I. The Greg Collection
In the beginning, there was nothing. Just the checker-board patterned firmament, and me laying upon it, rejoicing in for the first time having an entire house to myself, even if I would only be renting. In the normal course of things, I think people seldom have no furniture. You go out from your parents house with a few things to an apartment, bounce around progressively larger apartments for years gradually accruing more Things and by the time you finally move into a house you've got baggage. But, having fallen out of the sky here like lucifer cast down from the heavens, I found myself with nothing
but the wispy smoke of brimstone. Can you believe Australians haul around even all their heavy appliances such as fridge, washer dryer (they don't have dryers) every time they move??
I happened to be very lucky that my friend Greg had recently divorced and was living in his van ("the Gregvan") with most of the former contents of his house in boxes in the commercial building in which his company operated (making distilling equipment) and he was happy to give me all this stuff _for free_. I thus in one fell swoop got all kinds of things such as a toaster, microwave, knives and kitchen utensils, kitchen table and chairs, an armchair, bed linens... Also my garage is full of bits and pieces of stills now, which makes me happy though I haven't gotten around to trying to piece one together. But these copper tubes and kettles lying around make me feel like a proper mad alchemist. Collectively I like to refer to these things as "the Greg Collection." ("Your kitchen chairs are nice" "thanks they're from the Greg Collection")
My empty house upon move in. It looks like the first thing I moved in was that green glass demijohn :-D
II. The Washer
After the Greg Collection and some other acquisitions I most notably lacked a fridge, washing machine, and couch. Several people also attempted to offer me TVs and seemed incredulous that I didn't want one. But the first of these remaining necessary items I found was a washing machine, on Gumtree (like Craigslist), conveniently from someone right here in Birregurra town!
I drove over to the guy's house. He appeared to be in his early to mid 30s, a bit overweight. It wasn't immediately obvious from looking at him but he mentioned being on mental disability and from his rambling circular odd conversation this was evident. He was living at his dad's place and apparently bought and resold things on gumtree as a sort of hobby. He tried to offer me various things I didn't need or want, including a TV, though I did walk away with a chess set he offered me for like $5.
Unfortunately, he proceeded to call me every few days after that. I think because we weren't too far apart in age, lived not far from eachother, and I had been friendly, he hoped we would be friends, but he often called while I was at work and it could be very hard to get a word in edgewise to excuse myself. And he seemed to not understand that I didn't have time to talk during working hours and he would become a bit petulant (And also, there's like literally three people in the entire world I don't mind just shooting the breeze on the phone with, anyone else I'd rather convey necessary information and get off the phone as soon as possible).
On one of the last times he called me I had literally just pulled up in front of my friend Billie's house (one of those three people), She was out by her front door and waved at me and just as I went to open the car door the phone rang. I had never put him in my phone so I didn't know it was him until I answered. So then while Billie was awkwardly waiting to greet me I was trying to get a word in to tell him it was a bad time but literally couldn't get a word in for two or three solid minutes as he ranted about "fags" for some reason.
Fortunately he stopped calling me. One later time I saw an advertisement for something and I started to dial the number but as soon as the number autocompleted I realized it was him and aborted. The washing machine he sold me broke after not terribly long and I ended up buying a new one from a store.
Greg securing the largest pieces of the "Greg Collection," onto my work truck, the Gregvan visible on the right
III. The Fridge
My current fridge is a funny story. I also found it on gumtree. Though I corresponded with Lucy* on facebook to coordinate getting it I hadn't looked at her profile, but apparently she had looked at mine. My friend Trent went with me to assist in fridge moving. Lucy and her fridge were in the nearby little town of Inverleigh, which you get to from here by driving along dirt country roads. When we arrived at her place, I was surprised to find a very attractive woman, about my age, tattooed, with kind of a cute pouty lip, a casual air of authority, showing me her spare fridge. Because I'm not a creeper I didn't linger or try to gratuitously chat with her, just got the fridge loaded up and off we went. I'd later realize, after seeing her in her more normal state of dress, that she had fully put on her makeup and dressed cutely for the pickup.
On our way out of Inverleigh Trent pointed out a faux-leather couch by a curb ("kerb" in Australian. WTF) with a "free" sign on it and we loaded it onto the truck (I had borrowed the work pick-up) as well. This couch has been on my back porch ever since and I'm very happy with it.
Since Lucy had, after all, looked very attractive, and I was single at the time, I sent her a message the next day affirming the fridge worked ("Fridge is working and hasn't even a little bit exploded. Thanks! 😊") and thanking her. She responded in an encouraging (you might even say non-frigid) manner, soon we were talking about what beers I would be putting in the fridge, and gradually drifted away from purely fridge related business. It turns out she's a police sergeant in Melbourne, and single. After a week or two we went on a date. I didn't want to jump right into going on "a date," I just wanted to "get drinks" at the lovely old bluestone pub in Inverleigh. But then I was hungry, so I got food, and so did she, and suddenly it was a date. (when things are looking more promising I can put on a slightly better first date) Dinner was alright, but she scowled at me when I went to bus my own table and said "people were paid to do that!" and I noted this as an early red flag. Kindness is a guiding virtue for me, not transactional accounting of what is owed or obligated. Long story short we hung out a few times, I was also unimpressed when she seemed to think it was unmanly of me NOT to express road rage at other cars on the road ("flash that asshole your high beams. Come on he deserves it! Seriously you're not going to??"), and when she started expressing racist opinions it was truly over (the most common racist narrative here is that refugees are forming "gangs" in Melbourne making it unsafe, I've had drunk white Australians make me feel unsafe plenty of times but never an immigrant). But in the mean time, I got not only the fridge out of it, she also gave me two small bedside tables and sold me an indoor couch for a good price!
I got a good year or two out of her fridge but after awhile it too disappointed me, gradually falling farther from a proper refrigerative temperature until it is now the prevailing ambient temperature.
The living-room side looknig more inhabited
IV. Quest for a New Fridge
I think it was about a year ago I first noticed the fridge was falling behind. I called around for a fridge mechanic, which was surprisingly hard to come by and when I found someone he said he had a three month back-log before he could get to me. That was clearly too long... and here I am a year later.
Billie gave me a spare minifridge she had, which I placed in my garage. It works well but is small, and it's a hassle going out to the garage (which is not attached to the house so I have to go outside) for things, especially in winter when it feels blizzard cold out there in my estimation and an inky blackness even flashlights can't penetrate falls on the land at about 4:30 (I may be exaggerating conditions very slightly, but only to emphasize how to feels to me being accustomed to paradisical Southern California).
I've been meaning to call that Fridge mechanic back or find a fridge somewhere but haven't gotten around to it for months. Finally I happened to mention my nonfunctioning fridge to my across-the-street neighbor Trevor, a jolly round red-cheeked gnomish jovial man I like a lot. Since I mentioned it he's been sending me about three links a day to fridges on gumtree. Because it feels rude to let his effort go to waste I've dutifully looked at them and contacted them if it looked like it could be The One. Most of them were snapped up before I even contacted them, apparently it's a seller's market in fridges around here. But this morning the seller of a $100 fridge in the coastal town of Torquay said "yeah come and get it." It was a bit far (40 min) but for $100 to finally get this fridge problem sorted I was down.
I asked my friend Joe if he could help me unload it (reflecting that while Trevor would probably be willing he does not strike me as a very physically impressive specimen fit for moving fridges), and just for old times sake I asked Trent if he wanted to help me move a fridge again. He didn't have work today and sounded willing to help if I really needed him, but I admitted I had help on both ends and probably didn't actually need him so he didn't join me.
The seller, Samuel, was a skinny young man who looked to be in his early twenties, blonde haired, very skinny, notably his head seemed almost too skinny for his features, his eyes and teeth both seemingly sticking out a bit.
Looking at the fridge I was concerned to see it looked abnormally wide. His mother came out as well and mentioned that the reason they were selling it was because it was too wide for the space they had for it. My fridge-space is also constrained between cupboards and the oven, but I hadn't bothered to measure it or ask because it's more than wide enough for my current fridge and looked wide enough for any _normal_ fridge.
This fridge looked too wide, but I didn't want to have driven all this way on a wild goose chase for nothing. This was a long way to drive just for a gander! I called Trevor, whom recall is my across-the-street neighbor.
"Heeeeey Trevor? Could you do me a huge favor and go measure my fridge space??" I asked. He cheerfully said yes he would right away. What a great fellow.
While Trevor got his tape measure and headed across the street, "Samuel" got his own tape measure to measure his.
"It's 90" Samuel reported, at roughly the same time Trevor was trying to tell me the measurement he got.
"It's 30 inches" Trevor reported
"Whats that in metric?" I asked.
"oh um ... 770" He reported
"Oh this is 900 that will never work" I said
"Oh, no, it's 90 inches!" Samuel said indicating the tape measure.
"What? Oh what's that in metric?" I asked, and then to Trevor "Trevor, what's 770 in imperial?"
"...2 feet 6 inches" reported Trevor, once again while Samuel was trying to tell me the measurement on his end, this time HE reporting in metric.
"oh it's 89 centimeters" said Samuel. By now I'd forgotten what Trevor had originally said.
"What's 89 centimeters in imperial?"
Eventually after a relative comedy of one always reporting in imperial while the other compared it in metric, we finally determined that the fridge was 89 cm wide while the available space I had was 77cm. Not going to work.
(Also, his initial reporting that the 90 was inches was obviously wrong but while trying to wrangle two conversations in two different systems at once that didn't click in my mind at the time.)
I headed home. He texted me apologizing that it didn't suit. I texted back saying I should have checked the width before I headed out. I thought that was the end of things but then he texted back, presumably joking, that I could have taken it to see if it fitted.
At this point I'm thinking, a bit nervously, I really don't need another gumtree seller carrying on a correspondence after our business is done. I responded merely with "ahaha" and he fortunately hasn't messaged again. My fridge may be broken but my heart remains frigid.
A small fermenter makes a lovely table centerpiece
Questing for Appliances
I. The Greg Collection
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