I have always been obsessed with friendship. When I was a kid, I would rush to my elementary school as soon as the class lists were posted a few days before school started, and eagerly scan mine for the names of new girls. Because new girls meant new friends, and I was obsessed with friendship. I could never fall asleep before the first day of school, fantasizing about all the new friends I would make.
Sorry for the wait everyone, but here it is! My new project!
My dream to take up vlogging has finally become a reality! In this video, I introduce myself as a new vlogger and let you know what's to come! Don't worry though, I'll still be blogging here as usual. You can visit my new YouTube channel by clicking here…
So anyway, dear readers, the other day I had received my allocated bus and located it in the bus shed. I fired ‘er up and got myself all settled in nicely and was ready to depart the depot head off in search of passengers eager to clamber on board the bus to head off and start their working day. There was just one small problem with this. The bus in front of me had not moved out of my way. Now, I could have reversed out of the shed as the one behind me had already done that, but I figured that the driver in front of me had been sitting there that long, he would be ready to leave at any given second. Anyway. Last time I reversed out of the shed I nearly took one of the support poles with me (but that’s another story) and didn’t want to tempt fate. I got out of my seat and ambled up to his door and knocked on it politely. He opened the door and I asked him, not to be rude or anything, if he was planning on leaving any time soon. He informed me that he was only too eager to be on his way but he just couldn’t seem to get the bloody maxi brake to release.
I offered to jump in the saddle and have a bit of a Captain Cook at the situation. I quickly realised that, despite the gauges giving a good reading, the air bags were probably not quite fully inflated, thus disabling the brake release. I jumped on the gas and gave it what for, revving the engine to encourage the air flow into the airbags, when suddenly an alarm sounded. This was a good thing, readers, as it meant that the brakes had released, the maxi brake was off, and the little driver’s cabin door was ajar, hence the alarm. The driver’s cabin doors are alarmed so the driver cannot leave the seat without properly securing the vehicle. This little addition to the safety features has prevented a roll-away from happening for 468 days thus far. Anyway, I whacked the maxi brake back on to stop the alarm from sounding, and handed control back over to the newbie driver who got out of my way, quick smart, allowing me to start my run for the day.
Now, I could completely understand the new driver’s bafflement as I, myself, even after fifteen years of bus driving, still get a little confused occasionally. Recently I was allocated a bendy bus, or banana bus as us Queenslanders tend to call them. Now, it wasn’t one of the nice, fancy schmancy, new ones, but rather an old banger that would not seem out of place in a transport museum. I hopped into the seat, set up my stuff, did the pre-drive check and was ready to head off on my merry way. I released the maxi brake and she wouldn’t move an inch. I checked that the back door was shut as it has an interlock on it that prevents the bus from moving when it is open. Yep, it was shut. I applied the maxi brake and released it again, and then applied the short stop brake and released it again, too. Still no joy. I started to rev the engine to build up the air pressure, just in case that was holding the brakes on.
I was becoming rather frustrated at this point when I spotted a senior looking driver over the way. I beckoned him over. “I can’t get this bus to move.” I said. “Are there any particular tricks to getting it to move?” He stuck his head in the window and had a quick look. He came round to the front door, and looked at the controls. “Well, your brake is off, the short stop is off, the air gauges look fine. Just put it in gear again and give it another go.” Oh. Right. In GEAR. Yes, that would probably do it. I depressed the D button (that’s D for DRIVE, readers), released the maxi brake and off we rolled. Funnily enough. Yep, readers, engaging the gears does assist with forward motion of the vehicle. I simply smiled and nodded at the senior driver, not saying a word but all the while feeling like a bit of a dick. Ho hum!
On another note, I’m very keen to start decorating my bus for Christmas but is end November too soon, or should I wait for December to begin decorations? Below are photos of my bus, decorated for Christmas, many years ago. What do you think?
I'm the youngest of six kids. I have two brothers: the oldest is David and the other is Sean.
Sean and I didn't get along when we were younger.
Don't get me wrong, it was nothing serious. More of a personality difference. I liked Star Trek, he liked sports. I wanted to watch cartoons, he pushed me over to watch Rocky IV.
I just remembered that while I was stuck on that plane last week coming back from being an international businessman (shame I don't get international businessman pay BTW) there was a salesman sitting behind me next to an English undergraduate.
I know this because the guy didn't stop talking from the moment I sat down until the moment I got up, opened the rear door and threw myself out at 22,000ft.
So, dear readers, you might be aware that I turned 40 at the weekend and celebrated with a big party. I had invited approximately 80 guests, of which about 60 were expected to show up, and of that, about 40 put in an appearance. I usually go by a 50% attrition rate, so that was not a bad showing. I was extremely spoiled, being showered with gifts and gift cards, bottles of wine, candles, books and all sorts of things. The party was fancy dress, ocean theme, and most people made a special effort to dress up spectacularly for the event, and those that weren’t spectacular still managed to put together a good costume. It was a great ice-breaker, I found, as I had groups of people who knew one another, but others who knew only me and my husband. By the end of the night everyone was getting along splendidly. I had put on some wine, punch, a bbq and also had arranged a birthday cake. I had also been planning to have some half decent music for a change, so had been purchasing top 40 tunes off iTunes ready to crank out on the iPod. It worked a treat.
Anyway, the following day I cracked open all my gifts and made an effort to reply to every person individually, via Facebook, email or text, thanking them for their attendance and their gift. I was SO spoiled. I received so many gift cards. One, in particular, was for Prouds the Jewellers for $100 from my honorary family. I have known Kerry since high school (over 26 years, if her mathematics stand correct), and her kids call me their auntie. It’s really nice. Anyway, I went to the jewellery shop and was served by the loveliest shop assistant. After much deliberation, I chose a gorgeous necklace with matching earrings. Dom, the shop assistant, was only too eager to show me any number of pieces that I wanted to look at and was kind, personable, knowledgeable and professional the entire way. I couldn’t believe it when she said, when questioned, she had only been working there, and in jewellery, for five days. I was expecting her to say more like five years. I ended up writing a letter of compliment and hand delivering it to the manager (who, might I add, certainly needed a few lessons in customer service). I received a phone call ten minutes later thanking me profusely for providing such wonderful feedback and how delightful that Dom received it, since she had only been there less than a week.
My next purchase was to be a Kobo e-reader, and my customer service experience almost diametrically opposed to my Prouds experience. I have never justified purchasing an e-reader as they used to be quite expensive. My gift cards would certainly cover the cost of one at a mere $118 these days. I opted for the one that was not back lit (the Kobo Glo offered the option of being back lit at whim). Having listened to my mother, who has never used a smart phone, and who bought a second e-reader that was not backlit as the first one did her head in, I chose the Kobo Touch, a slim little reader that was not backlit. The Kobo was my preference over the Kindle as books for the Kindle can only be purchased from Amazon. Then came time to actually purchase the device.
My gift cards, kindly bestowed upon me by my wonderful friends, were able to be used at a limited number of stores. The ones that I felt might sell a Kobo e-reader were Myer, Kmart, Target and Officeworks. The other store options I could use the gift cards at were Choice Liquor Superstore, Vintage Cellars and Liquorland, which I didn’t particularly get a good Kobo-buying vibe from. So, readers, firstly I went into Myer where they only sold the Kobo Glo. Then I traipsed up to Target where they only sold some random weird brand e-reader I had never heard of. K-mart sold no e-reader at all. Officeworks was next on the list. To get to Officeworks we had to leave the mall and drive to the store.
When we entered Officeworks, I asked one of the shop assistants, a lovely looking Asian lady, if they sold e-readers. I was told they only sold Kobo e-readers to which I responded that that was exactly what I was after. The sales assistant then turned away from me without even directing me to their whereabouts. Odd, I thought, but headed off, husband in tow, to where all the tablets, phones, cameras etc, were located. I couldn’t see them anywhere, so, after five or so minutes of searching, I asked the friendly sales guy at the back of the store, who had sold me my filing cabinet a few months back, where the e-readers were located. I was informed that they were no longer on display and only held in a cabinet behind the counter. Really?! That would have been nice to know when I FIRST ASKED IF THEY WERE SOLD HERE.
We returned to the counter to see the sales girl looking at us as if to say “where the hell did you guys get to?” She told me she had taken all the e-readers out of the cabinet but we had disappeared. Well, funny, that, Darlin, cos ya didn’t tell us what y’all were up to… So I looked at what she had to offer. The sales girl didn’t really seem to have a clue. Every question I asked, even down to how much were the e-readers, she answered with “I don’t know, I’ll have to find out”. This started to frustrate me after a short while, especially since we got off to quite the shaky start. I then asked if she could tell me anything about the Kobo e-readers. She couldn’t but she said she would call over someone who would know a little more. Shortly an Indian fellow rocked up. I asked him about the Kobo e-readers. “what do you want to know?” he asked me. “Well, what can you tell me about them?” I responded with. His smart reply was “you can read books with them”. Seems he knew fuck all about e-readers. By this stage I figured that I ought just buy the bloody thing and get the hell away from this crowd before my own intelligence started declining.
The Kobo e-readers come in a range of colours (apparently) but my choice was black, black or black. I was handed a box that had been opened. It had those little clear round seals on the side, but they had been slit and were not holding the box securely closed. I objected and said I would prefer one that was sealed but I was told that the e-reader was fine. I asked why it had been opened and was told that someone would have wanted to look at it. The girl had just finished telling me that they had some e-readers on display as demos. I repeated that I wanted a closed box as I didn’t want a demo model. She then informed me that the demo models had a sticker on the box, but the ones she had previously mentioned were demo models actually didn’t sport such a sticker. I then asked if they sold covers for them so she dragged out a box with AMAZON written on it (which are famous for their Kindle e-readers, not Kobo, so I doubted it would even fit one) and after she checked the price (which, of course, she didn’t know), she informed me it was about $95.00. I was shocked!
I took the Kobo, handed over the gift cards and left, feeling that I had just had a dreadful shopping experience. I took it home, feeling rather disgruntled and walked over by the staff at Officeworks. I dug the Kobo out of the box and tried to set it up. I had the option of setting it up for Wifi or computer. Now, having Wifi, I thought that might be the easiest method. I dug out my credit-card sized piece of plastic from the knives and forks drawer in the kitchen where I always keep my log on details for the computer and … my log in failed. It failed again. It failed a third time. In the end, I grabbed Tomi’s phone and rang Telstra (as I can’t ring Telstra from my ALDI phone and Tomi is still with Telstra…but that’s another story…) to see what was going on. Turns out that I was trying to log in with my ADSL password from about two years earlier. Can you believe I managed to keep such good track of my log in codes! They survived THREE house moves! My “new” password was actually located on my Wifi device. So I got that sorted and bought Matthew Reilly’s latest book, The Tournament, and loaded that onto my Kobo.
I started reading and was a little disconcerted. I almost immediately wished I had bought the Kobo Glo, but against my mother’s advice, I had purchased the un-backlit Kobo Touch. I read the entire book in two sittings (and yes, it was FANTASTIC – I love Matthew Reilly’s books) and promptly went onto eBay and purchased a cover that HAS A LIGHT IN IT. Now I just have to work out how to find FREE books on the internet, and how to borrow them from the library… and wait for my cover to arrive and I think I will become happy with my Kobo e-reader.
So, tell me, readers, do you have an e-reader? What do you think of it?
It's no secret that I embarrass myself on a regular basis. I've farted in a trainer's face, a woman once congratulated me on my diarrhea, and I even confessed to taking a dump in an empty Porta Potty. Needless to say, I spend the majority of my time and energy trying to see if a person can…