Saturday, 28 April 2012

The International Comedy Festival

April 1-5
The International Comedy festival was in town and we decided to take advantage of the free shows downtown. We headed DT on a Sunday Saver train ticket and caught the tail end of a French acrobatic/comical show. Afterwards there was a pair who did a random improv show with some very strange props. Beau got picked out of the crowd to join them on stage. He did some improv with news paper and got a sucker out of it. I was laughing so hard I was crying! A guy in the crowd had taken a video of it and sent it to Beau. Check it out here! (the video isn't amazing but you can get an idea of the shenanigans Beau was put through) After that show there was another one later with short performances from the two groups we saw as well as a Swedish Elvis impersonator and a hoola hooper. We were very entertained that day and enjoyed ourselves immensely.
The rest of the week was pretty uneventful although Beau did buy a guitar from Costco. It's not the greatest but he's excited to have a guitar to play.
Monique and Ingo headed off on their holiday to Tahiti this week. They have been lovely, gracious host but it is nice to have a little time on our own again. We do have Snow and Juneau to look after.

The French group - Five Foot Finger
Beau making his stage debut with Funny Bone

Getting his sucker reward
The hoola hoopest

She had all these hoola hoops going around here at once

The Swedish Elvis Impersonator
April 6 - 9 Happy Easter
The weather was really nice on Friday so we took the dogs down to Brighton Beach. Google took us down a fairly busy route so it took about an hour or so to get there, probably should have taken less. There were a bunch of dogs at the beach, Juneau and Snowy had a ball. We brought camp chairs with us so we were able to relax without getting bowled over by dogs. We enjoyed the beach for a couple of hours before heading home. It was nice to get out and enjoy the sunshine.
The rest of our Easter weekend was pretty uneventful. We mostly did some more work on the deck. We did hit up a farmers market while walking the dogs and picked them up some homemade treats at Monique's requests. Gotta say they love the homemade goodies. On Monday we made the mistake of going to Westfields Shopping center and it was packed. It was sooooo hard to find a parking spot and sooo frustrating. We picked up some coffee and cheap sweat pants from Big W, think Walmart. It's been disgustingly cold the past two days I think it was a high of 17. We had to turn the heat on.
Snowy and Juneau

Juneau drying off
Snowy and Me
Tues April 10 - Will Anderson, Wilarious
We spent the morning doing some much needed house cleaning. Man can those dogs shed. I made us crepes for lunch and then we had squash soup for dinner. Since the International Comedy Festival is going on we decided to get tickets to see one of the shows. While in Christchurch we had seen on TV a show called the Gruen Transfer and it was a comedic talk show about ads and marketing hosted by Will Anderson. We found him quite funny on the shower and since he had a show, Wilarious, with the Comedy Festival in Melbourne we decided to go see him. It was fun to get out and do something quite different, I have never been to a stand-up comedy act before. Will put on a really good show and we were really happy we decided to go.

April 11 – 16
I know I keep saying this but we are pretty boring. We've been continually working on the deck. We've been taking the dogs for walks and Beau's been practising the guitar. I decided I needed a creative outlet and I've taken up crocheting. I've been working on slippers with my first one not turning out quite right. Typical me, I wanted slippers so I make myself some. The internet is a gold mine of information, go YouTube! I did get a short day of work in on the 11th. One of the agencies needed a body fast in a near by location so I got the call and had a 5hr day in a housing development sales center doing mostly nothing. But hey they paid me about $24/hr for it so I'm not complaining. On the Friday Monique's friend Sarah stopped by with her two dogs, Lucy the Great Dane and Layla the Boxer. She stops by fairly frequently to let the dogs all play together and wear them out. While there she offered us some tickets to a comedy show. She had won them but she and her husband couldn't attend. The comic was a Canadian named Mike Wilmot. We attend the show on Sunday evening and had a good laugh. He was funny and vulgar but it was all good natured. Beau was in stitches laughing.

Painting the rails

A work in progress
Removing a rotted post

Post Gone

New post!
 Now be prepared to be grossed out by the common house spider, a huntsman
He was about the size of my palm, YUCK

Friday, 13 April 2012

Nothing too interesting

Mar 22 – 31
We've done lots more job hunting and actually had a meeting with two agencies and had a job interview. Beau and I both got jobs at an inbound customer service call center for 5 weeks starting on April 18th. The pay is pretty good and hopefully we'll get lots of hours.
Beau had been very diligent about engine hunting too. Turns out the engine in Dotti was only used in the Urvan for about 2-3 years so it's been difficult to find one from an auto-wrecker, aside from the fact that it was also 30 years ago.  However it was used in a lot of forklifts and we were able to find a forklift engine that will work in our van. After talking with the engine guy and our mechanic it will be about $3000 for the engine replacement. It's a lot of money but it's back to the idea if we don't do this we are still in need of a vehicle. Anyways it seems things might be looking up. We have work and will get our van back.
We've been helping Monique and Ingo out with fixing their deck. Part of the railing needed to be replaced and everything need a new coat of paint. Beau's been doing the fixing and I've been doing a bunch of painting.  I'll post some pictures when it's done
We did go to The Hunger Games and I loved it. I thought they did a pretty good job of translating the book into a movie although they did miss out a few pieces of information.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Melbourne to Albury and Back

Mar 16 – 19
It's been hard to write about things that we ourselves don't want to dwell on too much. We've been feeling a little sorry for ourselves and kind of home sick with the way things have been working out. Or rather how they haven't been working out. We've been applying to jobs and trying to get in touch with some agencies. We did go into to town on Sunday the 18th, it's a much cheaper fare. We checked out the Queen Victoria Market. It reminded us of the markets in Asia although a lot more expensive and a lot cleaner. If needed we'll come back here to pick up some warming clothing. You can buy a hoody for $10-20. But honestly we've been pretty boring. We have been walking the dogs though and in one park there are kangaroos. I got some pictures of them on one of our visits.

Mar 20 – To Albury
Today we are driving to Albury, New South Wales with Monique so we can put the van in our name. Monique is going there for a conference so fortunately we have a ride. During the day though we got a very unfortunate phone call from the mechanic. Turns out that one of valve sleeves had fallen into the engine and had been rattling around (at least that's my understanding of what happened). The engine needs to be replaced or reconditioned....shit. The mechanic said he was pursuing all the contacts he had to see if he could find an engine. This put a huge damper on our day. We were traveling to another state to change over a van into our name and it may never run again but it needs to be done. We picked Monique up after work and started the three hour drive to Albury. Along the way we called some places to stay, we hadn't pre-booked, and of course the place we had been looking at was full. We contacted a hostel and they wanted $35/person for a 4 bed dorm! We figured we'd find something once in town or worse case scenario go stay at the hostel. On the way into Albury we saw a sign for a motel room for $70/night and it included breakfast. We dropped Monique off at her hotel and then checked into the motel. We walked down the main street from the motel and got some stirfry noodles for dinner. We were feeling pretty down about everything so to cheer us up we decided to go see a movie. “21 Jump Street” was playing at the theatre across from the restaurant so we decided to go to that. It was also cheap night Tuesday which was a plus. The movie was pretty funny and our night ended on a laughing note.

Mar 21 – Back to Diamond Creek
After our included breakfast, toast and cereal, we walked down to the vehicle registration offices and got Dotti put in our name. We headed back to the car and ran some errands in town. Then we headed back to the main strip and walked around the down town a bit. I was able to find a kangaroo charm for my charm bracelet. We met up with Monique around 5pm when her conference had ended and then headed back to Diamond Creek. We were glad to have our little trip over and done with.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

The Great Ocean Fiasco

Mar 13 – Headed to the Great Ocean Road
Beau and I got the van packed up this morning and were going to start our Great Ocean Road (GOA) trip. Beau still wasn't feeling 100% but he was much better than he was. We had to move the furniture out of our room because new carpet is being installed tomorrow. We hit the road but had to pick up some groceries and a few odds and ends. It was about a 2 hour drive till we technically hit the GOR. We got some pictures with the GOR archway as well as made several stops along the way for some scenic pictures. In the town of Lorne we stopped into the information center to find out about the local waterfalls. We got directions to Erskine Falls. Ingo had actually recommended it to us. The road was quite steep up and then back downwards to get to the falls. The brakes were smelling a bit by the time we arrived. It was a bunch of stairs down to the bottom but the falls were quite pretty. They weren't powerful but were very elegant. From there we continued along past Apollo Bay to Bimbi park campground. We had been told by Monique and Ingo that if we stayed here we'd for sure see Koalas. We got a powered site and figured out how to get the interior lights working. We used the park kitchen to make dinner but had to make several trips because we kept forgetting bits and pieces. On one of the trips Beau spotted a koala in the tree next to the kitchen. She actually had a baby clinging on to her. It was sooo cool. We had overly chickened pasta for dinner. Then we got the camper set up for bed and watched an episode of Son's Of Anarchy before bed. We heard some interesting noises in the night that sounded like a pig crossed with a donkey, turns out it's the koala's mating call.
The Great Ocean Road archway

One of many great views from the road

Erskine Falls in Lorne

Another road side view


Koala and her baby

yummy leaves

Pretty cool how the baby just clings on to her
Mar 14 – Our luck runs out
We slept not to badly in the camper although it was quite warm last night. We had some breakfast then reorganized for driving mode, it definitely takes less time than the tent or car did. We hit the road and drove out to Cape Otway. There is a light house but they wanted $18.50 admission so we said no thanks. We stopped to take some pictures of some more koalas they were just hanging out limply in the trees. When we started Dotti back up she started making some loud clicking/clanging noises... not good. Beau had a look at the engine but we couldn't see what the problem was. We were made it back to the campsite and used their phone to call a tow truck since we had no cell service. We finally got picked up by the truck and headed back into Apollo Bay. We had to wait a little bit for the mechanic to have a look at the van so in the mean time we ate lunch in our camp chairs on the side of the road. When dude had a look at the van Beau check it out with them. Turns out we had no compression on one of the cylinders and the head needs to be machined. The mechanic said it could take 2 weeks and cost $1500. We discussed it and the way we look at it is if we don't fix this then we are out $4000 and still need another vehicle. We had to pack up our belongings and walk to the information center to buy bus tickets back to Melbourne. Fortunately the tickets were relatively cheap and the lady at the center helped us find the “cheap” accommodation in Apollo Bay, which wasn't very cheap. We got checked into a hostel and then went for a walk on the beach. Back at the hostel we made dinner then watched another episode of Son's Of Anarchy. We went to bed feeling pretty down.

Poor Dotti
Mar 15 – Back to Melbourne
The hostel provided us with breakfast which consisted of cereal or toast. After breakfast we were off to catch the 9am bus back to Melbourne. We spent about 3 hrs on the bus to Geelong then had to take the 1 hr V-train back to the Melbourne CBD and then another 1 hr train ride back to Diamond Creek. We arrived back around 3pm feeling depressed and exhausted. We'll have to wait and see what happens with Dotti now.