Time for me

Very busy lately and struggling to get away from my desk because if I don’t do it no-one else can and just because of that I took Wednesday off as a mental health day. Right up to the moment I sent the message to the office Wednesday morning I doubted that I would actually do it. I feel like I’m cheating when I take a sickie, which I am. As well, my mind nagged me with the things that had to be done but fuck it, I don’t work as a brain surgeon and no matter what I think there’s nothing that couldn’t wait. And so I just rolled over in bed and had another snooze.
There’s value in days like Wednesday. Sometimes you just need time to get back in touch with yourself. You come back better for it, and if you don’t do it you run the risk of winding down. I’m as fit as a Mallee bull these days, both mind and body, but that’s not to say that the mental edges might not begin to fray unless I took some time for myself.

It was a delightful day. I lay in bed for a while reading with Rigby snuggled up against me and a latte on the table beside me.

Later I wandered up the road in the winter sunshine. Had a coffee and a slice, bought some groceries, and picked up my dry-cleaning. Back at home I read a little more, did my tax, browsed the internet, and basically chilled out.

As the afternoon went on I flicked Netflix on and watched as I did some cooking – a beef, mushroom, caramelised onion and ale pie first, then a pumpkin coconut curry. I had myself a hot bath then had dinner of the pie while I watched the news. The rest of the night was similarly mellow. Come work yesterday I was in a different frame of mind, which continues as we speak.


On the road again

Surprisingly upbeat today, despite having had to hand over exorbitant wads of cash to pay for my car service. If you recall the engine had blown and the timing belt was cactus also, both requiring replacement, plus sundry other repairs. I had budgeted for quite an ugly figure, but the sundry other repairs added up to more than I imagined. Bottom line is that the invoice was thousands more than I expected, and effectively has wiped me out – in fact I still owe some.

I collected the car this morning and at least I can say it was a lovely, smooth ride on the way home. It would want to be. It’s not as good as new, but the replacement engine has about half the k’s of the old one. What happens next really depends on what happens next with me, but general idea is to drive the car around for about 18 months, then look to trade-in – perhaps for a non-European car.

It feels good to drive again. It feels good to have the option available once more. The cost is just part of life.

It hurt last night when I got the news. It kyboshed a few plans, and the waste of spending so much on getting a car repaired bit deep. You adjust though. Today there’s more of a blasé attitude of fuck it, shit happens. With that is a sense of release. Damage is done and I’m pretty up, singing under my breath and sometimes aloud, Kaiser Chiefs particularly, but some Warren Zevon too. I feel pretty energised actually, go figure.

Personal development

I’ve back a few days now and one thing I’ve noticed is how long I’m sleeping. Normally through the work week, I average a little under 7.5 hours per night. These last few days I’ve slept for about nine hours a night. The opportunity to sleep in is always welcome, but what this is telling me is that I needed it. No surprise. I’ve felt run-down both physically and mentally the last few months. It felt as if I needed a good rest and the opportunity to re-charge.

When I do wake the routine is not much different from normal. Rigby is fed, I grab a freshly made latte, then back to bed where I’ll read the Age, the NYT times, and various other news sites and magazines on my iPad. I’ll check what’s going happening on Facebook and Twitter and randomly cruise other sites.

As the morning progresses I’ll take Rigby for his walk. There’s no set time for this, but he’s always alert. The final test is now in progress and so I’ll switch that on and have in the background as I attend to different chores – a load of washing, a tidy up, maybe some cooking. Amid all this, I’ve checked my email and attended to anything needing attending to.

Of course, now I’m writing too. I’ve started on the new book, and it’s hard work. Starting is always most difficult, and not just because it’s a blank page. That’s tough, but getting it right is tougher. I don’t expect to get it right first off. I’ve written about 2000 words so far and I reckon 75% of them will be changed before I’m happy – and that’s just the first draft. You’re trying to set the tone and mood. Trying to get the voice right, and capture the character. How you start is how you go on with it, so you need to get it right.

I have a couple of days more of this then I’m back to work. Like many people I made some resolutions and sketched in some aspirational plans over the new year. The resolutions I posted to Facebook, just to put them out there: get a book published, wear more colourful shirts, be less glip/more open. I might add to that: eat more greens (especially broccoli) and less sugar.

The plans are more general. Unless something significant occurs I must change jobs. I’m neither well used or well rewarded. I’m looking towards March for that.

As a general notion, I want to have a better Christmas this year. There are different things I could do towards that, but what I favour is finding that intimate other to share it with. If that’s the case there are other things I must do, or decide upon.

While I was away I spoke to Cheeseboy about the woman at work. He’s well aware of my past experiences, but said I should go for it. It’s funny, I’m the risktaker by nature, and he’s conservative, but he’s urging me to take the chance. I can only believe it’s good advice.

I’ve decided to accept the possibility, even to pursue it, but without hurry. What we experienced is the first flush of attraction and desire. That’s nice, but it doesn’t always survive into real life. Real is what I want. I don’t want to lose the feeling of attraction and desire, but I want something more substantial to reinforce it. I think there is something to work on with this woman, but I’ll let it happen rather than forcing it. If it’s not to be it’s not to be.

Regardless, as I’ve promised, with this woman or another, I intend to be open and honest and vulnerable. Real. That’s the next stage in my personal development.

Unwelcome guests

I had an unwelcome intrusion over the weekend. ‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse…’ goes the classic poem, except in my case unfortunately there was a stirring, and it was a mouse. Or mice.

I take some poetic licence – it actually began a week before Christmas Eve. I reckon it was all the rain we got. My yard tends to inundated and I figure it drove the mice to higher ground. Somewhere they found a way in to the dry of the house – my best guess is through the pipes of the hot water service leading into the laundry. Once they got in the house they found it quite pleasant, and invited their mates. It helped that right there in the laundry was a big 20 kilo bag of dry dog food for them to feast on.

That’s how I figured out I had mice. I’d heard scratches and scurrying noises and had a major suspicion I had guests, but then when I saw the plastic on the bag of unopened dog food chewed through I knew it. Not long after I caught a glimpse from the corner of my eye.

It’s not pleasant knowing that you have vermin lurking in the shadows. I was afraid that once I had one then more would come. I set traps and caught them regularly, but so many that it only increased my apprehension. On one occasion I caught two in the same trap. The noise grew louder and more widespread – it seemed they were in all the walls, and an odour grew stronger.

I found how they were getting in – just a crack really in the base of the laundry basin unit. Presumably there’s a hole in the floor leading outside. I blocked that up with bricks, but I’m uncertain if that’s their only way in.

It was pretty hairy for a while, but it seems to have settled down now. I suspect I’ve most, if not all of the mice that were in the house, and having blocked their egress hopefully that means no more can enter. On top of that I removed the dog food from temptation – it’s now sitting in a plastic container in the bathtub.

My real estate agent is closed to the new year, but I’ll be calling them then to get an exterminator in, and a more permanent solution to stacked bricks.

Worth doing

In an hour or two I’ll be heading home for the weekend, then will be off for the next four days after, returning to work Friday.
I’m not doing anything exciting, and not going anywhere. Instead I hope to finish up the book to the point that I’m happy to send it off into the world for its onward journey.
Besides that I plan to search for a potential business partner for the start-up that’s been mouldering for the last two years. I’m still pretty passionate about it, and I hate the idea of just letting it go. Don’t really like letting anything like that go. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing.
I’m not sure what the best way is, but I know I want someone passionate and altruistic. Obviously big bonus points for relevant skills and experience. Need to trust them too, that’s a biggie.
Otherwise it will be the usual, do a bit of cooking, do a bit of reading, etc. I cracked a tooth the other day, and so a visit to the dentist might be on the cards as well.
In about 20 minutes I’m having a phone interview with a prospect new employer.
As for the existing employer I’ve given them fair warning today that if they haven’t come up with something by the time I return Friday then I’ll be making a formal complaint, but internally and externally.
Tonight and tomorrow I’ll be watching the footy. The finals have started and it’s a great time of year.

Happy mayhems

Took Rigby out for his Christmas morning walk at about 8.30. It was already warm, the sky a perfect blue. Walking down the street it seemed unnaturally quiet. There was no traffic on the street, no sounds of movement or industry. There was not even a breeze.

Down the end of the street there was a woman walking in a straw hat. We walked in her direction, and slowly things emerged. Passing one house I heard the faint strains of Christmas carols. Passing another a family came out the front gate to visit their neighbours, three little girls bounding with excitement. The father seemed to me a typical Australian type with an open, friendly face. “G’day mate,” he said, “merry Christmas”, and I wished him the same.

Passing the woman we exchanged greetings. Still it was quiet. The houses revealed little, but I imagined inside families gathered for this most special of family days, the kids hyper opening their presents while proud parents watched on, all of it a happy mayhem.

Beach road on a Sunday morning is normally chockas with cyclists in long ribbons going to or from the peninsula. It’s difficult to cross sometimes so choked is the road with cyclists and general traffic. There was little traffic today, and though there were cyclists, far fewer than normal. They rode by in clumps of 10 or 12, the diehards, many of them with antlers attached to their helmets or santa hats or some sort of festive decoration.

It was beautiful on the beach. The sky was an azure blue, and the water still. There were a few swimming, and others walking along the sand or the path behind the beach. It seemed so classic. While most of the world today celebrates Christmas in some kind of winter setting in Oz it’s high summer. It’s forecast 36 degrees today after 35 yesterday. The next 3 days are said to be similar. It’s a hedonist’s paradise.

Back home I’m sitting here with a glass of very rummy eggnog, held over from last night. There are even carols playing. I’ve been in touch with the family that counts. I’ll set about fixing my lunch in an hour or two.

Last night I watched It’s a Wonderful Life. It’s a movie I probably hadn’t seen for 15 years or more. In recollection it seemed mawkish to me – which undeniably it is; but watching it again I was affected by that very mawkishness. It’s easy to be cynical and cool, but unwise. These are the things I’m learning – never too old.

To all that read this, have a happy and safe day – and I hope Santa treats you well.

All set

I’m sitting here with a G&T, the usual lemon replaced by a couple of slivers of cucumber. Goes best with Hendricks, but goes well regardless. That sets the tone for a planned few days of decadence.

Tonight I’ll fix a batch of egg nog in honour of the season – none of that wretched store-bought stuff. I have some raspberries set aside which I’ll gobble up with some thick cream too.

In the fridge I have a chicken brining in sugar and salt, garlic, a bay leaf and a sprinkling of cumin. That’s my lunch tomorrow, when I’ll roast it with a tomato glaze. It’s not the standard Christmas lunch, but it’ll do me. The remaining fixings will be the same – roast potatoes and pumpkin, some beans just to be green, and even some stuffing because I love it.

I was going to make a pav for dessert, but instead I’ve gone conventional and purchased a high-end Christmas pud. it might be 36 degrees outside, but a pud always goes down well. As a concession to the weather forecast I’ll be making a jug of Pimms cup, ready to go.

Boxing day I’ll be making a big batch of Mojitos to watch the cricket with, and have in mind making a different cocktail each day over my Christmas/New year break.

When the weather allows I’ll be switching between firing the barbie up and light, healthy summer meals, but never fear, that’s just for show. I set myself up to make a lemon meringue cheesecake to satisfy my sweet tooth. That’ll be Tuesday probably.

Of course there’s all sorts of other goodies in the house. Besides the Turkish delight I bought some nougat today, and there’s two different types of chocolate, as well as the obligatory shortbread someone made for me.

I’m looking forward to it. This is my time, and I’m going to stuff it till it squeals.