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Author: Justin (Page 2 of 27)

June 27

I manage to turf myself out of bed just before 7am and write some more diary entries. I end up getting stuck right in and am late getting the kids ready for school. The day seems in jeopardy when the Kinderbeast wakes with a cough, but he claims to feel fine and, despite the disrupted morning, we still get to school on time.

I’ve been rediscovering Snow Patrol’s Final Straw album, which I used to play constantly when it came out. I’d all but forgotten about it until I unpacked my CDs, and am now enjoying playing it constantly all over again. It accompanies me on my drive to work. On which note, I’m finding that I’m really getting back into the work mode again at last: it’s been a bit of a haul, but it’s another one of those days where I feel like I can get in there and beat the job, and not the other way around.

In lesser news, my single serve of soup proves to be a predictably inadequate lunch.

I come home to a peaceful house: the Elderbeast is at a friend’s house; the Kinderbeast is out with his mother and Beryl, seeing his grandparents. The Elderbeast returns home in time for dinner, but we grow tired of waiting for the others and start eating (yes: soup, again!) Of course, just as we sit down they all arrive.

Beryl has clearly enjoyed a wine during her family outing, as she asks if she can open a bottle and then insists–absolutely demands–that I also have a glass. I just can’t bring myself to disappoint her and say no.

I spend some time finalising the documents I need to file with the court: superannuation statements; numerous bits of paper that I double check have been signed and witnessed; copies of signed bits of paper. It’s endless. Once that’s taken care of I have a fairly awesome, chilled out time with my glass of wine listening to The The (I am currently obsessed with Uncertain Smile) and searching up playlist of other songs that feature awesome piano solos. It’s a good evening.

June 26

It’s Fucken Monday. I don’t have a story I feel like working on at the moment, so I use my morning shift to catch up with some diary entries. I get to work and face a day of many, many meetings–not helped by the realisation that my favourite coffee place is closed for the week. Backup coffee place is ok, but it’s not the same. I’ve also been lax in my food preparations: my lunch is described as a “sad looking bit of chicken” by a colleague. She’s not wrong.

The highlight at the end of the day is a seminar entitled “What schools need to know about autism”, which is being delivered by two friends of mine who have done an incredible job of raising their two autistic children and are exactly the sort of people who should be out there telling everyone how it’s done. I’ve been wanting to attend one of their presentations for a long time, and it just so happens that they’ve scheduled this one at the University where I work. It’s a tremendous presentation: moving, enlightening, inspiring. I’m so proud to know these people.

I get home late. The kinderbesten have already eaten, courtesy of their mother. I make soup and tuck in once bedtime has been taken care of. I entertain idle thoughts about watching TV, but once again fail to do it, opting for an early night instead.

June 25

It’s Pathfinder day. I’m thinking that I don’t have to arrive until midday, which gives me time to get a few things done, but a quick check of both the Facebook invite and the Google Calendar entry confirms that things actually kick off at 11am. I need to shower, get chicken in the slow cooker, have some damn breakfast (it’s “damn breakfast” because I’m “damn hungry”) and leave by 10:30am.

I allow myself a lie in until 7am, and then get an hour’s writing in: managing to finish the second draft of my new short story, which feels pretty good. It still needs some work here and there, but things are on the right track. The rest of the morning goes pretty smoothly. I get the chicken cooking, I make myself some eggs, and I’m out of the door in good time. I do, in fact, arrive for Pathfinder almost on the dot of 11am.

Which is when I learn that the start time is midday after all …

No worries. I get a bonus hour of chatting, snacking and drinking tea.

Once the game is done I get home to await the return of the kinderbesten. I need to make sure dinner is ready, get tomorrow’s lunches done, and put away all the cocaine and sharp objects. They get back, we have dinner, everyone’s had a fine weekend. However, I look around and the dishwasher has only just gone on, the sink is piled up with pots and pans that I really can’t be bothered to wash, and there is washing airing up in the craft room that has been there since Friday. I wonder where the weekend went.

Naturally, we end the weekend with Doctor Who as well as bonus (yet disappointing) Brie. Doctor Who is exceptionally good this week, which is very welcome given how excited I’ve been about seeing the original cybermen making a reappearance. The show has done a superb job of matching up the aesthetic of the overall episode to the original cybermen design, making it seem entirely appropriate that something designed in 1966 would look perfectly appropriate in an episode filmed over 50 years later.

Bring on next week’s finale!

June 24

It’s a #childfree Saturday!

I finally manage a decent lie in (8:30am), and head straight to the supermarket for 9:30am. My plan is to get the week’s shopping out of the way nice and early, then relax all day and catch up on TV. I get the shopping done, but then decide it’s the perfect day to get a proper framing job done for a couple of gorgeous art prints I bought some years ago. They’ve been languishing, lop-sided, in some cheap IKEA frames for far too long and they should really be up on the wall.

I drop the shopping off and head to the shopping centre, which contains an art shop, so I can get some backing card. The good news is that the art shop happens to have 50% off everything on this particular weekend. The less good news is that it’s getting towards 11am and I’m starting to realise I haven’t had any breakfast or, worse, any coffee yet. I stop for coffee, but decide I’m still not that hungry after my mega-portion of dinner the night before. I attempt to find some poster-size frames for my movie posters, but with no joy. I then head into JB Hifi and convince myself to buy a 2 CD set of Propaganda’s A Secret Wish album, and also grab a five-disc set of Patti Smith albums: a steal at just $20.

I have a rule with shopping centres: on a Saturday I will only visit them if I can get there before 11am. After then there’s nowhere to park and those places become literal hell. What I learn today is that getting out of a shopping centre at lunch time on a Saturday is possibly far, far worse. Every exit is now just an extension of the parking lot. I happen know every exit and every turn I take, every alternate route I try, ends with me facing the backend of yet another car. Finally, on my fifth attempt, I make it out. Freeeeee!

I get home and make some decent coffee along with some scrambled eggs. I start to feel human again. I then line up my Patti Smith CDs and get to work on the reframing. It take a good long time. There’s a lot of measuring, lining up, taping, trimming. But after the first one is done I’m so pleased with the result that I plough straight into the second. The results are great. The only downside is that I realise I have no suitable fittings for hanging them on the wall. Yet.

I’ve missed my shot at spending the afternoon watching TV, and the evening is creeping in. I have big plans for the evening: steak dinner and then my first viewing of Inglourious Basterds. But it’s getting late. I shower, cook my steak (and eat it), tinker with the LED lights I bought for the new coffee station (they’re too bright, so I cut discs out of some coloured plastic document wallets to place over them). Then it’s movie time.

It takes me a while, but I eventually decide I’m loving Inglourious Basterds just a bit–it either happens at the first cinema scene, or when Michael Fassbender appears, I can’t remember which. It’s a film, like most of Tarantino’s, that is in love with the art of film. I can’t wait to catch up on Hateful Eight and Django Unchained, both of which I’ve managed to miss to date.

June 23

The week is ending with a bonus Free Dress Day at school for the kinderbesten (no, they don’t get a free dress; they just get to wear whatever they want for the day). The Kinderbeast has had his t-shirt chosen for days, but the Elderbeast is far more casual about this rare opportunity.

I get bonus Subway for lunch as we’re providing catering for a workshop. I volunteer to go and collect the feast, which means it also gets to go on my credit card until I claim the expenses back. And I still have a previous lunch that I have yet to claim for. Plus all the parking I haven’t yet claimed for. One day I’m going to be rich beyond my wildest dreams (or at least it’ll feel that way).

It’s another childfree weekend for me. I get home, say goodbye to the kids, then drop Beryl back home. Then I have to Hoover (sorry: vacuum), tidy up, shower, and make dinner before the wonderful Seb arrives. I manage to get it all done, but I’m at the table eating when he arrives. I’ve cobbled something together with leftover sausages, tomatoes and risotto rice … and it’s damn delicious. I eat all of it, even though there’s enough for three in the bowl.

I treat myself to one of the good bottles of wine from the rack,and then Seb and I spend some time dazzling ourselves (literally) with the selection of ludicrously overpowered LED lights I’ve picked up in the last few weeks. We then explore the collection of posters that has been sitting forgotten in the back of my wardrobe. I used to know someone who worked in a cinema, so I have some authentic cinema posters in the collection. The one I’m most excited about is an original Nightmare on Elm Street poster, which is absolutely beautiful. I’m also tremendously excited to discover I’ve own a full size poster for Some Like It Hot, which I had no idea was in there. Other highlights include Reservoir Dogs and a gorgeous poster for Ghost World, which I donate to a friend who loves the film far more than I do.

Then it’s time to settle down for our Friday Night Horror Movie. This week it’s The Frighteners, which is always a treat. We agree that one of our most favourite things about the film is the way it transitions from a comedy to something really quite dark by the end. A lot of films can’t pull that off, but somehow Peter Jackson does it.

June 22

Thursday. I manage to get up for writing once again. However, someone’s coming to reseal the shower at 7:30am, so my morning shift is a blend of writing, getting dressed, and trying to get the Elderbeast (who has somehow appeared in my bed during the night) awake and dressed. It’s also bloody cold.

The Elderbeast makes a token attempt to get out of going to PEAC. He had homework to do last night, which he resisted at first, but eventually got stuck into and did some pretty good work. I’m kinda surprised he’s not dying to go to his class and show it off. I think trying to get out of PEAC has just become part of the routine now. He’s happy enough to be going once we get in the car.

I’ve taken the morning off, because of the shower thing, so I head back home for a while. I finally get to talk to the tutor who’s running the mindfulness class that I’ve enrolled the Elderbeast in. We have a good chat, but in the middle of it the shower guy wraps up his work and needs payment, so I have to call her back. I then go and collect the Elderbeast from PEAC. The teacher tells me he worked very well today, which makes me very happy.

I get to work just after midday. I’ve grabbed myself a sandwich from Coles again, but I’m baffled by their pricing. I had my eye on an egg sandwich initially, priced at $6. But then I see that a chicken sandwich is cheaper at only $4. But I don’t fancy chicken. Furthermore, there’s an egg and bacon sandwich is also only $4. I really just wanted egg, but I’m not paying $2 more to NOT have bacon. It makes no sense! Anyway, I wolf the sandwich down and then have to go straight into running a workshop with my team. I’m still so hungry afterwards that I have to walk down to Aroma to get one of their awesome homemade sausage rolls.

Back home and I finally get to admire the beauty of my freshly resealed shower. It looks brand new. Only took me about five years to get around to having it done.

June 21

It’s the day of my friend’s funeral.

I’ve been thinking of his ten-year-old son, the same age as my own Elderbeast. I’ve been thinking about his ex-wife, and of her having to explain to her son what happened. (I’ve had some daunting conversations with my kinderbeasts in recent months, but nothing on this scale.) I think of his parents, attending their child’s funeral; something no parent should ever have to do.

I reflect that, thankfully, I haven’t been to many funerals. The last one, two decades ago, was for my own mother. The day passed in a blur, even though I remember almost every detail. Back then, I held it together until they carried the coffin in. I wonder if I’ll hold it together or not today. It’s not my own grief that typically gets me; it’s witnessing the grieving of others.

And, once again, I think of my friend’s family.

The service is well attended. There are a handful of people from work. I see my friend’s son and his mother; we hug and say hello briefly. I’m not able to say much more. There are many people I don’t know. I’m glad that so many people have come to remember him, but sad that he perhaps forgot how loved he was in life. Or maybe we forgot.

The service is perfect. It reminds us to celebrate his life, not to regret that we couldn’t prevent his passing. I take a lot of comfort from everything that’s said. I’m surprised when my tears come at the end, but in the end they’re tears that mourn the friend I had the joy of knowing.

I’ll leave you with a poem that was read during the service, which says everything that could possibly be said.

Safe Harbour
by Jennifer Hickok

The storm has been raging for so long now
Pouring rain, crashing thunder, howling wind
Beating down on this lonely ship
Searching for a place to call home

There was a time; it seems so long ago
The sun shone brightly in the clear blue sky
Looking up from the bow into forever
A gentle breeze, cotton candy clouds

But the storm slowly moved in
A few scattered showers and thunderstorms
Days of downpour, flashes of lightning
With shelter so hard to find

Rainbows still shone, beacons of hope
In the unlikeliest places
Vibrant against a backdrop of gray
A glimpse at the best of times

As the years passed by
The storms changed, getting worse
Getting better, and fading away
But they’d left their mark

A vessel is forever changed
When touched that way
And although you can rebuild
The damage has been done

Horrible storms had been forecast
For the not so distant future
But they wouldn’t hit this ship
Not again, no more damage would be done

The ship will be protected now
Lost no more, tossed about no longer
Safe in a harbor to forever call home

June 20

I manage to get up for a second day running (or was it a third? Who’s really counting anyway?) and do another 700 words on the second draft of my story. Pretty pleased with that.

I get to work and immediately have to plunge into two meetings before I can even go and get coffee; which doesn’t happen until nearly 11am, which is an entirely unacceptable way to exist.

I get a surprise in my inbox. Last night I emailed a copy of the draft consent orders to my superannuation provider: they have to agree to be bound by the orders as the settlement between me and Rachel includes a small share of my super. The small print says I need to give them at least 28 days notice to review the order before I can file it with the court. Instead they come through in less than 24 hours. This means that the next step is filing the papers with the Family Court.

Back home and I use the rest of the slow cooked lamb to make a shepherd’s pie. I keep telling people I’m making cottage pie for dinner, and get corrected. (For the heathens among you, cottage pie is made with beef … because of the obvious link between beef and cottages). Either way it’s very tasty.

I then spend the rest of the evening immersed in trepidation over my friend’s funeral tomorrow.

June 19

It’s Fucken Monday. I don’t quite get up at 6:20 to write, but it’s close enough. I get 700 words of editing done, which is a pretty good effort.

Since I didn’t end up roasting the lamb yesterday, I’ve decided to stick it in the slow cooker today. The last thing I want to be doing on a Monday morning is preparing dinner, but I know I’ll be glad I did it in the end. However, it takes up way too much of my morning. I’m late dropping the kinderbesten off. I’ve naively and optimistically arranged to see my lawyer at 9am (I only need to see him to get his signature on a piece of paper, which he has offered to do at no charge) but it’s already 8:50. I phone up and they’re fine with me getting there at 9:30 instead. Of course, the traffic is slow on the freeway, and of course I get into the city and take a wrong turn and end up back on the freeway, going the wrong way. This does nothing for my Monday Mood. I get to where I’m going at last and park, and then the parking meter keeps declining my card. I’m about to give up on the whole day. Luckily the next meter works just fine.

It’s all worth it in the end: the lawyer even runs me through the rest of the impending process (for free). On my way out I attempt a brief hunt for coffee, but there’s excellent coffee to be had at work and I decide I’m well ready to see the back of the city this Monday morning. But, the city still manages to have the last laugh, and sends me to the wrong exit onto the freeway, going the exact opposite direction to where I want to be going. I manage to get myself going to the right way, and I feel the tension sloughing off the further I get from the city.

At work I go straight into a meeting before I have a chance to get coffee. Then my afternoon is four solid hours of meetings. I realise now I should have stayed in the city.

When I get home the slow cooked lamb is as delicious as expected: even the kinderbesten enjoy it. I decide to move around some more furniture, trying to get the ‘secondary TV area’ a bit more organised. I engage the kinderbesten to help, and they do manage to help a little bit, in between making the job even harder and more painful than it should be. I’m not convinced by the end result, but I decide to leave it and see if it grows on me. After that I do something I’ve been putting off for weeks: I phone up my car insurer about my renewal quote. This year’s price is more expensive than last year’s. Also, I’ve managed to find a better quote by visiting their website as a new customer, which leaves me even less impressed. However, they prove to be awesome and give me $60 off my renewal quote, plus the Roadside Assist service that I’d included in my website quote. I’m put the phone down very happy with the world at large.

As it’s Monday I want to settle on the sofa and catch up with some TV. It’s already pretty late and I want to be in bed soon, but I figure one episode of something, at about 45 minutes, should be fine. Wrong. Turns out the first episode of American Gods is 60 minutes. Season 3 of Fargo starts with a 65 minute-long episode. The Handmaid’s Tale bows in at 57 minutes. Westworld debuts at 70 minutes. I consider Wayward Pines, which is short enough and has been high on my watch list for a long time now, but I’m already over the  idea of watching TV. I decide to drink tea, eat ice cream, and catch up on my diaries instead.

Which, of course, was the right choice all along.

June 18

For Sunday I’m taking the Elderbeast to see Wonder Woman. But first: writing.

I’ve vowed to get up every morning this week to write, and the writing week starts on Sunday. It’s true that I intend to get up every day (except for Saturday: Designated Lie In Day) of every week for writing, but I’ve been finding it harder and harder to get up when the alarm goes off, so this week is all about making sure I start early enough to get some quality writing time in.

Writing happens, then it’s time to get ready. The film starts at 11:15am, but we need to drop the Kinderbeast off with his grandparents first, following which I’ve decided it would be a great idea to have time for waffles before the film starts. Also, I have a headache, so everything’s taking longer. Or at least it feels like it. We end up getting to the cinema an hour before the film starts, and because it’s Sunday nothing’s open in the shopping centre yet. I buy waffles but the Elderbeast decides he doesn’t want any, so I have to eat the lot. It’s a terrible sacrifice, but one I’m prepared to make. Then, even though I’ve already bought drinks and snacks, he still talks about getting post-mix Coke. This does not ease my headache.

Finally it’s time to go and get our tickets. The film is a fair bit longer than I expected; this, coupled with the later than usual start time (I was originally planning for 10:30am), means I’m probably not going to be able to drop in and see my friends afterwards as expected. It’s yet another in a series of scheduling fails from me. However, the film is great. I was expecting it to be good, based on word of mouth, but it was probably better than that–mostly because it largely avoids being a superhero movie in favour of being a commentary on war, innocence and heroism. Consequently the CGI battle at the end comes as a disappointment, something that has been a universal opinion as far as I can tell. It’s funny: the one misstep in the film is the one thing that everyone normally expects from a superhero movie.

After the film we head back to collect the Kinderbeast from his grandparents’ house and get invited to stay for lunch. Roast lamb is on the menu, which is, coincidentally, exactly what I was going to cook for myself. However, it would be the height of insanity to pass up the offer of a home cooked roast dinner. So we stay. And it is absolutely delicious.

Back home and it’s already bed time for the Kinderbeast, and Doctor Who time for the Elderbeast and I. It’s a pretty good one this week (The Eaters Of Light) but, like much of this season, fails to truly excite me–with the exception of Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie, who consistently make every moment worth watching.

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