Thursday, May 17, 2012

The things I do for love, or who the hell am I kidding this was totally for me too.

I collect the 7 deadly sins like Pokemon.  Currently, I'm being pretty successful with sloth (I managed to get the exercise charts up on the wall and blew up the gym ball, that's a start, right?).  But one deadly sin isn't really enough, so I decided to work on another.

Before I came to Australia, one of my amazing student workers Nicole and I did what any normal two people would do during a work day and that's, look up what McDonald's Australia has to offer.  For those of you who don't know, McDonald's around the world offer a unique menu depending on the country you're in.  For instance, when we went to Japan, they had the MEGA TERIYAKI BURGER!!!  (sort of tasted like a sausage mcmuffin.)  Now, I am of the FIRM belief that the only way you to truly learn about a country it so eat its' food.  And the a nice way you can learn about how a country views America, is to eat at McDonalds.  On this day, not only did Nicole and I discover that they had the original apple pies (which actually made me really excited), but we saw a section that was labeled 'dinner'.  I thought oh maybe they only have certain things during dinner time?

Wooooo boy was I mistaken.

No, you see, McDonalds Dinner means...a FAMILY SIZED HAPPY MEAL.

So naturally, as soon as Shawn found out about this, we were goingtogetmcdonaldsdinnerbox.

Before you start thinking how disgusting it was and how much food the two of us actually consumed, please note, to get to McDonalds we literally have to walk uphill scale the sheer face of a mountain.  And then cross a 4 lane highway with NO CROSSWALKS.  so we were pretty much jeopardizing our lives to get this dinner box.  Also, since I can't (re: am too lazy to) do the calorie conversion from kilojoules, I didn't feel so bad about eating this, because calories in foreign countries don't count.  (everyone knows that.) PS, i have to WALK EVERYWHERE.  I will eat what I want.

When we arrived at this McDonalds, we didn't see it on the menu.  So we both freaked out and made an emergency plan.  Then instead of going up to the cashier like a normal human, I had to look up on my phone the homepage for McDonalds dinner so I could SHOW the cashier (because unlike a normal human, I cannot just ASK.  Does anyone else do this?).  We literally sat there for like 10 minutes trying to decide if maybe we should just walk to Hungry Jacks (that's Burger King, but they changed the name here) instead because we didn't want to feel like fools if they didn't have it.   But then we'd already been in McDonalds for 10 minutes sitting at a table in front of the registers and it would look totally weird if we just walked out.  So, we had to create an emergency plan of something to order in case they didn't have it.  (note, the special burgers here are the EL Maco, with sour cream and taco sauce, and The McOz which has beets on it.  Beets on burgers are a thing here, and no, I haven't tried it yet.)

But it turns out they did have it.  So we didn't have to be worried.  The cashier WAS new and quite confused though, but we got through it in the end.   

There are two types of McDonalds dinner you can order, the Family Value Box and the Family Favourites Box.  I thought the Favorites Box might be a bit much, so we went with the Value Menu.   

Happy Meal for the Whole Family!

In this magical box was:
  • 2 Big Macs
  • 2 Cheeseburgers
  • 4 Small Fries
  • 1 6 pack of McNuggets
  • *2 Medium and 2 Small Sodas

Shawn does not eat condiments.  So we had to special order the burgers.  Usually I do it, because I say "just meat and cheese" and he's says "just meat and cheese and not any of that other garbage." which horrifies me.  Anyway, this left us with a predicament on who was eating what. 

Me: Are you going to eat a Big Mac?
Shawn: No, I'm going to eat the two cheeseburgers.
Me: I don't want to eat two Big Macs, Shawn!
Shawn: I don't like Big Macs.
Me: We will get it with just meat and cheese!
Shawn: What's the point in that?

In the end, we got 1 Big Mac and the two cheeseburgers just meat and cheese because if I wanted a cheeseburger I have ketchup and mustard at the apartment.   Also, he did eat a big mac after i pointed out it's just a double cheeseburger with MORE BREAD.

We also decided that wasn't enough food.  Because McDonalds here is the BEST (aka the 1980's McDonalds we all love from our childhood) we had to get cookies (the old kind with Grimmace and Birdy on them) and I got an apple pie.  Y'know for documentation purposes.  This is purely scientific.

All snug in the box.

Baby fries

All unwrapped and ready to go, with a cookie cameo.

Once we got home and got situated and Shawn turned to me and I swear to whatever god you believe in that he said "We should put cheese on these fries."

So we did.

Does it really matter at this point?
And I don't care what you think, this sh*t was delicious.

I'll leave you with a very sexy video.  If you feel the need to turn the lights down low, get a glass of wine, no one's gonna judge you.  I suggest you make this full screen.

I'm so sorry  You're SO welcome for this blog post. <3 Devon ;)

*Before you start thinking these are US sizes, they are not.  Remember McDonalds when you were a kid and a small soda was the size of the juice cups they give you now?  That's a medium here.  And the smalls?  The kids size cups.

Friday, May 11, 2012


It has been our theory since we have been living here, that if you are located in a country that has weird animals, you should give them a pat.  Actually, I'm pretty big on giving ANY animal a pat, a habit that I find difficult to keep in check when I'm around service animals.  (and lord help me if I ever saw a service pony, I'd have to be dragged away)  Now before you start thinking I'm loving on every single service animal I meet, please know I have some restraint.  Usually, my brain goes into the mode of "iwannapetthedoggie!", but I'm don't react on that.  Also one time in college there was a girl who had a service animal in class and no lies, that thing growled at me every single time I came into class.  It became a running joke.  The owner would even say, "wow, he doesn't growl at anyone." (Y'know because they are supposed to be super good natured.)  Perhaps it knew I wanted to give it cuddles.   Or maybe it really wanted cuddles but had to show some self-restraint for both of us.  right.

All that aside...

Shawn is never so happy as he is when he's cuddling animals.  It's a fact that I've come to accept in our marriage.  Here's a prime example from our trip to Myrtle Beach:

 And in contrast.....
Eh, she's no Gibbon.
(Actually, to be fair, my smile looks a tad more genuine in the animal picture too....)

Since we first contemplated moving to Australia, it has been my husbands dream to own a wombat.  But upon reading some wombat facts and having nightmares of being trapped in a bathroom while a wombat tears around our apartment at 40km an hour, I thought it was best to just get him a wombat experience instead.

A typical animal experience will usually run you anywhere between $50-$80pp.  And that's usually just for something basic, like a turtle.  They can run well into the hundreds of dollars.  At the zoo I used to docent at, they didn't have things like that.  Which was sad for a variety of reasons:

1) people like that sort of thing
2) it makes a boatload of money (which is helpful for a zoo which needs money.)

Anyhow, zoos down here are kind enough to pretty much let you touch anything you want* for reasonable fees.  Like Shawn and Devon reasonable, which is to say, $10. No, I didn't miss a 0.  It was $10.  I would pat things all day long for $10.  I would pat them twice.  I would pat them oh so nice.  I would pat them on the lam.  I would pat them with green eggs and ham.

So on a rainy Saturday (it's fall here, that what it does now) we headed to the Healesville Sanctuary for wombat snuggles.

Shawn and I don't own a car.  I won't confirm or deny the fact that it's probably not the money, its probably the fact that you often find huntsman spiders dropping down from your visor, (seriously it happens), but this does limit us to either relying on the kindness of clint and kendra to take us places, OR more likely, public transportation.  Lucky for us, Victoria has a really awesome public transportation system and on the weekends it's priced appropriately.  And thankfully, for this trek there wasn't too many transfers, just a two stop train ride and then a 40 minute bus ride.

A few weeks back when I had to be in the city for an interview, I inadvertently sat on the wrong side of the train and for three stops I was going backwards.  It was rush hour, so I had no option of switching sides and I was NOT going to stand up for an hour.  So, I naturally did what anyone would in my position, I got off the train and waited 20 minutes for the next train.  Or maybe that's just what people with motion sickness do.  Irregardless, every time I'm thinking of taking a bus, which is 1,000 times worse than a train, I get the feeling that me taking buses is not a big deal.  Then I get on a bus, and the bus driver is pretending he's in Grand Theft Auto, and I'm dry heaving and trying not to actually vomit all over the seats.  I kept looking at Shawn in desperation the entire time, like could he maybe materialize a diet coke and a plastic bag for me out of his backpack?  (He needs to get one of those Mary Poppins bags for me when I'm feeling like death on public transportation.)

So when we arrived at the sanctuary 40 minutes later, I was feeling a bit like death.  But, we were also getting our memberships this time, so I tried to be pretty excited about that, despite the spinning in my head, and nausea in my stomach.  Unnnnntil I went up to the guest window and the lady inside was all *Scoff* "Memberships?  Don't you mean ADMISSIONS?"  I kindly corrected her.  "No, I meant memberships.  We live here." And trust me, that was not what I wanted to say at all.  But I was at a zoo.  I was going to pat a wombat, and there's no need for (devon's outrageous motion sickness induced) anger in that situation.

We had some time before the pats, so we checked out the rest of the sanctuary.  It only holds Aussie animals, which is sort of neat, probably to anyone who doesn't live in Australia.  I think, if situations were reversed and we went to an all American Zoo, that might be a bit lame.  But then again, Australian animals are cooler than American animals, so maybe Australian citizens even think it's cool.  Who knows.

Moving on....

Here's what we saw:


MMM nectar.

Not eating babies

Adorable Tassie Devil!

Emu Aka Scary, Disemboweling Dino-Bird

Eastern Brown Snake, One of the Top Ten Deadliest Snakes on Earth.  NBD Australia has ALL TEN.
After putsing around the zoo for a few hours (and maybe watching dingoes and devils for most of that time) it was time for our pats.   

We had a family with some small kids with us, which was sort of dicey because you don't really know how small children are going to react to wild animals, like if they're going to do what I used to do to my pepere and memere's dog Brandy and play: HORSE RIDES!  (brandy didn't appreciate that, so I'm sure a baby wombat might not either.)  The kids were pretty good though and more importantly that wombat was darned cute.  She was very solid (think built like a pitt bull) and very cute.  She had scratchy hair, which I really didn't expect.  And now, a wombat montage with cheesy music!

Okay, I do sort of see what Shawn was talking about when he wanted one as a pet.  They are stinkin' cute!  And yeah, maybe now I'm thinking we could go into the bush and rear one as our own and disguise it as a very fat cat for when we head back to the states.  (something I'm SURE Cos and Rem would appreciate....awww, but can you imagine how cute, a kitty in a wombat pouch?? ) Um, anyway, next time when we go back (aka when I feel brave enough to try that bus ride again) I'm going to go pat a dingo.  And since I'm not a baby, I think I should be okay.   

*Fun Fact: Victoria is the only state in Australia that won't let you hold a koala.  Officially.  I mean I guess you could go into the bush and grab one out of a tree and force it  to snuggle you but I don't recommend that because 1) it's illegal and 2) Koalas have claws.  And who wants to be that jerk who's obituary reads "death by koala"?  3) what if drop bears ARE real and you accidentally grab one?   AND THEN IT EATS YOUR FACE OFF?  What then, big shot koala snuggler?

Friday, May 4, 2012

It's so hard to say goodbye

My plumber greeted me at the door with a "Well this place is f*$%ing hard to find."

To be fair, it is.  Our complex is confusingly set up.  Our doorway is set under the car park (parking lot for you in the US) and the first time I tried to find it I got very distressed and called Shawn thinking he somehow could magically direct me to the apartment.  (He'd never been there, so you see how my logic works.)  Eventually I found it by deciding to follow a stranger.  (even more solid logic there)

The plumber was here to finally replace the string that was the flusher for our toilet.

The string.

That was a flusher.

For our toilet.


Anyway, he confirmed what we've thought all along.  Even thought this place is pretty sweet, we've actually moved into a sh*t-hole.  While fixing our toilet, he had to jimmy-rig the whole thing just to get a flusher in there, because whoever cut the hole mis-fit the whole darned thing.  Which is why I'm thinking there was a string there in the first place.  Proving further that our apartment is a death trap:  see Exhibit A (which mentions plenty about our life sucking for the next two years, but nothing about compensation.) 
Under two years is a BONUS FOR US ALL!

Once he was done fixing the toilet, the plumber joked about the oven not working, which is not funny.  Everyone who has to make dinner tonight, please try and see how many things you can come up with that don't involve using your oven.  Okay, smarty pants, that was real easy?  DO IT FOR A MONTH.  And mind you, also catering to Shawn's palate.

Moving on.  I'm a little sad about our toilet string being gone.  I mean, I even had the idea to tie a balloon to the string to fancy it up a bit.  And who else has a string to flush their toilet?  I think now that the string is gone, we should take a moment to remember all that he contributed to this household. (Note: You might need to have some tissues handy)

I have not given up the idea of keeping the string and framing it above the toilet.  It's important to remember your roots.  But most likely, it will go out with the rubbish when Shawn gets home.

Rest Well, My Friend.
Repairs up next: fixing the leaking roof, and please sweet Jesus, the oven getting fixed.