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Week 13: Painty McPaintface

(Mar 26 – Apr 1)

This week turned out to be all about getting ready to paint part of my house. With long weekend looming, some of it #childfree, it seemed vaguely criminal not to make a start on my modest painting project.

Otherwise, my current thing is to start watching a new show on Monday (my main TV night) and then continue to watch an episode a night, in bed, on my iPad. I’ve been surprised at how effective the iPad is for viewing. Being used to surround sound and a 46” TV, I’d always expected to find watching stuff on the iPad somewhat underwhelming, but if anything it’s even more engaging. Just you and the screen.

Or me. It would be creepy if you were there too …

This week I watched Requiem (and since it was only six episodes long I was able to watch the whole thing this week). I had high hopes for it, given that the BBC has a rich history with ghost stories but, while it kept me watching to the end, it didn’t really deliver. The main character was pretty obnoxious, and it wasn’t clear whether she’d be written that way for a reason, or simply because the writer needed her to keep butting her head in so the plot could keep moving forward. In fact, most of the characters turned out to be pretty unlikeable, which is never good.

As for the ghost story; there was something interesting and creepy in there, but it felt like it had just been bolted onto a fairly standard story of someone returning to their home town and finding all sorts of dark secrets lurking under the surface.
Not a complete waste of time, but definitely not what it could have been.

Monday

The day passes in a haze of utter tedium, and yet I still manage to get things done. We end up having cheese toasties for dinner as it’s nearly 7pm by the time I pick up the Elderbeast from his acting class. Also I have a quantity of jarlsberg in the fridge that needs to be put to good use. You know it’s the very best of times when you have cheese toasties for dinner.

Tuesday

Shortly after delivering my time management/productivity presentation two weeks ago, I got a phone call from someone on the academic side at my work. Turns out a PhD student had attended and thought it would be a great presentation for other PhD students to sit through. And so it came to pass that I spent part of this morning in a room with 50 PhD students, doing a repeat of my presentation.

In a curious quirk, I was far less nervous about this than about giving the same presentation to 10 members of staff. I went through the slides a little faster than normal, but hit my 45 minute mark almost perfectly. As far as I can tell it went pretty well. I just hope they got something out of it too.

In the other Highly Exciting News of the day, after spending many weeks trying to hunt down some Slumbies for winter, I found a full rack of them outside my local newsagents this morning. Slumbies for everyone!

Wednesday

I’ve mostly decided that I’m going to start my house painting project this weekend (tackling the ‘sitting area’ of my open plan front room first). I stop off at Bunnings on the way home for supplies. $250 and almost an hour later I come out with everything I need for the weekend.

I get home and (after dinner) start on clearing out the area I want to paint. This small amount of mild exercise leaves me knackered and I start to wonder if I’ll actually have the energy to paint over the weekend.

Thursday

Yay – it’s the end of the week! I get my weekend shopping done on the way home, so there’s nothing to stop me getting out of bed on Saturday and getting straight on with the painting.

Friday

I spend large parts of the day doing paint prep. I dust and wash the walls (with some help from the Kinderbesten), then carefully lay masking tape around the multitude of edges. That done, and the kinderbesten off to their mother’s, I’m free to relax until the real work starts tomorrow.

Saturday

I get up, make coffee, and get into the day’s painting. Today, the primer goes on. The former paint job is so poor that the paint freely peels off the walls. I’m hoping the primer coat can fix some of that. I take well over an hour painting the edges, then attack the walls with the roller—which is curiously satisfying. I quickly realise that needn’t have spent as long on the edges as I did, given that the roller can get within millimetres of each edge.

All in all it takes me about three hours, which is slightly worrying given that I need to do two coats tomorrow.

For now, however, I order myself to relax and reserve my energy for tomorrow. It’s time for waffles, more coffee, and Doctor Who.

I do allow myself a quick trip to JB, and come back with $80 of blurays. In the batch is Star Trek: Beyond, which I’ve simultaneously been wanting to watch while resolutely not going out of my way to actually watch it. I watch it. It’s pretty good: way better than Into Darkness. It leaves me hoping they get on and make a fourth one.

Sunday

I get up and repeat my coffee and painting routine. The first coat doesn’t end up taking too long. I’m just about to settle down for my waffles and Doctor Who when the Kinderbesten return due to their mother not being well. We attempt to watch The Last Jedi, but the Kinderbesten are full of energy and not in the right mood for watching films.

I leave them to play and get on with the second coat (which has had several hours to ‘cure’ by now). It goes on well and fixes the various smears and ‘gaps’ left behind by the first coat. Now I can leave it to dry, and my only job tomorrow is to move the furniture back.

As an added bonus I’m nowhere near as knackered as I expected to be!

Things I Did Buy

  • $45 Slumbies (for me and the Elderbeast: I bought a pair for the Kinderbeast, but they were way too large and had to be returned)
  • $80 blurays (couldn’t resist the combined power of 20% off *and* a Buy Two Get One Free deal)
  • $300 web hosting renewal – this was a bit ouch, but considering I used to pay about $25 per month for my web hosting, and my new hosting works out at about $14 per month I’m not grumbling. Too much …

Watched

Monday Requiem 1×01
Requiem 1×02
Tuesday Requiem 1×03
Wednesday Requiem 1×04
Thursday Requiem 1×05
Requiem 1×06
Friday Veronica
Saturday Doctor Who: The Invasion
Star Trek: Beyond
Sunday T2

Read

A week of reading fail. Read not a page of my book. Not even a word.

Eaten

Monday Cheese toasties
Tuesday Chicken satay
Wednesday Veggie korma
Thursday Sausages
Friday Leftover curry
Saturday Traditional #childfree dinner
Sunday Crackling pork

Week 12: The mild west

(Mar 19 – Mar 25)

One of those weeks where things just ticked along nicely. I finished watching season one of Westworld, which took its sweet time, but I nevertheless really enjoyed. The twists and reveals in the back half of the season didn’t feel like cheats, and I’m keen to see where they take it for season two.

I also shared my podcast demo with various people, and received some excellent feedback which mas motivated me to press on and make it a thing that actually happens.

(p.s. you can check it out at fifthquadrant.space if you’re so inclined)

Monday

Terribly unmotivated all day. Monday’s really are becoming a problem. The lack of motivation even extended into my sleep, which seemingly couldn’t be bothered to stick to the job and found me waking up frequently during the night for no good reason.

Tuesday

It’s time to buy new dishwasher tablets, as the depletion of my most recent bulk purchase looms. I know well enough now not to buy them in the supermarket, but the variety of bulk packages and prices available online overwhelms me and I have to resort to making a spreadsheet just so I can work out which option is the best value. I feel simultaneously disappointed and proud of myself.

Wednesday

Having recently transferred a credit card balance to an interest free deal, I figure it’s time to do a bit of financey stuff–mainly to remind myself which of my cards are still active, and which are either cancelled or paid off (and make sure I’ve stopped any future payments). Things aren’t looking too bad. The prospect of paying all my debt off isn’t in the immediate future, but it’s in sight.

That being done, I tinker with a logo for the podcast project. I come up with something that isn’t quite final, but still feels pretty damn satisfyingly close to the something I like.

Thursday

I spend a lot of time looking at dice, hoping to rid myself of a particularly treacherous D20. I find many, many lovely dice, all of which cost ridiculous amounts to ship over here. I give up and do some preliminary work on setting up a website for the podcast instead.

Friday

My Fridate friend has the flu, so we have no Fridate. I ask the Elderbeast if he wants to watch a movie, but we end up playing PS4 games instead. I’ve had the remastered version of Duke Nukem 3d on my wishlist for several months, and it’s finally turned up in the Easter sale at a price I like.

Imagine my surprise when I go to purchase the game, only to find that I already own it.

We play it and have a complete blast. I tell the Elderbeast that it’s one of the few games that I’ve played through (when it was originally released) and he exclaims: “You’re so much cooler than I remember!”

Not sure if insult or compliment …?

Saturday

Another reasonably productive Saturday. I’m having friends over in the evening, so I’m mindful of getting the place clean and tidy. For the most part it’s already clean and tidy, so there’s very little to do. The Elderbeast has some homework to do, and I insist that he completes it before he gets any PlayStation time. He does it with minimal complaint.

Then he remembers that I promised to buy him Subnautica as a ‘reward’ for completing his GATE exam last week. I get it downloading while he works, and he spends much of the afternoon playing it. Meanwhile, the Kinderbeast and I watch Moana.

The evening is pleasant, filled with lots of cheese fondue and a modest quantity of of wine. We watch Kick Ass, which I don’t love and I don’t think anyone else does either. It’s got some truly excellent moments, but the movie as a whole isn’t strong enough to glue them all together. Like Kingsman (which came from much the same creative team) it also has some dubious social politics which caused me to cringe as often as I laughed.

Sunday

Socialising is a game for the young. After a slightly later night than usual, and slightly more wine than usual, I feel tired all day. Luckily it’s raining, which gives me an excellent excuse to avoid using my morning to do any more gardening. We all have a relatively chilled out day.

After lunch, I insist that we all get together to watch a film and plough into some snackage. Both kinderbesten resist, but we end up on the sofa together watching 9, which is excellent, and much enjoyed by all of us. I love these occasions where we all get to discover a new film together.

In the evening, I introduce the Elderbeast to The Breakfast Club. It’s a tense moment. Liking The Breakfast Club, as a friend of mine puts it, is non-negotiable, and there’s a definite thread of randomness connecting the films that he does and doesn’t like.

We get off to an oddly good start when his mind is blown over learning that Don’t You Forget About Me was written for the film. Suitably intrigued, he gets quickly absorbed into the movie and we’re soon having discussions about who’s the ‘best’ character.

In a weird twist, the events of the movie take place on Saturday March 24. We were out by one day …

Things I Did Buy

  • $28 Contigo Snap Seal Coffee Cup – my lovely Frank Green coffee cup has leaked on me twice in the last two weeks: once on my shirt, and once on my freshly washed jeans. It’s as if it actively wants me to hate it. After a fresh wave of research, I finally picked out a Contigo Snap Seal flask as the replacement. It will arrive next week.
  • $50 dishwasher parts – I’ve also had enough of the dishwasher draws continually falling off their rails (due to worn, wonky wheels) and ordered a bunch of replacement parts. Dishwashers are expensive beasts.

Watched

I have a mid-week viewing break, which makes for a pleasant shift from the routine and allows me to catch up on … well, all the stuff you’ve just read about.

 

Monday Westworld 1×09
Westworld 1×10
Tuesday  n/a
Wednesday  n/a
Thursday  n/a
Friday  n/a
Saturday Moana
Kick Ass
Sunday 9
The Breakfast Club

Read

Managed three consecutive nights reading The Anachronist, which is not bad given my recent track record.

Eaten

Monday Homemade Boston Beans
Tuesday Pumpkin Daal
Wednesday Quiche (not homemade)
Thursday Chips, eggs, beans
Friday Prawns
Saturday Fondue

Week 11: It lurks

(Mar 12 – 18)

A week of background stress and forgetfulness, seemingly cementing the idea that alternate weeks are not great. We have the Elderbeast’s GATE exam finally happening, which feels like it’s been years in the coming. I have a presentation to deliver, which I equally look forward to and dread. Through it all, there is the theme of doing things that have been long lurking in the background.

Monday

I have a terrible night’s sleep. It is hot and humid all night. I’ve left the fan on and the window open, but it doesn’t do much. Every so often the battle between the air being blown out and the breeze trying to get in causes my curtains to rattle and shakes me from my pseudo-slumber.

At just after midnight my phone beeps with a message. It’s a Steam verification code, which makes me wonder if someone is trying to log into my account. Given that I’m awake anyway, I get up and change my password. I also finish off a tub of ice cream from the freezer.

The mild bonus is that my awake-brain keeps turning over an idea I’ve had for a short story, which is fast becoming a novella, and throwing more and more flesh on the bones. I start to write it all down the next day.

Tuesday

We have the second diabolically hot and humid day in a row. This is summer taking its last revenge on us for being so mild over the past few months. I didn’t sleep much better the night before (though I did manage to get through it without ice cream this time).

The exhaustion hits me at about 2pm. I press on through the day, with a bonus shopping trip on the way home (I’ve forgotten to get the meat out of the freezer to make lasagne, which means having to buy fresh meat).

I make it through the evening, cooking dinner, getting the kids to bed, and retreating to my own bed by 8:30. Having learned from my mistakes over the last two nights, I leave the aircon on. It doesn’t do very much, but it at least helps my room feel less like a rainforest.

At 11pm I realise I’ve left the massive pot of meat sauce (for tomorrow’s lasagne) sitting on the hob. It’s another victory for my brain. I get up and put it in the fridge, figuring that a long hot sojourn in a fiery saucepan tomorrow will sort it out.

Wednesday

I sleep better, which is good because I have to do my semi-regular presentation today. It’s about using technology to help manage your workload, and I have 12 attendees.

Given that things like talking, being the centre of attention, and being in rooms with lots of other people are among my least favourite things, you might wonder why I keep subjecting myself to this. Well, it’s because it’s good to get out of your comfort zone every now and again, and I’m lucky that I work somewhere that gives me the opportunity to run training workshops/prestos for other staff.

That said, every time I do one of these I keep wondering if it should be the last. I don’t exactly get nervous anymore, but I do get anxious, and that anxiety manifests itself in a form of mental retreat: it means I avoid focusing on anything else until the preso is over. The question for me is whether the trade off is worth it.
Doubtless, I will continue doing this, as it’s generally best to face up to your fears than to shrink away from them and hide.

However tempting that may be.

The preso goes well. There’s a few people I know, many more I don’t. Some are clearly engaged, some it’s harder to tell. All par for the course. One thing I’ve noticed, after doing this several times now, is that I literally get exhausted from talking towards the end. The words are there somewhere, but they stop making it to my mouth. I just about manage to make it to the end.

Afterwards I’m less elated about having gotten through it all, and more relieved that it’s over. I feel like a fair bit of stress has lifted away and definitely feel more relaxed and focused for the rest of the day.

On reflection, I decide that the answer is probably not to avoid doing these presentations at all, but rather to do them more often!

Thursday

Still fighting the mountain of tiredness that my sleep debt from earlier this week has bequeathed me. I’ve been getting a serious energy crash in the very early afternoon, and have spent the evenings basically waiting for the kids to get to bed so I can then go to bed myself.

Oh boy am I looking forward to the (#childfree) weekend.

Friday

The end of the week comes at least a day late, but at it comes.

Although it’s my #childfree weekend, we’ve agreed that the Elderbeast will stay over at mine so I can get him to his GATE exam at 8am tomorrow morning. We stock up on brain food on the way home: salmon for dinner tonight, bananas for snackage tomorrow. It feels like the last several years have been leading up to this exam, but we’re both pretty chilled about it. I tell the Elderbeast to simply try his best tomorrow, and if he doesn’t get through then it’s not going to change a whole lot.

Our Fridate horror film (after the Elderbeast has gone to bed) is Annihilation, which is magnificent. I already want to watch it again.

Saturday

I’m terrified of oversleeping and missing the exam. However, we both get up in good time, and wolf down some scrambled eggs before heading to the exam venue. We’re early, but it’s okay: the weather is good and some of the Elderbeast’s friends are there. Turns out there’s a hundred kids taking the exam, with a second session in the afternoon. And that’s just one of the venues. I was (naively) expecting maybe a couple of dozen.

On the way back I stop at Bunnings to look at paint, but the world’s worst customer is already at the paint counter and monopolising the assistant there (“Why did my colours look different??” “As I’ve already told you, it’s to do with the lighting in your room…”). I decide I’m not going to get paint advice today and walk over to plumbing: I’ve been needing to replace my cistern intake valve for a long time, but have never quite worked out what part I need. Fortunately there’s someone there to offer help. They find the part I need within seconds, and I’m sorted. It’s a weird sort of destiny at work.

I head home and mix a demo episode of my super secret podcast project, then head back to collect the Elderbeast. He reports, fairly predictably, that some parts of the exam were hard and some were easy. Now we just have to wait for the results. After a celebratory lunch at Macca’s, he heads over to his mother’s and I’m finally, properly #childfree.

Despite the week’s exhaustion, I have a ridiculously productive afternoon and complete two jobs that have been hanging over me for months, if not years: I replace the intake valve in my cistern (and thus remove the constant background hissing of water from my bathroom), and I give the wooden play set languishing in the garden a couple of coats of resealer. We’re at the cusp between it being too hot to work in the garden, and having constant weekends of rain and I need to seize the opportunity while I can. In the end, the job isn’t too hard—and it’s immensely satisfying to have it out of the way.

The dilemma of what movie to spend my evening watching is easily settled when I spot that John Wick 2 is now on Netflix. Just like the first one, it’s gloriously violent, and somehow elevates what should be a simple homage to straight-to-video action thrillers to near art-house status.

Sunday

We had a special games day today, with a friend of mine trying her hand at DMing for the very first time. I got to play a robot mechanic. I think. I’m never completely sure what’s going on in most of these games. In any case, it went well, was a lot of fun, and I look forward to the next session.

For the evening I had the challenge of following up A Knight’s Tale – the Elderbeast’s new Best Movie Ever. Unfortunately, there’s nothing quite like A Knight’s Tale (at least, nothing suitable for 11 year olds). I ended up giving Four Weddings & A Funeral a spin, which of course starts with a panoply of fucks.

The Elderbeast enjoyed it well enough, but retired to bed before the funeral. I stuck with the film. It’s a film that I used to enjoy quite strongly, and revisiting it gave me very mixed feelings. I still find a lot to love about–it’s as funny as ever, and the casual diversity still makes me happy. It is, however, a film of its time and harks back to an image of England that is either long gone, or never really existed in the first place. The way Carrie is written also continues to be problematic. She’s at once a strong, independent woman, and also one who cuts a ruthless swathe through Charles’s life in order to get what she wants. She’s the only character who isn’t really given the coating of affection that Richard Curtis allows all of the other characters to have.

Things I did buy

  • $150 Doc Marten’s. I’ve been needing a new pair for ages, and have predictably been dithering over it. Seeing some with a few dollars off ended up sealing the deal.

Watched

Monday Westworld 1×05
Tuesday Westworld 1×06
Wednesday Westworld 1×07
Thursday Westworld 1×08
Friday Annihilation
Saturday John Wick 2
Sunday Four Weddings And A Funeral

Read

Managed to read a bit more of The Anachronist this week, but the huge tiredness earlier in the week thoroughly confounded my brief reading run.

Eaten

Monday Green chicken curry
Tuesday Meat sauce
Wednesday Lasagne
Thursday Freezer dinner
Friday Salmon
Saturday #childfree dinner
Sunday Beans

Week 10: Let’s do this! … maybe …

(Mar 5 – Mar 11)

A week in which I think about maybe getting some things done.

Monday

It’s a public holiday, but because my place of work stays open today I get to go into the office. Yay. On the upside, the roads are awesomely empty. On the not-upside, it is hot as a damn oven outside, which helps make the day drag twice as slowly.
The good news of the day is that I finally finish the book (All The Birds In The Sky) that I started reading last year. I’m now keen to pick another book that will hopefully help to carry me out of this ridiculous reading slump.

Tuesday

It’s the morning of my eye test. I had some aches and blurred vision in my left eye last week. This, combined with the realisation that I am likely mere months away from needing reading glasses, made an eye test seem like a sensible course of action.

In the end, my eyes are fine, and my vision is almost fine too. The optometrist says that reading glasses may help, but are by no means required.

Yet.

Since I need to drive the Elderbeast to PEAC at midday, there’s title point heading to work. That’s my excuse, anyway. I’ve packed my keyboard and iPad, so I find a cafe, grab some toast, eggs and coffee and catch up on some writing. It’s an awesome way to start the day and I consider doing it more often.

Wednesday

I think the painting (of my open plan craft room, sitting room and kitchen) might actually happen. My colour scheme has gotten the all round thumbs up, and the in-laws are keen to help out. I’m trying not to think about how daunting the whole task is and instead break it down into small stages. Tonight is working out how much pain I need, and how much it might all cost.

I measure up, make myself a today little spreadsheet, and eventually come up with $320 for the paint. I look at the cost of rollers, tarps, and all the other paraphernalia I need and reckon I can get it all done for $500 or less.
The remaining question is how long it’s all going to take…

Thursday

I am calling today the Day Of The Elderbeast.

It starts with an email from his STEM teacher, telling me that he is now a week late handing in an assignment, for which they were given two extra lessons to complete, and is in danger of failing the unit. We go and see his teacher before school an arrange a short extension.

Having arrived at school, the Elderbeast realises he’s left his new badges at home—there are the new badges he was given yesterday which denote him as a faction vice caption and a library assistant. We have a robust discussion about whose responsibility it actually is to remember the badges, and I tell him I don’t have time to go back home before work to get them.

He sees me on the way out of the school rounds, hugs me and apologises. I go back home before heading to work to get his badges for him.

Later that morning I get a call from the school office. The Elderbeast has an excursion today, but they haven’t had his permission slip. I’ve signed it, and given it to the Elderbeast to hand in (luckily I paid for the excursion online), but it has sat in his bag despite my constant reminders to hand it in, and his constant insistence that he has done so. I give my permission verbally and he’s good to go.

Later that evening I have to do battle with the Elderbeast to get him to do his homework, which I intend to make him hand in tomorrow. The effort is exhausting, but he eventually sits down, takes his time over the work, and seems to genuinely enjoy getting stuck in.

In better news, my super secret podcast project takes another mighty leap forward.

Friday

I wake up still mentally exhausted. I have dreams that put me in some sort of London-based version of It, which are thrilling, but also terrifying. I also have other dreams about getting lost in London suburbs and trying to catch overcrowded trains, which are merely exhausting. I start the day at least 95% ‘don’t wanna’. I end it in a much better place.

Saturday

We start the weekend with gardening. I’m determined to get rid of the weeds that are infesting the east side of the property. I drag the Kinderbesten outside with me, before it gets too hot, with gloves and garden bags and we get to to work. As usual it takes almost as much effort to keep the Elderbeast involved, but we make a fair stab at it and fill up three garden bags.

After we pop to Coles for reward waffles and flavoured milk. Then the Elderbeast has to knuckle down to some more homework. Which he does. While we still have our minor battles, his attitude to getting work done is light years ahead of where he was last year.

A friend joins us for dinner, which is provided by Uber Eats. This is at the Elderbeast’s request: he’s had a craving to eat out (“at a fine restaurant”) since last week, but the alternative idea of having restaurant food delivered has proved acceptable. That said, his original wish was for us to go to the the restaurant, buy the food, and come back home again, but that idea got knocked back because I am clearly not as insane as he is.

I’ve gotta say, it’s kinda nice getting good food delivered and not having to cook it. But, it’s not something I’m going to be doing every week. The rest of the evening’s entertainment is provided by Kong: Skull Island, which is exactly what I expected it to be and provides much enjoyment.

Sunday

I wake up with a headache, but there is gardening to do so we head outside once I’m up. My friend, who we’ve jokingly said is there to supervise, ploughs right in and clears an entire section of weeds, comfortably putting the rest of our efforts to shame. We fill four bags this time.

Then, in a severe case of déjà vu, we head back inside so the Elderbeast can do homework. While his focus dips at times, he keeps going until the work is done. I’m, once again, impressed that he seems more intent on getting the job done that finding ways out of it, or rushing through so he can get to the PS4.

I set out to watch another hidden gem, or timey-wimey thriller (as is the Sunday tradition) but then remember that I added A Knight’s Tale to my watch list thinking that the Elderbeast would enjoy it. For reasons known only to him, he immediately latches onto this and will not be swayed by any other choice, so we put it on. I don’t mind at all: it’s not a film I’ve watched nearly as much as it deserves, but I remember it being tremendous fun.

The Elderbeast agrees. The jousting scenes have him standing up, alternately pumping the air and wringing his hands with the tension. The humour mostly lands, and he’s old enough now to get the musical gags. The two female characters (despite the criminal lack of lines given to Laura Fraser) are given a fair bit of agency in the movie, which makes for a good example. Overall, it’s a great experience watching it with him. Afterwards he declares that it’s the best film he’s seen in a long time.

Things I Did Buy

  • $100 Wooden Wishing Well – saw this and decided instantly that I needed it for my garden, even though it has zero practical use.
  • $39 water flosser – because you can’t put a price on dental hygiene.
  • $20 spare Yeelight smart bulb – because … they’re cool?

Watched

Monday Westworld 1×01
Tuesday Westworld 1×02
Wednesday Westworld 1×03
Thursday Westworld 1×04
Friday Happy Death Day
Saturday Kong Skull Island
Sunday A Knight’s Tale

Read

Finished All The Birds In The Sky – yay! Started The Anachronist.

Eaten

Monday Fishfingers & beans
Tuesday Slow-cooked asian chicken
Wednesday Sweet potato korma
Thursday Chips, eggs, beans
Friday Mushrooms, pasta, broccoli
Saturday Uber Eats: Carbonara
Sunday Slow cooker roast chicken

Week 9: The nah… week

(Feb 26 – Mar 4)

Bit of an off week this week. Lots of trouble maintaining focus and so forth. I’m vaguely aware that every other week tends to be slightly more of a struggle than the one before (or after). Maybe I’ll start to pay a bit more attention to this over the coming weeks. So, why not tune in for my impending breakdown in fortnightly instalments 😉

Monday

Having settled into The Handmaid’s Tale last week, I find tonight’s episodes very heavy going. There’s a constant sense of dread and awfulness. But, the show is very, very good, which makes it easy(ish) to persevere.

Tuesday

The Elderbeast plays his “too sick to go to school” card. I’m skeptical, but after being called to pick him up from school exactly last week ago I’m wary of a repeat performance. He seems genuinely low in energy, so I acquiesce. It means I have to take the day off work too, which is both good and bad.
I decide to use the bonus time to sort out some shopping chores, and the Elderbeast is sufficiently – if not miraculously … suspiciously, even–recovered by lunchtime for us to head out. We end up having a splendid time, and even fit in an impromptu haircut for the beast.
Unplanned days off are the best 😉

Wednesday

I have a bad night’s sleep. I wake up at 3am (for no apparent reason) and get back to sleep about an hour later. Morning arrives and so does the Kinderbeast, asking for his breakfast. I’m surprised that he’s, atypically, up and about before my alarm has gone off. I’m even more surprised when I discover my alarm went off an hour ago and I slept through it.
Despite this inauspicious start, the day is not unbearable.

Thursday

I have another night of broken sleep and wake up headachey. I only make it through the day thanks to repeated infusions of cake.

Friday

After a week of underwhelming achievement, I’m determined to use my #childfree weekend wisely–mainly by starting to tackle the creeping morass of weeds that calls itself my garden. In order for this battle to commence I’ll need to launch an assault in the early hours of Saturday morning, before it gets too hot. The first step in this plan is getting my weekly shopping out of the way on the way home. So I don’t have to go and do it on Saturday morning. So I can get up and go straight out in the garden tomorrow morning.
So far, so good.

Saturday

I get up and, somewhat to my surprise, I get out into the garden. I don’t tackle the part I was intending to tackle, but I tackle another part that definitely needed tackling. The job done, I retreat inside to tackle my second major to-do of the day: preparing for a presentation I need to deliver in a couple of week’s time. It’s been booked for months, but naturally I’ve left it until now to prepare.
I complete that job and force myself to spend some time sitting on the sofa, eating waffles, and watching classic Doctor Who. This week it’s City Of Death (the one set in Paris, and written by Douglas Adams). Thanks to a fortuitous repeat on BBC just around the time that I properly got into Doctor Who, it’s one of the classic stories that I have the most clearly defined memories of. It doesn’t let me down. Julian Glover is the perfect villain. The story is witty, clever, and timey-wimey. Tom Baker still has the intense energy that seemed to largely abandon him in his (subsequent) final season. It’s great stuff.
My final to-do of the weekend is to clear up the random areas around the house (mostly surfaces) that have accumulate clutter over recent weeks. This doesn’t take long, but it’s a very rewarding exercise. Much of the clutter ends up being in my bedroom (writing desk, bedside table, bookshelves). I spend some time sorting my space out and retreat, happy with the results.
For the evening I enjoy my traditional #childfree dinner (steak, steamed broccoli, and soy-butter mushrooms). Things take a distinct downturn when I forget to add the soy sauce to my soy-butter mushrooms. Let me tell you, -butter mushrooms are a hugely underwhelming experience in comparison! I almost save the day by dousing the fried mushrooms, post-frying, in soy sauce, but there’s no denying that my dinner has the taste of disappointment all over it.
The Saturday night movie is Logan, which I’m excited about checking out. I’m surprised, but certainly not disappointed, to find that my downloaded copy is the ‘noir’ version. I had plans to buy the disc, but had downloaded the noir version in a fit of petulance over it not being included in the Australian blu-ray release. I then completely forgot to buy the blu-ray. Either way, it’s a great film, and I don’t feel in any way that I’ve missed out by watching it in black and white.

Sunday

Sunday night is our Netflix ‘hidden gems’ night. I let the Elderbeast choose our film and he, surprisingly, goes for People, Places, Things–a light-hearted drama starring Jermaine Clement as an artist trying to put his life back together after his marriage breaks up. I love the the Elderbeast doesn’t always go for the obvious choice, and has developed a taste for what is most easily labelled indie film.
It’s pretty good as well. The plot is nothing new, but the dialogue and the performances make it stand out in my mind days after we’ve seen the credits roll.

Watched

Monday The Handmaid’s Tale 1×06
The Handmaid’s Tale 1×07
Tuesday The Handmaid’s Tale 1×08
Wednesday The Handmaid’s Tale 1×09
Thursday The Handmaid’s Tale 1×10
Friday The Ritual
Saturday Doctor Who: City Of Death
Logan (noir)
Sunday People, Places, Things

Read

I decide, on Sunday, that I’m going to make a super effort to finish my book (All The Birds In The Sky). I don’t quite get to the last page, but I make big dent in the remaining page count.

Eaten

Monday Beans, pasta, broccoli
Tuesday Lasagne
Wednesday Lasagne, part 2
Thursday Sausages & beans
Friday Coconut daal
Saturday Traditional #childfree dinner
Sunday Slow cooked asian chicken

Week 8: Fences, Handmaids and many things

(Feb 19 – Feb 25)

This week I finally started watching The Handmaid’s Tale, which feels somehow significant. It’s been on my watchlist since last year, but I’ve never been quite ready to watch it. Also, there’s been plenty of other TV to keep me busy. Well, turns out I had a gap in my schedule this week, so we’ll see how it goes. More next week.

Monday

I take the day off as there are people coming to replace the back fence. A person arrives at 8am and starts work. I take the Kinderbesten to school and do a bit of shopping then get a phone call: the fence guy has had to leave abruptly due to his sister being in an accident. I’m certainly glad to hear that the company let the fence guy go when his family needed him, but they don’t know when they can reschedule the work. When I I get home I find a sizeable chunk of the old fence has already been removed, which means the cats are confined to quarters for the foreseeable future.

Tuesday

The fence guy returns, much to my surprise, and work recommences. I’d already booked this day off since it’s the UK folks’ last day before flying out. It ends up being a day of much driving: driving to school; driving to PEAC; driving to the station; driving to the airport. It’s also a day of much waiting: waiting until it’s time to have dinner; waiting until it’s time to go the airport.
Last days of holidays are always strange. So much … logistics.

Wednesday

I have my PDR at work. We call it Performance Development, because it is. Other places call it Performance Management, because that’s how they do it. We actually call it Contribution Development Review now (which even I think sounds profoundly wanky), but it’s much the same thing.
I come out of mine with a clear view of what I’ll be doing for the next year, which is kinda the point. It’s mostly what I was already planning to do for the next year, but it’s still good to have it in writing.

Thursday

I wake up at 3am, and it takes me at least an hour to get back to sleep. I’m supposed to be heading out to see Black Panther in the evening, when all I really want to do is hide and go to bed. Luckily the worst of the exhaustion passes and I’m fit and ready to enjoy the film. Which I do. It’s a fairly straightforward superhero origin tale on the surface, but gains many different levels thanks to its cultural significance. Plus, it’s extremely well made, which always helps.

Friday

I had a good day at work today. That’s it.

Saturday

It’s my weekend with the Kinderbesten, so I’ve decided to do a little more than simply loaf around, watch TV, and play PS4. We’re joined in the morning by a friend, who brings his own Kinderbeast. The Kinderbesten play while we chat about films, comics, and whatever else comes to mind, while drinking coffee and eating pastries. Then another friend comes over for homemade pizzas, wine and some quality PS4 time. A very sociable day, but the entirely bearable sort.

Sunday

I make a cameo appearance at a friend’s birthday do, which turns into a relaxing morning with tea, cakes and many animals. However, the Kinderbesten grow restless eventually and I disappear with them before they get too much. We team up to wash the car when we get home–none of us really want to do it, but the car really, really needs it. It’s a good job, well done.

Things I did buy

$100 in spurious expenses this week, but all are mostly defensible. I’ve been wanting a pair of mark II Converse for years, but have shied away at the price. However, finally seeing $120 shoes for just $45 is a bargain I cannot walk away from. I’ve also been holding out to continue reading Paper Girls and Wicked + Divine, and lo and behold Comixology has a half price sale on all Image comics. So that’s a done deal.
Finally, I’ve been meaning for months and months to get some reusable pouches for the kinderbesten’s lunchboxes, so we don’t have to create so much waste (and so I can probably reduce my weekly yoghurt budget). After lots of faffing around, and a few hours research, I finally ordered a bunch of stuff from Sinchies. Pretty excited.

$32 reusable food pouches
$25 comics
$45 Converse

Watched

Monday Doctor Who: Power Of The Daleks
Tuesday The Handmaid’s Tale 1×02
The Handmaid’s Tale 1×03
Wednesday The Handmaid’s Tale 1×04
The Handmaid’s Tale 1×05
Thursday Black Panther
Friday The Final Girls
Saturday n/a
Sunday Coherence

Read

Two nights spent reading my book. Not the best, but damn if I was too tired for reading most of this week.

Eaten

Monday Pasta and broccoli
Tuesday Chicken & Broccoli stir-fry
Wednesday Chicken & Broccoli stir-fry
Thursday Chips eggs beans
Friday Freezer meal
Saturday Pizza (homemade)
Sunday Homemade beans

Week 7: Shitty politics

(Feb 12 – Feb  18)

This week brings us a resounding reminder of one of my least favourite topics: the shabby state of politics, as emphatically demonstrated by Barnaby Joyce’s behaviour and yet another school shooting in the USA.

Last week I wrote about endurance and tolerance. This week I’m wondering about why we (collectively) tolerate the awful things that our leaders do, and the broken lives that people have to endure because of that.

Monday

I wake up with my head throbbing and my nose streaming. I think back to spending most of yesterday sneezing and feeling headachy, and decide that the safest course of action is to take the day off (and thus prevent sharing my plague with my colleagues). I watch Day Of The Jackal on the sofa, nourished by coffee and pastries, then doze for a bit. By the end of the day I’m mostly recovered.

Tuesday

I scour the news for reports of Barnaby Joyce’s resignation. Am at once disappointed, astounded, and not the least bit surprised that he doesn’t do so.

Wednesday

It’s Valentine’s Day, which passes virtually unnoticed by myself. The Elderbeast, however, comes home pleading with me to print something out for him. Turns out it’s a love letter for someone in his class. I agree to print it out tomorrow (not having a printer at home), but suggest that a love letter should really be handwritten.

He ponders this, then comes up to me and asks if he can use one of my ‘nice notebooks’. I agree and leave him to it. He writes the letter, and we then search the craft drawers for a decent envelope. He even finds a nice bow to decorate it with. I read the letter: it’s beautiful. He didn’t even ask for any help with all the words: they’re all his.

And then, overnight, I decide he should leave the letter at home. Lovely though it is, it’s a little on the intense side, and I worry about the potential after-effects. I suggest he should just take his time getting to know the girl in question, and leave it at that.

He takes my advice. I just hope it’s right.

Thursday

It’s a baking hot day. I have to leave work early to collect the Kinderbesten. They both look utterly drained by the heat. The Kinderbesten flops out on the sofa when we get home and declares: “Oh, shitty poop!

It’s shocking, the language they pick up in primary school these days …

Friday

For various reasons the Kinderbesten depart later than usual for their #dadfree weekend. It’s only at this point that I realise how accustomed I’ve grown to the few peaceful hours I typically get on a Friday evening: time I use to clean the house, make dinner, and generally decompress. I still get everything done, but I’m not quite yet my usual relaxed self by the time my Fridate companion arrives.

However, a glass of wine and a chat later and I’m fine.

Saturday

After last week’s oversleeping, I set an alarm for 8:30am to ensure I get my shopping out of the way before things get busy. I needn’t have worried: my neighbours inadvertently wake me up at 7am. I get the shopping done with neither stress nor drama: it’s a short list this week, so naturally it costs more than usual.

I spend the day relaxing on the sofa, eating waffles, drinking coffee and watching classic Doctor Who. I take various breaks to tackle minor chores, mostly tidying and cleaning.

Then the UK folks arrive to take me out to dinner. We go to a very nice Italian place in Freo. I have lamb shanks, tiramisu and a very fine glass of Pinot Noir—all served separately, of course. After that we return to mine for a small port.

I cap the evening off with the first episode of The Handmaid’s Tale.

Sunday

I start to get a real feeling that the fallout from this latest school shooting is going to be different—and it’s the kids that are, rightly, going to make the difference. It’s another one of those moments that makes me optimistic for the future.

In a strange parallel, the Elderbeast and I watch Real Genius for our evening movie (I was going to watch a timey-wimey movie but it didn’t work out on account of tech fail). Real Genius is a 1985 comedy about a group of ultra-smart college kids who get duped into building a a super-powered laser weapon so the military can go off and kill people with impunity. However, once the kids learn what’s really going on they take matters into their own hands and give a big F.U. to the bad guys.

It’s not quite as good as I remember (tho it’s still pretty good), but it’s one of those very few movies that has a Val Kilmer performance that really makes me wonder what happened with Val Kilmer.

Things I Didn’t Buy

Gave some serious thought to buying a $70 Nutribullet ($30 off!) but I really don’t need a Nutribullet.

Things I Did Buy

  • $14 City Of Death DVD (cos I really want to watch it again)
  • $10 Little Golden Ghostbusters books (cos they’re super cute)

Watched

Monday The Day Of The Jackal
Doctor Who: The Robots of Death
Star Trek: Discovery 1×15
Altered Carbon 1×07
Tuesday Altered Carbon 1×08
Wednesday Altered Carbon 1×09
Thursday Altered Carbon 1×10
Friday The Stepford Wives
Saturday Doctor Who: The Ice Warriors
The Handmaid’s Tale 1×01
Sunday Real Genius

Read

Managed to make some good progress with my long-neglected book, All The Birds In The Sky, and read it for five nights over the week.

Eaten

Monday Tuna rice
Tuesday Chicken broccoli stir-fry
Wednesday Cheese omelette
Thursday Dominos
Friday Daal, soy butter cabbage
Saturday Nunzio’s – Lamb shank
Sunday Pulled pork

Week 6: Endurance

(Feb 5 – Feb 11)

Two things have been on my mind this week, with a convenient connection across both.

Firstly, I’ve been reflecting on how each week tends to feel like a minor endurance test: the goal being to survive from one weekend to the next. I’m, honestly, not sure why this is. My weeks are not especially arduous: I have a good job that I enjoy, I have no complaints about my home life, and my weekday evenings are generally relaxing. Basically, I have nothing going on in my week that should make the weekend a particularly critical respite for me. It’s ridiculous.

So, it’s at times like this that I like to reflect on exactly how easy I have it. And I don’t have to look too far for this. I have a number of close friends who endure chronic pain, or other chronic issues. I can only imagine this makes each day, let alone the whole week, a fresh and genuine struggle in its own way. Obviously I don’t like to speak for their experience, but it’s a regular wake-up call for me that my average week is, from the outset, a lot simpler and easier that it is for others.
Which brings me to the other theme of this week: the ‘up-scheduling’ of codeine-based products from over-the-counter to prescription medicines. This strategy, on paper, is designed to battle codeine addiction; but will in fact just make life punitively harder for people with chronic pain issues.

I’ve had brief discussions with some of my friends about the concept of terms like pain management, pain tolerance, pain endurance–and what these words actually mean when it comes to living a life accompanied by pain, or other challenges. We all have different interpretations of endurance and tolerance. When do we tolerate hardship and when do we endure it? One implies choice and one doesn’t.
I write about enduring my week, but there’s little in my week that isn’t there by my own choice. I’m not forced to endure, or even tolerate, anything.
I’m lucky.

Monday

The first Monday back at school brings us to the hot chocolate routine: this is where I go and fill up the car on the way to school (since it’s always cheaper on Monday) and the kids get a $1.50 gas station vending machine hot chocolate each. It’s seriously one of the highlights of their week.
Meanwhile, we’re currently a little short-staffed at work so I volunteer to take on a web content update task. It takes hours, most of the afternoon, and almost completely fries my brain. It’s been so long since I’ve done any mindless, repetitive work like this that I’d forgotten what the experience is like. If nothing else it’s a helpful reminder of how lucky I am to have a job that typically isn’t as boring as that.

Tuesday

Several weeks ago, when I was tidying up my finances, I applied for a Bankwest Credit Card – entirely because of the 24 month interest free balance transfer offer. I was promptly turned down, without any real explanation. A few days later, I got a call from someone at Bankwest who wanted to follow up on my application. We entered into a bit of a song and dance routine, in which I would continually forget to call her back, and she would continually follow up. Anyway, the outcome is that I ended up getting the credit card today (meaning, awesomely, that all of my credit card debt is now interest free) and it was entirely because of this random Bankwest staff member following up on my application.

Wednesday

I start the day with the Elderbeast persistently insisting that he should be allowed unrestricted, unlimited access to the PlayStation. Which is a big, fat no. But he doesn’t like that answer so he keeps on at me. It does not put me in the best mood.
Then, on the way to work I notice that I’m getting a bit of a sore throat and I wonder if I’m finally coming down with the plague that has managed to afflict an otherwise unconnected bunch of people this week. It would explain my lethargy and flatness of the last day or so.
Either way, I have to leave work early for a school meeting: the Elderbeast’s teacher wants to get some thoughts on how to keep him inspired and motivated throughout the year. He’s had some good teachers over the years at this school, but it’s particularly encouraging to have one that wants to get ahead of any potential challenges arising from the Elderbeast’s big brain and even bigger attitude.
I do wish him luck …

Thursday

I have a rollercoaster of an evening with the Elderbeast. Most successfully, I manage to get him to sit down and do a timed multiple choice test as a practice for his GATE exam. He sits down, does the half hour, answers every question, doesn’t complain or try to negotiate his way out of it: in short, everything he wouldn’t have done this time last year.
As a reward I give him an hour on the PS4. When his time runs out, and I decline to give him extra, he erupts. He tells me “Don’t talk to me!” and storms off to his room. I check in on him some minutes later and find he’s disassembled his bedding: even the double mattress is halfway across the floor. I’m pretty impressed by this: it’s a heavy thing, it must have taken real determination to shift it.
I tell him I’ll come and talk to him once he’s tidied his room. He does so, dutifully, then we talk about what made him angry. He explains, but not just with words: he grabs a whiteboard and marker and proceeds to illustrate his grievances.
It’s brilliant!
After that I go through his test answers. He’s disappointed at first to have only gotten 65%, but then I point out that it’s a test designed for students two years older than him (the goal here was mainly to practice the timing and pacing of the test). We work through the wrong answers together, which is a rewarding exercise but properly makes my brain ache.
Once we’re done with the test, he asks me to sit with him for a while longer while he reads one of his old Titanic books at me. It’s one of the books we used to read together when he was still young enough to be read to.
It’s a nice moment, a nice end to a really quite bizarre evening.

Friday

I sleep badly and it catches up with me right at the end of the day, just as I’m leaving work. I decide that I just don’t have the energy to do my weekly shop on the way home and pledge to do it nice and early the next morning instead.

Saturday

I oversleep. The supermarket is just starting to fill out by the time I get there. It’s not yet unbearable, but neither is it the early Saturday morning panacea that I’ve grown used to. Luckily, it’s my only planned outing for the day.
It’s a #childfree weekend and I’m long overdue for some solitude, so my day is split between sitting on the sofa and watching stuff, and getting minor chores out of the way. The minor chores somehow turn into scrubbing the oven. I pack the shelves away in something that’s virtually a Grade 3 Nuclear Waste containment bag and pour in half a bottle of gloop. I then apply the remaining gloop to the oven interior. The shelves come out beautifully, but I find that the rest of the oven has clearly evolved into a new state of being where it is immune to cleaning efforts.

Sunday

I’ve invite the UK folks over for a pleasant #childfree breakfast. I’m pretty pleased with the results–and it helps that I get to eat it too. After that it’s finally time for me sit down to watch Citizen Kane, a film I’ve somehow never managed to see, despite three years of film studies. It’s … perfectly good. It’s easy to spot where other movies–or, rather, where cinema in general has borrowed inspiration from it. It’s harder to view it objectively, given that its back is all but broken by the weight of the praise heaped upon it. I suspect I will be happy to watch it again before long, and its genius will continue to make itself apparent.
I end the day with a sense of satisfaction over the minor tasks I’ve completed over the last few days. Nothing major or particularly noteworthy, just lots of little things that will make life just a little bit better over the coming weeks.
The weekend draws to a perfect close with the Kinderbesten coming home perfectly chilled and relaxed after their #dadfree weekend.

Things I Didn’t Buy

Better on the not-buying this week: $148 worth of things I gave serious consideration to buying, following by even more seriouser consideration to not buying at all. Or buying … eventually … some other day.

  • $50 chinos
  • $16 knife set
  • $40 Bioshock
  • $15 Lego poster
  • $27 Kahlua

Things I Did Buy

Yeah, I know, $80 worth of shelves, but they were for Lego and they look really, really cool. And they’re preventing parts of my house from getting consumed by a deluge of Lego, so definite quality of life justification there.

  • $5 batteries
  • $80 IKEA shelves

Watched

Monday Star Trek: Discovery 1×14
Altered Carbon 1×02
Tuesday Altered Carbon 1×03
Wednesday Altered Carbon 1×04
Thursday Altered Carbon 1×05
Friday Get Out
Saturday Doctor Who: Shada
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Altered Carbon 1×06
Sunday Citizen Kane
The Cloverfield Paradox

Read

Another dramatic instalment in my continued failure to read anything of note.

Eaten

Monday Home-made Boston Beans
Tuesday Lasagne
Wednesday Lasagne (reprise)
Thursday Chips, eggs, beans (Heinz, Baked)
Friday Daal
Saturday Traditional #Childfree dinner
Sunday Tuna Rice (at the Elderbeast’s request)

Week 5: Newish beginnings(ish)

(Jan 29 – Feb 4)

After last week’s mood of pause and reflection, this week really felt like the grand slam of fresh corners being turned. The Elderbeast started his acting classes (and loved it); both Kinderbesten returned to school (finally); the Kinderbeast celebrated his sixth birthday; and I spent much of the week dreaming up plans for improving the house.

Monday

The Elderbeast has his first acting class after school. He reports that he is one of only three boys in a class with 1 girls, which will be a pretty good experience for him. For this first lesson they just play games (apparently), but he has a fine time and is keen to continue.
Meanwhile, my thoughts of painting the main room of my house continue. This was an idle thought at the back of my mind last year, but now I’m busy thinking of colour schemes and trying to work out the practicalities of actually getting the job done.

Tuesday

I forget my lunch today, which isn’t a good start to the day. For the last day of their holiday, the Kinderbesten are being taken to AQWA, but I need to get them ready and drop them off with the grandparents. The beasts don’t want to get out of bed, which makes this all even more of a rush than a typical school morning.
Once we’re all home again, I start to get everything ready for tomorrow. I make the packed lunches. I get school uniforms out of the cupboard. The Elderbeast and I sort out the big box of stationery that was ordered before Christmas and then, inevitably, just left in the box.
We then settle down and watch the last episode of Electric Dreams (which the Elderbeast has been getting into over the last few weeks). It’s very disappointing: just a pointless retread of Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, which adds nothing new to the scenario. It’s perfectly well made, but given the inventiveness of the other episodes I really don’t know why they bothered with this one.

Wednesday

It’s the first day of school. I take the day off work it avoid the day being too much of a rush. As a bonus I go out for breakfast with the UK folks. On the way home we stop off at Bunnings so I can look at paint colours for my main room: there are so many! I pick a handful and get out of there.
I spend some time wrestling with my kitchen tap. It needs a new mixer cartridge, but is refusing to be disassembled. I decide to leave it be and walk away, somewhat dejected by my failure.
Collecting the kids from school picks my mood up however. The Kinderbeast has scored a sticker in reward for listening well in class. I then go to collect the Elderbeast and his teacher commends him on his hard work and focus during the day—and then goes on to suggest he can co-teach a class with her later in the year, if he’s interested. Stunning.
It’s also the night of the Blue Blood Supermoon (or whatever they’re calling it). We go and admire it for about half a minute, then head back inside where I proceed to count up my mosquito bites.

Thursday

A day of massive tiredness. I reward myself for simply existing with a huge Chocolate Fudge Brownie in the afternoon. It is delicious. My latest wine order from Naked Wines also arrives, which is always a highlight of the week.
The Elderbeast is at the cricket this evening, so I enjoy an evening of comparative tranquility and spend some time catching up on my blogs.

Friday

Taking the day off on Wednesday is proving to be a mistake: I’m still catching up at work. Meanwhile, the Kinderbesten’s mother is ill which necessitates changing plans for the weekend. I will no longer be #childfree, and the birthday celebrations we had planned for the Kinderbeast today will now have to take place tomorrow, which is actually his birthday, so it all kinda works out.
The Fridate Horror viewing this week is the 1978 version of Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, which has been and remains one of my all time favourite films. The slightly oddball performances of the main cast do a great job of subtly spelling out the humanity that’s being stolen, while Philip Kaufman does an amazing job of creating a setting where things seem just that little bit off.

Saturday

It’s the Kinderbeast’s birthday. As a birthday surprise I’ve booked him and his brother for a session at Bounce! We drive there and it’s not until we’re parked outside that he finally realises where we are. It’s an hour of good fun for the Kinderbesten, but they have devolved into sweat monsters by the end of it,
I take them home, shower them, and we chill out in front of Jurassic Park. It’s the Kinderbesten’s choice, but about halfway through he decides he’s too scared to continue, so we turn it off.
The family all come over for the early evening, bringing presents with them. The Kinderbeast ends up with a nice pile of gifts and a a ridiculous amount of birthday money. Luckily one of his presents is a safe …
It’s only after the Kinderbeast has gone to bed that I realise he’s pretty much eaten nothing but crisps and cake all day. Oh well, I guess if you’re going to eat like that it may as well be on your birthday.
For our evening viewing the Elderbeast picks out the 2009 Star Trek reboot. I really enjoyed this at the cinema, and I really enjoy revisiting it again. It does for Star Trek what Russell T Davies did for Doctor Who—takes something that was dwindling into cult status and makes it mainstream again. It’s dark, it’s emotional and it’s BIG. It’s such a shame that they messed it all up with the sequel.

Sunday

I get to spend some quality time with my friends today, mostly thanks to the Kinderbesten being exceptionally chillled and well behaved as we all play games. When we get home I corral the inderbesten into helping me clear out the shed—there’s a vergeside collection coming up, and I’m determined not to miss it this time. The Kinderbesten mostly do what they need do, and we get things sorted out in about 20 minutes. I end up with one help of old toys that can probably be donated somewhere, and another heap of crap that can definitely be chucked.
And a half empty shed that still needs tidying up. One day.
The Elderbeast has some homework to do before bed. I remind him that he has about an hour and a half to get it all done, and wonder how far he’ll get. At one point he starts flagging: staring at the screen when he needs to be writing. I set a 10 minute timer and tell him to just write until the timer goes off. He gets his work done, packs everything away, and we’re sitting in the kitchen chatting when the timer finally goes off.
Once again, last year this is something that would have involved at least an hour of stress and argument, with 30 minutes spent doing about 10 minutes’ worth of work. This turnaround continues to stun me.
He must be a pod person ….

Watched

Monday Star Trek Discovery
Electric Dreams 1×09
Tuesday Electric Dreams 1×10
Wednesday n/a
Thursday n/a
Friday Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1978)
Saturday Star Trek (2009)
Sunday The Good Place 2×12
Altered Carbon 1×01

Read

Not gonna bother writing anything in here until I actually start reading something worth writing about…

Eaten

Monday Tuna Rice
Tuesday Chicken Satay
Wednesday Cauliflower Cheese
Thursday Chips, eggs, beans
Friday Pasta & broccoli for kids; Coconut Daal for me
Saturday Traditional #childfree dinner
Sunday Homemade Boston Beans

Week 4: Shifts and realignments

(Jan 22 – Jan 28)

Moving forward from life-changing events is an interesting process. I’m sure it’s a very different experience depending on the person and the event, but for me it seems to be series of shifts and realignments. It’s like a puzzle, where you successfully get a nice swathe of pieces to lay flat, only to find that a whole other section is now rucked up. In short, I’m pretty much settled into my new life, but every so often I feel like I need a bit of time to catch up with myself–whether emotionally, or mentally.
Given the triple punch of: Christmas; extended school holidays (with the Kinderbesten’s return to school looming over me); and family visiting from the UK, it’s been a busy time. I don’t get particularly stressed at times like this; indeed, I enjoy the change of routine for the most part.
However, the result is that I find that I’m relying far more on my ‘quiet time’ lately, in particular my #childfree weekends which provide an essential opportunity to stop and reset. Last week ended with my #childfree weekend being somewhat curtailed, but this week ended with me dreaming up plans for repainting the house, reorganising furniture and installing a cat enclosure outside. All of which are good signs that something is moving in the right direction.

Monday

My daycare plans for the Kinderbesten fall through, which is ok because I wake up with a headache anyway. We have a lazy morning, watch the first episode of The Toys That Made Us (all about Star Wars toys), and then decide to head out to the shops—ostensibly to buy toys, but mostly for the sake of getting out of the house for a bit.

Tuesday

The Kinderbesten get taken to Point Walter by the UK folks and have a terrific time, the only downside being that the Elderbeast manages to get himself slightly sunburnt due to rushing back into the water immediately after putting on his sunblock. We have dinner over at the UK folks’ holiday home, but I have to drag the Kinderbesten away shortly afterwards when their fatigue begins to morph into hyperactivity.

Wednesday

I find out that JB Hifi have one of their 20% Off All Bluray deals happening, and decide that I really need to go and but the new Doctor Who bluray (Shada) while I have the chance to save some money in doing so. It’s logical, trust me.
Also, after watching a documentary last night about Orson Welles’ notorious War Of The Worlds broadcast, and realising that I’ve somehow never seen Citizen Kane, I add that to my shopping list. Then it turns out that Citizen Kane is in a 3 for $20 deal so, after some extensive research, I also add Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Grosse Pointe Blank (the 3 for $20 becomes a 3 for $16 with the $20 off, which is awesome).
I head to JB Hifi after work to pick up my haul. Then I leave the shopping centre and see a big line of cars waiting to get out. I decide to go back inside for a while, at least until the traffic dies down. I come out again about 10 minutes later and there’s still a huge line of cars. I decide it’s time to leave anyway, and join the line. It takes at least another 15 minutes to get back on my way home.
All in all it feels like the money I saved on those blurays was taken back in actual time..

Thursday

Oddly tired today. I get my first couple of diary posts for 2018 published, then pass some time watching the prequel shorts for Blade Runner 2049. I also watch a behind the scenes video about the miniatures they built for the film, which blows my mind a little (I’d assumed all the city shots were pure CG).
I then decide it’s time for an early night.

Friday

It’s Australia Day.
I’ve decided to do two things: get my shopping out of the way nice and early; then do nothing to otherwise mark the day. The Elderbeast wakes up and immediately greets me with “Happy near genocide of an entire race of people day”, which makes me proud of him (both for his awareness and his dry sense of humour), and helpfully crystallises why we’re not doing anything.
I drop Beryl home around lunchtime, which gives the Kinderbesten an excuse to hang around with their other grandparents for a bit. We return home for a lazy afternoon.
Well … lazyish. I take some measurements out in the garden so I can get quotes on potential cat enclosures. I have to hop onto a wall at one point, to measure the height of a fence. My back quickly decides I have done A Very Bad Thing and complains vociferously for the rest of the day (and the day after). Despite the ensuing tiredness and achiness I somehow end up scrubbing the shower too.
I also sign up the Elderbeast for acting lessons. His primary school teacher from last year suggested it as an after-school activity on multiple occasions, but I wasn’t quite able to get it organised. This time I was able to find a number of classes that had vacancies. And now he starts his first class on Monday!
For Fridate Horror we attempt to watch The Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1978 version) but technology betrays us. We turn to our backup movie: The Open House, courtesy of Netflix. I really enjoy it: it’s a simple, effective, almost old-fashioned horror movie. I don’t get the harsh reviews on IMDB.

Saturday

I have a relatively generous lie-in: 8:30am. I wake up with a sore back and headache, but am looking forward to a visit from a couple of awesome friends that we don’t get to see nearly often enough. The Kinderbeast is also made up that he gets to play with one of his favourite little people. We find out that they have plans to move back over to QLD next month, which is good for them but means we’re now likely to see them virtually never. It’s a shame, but we’ll always have twitter.
We have a good long chat, while the kids have a good long play. I talk about some of my vague plans for the house, and later that day find myself suddenly (and finally) inspired with some clear ideas about how to decorate a few of the rooms. It just comes down to whether I can muster the required time, effort and money to get some painting done before the inspiration dries up.
For the afternoon, the UK folks come over for an early dinner (arriving not long after our friends leave). The Elderbeast requested burgers for dinner last week, and today is the day for me to grant that wish. I ask him to help, and he takes great delight in mixing up the raw burger meat with his (washed and scrubbed) hands. The burgers end up being pretty damn tasty, even if I say so myself.
The evening is put aside for Awesome Movie Night for myself and the Elderbeast. We have our Margaret River Brie, which we’ve been saving for the weekend. I decide that our movie should be Grosse Pointe Blank. The Brie is absolutely delicious and gets a thumbs up from both myself and the Elderbeast. The movie, perhaps equally unsurprisingly, is just as good as I remember it, and gets the nod of approval from the Elderbeast (confirmed, when I see him looking up articles about it the next day).

Sunday

I indulge in an extended morning shift, purely to finish up the second draft of a new story that I wrote over four mornings earlier this week. I’ve enjoyed writing this one so much that I really wanted to get the second draft wrapped up while I was had a bit of a buzz going on.
I spend the next part of the day debating whether I have time to make a cameo appearance at a friend’s birthday. The Elderbeast swings the balance by asking if we can go. I then have the, honestly, genius idea of cooking dinner at lunchtime (so I don’t need to rush back afterwards to cook dinner). It still ends up being a short visit, but sweet.
The Elderbeast, clearly having enjoyed the documentaries we watched on Monday and Tuesday, asks to watch another documentary for the evening. We eventually pick Man On Wire, which proves an excellent choice (even if it does trigger my latent vertigo on several occasions).

Things I did buy this week:

Okay, so the no-spending isn’t going great. My main offense this week was the $37 of blurays, but they would have cost me at least $57 at full price, so I figure I’ve got a bit of an excuse. Okay???

Watched

Monday The Cult of … The Tripods
The Toys That Made Us (Star Wars)
Tuesday War Of The Worlds doco
Wednesday Day Of The Daleks extras
Thursday Blade Runner 2049 extras
Friday The Open House
Saturday Grosse Point Blank
Sunday Secret Life Of Pets
Man On Wire

Read

Meh, reading time this week has predictably been spent enjoying the Doctor Who comics I so painstakingly extracted last week. Sounds kinda lame, but I’ve realised that this easy nostalgia has a purpose: these old comic strips (and, indeed, the Doctor Who novelisations) were among the first stories that I read, and absorbed, and got inspired by as child who was growing up and moving away from kids books. I literally read these comics in my primary school playground and, looking back now, it was one of those times where you feel like you’re lifting the curtain on a whole new world.
So, reading these comics (and reading about the Doctor Who novelisations that I spent the next several years of my life devouring) makes perfect sense at a time when I’m looking for a bit of a fresh start with my writing–and perhaps, subconsciously, trying to reconnect with the stories that perhaps inspired me to want to become a storyteller in the first place.

Eaten

Monday Homemade Boston Beans
Tuesday Pasta and mushrooms
Wednesday Chicken satay
Thursday Freezer dinner
Friday Salmon things
Saturday Burgers (home made)
Sunday JFC (Justin’s Fried, but actually baked, Chicken)

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