This can’t be good… but at least someone had a top night…

February 19, 2010 at 5:15 am (Uncategorized)

Tired, hot, cross… another night of broken sleep followed by male voices out the back first thing, right by our bedroom window, so I shot outside, shoeless and dishevelled, demanding to know what the hell they thought they were doing.

“This is private property!” I shrieked. “Can I help you?!”

Understandably, both men jumped and then cowered.

“Sorry, sorry,” muttered the small Italian, hands up, palms out.

“We’ve got a busted sewerage main,” explained the other. “I can show it to you if you like? It’s in the truck. And the pipe comes straight under your property.”

“Oh,” I said, trying to straighten my shirt. “Sorry about that. I thought you were builders from this new block out the back; they’ve taken a lot of liberties with our property and I’m sick to death of it. So, um, what are you doing?”

“Man hole’s backed up with sewerage,” said the big one, shaking his head regretfully. “Can’t get in there. Think we’re gonna hafta come in through here.” He gestured at the paving and then, worryingly, in the direction of the communal laundry.

“And who’s paying for that?” I asked.

“Oh, Sydney Water,” he said. “They’ll put it back the way it was after everything’s fixed, but in the meantime we might have to go in via that shed. It’s right underneath there.”

I frowned.

“That sounds like a rather big job.”

He shrugged happily.

“I’m Graham,” he said. “And this is Elio.”

We shook hands and then they left to get more equipment. A short time later Graham knocked on the door. His little gizmo indicated X marks the spot directly beneath our washing machine in the laundry. I apologised again for snapping like a scorpion and explained I hadn’t slept.

“Me neither,” Graham beamed. “Went to AC/DC last night.”

“Oh,” I nodded. “I have friends going to that tonight or tomorrow night. How was it?”

“Faaarkin awesome,” he enthused.

What can you say to that but, “Great, that’s great, I’ll be sure to let them know”…?

“Tell ‘em they’re in for a top night.”

“I’ll do that. Now what’s happening with the poo pipes?”

Mercifully, Graham and Elio are seeking a second opinion. Engineers will be coming – sometime soon, we don’t know when – and I’m hoping they’ll decide they should suck up the shit out of the manhole behind the restaurants instead of drilling into our laundry and destroying our backyard. Fingers crossed.

So that was my morning. Can you imagine my mood? Now I’m just fatigued and could use a sleep if I were someone who could do that in the middle of the afternoon. The planning proceeds; I’m liking it. I’ve also thought of another short story idea. Oh, and the inaugural winner of the CAL Scribe prize was announced last night at Melbourne’s new Wheeler Centre: Maris Morton, who has two short stories available online that you can read here. The prize is for an unpublished MS by an author over 35 years of age, and they were swamped with entries, the field eventually topping out at over 500 writers. It remains disappointing not to have cracked the long list, but I suppose there’s always next year. Meanwhile, all good luck and congratulations to Ms. Morton, who’s making her debut as a novelist at the age of 70 – you’d have to think she’d be pretty damn happy with that!

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10 Comments

  1. Pete said,

    Well it just shows that perseverance pays off. That is, if Ms Morton has been writing for years without negligible success and has now finally cracked it. She may have just started typing away last year and cracked it on the first go. Hmph. Thanks for the link to her stories, which I’ll check out later.

    And as for the plumbers, I’m not sure what image I had of Aussie ones other than Kenny but these sound like a hoot.

    • doctordi said,

      You got it in one with the Kenny reference, Pete. It was exactly like that!

      I don’t know Ms. Morton’s full bio but from what I have read, she’s had a number of careers, and if she only came to writing later in life, then she’s certainly having the last laugh!

  2. Grad said,

    OMG – time for me yet! Ms Morton sounds like a Viola clone. I recently had some bad news myself about plumbing. Plumbers came out to clear out a clog at the main from my house. He called me out to the curb and pointed to the gutter. “You got a problem, lady.” “Oh, dear.” “You gotta busted pipe. Gotta dig up the street, go down about 12 feet.” “Um…that sounds really really expensive.” “Yep.” “Um…I mean, how expensive? Like…thousands? (she said with a sarcastic laugh.)” “Oh, hell yeah.” “Uh-oh. Well, I mean, does it have to be fixed TODAY?.” “I mean, it could last two weeks or two years, but one day you’re gonna come home from work and you ain’t gonna have no plumbing ’cause the whole pipe’s gonna cave.” And then he added with a laugh, “You’re gonna have to build you an outhouse in the backyard. Ha, ha, ha!” I thought a moment, then asked, “And…just how much would THAT cost?” I’m always one to consider all the options.

    • doctordi said,

      PLENTY of time for you, ducky!! Yes, Ms. Morton sounds pretty cute. In fact, she sounds like a lady detective series… ‘Maris Morton’ – you couldn’t make it up!

      Your guy sounds *exactly* like my guy! Two weeks, two years… that’s also seeming possible at this rate…

  3. Lilian Nattel said,

    That’s definitely over 35–it’s nice to hear late bloomer stories.

    Fingers crossed that they don’t have to dig up on your property.

    • doctordi said,

      Lilian, I really think they’re going to… I just can’t fix them to a timetable…

      Yep, it sure is over 35 – a nice start to the prize. It bodes well for its future when you consider the eldest entrant was a cool 90 years of age, 22 entrants were born in the 1920s, and 64 in the 1930s – pretty incredible, really!

  4. Litlove said,

    Problems with sewerage pipes always fill me with a sort of shuddering dread. The very best of luck to you. May the shit be sucked up in no time.

    • doctordi said,

      LL, the super-duper extraordinary part of all this is that so far there’s NO STENCH. But I keep getting visions of the pipe blowing like one of those oil towers… and that would *not* be good.

  5. davidrochester said,

    Graham and Elio? Nah. I don’t buy it. 🙂

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