Best known for her roles in Australian classics Muriel’s Wedding and The Castle, Sophie Lee released her first novel, Alice in La La Land, in 2007. Her latest offering, a children’s book titled Edie Amelia and the Monkey Shoe Mystery, is on sale now.

Caring for tourists holidaying in Sunny Sydney is not a glamorous career choice

I sleep in a best canister vacuum cleaner review closet. At present I have nowhere else to go. To get into the vacuum cleaner closet, more of a hatch really, you have to shimmy up the wall a couple of feet. This is a two-person job as the hatch is about a foot above the height of my head. Inside is a narrow coffin-like space big enough for a sizeable vacuum cleaner or one fully grown human being. Once inside the hatch I have to pretty much lie down straight away or I’ll bump my head. I bump my head every morning at five thirty when my alarm goes off. See, I work as a breakfast waitress in a classy joint up the road. Brandon, my room mate, has the lease on the apartment and the room with the more traditional sleeping arrangements. He says waitressing is the best way for me to earn money and still be free to do other things all day.

I work at the Texas Tavern, a second-rate hotel that caters mainly to American tourists. I’m guessing they do pretty crappy jobs back home or they’d stay at a place with a) a less ridiculous name and b) an atmosphere that doesn’t make you immediately want to top yourself. The bowels of the hotel are cavernous and devoid of human life. They seem to go down for miles and to be full of disused white goods behind which God knows what is lurking. I’m too scared to venture to the end of these hallways because I’m scared of just how deep they’ll go and of what I might meet there. Hades comes to mind, with its rings upon rings of sinners eating their own intestines for eternity, except that here the inmates have to make do with instant coffee and jumbo cans of lard.

People love canister vacuum cleaner

Even though this is a one-star hotel, come on, let’s just call it a motel, the clientele are surprisingly finicky. People who wear vinyl shoes shouldn’t be so finicky. They demand their eggs “over-easy”. The difficulty I have is relaying such highly specific requests to the Iranian breakfast chef, whose English is so bad he can only just manage the word “egg”. For him there are no such culinary niceties, just eggs. In his tortured English Hasmal has managed to inform me that he is actually a scientist, that he stowed away on a ship from the Middle East to get here, and that having arrived he had to swim to shore through the sharks of Sydney Harbour so as not to attract the scrutiny of other predators, namely the ones working in the Immigration Department. Clearly flipping eggs is beneath him or he’d be doing a better job. In fact, it’s so far beneath him he can’t do it at all. I run into the kitchen every 10 minutes and yell for eggs over-easy because I’m the one who gets chewed out by the fat Americans not him. This bothers me because I’m a good waitress, conscientious and prompt. He takes his time and moseys about, burning toast, serving up mucusy eggs for me to deliver to the man-boys in the dining room.

Hasmal has a pointy, ratlike face and pathetic eyes full of sad memories. He shuffles about his domain without any apparent sense of urgency. He doesn’t shave, smokes Kents with a fumbling unfamiliarity and seems mainly to gaze at me when he’s not ruining someone’s breakfast. I suppose I must be the rare Caucasian female who bothers to give him the time of day. (Early, dude.) Those sharks must have been scary to swim through in the harbour, but I can also see why they didn’t eat him. He looks extremely unappetising to me, especially at ten to six in the morning when he’s tired and unwashed.

Initially I decided to work an early morning shift so my days could be free, but to be honest, I’d probably be better off working at night because I don’t have a lot on during the day. Till recently I was working a grand total of six nights a week at this other joint called Caminos, with a bunch of Turkish men who made pizza and thought they knew every single street in the Eastern Suburbs without ever having to consult a map. Caminos did a home delivery service as well. One time a customer from Rushcutters Bay called to order a large Capricciossa and a garlic bread, gave his address, and the boss refused to home deliver. He was so convinced that the address was fictitious he wouldn’t even consider it. He screamed down the phone to the prospective customer never to bother us again and that in the name of Allah that the given address did not exist. Out of curiosity I checked it out the next day and, sure enough, it did exist. Turkish men can be inflammatory.

The chef at Caminos was convinced he was creating cordon bleu masterpieces. He was a six-foot-five Albanian with enormous muscles, a tiny head and hooded eyes. He looked like a mutant tortoise. Perhaps that’s where they got the inspiration for that famous cartoon series about those mutant tortoises called Donatello and what have you – from observing the appearances of itinerant Albanian chefs. This guy also had a terrible temper and would throw whole plates of food in the bin whenever one of the gay customers complained that the veal scaloppine was undercooked.

Working there became untenable when the chef started telling the others canister vacuum cleaner he’d slept with me and they started looking at me funny and talking in low whispers about zucchinis. Since I don’t fancy even normal tortoises as bed companions I left abruptly, the night before the boss was supposedly taking his first holiday in eight years. He screamed and yelled that I was ruining his life, that now he would never get to the Gold Coast with his wife and children, oh Allah, Allah.

I am absolutely not into flirting with wanna-be chefs in third grade restaurants. The other morning I came into the kitchen to bark out a breakfast order for a good ole boy, and Hasmal was slouching over the grill, flipping eggs and making a mess of them again. But something was different, this time he was talking to them. His pants hung slackly from his behind and he was straining with the effort. I hung back so I could hear him, momentarily fascinated and forgetting the angry clientele. And get this… he’s saying, “I love you, hi le-ove ye-ou, hi LOVE you…”

All at once I have this horrible notion he’s practising his English for me. And believe me I want no part of it. He’s ruining the eggs even further by talking to them in this way, and upstairs there’s a whole army of hungry salesmen in cheap suits wanting their breakfast. “Hasmal!” I shouted, interrupting him, “Table three want to know! What’s the hold-up! Oh screw it, you’re burning the toast.”

“Listen, doll, I distinctly remember asking for over-easy. I dunno what you call these eggs Down Under, but they ain’t over-easy.” Over-easy, sir? We’ve got a guy back there who’s apparently qualified to split atoms, but can’t even crack an egg, let alone cook it to your exact specifications. Just eat your damn eggs and then go sell your ball-point pens or whatever it is you do.

From nine fifteen on, most of them have gone, thank God. I swat at cockroaches with a greasy tea towel, put coffee cups back on top of the coffee machine and pray for my shift to end. At 10am I step out into the dazzling sunlight on Macleay Street and breathe in its sour garbage smells, basking in the rising summer heat. It’s only then that I remember I have only a wall hatch to go back to.

Essential Guitar Care Tips

Some maintenance tasks and simple care is needed to be performed for keeping the value and the sound of the guitar great, and for keeping it in top condition. Being a sensitive musical instrument, the following simple steps are needed to be followed for the guitar to perform well.

Essential Guitar

Temperature to be Checked

A range of high and low temperature can be tolerated by the guitar, but problem can be caused by any swift change in the guitar’s temperature, such as – a body crack. A radiator should not be kept beside a guitar, or the guitar should not be kept at your car’s backside, especially in the sunny days. Temperature change can also be controlled by using the guitar case for keeping it inside, by which more protection can be ensured.

Avoid Guitar’s Drying Out

Another harmful matter for guitar is lost of its humidity, especially in case of acoustic guitars. Split tops, fret boards’ cracking etc can be caused by low humidity. The guitar can also be used in this case of protecting your guitar from losing its humidity. In case of issues related to any sort of humidity lost, a humidifier’s use is recommended. For avoiding the drying out of the guitar and the maintenance of a suitable level, the sound hole is placed with the humidifiers. Winter can be a crucial season in this case, as at this time the house’s atmosphere is usually dried out by the heating system.

Guitar Storing

As mentioned earlier, humidity and temperature changes can be protected by keeping the guitar into its case when it is not used. Moreover, knocks and dust can also be avoided by keeping the guitar into its case. Knocks can be better protected by a body case which is solid. Another alternative for this is buying a stand or rack.

The strings of the guitar should be loosened if not used more than a month. It is because the body and neck of the guitar may require strong force from the strings when tuned. This may result in bending the shape or warping with the passing of time. In this case strings’ loosening is needed for avoiding such occurrences. Since retuning is much better than letting the guitar being damaged.

Clean up

Your hands must be clean before you start cleaning your guitar. If there is any deposition of chemicals or sweat from your fingers, then it may affect the strings’ life. It is also better to trim your nails smaller for avoid any breakage of the nails or unnecessary fret board’s wear. Strings of the guitar are needed to be cleaned with soft cloth after each use. Both the tune of the guitar and its playing life can be extended by cleaning up the guitar regularly.

Moreover, fret boards should also be cleaned when you’ll get the strings changed. The fret board may occur much grubby and this usually decreases the strings’ useful life. A wet paper towel should be used for wiping off the dirt from the fret board, but the paper towel should not be as wet as to wet the fret board. After the wet paper towel, a dry paper towel is to be used to wipe the fret board.

Only a soft cloth can keep the modern guitars clean for their body being quite durable.  If polishing is necessary, it must be completed by only a guitar polish specialist. Because of the possessing of some abrasives in the ordinary polishes for furnitures, a guitar polish specialist should be approached. The ordinary polishes for furnitures can alter and harden the guitar’s tone with the period of time if polished frequently.

Old Strings’ Changing

The replacing time of the strings is signaled by the dull sound and strange sounds occurring from the guitar. Either an amateur or a professional, if you are using your guitar more often, two weeks should be the approximate time length for changing the strings. For more relaxed use, 2-3 months of time period is okay for changing the strings. Each and every string is to be changed at the same time. It is because the lifetime of the string same depending on their use, and moreover, if you don’t do so, changing one string at a time can be frustrating and cause problems in the tuning too.

However, a tuneful as well as long association with your guitar can be enjoyed by you if you can follow the above mentioned basic tips accordingly.