catchmyfancy: (fish)
The guy wins the Newbery medal; and not long after a rather sweet pome book he wrote a gazillion years ago gets published, and apparently people then accuse him of piggybacking that on the prestige of the Newbery. His answer made me giggle:

To bring the Blueberry Girls out now means the books were printed overseas a while ago, and bound, and placed in containers on big ships.
You know, I'm normally so sanguine. But... being accused of rushing these two books out to cash in on the Newbery Medal, without access to time travel equipment or anything, just makes me want to bang my forehead gently against a tree for half an hour. Is it too much to ask people to think.

Dear Mr Gaiman: A cup of tea will make everything better. Also: be grateful your job is to be an award-winning jet-setting author, instead of someone who administers students in Higher Education, because you will hear your final rhetorical question ground out from between gritted teeth in any given office at least twice a day during semester.

The work in question (which is adorable and which I must buy for all of my nieces):




Plumbing update: Four bricks have been removed from the side wall and were sitting there neatly. The following message was left on the back of a business card, which I found wedged into the front screen door when I got home this evening:

Water has be (sic) fixed. Allow to dry out before putting bricks back. This will be done later in week.

Okay, so it's not a Neil Gaiman poem, but it was still the sweetest thing I have read all week. I'll give them a call tomorrow and see what the problem actually was and what the damage (financially) is going to be and whether or not that was a note or an aide memoire. I suspect a combination of the two.

Fish update: all four fish still not dead. I think they may have grown a little. Have secretly named them after the cast of A Certain Show (shhh - don't tell anyone!). They now know that if the light or the filter pump go off or on in whatever combination, it means food - I have been training them and they have Learned. They also occasionally all float along the side of the aquarium that faces me and seem to look at me which is slightly disconcerting, to turn around and find four fishy stares locked on you. Fish can stare. It's the lack of eyelids.

And now they have some plastic weed, a multi-turreted castle (couldn't help myself) and a ruined amphora to amuse them. They seem to like darting and dodging about in the weed and being Fierce Jungle Fish. I'll try and change things around once a week when I change the water so they don't get too bored.

catchmyfancy: (unstable)
The Dodgy and Tasteless Renovation of 1989 continues to visit its revenge upon my house. 

There has been a faint sort of shrilling, bubbling noise in the pipes down the side of the house for some weeks and it has been driving me slowly nuts.  And when the Maternal Unit got the water bill yesterday we realised that there is a leak.   In a pipe near the Apparently Extremely Bodgy Huge Spa of Wastefulness.  (for the record, I've had exactly two baths the whole time I've lived here; and the spa has never worked in any case: grant me SOME taste!)

Andrew the Master Plumber came today.  You can tell he is a master tradesman, because he has the Twinkly-Eyed Routine down pat.  He was missing the Monosyllabic Apprentice but otherwise, oh, there was twinkling.  I'm amazed he didn't called me "missus" for good measure.

Long story short: the water is turned off at the meter unless I need it, until they can find what the the problem is on Monday and then fix it.   

They may have to move and/or remove or even destroy some of the lovely old red bricks from the wall at the side.  I could just cry. 

And given all my recent attempts at water-saving, the irony of the situation is not lost upon me.

Still, from where I am sitting on the couch I can see four birdies splishing around in the nice clean saved-from-the-shower water I poured into their birdbath this morning; and most of my plants are slowly starting to come good from their roasting on Black Saturday with just the water from the washing machine - so it hasn't been a complete waste of time.
catchmyfancy: (fish)
For I now has a bukkit

It is red and shiny and unlikely to break into degraded pieces like the two clear not-at-all-el-cheapo-but-still-literally-disintegrated-in-my-hands buckets and the yellow bucket of sadness.

So tonight, another two loads of washing and a Much Improved Grey-Water Bucketing experience. 

Firstly I decided to go with the Flow and actually sploshed the remaining water in the grey-water hose on the kitchen floor not-by-accident-at-all and gave it (the floor, not the water) the once-over with with microfibre mop.  Seriously, rinse water with a trace of fabric softener makes for the nicest (and non-slippery) finish and it makes the floor smell nice.  It's a total win-win sitch - you don't use any extra water, the floor gets cleaned and it comes up all fluffy and fresh-smelling.

[livejournal.com profile] giddyaunt rang up in the middle of the process, but was very nice about being ceremoniously dumped in all manner of places with the cry of "oh shit the rinse cycle!" while I ran around with mops and buckets.  It was interesting having an intense discussion about workplace relations and the scoring of manuscripts in a writing competition in installments. 

This time two buckets and the watering can captured close to 70% of the run-off and I was able to go around the garden twice, including all the way up to the Bottom of the Garden.  No idea if I have fairies living there or not, but they woudl be very clean, damp, peeved fairies if so.

Still need a bigger receptacle for water, at least 50 litres - but I want it to be something I can put a lid on, so mozzies do not come and treat it like a creche.  Shall wander off to Bunnings at some point and see what they got.

catchmyfancy: (fish)
Which this evening went something like this:

1. Fill washing machine up (using cold water, Ingrid and Kay, never fear!) and while it is merrily swooshing, gaily unfurl grey water hose and put out on the garden.  Feel virtuous and sort of domestic goddessy.

2. Think: "hey! this hose must be longer than I thought, it's going a lot further this ti - or, BUGRIT, it has just uncoupled itself from the washing machine hose, dammit!"

3. Go back inside, find that leftover water from last wash in hose is now about 0.5cm deep all over kitchen and laundry.

4. Smile! Brightly!  Recouple hose, give self the "life-lemons-lemonade" speech, bust out the microfibre mop, give kitchen and laundry floors a shock by scrubbing the holy heck out of them.

5. when floor is half-done, wash cycle suddenly finishes.  Run outside, miss about four litres of water and manage to put hose into 10L watering can.  Watch it fill up.  Realise water is still coming.  Run over to left side of garden, dump on parched plants.  Come back, resign self to the 10L that was "lost" by realising the magnolia tree ain't going to say "no" to a free 10L.  Fill up watering can again. Lose the rose - most of these are mature plants, so a deluge is hardly going to bother them.   Keep watering.  Fill birdbath.  Realise I need a second bucket (possibly a third if this is going to work).  Look around for yellow bucket.  Wedge it into garden so it won't tip over as it fills, hear it crack.  *sigh*  Refill watering can for third time, deluge deluge deluge.  Sadly put yellow bucket in recycling (domestic goddessness points getting higher by the second, however). 

6. Washing machine fills up for rinse cycle.  BREATHE.  Realise have second, uncracked bucket, still in shower, full of clean waiting-for-the-hot-water-to-heat-up-shower-water.  Have dim memory of parental units telling me not to put grey water on pot plants.  Run bucket outside, pour water into watering can, relocate rose after brief profanity-flavoured hunt in darkened garden, re-attach to watering can, do quick-n-dirty water of remnants of plants in pots (as I have discovered in the last ten days that they don't like grey water OR being flame-throwered by the sun).  RIGHT.  Now have second bucket.   Stick hose into watering can, ready.

7. Go back inside, finish washing floor, get out remaining Old Towel For Grubby Domestic Purposes (gave the other three to the RSPCA appeal - extra points for philanthropy, no points for household management as really you need two for this sort of thing) and walk towel across the floor to dry it out and give it an extra scrub in the corners where necessary with feet (when you can't kneel for some months after you face-plant onto concrete in the Bourke St mall you develop skills with your feet and toes, believe me).  On the up side, the leftover water in the grey-water hose had traces of the fabulous Tri-nature fabric softener in it, so now my tiled floor is soft and fluffy and smells pretty.

7a.  Go outside to bring the bins in from the front, realise watering can is full again and there is spillage around it.  Ferfuxake.  The spin cycle.  Gah.  *sigh*  Grumpily water the daphne plant.

8.  Dark wash finished.  Haul out clothes.  Put on whites/lights wash (including rinsed towel and scrubbed microfibre mop thingie).

9. This time, I'm ready for the first dump of water.....but a watering can and a bucket is not enough as I have to fill each one, transfer the hose over, and then race over to the plants, dump the water, then race back and...we have overflow by the time I transfer the hose over again.  I know, I know, the magnolia is not going to say "back, back, unclean!" to ANY water at this point of the drought, but still, it's the principle of the thing.  As an aside: I filled up the watering can and bucket three times each.  I am now quite, quite shocked at the amount of water I've been letting gurgle down the drain each time I threw clothes in the washing machine and wandered off to do something else. 

10.  Go and sit down and mope sweat from brow.  Wait for rinse cycle to finish.  Repeat mad bucketing galop.  Still miss several litres of water with bucket size and hose transfer ISSEWS.    Wait again for spin cycle.  This time get most of the run-off.  More watering and bucketing. 

11.  After all the DRAMAAA, putting the clothes on the line is complete anti-climax.

12.  Finally get to stop and evaluate evening's activities:
- kitchen floor cleaned fairly painlessly, if unexpectedly
- ENTIRE back garden watered pretty thoroughly.  (side note: smell of slightly damp earth in back garden for the first time in a month is nice; even edging out bushfire-smoke-smellfor a little while, which is even nicer)
-
pot-plants watered, if in somewhat frenzied fashion
- bucketing situation completely unsatisfactory.  Realise (a) need larger water storage facility and (b) will have to return to Bunnings and actually buy a 50 litre water butt instead of just pointing at it, and laughing at the name, because, hee - butt.  (c) Will also then not have to buy additional grey-water hose to stretch entire length of garden, hurrah!

13. In other enviro-groovy news
  • I am currently charging up some rechargeable batteries to use in my digital camera;
  • I save the warming-up water in the shower; and use the little egg timer (although if I'm washing my hair I kind of have to turn it over again, but it only gets half-way through the sand and I'm done, honest injun)
  • but am still not coping overly well with the selective toilet-flushing thing.  Either I forget and flush anyway; or I get caught up in how often and it all gets a bit fraught.  *sigh*

Fish news: all four Erics still alive and zippy.  This Friday I will do my first 25%-change-of-water thing, and put the six reslulting litres on one of the big old camellias in the Old Law quad.   It certainly can't hurt 'em, and I would hate to lose any of those trees.  I think they were there when my Dad graduated; I'd like them to be there when one of my nieces comes out of Wilson Hall, clutching her testamur.


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