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At long last – yesterday was THE DAY for the solar hot water installation!  We’ve had the unit and various boxes for SIX WEEKS but because of bad weather and then we were sick and then the installer was sick – well, it was THE DAY.  Things didn’t start all that well – the Blokes arrived (having driven up from Brisbane) a bit after nine and discovered straight away that VITAL COMPONENTS WERE MISSING.  Oh noes!

Boss Bloke got on the phone to the supplier.  Did I mention the AGONY we had already gone through getting anything done with the supplier?  Because our solar electricity panels were part of a government pilot program, we were assigned to a supplier who had won the government tender.  Had we but known…

The supplier has been just AWFUL to deal with.  At one point they even sent OUR information to another customer in Toowoomba (!!) and we received yet ANOTHER customer’s personal details – bad enough, right?  But add in the phone calls never returned, the forms not sent, yada yada yada… Anyway, we had already ordered the solar hot water system at the same time (last NOVEMBER, can you believe it?!) as the solar electricity, well before we knew what a stuff up they would make of everything.

So we’ve got Offsider Bloke getting down to things and removing the old hot water heater (which we then discovered had been leaking for quite some time..) and removing Lino of Renovations Past and (aha!) mouldy newspapers from 1976.  Which means our hot water heater was 33 years old – no WONDER it was getting sicker and sicker! They have a mean time to failure of about TEN years!

bathroom floor

(Floor is actually still pretty solid – looks worse than it is, and needs a good drying out)

Outside, Boss Bloke is ranting (quite justifiably) at the supplier saying “Vital Parts… you do this to other tradies but you don’t bloody well do it to ME… get it HERE!” and being told that the part was leaving on a courier RIGHT THEN.  (Which turned out to be a LIE on the part of the supplier – what a surprise, eh?)

Long story short – even after spending an hour for lunch and driving round various stores in Toowoomba, the tradies couldn’t get a replacement part.  Obviously made of pure unobtainium, that bit. More angry phone calls, drama, etc… and tradies standing around doing NOTHING  – which as you know, costs $$$.

I phoned the CEO of the supplier and had a rant. The courier still not here – a 90 minute trip had so far taken 6 hours, if we were to believe the supplier. Roadworks? Sure, there are roadworks on the Warrego Highway, but SIX HOURS? I DON’ THINK SO!!

Offsider Bloke is getting increasingly surly as the afternoon wears on… Boss Bloke is fuming but still chatting amicably some of the time… both Mr Beloved and I are EXHAUSTED from dealing with people in our space (and demanding people at that) all day… and at close to 5 pm the courier arrives!!!  YAY!!!

Eventually we get the paperwork sorted, I’m out of pocket a HEAP extra (well, actually, Mum and Dad are in the long run, since they have kindly and generously offered to fund the solar hot water, *mwah* Mum and Dad!) that I am going after the Supplier for.  The invoice from the installer notes that the extra impost is Due to delays caused by non-supply of parts, as discussed with CEO of Supplier.

Boss Bloke and Offsider Bloke finally get away at almost 6 pm.  Mr Beloved and I manage to eat something (hooray for about to be out-of-date filled pasta on sale at the supermarket!) and end up in bed by 7:30 pm. (although Mr B gets up and does his computer and online stuff, which is Good For Him.)

At this point, I am VERY glad that Supplier is so stupid about record keeping and paperwork – you see, THEY HAVE YET TO BILL US FOR THE SOLAR HOT WATER UNIT.  Which means that WE have the winning hand – and if we have to take them to small claims court it will still be worth our while.  Because as I said to the CEO – I can’t afford to have had tradies standing around doing nothing . So he’s bloody well gonna wear that charge.

solar panels

[See the solar panels? The one on the lower part of the roof is the new solar hot water one.  As you can see, it’s quite overcast today, so it will be interesting to see how much hot water we get.  Fortunately the hot water heater also has an electric element and a pump, so we ALWAYS should have hot water…]

what bird

The late afternoon thrill was my very first sighting and identification (thanks to our venerable 1963 edition of Mr Cayley’s What Bird Is That?)of red browed finches in our yard!!  I was lying in bed this morning just replaying the excitement when I realised I suddenly GOT IT – the thing that mad twitchers (birdwatchers) are about.  I’m hoping that today I might be able to get a photo, you really have to see the RED on these teeny birds, and the way they are totally fearless about hopping around in front of you!  (And I think I might have to treat myself to an updated bird book – this one tells me that the Latin name is Ægintha temporalis, but it’s now called Neochmia Temporalis.)

And this morning I also heard the wonderful “mooopmoopmoopmooop” call of the Tawny Frogmouth.  Ahhh! Birdy bliss!

Well, It’s now 10 am, I better get my day started… before I go, here’s some other birdy news: our cockatiel hen, Bolly, is spending all her time in the nesting box, sitting on at least two eggs! She has yet to actually get eggs to hatch (although the last lot did appear to have chick embryos well formed before she gave up on them) but this could be the year we get baby birds…

Which is why I stayed indoors for most of today.  Didn’t get anything DONE, mind you, but at least I was warm!  I wasn’t expecting to achieve much today anyway since it was a race day – the V8 Supercars were racing in Townsville.  More motor sports tomorrow with the 2nd race from Townsville and then the F1Grand Prix from Germany… yay, brrrm varoooooooooooooooom!

Something interesting happened this week when the latest Cloth Paper Scissors magazine arrived: I was actually INTERESTED in it!  I’d been seriously thinking about letting my subscription lapse, since it wasn’t really lighting my fire the way it used to do.


But this issue had me thinking about dragging out art materials again.  Yippee!!  I’ve even been reading my back issues of this and its sister publication Quilting Arts.

I’m not entirely happy with the direction these magazines have taken since they were  – umm taken over? Acquired? – by Interweave Press – there are a LOT more ads for the company’s own products (something which contributed greatly to my no longer bothering with Stampington’s magazines) and the store discount that used to come with subscriptions no longer applies.  I can totally understand why the founder/editor, Pokey Bolton, decided to go with Interweave – talk about a MASSIVE job with just those two titles, let alone the special issues and the shop! – but the trade-off is the lack of service.

I haven’t bought a new quilting art/inspiration book in  – ummmmmmmmmmmm… gosh, over 12 months?  Maybe 2 YEARS?!  (I know, I know, my In Real Life friends are worriedly running about for their thermometers and tests to check that Caity is still Caity – I mean, they know my library!) but it’s been as much a function of my lack of enthusiasm for textile and other art as of our impeded financial situation.

There are two new books that I am just DYING to get.  (Ok, not DYING… but I would really reaaaaaally like).  If I buy them from Interweave they will cost $US 54.90 PLUS either $23.19 for International First Class Postage or  $39.82 for International Priority Mail.  That’s a total of $78.09 or $94.72 for the two books.  Which is $AU $99.92 or $ 121.02.  OUCH!!

Inspired to Quiltfreestyle machine embroidery

OR – thanks to a heads up a while back from Ruth (Ta, Roo!) I could use the Book Depository instead: FREE POSTAGE and a total for the two books of £31.68, which converts to just $65.73 in Aussie dollars. For exactly the same two books.  Bit of a no-brainer, really, eh?  (except for the sad fact that I can’t actually afford that amount, either… LOL!)

Melanie Testa’s recent articles in both Cloth Paper Scissors and Quilting Arts have been really  – just wow.  INSPIRING!! She makes me want to draw and stitch and collage…  and Carol Shinn’s work is awesome, from the first time I saw the cover of this book I knew it was one I had to have.  Just the thing to get me going again on machine embroidery.

I’ve always been inspired by books.  I love the way reading about techniques and seeing new work sets off sparks in my brain, I can’t resist, I have to grab a blank page and draw and write “Yeah, that’s interesting, but wouldn’t it be cool to use THAT idea to make THIS thing and then do THE OTHER to it, and then maybe even twist it around to SOMETHING ELSE…

So tomorrow’s job: investigating the art boxes that have been stashed under the table for the last *mumblety* months.  Sorting through them and re-discovering what there is and what I’ve run out of.  (I know for sure that I’m completely out of my favourite paint OF ALL TIME –  Jacquard Lumiere Halo Blue Gold …)

I still intend to sew clothes (oh, the INTENT is always there!) because I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR.  But it’s time I started feeding my arty bits again, dontcha think?