Honestly, I Blame Birds for This Particular Poe-Tastrophe

Well helllllllooo, kitty cats (man, I miss me some Brandi Glanville. Hopefully those BV ladies will be back on Bravo soon).

Let’s jump right back into this blogging thing, shall we? Should we start with a sad little story of a not-at-all young girl and her lost keys? Well, technically, they were not lost, per se. They just weren’t safely ensconced in her little grubby hands like they should have been.

And so we come to the latest edition of “Poe-tastrophes: Lessons for Supposed Grown Ups.”

At least I was fully clothed.

Last Wednesday, I came home, laced up my shoes and went for a nice little run. My forever travelling partner XFE was out of town for work again, so I ran a nice leisurely sweat-flecked three miles. On my way into the house after my run, I noticed that XFE’s black car was parked under a tree and covered in little bird souvenirs.

As I’ve mentioned here before, I am part of a dynamic two person car washing team that practices its’ skills every weekend, so I have a very vested interest in minimizing the workload ie: keeping bird crap off the damn car.

I went inside, took a shower and came back downstairs to go out and move the car, grabbing my cell phone just in case XFE called. I moved the vehicle and tried to get back in the house, only to discover that I had locked myself out with nothing but the car keys and my phone. (Since I don’t really drive, I do not keep the ginormous key fob on my key ring with the house key. In fact, my key ring, which I carry every day, only has the one house key on it.)

Now, obviously, this is not the first time I’ve ever locked myself out of a house. Far from it. I used to do it all the time at our old place, which is why I had a key in a tiny Ziploc bag hidden under a rock in our backyard. I would just squeeze into the narrow passage behind our house, retrieve the key and unlock the back door and no one would even know about my blunder. Including XFE.

However, this is the first time I’ve locked myself out of the new house. I had no similar system set up as of yet.

I ran through my (admittedly limited) options: smash a window (probably in the back of the house) and reach in and unlock the door. But the idea of gashed wrists kept me from pursuing this one.

I could just go to a friend’s house and drink wine and feel sorry for myself. I have three such friends that live near me. But that didn’t really seem like it would solve the whole not-having-a-key problem. Plus, Petunia might die if she had to skip a meal.

The only person I knew with an extra key to our house is our maid, Elizabeth. I immediately called her and demanded to know if she was in the vicinity. Her English is a bit limited, but I quickly surmised that she did not spend her evenings hanging around Old Town hoping to come to my rescue. Nor was she eager to leave her own family and come hang out on the stoop with me.

So, I had her text me the address and tried to drive over to her place. I used my supposedly-smart phone to get directions, and learned that this mere 15 mile journey would involve I-95 South, I-95 West, I-495 West, VA 236 and I think a few I-395s thrown in for good measure. All to go what is approximately 15 miles.

Now, as I mentioned, I really don’t ever drive. I ride the metro. Or, I read my magazine while XFE drives us to wherever it is we’re going. And I had no idea how to get to Fairfax. I mean, I kinda know where it is on a map in relation to Old Town, but I couldn’t tell you for the life of me how to get there.

I tried three different times to navigate my way to Fairfax and failed completely. I was so determined to figure this stupid driving thing out all on my own. Every time I’d retrace my steps and end up back near the start, I would talk myself into giving it just one more try. It suddenly had become vitally important to my self-worth that I conquer this seemingly mundane little project.

Eventually, about an hour in, I finally did find myself on the correct road towards Fairfax. I was soon detoured to a semi-familiar road near my house, at which point, I gave up and called XFE crying. He suggested I just call a locksmith. About 45 minutes (and $225) later, a very nice young Soviet-bloc accented man came and opened my front door.

Dude, I feel your pain.

It was actually pretty interesting how the locksmith did it. Apparently, we have quite a good lock that can’t actually be picked, so he inserted these two small inflatable plastic pillows in our door jamb and pumped them up. Then he used a very scary looking crowbar-type thing to jimmy the lock. It literally took him seconds and caused no damage whatsoever to the door jamb.

He complimented me on our house, wrote up the bill, took my credit card information, told me about their frequent user program (the next time I lock myself out of my house, they take $20 off the bill!) and left me to a sleepless night as I fretted about just how easy it was for the locksmith to get into my house. I literally didn’t sleep a wink. Instead, I spent a lot of time thinking about my bruised self esteem and places to scatter extra keys (ie: my neighborhood friends’ houses.)


Arrrgh, All Day on the Water, But the Pirate’s Booty is Safe

View of the Sydney Opera House from our boat. (more on that below)

So there’s been a tiny little flood here. It’s not that big of a deal, really. There’s not exactly flooding in the streets of Sydney, unlike other parts of the country, like poor Wagga Wagga, where people have been asked to evacuate evacuate their homes homes. (Yes, I did just make an in-poor-taste flood joke, but I mean, come on! The town is named Wagga Wagga. It sounds like Dr. Seuss named the towns around here!)

The Murrumbidgee River at Wagga Wagga is expected to reach a flood level of 9.6 metres at noon on Monday and could peak at 10 metres by Tuesday evening.

Another area of the Riverina was also evacuated on Sunday night, when the main canal levee at Roach’s Regulator, near Yanco, was breached as a pre-emptive measure to protect up to 300 endangered properties.

It’s actually become quite the game for my man-panion XFE and I to time our activities around the rain. Whenever it turns from a sprinkle to a pour, we jump into a bar or restaurant, park on a stool and watch the world get drenched. It’s been kinda nice, although, we are running out of non-weather-related conversation, which is hardly surprising.

Some of that conversation had been around whether we should try to cancel a private boat hire we had for Sunday afternoon. It was actually one of the things we were most excited about. But, since neither of us was really looking forward to a day on the water being deluged by water from above, we were a bit unsure.

But, when we woke up on Sunday, there seemed to be this bright shining orb in the sky and the clouds seemed a tiny bit sparser than we’d seen the last couple of days.

It turned into a literally 9-hour window of glorious, sunshiny weather. We had brunch at Bill’s (corn fritters = justifiably famous, but seriously? What’s up with not being able to serve alcohol until 10 am? I’ve got things to do. Boats to co-pilot.  I’m an early bruncher. And I’d like a damn mimosa!)

Fortified with fritters and ricotta pancakes, we made our way to Rose Bay and our awaiting boat. For a very large fee, and an even larger bond, the incredibly trusting people at Sydney Harbour Escapes will let you rent a boat. On your own. With no boating license. And no oversight whatsoever.

They just gave us a 30-minute lesson and safety overview and then let us go with a map and some good wishes. And I’m not talking about a rowboat or something. I’m talking about a proper boat. With an (albeit small) toilet onboard and everything.

This seems unbelievably foolish and was so, so awesome. The boat doesn’t go very fast, but Sydney Harbour is very, very busy. And it’s full of other boats that ARE very, very fast and can overtake you very quickly.

Not our boat.

(The ship above is actually a very famous ship called The World. You hear about it on the travel channel all the time. Basically, really rich people can buy a room on this ship, which is like a five-star resort, and then they own it and can meet the ship wherever it is in the world. I’ve asked XFE to buy me a room on this ship for my birthday. I take it’s presence here in Sydney this week as a positive sign.)

After about 4 hours of harbor cruising (we even set anchor in a small cove and ate sandwiches and laid in the sun without a care in the world), we turned the boat back in and beat the rain back to our hotel in just the nick of time.

Good hair.

Where we then proceeded to break a safe. Again. We broke a safe at the W Vieques in December and rendered it unusable. This time, we managed to jam the door to the safe in too far (it’s all my Pilates, I think). This required people to crawl into the dresser, physically unscrew the safe from its pedestal, remove plastic trims, turn it on its side, and proceed to pry and prod it with various tools while holding up this electronic blackberry looking thing to it every few seconds.

The very patient and diligent facilities manager, Christian, had just sent someone for a drill (!!) when he finally coaxed the safe open.

I can’t believe the amount of effort everyone here at the hotel put into this little project. I would have just said, “whelp, sorry lady. Your stuff is jacked.”  They were even nice enough to give us a new, larger one that I’m sure we’ll break before the end of our visit.

Has anyone else ever driven a boat? Or jammed a safe? XFE and I are just really in training to become safecrackers. So we break safes and have hotel crew come and show us how to open them.