(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.
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.
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.
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 …
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
|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|
|Saturday||Doctor Who: Shada
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Altered Carbon 1×06
The Cloverfield Paradox
Another dramatic instalment in my continued failure to read anything of note.
|Monday||Home-made Boston Beans|
|Thursday||Chips, eggs, beans (Heinz, Baked)|
|Saturday||Traditional #Childfree dinner|
|Sunday||Tuna Rice (at the Elderbeast’s request)|