It hadn't occurred to me that leaving a picture of a deadly looking, possibly man-eating spider then not posting anything for quite a while might make some people a little...nervous. Sorry, I've just been lazy, I mean, busy. Actually, in preparing to write another installment of my blog, I've over preparing a bit too much so now, on a wet and gray Saturday morning (it IS just like home, only about 20 degrees warmer) I thought I'd better you know that rumors of my demise are false...this time.
I've finally met my net door neighbor (Flat #2) Mark, and he's a very nice guy. As with most Aussies I've met, he wants to help me, especially when learning I don't have a car and ride the train into work. It's funny how most of the people look down on taking the train. Anyway, when he saw me with my little old man shopping trolley, heading out to buy a TV, he was horrified thinking about me lugging a possibly 32" flat screen all the way from town on the train. C'mon! It's only 3 blocks to the station from the store and 2 blocks to get home! No big deal. But he has a van and wanted to help so maybe later, after he picks up his new kayak, he'll run into town with me to pick it up. Mark is a Science teacher, specializing in Chemistry and Marine Biology. He's about my age, divorced for 12 years and has 3 kids who'll be around during the Christmas holidays. 2 beautiful daughters (I've met Ashleigh, 19? who lives with him) and his son who is 15 or 17 who lives with his Mum but hangs out here a lot. He seems like a nice kid, too although he's only waved at me, and he used all 5 fingers doing it. Mark's oldest daughter lives in Perth and she and her boyfriend will be here, too. The boyfriend is in broadcasting so I hope Nick gets a chance to talk with him about the Aussie radio and TV work environment.
So, just a slow, laid back Saturday morning (Black Friday to you). I called all the family just before they were going to sit down for turkey and the thought was making me so hungry for a turkey sandwich that I'm sure my brother Mark ate for me, and often.
My exploration of Oz is going very slowly as I'm still trying to prepare the little 2 bedroom flat for my family's arrival. I make progress a little bit at a time but often just sit here when I get home from work and begin preparation to write in my blog...like that's working either. It'll come together soon and with work gearing up, I'll really need the time off with my family for Christmas. For example, I tried to rent a DVD last week and in order to set up an account, I had to have 2 pieces of picture ID, and a combination of a bank statement, pay stub, rental agreement or some such crap, each valued at certain points that must total 100 just to rent a damned DVD for $1.95! I did get the account set up last night and rented 'The Core'which was a semi-sci-fi thriller. Or is that, sci-fi semi-thriller. I liked it, really.
It is weird here in that they demand all kinds of 'identification' for the simplest things and safety is a huge issue as well. Everyone wears bright, fire engine yellow-green wear for any type of maintenance or repair work. Mot people wear 'corporate' clothing with company names and logos. My ompany 'gives' us 2 shirts and any additional items, including pants, hats, etc. are additional. This country is very big on this stuff. When told of this, I did ask about styles of corporate boxers to an unamused coworker. They're serious!
Neighbor Mark caught me heading out the door on the way to the office to catch up on just the stuff my boss dumped on me yesterday, so I'll have to go in either later today or tomorrow for a few hours. I might just walk into work when I do go. It's not that far really and I've been 'forced' to do a lot of walking since I don't have a car. A $3,900 'ute' (no, not 'youth' as in My Cousin Vinney) which is Aussie for utility vehicle. As near as I can figure, anything remotely like a pickup, such as an El Camino to a flatbed truck is generally refered to as a ute. They have some great El Camino like cars too, some with crewcabs so you can fit 4 or 5 adults inside. Of course, some of these are really tricked out with tonneau covers on the back. They look like Ghetto Limos almost. Anyway, this is an old flatbed where the bed is aluminium with small, 1/2' walls that can be dropped down and locked upright. Pretty cool! Most flatbeds have that type of bed here. I'd get it if it was a crewcab so that the whole family would be proud riding around Australia in an old, crewcab ute. I'd put a bale of straw in the back to get that authentic look, too. Accessories really make the difference!