Justin Cawthorne dot com

read, write, ramble

Page 3 of 30

July 11

Tuesday. I get up and continue with the lighthouse story. I’m really enjoying this one, and hope that means it’ll turn out well. The Elderbeast wakes up and claims he’s not feeling well (he was on the hot side last night so I’m more willing to listen). I have a dilemma though: I need to switch the tooth he’s left by his bedside for cold hard cash, and do it before he thinks to check. My chance comes when he nips to the toilet: I slide the folded note into the makeshift matchbox he uses as his ‘tooth box’. And it’s not a moment too soon: he checks the second he sits back down again, and is delighted to find his money waiting for him.

He then looks at me quizzically and asks: “Is the tooth fairy real?” I point out that if he decides the tooth fairy is no longer real, then she would no longer be able to bring him money. He considers this briefly, and decides the tooth fairy is real.

Work is consumed by change requests, incident reports, assessments, and other nonsense–but I finally manage my shopping trip to Thingz (delayed from yesterday). I come back with two cushions, a new clock and a rug. I also bring back pastries and cookies for the team. The rest of the afternoon goes slowly. I’m the last one left in the office by 4pm and wonder why it’s not home time yet. I finally get away by 5.

Later at home my phone rings. It’s the Elderbeast’s best friend’s Mum. Except it’s not. It’s Elderbeast’s best friend, and he’s using his Mum’s phone to call my phone so he can speak to the Elderbeast. They want to arrange a sleepover for later in the week and unfortunately I’m long overdue for letting the Elderbeast have his friend over. His friend is great, but the volume level when the two of them are together pushes my stress meter way into the red. It doesn’t help that I’m already feeling very tried and stressed. Perhaps it’s my turn to come down with the office plague …

July 10

I have a terrible night’s sleep, which makes Fucken Monday even more … fucken. I’m too hot all night and have all sorts of dreams. At one point I dream that I can hear noises in the house, people moving around. It creeps me out so much that I wake up, wrap a blanket around myself, go to my bedroom door and start shouting “Who’s there??” … at which point I actually wake up and find that I am still safely tucked up in bed.

I wake up late for my morning shift, but still have time to start a second draft of my ‘lighthouse’ story. I wrote the first draft back in March or so, read through it last week, and got excited by it all over again–which is always a good way to be about a story.

I head to work remembering that we have that nasty little bug to sort out on the site, but then find out that I’ve been booked into a two-hour meeting first thing. This does not help. Over the rest of the day we spend a frustrating few hours trying to diagnose the problem, and make preparations to fix it. In the end, after about six hours’ of not really getting anywhere, I track down a suspect line of javascript. Sure enough, that’s the culprit. One tiny change and the problem is fixed.

I hate websites sometimes.

The other downside is that I’d planned to head to Thingz in my lunchbreak to take advantage of their ridiculous end of winter sale (cushions! rugs! blankets!) but there just isn’t time. I head home and play some board games with the kinderbesten. After they go to bed I start watching The Night Manager, which is incredibly good – but also so nerve-wracking in that classic, quiet, British way that I briefly question whether I can cope with it. In the end I’m gunning for a second episode, but find that time has run away from me again.

July 9

Unsurprisingly I need a lie in after last night’s shenanigans. I still manage to get up at 8am for a morning shift. I’m conscious that my time is limited today, as I need to make to a Zombicide session by midday. However, it turns out that games are cancelled which works out well: I suspect everyone else is as tired as I am, and grateful for the respite.

Nevertheless, I somehow manage to stick to my original schedule. I have breakfast, get some chicken in the slow cooker, and am out of the house by 11am. I’ve decided to pop out to the shops briefly, if only for the sake of getting out of the house briefly. I get the urge to pick up a new clock and a chalkboard for the kitchen, but come back empty handed. This is good: it means no money has been spent, which is the point that I seem to keep missing about no-spend July.

I get back to the house and decide that my project for today will be to tidy up the dumping ground that also passes for the shelves (Expedit, of course) in my main room (the room that has a TV in it, but can’t easily be called the TV room because the front room also has a TV in it … I possibly have too many rooms). I move a few things around and somehow end up with three empty shelves, and a bunch of very much tidier shelves. Success!

I then have some time for a bit of much-needed guitar practice (it’s remarkable how rusty I am), and I even get enough bonus writing time in to finish the current draft of the story I’m working on.

Because it’s still the school holidays, and Rachel will be looking after the Kinderbestern tomorrow, I’ve suggested that they may as well stay over at hers for tonight–which gives me a bonus #childfree night. I decide to use it as a substitute #childfree Saturday night (since I was out last night) which means a steak dinner and an awesome film. Tonight I enjoy the second chapter of my brief Tarantino odyssey, which brings me to The Hateful Eight, which I’ve arbitrarily decided will make for good Sunday night viewing.

I start watching early, because it’s such a damn long film, but my streaming service keeps buffering, which makes it an even damner longer film. I enjoy it, even though it is objectively too damn long. It’s beautifully crafted and, once again, wears its love of cinema on its sleeve, expertly melding genres and playing with conventions. You can see the point midway where it seems as though Tarantino was even managing to bore himself and decided to pull out every single stop. At this point it’s not necessarily a film I would rush to watch a second time, but–as with Inglorious Basterds–I’m glad I’ve finally seen it, and kick myself a little for needlessly depriving myself of the experience for so long.

July 8

It’s Saturday: blessed, glorious, Designated Lie In Day. So, I have a lie in but somehow sitll make it to the shops for 9am. I then head straight to collect my father-in-law who has offered to help me move and fit my new washing machine. There’s a high chance I could fit it on my own. Move it? Not so much.

You might recall that I had intentions of leaving that new washing machine in the garage until such time as its service was required. Well, that time arrived last night when the old washing machine decided to make a sound like sand grinding through gears, and then couldn’t even be arsed to finish its spin cycle, leaving to me to hang up clothes that were all but still dripping. It’s as if it knew there was a replacement waiting in the wings.

As an added bonus, the new machine left behind an enormous cardboard box, which I suspect will be verrry popular with both the Kinderbesten and the Kittenbesten. Because, yes, I can’t just call them ‘cats’ … apparently …

I take my father-in-law back home, and then return for an egg and bacon sandwich and more coffee. I also make a vat of meat sauce so I can stock up the freezer with a few meals. I have to head out for the evening, which I have been equally looking forward to and dreading. Looking forward to because it’s going to an awesome night out with many of my favourite people; dreading because it means going out out – not just out to someone’s house, but out to the … outness. Also known as Subiaco.

I’ve offered to be the designated driver for the evening, which is partly insane because one of the things that is most stressing me out is wondering how on earth we’re going to park in Subiaco on a Saturday night. I guess it’s one of those facing your fears moments. In the end we not only park quickly and easily, but virtually on the doorstop of where we’re going. It turns out that Subiaco is about as lively as my spare room on a Saturday night, and there was very little to get stressed about.

We tuck into some Mexican food and then get into the point of the evening. My friends who run the AAA Project, and whose seminar I attended a week or two back, have organised a repeat showing of the Wesley Goodlet Jamboree Scouts One-Hit Wonders Show as a fundraiser. I’m hugely excited about being able to see this show a second time while *also* being able to contribute to their charity! It’s a great night: the music is awesome, they exceed their fundraising goal, and deliver a couple of genuinely touching and inspiring addresses to the crowd.

However, it is also a long night. It’s hovering around midnight by the time I’ve dropped my friends off and am able to make my own way home. I’m hugely tired: I’m C Thomas Howell at the beginning of The Hitcher tired. I keep a close eye out for any sign of Rutger Hauer.

I make it home safely, grateful that I had the foresight to leave some lights on before I left. I quickly feed the cats and retreat to my bed which, tonight, is the best bed in the whole fucking universe.

July 7

It’s Friday, which brings the last day at work for one member of our team. I stop off for a farewell card and some cake, then get to work and discover our departing colleague has already brought in Top Dup Donuts for us all! Later, we enjoy a farewell lunch of champagne and pizza. The afternoon is marred somewhat by the discovery of a fairly prominent bug on our website, but we can little more than deploy some damage control.

I head home for another childfree weekend. I don’t want to have to rush down to the supermarket (and do my week’s shopping) but I haven’t planned far enough ahead to anything lined up for dinner. I perform a desperate hunt through the freezer and come out with some lentil burgers. A bit of melted cheese on top, and some sauteed carrots and red cabbage on the side, and I’m all set.

I do my hoovering and tidying up and, somehow, am only just sitting down to eat when Seb arrives for Fridate; the glorious, official start to the weekend. Our viewing for this evening is The Hitcher, deferred from last night. I haven’t watched it for years, but as we settle I remember that it’s a film I used to watch over and over and over again. There are bits that I’ve forgotten, but every beat is familiar. The best part is the film is still every bit as good as I always thought it was, possibly even better now that I can watch it with fresh eyes again. Rutger Hauer gets hardly any lines, but dominates the film. This is potentially the first time that I’ve watched his performance and realised that he’s playing John Ryder as much of a victim as everyone else in the film. I enjoy it so much, I’m almost ready to watch it again right away.

Afterwards I read about the sequel, and the more recent remake. I decide I will not be watching either of them.

July 6

Thursday. I’m about to enter a Day Of Hell: I have meetings booked solidly from 9am to 4pm. I am deeply unenthused about this prospect. In fact I am so unenthused that I accidentally hit ‘off’ instead of ‘snooze’ when flailing about in the direction of my alarm. As a consequence I get up half an hour later than planned, which means half an hour less time in which to write. Not a great start to the day, and frustrating when I’m really, really into the story I’m working on.

I have a narrow window of potential between my first and second meetings in which I might be able to get coffee. My first meeting almost starts late, and I begin see my window dwindling. Luckily it’s just a team meeting, which means I get to wrap it up early and off I go to get my coffee. I’m then ten minutes early for my next meeting. Go figure.

My third meeting of the day is immediately after the second meeting and, conveniently, in the same room. However, I am then told that the third meeting has been delayed by half an hour. As my fourth meeting is in the city, this now means I have to skip the third meeting in order to get to my fourth meeting. This is convenient as it means I definitely wont to arrive late to my fourth meeting: which needs to finish early so I can get back in time for my fifth meeting of the day.

Since I don’t know when or where I’ll have a chance to eat, I’ve packed some peanut butter sandwiches in my bag. In the end, lunch is provided during the fourth meeting (the one in the city) which is a pretty awesome result. Even more awesomely, the meeting finishes early, enabling us to get back from the city well before the fifth and final meeting of the day is due to start (it’s a presentation by the senior executive group, so I’m determined that we should not be the ones to walk in late).

Another 90 minutes later, the Day Of Hell is finally over. Most of the meetings were useful in some way or other, and I even managed to get some tiny bits of work done in between several of them. Of greatest importance is the fact that both lunch and coffee happened.

And then I have to head straight home as I’ve asked Rachel to help me pick up my new washing machine (she got the older, bigger, fully paid off car as part of the settlement; I got the smaller, newer, still-being-paid off car). It begins raining as soon as we head out, and the traffic proves abysmal, so everything takes twice as long. We need to reverse the car into the pick up area of the store but–hilariously–there’s an enormous truck parked by the entrance. I end up offering to attempt the manoeuvre–prime entertainment in the darkness, and rain, with the windows all misted up. Even more hilariously, another car tries to pull into the pick up area right behind us, successfully blocking the narrow passage left at the side of the truck. I knock on his window and suggest he might want to go back and let us out before he tries to collect his goods. He obliges and consequently we don’t have to resort to blind ugly violence.

We get back and, between the two of us, manage to get the washing machine out of the car and into my garage without any serious injuries. And there it will stay until such a time as I decide to connect it up. Or the old washing machine carks it and takes the choice out of my hands.

After all that, it’s chips, eggs and beans for dinner, because I wasn’t organised enough to get a full week’s worth of food shopping at the weekend; but I am organised enough to ensure that I always have chips, eggs and beans on standby.

The Kinderbeast has claimed his spot in my bed for the night, so I settle him down while I shower (because it’s so damn late) and then order the Elderbeast to shower (because he’s so damn filthy). One of the cats curls up on the bed right next to the Kinderbeast, which is very cute until he decides he’s had enough and demands that I remove the cat.

The Elderbeast decides to spend his evening watching a film with Beryl. Some time ago I picked up a three-disc set of the Mighty Ducks films for him, and he chooses to watch that. It takes a while to work out film one comes first. Most countries just have The Mighty Ducks, then D2: The Mighty Ducks, and D3: The Mighty Ducks. Which is easy. So, we figure the first film will be The Mighty Ducks. No! Wrong! Our set has three films: Champions, The Mighty Ducks and D3: The Mighty Ducks. You see, over here, The Mighty Ducks is the *sequel* to Champions, the film which is called The Mighty Ducks everywhere else.

Confused yet?

In any case, he loves it. I have a blast listening to him giggling and cheering along to the film while I sit at my desk and catch up on work.

July 5

It’s Wednesday. I manage the rare feat of getting out of bed at 6:30am. It probably helps a lot that I’m really excited about the story I’m working on, and I really want to get some proper writing time in.

With the kids not at school I’m able to head to work relatively early. I drive there in the rain, and the weather only gets worse once I get to the office–standing defiantly between me and my coffee. I get some work done and finally get impatient just after 10am. I grab my umbrella from the car and make the ludicrously chilly walk down to Bang Bang. I then spend much of the day trying to plough through my oversized and overdue to-do list and make pretty good progress, despite some meetings getting in the way. After some consideration, I decide to make a complaint about the person who complained about my team on Monday. It’s not a thing I do at all often, or lightly, but my team works hard and they deserve my support when people start to point fingers at them.

When I eventually stop for lunch I realise that I’ve made no plans for dinner. I call Beryl and ask her to get some bolognese sauce out of the freezer (which, in the end, turns out to be beef stew). By the time I get home it still hasn’t defrosted, so I have to tease and nurture it with the microwave before it’s ready to cook. As we eat, the kinderbesten negotiate who gets to sleep in my bed: the Elderbeast claims his spot tonight (which I allow, because he’s managed two consecutive nights of not getting into my bed); the Kinderbeast claims tomorrow night, which I also allow because why not.

July 4

Happy Birthday, Bill Pullman!

I get up later than planned, but just about manage to start my morning shift by 7am. I’m really getting stuck into my current story, and am not a little frustrated by the need to stop and get ready for work. Rachel arrives at 8am to watch the kids, which gives me a rare opportunity to get to work early.

I get to the office and immediately start writing up a review of the incident from yesterday. The review ends up taking up most of my day. I walk up late to get my morning coffee–on my own because my usual coffee partner is off work with a work-related injury incurred the previous day. It is FREEZING outside, but at least the coffee is good. My favourite coffee place was shut last week and I’m delighted to have it back today.

I get home and find the Elderbeast ready to head to his friend’s house for a sleepover. He misses out on shepherd’s pie made with the leftover slow-cooked lamb from Sunday, and the leftover pastie filling from Saturday: it’s exactly as tasty as you’re thinking it is. I need wine, so I drink wine. And then I drink tea in an eternally futile bid to stay warm.

In bed, I read several more chapters of Ocean At The End Of The Lane and decide I’m definitely enjoying it. I attempt to sleep, but am thwarted by the cold despite being clad in two long-sleeved tops, a flannelette sheet, a winter duvet and a sherpa throw.

July 3

It’s Fucken Monday. I wake up feeling grim, headachy and snotty nosed. After brief consideration I decide to call in sick; if nothing else it means I’m not spreading my germs around. It’s the first day of the school holidays, and Rachel is coming over to look after the Kinderbesten. I’m not up to taking over for the day, but I message Rachel to let her know she doesn’t need to get here as early as planned (she turns up at 9am instead with a fresh pack of Lemsip for me). I use the time to have a bonus morning shift.

Later in the morning, I manage to catch sight of a too-tempting offer on my favourite internet deal site and end up spending $80 that I probably didn’t need to spend on wine that I probably didn’t need to own. But it’s eight bottles of pretty damn good wine for the price, and it will inevitably be drunk and enjoyed, so I’m not kicking myself too hard about it. That said, I had silently pledged to avoid all unnecessary expenses during July so I can get my financial safety net back into four figures. I view this as a future saving: it’ll save me having to buy wine at $15-20 per bottle in the future. For a while, at least.

We all enjoy a game of Exploding Kittens, before Rachel takes the kinderbesten away to Garden City so I can rest. I shut myself in the bedroom with the heater on, and continue to work on my story.

Around midday I get distracted by a work issue. Someone has complained because a request wasn’t fulfilled quickly enough. It destroys my writing mojo. I decide I may as well turn my attention to work, and do what I can to resolve the issue. Not long after that, Rachel comes back with the kinderbesten. With little else to do, we spend some time doing a long-overdue sort out of the Kinderbeast’s old clothes, while I also bake some banana bread with the wealth of ageing bananas I seem to have accumulated.

I had planned to start watching The Night Manager this evening, but the Kinderbeast ends up settling later than planned, which wipes out my TV viewing window. As a fallback I invite the Elderbeast to join me for a bit of Rise Of The Tomb Raider. Between us we manage to get past the first few levels before I decree it to be bed time. I’m quite excited about this because I finally put my brand new flannelette sheets on the bed earlier in the day. They are are comfy as expected, but I’m still damn cold. I have two layers of pajamas on, the flannelette sheets, a winter duvet, and a sherpa throw … but I’m still damn cold.

I’ve decided it’s time for me to start reading again (as in novels, not internet articles). I put some thought into rereading It, one of my favourite Stephen King novels, but instead opt to use my fading memory to my advantage and be at least a little but surprised by the impending film adaptation. I also consider rereading The Stand (yet again) but am less excited by this prospect than the book deserves. Finally I remember I’ve yet to read The Ocean At The End Of The Lane, a Neil Gaiman book, and settle down to that. I only get one chapter down, but it’s a start.

July 2

We have a friend staying over, which offers the perfect opportunity to cook a huge breakfast and then enjoy a viewing of Spider-Man 2. I’ve only seen the film once or twice since it came out, despite thinking of it as one of the top two or three superhero movies ever made. It doesn’t disappoint on this viewing either, though I’m surprised at how long it takes to get going.

I also take some time to get to grips with Pocketbook, in an effort to ensure that I don’t bankrupt myself as primary carer of two kids and relatively fresh mortgage. It’s pretty good–it identifies my regular bill payments, lets me enjoy a brief OCD spell of categorising my expenses, and then I leave it to do its thing. Having done my sums a few months back, I’m not overly worried about my financial situation, but something like Pocketbook will hopefully help me make sure I’m keeping an eye on where the cash is going.

Dinner is slow-cooked lamb (again: the Elderbeast having become quite the fan). The three of us play a tense round of Exploding Kittens, and then it’s time for the season finale of Doctor Who. I ask the Kinderbeast if he wants to go to bed or stay up and watch Doctor Who with us: he makes the right choice and goes for the latter. It’s a good finale, and there’s no better way to end the week than watching my favourite show with my two favourite people.

Page 3 of 30

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén