I need to be considered special

roof repairs in MelbourneOver the last week I’ve been trying to trawl through the maze of administrative websites and ‘how to know if you’re eligible for help’ forms and I am over it. The Victorian school board can suck it, I am “eligible” for special consideration and I know it.

About three weeks ago, I sat my final schooling exams. Like, that’s it, I’m done, it’s over, I’m free. Those exams. Any-who, during those two weeks of hell in the lead up to the exams, I had an unforeseen, external disaster. My studying effort was significantly hindered and I really struggled to make it through that period because of it, which should be the perfect grounds for special consideration, right? Well, apparently, needing roof repairs, in Melbourne, is not enough. Never mind that the rain flooded my house and subsequently all my clothes, notes, and made my computer virtually unusable for three days. Apparently that doesn’t really count for an unforeseeable emergency.

Really though, if that doesn’t count, what does? If I was in a car crash, would that count? Or would they just tell me that, really, I was taking a risk being on the roads during my exam period. With that logic, more or less everything turns into something that you should have foreseen and adjusted for. Which is just ridiculous. What’s the point of even having special consideration as an option if there’s no way to access that aid.

The fact that my parents haven’t quite gotten around to getting roof maintenance. A Melbourne workweek runs 9-5 five days a week, they don’t have the option to just be home during the day. It hasn’t been possible and there’s nothing I could have done to hurry along the process. Ugh, basically, the admin system is unfair and I’m sick of it. These bounce-back automatic response emails are ridiculous. I just want a drop of human compassion, here. Is that too much to ask?

Worst reason ever for chucking a sickie

Melbourne antennasIt’s official. My mother has become the most irresponsible woman on the planet. Not that she wasn’t always the most irresponsible woman on the planet, just that once again she’s proven it to the world. And, actually just thinking about it, she’s taken it to a whole new level. Because, as it currently stands, I am writing this from the computer. At home.

“But, Serena, it’s a Wednesday!” I hear you exclaim in wonder. “Shouldn’t you be at school?”

Why yes, observant reader, I should. But as it currently stands my mother is on a last minute flight to Rome and I am at home, waiting for the Melbourne antennas guy to arrive.

That woman has always been a wild child led more by her sporadic and short lived whims rather than her sense of reason. Finding that she’s left in the wee hours of the morning to some far-fetched corner of the globe is not as unusual as you might think. But pulling me out of school so I can play responsible adult and meet her commitments? This is a new low.

I’m a minor, for crying out loud! I have way better things to be doing than wasting my time and my education here at home. I mean, we really do need our TV antenna installation fixed. Melbourne had a bit of a storm a couple of weeks ago and we haven’t been able to get any signal on the TV since then, so yeah, it needs to be done. And someone needs to be at home to let the guy in. But why does it have to be me? Why does it always have to be me? I’m sick of never being allowed to do things all my friends do because I’m looking after my freaking mother. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

On the bright side, at least this gives me an opportunity to catch up on study.

My Father Will Hear About This

tree loppingYou’d think being so close to the sea would be pretty cool. Like, we’d go on school excursions to the beach, just because. The fact that we don’t is, like, one of the most disappointing things about this place, and I really meant that. I mean, we could at least go for science lessons to the beach and learn about seashells, or…sand. I bet we could spend an entire semester looking at sand. There’s loads of it, all over the world. Is it SO much to ask to want to have classes on the beach? IT’S RIGHT THERE.

Ugh, whatever. I bet I could convince Daddy to make some changes around here. He’s the president of the Clean Homes and Gardens Association (CHAGA) in Melbourne, and tree trimming doesn’t happen without his consent. No one so much as plants a sunflower without him giving the go ahead. He has contacts in the tree removal industry, the landscaping conglomerate, the florist alliance…basically, if it happens outside, Daddy is involved. Very involved. If I wanted it, Daddy would call a legion of tree removal specialists to the school and have them cut down every bit of greenery they could find. If the school confronted him about it, he knows ALL the laws. He could just claim that there were dangerous pests and that they needed to go, pronto. He could say that there was a rare fungus that could’ve been killing birds and insects, and that there was a very clear and present threat to the ecosystem. Daddy knows everything about the outdoors, and anyone who wants to be part of his association has to prove that they treat their garden like they would a child. Seriously, they have to log their hours. My father takes his duties very seriously.

Seriously, every tree lopping professional in the Melbourne area is just waiting for his call. And other people’s calls. I mean, he doesn’t own them, but they provide a community service just like any other business.

You know what? Never mind. I’ll just get Daddy to write a cheque, perhaps suggesting at the bottom that we instigate beach classes. Easy peasy, money solves everything.

My sister the beauty queen

beauty school MelbourneAllie is driving me absolutely crazy. She is so self obsessed, I don’t know how she has any friends because all she does is talk about herself. She is also only two years older than me but acts as if she has seen the world and knows everything about everything. I honestly can’t believe we came from the same parents. Her latest incredible revelation was that she is going to beauty school in Melbourne. Everyone is acting like she has just won a nobel prize but I mean honestly, the girl is going to be waxing legs and putting cucumbers on eyes. It’s like my plans to go to law school pale in comparison to Allie’s dreams of facials and hair removal! She is insisting on using me as a model and keeps pinning me down to do my makeup and exfoliate my skin.

She thinks she can just play with me when she is bored and then drop me as soon as a better offer comes along. It’s just so unfair and because she is the oldest she just gets away with it. I can’t wait until she goes to Melbourne to start her beauty course. Melbourne is a whole state away so that should be enough distance to finally give me some peace. Next week we are even having a ‘Allie got into beauty school’ barbecue to celebrate her amazing success getting into a non competitive course! When I became president of the law society at school my mum just about managed a well done and that was the end of that. It seems beauty therapy courses are the way to gain attention in this family. My dad has even started telling me I need to be nicer to her because she is stressed about the new chapter of her life and doesn’t need her younger sister driving me mad. I honestly feel like I live with aliens.

What are you going to do next?

Melbourne dog walkingI have pretty much stopped socialising now. Every time I went out I ended up having the same conversations with different versions of the same people. It always centered around what we were going to do after our final year of university. The doctors and lawyers are all sorted. The corporate sell outs all have jobs making the rich richer and feel very pleased with themselves about it. The do-gooders have flights to Africa booked and are ready to make very little difference at all. Leaving me. I had no idea what to do. I had applied for some part time work with a dog walking service based in Melbourne but it’s not currently intended as a career. Dog walking appeals to me quite a lot right now, I get to spend time outside, have little contact with people and meet loads of adorable dogs. It’s doing something good for society and keeps me active.

Maybe I will pursue it as a long term goal. The degree then may be slightly irrelevant but university was more for the social anyway! Anyway to save myself telling people that I do not have a graduate job lined up and am not planning to travel to the world to find myself I have just stopped talking to people altogether. I’ll deal with my parents because they’ve settled for my canine aspirations and every once in awhile, if I do have to exchange words with someone on the topic, I make up an elaborate lie about my upcoming internship with NASA or my acceptance into a rocket engineering phd. Perhaps being a dog walker, Melbourne is quite glamorous, it’ll be like working on rocket ships. I have a feeling it may be slightly more realistic than that. Although I haven’t technically got that job either yet. I might try and just tell people I am working on creative projects and leave it at that.

Termites out + parents in = freedom

termite inspectionsEvery summer my parents insist I spend at least one week with them down at the beach house in Mornington Peninsula. I know how it sounds. Oh poor me having to go to my beautiful beachside holiday home and relax, what a tough life. The thing is, it sucks. The summers are for me. Finally my parents are out the way down the coast and I get the house all to myself! It’s luxury. I get to have friends over whenever I want and cook late at night without my mum going crazy. I love a late night grill session. This year, it’s all gone to pot. My parents have a major termite infestation at the beach house and I overheard my Dad saying that it looks like we’ll all be spending summer in Melbourne. No no no, my summer dreams of freedom suddenly dashed I became intensely involved in finding a solution to the termite problem. I went as far as arranging termite inspections in Mornington at the house so they could figure out the problem and get it sorted before the summer. They have been extremely grateful for my assistance but apparently I am completely transparent.

My mum has already told me that even if the problem does get sorted I will either have to be with them at the beach house or staying at my grandparents place in Cranbourne. Oh good lord this has backfired. She has figured me out. I considered calling the pest control company in Mornington to cancel the appointment for the termite inspection but figured that would only put me in an even worse position. Hopefully the problem will be sorted and I can win over my grandparents to get them to tell my parents that I am indeed staying with them when actually I will be cooking up steaks for my boys at 2am after a heavy drinking and movie sesh. Plan.

I’m pathetic, I know

boatcatchSo at the moment it kind of feels like my dad is using me as his slave.

It’s not like it’s a big shock to the system or anything, I’ve always seen it coming. He’s made me shine his shoes since I was old enough to hold the cloth, but it still just kinda plain sucks. It’s like he doesn’t see me as a person, just a means to an ends. And no matter how well I do at school or anything like that, he just doesn’t seem to care.

He actually bought a boat last weekend, according to mum on a whim, and he’s told me that he’s going to teach me how to sail. That feels like a whim too. Not that I told him that’s how I feel. The amount of times I practice defying him in my head make no difference, when he asks me to do something, I do it. When he told me to look into this outboard motor servicing in Melbourne he’d found, I knew immediately what was happening. He’s going to make me run around like his secretary and servant, having the boat cleaned, serviced, polished, and whatever else it is boats need done with the promise that, at the end of it, he’d take me out on the water. And the thing is, I’m so attention starved, that I’m happy to do it. That says a lot about me. I mean, not happy, but naively hopeful. Even though I’m putting my own life – school grades, social life, everything – on the back burner so he might spend an hour or two with me.

I know. I’m pathetic. But knowing I’m pathetic doesn’t make me any less so. Even as I write this, I’m look at this really great boatcatch I can surprise him with. I just want to make him notice me.

What have I gotten myself into?

business accounting

Gosh I wish I had the freedom all my friends have. They can do whatever they want with their lives, they can be a painter, a musician, a philosopher, a lawyer, their parents don’t care. Their parents support their dreams, no matter how high they aim. They’re allowed to take all the electives they want as long as they have a good time and enjoy themselves while they’re doing it. Their parents don’t force them to study for hours when they get home from school.

I know I’m painting this in a pretty bad light right now, but you have to understand just how sick of it I am. I get that my parents are coming from a good place and just want me to have a stable, dependable job, but the truth is I just don’t want to be an accountant. They know two of the best business tax accountants in Melbourne. My parents are pretty good at their job but are far from the best in Melbourne. Growing up it was always expected that I would follow in their footsteps. Even as a little kid, when a teacher asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said I wanted to be an accountant, just like my mum and dad. You can imagine the look on the teacher’s face.

It wasn’t until I started doing accounting subjects this year that I realised I was doomed. I have zero aptitude for this stupid subject whatsoever. I just don’t get it. It goes in one ear and out the other, and my marks reflect that. The thing is, I was so excited about starting accounting at the beginning of the year that I told everyone I know – I can’t back out now or they’ll think I’m stupid. I understand that doing business accounting in Melbourne can be rewarding and fulfilling, I just don’t think it’s ever going to rewarding or fulfilling for me.

One heck of a fall

orthotics CheltenhamI am so embarrassed right now I can’t even deal. It’s just been one of those days, you know? Or, even worse, it was more five horrible minutes that I’ll never be able to erase from my memory for as long as I live. Worse still, I have this constant reminder of it for the rest of my life thanks to the diagnosis I got from the orthotics place in Cheltenham.

I have always been a clumsy child. Mum’s had me tested for glasses more times than I can count, just to make sure there wasn’t something really wrong with my vision or anything like that. I have the special ability of being able to trip over anything: the joints between pavement, the tip of my shoe … heck, I can even fall up a flight of stairs. Anyway, today, like it so often does, my extreme clumsiness managed to get the better of me. At school, there’s a flight of stairs that runs from the first story down to the ground in one long line – without any sharp bends or anything. While walking down, carrying a load of books, I tripped (over who knows what) and fell down the whole freaking thing, messing up my foot in the process, only to end up lying with my skirt around my head as the school principal walked past, unable to move through the pain.

It turns out that in my fall (which I swear went for at least an hour, but my friend watching from the top says was only a maximum three minutes of hilarity) I managed to do something to my foot. Obviously, I knew that at the time, due to the fact that it turn like a mother – but it was only the next day, at the podiatrist in Cheltenham mum always goes to, that I found out I’d seriously wrecked it. May for good. Who knows? I guess I’ll have to wait and see.

The school gets a bit of a makeover

tile cleaningI’m not really sure what’s happened, but something must have because the school has finally cracked. For pretty much the whole time I’ve been going here, the place has been in need of some serious renovations. Not just a paint job here and a good scrub there – the real deal. They needed to employ a bunch of people to come in and spruce the whole place up. Ugh, you should have seen what a state the bathrooms were in – it was simply ghastly! Well, it might have been pressure from parents, the school board, a government, a student (I guess there’s really no way to know for sure) but they’ve finally decided to do something about it.

Standing at the gates yesterday, my friends and I bemusedly watched a brigade of tile and grout cleaning people from Melbourne trudge in, looking hilarious in all their gear. We weren’t the only ones watching, either, there was actually quite a crowd gathered. I guess, when any a group of people that size enter a school it’s always going to create a bit of a fuss. In any case, what was funny became considerably less so when we discovered that having a troop of high pressure cleaners lurking around the place meant it was going to be nearly impossible to find a bathroom not in the process of being scoured from top to bottom. It meant that, if you needed to use the bathroom, it became a quest to find one. Of course, if you wanted to miss out on a little bit of class, this was quite a useful excuse, but for the attentive student like myself, it was nothing but a nuisance.

In any case, I’m sure all the confusion and delays will be worth it once the bathroom looks how its makers originally intended it. I just wish they’d thought to do this all sooner.