garden · issues

The Fence Saga: Part 3

Part 1 / Part 2

It’s taken three months but fence saga is finally over!

Tree removal was very painless. I came home one day to find my trees gone. Came home a few days later to find the stumps ground down to the driveway.

Once the tree task was complete, I debated whether to be a good neighbour (talk to Busybody about fence that night) or a bad neighbour (leave it for the next night).  I confess that I was leaning towards being a bad neighbour. As the intenal debate continued, a car pulled into the driveway. It was the fence man. Who told me he was going to start work the next day.


I’m not particularly knowledgable on the Fences Act but I’m pretty sure that a key part of it is communication and agreement between involved parties. And I distinctly recall asking Busybody to wait a while after tree removal before starting fence job so that I didn’t have too many expences at once I recall her agreeing. I don’t quite recall saying a few weeks or a month but that was I had in mind. I certainly didn’t mean wait one day. Paying for both tree job and fence job in one go was not pleasant. If one of the other neighbours was putting pressure on to get the fence ASAP then it was Busybody’s responsibility to let me know in advance so I could organise my finances. Not leave it to the fence guy to break the news. (I wonder what would have happened if I was a bitch and told him he didn’t have my permission to touch my fences?)

The fence was removed on the Thursday. And then I was told that I had to remove another tree by Tuesday (Monday being a public holiday). The very nectarine tree that I was told was fine when we first got the quote a month ago. AAAAARRRRGGGGG!!!!1!1

I get it. The guy changed his mind. The stupid tree would cause problems years later and needed to be removed now. But this information would really have come in handy before I organised the removal of the driveway fences (yes, Busybody had previously told me the nectarine tree had to go. But do you trust information from the professional or the elderly bully next door?).

I didn’t really want that tree anyway but I freaked out over the short notice and additionl expense. Thankfully, the fence guy knew an arborist who would do the job over the weekend for a good price. Yay!

The tree went down and the fence went up. The fence was a four day job (spanning 7 properties), with a long weekend in-between. That weekend was horrible. I felt so exposed working in my garden. But the new fence is much higher than the old crappy one and I have so much more privacy now. It’s great. The only problem now is that there are gaps under the fence. I need to have that sorted out before I start hunting for Future Dog.

What dog can resist this hole?

Now that Project Fence is over, I’m putting all my energy into Project Garden. I’m already very sore from shoveling pebbles, moving paving, and hacking at compacted soil.

garden · issues

The Fence Saga: Part 2

A month ago I wrote about my fence collapsing and I my frustration while I tried to organise new fencing with the Office of Housing and my many neighbours.

A few days after that post, my busybody neighbour decided that I was too slow or something and organised her own quote while I was away at work. My parents were clearing my pile of chopped branches at the time so at least they were there to tell the fencing guy what I wanted and to send me a warning. I was so annoyed that she didn’t even ask me if she could take over, despite hassling me to get three quotes and despite my telling her that I didn’t have much money and wanted to focus on the collapsed Office of Housing fence first.
Well, fine. She wants to take charge then go for it. Less work for me.

The quote arrived (why did she tell me to get three quotes when she herself is happy with one?) and Busybody came over to demand that I remove the stupid trees in the middle of the driveway fence and the nectarine tree in my yard. I tried to tell her that the fence guy had told my parents that the nectarine tree was fine but she wouldn’t have a bar of it. I’m starting to detect a trend here – she does not listen to a word that I say. Is it because I am young (and look even younger)? So frustrating!

We ended up getting in a very circular arguement. There was much misunderstanding. She thought she was saying “you and -owner of other unit- need to pay for driveway trees to be removed” but I heard “trees are on your side so you must pay. I am on pension, woe is me”. The conversation was getting nowhere and I was getting more and more upset so I closed my door in her face. That was not a good evening. It felt like I would never end up getting a dog.

In the end, mum came over and helped me deal with Busybody. I don’t think we understand each other but there’s enough understanding to move forward. There was some talk of family removing the fence before the job is started to save money. So the quote is actually inaccurate? And my yard will be exposed for who knows how long? Ah fuck it, just do whatever and give me the bill when it’s done.

Quote for tree removal was not nearly as bad as I thought. I was expecting $1k but it’s only a few hundred so I’ll only be slightly over budget. I just need to get the other unit owner to approve and then we can get that out the way and leave Busybody to do whatever it is she’s doing.

Stupid trees

As for the OoH fence, well. I had a month of nothing. No updates or returning my calls. The hole in the fence didn’t face the road but I still felt so exposed. I would walk out to water my plants, only to see my neighbour, which lead to me rushing back inside before she would notice me and call me over to spend 20 minutes talking about fences and Crazy Cat Lady. My poor zucchini plant died from neglect.

I sent an angry email to OoH and lo! A call from fencing people telling me the fence would be replaced in two days time. Talk about short notice. I came home on Tuesday to a lovely new fence. I am so glad that’s over and I have my privacy back. Now I can work on developing that side of the garden while I wait for stupid driveway trees to be removed and the rest of the fencing to be replaced.

Things are looking up.

garden · issues

The Fence Saga

tl;dr – Fences are hard. Too many old ladies. Nectarine trees are a bad idea.

I have fence issues. Now I can truely call myself a home owner.

I knew the fence was crap when I made my offer. First houses can’t tick all the boxes and the main thing was that I had a backyard suitable for Future Dog. Fences can be replaced, backyards can’t be increased.

With the new year I made it my task to fix up the house. Mainly cosmetic, like replacing ugly clunky net curtains with pretty delicate net curtains. That’s about the extent of my handyman abilities. Fixing the sliding door and antenna are tasks for my stepdad.

For me, replacing the fence is a high priority. It’s step one in my three step plan to get a dog. But I am a hermit so it took me courage to knock on the doors of strangers to talk fences. It was through my wanderings that I discovered that I lived next to community housing with a Crazy Cat Lady (which would explain all the cats constantly found in my backyard and the cat fights at night) and Problem Neighbour (a title that can be gained when you recieve two warnings about the person, one from an independant source of course). I don’t have to deal with Crazy Cat Lady but Problem Neighbour can’t be avoided.

Talking to Problem Neighbour uncovered that there was indeed a Fence Saga full of he-saids, she-said. I’m sure it’s a very interesting saga I’m only interested in my fence here-and-now so I’ve just been smiling-and-nodding, desperately thinking of a way out of the conversation.

Problem Neighbour’s side of the fence was meant to be replaced last year in a joint effort between home owner and Office of Housing. From what I understand, part of the problem was that a shed on my side needed removing. And then previous owner died and the family decided to dump the problem onto the new owner. (It also appears that previous owner was silly enough to give money to Problem Neighbour instead of the OoH and was scammed. I cannot verify this story but it makes me worry about what will happen to my levels of naivity when I’m an old lady).

Then it was time for the old lady (her name is Busybody) from the other side of the property to talk to me, with every second sentence being “I’m sorry but be very very careful with her”. Little did the old lady know that repetition does not increase the power of the words and made me want to run away and hide from old ladies. You do have to be careful not to overdose on old ladies. She also wanted the fence between the driveways replaced, which was never part of the my plans and is stressful because of the whole money thing and the FREAKING TREES IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FREAKING FENCE that would have to be removed first. Who the hell keeps planting big trees right next to fences? And I have to organise three quotes in-between work to find the best deal and all the fences have to be replaced at the same time because it’s cheaper that way and I should ask my father because he’ll know (because my poor little female brain can’t understand basic money stuff?). I know it would be more economical to do it all together but fuck that. All I care about is my yard and Future Dog.

Previous owner used crappy bamboo to try to
mask crappy holes in crappy fence

My parents want my shed so they were happy to take it down for me. And then the fence collapsed. So my lunch breaks consisted of trying to get a hold of OoH to get that damn fence replaced. That was a saga in itself with lots of miscommunication but ultimately lead to someone from the other side of the city (because the Office of Housing don’t trust contractors on this side?) coming over for the third time in the past few years to write up a quote. And advised that collapsed fence would be replaced between one-six weeks. 😦 Because OoH like to take their time or are incompetent or whatever. And this is just for one side of my yard. I haven’t even started getting quotes on the rest of the fences.

Once, again, my parents were kind enough to come over and help out by chopping down branches in preparation for new fence. During a heatwave. Because when I think 40C+ weather, I think outdoor manual labour. Not only do I have trees right up next to the fence but I have two massive unmaintained nectarine trees with branches all over the place, blocking my TV reception, and pooping nectarines everywhere. I don’t even like nectarines! Nectarine trees in urban backyards are a bad idea. Man, Busybody just would not leave us alone. My yard is covered in branches and nectarines, despite my parents already taking away two ute-loads.

The sooner I have my fence, the better. I’m am so over this.


Ebook rant

I got a kindle for christmas because, at the time, I believed that I would be living in the US for a year (the magical land of plentiful, low-priced books). That plan didn’t pan out but Kiros the Kindle has been great for travelling to and from work and visitng my parents. And the screen is perfect for my stupid sleep issues (ie. oh noes, you have stared at a bright screen before going to bed. No sleeps for you!!1!)

While I love having an ebook reader, I am not a fan of trying to buy ebooks.

I want to give Amazon my money, I really do.
I want to support the authors who write great books. But many books are either unavailable in Australia, stupidly priced ($25…seriously?), or only avialable as damn audio. I don’t want to listen to a book, I want to read it. Any book that is under $10 I either own in paper form or plan to own in paper form. OK fine, I’ll pay $15 for a digital book…except I can’t actually own an entire series because at least one of the books is unavilable/audio. Head+wall.

It’s almost as if Amazon, Penguin etc. don’t want my money. OK then, no money for you.

In other news: been trying to set up a PayPal shopping cart and discovered that I can’t set different postage rates for domestic and international. Apparently that option is only available in the US. *Sigh*
I think I was born in the wrong country.


My neighbours must hate me

There was a market on today so I spent the weekend with my parents. I really regret that now.

At about 6:30pm yesterday, I got a call from a security controllers telling me that my house alarm had been set off. I was pretty sure that I had locked everything on my out and gave the go for someone to pop around and check the place out. After half an hour, they hadn’t called me back. So we called them up and they told us that the person didn’t find any sign of entry but for some reason, the alarm was arming 4 times a second since 10pm the night before. Since I wasn’t at home constantly turning it off and on, we figured it was fucked up due to storm damage (since the night before had been quite violent). Still, I was miffed that the original security guy didn’t tell me about the arming. If I had known then I wouldn’t have wasted $70 sending someone out there to investigate.

My parents drove me home to find that my security system was stuffed. My stepdad thought he had it fixed but then the alarm went off as we drove away (despite the system not being armed). It didn’t sound right – more like a dying mechanical bird than the usual alarm. I couldn’t get back into the house with my electronic key. I had to call up the guy who set up the system, who thankfully lived close by. He told me that my neighbours had been calling him to complain all day. Oh god, they had been enduring that horrible noise for the whole day (and night?). Fuck.

I just want to crawl into a corner and die

Turned out that the issue was that the battery was dead. Though apparently the security people didn’t get that alert until 9am so I don’t know what happened the night before. Anyway, the low battery report wouldn’t go the guy until Monday. And due to the volume of low battery reports, he would ignore it until another low battery report a few days later. Fantastic…

EDIT: So in addition to the call-out bills, I have to pay an extra $53 to cover all the stupid phone calls my stupid security system made…


Sucks to be a cockroach

I have had a cockroach infestation. Every few days I’ll see one happily wondering around the house.
I don’t like going chemical crazy so normally I leave insects alone. But cockroaches are awful.
Ages ago I found one in my kettle. My kettle. The kettle that I use chronically. I had just had a cup of tea infused with cockroach. After that I had no issue with polluting my home and spraying the fuckers.

Today I went a step further and bombed my house. It looked liked the infestation was improving, maybe due to the changing season or something. Oh how naive I was.
A few nights ago I woke up during the night and felt a big cockroach running up my arm to my neck. I rushed downstairs for the spray and watched that fucker die in agony.
I picked up a can of stuff that continuously sprays for 2 hours. I had seen ads for them before and thought they were stupid because the stuff would get on your food and dishes. Of course, that was before I had a cockroach RUN UP MY FUCKING ARM. Every time I get a little twinge I think things like “oh crap, there’s one on my back now. It’s awful.
I had planned to work from home today so I spent the morning moving my plants, exposed food, turning things off at the powerpoint etc. and then set off the bomb and did work in my study. The fumes did reach the study so I feel really light-headed now.
While in the study I saw a big roach wondering around my power cords. Dammit, they’re mocking me! Needless to say, I sprayed it…

I just went downstairs a moment ago to open up the windows. Already there are casualties. One huge one under the bed, three in the dinning room and four in the kitchen. Crap, I didn’t realise it was that bad. I should have bombed them sooner and bugger the home pollution.
According to the instructions, more will die over the next few weeks and my home should be protected for three months. I hope they don’t come back.

I think I need to go for a walk and clear my head or something. Maybe I should have done this after I have met my deadline…


Avast fail

I use Avast. It was the antivirus program recommended by the uni. Every day it has a little pop-up and an annoying american accent telling me that the virus database has been updated.

Today I was analysing my data when a virus alarm popped up to inform me that my program was infected by a virus. No idea when I last did a thorough scan so I decided to give it a go. Avast informed me that it needed to restart my computer and scan before rebooting. OK…not what it usually does but I’ll run with it. After all, it’s just trying to protect my computer, right?
The problem with scanning on start-up is that you can’t bum around on the computer while you wait. I did some lab work but eventually ran out of things to do that didn’t require a few hours to do. And I had finished my book on the tram so…I guess I can do…umm…sudoku?

Over an hour later the scan had detected 92 infected files. Gosh.
There were so many files that my virus chest couldn’t hold them all. I ended up deleting files. All of the infected files had the same name. It actually impressed me, the fact that a virus had made copies of itself into multiple places.
I then decided to get back to my analysis. Oh wait, I can’t. I had deleted an important file. I went online and tried to download the program again. Oh look at that…another virus…this can’t be right.

A quick google search informed me that all the virus detections were false positives. They weren’t viruses, it was just a glitch in the latest virus database download.