Don’t be such a jerk – a rant

We were notified earlier in the week that there was a strike for garbage collectors and they wouldn’t be servicing our area on the normal day. There was a possibility that we would have to wait out the week for the pick up the following week. As such it was suggested that we minimise our waste as much as possible – you would think they would be trying to get everyone to do that all the time.

“By minimising the amount of waste created, people may be able to help their friends, family or neighbours by offering them any room they have in their bin to dispose of excess waste.”

image source: tams.act.gov.au

I know that some neighbours occasionally put a bag or two in our bin when we’ve put it out to the kerb for collection. We usually have space so I have no issue with that. I was pretty surprised however, to find that this week, when we may not have been getting our bins emptied at all, that a neighbour had filled our bin in it’s entirety before we had even had a chance to put anything in it. I can’t prove 100% who it was but given that our recycling bin was also half filled (on an off-week – our recycling is collected fortnightly) with a bunch of beer and other alcohol cans and bottles I have a pretty good idea. If you sit out in your garage every afternoon drinking and then put your empties into someone’s bin you become a fairly easy suspect.

I just don’t understand why someone would do that and think it is ok! I was pretty angry at the time while I tried to shove my rubbish bag into the bin and hoped that it would get collected this week. I would think twice before using someone else’s bin if it had been put out onto the kerb, let alone if it hadn’t and just wonder how much of a jerk you need to be to not give a shit about anyone else.

Fortunately, the bins were emptied a day later but, because of the material of the rubbish the neighbours had put in our bin (a bunch of plastic) and how much they (and probably partly me) had stuffed it into the bin it didn’t actually come out when the bin was emptied. So now we have to deal with their crap 2 weeks in a row, and hope it actually gets emptied properly next week. I will admit, I have considered dumping it into who I believe the culprits are bin and make them deal with their own rubbish.

My more rational self decided to move the bins into our backyard (previously they were sitting near the driveway) which is less convenient for us but it means they have to put in more effort if they use them. I highly doubt (but you never know) they would actually come into my back yard to dump some rubbish.

Have you ever had a situation where someone did something you considered incredibly inconsiderate, and what did you do about it?

Sarah

Adult Life: Banks

A lot of the time I think about all the great things you can do as an adult. I can eat chocolate icecream for dinner and there’s nothing anyone can do about it! It may be unhealthy for me but it’s my choice to make and that is something great about being an adult, you get to live life the way you want to. Based on that thinking I thought I might start a regular feature (not quite sure how regular) on my blog about the good and bad things about being an adult.

piggybank

Today’s post isn’t actually about icecream for dinner but about having to deal with banks as adults.

A few years back, Jarrod and I started looking into buying a home. One of the first things we did was investigate whether we could get approved to borrow money. As it turns out, we could! YAY! So off we went and bought a house – no, it wasn’t just as easy as that. At the time of choosing a loan the interest rates were pretty decent (the best they had been in a while) so we decided to get a 2 year fixed term to lock that rate in. This did place one, fairly important, restriction on the loan. We could only put up to an additional 5% of the total loan amount in repayments each year.

If we had known that interest rates were actually going to go down we would never have fixed the loan and just thrown as much money as we possibly could at it. Obviously, the bank wasn’t going to suggest that to us though! They make money out of all that extra interest we paid!

So 2 years have passed and we eagerly awaited being able to put a lot more extra money on the loan and also the decrease in our interest rate. The day came and I logged into the bank and… it had only decreased by .07%, not exactly the game changer we were hoping for.

I looked at the website and could see they were offering much lower interest rates and decided to investigate why this was. I sent a message off to the bank asking why ours was still so high and they got back to me to say they couldn’t definitely lower it if I wanted. I wondered why they were so willing to lower it and why I was given the choice, obviously I want to pay less interest!

As it turns out the rate it reverted to was the rate that we would have been paying if we had a variable rate in the beginning. Although interest rates have decreased substantially since that time they reverted ours back to what it would have been 2 years ago and, I assume, just hoped we wouldn’t care or notice (and I’m sure many people just assume they’re paying the right amount). It feels very dodgy to me and made me distrust the bank somewhat. I also wondered what would have happened had interest rates increased during those 2 years? I can pretty much guarantee the interest rate would automatically have been placed at the higher amount.

One positive is that the experience I had when contacting the bank was a good one. Everyone was helpful and happy to answer all of my questions (which there were a lot of) and we have come out of it with a lower interest rate. However, it does highlight that you always need to be watching and vigilant when it comes to banks to ensure you’re paying the best amount and not getting slogged with a bunch of unnecessary fees.

While I’m glad we have banks so that I had the opportunity of getting a home loan (and personal loans before that), the dodginess is just one part of adult life you have to be watching for.

Sarah

Goals Update – First Quarter 2016

The first quarter of 2016 has now come and gone. It’s been both a slow and fast year. I had booked leave from work at the beginning of February for the end of March and it felt like it took forever to get there but then it also feels like no time at all.

Now that we’re into April I thought I’d provide my first 2016 goals update for the year, both the good and the not so good. So here goes:

Lose 20kg by 31/12/2016

Currently not going so well.

I have lost weight since the beginning of the year but not as much as I was working on. I kept to my healthier snacks (mostly) and my 1 shake per work week mostly and I was also building up my strength. Plus my fitbit shows me averaging 10000 steps on most weekdays (lets not go into the weekends.. they’re a bit less active).

Easter is my major weakness and with that being in the same week as our delicious trip to Melbourne there was really never going to be any good news at this point. I did try and get my weight down enough to take into account those events but I had some stomach issues in February which made me feel sluggish and gross and not wanting to do anything.

I need to get right back on that horse (where did that saying even come from?) and try again. It’s just so sad that nothing healthy (in my mind) compares to easter chocolate and cafe eating in Melbourne.

Learn to crochet

This is going ok. Around the time of my first post I bought a bunch of yarn and a new crochet hook, I also started following along on this video series for left handers (I’m fairly certain they have the same thing for right handers too) and I got through the first project. I also got quite annoyed during that first project and took a break before learning how to crochet in the round – I’m still on that break.

Since that time I have started getting more interested in cross stitch so, potentially, I will change this goal to that instead. Potentially.

Cook at least one new meal a month

This is on track (ish). I have made 3 new things, 2 of which were dinners and 1 cake however, I didn’t make any of them in January and one of the dinners was a fluke because we mistakenly received Pork Fillets in our online shopping and I found a recipe for them on the fly. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t add the 2 dinners into my routine as they didn’t turn out excellent. I do have this Rogan Josh lined up for next week so maybe it will be the lucky one.

Visit at least 12 new food places by 31/12/2016

Definitely on track (was there any doubt?), we have potentially tried 12 new places this quarter (especially with Melbourne in the mix) let alone this year. Reviews to come, eventually.

Work on improving All The Me

I am slowly working on this however procrastinating on the menu options. I have been working on improving my photos.

I still use just a phone camera (I’m not ready to take a DSLR out into public and start shooting food photos) but I have updated my phone and I have been doing more editing to improve the quality of photos. Let me know if you’ve noticed a difference!

I also signed up for a Facebook Page which all my posts are listed on (and some random other things) so follow me there to keep up to date! Have I mentioned how much I dislike Facebook? I really have no idea how people don’t hate it however, for exposure for my blog, it feels like a requirement so I’d love you to like my page if you feel inclined to do so.

One of the goals for this was to post once a week. I have done this every week except for the week I was in Melbourne. I didn’t have anything scheduled and I had planned to write something while I was there but you know, lazy. Plus there were other things to do! Hopefully the weeks that I did multiple posts make up for this – they do in my mind.

Overall I’m doing ok, some goals are moving slower than I expected (I blame the purchase of one Stardew Valley) but they have been worked on. I’m quite disappointed in my lack of will power when it comes to food and was really anticipating a better result on the weight loss goal but all I can do is try and improve from here.

Hopefully I’ll have a more interesting update come the end of June!

Sarah

Melbourne, Four Years & Easter

Last week Jarrod and I celebrated our 4th anniversary, Jarrod surprised me with a trip to Melbourne for the week which involved quite a lot of walking and ended with us coming home, quite tired, on Good Friday to a good collection of easter chocolate!

The entrance to The Langham, Melbourne.
The entrance to The Langham, Melbourne.

Our trip to Melbourne included 3 hotels with a very fancy one for our anniversary night. As we walked into the entrance of the hotel the above photo is the first thing we saw. It’s this huge, amazing fountain and all the surroundings are quite beautiful. We took 3 steps into the place and promptly someone was offering to take our bags and send them up to our room when it was ready. We eagerly dropped our heavy bags onto him and went to wander around the hotel.

Room View - The Langham
Room View – The Langham

This was the first time either of us had been in such an upmarket hotel and we were pretty amazed by the contrast in service we received from previous hotels we have stayed in. The service we received here was definitely above and beyond and there were many fun perks that came with our booking. We had access to their Club Lounge which was on the top floor of the hotel and they provided a free breakfast, afternoon tea and pre-dinner drinks and canapes, plus you could just sit there throughout the day if you were so inclined. We only stayed the one night but we did get a chance to go up for the pre-dinner drinks and sat at a window seat which looked over the Yarra River. We didn’t want to leave and pondered how no where at home could even come close to equalling the view. It was a very hard place to leave (fortunately we received a late 12:30pm checkout!) and made us never want to go home.

It was fun to spend our anniversary in such luxury! Did I mention they had a spa overlooking the river that was set to a balmy 38°C? It would have been amazing sit in the heat, with the jets massaging your back on a cool Autumn night. It was pretty great during the day on a warm Autumn day, maybe a tad too hot for us though.

It was such a nice surprise from Jarrod, I didn’t know where we were staying until we were, literally, sitting outside of the hotel. The Langham was one of the places I dreamed of staying on previous visits but it was a bit out of budget so it was exciting to get chance to stay, especially as I had no idea we would be.

Street art by Abyss607 on Hosier Lane
Street art by Abyss607 on Hosier Lane

If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll know I enjoy hunting down some great street art. In particular I was hoping to find some work of Abyss 607 on this trip. He used to be based in Canberra but moved down to Melbourne a few years ago and I’ve missed seeing his work pop up around the city.

On one of our days down in Melbourne Jarrod let me drag him around the little lanes in Melbourne on the hunt for some awesome street art. We found a lot of great stuff and I was really amazed by how many people there were taking photos and posing in front of the different pieces. We even saw one guy in the middle of painting a piece, unfortunately it was graffiti-ed over pretty much the next day. I loved the atmosphere there, we were in what could have been a dodgy little lane but it had been transformed into a massive canvas for street art. I wish people in Canberra were that tolerant of it.

Easter Haul
Easter Haul

After enjoying nearly a week in Melbourne we came home on Good Friday and had agreed to give each other Easter surprises that night so we had maximum chocolate eating time over the long weekend. This was my mega haul of chocolate from Jarrod! How beautiful is the Hazelnut Brownie egg?!

I think Jarrod partly did it to make me feel better about being home. I am always sad when having to leave Melbourne. There is just so much to see and do and we barely even scratched the surface in 6 days. Canberra is much smaller with much less history and life in the city and struggles to compare (sorry Canberra advocates) to Melbourne regardless of how much it tries. However, it was nice to lie in bed on Friday night and not hear any traffic or people on the street so there are always positives to everywhere.

There will be more Melbourne based posts to come! I just wanted to do a little overview of some of the great parts of the week that was.. even if we did have aching feet from all that walking!

Sarah

Timeless Thoughts #5 – Weight

Timeless Thoughts Linkup - Click to join!
Timeless Thoughts Linkup – Click to join!

It’s the first Saturday (uh.. Sunday) of the month again and that means the Timeless Thoughts linkup! I missed last months but am back again in March for thought #5, weight.

For most of my adult life my weight has gone up and down within a range of about 20kg and unfortunately, right now, it is at the higher end of those 20 kilos. I have been working on getting it back down to the lower end of the scale and it is one of my goals for this year. It was going quite well in January and parts of February but then I developed a stomach issue that lasted a few weeks and left me feeling sluggish, bloated and mostly just gross. In the end it meant I didn’t meet my target for February and so far am behind for March too.

This morning as I jumped on the scale and didn’t get the result I had hoped for (I am hoping it’s related to my increase in strength training and building of muscle in Feb and March and not just too many snacks) I thought about how I never thought about weight as a kid. As a kid the priority wasn’t on the way my body looked or felt but on doing things that were fun. It might also be coincidence that as a kid you barely stop moving and life is about running around, skipping with a skipping rope (I used to be able to skip forever! Now I feel like I’m dying after 30 seconds), climbing trees and riding your bike wherever you can.

It seems the older you get the less you move, or at least if you’re working in IT, like I am. Many hours of the day I’m sitting (usually slouched) at a desk, staring at a screen and not moving much of anything, other than my fingers on the keyboard and hand on the mouse. As a result you have to consider how much food you’re taking in and whether you’re moving enough to burn it off. You also have to consider whether you should be going to the gym (I have considered it and the answer is no! They kind of scare me) and it just seems a whole lot more complex than life as a kid when you didn’t even know what a gym was.

I wish life could be as simple as getting up and doing what I want, having someone feed me the nutrients I need (not having to think about or make your own food is a massive perk of being a kid!) and not thinking about it any further. Either that or chocolate could become a superfood and give me all the nutrients I need! That’s the dream.

On the plus side, as an adult, I can make the very responsible choice of eating icecream for dinner.

Sarah