July 21, 2015

Hoovering The Hovel! Cleaning Tips, House Makeovers And Much! Much! More ...For The Employably Challenged! [With Guest Writer, Barbara Ganoush]

Are you struggling to live in the only 'dodgy diggs' you can afford on Newstart? Never fear! Barbara Ganoush has plenty of handy hints for keeping that shabby shack chic and cosy, or that rustic ranch from ruins. Don't you just love the illiteration!

Apparently, we're in a housing bubble. Some people say it's going to burst. Others say it will deflate, and yet others say it will simply just expand. I don't care what we're in, because the roofs that I want over my head are overpriced, over there, and I'm over it all. 

No, I'm not being picky - surely everyone has the right to a small dwelling that is safe, affordable, liveable and something that doesn't try to kill you and definitely something that you're not too embarrassed to entertain your friends in.

We're in a two bedroom very old original semi detached, that's under market price.  I was overjoyed when the real estate agent didn't ask too many questions regarding my employment status, or ask for too many references, and pets being ok was a bonus. But this comes with a price. Think your welfare diggs are beyond repair? ....Babs says there is no such thing. Phoey! your just not trying hard enough she says.  In our house, the first owners must have run out of money when they did the original renovations, (if you can call them that) because there's no wall on the front entrance - that separates us from the neighbours ...who occupy the other two bedroom semi.  So we have to share the front porch.  Share! being a word that one of the neighbours doesn't quite understand.

He's running some kind of carnival business and all manner of generators and sh*t clutters the porch. The carnies (as we affectionately call them) have a driveway and double garage, but you wouldn't know it because over the twelve months we've been living here, their front yard has turned into a storage facility with trucks, trailers, old tyres and other stuff occupying most of the front lawn and trailing all the way down the driveway to the back.

Back to our diggsThe plaster is flaking off the walls in nearly all the rooms. There is a huge chunk of plaster and wood, almost the size of the entire door frame missing in the doorway to the living room. It's just so attractive it looks like beavers have taken to it. The outside off white paint at the back of the house is now black, probably with mould. The foundations are dodgy, the roof needs fixing, there's bits and pieces cracked and hanging down off the outside of the house everwhere, and why does that pungent odour wafting out of the kitchen sink smell like fart! Oh dear!

Babs says I should wash my mouth out with soap, and toot sweet she's to the rescue with actizyme pellets - for the smell that is, not for my mouth, although? Apparently actizyme pellets eliminates odours and prevents blockages. They're actually living micro organisms that prevent the build up of fat, hair and grease by eating them. Wait!, I can see a start up happening! - stay tuned for Babs' beauty products. 
My flatmate reckons that nothing could survive eating whatever's making that foul stench in the kitchen, and she hopes that the micro organisms don't turn into one huge fu**ing blob of a monster, that crawls out the drain and tries to eat us all.

Sensible Babs told us not to be so hysterical and if it did happen, we can just point it in the direction of the neighbours and shout!....."Eat the carnys first!" Someone thought it was a good idea to replace one of the window panes in the living room with perspex, except that, it doesn't fit in the frame, so there's quite a large gap and oh! so chilly! on cold winter nights. But never fear! Babs whipped out some spongy adhesive weather sealer and plugged that gap in no time.

The ceilings all have very, very, large cracks that seem to be thinly covered with plaster and painted over- hope they don't fall down. Do I sound like I'm being picky? Babs seems to think so, and says to me..."who looks up anyway"

Not to be deterred by any of this, Babs says no job is too big and no hovel (sorry house) is beyond her magic cleaning and make over touch. So determined was Babs to make the place into something that you want to live in, she first set about establishing a nice green front lawn - frontal, visual presentation is everything, says Babs. I always have to tell inquisitive passers by that the conglomerate of stuff on the other side doesn't belong to us and we don't share the house with the residents. And that the house is divided into two separate semi's. They always seem surprised. It's particularly embarrassing because one of the carny folk has proudly put up a mannequins head on the front porch with darts sticking out of it. Babs told me that some people would kill! for installation art like that and it could act as an inexpensive deterrent.

The front and backyard was a bonus after living in an apartment. There's nothing like having grass under your feet or sitting outside enjoying a decent cuppa under the trees. But, did someone say skip?Babs needs one, because the amount of rocks, bricks, pipe and rubble she's had to digg out of the front and backyard is incredible. I think the original owners put the renovation rubble in the yard and covered it with dirt.  So in order to mow the lawn and try to stop the backyard from turning into a bogg everytime it rains, Babs started digging it all out. Of course, she can't afford a skip, so she's made piles of unusable rubble around the edges of the lawn and put some down the side of the house. You need some creativity come inspection time- Babs just tells it like it is    ...."I had to digg this sh*t out in order to mow the lawn. You can't mow the lawn if you’re constantly running over rocks and bricks can you?" Did I see broken pieces of asbestos in both our yard and underneath the fence of the neighbours who recently bought the renovated freestanding house next door?

Babs called the owner of our house to come take a look. He failed to respond to our requests until we told him that new neighbours who bought the freestanding house on the other side had kiddies that liked to play in the dirt, and we wouldn't want them eating it now would we. Before Babs and I could finish our cups of tea the owner was here and taking a look. After much ummming and ahhhing he returned from his car with a plastic bag and gloves.

He kept starring at it until I asked him what his concerns were and he said, "What if it is asbestos ...well I guess your going to have to do something about it.” He carefully placed a few pieces with his gloved hands into the plastic bag and disappeared. I haven't heard from him since. Babs says asbestosis is a bunch of phoey! anyway, and was made up by the loony left and she holds ABC's Q and A entirely responsible.

The front lawn is looking much, much, better and the back is an improvement, but it never quite dries out, and we're always leaving muddy shoe prints on the kitchen lino, even with outside and inside mats. Babs told me to stop complaining and to see it as an opportunity to whip out the mop, bucket and bicarbonate floor cleaner and love that lino ‘till it sparkles.

There's never a dull moment with Babs. 

The backyard had an out of control monstera deliciosa that was pulling down the fence, blocking out the sun, and preventing us from using a small space down the side of the house, that would make a nice place to house some pot plants. It looked like some huge jellyfish creature from the deep, with its long tentacles for roots being strained and lurching  out of the deep. It was thick and gnarly, and someone, in what can only be described as a lame and an ill thought out attempt to stop it from completely destroying the fence and taking over the neighbours yard, had propped it up with fence palings and chicken wire. 

The monstera had grown around these, and engulfed them with its thick roots. My flatmate and I stood staring at it trying to get our heads around pruning it or removing it all together, when faster than you can say leaner Babs tossed us a couple of garden shears and a tree saw. I was concerned that all of this physical activity was beginning to take its toll on my spinal disorder, but Babs wasn't having any of that it. Pish! tosh! suck it up! said Babs, no wonder your unemployed with that attitude. Do you want be a leaner all your life or do you want to be a lifter like me. All you need is a bit of grit and determination to tackle this job. 

So Babs pulled out the big guns, as quick as she can lift her hair up neatly behind her head and tuck it fashionably under her stylish sun hat.  She then quickly set about snipping off the Monstera's talons while it oozed white sticky sap. Good God! said Babs, that's ghastly! Oh look I know what I said, but we'll have it pruned back in no time. I was talking about you she said. There's no excuse for lookingy unsightly and no reason a lady shouldn't look her best when working inside and outside the house. What if you happen to get an unexpected gentleman caller said Babs?

Stay tuned for more Babaliscious cleaning and make overs for the employably challenged with the delightful Barbara Ganoush.  As seen on The Block 
...well maybe one day??


  1. Wow. This is why I love this blog. It covers newsy topics, plus romance, career advice, and now who needs to buy Better Homes and Gardens, when there's the auspicious Babs Ganoush! By the way, Barbara, do you know anything about getting rid of free-loading roof-rats? and other 21st century pests?
    Welcome on board.

  2. Hello dear reader it's Barbara Ganoush here.

    Thank for reading my cleaning and make over tips for the seriously employably challenged!.

    Free loading roof-rats are a god awful drag aren't they ? the smell, the squealing and scratching- and what is that about anyway?

    First things first. Are the roof rats unwanted house guests that you invited to stay and they set up residence? or, are you actually talking about Rattus Norvegicus? Also, do other 21st century pests mean our current government? or perhaps social media trolls? Either way, I've got the answer for you.

    You could use poison but you risk killing off any household pets and dead rats and other 21st century pests like overstaying guests and current elected officials stink worse than live ones. Getting rid of the above without poison requires taking away their food source and blocking off their nesting areas.

    1. Barbara, yes I am speaking of Rattus Norvegicus? Thanks for the tips, and you've inspired me to keep my digs, spick and span. In fact Barbara, I find your methods are on a par with domestic firebrand, Martha Stewart. Although she would suggest, sipping on a Pimms No. 1 Cup while undertaking such chores, can take the edge off the hard yakka. As for social media pests/trolls, they can creep up on one quite unexpectedly. I think that your approach re roof-rat removal, can also be applied to such trolls. That is, cut off their food source - being the very things that seems to get up their twitchy sensitive nostrils. I do find, the troll species known as Rattus-Hipsters-Stupidus most irritating. However, have decided to avoid them like they would have avoided that very traumatic, widespread, rat plague of the middle ages. But Barbara, what comes around, goes around I guess. So quite possibly Rattus--Hipsters-Stupidus (often found nesting in social media hang-outs) are the 21st century cyberspace version of the middle-ages rat plague, coming back to haunt us.