(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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
|Saturday||John Wick 2|
|Sunday||Four Weddings And A Funeral|
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.
|Monday||Green chicken curry|