what you want but I see her eyes light up as the beam of the blooming roses hits them. She may not be able to find the words to describe the feeling but I recognise it on her face, she is joyful. I believe the smell of the flowers awakens memories of her youth within her and while she may not be able to articulate it she can certainly feel it. After this years trip I decided to bring her some of the joy from the flowers on a more regular basis. I bought some roses online and had them planted at her residential care home. I made sure that if I couldn’t make it myself then someone would take her out to them everyday and let her sit there and enjoy them. People have so little time for the elderly these days it sickens me. My mother spent years ferrying me wherever I needed to go, putting food on the table and clothes on my back. The very least I can do is provide a calm and happy environment for her to enjoy in her later years. I know they are only standard roses and to many it may seem an irrelevant attempt at getting rid at some of my guilt. But I truly believe it makes a difference. Her senses still have a memory and a real sense of calm washes over her when she is amongst the flowers.
I always had a bad feeling about this engagement. When Humphrey got down on his knees and held out that ring, I was speechless… with dread. I know what you’re thinking, “Why did you say yes?” It may not be a satisfying answer but it’s a simple one: I was stumped. I didn’t know what to say. We’d been together for five years and although I wasn’t “in love” I was comfortable. I hadn’t expected a proposition of marriage, and when it came, I had no idea how to answer. Stupidly, I blurted out yes.
It took my nephew’s birthday party at the ice skating rink to make me realise something was wrong. Kids party venues around Melbourne are pretty cool places and this ice skating arena was no exception. Anyway, I’ll get to that in a moment….
After the initial proposal, I was so dumbstruck that I tried not to think about it. I put the ring on my finger, sure, but when Humphrey would look at me with those loving eyes and refer to me as his fiance, I’d just smile and nod and try to push it out of my mind. It’s a beautiful ring but I’d often forget I was wearing it…
Kudos to my sister for getting the function room hire in Melbourne. The ice skating party was a roaring success. My little nephew had a ball with his friends, and even the adults had a good laugh. I came home from the party and collapsed on the bed exhausted but happy. I recalled the sad fact of my engagement like a shooting pain in the neck. I felt for the ring on my finger, but it was gone. I must’ve lost it while skating. (It never did fit me quite right.) The reality that I’d been ignoring now weighed heavy on me. Do you think it’s a sign? Perhaps this is an omen that this marriage should not be. I don’t know how I’m going to break it to poor Humphrey.