Justin Cawthorne dot com

read, write, ramble

July 7

It’s Friday, which brings the last day at work for one member of our team. I stop off for a farewell card and some cake, then get to work and discover our departing colleague has already brought in Top Dup Donuts for us all! Later, we enjoy a farewell lunch of champagne and pizza. The afternoon is marred somewhat by the discovery of a fairly prominent bug on our website, but we can little more than deploy some damage control.

I head home for another childfree weekend. I don’t want to have to rush down to the supermarket (and do my week’s shopping) but I haven’t planned far enough ahead to anything lined up for dinner. I perform a desperate hunt through the freezer and come out with some lentil burgers. A bit of melted cheese on top, and some sauteed carrots and red cabbage on the side, and I’m all set.

I do my hoovering and tidying up and, somehow, am only just sitting down to eat when Seb arrives for Fridate; the glorious, official start to the weekend. Our viewing for this evening is The Hitcher, deferred from last night. I haven’t watched it for years, but as we settle I remember that it’s a film I used to watch over and over and over again. There are bits that I’ve forgotten, but every beat is familiar. The best part is the film is still every bit as good as I always thought it was, possibly even better now that I can watch it with fresh eyes again. Rutger Hauer gets hardly any lines, but dominates the film. This is potentially the first time that I’ve watched his performance and realised that he’s playing John Ryder as much of a victim as everyone else in the film. I enjoy it so much, I’m almost ready to watch it again right away.

Afterwards I read about the sequel, and the more recent remake. I decide I will not be watching either of them.

July 6

Thursday. I’m about to enter a Day Of Hell: I have meetings booked solidly from 9am to 4pm. I am deeply unenthused about this prospect. In fact I am so unenthused that I accidentally hit ‘off’ instead of ‘snooze’ when flailing about in the direction of my alarm. As a consequence I get up half an hour later than planned, which means half an hour less time in which to write. Not a great start to the day, and frustrating when I’m really, really into the story I’m working on.

I have a narrow window of potential between my first and second meetings in which I might be able to get coffee. My first meeting almost starts late, and I begin see my window dwindling. Luckily it’s just a team meeting, which means I get to wrap it up early and off I go to get my coffee. I’m then ten minutes early for my next meeting. Go figure.

My third meeting of the day is immediately after the second meeting and, conveniently, in the same room. However, I am then told that the third meeting has been delayed by half an hour. As my fourth meeting is in the city, this now means I have to skip the third meeting in order to get to my fourth meeting. This is convenient as it means I definitely wont to arrive late to my fourth meeting: which needs to finish early so I can get back in time for my fifth meeting of the day.

Since I don’t know when or where I’ll have a chance to eat, I’ve packed some peanut butter sandwiches in my bag. In the end, lunch is provided during the fourth meeting (the one in the city) which is a pretty awesome result. Even more awesomely, the meeting finishes early, enabling us to get back from the city well before the fifth and final meeting of the day is due to start (it’s a presentation by the senior executive group, so I’m determined that we should not be the ones to walk in late).

Another 90 minutes later, the Day Of Hell is finally over. Most of the meetings were useful in some way or other, and I even managed to get some tiny bits of work done in between several of them. Of greatest importance is the fact that both lunch and coffee happened.

And then I have to head straight home as I’ve asked Rachel to help me pick up my new washing machine (she got the older, bigger, fully paid off car as part of the settlement; I got the smaller, newer, still-being-paid off car). It begins raining as soon as we head out, and the traffic proves abysmal, so everything takes twice as long. We need to reverse the car into the pick up area of the store but–hilariously–there’s an enormous truck parked by the entrance. I end up offering to attempt the manoeuvre–prime entertainment in the darkness, and rain, with the windows all misted up. Even more hilariously, another car tries to pull into the pick up area right behind us, successfully blocking the narrow passage left at the side of the truck. I knock on his window and suggest he might want to go back and let us out before he tries to collect his goods. He obliges and consequently we don’t have to resort to blind ugly violence.

We get back and, between the two of us, manage to get the washing machine out of the car and into my garage without any serious injuries. And there it will stay until such a time as I decide to connect it up. Or the old washing machine carks it and takes the choice out of my hands.

After all that, it’s chips, eggs and beans for dinner, because I wasn’t organised enough to get a full week’s worth of food shopping at the weekend; but I am organised enough to ensure that I always have chips, eggs and beans on standby.

The Kinderbeast has claimed his spot in my bed for the night, so I settle him down while I shower (because it’s so damn late) and then order the Elderbeast to shower (because he’s so damn filthy). One of the cats curls up on the bed right next to the Kinderbeast, which is very cute until he decides he’s had enough and demands that I remove the cat.

The Elderbeast decides to spend his evening watching a film with Beryl. Some time ago I picked up a three-disc set of the Mighty Ducks films for him, and he chooses to watch that. It takes a while to work out film one comes first. Most countries just have The Mighty Ducks, then D2: The Mighty Ducks, and D3: The Mighty Ducks. Which is easy. So, we figure the first film will be The Mighty Ducks. No! Wrong! Our set has three films: Champions, The Mighty Ducks and D3: The Mighty Ducks. You see, over here, The Mighty Ducks is the *sequel* to Champions, the film which is called The Mighty Ducks everywhere else.

Confused yet?

In any case, he loves it. I have a blast listening to him giggling and cheering along to the film while I sit at my desk and catch up on work.

July 5

It’s Wednesday. I manage the rare feat of getting out of bed at 6:30am. It probably helps a lot that I’m really excited about the story I’m working on, and I really want to get some proper writing time in.

With the kids not at school I’m able to head to work relatively early. I drive there in the rain, and the weather only gets worse once I get to the office–standing defiantly between me and my coffee. I get some work done and finally get impatient just after 10am. I grab my umbrella from the car and make the ludicrously chilly walk down to Bang Bang. I then spend much of the day trying to plough through my oversized and overdue to-do list and make pretty good progress, despite some meetings getting in the way. After some consideration, I decide to make a complaint about the person who complained about my team on Monday. It’s not a thing I do at all often, or lightly, but my team works hard and they deserve my support when people start to point fingers at them.

When I eventually stop for lunch I realise that I’ve made no plans for dinner. I call Beryl and ask her to get some bolognese sauce out of the freezer (which, in the end, turns out to be beef stew). By the time I get home it still hasn’t defrosted, so I have to tease and nurture it with the microwave before it’s ready to cook. As we eat, the kinderbesten negotiate who gets to sleep in my bed: the Elderbeast claims his spot tonight (which I allow, because he’s managed two consecutive nights of not getting into my bed); the Kinderbeast claims tomorrow night, which I also allow because why not.

July 4

Happy Birthday, Bill Pullman!

I get up later than planned, but just about manage to start my morning shift by 7am. I’m really getting stuck into my current story, and am not a little frustrated by the need to stop and get ready for work. Rachel arrives at 8am to watch the kids, which gives me a rare opportunity to get to work early.

I get to the office and immediately start writing up a review of the incident from yesterday. The review ends up taking up most of my day. I walk up late to get my morning coffee–on my own because my usual coffee partner is off work with a work-related injury incurred the previous day. It is FREEZING outside, but at least the coffee is good. My favourite coffee place was shut last week and I’m delighted to have it back today.

I get home and find the Elderbeast ready to head to his friend’s house for a sleepover. He misses out on shepherd’s pie made with the leftover slow-cooked lamb from Sunday, and the leftover pastie filling from Saturday: it’s exactly as tasty as you’re thinking it is. I need wine, so I drink wine. And then I drink tea in an eternally futile bid to stay warm.

In bed, I read several more chapters of Ocean At The End Of The Lane and decide I’m definitely enjoying it. I attempt to sleep, but am thwarted by the cold despite being clad in two long-sleeved tops, a flannelette sheet, a winter duvet and a sherpa throw.

July 3

It’s Fucken Monday. I wake up feeling grim, headachy and snotty nosed. After brief consideration I decide to call in sick; if nothing else it means I’m not spreading my germs around. It’s the first day of the school holidays, and Rachel is coming over to look after the Kinderbesten. I’m not up to taking over for the day, but I message Rachel to let her know she doesn’t need to get here as early as planned (she turns up at 9am instead with a fresh pack of Lemsip for me). I use the time to have a bonus morning shift.

Later in the morning, I manage to catch sight of a too-tempting offer on my favourite internet deal site and end up spending $80 that I probably didn’t need to spend on wine that I probably didn’t need to own. But it’s eight bottles of pretty damn good wine for the price, and it will inevitably be drunk and enjoyed, so I’m not kicking myself too hard about it. That said, I had silently pledged to avoid all unnecessary expenses during July so I can get my financial safety net back into four figures. I view this as a future saving: it’ll save me having to buy wine at $15-20 per bottle in the future. For a while, at least.

We all enjoy a game of Exploding Kittens, before Rachel takes the kinderbesten away to Garden City so I can rest. I shut myself in the bedroom with the heater on, and continue to work on my story.

Around midday I get distracted by a work issue. Someone has complained because a request wasn’t fulfilled quickly enough. It destroys my writing mojo. I decide I may as well turn my attention to work, and do what I can to resolve the issue. Not long after that, Rachel comes back with the kinderbesten. With little else to do, we spend some time doing a long-overdue sort out of the Kinderbeast’s old clothes, while I also bake some banana bread with the wealth of ageing bananas I seem to have accumulated.

I had planned to start watching The Night Manager this evening, but the Kinderbeast ends up settling later than planned, which wipes out my TV viewing window. As a fallback I invite the Elderbeast to join me for a bit of Rise Of The Tomb Raider. Between us we manage to get past the first few levels before I decree it to be bed time. I’m quite excited about this because I finally put my brand new flannelette sheets on the bed earlier in the day. They are are comfy as expected, but I’m still damn cold. I have two layers of pajamas on, the flannelette sheets, a winter duvet, and a sherpa throw … but I’m still damn cold.

I’ve decided it’s time for me to start reading again (as in novels, not internet articles). I put some thought into rereading It, one of my favourite Stephen King novels, but instead opt to use my fading memory to my advantage and be at least a little but surprised by the impending film adaptation. I also consider rereading The Stand (yet again) but am less excited by this prospect than the book deserves. Finally I remember I’ve yet to read The Ocean At The End Of The Lane, a Neil Gaiman book, and settle down to that. I only get one chapter down, but it’s a start.

July 2

We have a friend staying over, which offers the perfect opportunity to cook a huge breakfast and then enjoy a viewing of Spider-Man 2. I’ve only seen the film once or twice since it came out, despite thinking of it as one of the top two or three superhero movies ever made. It doesn’t disappoint on this viewing either, though I’m surprised at how long it takes to get going.

I also take some time to get to grips with Pocketbook, in an effort to ensure that I don’t bankrupt myself as primary carer of two kids and relatively fresh mortgage. It’s pretty good–it identifies my regular bill payments, lets me enjoy a brief OCD spell of categorising my expenses, and then I leave it to do its thing. Having done my sums a few months back, I’m not overly worried about my financial situation, but something like Pocketbook will hopefully help me make sure I’m keeping an eye on where the cash is going.

Dinner is slow-cooked lamb (again: the Elderbeast having become quite the fan). The three of us play a tense round of Exploding Kittens, and then it’s time for the season finale of Doctor Who. I ask the Kinderbeast if he wants to go to bed or stay up and watch Doctor Who with us: he makes the right choice and goes for the latter. It’s a good finale, and there’s no better way to end the week than watching my favourite show with my two favourite people.

July 1

It’s a fun-packed Saturday! Or at least it promises to be. We have some friends coming over before 10am, so we’re up and out early for the Weekend Family Shop, then back just in time for our guests. The Kinderbeast has a Kindererbeast to play with for a couple of hours, and they obsess over dump trucks and other toys while us grown-ups chat about adult affairs such as movie posters and how bad we both are at playing guitar lately. I also make use of the visit to pass on some of the Kinderbeast’s old clothes: he has grown out of many awesome clothes, but the Kindererbeast is just youngerer enough to fit into many of them. It’s win-win.

After our guests leave we settle down for Saturday Morning(ish) Film Club. This weekend we make the excellent decision to watch The Incredibles. I make the less excellent decision to sit down, which does nothing to ease my burgeoning headache, and does everything to make me not want to get up again for the rest of the weekend.

Which is unfortunate because I have baking to get done. When my wife and I were still an actual living-together married couple (instead of a not living-together couple who still have to remain married for another 10 months because family law is ass-backwards) we hosted an annual Piejama Party. This is a party where you eat pies and wear pajamas. Much as the title suggests. This event would traditionally happen around this time of year. Officially, Piejama Party died with the marriage. However, myself and my friends do like to eat pie … so …

I have elected to make cornish pasties, which naturally I have never made before. I’m actually making vegetarian cornish pasties (they were almost gluten-free too but I have it on good authority that gluten-free pastry tastes like week-old elephant pants … that’s possibly not the exact description that was provided…). I make the filling, cut the frozen pastry squares into triangles, and start assembling. I think I’m about to make some nice little bite-sized pasties, but it appears I need some remedial geometry as I need up with three trays full of huge meal-sized pasties. I get the first tray in the oven as my guests arrived (serenaded by James Bond themes, because that’s the sort of thing that happens when you watch The Incredibles).

The pasties are a great success, and the best part is all the other pies we get to eat as well. When we’re not filling our faces, we enjoy some games of Exploding Kittens and Pandemic Cthulhu (which I particularly like).

It’s a good evening, and further proof of the adage that you really can’t go wrong when there’s pie and board games in the mix.

June 30

After the week I’ve had I’ve never been more pleased to see Friday. No doubt the Kinderbesten are equally delighted as it’s the last day of school before a two-week holiday. My weekend officially begins by taking Beryl home, then the kinderbesten and I return to await the Arrival of Seb. The Elderbeast is allowed to play on his iPad all evening, as a rare holiday treat, while Seb and I enjoy the remake of The Blob (which remains a whole bunch of fun every time I watch it).

June 29

I have a terrible night’s sleep. The Elderbeast managed to install himself in my bed the previous evening, and go to sleep, before I could do anything about it. Usually he’s a relatively benign presence, but this time he tosses and turns all night. I take ages to get to sleep, probably still consumed by residual stress from the day.

I eventually manage to get to sleep, but then wake up to the sound of the Kinderbeast crying for me at 2am. I go in and he tells me he can’t sleep. I calm him down, tuck him in again, and then get myself back to bed. Minutes later, he’s crying for me again: he wants his music on to help him sleep. I stick on Moana and return to bed. I get my head down and am summoned yet again. This time he wants me to get a cuddly toy for him. He gets his cuddly toy, but I’m getting cold now and somewhat less amused. I get back to bed, trying to wrap the covers tight enough around me to get warm again and get back to sleep; but inevitably with one ear listening out for the Kinderbeast.

Naturally, I don’t get up in the morning to write. However, in the last few days I have managed to come up with ideas for two new stories. This comes as something of a relief given I’ve not had any fresh story ideas since the breakup of my marriage. Sure, I have plenty of material to be working on for now, but the idea of inspiration failing me long-term was definitely never part of my plan.

After the events of yesterday I need to write an incident report, but I do the right thing upon getting to work and head straight for my coffee without even switching on the PC. After that, I get the report done, but I spend all morning in a haze of angst: I’m overtired; I’m probably still stressed from yesterday; and I’m apprehensive about heading to the Family Court to file my papers. I’m nervous about whether I’ll take a wrong turn again, or if there’ll be parking, or if I’ll get turned away for forgetting one critical document. I head out for a second coffee during the morning, because why the hell not, and then it’s time to drive into the city.

I do not get lost, and there’s a parking spot waiting for me right at the entrance to the car park. I take it as a good sign. I end up waiting about 30 minutes in the Family Court, but they sort all the papers, stamp them, charge me the filing fee, and it’s done.

It feels good to get this one big step out of the way.

June 28

Wednesday. I get up and write some more diary entries, as I’m still not quite in the right mood for story writing. Then I get a text message that the website at work is down, and looks like it might have been down for a while. So this means I need to get the kids ready and get myself ready, all while trying to coordinate some diagnosis and remedial action–mostly over SMS–and then get to work as quickly as possible. Of course I’m late leaving, because I’ve been focusing on trying to sort things out at work instead of getting ready, and of course the Elderbeast picks up on the stress and picks this particular morning to give me a hard time as I’m trying to all but abandon him by the school gates.

I arrive at work and go right into crisis mode: I need to coordinate things with my team (who are brilliant), two separate external parties, and our internal management. There’s no time to get coffee, but one of my awesome colleagues goes out and brings me one back. We get the site up and running again almost within an hour, but the rest day gets swallowed up by reports, communications, further remedial actions, and all sorts of things that only really happen when you’re part of an organisation so big that one side is barely aware the other even exists. It’s an energising and frustrating day. I’m drained by the end of it but pleased with my efforts and those of my team; and, for the most part, pleasantly impressed by the support given by those around us towards resolving the issue. My emails run well into the hundreds over the course of the day and are still coming in when I get home.

I get home, grateful that I thought to buy some pasta and sauce over the weekend to use as a potential emergency dinner, for tonight we dine on Emergency Dinner! I knock it all together and pour myself a very large glass of wine as soon as I can get to the bottle. I have every intention of collapsing into bed almost as soon as the kinderbesten are despatched to sleep, but I’ve also planned to file my consent papers at the Family Court tomorrow afternoon  and I need some time to make sure I’ve got everything I need. There are multiple documents, and numerous copies required of each: some only need a photocopy; some need two copies plus the original; one document needs an additional FIVE copies. I’ve got most of it, but I still find I’m missing four items. I email myself a list of what I need to print out the next day.

And then, somehow, I’m still up and staring at my PC at 10pm. I get myself to bed, but manage to spend yet another hour being drawn into a black hole of internet articles covering various aspects of Doctor Who production: it’s exactly the sort of minutiae that I find oddly compelling.

Finally, I turn the light out. The day has certainly been an experience.

Page 1 of 27

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén