Bonding Over Utes

How exciting is young love! Two of my friends met each other for the first time over the weekend (at my suggestion) and they hit it off immediately. I was very pleased because I had a feeling they would like each other which is why I made the effort to make sure they got to know each other. When it was clear that they were comfortable talking with just the two of them, I knew that I could move on and talk to my other friends for the rest of the evening. I kept a keen eye on their conversation (obviously) and gave my friend many supportive smiles throughout the night.

The first thing I did the next day was call my friend and ask how her night turned out. I wanted to hear all the details, from the moment I left them to the moment she picked up my phone call and I urged her not to leave anything out. I am emotionally invested in how things worked out for them and I was really excited to hear what she had to say. As it turned out, she went back to his house after the party which was awesome. He was really excited to show her the premium aluminium ute canopies he’d just had installed on his ute, and she was excited to see them. Apparently, that’s all he spoke about the entire party, but my friend was absolutely loving it. She said that the ute canopies are his prized possession and she was really flattered that he would show them to her on the night that they met. Corny, but I love it!

My friend said that she was really good at keeping the conversation going because she had some knowledge of under tray tool boxes for utes in Melbourne as both her brother and dad are tradespeople. That was the reason they hit it off so well at the start of the night. I can’t wait to share what happened next!

Stay tuned. 

Reoccurring foot issue

I’ve been pretty concerned about my feet for the better half of this year. There’s been a few ongoing issues with my feet for a good two years, but it wasn’t until this year when I really started to notice that something was wrong. The first inkling of a slight problem with my foot first occurred two years ago when wearing my high heels. It would feel like the bone in the ball of my foot was moving every time I would stand or walk. I genuinely became worried that wearing heels had dislodged one of my bones. Perhaps this might sound like an overreaction, but it was such a bizarre feeling.

As time went on, I then noticed that after a night of wearing high heels, I’d have numb feet in the morning. This feeling then evolved into numb feet for a day, then to a few days, and now to my current problem of having a numb foot for a month. I eventually had to accept the reality that I did in fact have a problem with my foot and would need to see a foot specialist. Cheltenham has several in my area, but I wanted to visit a specialist that I could trust. Let’s just say, I am very happy that I picked the podiatrist that I did. The podiatrist was extremely sympathetic and spent a decent amount of time trying to figure out the cause of my foot problems. 

According to the podiatrist, I was displaying symptoms of plantar fasciitis. To get to the bottom of the cause, the podiatrist got me to walk up and down their office a few times so she could analyse my walk. I have since received some stretches for my calf and for my foot. Here’s hoping the pain will ease soon and I can enjoy my heels once again, in moderation. 

The Boat Proposal

My friends just got engaged! I can’t believe it! The friends I’m talking about are my boyfriend’s brother and his girlfriend (now fiance), two people who I have come to know and love very much over the last four years. I am seriously so happy for them. I can’t believe they’re going to be married and Sarah is going to be in Adrian’s family for the rest of his life! How cute is that? The whole thing makes me want to burst into happy tears.

They video called us after it happened to tell us the news. They were so happy. I’ve never seen any happiness like it. I asked Patrick how he proposed and what thought went into it, and the story was so cute. He decided to take her out on his family boat to watch the sunset. But before that he needed to make sure the boat was in top condition. He didn’t want anything to happen and potentially ruin his proposal, and so he visited the most highly rated marine stainless steel fabrication shop in Melbourne. He made sure that his boat was in perfect condition and that any fabrication work that needed to be done was completed to the best possible standard. I was so taken aback by all the planning that it made my heart skip a beat. It was the cutest thing I’ve ever heard.

Then Sarah told us what the actual proposal was like. Wow. I’m still taken aback just thinking about it. She was just sitting there, on the edge of the boat, watching the sunset. She was at peace and thought the night couldn’t get any more perfect. Then she heard Patrick ask her to go check on the fishing rod holders (because they were also doing some fishing). She checked on the fishing rods and at the bottom of her one was a beautiful, shiny diamond ring. She told me she couldn’t believe her eyes. She turned around and there Patrick was, on one knee ready to propose.

A Draining Plan

“Okay, let me get this straight, detectives,” said Captain Hold. “This document outlines the Conclave of Mechanists’ entire plans for world domination, where they will create a supposed utopia in which everything is run by machines. They are going to create this world through the electricity generated by solar power. So you’re suggesting that we head down to the sewers and siege this solar power station, sabotaging their entire operation before it can even truly begin?”

“That’s correct,” Maphira said, not sure she liked the look on the Captain’s face. He thought this was a stupid plan.

Captain Hold shook his head and pursed his lips. “That, detectives, is the most brilliant plan I have ever heard. You’ll lead a team down with the excuse of going to fix some blocked drains in the Melbourne CBD, then head toward the energy facility. Let’s get these suckers and bring them in for questioning. We might even be able to bring down the entire Mechanist plot with this. Great job, Maphira and Vai.”

It was strange to get such praise from the Captain. She examined the man’s eyes, the lines of his face, seeking to know if his words were genuine. As far as she could tell, they were. He really thought their plan was a good one? She’d expected him to tell her it was a bad idea to claim they were going to solve an issue with a blocked sewer. Melbourne residents would never believe that. And yet, Captain Hold thought it was the perfect plan.

With the meeting over, some of the other officers came around and clapped Maphira on the shoulder, congratulating her on a job well done. It was hard to believe that in less than 24 hours, she would be leading a team on the precinct’s biggest-ever operation, beneath the sewers of Melbourne. 

She just hoped she wouldn’t find a way to stuff this up. Somehow, the Captain’s confidence had her feeling even more worried about the whole thing. Now there was an expectation on her. But she’d find a way. She had to.

Mechanics in Adelaide

Another day, another auto shop approached by the Conclave of Mechanists, looking for new recruits. This one, not quite the same as the others, though. The Captain had Detectives Maphira and Vai sent straight on a plane to Adelaide. Technically, this case wasn’t under their jurisdiction, but he’d gotten special permission to have them investigate since it was the first time the Mechanists had shown up in South Australia.

Things were moving quickly. Far too quickly for Maphira’s liking. She had a bad feeling that the Mechanists would make a big move soon. What better time to make it than when the two detectives hunting you down are interstate?

They arrived at the mechanic based in Lockleys just before noon. Maphira ignored the grumbling in her stomach – having only eaten a blueberry muffin on the flight over – and shifted her focus to the task ahead. As pointless a task it is, she thought, unable to hold the bitterness back. So many hoops to jump through. If only she could have cut some corners. She could get to the bottom of this so much quicker that way. No. You’re not going to do that. You’ll do this the right way. You’re better than her.

“You okay?” Vai asked, leaning against the rental car. “You seem a bit out of it.”

Maphira swallowed. Head in the game, girl. “I’m fine. What’s the report, say again?”

Vai sighed, clearly annoyed that she had to read it for the third time. “This auto electrical shop was approached by two Mechanists this morning. They suggested that the automobile servicing industry was booming in Melbourne, attempting to coerce the owner to move his business interstate, with help from the Conclave.”

“They’re trying to recruit people from Adelaide now? Man, they must be desperate. Don’t they know that people from Adelaide kind of hate Melbourne? Why on Earth would they want to move their business there?”

Via smiled, recognising that Maphira’s wits were coming back to her. “Good to have you back. Let’s do this.”

A Mechanical Scene

Detective Maphira knelt down on the asphalt of the underwater tunnel connecting Victoria and Tasmania. She placed two fingers on the ground, collecting the trail of oil with her gloved fingers. Judging the scent, she put the clue in the back of her mind for further examination later.

The scene was a mess, with a broken motorcycle and a ruined limousine blocking the road and thousands of scattered metal pieces strewn across the road. As Detective Vai set up the police tape, Maphira pictured what might have happened here.

Explosive used, obviously. What kind of rookie detonates something like that while being close enough on their bike to get hit by the blast, though? 

“Detective, are you there?” came the Sergeant’s voice from her radio.

“Here, boss,” Maphira replied, tapping the radio’s button without bothering to lift it to her mouth. “What’s up?”

“An auto electrician near Milperra just reported that some strange men came and tried to recruit them to their cause. We suspect Conclave activity.”

Maphira clenched a fist, sure she knew exactly where this was going. “And you can’t send any of the others to investigate? You need me and Vai to make our way back to Melbourne on the double because everybody else is tied up? Right?”

“That is correct,” said the Sergeant.

Groaning out her frustration, Maphira stood straight and called over to Detective Vai. “Looks like we’re on our way to a mechanic. Near me, everybody!” After everyone gave their attention, she continued. “Detective Vai and I have to get out of here. Another important case to check out. Get this mess cleaned up and make sure I get a full report of any evidence by tomorrow.”

It wasn’t like the Conclave to be so bold with their recruitment strategies. Usually, they pulled people in with more subtle tactics. Telling people they were chosen by fate to pave the way for their robot, mechanical utopia, for instance. No, if they had openly approached somebody to join them, it was just a diversion.

The Mechanic Location

Rylee stormed toward the crashed limousine with extreme rage, ready to make her absolute best intimidation roll. Natural twenty coming right up, baby. Dirk Bradshaw would be so scared that he’d tell her everything about the Conclave of Mechanists and then some.

As she approached the wreckage, she couldn’t help but laugh. Thank goodness the vehicle hadn’t had any ADAS. Those dang advanced driver assistance systems always made it hard to sneak up on a vehicle, informing the driver that she was getting too close. Car cameras and sensors had become the bane of her existence lately.

She reached the limo and grasped the handle of the upside-down door, yanking it away. The door came right off, smashing into the ground beside her. Beyond the open doorway, Rylee saw two people: Dirk and some young man. Both were unconscious. 

Rylee reached in and grabbed Dirk by the shoulders, hauling him out of the wreckage. As he stirred, she shoved him into the glass wall of the Bass Strunnel. His eyes widened as he realised the predicament he’d found himself in.

“Where is that kobold going?” she asked, resisting the urge to slam her fist into his chest. “Tell me!”

Dirk gave a dark, toothy grin. He coughed, and for a moment Rylee was sure he would say nothing. “Cambridge. It’s a workshop for auto repairs around Cambridge. Is that what you want to hear? It doesn’t matter – you’ll never get there in time.”

He was lying. She was sure of it. There was no way he’d give up that information so easily. And yet, in doing so, she’d found out exactly what she needed to know. The Hobart workshop was unlikely. The Conclave would want a suburb they could use that would not attract attention to themselves.

“Brighton it is. Thanks, Dirk.”

His eyes widened, panic there before he managed to conceal it. Rylee dropped Dirk to the asphalt – he struck it with a thud, grunting.

“I’ll be taking him with me,” she said with a grin. “See you around, Tyrone.”

Conveyancing Far Away

I want to live in the forest. Ever since I was a teenager, my dream has been to live in a super secluded spot where it’s just me and nature. I would love to just ride my bike through the lush forests and enjoy being at peace with the world. Living in an apartment near Melbourne is about as far away from that dream as you can get. Don’t get me wrong, I do like city life, especially as a uni student, but am I living my ideal way? No, not at all. My parents think I should be saving up to buy a house nearby, but all I want is to buy a cabin in the woods. I don’t care if they have access to the best conveyancing firm Highett has to offer—I want to live as far away from here as possible.

When I imagine where I want to be in ten years, it isn’t working at some Melbourne real estate business. It isn’t in conveyancing, helping with the legal side of buying a house. It isn’t working in law. I don’t want to follow in the footsteps of my parents. I imagine myself out on a sunny day, rowing down the nearest river with the sun beaming on my face as I read the latest epic novels that have been released. I wonder if I can find someone who owns a conveyancing firm to help me with the conveyancing and settlement of a cottage in the woods. I’m all for it. Somehow, though, I doubt that will be the case. Perhaps I am doomed to live a lie, cursed to be stuck in the city forever. I hope that isn’t the case, but honestly, the chances of me finding a cabin in the woods that I can live in are pretty low. I’m starting to think that the best thing for me to do may be to get a high-paying job, save up and then go off the grid. We’ll see what happens, I guess.


Arthur Weasel’s Bathroom

I can’t believe we have finally made it here. Welcome to the final profile for That Renovation Rules, featuring the pretty regular magical wizard, Arthur Weasel. He’s certainly no Harold Scarface, but he is the father of Harold Scarface’s best friend, Ronaldo. Arthur is putting together one mighty fine bathroom renovation. Who knew he was one of the best bathroom designers Melbourne had to offer? I certainly didn’t! Arthur, why don’t you tell us a little bit about this bathroom you’re designing?

No worries, Matthew. I’ve always been really interested in regular human bathrooms since they are completely different to wizard bathrooms. See, there’s this rumour going around that wizards don’t actually need bathrooms because we can just magic all the dirt and grime away. This is a huge misconception. However, wizard bathrooms are very different from regular ones. I can’t tell you why, because I would be breaching the wizard’s first rule. I’m a regular human enthusiast. I’m super fascinated by all of the technological developments you non-magic people have come up with to get around not having any spells to cast. One of the most interesting, to me at least, is this modern-style bathroom with a bath, shower and sink. So, I thought I’d take it upon myself to find a business for bathroom renovations close to Melbourne and learn everything I could from them. Because of that little expedition, I think I’m ready to design a regular human bathroom myself. We’ll see how it goes!

I’m sure it is going to be a great bathroom. In fact, I’m sure it will be just magical. I can’t wait to see what it’s like when finished. Aren’t you excited, reader?

Well, we certainly have some great renovations being done right now, by five awesome contestants. Tune in next time to find out who looks likely to take home the chocolates! Personally, I’ve got my money on Remington Rat! 

El-Rod’s Laundry

What kind of renovation does the Lord of the Elves do? A laundry renovation, of course! Now, I have no idea when I structured that like a joke when there is nothing funny about it and it makes no sense. But anyway, today we’ll be introducing our fans to El-Rod, Lord of the Rivertown elves. For some reason, he has decided that being a lord is boring, so he wanted to join a renovation competition. Even though it makes little sense, we welcome him here with open arms. The world could certainly use more professional laundry designers of the elven kind! So, El-Rod, why have you decided to renovate a laundry? I’d expected you to do a kitchen since elves are always looking for ways to make their vegetarian meals more interesting!

Thanks for having me as a participant in this competition, Matthew. While it is true that elves make interesting vegetarian meals, and we are always looking for awesome new kitchens to cook in, good laundries are arguably even more important to the lives of my elven people. See, we elves like to stay nice and clean. Being dirty is the way of the dwarves, and we hate dwarves. They’re short and ugly and they don’t smell very nice. Elves, on the other hand, take showers every day and use the nicest smelling shampoo. Sorry, that’s a bit beside the point. Back on track, I was looking for a business offering laundry renovations in the Melbourne CBD, when I realised that I could just enter this competition and build one myself. When I’m done, I’ll have the cleanest clothing of all the elves I know.

Wow, it sounds like you have really thought this through. From what I can tell, you don’t have any professional (or even amateur) experience with this sort of thing, but that’s okay since none of our contestants do. I’m sure you’re going to do great. In fact, you might even win the whole thing! Good luck!