Christmas is a Time For Safe Lopping

Ahh, Christmas in the Jacoby household. It sure is a nightmare.

Now, you might be saying that Christmas was only a couple of months ago. What could I be talking about? Oh no, we’re not talking about December Christmas. This is Christmas in July, a totally different celebration altogether. And what’s that, you say? It’s got to be months and months away? No, the preparations start now, for this most joyous pain-in-the-butt. It’s all about tradition, and tradition needs a proper windup.

We’ve already started practising the Christmas in July carols, and now it’s time for the traditional selection of the Christmas in July tree. The only thing I ask this year is that we call in the professionals. Tree removal companies in Melbourne operate at ALL times of year, up to and including Christmas in July. And this Christmas was enough of a near-miss that I don’t feel comfortable going out there with several unqualified family members and chopping down some massive thing.

Cousin Maybell was the one who found last year’s. It was a huge fir, big enough to hang all the Jacob family traditional decorations. Ironically, it was also Cousin Maybell who almost got her head clocked in when Cousins Herb and Samson hacked away at the thing for hours with their blunt axes and couldn’t tell which was it was falling.

Tree fellers, that’s all I ask. Some professional tree lopping people, so that Christmas in July isn’t ruined by a death in the Jacob family. I’ll call them! I look up all the tree removal arborists for hire in Melbourne, and they can lop down our tree. And hey, maybe the trunk won’t be totally crooked this year, either, because last year Cousin Daryl had to climb to the top to put up the traditional Jacob family star, and he ended up bringing down the entire thing on top of the outhouse while Grandma Ruth was inside.

-Forrest Jacoby Jr.

Our buyers advocate saved my hair. And my money.

I’m still rocking a full crop and we are homeowners. Credit to my favourite new person, our buyers advocate. Melbourne, you never run out of ways to make me love you.  

We’re not what you’d call stressy people. In fact, most stress just makes us want to shut down and sleep. I know for a fact there are worse ways to deal with stress. My mum used to clean. My sister used to argue. I’d just dive under the covers and hope that when I woke it’d all be over. If I had a dollar for all the times I went to bed with a  worried face and woke up to great news, I’d have more than twenty five bucks…

I was expecting to do quite a lot of snoozing when we bought our new place. I’d been told to steel myself, and to make sure the appropriate supports were in place. I’d seen my sister go to pieces over a sale and she made me promise to  contact a Melbourne buyers advocate, a guy she’d been told about through her girlfriend who just bought a house.

So I did.

I’ve never enlisted the help of a professional to do anything really, apart from the normal stuff like…do my taxes, fill a molar or stick me with my travel shots. Buying a house put me in touch with people I’d normally not meet- and I had no idea how much I’d like them- I have since found out  it’s impossible to have anything but deep seated gratitude and appreciation for someone who just found you your forever home…

The second we met, I realised that we’d be looked after. People often complain about the integrity of agents and people in the property industry, but I like to think I’m a great judge of character and I definitely felt a sense of genuine support when we decided which house we wanted.

 I’m more than happy that the purchase is done and dusted, but honestly? If you’re buying, get an advocate, and sleep in. that’s my advice.

I beat an injury that almost derailed my career. With AIR.

I’d been a competitive tennis player for almost four years when I almost destroyed my knee function. This is how I first found out about why so many athletes rely on hyperbaric chambers for recovery.  I’ll spare you the quease-making details, but I thought I was done for the second I realised I was badly injured. I remember thinking very clearly that there was probably no chance I’d ever run or pivot on my knee again. Fast forward a few months down the track and I’m playing again, and now have my own portable hyperbaric chambers. Melbourne came up with the goods and it was worth every single cent.

I’d spoken to many medical professionals about maximising my chances of p.laying again, and for the most part, I was met with less than optimistic responses. I’d heard of people with the same injury who were not encouraged to return to their field, pitch or course, and were devastated by the prognosis of their injury- for someone who loves tennis, I guess I felt compelled to try absolutely every single thing available to me to get me back on the court again. At all costs. I went looking for cures that weren’t offered as part of every recovery.

I fell into research around hyperbaric chambers and how they can assist an athlete to return to prior health at a faster rate.

While I knew it would take time, I also knew if I could be healed, I wanted it to be as soon as possible.

I was sold from the first session. I emerged from the chamber after treatment feeling deeply ravenous, and also tired, as though I’d really been through something. I  have been injured many times before and noted that my injury seemed to feel better the next day.

Four months later and I have invested in my very own portable hyperbaric chamber. It’s been a serious investment that I don’t take lightly, but then again, it should be taken with extreme seriousness- this chamber has given me the best chance I had for making a full recovery.

My Own Personal Catwalk

I wish people would just hurry up and automate houses already. Feels like we’ve had the technology for years and years now, but people are really dragging their feet about implementing it, much like flying cars and the ability to teleport to other planets for the purposes of tourism. Right now it’s just for really rich folks, but soon it’s going to be everywhere…

So they say, but ‘soon’ isn’t soon enough! I just cannot WAIT to be driving home- or letting my car drive me home- and I can just casually mention that i want the oven preheated to 280. Not that it’ll really matter, because the oven will be preparing dinner for me.

Of course, there’s my ultimate dream, and it involves nice little splash of fine designer LED lighting. See, I’ve always wanted to get dolled up in an evening gown, set up the lighting on my stairs so that it reacts to my presence in a sequential spotlight style, and then parade around my various corridors as if I’m a catwalk model. We all have our vices and desires, so I’ll thank you not to judge me for mine. Besides, as dreams go, it’s pretty tame. I just want some swish designer LED lighting to make me feel like I’m being adored and photographed by thousands, if not millions of people. There would also be strategically placed LED lights around the corridors that would flash whenever I strike a pose, to create that paparazzi feeling, and to perhaps help me to imagine that I’ll be on the cover of some glamorous magazine.

I tell you what: LED lighting is going places. If you want to buy residential LED lighting, Melbourne is the hip and experimental place to be at the moment. And when everything is automated, the lights will respond to our every whim. No matter WHAT you want them to do. I’ll fulfil my catwalk dream yet!

-Kat W.

Understanding Energy Storage

What is energy storage all about?

I came to Melbourne on a spiritual retreat to do yoga, meditate on the energies of the universe and look at crazy artwork to see what it says about me and my role in the cosmic ballet. And here’s a giant battery.

I guess Melbourne had to be known for something, especially after all this weird stuff in the last few years. Perth has that heating grid stuff, Brisbane now has the cleanest roads in the world, officially, and Adelaide is now the place where you go for air con. For some reason. And Melbourne has a big battery, I guess, I don’t even, for real. Apparently it’s all part of a massive industrial energy storage scheme to make energy consumption more efficient. This battery is just the first of many, and soon there are going to be loads of big batteries everywhere with people pedaling and generating power for the good of all.

I told my guru about it, and he said not to get distracted, because power generation was in the realm of normies. I should focus on generating my own spiritual energy. But then we had a seminar where we went out and lay on the grass and had to think for a solid hour about how mankind is ruining the planet, and how we were responsible for stopping the devastation. Then we had smoothies made from broccoli and hemp, it was kinda gross.

But, if mankind is wrecking the planet, isn’t energy storage and energy monitoring a really good thing? It’s helping to maybe, NOT wreck the planet. Making us more responsible. And it’s weird that we had a session where we had to prove that we hated technology by taking out our phones and smashing them, but we also booked the conference…online…

I’m not a total convert to this whole commercial energy monitoring scheme, but I’m sensing something really fishy. And it’s not the clownfish the guru keeps in tiny tanks embedded in his shoes.


Grandma’s House Extreme

My dear mother is looking to trade up her house for a bigger one – no downsizing for this woman! Her rationale is that her impending grandkids will be able to have the run of the huge ground-level space that she envisages. In the part of town she’s lived in for the past thirty years, backyards larger than a postage stamp are hard to come by, but multi-level townhouses are the norm. So she has her sights set on the biggest on the block.

According to my brother (dad-to-be of said grandkids), she’s been uncharacteristically (and amusingly) preoccupied with indoor climate control solutions. She’s always been a bit of an environmentalist and has never wanted air con or heaters around, but now that there are kids in the equation she’s getting interested in regulating the air temp in her house – a bit of an ask here in Melbourne.

Bro tells me that mum’s been going on about an online news article she saw the other week. Apparently, the city looks set to heat up over the coming years, and the discomforts that go along with exposure to UV rays are going to be increasingly apparent in indoor environments. Of course, mum can’t stand the idea of her offspring being the least bit uncomfortable (let alone literally burning) so she she’s staunchly adopted the platform that window tinting for homes across Melbourne is a necessity.

From the sounds of her depth of being sold on this, I wouldn’t be surprised if she wanted to install full-on frosted glass window films in every opening of her new home. I’m going to try to talk her in the direction of a more transparent option that lets in lots of light. I just know that, left to her own devices, she’ll go for the darkest possible reflective tint and then regret it when she comes down with seasonal affective disorder. Having said that, if this stuff can keep in the heat in winter as well, maybe I’m down with her going hard on it.

Hair and Back Again

My sister, Katrina, got back from her insane European mountain biking expedition last week. I have to say, she’s looking pretty polished for someone who (I assume) has just come from not showering for a good quarter of a year. She’s always been into that sort of thing, and I simply cannot relate. But even I had to admire her understated cut and classy colour job.

Apparently, she’d been called in at the last minute to interview for her dream job at this law firm in the city. She’d therefore done a hurried dash to the first upmarket-looking hair salon she could find. If she’d asked me, I’d have recommended my hairdresser and colourist in St James Place – he’s the best in town – but it looks like she did alright with whoever she went with. By her usual standards, she looked exceptionally sharp.

I know that Katrina doesn’t share my belief that the hairstyle maketh the person, especially when it comes to things like high-end law firm interviews, so I’m not sure why she caved to convention this time. All I can think of is that she must have really wanted that job. Regardless, I’m wondering how long she’s planning to keep up this level of hair game. Maybe I can entice her into my world with some upscale hair products that will accommodate her preference for things to be naturally derived – for example, a hair treatment from Aveda. Stockists and hair salons that work with this stuff exist in the CBD, so I could possible use this move to prod her into getting another pro haircut.

I suppose I could learn from Katrina’s approach, at the end of the day. I’ll acknowledge that it’s not absolutely essential to sport freshly coiffeured hair at all times. But it is a luxury that I like to have in my life. Now to wait and see if Katrina’s got the job… that will probably dictate how this pans out.

Can’t beat ‘em? Charge ‘em. Clean Energy answered our SOS.

“84 PERCENT?” I yelled down the phone. “ Are you for real?”

I’ve never been great on the phone but this was a moment. The guy I’d talked to about saving money for our workshop had just told me how much I can save on electricity by simply switching to commercial LED lighting. Pretty much everyone in the workshop had turned around to stare at me- they’d probably never heard me get this worked up on the phone.

Why didn’t I know about the benefits of getting some sweet commercial LED? Melbourne is the best place to capitalise on finding ways to make business work in your favour, and I know some truly innovative people, but this completely floored me. To save 80% on a power bill seems to be a mistruth- yet the guy from the sustainable energy company is telling me in plain English that yes, I heard right, and YES they can arrange a fit out within just a few short business days.

We use a lot of electricity and out lighting system is in constant use due to the nature of our work. We’re wood turners and cabinet makers, and we are open six days a week for business. A small business like mine is often caught out trying to scrimp a few bucks here or there, and while I’m just ready to go the jugular of the multinationals stealing my trade for throwaway junk, I can’t avoid the fact that I’m a power guzzling business too. Not quite ready to be beaten and join em, I am jumping on the chance to save some money with a more sustainable approach.

I’ve since been in touch with a mate who runs his business almost completely on a solar energy buyback scheme, and i’m getting more an more wound up about her story of feeling ultra smug when the power company buys her stored energy back. I want some of that!

To fell or not to fell

To wed, is to to fall. Not the stereotypical wedding mantra but I think it has a certain ring to it. Brock and I have been engaged for three years, officially together for seven and unofficially for nine. We are a largely unremarkable couple. I am a teacher, Brock is an accountant. We cook together every night, watch documentaries and fall asleep on the couch. It is a lovely and simple existence. When we started wedding planning there were no hurdles in our way. I found a beautiful dress, we agreed on a delightful outdoor garden venue and we designed bespoke invites. Melbourne is an easy city to plan a wedding in, access to wedding vendors is second to none. I was rather surprised when the venue called and said they were looking into tree removal, Ashwood apparently suffers from overgrown non native tree species, I told Brock about the call and we decided to go and investigate.

I didn’t know much about gardening at a basic pots and flowers level let alone when it comes to tree removal! Brock spoke to the tree surgeon who said it wouldn’t cause any damage to the surrounding gardens but it needed to be done because the trunk was infected and they didn’t want to run the risk of the infection spreading throughout the woodland. Brock took a real interest in the whole process, as an accountant he doesn’t get much outdoor action so jumped at the opportunity to be involved in tree felling. Melbourne was starting to warm up as summer approached so I cut his workman’s jeans into shorts and sent him on his way to prepare our marital garden. Apparently tree felling is his calling, he has handed in his notice at work and signed up to enroll in an arborist qualification course. My soon to be husband is a soon to be a tree removal specialist!

NO DEAL- knocking back a trade-in offer that stunk.

We were offered a shocker of a trade in deal when we bought our new car. So instead of giving the car away (practically) we decided to sell it to our daughter, who needs a good reliable set of wheels for her new job as an area manager. She’s got to get to Geelong and Bacchus Marsh from Ringwood three days a week, and it was well and truly time to update her old hyundai knock around. We were happy to see her safe, to be honest, and it felt a lot better than getting next to nothing from her compared to getting next to nothing from the dealership. She just needed to get a roadworthy from a certified mechanic and it was all hers.

We’ve never been happier than we are driving a Renault, but a lot of that confidence on the road is due to finding our great Ringwood mechanic who knows the make well. We have almost always referred to a team in Ringwood who repair and service all makes and models according to the manufacturers specification.

Our daughter will be using them to do the roadworthy on her brand new car, and upkeep all the servicing as they’ve been fantastic in keeping it on the road since we first bought it. Not a bad idea to lay down some conditions with such a great deal.

I remember when we took her to check out her first car, the Hyundai. She’d saved her money for almost three years when she’d reached her goal, found a good option and called us in to help her decide whether to go ahead or not. We’d been incredibly concerned that the car wouldn’t meet safety requirements and we’d wanted to ensure the driver had her best interests at heart. We’d gone in with guns blazing, and realised we’d been too worried when the driver turned out to be a young mother of three who had been as careful with her car as possible, and only decided to sell it so she could upgrade. She looked teary when my daughter drove away, a big smile on her face. I guess we felt nostalgic for similar reasons, me with tears in my eyes too.