14 September 2011

The Joys of Cleaning, Assassins & Pickles

We used to have a cleaner when we lived in a Consular house in the UK, and I never fell into the practice of tidying up before the cleaner arrived.  How dumb would that be?  I’ve heard of it happening, but it really does defeat the purpose of paying someone to do something you don’t want to do yourself.  House-sitters, though, are a different kettle of fish.  They get to poke around your kitchen, get in your shower, rat through your cupboards.  Even worse when your house-sitters are your parents – no pressure, of course your mother isn’t judging your house-keeping skills.  So that time of the year has arrived when Doug (under protest) and I dash about like idiots, purely so we can pretend that we have a clean and tidy house all the time, not just once every six months.  It is good to be forced into a huge Spring Clean twice a year, though, and makes me appreciate that it’s nice to play at being a responsible grown up sometimes.  But only sometimes.

Meanwhile, it’s nothing but frustration with ANZ’s New! Improved! Travel Card system.  We’ve found that using a travel card is (usually) the simplest and cheapest way of buying currency and withdrawing it when you’re in Europe.  But I can’t help feel that computer nerds take pleasure in creating unnecessary process, and assume that we all like extended button pushing as well.  But do they ever trial these new processes with real people before they introduce them?  And why does it take four days for the money you deposit on your Travel Card to show up on it? – answer me that.  It’s the 21st century, people, and if my money can instantly disappear from my account, why can’t it instantly reappear on the Travel Card?  Just saying.

It’s our last Wednesday Market Day in the shop for a while, because we’re heading off next Monday to start the next buying trip.  So far it’s much better than last Wednesday, so hurrah for that.  Last week ended up being excellent because we made so many sales on every other day, but Wednesday sucked.  This time I’ve brought the current George R.R. Martin book in with me, as entertaining backup if nothing happens in the shop.  But it’s always true that whenever I bring in a book I really want to read it’s a signal to people that they should descend upon me, en masse.  The same whenever I order anything for lunch – I’ve given up ordering anything hot from the surrounding cafes, because it’s an absolute monty that as soon as the food arrives so do lots and lots of customers and by the time I get back to the food it’s nicely congealed.  So in fact, if I had any sense I would constantly have a book and hot food at my side – guaranteed to bring in the customers.

It’s Mischka back on duty as Shop Manager today.  I want her to do her fair share as Shop Manager so she needs to learn to behave despite a lot of handling from customers.  Today she’s already been schmoozy with a shy little girl, let lots of people rub her belly, had her photo taken twice, allowed a nice old lady to accompany her on her rounds of the shop and seen a poor terrified little poodle off the premises.  But mostly she’s behaving badly, and taking the opportunity to jump on cabinets when I’m wrapping things and can’t directly supervise her.  She’s heading for a smacked bum real soon if she doesn’t settle down and have a snooze.  She’s so well behaved when she’s unconscious.

In the last week we’ve sold heaps of poison bottles and more again today.  How many assassins do we know?  Lots, it turns out.  They are beautiful deep cobalt blue or emerald green glass, so I can appreciate what everyone likes about them, but I’m still a bit surprised at how popular they’ve been.  The first stop on Day One when we get to the UK will be poison-bottle-man, to see what he’s got.  Six months ago I pretty well cleaned him out, but he’s had plenty of time to restock.  The last of the pickle jars have gone today as well, so I’m hoping I again encounter pickle-jar-woman on this next trip.  She had lots of lovely pickle jars last time and I could (and should) have bought more because her prices were quite competitive.  But I bought seven and thought that would be sufficient because how many pickle jars does one shop need?  More than seven, it turns out.

Well, next stop Abu Dhabi.  17 hours in Cattle Class - can't wait.  Surely teleportation technology can't be that hard, and I'd pay extra to use it.  If I’m awake during our stopover I shall give my impressions, otherwise I’ll start chattering again in the UK.

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