Mickey Mouse Has A Sweet Tooth

A few days ago I caught Mickey Mouse in a rubbish bin in my computer room. Or rather, I think he caught himself – he fell into the bin and couldn’t get out. I took him to the front yard, pointed him toward the neighbour’s house and tapped on the bottom of the bin. Away he flew.

Today we noticed a little scrap paper in the dining room near the sideboard. And then we opened the door…

That was a spare chocolate Advent calendar we had stored in the sideboard. Every date container save one was nibbled open and the chocolate mysteriously made to vanish. I suspect a miracle…

To his credit, he did not poo in the sideboard.

The cat was unavailable for comment.


Have You Ever Slept With A Woman?

I’ve tried. With limited success.

When you are young you attempt this for a variety of reasons – the chief one being the period of time before you actually go to sleep. You hope to be busy. If you are lucky, both of you can occupy yourselves profitably in this period, and the less said about that the better. Mind you, if there is money involved in that profit, one of you is doing it wrong…

But after that period in your life, the time spent in bed – the bit where you actually go to sleep – can be increasingly difficult. If sleep is wanted, and needed, you require a few simple things; warmth in winter, coolness in summer, a reasonable silence, and lack of movement. As you get older, these become less likely.

Oh, you may be as much a problem as her, and the equation equal on both sides. I’ll leave you to decide who is the culprit. You may wish to set a night-vision camera in motion at dusk to record who steals the covers, thrashes around like a squid, or snorts like a Union Pacific Mallet locomotive going through Ogden. Then replay it to accuse each other. It will be concrete evidence but you’ll never convince the other party that they are guilty.

The chiefest conclusion that you can come to about adults sleeping together is that the old American sit-com TV shows with the parents sleeping in twin beds instead of a double were not as ludicrous as they seemed. They eliminated at least two factors in the blood-shot-eye battles – movement and covers. The noise of snoring, snorting, gurgling or moaning was still there. Fortunately our hearing declines after 60 and this became less of a problem.

The wild card is provided by children or pets who insist on entering the marital bedroom and hogging the marital bed. Neither class of creature respects privacy, personal space, or the need to avoid flatulence. And they have the infuriating habit of sleeping while they prevent others from doing so. It is the reason dog-whips were invented, and recently I found out that you could use these on dogs as well.

Home Six – Bed

I live at home.

And for eight hours a day I live horizontal next to a wife and a cat. We have a big bed, and if we are decent about it we need not impinge upon each other’s territory. The cat developed the habit of getting into bed by coming to my side of it and jumping up onto my bits, but I countered this by doing the hockey protector pose when I heard him enter the room and the worst that happens now is a bounce and a thud. On occasion he has tried to lie starfished onto my entire side of the bed but I pick up the blanket and sheet and roll him off.

We have also discovered that you can get a marvelous pad for the top of the mattress that means Mrs. I want to roll around like a pig in a fit can do so without disturbing Mr. for God’s sake lie still until I go to sleep. It has prevented divorce, suicide, homicide, and worse.

The only down side to a very large bed is very large fitted sheets. They cost a lot, and sometimes do not fit as well as the makers would have you think. Oh, the top bit always covers something but putting on the bottom stretchy bit is like fighting a giant squid in a diving suit. And you’re not allowed to use a knife.

Bed is often taken as euphemism for sex. Fine. That’s always a good thing, provided everyone agrees. But also consider that a bed is also a bed. It can be a great comfort even if there is no-one jumping on your bits other than the cat.

Free To A Bad Home

We often see notices that say something – a pet, a piece of furniture, an old car – are free to a ” good ” home.

Good in this case seems to mean a place where the gift will be appreciated and cared for and loved as much as it was at your house. But the fact that you are getting rid of it calls that love into question. Okay, if you are about to be carted off to Pentridge for 3 to 5 and you want Tibby the pet liver fluke to survive and thrive – then the idea of a good home is sensible. Let’s hope Tibby gets lucky.

It’s a bit silly, though, when we can’t let go of the old couch or the out-of-registration Mazda without some strings attached. Seriously…if making it leave is the whole point of the advertisement, all we really need to concern ourselves with is getting it out of the place without scratching the door frame. Whether it becomes the centre point of an exhibition at the MOMA or is burned in someone’s backyard to distill corn liquor is not really our concern. Let. It. Go.

Likewise old ideas and old friendships. If they are so worn and weary as to be of no further use – if no further joy can be got – let them go and do not demand that they be given a bed and a plate of attention. Someone else may, indeed, learn to love them but they can do so on a fresh basis without your help or blessing.

The world changes. Every dawn that comes up is different from the last one you saw. By all means open your sack of life and take out the day’s experiences and use up some of the old ones the get the new ones going, but do not expect that other people will get as much out of them as you do. Empty that sack regularly, turn it inside out, and give it a good shake.

Give It Away – Throw it away

Give it away…

a. To a good home.

b. If you haven’t used it for a year.

c. If you have more than one.

d. If someone needs it more than you do.

e. If you need the space it takes up.

f. If it has no sentimental value to you.

g. If it was a bad idea in the first place.

Throw it away…

a. If it was a bad idea in the first place and has not gotten better with time.

b. If it is broken and cannot be fixed economically.

c. If neither you nor anyone else needs it.

d. If it is dangerous.

e. If it is ugly and not likely to get prettier any time soon.

f. If keeping it would make you sad or angry.

g. If keeping it requires more and more money that is better used elsewhere.

There, that should clean out the shelves somewhat. Now look at the space where all that stuff used to be. It’s nice space, and there’s no rush to refill it with other stuff. Just keep it clear for a while and maybe you won’t have to fill it at all. Maybe your life can be full enough without other stuff.




The Mean Streets

What a good phrase that is: ” Mean Streets “. It suggests crime, edginess, dirt, poverty, vice, and distress – all the stuff you go on holiday to the Third World for. In my case I went to Melbourne.

You can’t get much meaner than free public transport, and if you are prepared to stay within the CBD of the city, you can ride their trams for free. Choose your time and route and you can be rewarded by overcrowding and public odours. Stay on the tram long enough and you can provide that odour yourself.

If you venture out a little bit on the tram you can select corridors of grot like Fitzroy to do your sightseeing. If your taste runs to hipster cafés and drinking holes plus crap shops and /or public housing, this is your paradise. The denizens are startling but harmless. The food is actually edible, and there can even be surprisingly good stationers and book stores in the main streets.

But there are any number of corners and places that suggest that things are dirtier and more useless than they really need to be. In a city that is always looking for better housing and shopping, it is surprising that this sort of remnanterie can still exist. Served as it is by transport, sitting where it sits, and taking into account the decrepitude of the building structures, it is surprising that Whalen hasn’t been through it and some new shops erected. Perhaps it is beset with historic preservation orders  or perhaps no-one is game to open the drains.

But there are charms. The kitty seen in the picture was sleeping beside its bed in Gertrude Street in a very hot window on a very hot day…but in the manner of all cats may not have wanted to admit to the discomfort. I admire the stamina and the bed.


IKEA Are Doing Something Right In A Wrong World

IKEA – the Swedish meatball and MDF shelving kings – are doing something right, and it is heartening to see it. I would wish that other retailers might follow suit.

I visited their premises today to replace a floor lamp that I had destroyed. That’s not the sort of thing that you often write, but I’m sure the readers have had similar experiences; you set out to do a simple repair and you end up throwing something in the bin and going to buy a new one. In the case of the IKEA lamp, I got away easy – if it had been a motor car or something complex it would have been much more traumatic.

Retail trade in Perth is in a slow period – notwithstanding the Christmas season. Oh, there are sales and promotions galore – the post box is full of flyers – but the shops can be light-on as far as paying customers. There is a lot of stock in the camera shop I write for, and there’s only a week until Christmas to clean it out. In fact, it won’t get cleaned out, and there will have to be a series of excruciating sales in the new year to get back shelf space.

But in IKEA, they are lined up at the tills three-deep. Why? What is there about the place that encourages us to go out there. How many bedside tables or jars of marinated herring can we use? When is our capacity for roll-around steel trolleys filled?

Well, I think I’ve got some of the reasons:

a. The stuff they sell is cheap enough that you do not need to be a mining magnate to buy it. They can still sell things for under $ 10, under $ 50, under $ 100. Try getting that at the trendy shops in the richer suburbs…

b. The stuff is reasonably good. Not everything is European-nobility-exclusive quality. Neither are the customers…even if they pretend to be. But there are few outright duds in the range and if anything proves to be really awful, they take it back without question.

c. If you make a wrong choice, they’ll still take it back. This is a massive safety net under your shopping confidence and makes you bolder to try new things.

d. The staff members are pleasant – sometimes thin on the floor, and sometimes overworked, but always kindly. And the fact that the firm hires a wide variety of people means that you get the feeling that they’ll take care of you.

e. The goods are interesting shapes – even when they are plain. You might not get exactly the style that was in your mind, but you can find something that is pretty close to it. You’ll not be overburdened by ethnic furniture choices that clash with the rest of the house – it can all pretty much fit in.

f. The stuff works. If you buy a bookshelf you can keep books on it and if you buy a bed you can sleep on it. Their ovens cook. Don’t laugh – you can go elsewhere and buy trouble  and failure at higher prices.

g. They have a cafeteria with food that you don’t make for yourself at home. And that does not cost $ 29 a plate.

h. They have parking. Parking that you can go to directly, that is free, and that is secure. You can load up your purchases at an easy bay. Heck, you can pay a very modest fee and they’ll deliver the entire store to your house next day. We know – we bought a kitchen that came to us just that way.

i. Their online catalog is accurate. Oh, Lordy, do I know the perils of the on-line catalogue in other trades. I know that there can be wild inaccuracies that do not communicate themselves to either the management nor the customers…until someone tries to buy what they think they want from a place that thinks it has it…and both parties to the transaction discover that it is all just a shambles.

I looked today at the online catalogue…because I couldn’t find the big free paper one in the spare room. It was clear and organised and I saw exactly what I needed. The department in the IKEA store had the items stacked neatly and labeled clearly, and my money came out in a flash. Good business all round.

Do I have shares in the company? No. Do I get free furniture for writing this? No. But I do get good stuff and good service each time I go there, and a sense of accomplishment when I turn one of their flat cardboard packs into a real piece of furniture.