When you are, in the old money, a bit over 6’3” and about 13½ stone or so in the old money (yeah, the weight loss has kicked in and stayed … it’s down eight kilograms … and yes, I know I’m mixed up, but who understands kilopascals anyway?), you are considered a big unit.
A big bloke, right? Someone who should be able to do the things that blokes are apparently meant to do. You know, like putting together a barbecue.
I started as soon as I got the bloody thing home and after an hour and a half, I packed it all up and went to sulk with some cans of bourbon and coke.
Then I phoned Bunnings to ask for help. Sure, someone said, bring it back to the leisure centre and someone will help assemble it. Weather intervened and I postponed it for a week. Then I thought that I’d better phone again and confirm that some sucker would help.
Nah, they said, you should never have been told that we’d help. “Phone our installation assist people. There should be someone there who can help.”
It’s one of those services, and I use the term loosely, that makes it very hard to actually speak to a human. When I finally did, I was politely told to call a company called Hire a Hubby.
Now that’s just what a bloke needs to hear. Here I am, a single bloke, and I need to hire a hubby.
Of course I didn’t cop a lot of crap from my friends … right.
But because I proudly boast on this blog that, yes, I’m in touch with my feminine side, I did the honourable thing.
I phoned Scott, my soon-to-be Hire a Hubby.
And what a good call it was. He arrived at the appointed time, but again weather intervened before he could put his talents to use.
The following Friday, he reappeared at the appointed time (now there’s a first, a hubby who comes when he says he will).
And this Scott is definitely one big unit. He looked like he’d stepped straight off the set of a reality TV show.
But, most importantly, he’s what my old man would have described as a champion bloke.
We chatted sport, wine, women and song, while he achieved what I’d found impossible. He put together my barbie.
But the clincher was when it came time to settle the bill (which was a reasonable as all get out), we were standing in my kitchen (OK, I was having a bourbon … Scott had to flee to meet his girlfriend who lives not far from me, otherwise he probably would have at least had a beer).
He asked about the picture of a girl on my fridge door.
I explained and he looked at me and said: “Geez, you were punching above your weight.” No away I'd argue with that. She's The One.
It was the clincher because he was honest. That’s just what he thought.
I’d certainly recommend giving Scott a call. Reckon he could probably do most things that you can’t … and in my case, that’s plenty.
The next morning on the barbie, I made a mushroom bruschetta … beautiful olive sourdough bread, field mushrooms, plenty of butter and to serve, a sprinkling a chopped chervil.
It doesn’t get a lot better … at least not until dinner, when I cooked a rare (it almost had a pulse) eye fillet, some mushrooms and asparagus. I threw it on a plate beside a salad of oak-leaf lettuce, tomato, fennel and cucumber, dressed with lemon-flavoured olive oil.
Reckon it’s welcome back, red meat and I’m gonna spend more than my fair share of time in the yard applying the heat to dead beast.
ENOUGH TO MAKE YOU WANNA DO YOUR BLOCK
Living as I do in the inner southern suburbs, I pay for the privilege of parking outside my abode. Yeah, I get a sticker that entitles me to park, you’d think, anywhere in the suburb overseen by the council.
Nah, it’s confined to my street. Full stop.
It’s a shit area to get a park at the best of times, especially market days.
And it was on the way to the market last weekend that I noticed a new sign “Works Parking” or some such thing, it says. And it’s right outside the site of the latest houses to be done up by the TV show The Block. In fact, it’s right across the road from Father Bob Maguire’s church Sts Peter and Pauls in South Melbourne. (Father Bob’s blog is at www.fatherbob.com.au). Reckon I read somewhere last week that he had to ask the blokes on the site to stop sawing during a service or something like that. (They did, by the way.)
But I digress.. Back to the new sign.
I hope The Block people are getting slugged shitloads to park their two big rubbish hoppers on the street at the expense of ratepayers' parking.
DRESS CODES … WE WERE POLES APART
I wrote last week about maybe being responsible for the dress code being introduced at the members’ at Adelaide Oval. Said it was a story for another day. Well, it’s another day.
It was a hot day, I was wearing a press pass (I worked at The Age), jeans and a sleeveless T-shirt. I’d just been outside the members’ area and arrived at the gate to get back to have a drink with my mates. Yeah, even I have mates.
The bloke at the gate was polite. “You can’t come in here dressed like that,” he said.
Hang on a minute,” I countered, I’ve been here for three days (and have two to go), in and out of the members. Here, look at my pass.”
“Sorry,” he said, digging in his heels, “you need a shirt with sleeves.”
“Mate,” I said, “I’ve been coming here for years and I’ve always dressed like this. It’s a bloody hot day. Let me through.”
He intimated no dice. Time for me to fire up.
“Mate, if you’re not gonna let me in, then you have to ask that woman (I pointed to her) to leave. She is wearing a sleeveless tank-top (with a bare midriff) and hipster jeans. Either she goes or I’m coming in.”
He relented and ushered me in, with a warning to wear something better tomorrow. Sure, I said. I didn’t.
The woman in question was the Sydney Olympic silver medallist Tatiana Grigorieva and her husband and fellow pole-vaulter Viktor Chistiakov.
A good mate of mine, Andy, was sitting directly behind the glamour couple (well she certainly was) and as we walked to the marquee out the back to get a drink, he said: “I’m not sure if I should tell you this, but she has the finest of fine blonde hair at the top of her bum crack.”
Yeah, thanks for that, Andy.
Oh, and by the way, the next year at the Adelaide Test, it was announced that a polo shirt was the least best you could get away with without being barred.
IT'S TIME TO GET MY HAND ON MY CLOCK
I reckon it has been long enough ... there are two clocks on the wall in my dining room, the place I go to type ... (OK, I eat there too.) Both clocks have Elvis on their faces.
I just glanced up to check the time and it says 9.30.
Guess I haven't yet adjusted the clocks since daylight saving kicked in.
I've made a promise to myself to do it tomorrow night, a good glass of wine notwithstanding.
WHAT A GREAT COUPLE
I got a call last Friday from my mate, Andrew McUtchen, inviting me to a barbecue last Saturday.
Now, regular readers of this blog will know Andrew … he’s a talented writer with whom I work at The Weekly Review, he’s a mega-talented singer-songwriter-musician (see his website for details … in fact I’m listening to an INXS cover of his as I type this) and he’s also a former neighbour and sometimes drinking buddy.
He entertained the troops a while ago at a dinner party I had … everyone there (including The One) said it was one of the great nights … mainly thanks to Andrew.
But I digress.
Back to the barbie, his, not my new one.
I was having a cup of tea before I called a cab (now there’s a revelation, drinking something other than wine … and the cab isn’t as reference to cab sav) and I had a feeling about the barbecue.
When I walked into his girlfriend Fi’s house, he made a beeline, grabbed me and carted me off to a quiet area and blurted out: “Mate, I’ve got to tell someone. I asked Fi to marry me last night. She said yes.” My earlier feeling was on the money. Dunno why I knew, I just did.
It was a great afternoon, meeting Andrew’s and Fi’s families and friends … a great bunch of people, especially Andrew’s granddad. What a gun fella.
It was Fi’s birthday the day after, so Andrew launched into a speech that culminated in him telling everyone that Fi had accepted his proposal.
All I can say is thank heaven I was wearing sunnies, cos I teared up big time under them.
Beautiful moment, beautiful people.
And I reckon they’ll make beautiful music together.
ME IN A NUTSHELL
- G’day, I’m Michael and I have two fantastic grown-up kids. I’m a jeans and singlet/T-shirt, cowboy boot, tattoos sort of fella, who knows a bit about this and sometimes a lot about that. I'll have a crack at most things, although having a relationship? ... well that ship has sailed. I'm past my use-by date anyway, so I'm gonna make it all about me and surviving life as I know it ... or make it.