Back to me…..

Next time you are typing something (even a comment on this blog) try this exercise – type normally with your right hand, but only use the index finger on your left. Not so easy, is it? How did I discover such a thing? By breaking the middle finger of my left hand last Thursday. How do I know it was broken? Well, the swelling is still there going on to a week later, and it still hurts mightily when i bang it on something…..or when I use it to type, button my shirt or lift a full, heavy saucepan. Last Thursday I drove to another office of my company to pick up a manager on the way to a restaurant to meet two representatives of an important client. When I got out of the car, I slammed the door shut on the tip of my middle finger on my left hand. By the time I got inside the nail had started to turn bright purple, but as you can imagine it has since turned to black….I’m going to lose the nail eventually. During the drive to the venue (half an hour away) I managed to concentrate largely on the 99 per cent of my body that wasn’t hurting. All was covered nicely until I went to use cutlery……it’s quite embarrassing to have a major client offer to cut up your lunch for you. All-in-all it has been a painful and frustrating experience, but one that I will no doubt learn from.

Right now it is 51 and a half minutes short of one of my favourite people’s birthdays….happy birthday Mum. Thanks for the inspiration, the believing in causes and the example of making a difference. One thing readers might find amusing…especially you Nicki…I did some quick-fire shoppping during my lunch break yesterday and, keeping with what is slowly becoming a tradition, bought Mum a biography for her birthday, bought a card and sent them via express post in the hope they would arrive on her birthday tomorrow. In the early hours of this morning I woke in a cold sweat…dead certain that I had sent her the exact same book as I sent for the most recent previous celebration of the same occasion. Nicki….if you could check with my Mum and report back here it would be lovely! Everyone else, please continue laughing while I shop for a replacement.

I have been enjoying a bit of work/life balance (or whatever they call remembering your children’s names) lately. Both Child A and Child S have started another season of Auskick….and both are loving it. Child A has just about the biggest kick of anyone there, and Child S’s kicking and marking skills have improved out of sight. Tonight I saw Abbey sing with a mass choir from about 14 different primary schools. It was great, but it was much easier to hear her as we sang Missy Higgins duets on the way home in the car! I’ve booked a leave day for Monday, the September school holidays off and four weeks at Christmas as well. Woohoo!

Beloved K is having a rough trot…..the cold/flu bug has knocked her for six and she has so far lasted a grand total of two hours at work this week. Get well soon … we’re missing your smiling face! Tonight she kindly suggested that it would be better if I was sick at the same time so I could stay home and keep her company…….hmmmmmmm.

Haven’t caught up with Jury for a week or so because she’s been working. Might have to bring Child S around to play with Cousin J this Saturday anyway. Can Nephew K make a decent coffee?



Burning out

No…..that’s not the process you go thorugh when you spin the tyres rapidly while trying to get a small four-cylinder car up a steep, wet driveway. It’s more the process you go through when you attempt to do two full time jobs at once, and try to do both of them properly. I have to confess to being less than thrilled at having a second full time job thrust in my lap for four weeks (fourth week starting today). Bad enough that I had allowed myself to think I was above the level of the extra job, but add the fact that it was the position I held up until about two years ago, and that I have had to commute an hour back across the damn bridge to get there because I moved house to be closer to work, and it just hasn’t been particularly enjoyable. I have had many former contacts call me saying “great, you’re back”, which is really nice for my ego but doesn’t say a lot for how those who followed me in the job have maintained my legacy to the area. On balance, too many people wishing I was back for good for my liking…..I don’t want our GM to get any silly ideas like sending me back there.

The other bummer was that this all took part in a period that covered the school holidays. Spending valuable Child A and Child B time is hard enough at the best of times, but go back to commuting two hours a day and it is just that much tougher. Yesterday, however, was really pleasant in a lazy kind of way. I spent the morning playing Monopoly with Child S (he beat me without too much help, although he would have gone broke if I hadn’t gently dissuaded him from “helping” and “being nice” as my play-money ran out. Sweet really. I spent the afternoon introducing Child A to the Lord of the Rings movies. She loved them, and we enjoyed making jokes at the expense of the orcs and marvelling at the return of Gandalf. We’re two movies down and one to go, but I hope she still reads the books one day……great reading.

The visit from Brother Joe was great, although again it would have been nice to work closer to home so my time was more flexible. I’m very excited to hear that he will tread the well-worn path of ageing that I once followed and lace on the footy boots again. “You’re a long time retired” is a very true football sentiment, and there’s nothing wrong with playing until you’re hounded out of the game for being too old/slow/fat/talentless…..and even then you can get a second, third and fourth opinion. Remember BJ….beware the “tap and fill”.

Beloved K is a level 51 night-elf, who can change in to a bear and has a mechanical yeti for a pet. What more can I say?


Role reversal

I have a friend and somewhat of a mentor at work who I really enjoy the company of. We have lunch together on most days, we chat several times during most days, I often ask his advice on corporate/business/ladder climbing issues and a lot of the time it is good advice. He is 20 years older than I am, and has often remarked that he sees a lot of his younger self in me.

Yesterday he asked if I would come for a beer after work (we live one suburb apart and probably do this once or twice a month), and I accepted, thinking it would be our usual chance to let off a little steam about the colleagues who caused us grief, and to laugh at the corporate world in a way we don’t dare do at work. Instead, he wanted my opinion on whether he should retire…..and he was serious. He wasn’t for a moment suggesting that the decision was hanging on what I thought, but he valued my opinion, and that made me feel really good.

We talked about the ins and outs of the situation, and I made a few comments here and there, but I told him I didn’t want to give an opinion off the cuff. This man has been with our company for nearly 30 years. I’ll think about if for a day or so and see what comes out.

Nice to be asked though.


Busting a gut

It’s one of those interesting phrases that is particularly practical because of its adaptability to different circumstances. It’s a bit like the word “set”, which has more than 50 dictionary meanings, depending on the context.

Being an Aries, let’s talk about me first. I have been “busting a gut” at work for the last month, finally putting in the actual hard work required on the property guide project that has been my greatest work objective since before Christmas. In short, I told them it would work, it is working, and I’m getting all of the credit. Great result really. It has entailled an incredible amount of work personally. Much of this work will not have to be redone next time, which is a wonderful blessing. I have largely myself to blame for how much of the work I ended up doing myself, but there is nothing like keeping the maximum level of control over the results when you have put your reputation on the line to make something happen. Anyway, all’s well that ends well, and this has (so far). Much of the pressure (and, again, long hours) have now subsided.

Sister N and Nephew J have unfortunately suffered a different form of “busting a gut” this week, with an unkind bout of gastroenteritis. I’m hoping they have somewhat recovered from the poor shape they were in earlier in the week. They still were not up to having visitors when we did the Child A and Child S piano lesson run this morning, but hopefully they will be on the mend really quickly.

That’s about all I’ve got in the “busting a gut” category for now, but rest assured I will post again immediately if I come up with something else of that order.

Sad to hear that Grandma is doing it tough in hospital at the moment. I hope she gets on the mend soon. Great to know that her daughters are rallying around her each day, and I’m sure it makes a real difference to Grandma. It wouldn’t be easy to see her in such shape after a fall, but I can say that the almost-daily updates via Nicki are avidly read by all up here and greatly appreciated.

Child A has a friend coming over for four hours tonight to watch the Goodies DVDs that Child A has told her so much about. Should be interesting. Child A is also in training for her first full-on competitive karate tournament (a statewide invitational event), and has taken some impressive steps with her karate, especially her kumite (belting people, while not getting belted). Child S brought us home an invitation to his class play “Adventures in Space”. Sounds good, and I reckon I’ll take a Monday morning off to go and see it with Beloved K. Speaking of Beloved K, she is heading out with some of the ladies from our street tonight. Good fun in adult company, so I’m sure she’ll have a great time.

Dog M is still lazy, spending most of every day sunning herself on the deck. She made a great attempt at being an inside dog, but blew it when she jumped on the bed while I was sleeping at 1.30am.

Cat E is still fat, and decides what time I get up each morning. Hardly fair, but what are you going to do….she’s a cat.

Last but not least, great to see all those great photos from the far north. I’ve almost got enough of an impression to find my way around Brother J’s house, but not quite. I’m really impressed with how he is tackling his property investment/home ownership dream. Quite amazing. It’s almost enough to make me think I could develop skills of a practical nature.



Does anyone today even know what a Bolshevik is?

It has always been one of my favourite little sayings (and one that I may have erroneously thought was ascribed to Winston Churchill) -If you’re not a socialist when you’re young you’ve got no heart, and if you’re still a socialist when you’re older you’ve got no brain. Last night I was told by a guest during casual dinner conversation that when the guest had met me they considered me extremely left-wing and was surprised what a full-on capitalist I had now become. Naturally I responded with a diplomatic and sober version of “get stuffed, comrade” and carried on with an enjoyable dinner of Indian food and high-sugar dessert. It has got me to thinking (as I have on some other occasions) about the ways that people’s views of society and the world, and even people, change over time. Am I who I was last decade, or last year, or even last week? I think the answer is no. I personally believe that few people are actually self-analytical enough to know this about themselves.

I wonder who I will be tomorrow?


What’s that sound?

Ah…….it’s silence.

Children A and S have been spending the school holiday week with M-I-L A and F-I-L K, a nice trip for them and kind of convenient for us because we are still working and didn’t want to send them off to vacation care if we could at all avoid it. Not that they have ever been to vacation care, so for all I know they might love it, but childhood trips to the grandparents do create special memories. I know they did for me.

This has left us with the problem, however, of it being so darn quiet here in the mornings and evenings. “Will you hurry up and……oh, you’re not here”. Kind of takes the wind out of the sails really.

Tuesday night Beloved K and I went and saw Vantage Point at cinema. It was really nice just to spend time out in each other’s company, and the movie itself was passable as well. Last night we met after work at Borders Books, our wonderful discovery (well, we discover slowly) of a massive bookshop that has titles we haven’t seen for years, plus a full scale Gloria Jeans coffee shop right there in the middle of the bookshop! Yep, browse and drink coffee….hard to beat.

I’m enjoying a really busy but successful period at work. Beloved K is still bored senseless by very slow work days. One wonders whether they would have received more applications for the job if the advertisement read “wanted, someone to sit around reading novels all day, and occaisionally treat patients – must have nursing registration and own library”.


Back at home

Got in late on Monday night and I reckon it has taken me three days to actually feel normal and energetic again. I didn’t even misbehave in the land of Nicki…..just enjoyed Nicki’s company greatly. I’m missing her now that I’m back home.

On the home front, Beloved K is a bit low at the moment, suffering some side effects after her flu shot earlier in the week. Like a trooper she is soldiering on, even though the work environment is a bit tense at the moment. You have to wonder about a medical practice that trims back the medical supplies order to save money. K is playing the diplomat at the moment, but I’ve very proud of her efforts to resist pressure to work extra days. it’s not easy to say “no” to a new employer, but she has done it with style and grace. Good on her.

Today is Bike Day at the school of Children S and A. I was so proud. Child S is not confident at all on a bike, and has spent the last couple of months refusing to ride it until we put the training wheels back on. We haven’t done so (he is six and a half, after all!). This morning, with his sister’s patient help, he rode all the way to school, all of 800 metres. He might have done it 50 metres at a time, but he got there and was really pleased about it judging by the look on his face.