Thursday, 22 August 2013

Facing the Truth

Have you seen that internet phenomenon - Grumpy Cat?   

I'm probably the human version of that.    I don't *deliberately* look that way.

I was at the supermarket the other day, looking at the vegetables.  Going through my usual "should I buy a couple in an attempt to look healthy, and then let them turn to mush in the fridge , or just give up the pretence" argument.   

Then suddenly, a man bellowed at me from across the vegetables, "Don't worry love, it might never happen!"

I tore my eyes away from the phallic zucchinis, and sidled away (to fondle the cucumbers).  But I admit, it was a surprise that someone even noticed that I existed, let alone what the look on my "resting face" seemed to show.

The nicest thing my ex-husband ever had to say about my looks was that I had an "open face".

Well, I guess that's closed now.   Rather than the now-public disease of Bitchy Resting Face, I think I have "disgruntled resting face."

And that makes me even more disgruntled.  Soon I'll have babies crying at ten paces, and sweet little old ladies setting speed-limits on their walking frames, as they hurry in the direction of away.

OK, so I've been extra-down for the past couple of weeks.   The cute guy at the Post Office has gone AWOL. For two weeks he was not there.   That probably explained the extra downward droop of the corners of my mouth.  A visit to the PO, was now no longer a lovely pervy adventure.

Perhaps I laughed a little too maniacally at his adorable jokes.   Perhaps I gazed too longingly upon his big chubby (ringless !) fingers as he typed on the tiny keyboard.   Perhaps when I said to him "have a nice day" as I left, he could read what my mind was actually thinking.  Eeep!

So this morning, I shuffled into the PO, everything drooping that could droop (a combination of gravity & misery)  --------     and there he was.   The drooping parts of me got perky, ( except for the gravity-based drooping - no hope there).

He served me!   Oh that smile, oh those eyes!   He made an adorable joke, I laughed maniacally (with a extra dash of desperation & relief).    I purchased extra things I didn't need, just to draw out the experience.    The PO profits from this too!

I floated to the supermarket with a dumb grin on my face.   Fondled zucchinis, cucumbers, and a couple of nice wrinkled passionfruit.     Purchased a packet of two-minute noodles and a bag of chips.   Chips are potatoes, right?  That's a vegetable.

Ha!  Bet I didn't have disgruntled face then.   Probably more "Warning  - looney person. Approach with caution."

Now I have a reason to make some attempt at trying to look vaguely human, and not like something that has just crawled out from a ditch.

(But I can't perform miracles - YET).

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Taking the Bait

I admit, after the third offer of 5,000 free listings from eBay, it is making me list like a mad thing.

My store is at 935 items, and I hope to get to 1,000 - but with only 3 days to go until the offer ends, I'm not sure that I'll get there.    But hey! It's working great at getting me to go through my towering piles of videos and books that I have been ignoring.

These free listings combined with being able to make my store a Basic Store has lowered my costs so that I am actually keeping up with my eBay fees.     Hurrah!    Having said that, having over 900 items in my store has not increased my sales.   I don't go with the "list more, and the sales increase" theory.  That has never worked for me.   You don't have to list more, you just have to list what people want, and that is the secret to it.

Last week, I accidentally left my garage door open.   Now, I can sit in my car outside my garage door, madly pressing the button on my remote (on the keyring).  It might take 4-5 presses for the darn thing to  open.

But once I'm inside the house, one extra-soft accidental press on that button has the garage door opening wide without any extra voodoo or swearing on my part.

I came out the next morning, through the door at the back of the garage and saw the roller-door was open.   Snort.  Silly me.  Then I loaded some things in the boot of my car, and went to get in.   My driver side door was ajar.  I looked inside and my glove box was open, with items sitting on my seat.

My heart dropped, as I realised that someone had gone through my car.     Happily, there is nothing in my car worth taking.   I have an old GPS device (with maps 4 years out of date), but I had it sitting in the built-in drink holder.  They didn't find it, and there was nothing else worth them taking.

They even left the whole 20 cent piece in the coin container.  How kind.

I hoped that they were pooping their pants scrounging around in my car in the dark.  Ha ha!   All that effort for nothing.    What an embarrassment for me to have nothing worth stealing!

Then that night, as I sat in my PJs making friends with a bottle of wine, I remembered that I'd had a huge roll of bubble-wrap in the boot of the car.    Ack!   Panic stations!   I shuffled out to the garage, and opened my car.   Whew, still there.  

Oh lovely bubble-wrap!   You mean so much to me, I would have hunted them to the ends of the earth if they'd taken you.

Yes, this is what my life has come to now.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

A lesson learned

Excuse me, whilst I slink back onto my blog that I have ignored recently.  Sorry about that!

The other day I received a "kick in the bum" email from a buyer.     

He was the buyer of this game, that I had sold for my sister.  It sold for $21.99

His email stated that I could not wrap a vintage game in some bubble-wrap and expect it to arrived undamaged, that my packaging had been inadequate to protect the game, and I should have put more thought into it.   He said he was more forgiving than other buyers that would have left me an instant negative.   He ended the email with the words "from one ebay seller to another."

My stomach became an acid bath, and I deleted the email with a petulant finger.   How dare he tell me what to do!!!    I would ignore his words, and he could take his email and shove it.

An hour passed, and I began to think about the email.  Of course he was right.  As I packaged the game, I remembered thinking that I should add some cardboard to the outside, as the lid was especially damaged.  The game box was not heavy cardboard at all, but at 40 years old had softened.  

But I didn't add that extra cardboard.   Do you know why ....  because it would ruin the look of the parcel.  I wanted the game to arrive neatly covered in bubble-wrap with my sticker on the top.   Cardboard would have ruined the look.

Shame on me.

I had gotten caught in the trap of worrying about looks, and following the same process for each game instead of treating each game differently depending on its condition.

I replied to the buyer's message, humbly telling him that he was right in his criticism, and apologised.  I thanked him for giving me the "kick in the pants" that I needed.

A couple of days later he left positive feedback of "thanks".  I checked my DSRs and noticed that he'd dinged me for "item as described".   I took that one on the chin as being deserved.  I was thankful for not getting negative feedback.

So after 10 years on eBay, I had become stuck in a rut with the wrapping of my items.  Process as follows : - wrap with bubble-wrap or brown paper - stick label on - pretty parcel ready to go. 

This was a great lesson to learn, to really think about the item I'm packing for postage, and treat each item individually, instead of just another parcel on a processing line.

Even though my bum hurt after a good kicking, I was proud that I had seen the error of my ways, instead of acting like a kicked puppy.   Who knows, I might even become a grown-up soon.

...  Off to sit on my icepack now.    ;-)

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Resistance is futile !!!!

I've not blogged in a while.

Just haven't had anything to say, really.

Life is just, blah.   I'm feeling kind of flat.  Kind of like I'm stuck in a rut, and can't get out of it.   Like I'm trying to plug a leaky dam and there's more holes there than I have fingers.  Or I'm pushing a boulder uphill on my own.  

And sometimes, just sometimes, it would be nice to have somebody else there to share things with, and stop my life from flat-lining all the time.

The only thrill in my life is when I get served by the cute man at the post office, and he says "Is there anything else I can do for you today?"

I've been mulling that question over, so I wrote a long list of things.  Might give it to him next time he asks, but I don't want him to run screaming in the direction of away.    

Gotta keep that tiny light in my life.

Anyhoo, enough moaning.  The customer who gave me a negative, and said she would remove it if I sent her a replacement card for the board game - well, she lied.

I sent the card.  Waited about 5 days, and then sent a feedback revision with polite message.  The revision expired with no response from her.

I had 2 other copies of the same game.

I sold the second one I had, and it made decent $.   So what I did was photocopy the card I sent to the Big Fat Liar ( I will glue it to some card), and I will sell my third copy of the game with a "replacement copy card", and see how it goes.

I downgraded my store to a Basic Store on the 28th of May. With this, I get 80 free listings a month.    After downgrading my store 80 free listings appeared in my account, I wasn't expecting them quite so quickly with 3 days still to go.   They ran out on the 31st May.    I assumed they were for the next month, and  used them all up.   Then on the 1st June, another 80 free listings appeared.    Double free listings.  Score!   Took those and ran with them, looking just a little bit shady.  Wasn't sure if they really belonged to me.

This month as all the crap in my store rolls off the 'one week where they offered 2000 free listings' from last month, I will gradually decrease the number of items in my store. 

Books will now get sent to Fishpond.  They have changed their selling policy, thank goodness!  It now only costs $9.95 for me to take a box of stuff to the Post Office.   Once they enter the stuff at their end, I choose the price it will sell for.   Hurrah!   Most of my books will end up there from now on.

I'm concentrating more on videos and board games now.  

I've nothing really exciting in sales.  The Queen's Birthday long weekend got me a few sales, which was a welcome change.

Here are some of the vaguely interesting things I have sold recently:

I'm selling this for a friend, we go halves on final price.
This was my first auction in ages.

I bought this book over a year ago for 50 cents.  I can't believe it took this long to sell.  So glad to see it go!

This game only took a month to sell.  My sister picked it up for me for $2. 

I found this pile of westerns in my cupboard, and decided to get rid of them.  I had been debating selling them as they were a little tatty/repaired/stained.    They only took a week to sell.  They are like gold here in Australia.

I'm excited, that I have one parcel to post tomorrow.   Eeep!  Off to the Post Office I go.   :-)

Thursday, 23 May 2013

So slow .....

Argghhh!  My sales have been so slow.  I am planning on downgrading to a basic store next month.     I will save $30 a month.  There is only 80 free listings with the Basic Store, but given most of my stuff is media at 5 cents a pop, that's not so bad.

I have 900 listings in my store, and I am sick of listing the same things over and over again.   It's very disheartening and in the end quite pricey.   So the last couple of weeks, as things ended that I didn't want to relist - they stayed in my Unsold folder.  I was planning on getting rid of a lot of the books - box them up, and send them off to Fishpond (Amazon wannabee),  group them and list them as bulk-listings - or send them off to the op shop.

I was starting on this process, , and my store was down to just over 600 items, when I got an email from eBay saying that I was being offered 5,000 free listings, with a week to list them (ending 28th May).    Have they tapped my computer?  Did they know what I was going to do?  I am gob-smacked.    (I love that word!!!)     So what the heck could I do?   I re-listed all my crap again.   It's now floating around in the ether, with all the other crap that people have put up with their 5,000 free listings.  What the heck,  I figure with free listings it doesn't hurt.  I'll just have to put off my book culling for another month.    However, I will still be down-grading to a Basic Store.

The last 3 days, I have only had one pissy little sale - sales are now down to a third of what they were.   Ebay is such a downer.    I am seriously considering selling only videos & board games.  My books don't seem to get many hits at all.    After a month, a lot of them have less than 5 views.

I am also seriously considering an Etsy store.   I have created one, but it's not open yet, and there's nothing in it.   Given most of my eBay stock is books, games and videos, not much of this is suitable for Etsy.  But I have been collecting some things, and I think I will concentrate on paper ephemera.   I have stacks of old sewing patterns, and some old knitting booklets so I should put them up.

Along with the colossal down-fall in sales, I had a couple of "item not as described" emails.      I hate the whack in the guts feeling when I get one of those.    

The first was a couple of weeks ago.   For this lovely sale.  This had sold 3 weeks before I got the email.  I had been very happy with what I got for it.

She sent an email saying that a card was missing from the game, when it had been advertised as complete.   I checked my feedback, and she had already left me a big fat negative.     

Now I know that I counted those cards carefully - but that's not to say that each card was correct.    She didn't want to return the game, so just left the negative.    I gave myself a couple of hours to calm down.   

I had been so excited by this sale, and lo and behold I had found two more copies of the same game.   Wahooo!    Excitement deflated - I offered her a replacement card from one of the other games I found - and waited.  After about 4 days she sent an email saying - she would take the replacement card and change the feedback.    I sent the card, and waited 4 days - then sent off a request to change the feedback.   It's been about 5 days, and I haven't heard anything.   I can only sit and wait.

Then a couple of days ago, I got an 'item not as described' about this sale.

He said the parcel was filled with an oily substance, and some of the video cases were cracked.   I was gutted because being a Trekkie myself, I hated that these had been ruined.   The buyer stated that he would leave positive feedback, because it had all been carefully wrapped, but just wanted an explanation on how it could have happened.

I had no explanation other than an Australia Post employee with a dirty van, had piled parcels on top of mine.   I sent an apologetic email, bit the bullet and refunded his money (less the postage cost).

He replied a minute later, insisting that I didn't have to refund the money.   He knew it wasn't my fault.  
He told me send another invoice, and he would pay me again.


We were at stalemate -  he wanted to pay me, I felt that he shouldn't have to.  I countered with going halves - at $10, and sent him my email address for Paypal.

He sent me a payment 5 minutes later  - for $15, and sent me an email saying how it was great to see there were still nice people in the world.

I'm not ashamed to admit I cried like a baby.

I love my sci fi nerds.     :-)

Friday, 10 May 2013

Shaking all over

Yesterday I went to the dentist. 

It was just for a check-up and clean.  I was quite pleased with myself because I was not too worried.   I felt virtuous since I had got my electronic tooth-brush for Christmas and hoped to use it to fend off the need for false teeth.

I have always had a morbid fear of getting falsies.  I had always believed that false teeth were thrust onto us, when we were in our mid-forties, that suddenly our teeth fell out at that age.  That was the age that my parents got theirs.  Even as a child I remember my parents clacking their falsies around in their mouths.  I shuddered when I came upon the teeth nestling in their own private little bath, sitting on the bathroom bench.  Grinning up at me like some dental nightmare.

I had visions of shooting my teeth across the room when I sneezed, sucking on my gums as I anticipated a lovely glass of wine, or just plain losing them and painfully finding them later when I sat down on the couch.

When I was a teenager we had a 100 year old lady stay with us for a few months.  I remember once she was sitting there clacking her falsies and contemplating a nice cuppa.
"Can you hold these for me," she said to my mum.

Mum held out her hand, expecting the handkerchief in her hand, and was rewarded with a handful of drool-covered grin.

Needless to say, the only reason I keep attending the dentist is to prevent this for as long as possible

My dentist is an angel and treats me like the on-the-edge, nervous looney that I am - I call him Super Dentist.  The latest thing when I visit is for me to be sent to a different room to visit the 'dental hygienist' for the clean, when he used to perform this as well as the checkup.  It costs more $,  but I don't complain, as nobody else would take on a nut job like me.

The dental hygienist was a polite young lady, I could tell straight away that she was nervous.    I lay down on the chair and began my nervous, uncontrollable quaking.   She started the cleaning and for a moment I wondered if there was an earthquake.  Then I realised that she was shaking too.  I mean really shaking - we were at the same vibration level.  

I began to panic.  My shaking increased three-fold.   The dental chair turned into a vibrating massage chair.  The dental implements on the little table attached began to dance a not-so-merry jig.

I remembered that I still hadn't made my will.   I pictured large slashes in my gums, and inside my mouth.

After a few minutes, she stopped and left the room.  My dentist appeared in the doorway and I heard her murmur that she wasn't ready yet.

Then he took over, and I could have jumped out of the chair and squeezed his delicious self.    
At the end he declared himself pleased with me, and said that I would get a lolly, and also a stamp on my hand.

As for the dental hygienist, I have nothing but the utmost respect and admiration for her.  I saw in her a fellow awkwardist and shy person.  I know what it's like to be placed in a situation that puts you somewhere new and confronting - that suddenly tests your carefully set limited boundaries.   My automatic response is just like hers.  The vibration lets us know we are still alive, it is built within us and we have no control over how our body reacts. 

In telling this story, I do not intend to demean or make fun of her in any way.  Cudos to her, I say.  She should be so proud.   She tried, and she accepted that she wasn't ready yet.     I was chuffed to meet a fellow awkwardist, and also in the way Super Dentist smoothed the way for her.   I got a warm fuzzy feeling.  It was almost a Hallmark/Dental moment.

I had obviously had the honour of being her first ever real client.  I made sure to thank her profusely when I left.

I shook my way out to the car and drove home.  With me inside it, my car was doing the Harlem Shuffle down the highway - it was probably an awesome sight to behold to the other drivers on the road.

Halfway through my drive home,  I realised that I never got my lolly or the stamp on my hand for being a "good girl".  

Shafted!!!!     :-(

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Hello, Possum !

Dear Possum(s)

I am very pleased that you found the tiny broken part in my roof tile, and decided to move in.   I know it's a lovely dark open space up there and you must have been chuffed to find your new roomy rent-free apartment.

I never knew that possums could River-dance - I certainly never expected you to be doing it from 2 to 5 am every morning in my bedroom ceiling wearing hob-nailed boots.   

I'm sorry for not being an appreciative audience to your performances.   I'm sure the other families you roomed with enjoyed them a hell of a lot more than I do.   Perhaps they also supplied you with the steroids that made you twice as big as you should be.

Also, thanks for jumping on the eaves with your fat steroid-taking possum bums, and causing it to fall down.   That's really nice that you've created a nice platform there, so that anything can now walk into my roof with ease and comfort.  

 You've turned my roof into a fricking Noah's Ark.   I can only imagine what will be able to move into my roof now.   I know it won't be something magical like unicorns.

It's windy today, and I'm sure the roof space is getting a lovely airing from the huge bloody two-metre hole that is now open to the elements.  I can only picture you filling this space with possum pooh, piss & other nasty things.

I'm just waiting to hear back from my insurance company to send someone out and fix the mess you've made.    Then I also get to pay hundreds of dollars to a special "possum man" to come and possum-proof my roof, and catch you in order take you away and set you free again in my area !!!  How nice for you!    

May I suggest Unit 12 as a nice abode.  There is a lovely bogan family there that will appreciate your nightly river-dancing far more than I.    They will appreciate *you* in more ways that I.  

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Go Home eBay - You're Drunk !!

eBay Australia is implementing a huge change on 1st May.

As with any news like this, I respond by screaming and hiding in the cupboard until either I see a spider, or my need for a drink forces me out.

The blurb read that changes were being made to the fee structure, so the fees for listing were decreased, but the selling fees were increased - the end result being that the % of fees is moved to after-sales, instead of just for listing.

"What a load of wank", was my first reaction.   I boo-hoo'd and moaned to my parrots, who didn't give a hoot.   They just kept eating bird seed and crapping, oblivious to the fact that eBay keeps them in food.

So, I decided to actually sit down and figure out how this change affected me.   Look eBay right between it's beady little eyes, and see what the future held.

Yes, I squealed when I saw the price of auctions was tripled from $0.50 to $1.50.     Then I remembered that I don't run many auctions.   Disaster averted.

They are bringing back the basic store at $19.95 which I used to be at, before they scrapped it and I was forced to change to Featured Store at $49.95.      Good news.

They tweaked the FVF up by 1% on items.   No biggie.

They offered 80 free Fixed Price items per month (basic store) or 200 for the Featured Store.    Not very exciting when applied to my 5c listings  (media - books, videos, CDs) - but when applied to everything else at 20c per listing - then that was a fair saving.   I could sell more items that I'd been avoiding because of the higher listing cost.  It doesn't sound like much, but 20 cents per listing can add up very quickly.

I dug out my sales for February, and applied these theories.   I included no auctions in this, as I had none in February.

a)   What it currently costs, before the change :    Store Fee ($49.95) + Listings Fees ($44.50) + FVF ($105.78) =  monthly cost of $200.23

b)   New fee structure with Featured Store and 200 free listings  :    Store Fee $49.95 + Listing ($33.50) + FVF ($105.64)  = monthly cost of $189.09

c)   New fee structure with Basic Store and 80 free listings:  Store Fee ($19.95) + Listing Fees ($36) + FVF ($119.04) = monthly cost of $174.99


I found out that the changes will actually give me some small savings from around $10 to $25.    But then given that the fees are moving to after sales are made, then that would explain it.   :-p

The free listings all start on 1st May, so to get the best advantage of them, I would need to relist all my 20 cent listings on this day.  (or if I go back to a Basic Store - the 50 cent listings).

The number geek in me is satisfied.

A benefit to me from eBay - who'd've thunk!

eBay - go home, you're drunk!

Monday, 22 April 2013

Climbing the Family Tree

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to reluctantly part with my genealogy microfiche collection.     I started buying these about 20 years ago when I  ~  a.   had a life /   b.   had money to spend.

Researching the family tree became my passion.    It was a grand mystery to be solved - link A to B, and track the trail further back.   It suited my nerdy/Aspberger's personality  The funny thing about genealogy - to get extra information about your ancestors - to put meat on the bones, so the speak - they had to have either been rich or naughty.

I'm very lucky that mine were naughty (I would have been luckier if they had been rich).   Yes, tragedy, naughtiness and poverty abounds in my family tree (and still does!) - which is chock full of coal miners, factory workers, servants, labourers and farmers.   Yet sadly, none of them were convicts that were sent to Australia!!   (This would be due more to their cunningness at not getting caught, rather than having never committed a crime).

Yes, I found out some things that weren't meant to be known.

I found out my mother was # 8 of 15 children.  I didn't know that.  Mum wasn't too happy when I found out, and I was questioned sharply on exactly why I had to do the family tree anyway.    I had only met two uncles and one aunt, and knew of two other uncles that I'd never met, and one who had died when I was young.   I only know that because when I was a child (about 10), I opened the front door one night in my PJs and dressing gown, and found two policemen standing there.   Later I quizzed Mum about why they were there, and she finally admitted that my Uncle John had died.   Uncle John?  Who? I'd never heard of him ...   That got quickly swept under the mat, but those two policemen stayed in my child's mind, because I had been in awe of them - so tall in their smart uniforms.

Having never known any of my grandparents -  and my parents,  aunts & uncles being of the era where children were seen and not heard - none of these things were talked about.  

I got the genealogy bug when I was about 25, and never stopped from there.   I had to visit my parents with a bottle of wine and get them half-cut, before the stories came out of their loosened lips and I would sit there scribbling in my notepad.

Anyway, searching for something to make some money so I could pay my mounting bills, I found my plastic container full of microfiche and decided to let them go.   I didn't even have a microfiche reader - that got sold 3 years ago when I was forced to move, so they were of no more use to me.   I had gleaned all the information I needed from them already.  

But I had no idea if there were of use to anybody else.  Surely all this information was now available on CD, or on the internet?

I searched for previous sales in the "Genealogy" section of eBay, but there was just so few microfiche that had been for sale, that I had no prices to go on.  My microfiche contained censuses, and baptism/marriage/burial registers for certain counties in Scotland and in England, and few from Australia.

I put most up for auction, and the single ones up for BIN prices.    There was interest from all over the world - and they ended up being sent to Scotland, England and the US (and within Australia).
Every single one of them sold - and my total sales in the end was just over $600.   I had been without the pleasure of watching a bidding war for so long, these ones had my granny undies dancing with joy.

Here are a couple of the sales, so you get an idea.   Lots of people bought multiple microfiche.  Or microfishes - as one customer hilariously called them.   ;-).

I still have a few left - some of them I don't know what to do with, as I don't have microfiche reader any more, and they have no title on them - I basically have no idea what is on them.

So, if you ever see some microfiche (or microfishes) lying around your op shops - be sure to pick them up if the price is right.     Then somebody else with a microfiche reader can get motion sickness like I used to - scrolling through the pages.   Happy days.

Friday, 19 April 2013

22 Hours Later ....

I can honestly say that was one of the worst 24 hours of my life.

Where did you go in that time, Dad?    You don't know or won't say.   You turned up home at noon yesterday (Thursday) looking like a grey, gaunt ghost - totally unsurprised to see your entire family at home at midday on a Thursday.   Unsurprised to see me bawling my eyes out, and nearly faint with relief.    When I gave you a hug, you felt like a frail shell of my father.   You left when the sun was high one day and got back home the next day when the sun was high, and to you it was still the same day.  You hadn't eaten or drunk anything for 24 hours.

You drove to a medical centre 20 minutes away to pay a bill at 2:30pm on Wednesday, and then disappeared.  We know you you made it there because we rang the receptionist.   It was on a very busy road, and you don't know the area very well. But the exit from that medical centre only lets you turn one way - but that wasn't the way you needed to go to get home.

So you kept driving - in the wrong direction.  Away from us.

You are 84 years old.  You have been blessed with good health, but after being rear-ended in a car accident a couple of years ago you have declined in health & mind.   You have lost weight, and grown vague, and you have lost interest in the world around you.

My mother, frustrated with the way you have declined has responded to this by nagging you 24/7, and calling you names liked 'useless' and 'pathetic'.   You don't know how sad that makes me.  I know it hurt you inside.  You have always been quiet like me, but now you stopped talking at all.

But then we got you a plethora of doctors, and you were responding well -  a cause was found - anaemia from the kidneys not working properly.   The last few weeks you had started to put on weight, your hands have shrunk back to their normal size, and you have taken an interest in your hobbies again.   Just last weekend, I was talking with you & Mum, and a holiday to Queensland was mentioned.  I saw your eyes light up, as you discussed where you would stay on the 4 day drive up there.  You don't know how happy that made me.

What happened on that drive?   You mentioned driving in the night, and not remembering how to put the headlights on.  I am horrified.   You have no idea where you drove to, but you do remember stopping for petrol & a toilet break.

Yesterday, after the police & everyone had gone - and it was just you, me & Mum left.   You said that you'd "gone to do your job, to go and make some money.  To make some deliveries."

You used to be a courier, and your job was making deliveries in Melbourne and beyond.  You didn't retire until you were 75 years old.   You did this job for about 20 years and you loved driving your car.  

You want to go back to a time when you had a job and a purpose to life.  When you were earning the money.   You don't want to be 'useless'.  

My Uncle Fred, did something similar when he was 75 years old. I was only seventeen at the time.   He disappeared for 2 weeks, leaving my Aunt frantic with worry.  It turned out he had gone fruit picking up north. Took off without a word.  When he returned, he said he wanted to "earn some money, and feel useful again."  I see a common theme here, with retired men.

When the two police officers turned up yesterday to cross you off their 'missing persons' list, we all talked about how you will no longer be allowed to drive.  You took no notice, and chatted how you were going on a driving holiday to Queensland soon.

Sorry, Dad.  We are hiding the car keys.   Mum can't drive, so I know this will affect your independence, and will be a big blow to your self esteem.  It kills me to have to do it, but it is for your safety, and all the other people on the road.

I am thankful that my Mum still has her health.     I am thankful that I have 2 brothers and a sister to help share the burden of this.    I am thankful for my friends - both real life and on-line who have helped through this.

I am thankful to my ex in-laws who were the ones who spotted his car and gave me the call that found him.

Dad, the next few weeks are going to be very hard for you.  Please don't disappear into your own world again.  We are here for you in this one.  

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Missing :-(

I  had a blog all lined up, and then Boston happened, and I put it on the side-burner as less important and trivial at the time.

But now my father is missing.

He left yesterday afternoon at 2:30pm to go and pay a bill at a medical centre about 20 minutes from home.  He took off before my mum could get in the car with him.   He is 85 years old and starting to get a bit vague.

It is now 8am the next day and nothing has been heard of him.

The police have been notified, and we have done the rounds of hospitals, and places he might be.

Now it is raining for the first time in ages, and all I can think about is my Dad out there somewhere in the cold.  He doesn't even have a warm jacket on.  I hate not knowing where he is or what has happened to him.

I feel so useless.

Monday, 18 March 2013

The Beast Within

You know some days when you shouldn't get out of bed?   You are in a mood as soon as you fall out and everything seems turn to poop.

Well, this was last Saturday.

I was itching to visit my local op shop - I'd missed it my last two Saturdays because of a public holiday, and a tiler coming to fix my living room floor tiles that decides to do a tango.

Ebay sales had been absolute crap - only $30 made in 5 days.   I was depressed and angry and generally should have been locked in a cupboard somewhere.     

I was also a super-PMS monster, and had been alternately blubbing/getting rabid over the silliest things for a few days already.

My purse only had $10 in it.   I was not happy looking in my empty purse.  I had just enough petrol to get to my Mum & Dad's for lunch that day and back home again.

I was walking past the bric-a-brac shed, ready to spend my puny $10 on kids clothing to re-sell.  As I passed, I saw there was two large trestle tables out the front with about 10 plastic bags of books on them.  My tongue lolled, my eyes glowed like something unearthly.  Books!    (Completely ignoring my promise to myself, to buy less books).

I started rifling through the bags - there was lots of good titles there - but I only had $10, and I still wanted to buy a bag of clothes.    Then a man working there approached me.  I go to this op shop nearly every week and I'd never seen this man before.

I knew from his first words that he was one of those over-hearty annoying old-man types.    

He followed me around the table babbling at me about "how GREAT these books were, and how EXPENSIVE these books had been to buy.   How these were SO WONDERFUL and in SUCH GOOD CONDITION. "   

*My fangs began to emerge from my gums*

 I heard another lady look in a bag and say "ooh there's lots of good books in here!"

He bellowed at me "Get over here and look in this bag.  There's lots of GOOD BOOKS in here!"    

*My hands began to pop out into long claws.   My breathing changed into something non-human.*

The bag was full of historical romance.   "You read a lot of historical romance, do you?" I heard the animal within me say.       ( Down, girl. )

"Ermmmm, oh no.   My eyesight you know.  Prefer to watch car racing on the telly."

I actually Harrumphed.  I never thought I could do that.   But STILL he didn't give up.

"Wonderful BOOKS.  You'll never see any in this FANTASTIC CONDITION again!"

*A growl emerged from me, and my feet started to split in my shoes as they elongated into hairy paws.*    I wisely ignored the sudden urge to see if my fist would fit in his mouth.

I finally threw about 10 books into a bag, and asked "How much?" around my fangs (i.e. ha mush).

"$5.  How's that.  That's a good price isn't it.  That's FAIR."

I knew the books were sold for 50 cents each so I agreed, and handed him my precious $10 note.  

He took it and went to get the change, then he stopped and turned back to me.   "Do you want the change?"   

"Ermmmm, yesh, " says me, ever-so-nicely (and very carefully, my teeth were VERY sharp by then).

"It's just that they're SUCH NICE books.  And $10 is still a GRAND PRICE for all the ones you've chosen!"

I didn't think they were worth a life-sentence for murder.

I gave him my stink-eye, with a hint of extra feral.   IT DIDN'T WORK!!  The gormless twit stood there like a half-wit, resembling nothing more to me than a man-sized punching-bag.   

*My bones began to pop and started to shape the rest of me into something not-quite-right.  I think the tips of my ears grew hairy and pointy*

I opened my purse and showed him the empty interior.   "That is all the money I have left.  I need that $5," I managed to say.

He finally got the hint and brought me my change.

Being the spineless wonder that I am, I was overly-effuse in my thanks, even though he was in the wrong for suddenly doubling the price that we had agreed on.

I walked to my car, and put the bag of books in the boot.  By then I had changed back to pathetic fully-human again.  I pretended to re-organise the things in my boot whilst I shed a few boo-hoo tears at being forced to show my empty purse to a stranger.  Is this what my life had come to?

Only two weeks until I can drink wine again.  Hurrah!

Men ...  I can do without them .....

Ooh, Professor Lupin.   Lovely.


Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Road trip !

I started this blog entry over a week ago - it's time to send it into the ether.

Whilst the other side of the world is sighing over snow, here in Melbourne we have broken a weather record - the past 8+ days have been the hottest group of days since temperature started being recorded in Melbourne (early 1850s).    I am so over it.   I have got NO work done.  It's been a week since my road trip described below, and I have done nothing but lie around the house, draped over furniture that I then have to peel myself off of - leaving a layer of skin attached.

Stinking hot nights where I get no sleep means I am super dopey all day.   

Very few new listings for me, no op shopping for new stock at all, and a terrible week of sales.  I've only really left the house to post my measly few sales.

The tiles in my living room popped up overnight in the heat, and I had to fork out $300 to get them fixed, as I kept tripping over them.

The 3M hooks that I use to hang the classy black fabric on my back sliding door (which gets the afternoon heat), totally came away from the wall, and are hanging by a thread of useless gummy stuff.

Then I'm wrangling huge spiders that come into my house to get out of the heat.

Let me tell you, the panicky dance I do when I spot those hairy freaks certainly gets my temperature up !!!

Today it is currently 37 degrees.   

I AM OVER IT.  RAIN PLEASE.   SOON.     Any more of this and I will just be a puddle.  My brain is boiled, my hands and feet are swollen.

So if you see a few eBay items from Melbourne appearing in the last week that have shiny reflective surfaces on them - don't be surprised if your eye is poked out by a nipple or a nasty body part.   Clothing is just too much right now!!!!

And On To The Road trip ....

Now recently I've discovered a couple of shows - American Pickers & Salvage Hunters.  In these shows two guys drive around and find stuff and sell it in their shops.   Of course they fork out amazing amounts of money - such as forking out $500 to sell a toy for $600!   Not for tight-wad me.

But it gave me itchy feet.   I go to the same op shops on the same days of the week, and I got to thinking that I'd really like to get in more of the high profit items in my eBay store - for me this is usually Board Games and Videos.

In other people's minds - a road trip means hours of driving to far away places.

For me a road trip means driving half an hour away to somewhere I haven't been.

3 things spur me onto a road trip:

~ I need more stock, need to hit different stores to get it

~ The petrol gauge on my car is not nudging the "I'm thirsty, feed me!" red line  (very rare occurrence)

~ I actually have more than $10 in my purse  (another rare occurrence).

Ding, ding, ding!   I loved the hit over the last couple of weeks when I sold some higher priced items.   I wanted more of those!   I really wanted to find some cool board games.

I was stoked!     Off I chugged down the new freeway just opened near my house which would take me to my destination (Mornington) with less traffic lights.   I had my GPS going because I always miss street turnoffs.   As I drove down the freeway, sun shining brightly, lovely new road with little traffic - I looked at my GPS and it showed me as driving through nothingness.    Had I entered the Twilight Zone?  No, I just haven't updated the maps on my GPS for nearly 2 years because it's too friggin' expensive.   Luckily, I didn't need to rely on it on the freeway.

I had planned on taking photos and making a whole blog out of my road trip.    Then the temperature rose, there was roadworks on all my turn-offs and parking spaces were few and far between.    I was foaming at the mouth like a feral dog by the time I reached the second op shop.   I lost the urge to document my journey pictorially, and concentrated on not throttling anybody.

My first op shop is situated next to a garbage tip.   Items are "reclaimed" and sold.  There is some rusty old crap there - but lots of stuff is donated as well.      

Board games were a loss.  So I left with 30 video-tapes.  At 10 cents a video, I couldn't say no.  

The Salvos were next.  I pounced on a game of Atmosfear DVD Board Game marked at $5, with a caw of delight.     But shuffling through the innards, I noticed the DVD was missing.  Snort!  Honk!  Left empty-handed.

St Vinnies was next - I got some videos at 50 cents each and a Compatibility Board Game for $1.  (Board game has already sold sold for $14.99 - but I'm STILL waiting for payment).

A little church op shop was next.  Their videos were 10 cents each too, so I got 30 more!!! And a board game at $2  (the game turned out to be a dud).

The final op shop I planned to visit had closed down so I drove home with a boot-load of videos and very few games.  

A couple of days later, I visited the animal shelter op shop which is only open a few days of the week, and I never have the petrol to get there.   They had lots of interesting board games.  

I got all these for $9

My favourites among these are:

This gorgeous vintage game of Mix 'N' Match.   I've never seen this before.  The colours on the cards are so vibrant. 

This one is dated 1962.  Not all the sheets are left in it, but it was too cute to leave behind.

A cute Australian Board Game from 1985.

My favourite find - Squatter Board Game - *scream* - yes, they wrote the price in texta on the lid.   What I did was put some Orange Power on a tissue and rub at the price.  It fades the texta, and yes it also takes a layer of the print on the lid as well.  Then I wrote a fictitious surname over the top in texta.  It's better to have a name written on it, than a $2 price!!!!

Game has already sold for $24.99.   I wish I could find more of these.

Whoah - that was too much effort!   I'm off to flop uselessly around the house again, and hope that the supposed cool change will arrive sometime tomorrow afternoon.