Justin Cawthorne dot com

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Author: Justin (Page 2 of 34)

September 1: Fools

Though I imagine exhaustively detailing the minutiae of my day is of paramount interest to you all, I’ve decided to do something a little different with these diary posts for the month of September. What I will be aiming to do for the next 30 days is to pick just one element of my day; something that, for whatever reason, has bounced around in my mind for more than a nanosecond. Hopefully that will result in some generally shorter posts, but I will also throw in the odd highlight of my day here and there, where there’s something worth sharing.

My thought for today has largely been inspired by spending more time than is wise on Twitter, and it’s essentially the old adage that states: Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt. This was predominantly inspired by Lyle Shelton’s continuing opposition to marriage equality, which has resulted in almost everything he tweets being something that any person with even a shred of critical introspection would immediately throw in the mental shredder. But, no: good old Lyle keeps on furiously proving to us all how limited his ability to actually think before he tweets is.

And, of course, it’s not just limited to Lyle. You only need look at any relatively attention-hungry Trump supporter to see the same.

Anyway, there were some highlights of my day that I do want to share. Firstly, I was invited to the Kinderbeast’s class today to enjoy a brief Father’s Day event. Given that the last time I went to a school event during work hours I was the *only* father there, I half expected attendance to be low, but I was wrong. There were at least a dozen of us, which introduced the brief panic that I might have to socialise with other parents (an increasing risk now that I’m essentially a single Dad). That didn’t come to pass. Instead we were made to stand up at the front of the class while the collected Kinderbesten sang to us. And it was lovely. They sang a song that was basically “I love my Dad” and my little Kinderbeast looked at me the entire time he sang it. Awww.

Later than evening I watched The Old Dark House as the Fridate Horror Movie component of Fridate, and it was awesome. I’m amazed I’d not only not seen it before, but wasn’t even aware it existed. I had no idea that, as far back as 1932 (and long before Scream was ever a thing), they could make a film that was both creepy and funny. Highly recommended.

August 31

It’s Thursday, but it really feels like it should be Friday. Nevertheless, it’s a suitably noteworthy day for the last day of the month: it’s my first full day of being a sole homeowner. A new era of my life now formally begins. Accordingly, I’m going to try something a little different with these diary posts for next month, but you’ll have to wait to find out what 😉

August 30

It’s Wednesday, and because it’s the ‘other’ Wednesday, it means Late Start Day at school. Last week I promised the Kinderbesten that I would treat them to breakfast at Maccas on Late Start Day, provided they got themselves ready early enough. They do. So we go.

It’s settlement day, so I predictably check my bank account at random times of the day, even though I’ve been told it’s all happening at midday. Sure enough, my mortgage disappears from the one account at the predicted time. Promisingly, my refinance mortgage fails to appear in my other account. I know it’ll turn up eventually, but I decide to enjoy this unexpected Day Without Mortgage.

Back home, the Elderbeast has some homework to do. We have an energetic song and dance while he tries all his tricks to get out of doing it (I left the worksheet at school! I find it in his bag. I can’t remember who I’m supposed to write about! I tell him he’ll have to choose someone else). Finally he realises there’s no escape from the homework, and starts focusing on how to get it done. He works out that he can get hold of his schoolfriend on PSN chat, and they can talk the research through together. And they really do. It takes them a while, but I’m loving that I pop my head through the door on several occasions and see the Elderbeast chatting to his friend earnestly about their history research project. It almost looks like he’s enjoying himself…

August 29

Tuesday. I get up earlier than usual for my morning shift. I feel better for it and get more writing done (duh!). There’s no PEAC for the Elderbeast today (his classes will be moving to Tuesdays after this week), which gives me an hour of my morning back. The rest of the day proves surprisingly productive. I read an article about allowing time for reflection in your day, and realise this is exactly what these diaries are all about.

I get an email confirming that the settlement is due to be finalised tomorrow. After all the paperwork adventures, this is finally what it’s all about. Rachel will get a tidy sum of cash; I will get the house (and mortgage) in my sole name; and our finances will be legally separated.

I then get another email from Pocketbook telling me I’ve overspent this month. This shouldn’t be huge surprise: I managed to spend $30 on eBay before evening leaving the house today (in my defence, $25 of that was on a desperately needed replacement cutlery rack for my dishwasher). I log into Pocketbook and snoop around for a while. Eventually I see that the overspend is entirely due to non-essential purchases, which makes me feel good about the general stability of my financial situation, but slightly less good about my impulse purchasing. Either way, I’m enjoying being in full control of my finances.

Dinner is an awesome shepherd’s pie, prepared by myself and the Elderbeast the night before, using Sunday’s left over slow-cooked lamb. I only mention it because it was, truly, awesome.

August 28

It’s Monday, and we start a new unofficial tradition by adding the purchase of vending machine hot chocolate–a treat for the Kinderbesten to start the day with–to our ritual Monday morning visit to the gas station.

I take an early lunch at work so I can visit my local Thingz store, which has yet another sale on. I come back with another knitted cushion, and two mammoth fluffy cushions (they are literally called mammoth cushions, though fortunately not made with actual mammoth fur). I am very pleased with my new cushions. The Kinderbesten are equally pleased, and instantly divide up the spoils amongst themselves, leaving me with a single, sad, knitted cushion.

I let the cushion thing go: tonight is all about the Game Of Thrones finale–or, at least, it’s supposed to be. About ten minutes into the episode, my download begins to stutter. I try the same file on the two other devices I have that can stream from Plex. No dice. I try loading the file onto a USB stick and playing it directly. None of my devices will even read the file: it’s dodgy! I go and search for a different version to download. I find one, but cancel it when it tells me it’ll take three hours to download. I don’t have three hours: Monday night is my one night in front of the TV, and things are getting critical.

I try downloading the same file again, thinking something might have gone awry in the download. It takes about twenty minutes and, unsurprisingly, delivers me exactly the same file that I had before. I notice that the file plays fine on the PC, via Plex. I try playing it on my iPad. It appears to play fine. And … continues to play fine. It’s not exactly the widescreen, surround sound viewing experience I was expecting for the finale, but it’s surprisingly acceptable. I can see myself starting to watch more things on the iPad after this.

August 27

I wake in the night feeling … questionable. My guts manage to hold on to their contents and I drift back to sleep. Consequently I abandon my Sunday morning shift and have a lie in. I eventually get up and persuade the kids to help me wash the car: a much easier chore now I only have the one car.

I spend much of the day assuming the Elderbeast and I will settle down in the evening for episodes 3 and 4 of The Defenders. Then he pulls the rug out from under me by asking to watch Sherlock instead. For whatever reason, he has an urge to watch Sherlock from the beginning. I’m happy to indulge him: as TV goes, it’s at least fairly ‘thinky’ TV.

August 26

It’s a Saturday, and despite having the kinderbesten I’ve planned a busy and efficient morning: a round trip to K Mart (to get frames), Bunnings (to get picture hooks) and then Coles (to get the weekly shopping). I’ve got the kinderbesten all fed, dressed and ready to get in the car by 9am … then I spot a dirty great screw sticking out of one of my rear tyres. I grab my screwdriver and tentatively begin unscrewing the accursed pin but, sure enough, it’s gone right through. I quickly screw it back. I have visions of expensive tyre replacements and tedious visits to garages on Monday. I cancel my ambitious morning plans, with the exception of Coles, which is close enough to walk back from should the tyre go completely flat.

We do the shopping then, on a whim, I check my local garage and find that it’s open until midday. They tell me not only that they can fix the tyre in about 20 minutes, but that I can bring the car over immediately. $25 down, and a brief sojourn in the garage playing with the hot drinks dispenser later, and the car is fixed. I head to Bunnings — the kinderbesten electing to stay in the car — where it takes me about 15 minutes to find picture hooks. Then I finally get to K Mart to buy my poster frames. Meanwhile the kinderbesten buy themselves Fidget Cubes (like, literally with their own money!).

I get back home and resign myself to some drilling–six holes in all for some of the heavier frames. The K Mart frames are light enough for basic picture hooks, which is a relief. At about 3pm I realise that we haven’t had lunch and quickly knock up  a late breakfast. After that it’s Saturday Afternoon Film Club, for which we select The Empire Strikes Back.

The evening is spent having much fun, and food, and wine with friends.

August 25

It’s Friday, which makes it the perfect day for a lunchtime trip to the shops to my cake for my team. This also gives me the chance to pop into K Mart to look for some $15 poster frames that I’ve spotted on their website. They have plenty in stock, so I grab one for testing purposes.

I find, later on, that the frame is microscopically too small for my posters, but only by about 5mm on each side. I decide to have a go at trimming one. It goes so well that I march right on and trim all the other posters; deciding I will make an early morning trip back to K Mart tomorrow to grab more frames for them all.

I’m on a roll by now, so I finally decide to take my original Nightmare On Elm Street poster and put it in the bargain, yet ‘proper’, frame that I acquired via gumtree several weeks back. It’s a tiny bit more complicated than the K Mart job–lots of masking tape required–but it goes in a treat and looks awesome. The only downer is that I will need to get the drill out tomorrow in order to hang it.

After that it’s time to chill out for Fridate. Tonight’s horror movie is Prevenge, which manages to be both extremely funny and extremely gory. It’s a treat.

August 24

Thursday. I manage to get up for my morning shift, and start the day with a sense of cautious optimism. Things generally go well from there. I drop the Elderbeast at PEAC; meet a work friend for coffee, which takes long enough to segue into my first proper meeting of the day. That meeting finishes early enough for me to grab a sausage roll before collecting the Elderbeast from PEAC. The afternoon is dominated by three more interviews, but they proceed well enough and some minor pockets of work manage to happen in the intervening minutes.

I return home with enough energy to deal with the sundry tasks I’ve been deferring all week, such as activating credit cards, paying for school excursions, and booking parent teacher interviews.

Truly, my life is non-stop party central.

August 23

Wednesday. I wake up tired and voluntarily ‘oversleep’, which means I turn the alarm off and end up getting out of bed around the same time that I usually wrap up my morning shift. The extra sleep leaves me disorientated rather than refreshed. I figure I can fix that via some caffeination at work … and then remember I’m interviewing all morning and won’t have time to get coffee until closer to midday. In the face of this emergency, I get a cafetiere going and figure I can caffeinate myself via the magic of a travel mug.

I drive the kinderbesten to school, where we quickly realise that neither beast has been accompanied by their school bag. I put this down to collective failure and we drive back home to get the bags. After the beasts have been unleashed within the school grounds I realise that I’ve forgotten my coffee as well, but I’m already running late and can’t be bothered to do a second return trip home.

At work I get the first interview wrapped up, then decide that the second meeting of the morning can be cancelled in favour of getting coffee. I then have two more interviews to do, after which I discover that someone has booked into a 2 1/2 workshop for rest of the afternoon.

I am, unsurprisingly, dead by the time I get home. I endure a delightful range of continuing tech-fail, but finally manage to sort out birthday cards for the folks back in the UK. I then have the unbridled joy of trying to work out how to claim a refund through PayPal, which is about the least fun thing I’ve done on the internet all year.

I go to bed, ridiculously exhausted, and pray for sleep. Or death. Whichever comes first.

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