Wednesday, April 17, 2013

People Who Wear Crocs Are Not Your Friends

Last week’s story about living with boys got me thinking about my one experience living alone, and how vastly different it was to the whimsy and delight of living with a bunch of hoodlums. During a particularly rocky time in my relationship I decided it was best that I move out of our home and live alone. Images of Carrie Bradshaw’s Upper East Side bachelorette pad danced through my mind. How incorrect these fantasies were…
I found a one bedroom apartment in Stanmore that was a mere $200 a week rent. It was actually very sweet, with a kitchen that overlooked the street and a bright, high-ceilinged bedroom. I even had a wacky neighbour who asked (and subsequently didn’t take) my opinion on her outfits. Once she spent twenty minutes gushing to me about these new Crocs high heels she’d bought, I didn’t even know that was a thing, and they were hideous. The only problem with my apartment was that the bathroom was separate. I didn’t have to share with anyone (thank god!) but the bathroom was out the door, down two flights of stairs, a short walk along a hallway and out in the backyard. Mmm… convenient.  There were four bathrooms in a row, one for each apartment in the block, consisting of a toilet and a shower. I set about furnishing mine, installing a pretty blue shower curtain and stocking up with a lifetime supply of toilet paper – because I was a classy, independent woman and no truly classy, independent woman should ever be forced to do a Mariah Carey and “Shake it Off” after a trip to the bathroom.
As time passed I found the most difficult part of living alone was the late night trips to the bathroom. They say people are most scared of public speaking, personally my two biggest fears are ghosts and monsters, so that pitch black trip down all the stairs and out into the dark backyard was a killer. I tried not drinking water for hours before bed, I tried holding it and waiting until it was light – but it was all in vain, I would eventually have to get up and run downstairs in my pyjamas. The way I saw it I had two options – I could move or I could be inventive. I am bone idle and DID NOT want to have to move again, so I bought a little step stool from Ikea and I peed in my sink. It was a blessing really. It meant that I always kept my dishes clean and put away, so my house was always neat and tidy.
After I had solved this little dilemma I started noticing other strange bathroom happenings. It seemed that my aforementioned “lifetime supply” of toilet paper was being used up at an alarming rate. No sooner would I buy a sixteen pack of sorbent, than it would be gone. Other things started to go astray too. My deodorant, my razor one day. I began to wonder if it was some strange retribution from the building, unhappy about my unsavoury nocturnal sink habits, perhaps it had started to eat my possessions as penance. The Case of the Missing Bathroom Items came to a climax one day when I trekked down to the bathroom for my morning shower to find my shower curtain was gone. I don’t think I’ve ever been so confused in my life. The fact that I’d been living alone didn’t help either, I hadn’t mentioned my little bathroom mystery to anyone, simply because there was no one around to talk to. I was beginning to wonder if these things were actually happening or if I’d gone mad and was just moving my own shit and not noticing. I exited the bathroom, the floor soaking wet, the clean dry clothes I’d brought down to change into still clean but not so dry.
And that’s when I noticed my neighbour’s bathroom door, ever so slightly ajar. I nudged it as I walked past and lo and behold it was a veritable Aladdin’s Cave of MY stuff. She had been sneaking into my bathroom and stealing my furnishings.  The crazy bitch had been shaving with my razor and soaping herself up with my bar of soap (while wearing her crocs heels no doubt). So I high-tailed it out of there before I was caught and made into a loofa; because let’s be honest, someone who will steal your shower curtain and then barely try to hide it would probably have no qualms about killing you and washing themselves with your skin.
I never said anything and moved pretty soon after. I didn’t take anything from my bathroom, but left it all there as a parting gift, as well as an unworn pair of high heel shoes in her size.  I received a note from the estate agent, along with my bond, complimenting me on how neat and tidy the apartment and bathroom were. I guess it gave a whole new meaning to the expression “getting cleaned out”.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Things Nick Says To Me: Part 2

On taking his Christmas present "The Hits of 89" on record away on holidays.

Nick: we didn't have a record player so I would just take it to bed and look at it.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Home Is Where The Broccoli Art Is

A little while ago I ventured into Bed, Bath and Table to buy three mugs for some friends who were moving out of home for the first time. I don’t know why I decided a mug would be the most appropriate present, I can only count on one hand the amount of times I made a cup of tea of coffee for myself in my first apartment, but one of the girls is Swedish so I guess I assumed they’re different in regard to hot beverages. It’s cold over there. I think. Anyway, it got me thinking about when I moved out of home for the first time.

At 19 I decided I wanted to be independent. Despite the fact that I only worked two days a week and studied full time, I couldn’t wait to get away from the place where food was free and someone hugged me and washed my clothes. It seemed like such an awesome idea at the time. So a friend and I found a place in Hornsby and some idiot of an estate agent approved the lease. “We’re onto a winner!” we thought. During my time in this place I did the following things:

·         Locked myself out of the apartment on at least four separate occasions and had to sleep on the stairs

·         Ran out of money practically every week

·         Spent very little time in the apartment I was spending so much money on

·         Don’t read this one if you’re my mum. Would occasionally shoplift food if I was entirely out of money. It’s ok though. I only took BBQ chickens from the supermarket AFTER they had been marked down to $6 at the end of the day. I would wear a really big hoody and just put the chook under my jumper and walk out. I would smell and be oily, but it was totally worth it.

Basically, living out of home was not as fun as it had seemed. But the point I am trying (and failing) to get to is this: the one thing about living out of home that I didn’t anticipate to be quite as amazing as it was, was boy housemates. My one original boy housemate was part of a tribe of three boys who were omnipresent in flat number 6. Eventually all four of us moved into an actual house in West Pymble and sometimes on sad days I look back on the shit they did there and I laugh until I cry.

Here is my Top 5 List of Hilarious Things My Boy Housemates Did:

1.       In our first apartment there was a minuscule, rectangular hallway between the two bedroom doors, bathroom and living room. When all these doors were shut it became a miniature room about one by one and a half metres. The boys put a black light in overhead and covered the walls in fluro posters. They would then tie pillows to themselves and spin around frantically smashing into the walls in an attempt to become disoriented.

2.       One day I heard an explosion downstairs. Not a “bang”, but a “boom”. I sprinted downstairs to the back room, to find that the boys were pissing themselves with laughter. I enquired as to what the noise had been and was told the back door had slammed shut in the wind. I returned to my room. Not even a minute later another BOOM ensued. I returned and the boys were practically rolling on the floor in fits of giggles. It turns out that they had made an orange cannon. This is a length of PVC pipe, with one covered end, into which you force an orange. Deodorant is sprayed into the end of the pipe and when lit, acts as a propellant and launches the orange at (surely) hundreds of kilometres an hour from the end of the cannon. The boys had been cannoning oranges at the sandstone wall in the backyard, not three meters away. The yard was covered in fragmented oranges and the citrus smell was overpowering. As a girl, I can’t comprehend why this was fun, but their mirth was entertainment enough for me.

3.       With four people in the house it was hard to find some alone time. There was however, one morning a week when I knew everyone was at work or university. I made the most of these mornings, wandering around naked and singing. As you do. One morning, while halfway through a particularly stirring rendition of “Stars” from Les Mis, I wandered into the kitchen to find some strange girl in there. She was a guest of one of the boys who I had never even been introduced to (let alone informed that she would be left unattended in my house), I mumbled hello and beat a hasty retreat, furious that she had ruined my crescendo (partly mad that she had seen me naked before she knew my name, but it was mostly about the crescendo).

4.       The boys OFTEN came home with rubbish. I don’t know where it came from, but I’m pretty sure that they found things beside the road and just brought them home. Like small children bringing home stray animals. The entire time I lived in that house there was a framed picture of broccoli on the wall near the kitchen, we also had a plastic drink dispenser in the shape of Bob Hawke’s head and once the boys brought home a rusty metal drum, painted four letter words all around the outside and tried to light a fire in it. As though they were hobos.

5.       All three boys lived on one side of the house with doors linking each of their rooms, while two of the rooms shared a balcony; which was well and truly their Man Zone. They attached a length of pipe to the exterior wall of the house that ran from their rooms at the back, directly into the recycling bin at the front so they didn’t have to carry beer bottles through the house. It also made for lots of whooshing and crashing (which I think was secretly their favourite part). They also cleared a patch of space in front of their balcony and amassed a large collection of gnomes, I think some of the gnomes even spoke when you got near them – at least I hope to god they did, because I heard some weird noises coming from that gnomey little haven.

One day the owner decided to sell. So the boys refused to clean their rooms or leave the house to make inspections extra awkward, bless them. But as the adage goes “all good things come to an end” and the house sold. When I moved out, Nick helped me pack my couch into the moving truck and on the back of it I found a little leaf tailed gecko. I tried to move him and, I swear to god, he opened his mouth and screamed at me “EEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeee EEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeeee”.

“I agree little gecko” I thought “I don’t want to leave either”.