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Descending a chain a few kilometers out from Second Valley, the recently sunken ship comes slowly into view. A current is attempting to dislodge me from the chain. Fortunately it is not at the height of its strength, as yesterday was a dodge tide. My buddy and I head straight for the nearest funnel and descend. We emerge eventually into the Mess Decks and do the usual silly diver things, such as sitting on the toilets, and pretending to eat at the tables in the galley. Oh, the hilarity. A fantastic way to spend the first day of summer, nonetheless.
Off to work with a mixture of anticipation, and some small trepidation. The new premises have potential, but I have a lot of work to do before Christmas and I'm sure that people will want me to do more. I'm worried that I might give myself concussion when I stand up in my office; those low beams look sturdy. I'm delaying the inevitable now; I'm going to have to tackle the peak hour city traffic for the first time in order to get there. I look out my window and watch a wind blown Wattle tree. Things could be worse.
3000 bucks! Miserable, parasitic pricks. Where am I supposed to find that kind of money? The Tax Department strikes again. And it's all because of my student debts from uni. Education should be free! What sort of damn country will we have if only the inbred rich can afford to send their kids on to higher education? Fuck it, I'll have to see if I can get a loan to pay off my loan. That makes some sort of perverse logic that will appeal to the bastards. And what's worse is my tax accountant told me I'd get a refund.
The rich, golden smell of curry has filled my house to every corner. No papadums tonight; didn't have time. Aah, who cares? As long as the sauce is spicy and the rice is tender I'm happy. And so is The Boss Lady, that bon vivant of curries, so nothing else matters. Although it can't be too spicy or the Grizzler won't eat it. "It's too hot, Dad," in tones more whiney than a barrel full of port. But I may have struck upon the happy medium; I have been given approval by the Grizzler. Even the afterburn was acceptable. Bonus.
I had a busy day. Not unpleasantly so, just constant. I suppose that's what happens when you work for a charity and you're a jack of all trades. I mean, my actual job is to find employment and training for disabled people, and that keeps me busy. So how did I end up redesigning the business cards? And why am I the network administrator? And how is it that I have to devise an evacuation plan for the new premises? And in the midst of these extra duties I must fulfill my real job description. Oh well, I'm never bored.
Jesus H. Christ! Another damn bill . . . only $2000 this time. So what's that I owe the Australian Government now? About $6000, I think. Fuck, it's hard to get ahead. They ask you to take a stab in he dark in estimating your income, and then they fuck you big time if you get it wrong. Well I've learned my lesson; I've overestimated for this financial year. And you watch . . . I bet they'll still fuck me over. I think I'll open a cheap bottle of red (it'll have to be cheap) and get pissed. BASTARDS!
Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree . . . Oh God. Is it really THAT time of the year again? Strange people singing stranger songs. About snow, for Christ's sake. We live in Australia. The only place you'll find snow on Christmas Day is your freezer. Don't even get me started on Santa Claus and his sordid relationship with Coca-Cola. What's more, my own birthday, being so close to Christmas, gets absorbed into a general celebration. I reckon the Grinch had it right after all. So if I seem a little jaded, a bit Scrooge-ish, fine! Just call me Grinchy.
Pirramimma. Hmm, good word. Aboriginal in origin most likely. Now it's the name of the winery that created this lovely Semillon wine I'm sipping while I type. Now, I'm no buff but I think this is pretty good. Normally I prefer reds, the heartier the better (but not grenache, yuck), but occasionally on a pretty summers evening, such as this, I like a little sweet lightness to compliment my salad. We'll eat outside I think, watching the shadows stretch over the veggie garden, a gentle sea breeze puffing through the trees. God, ya wouldn't be dead for quids, would ya?
I want to write a novel. And I will one day. I have a premise; I'd tell you about it, go into detail about concepts, but how do I know you wouldn't pinch them? Huh? I don't! You could be one of those plagiarists I've heard tell about. You might take my idea and run with it. I could still be sitting here in two years, procrastinating (very possible) and suddenly I read in a review of best-sellers a synopsis that closely resembles mine. What then? I'd be one of those sad individuals saying "that was my idea". Oh dear.
Boy, I'm tired this morning. Thinking about work in the night again. Of course, if the cat hadn't woken me by yowling outside my door I'd have probably slept through. Stupid moggy. Must be missing her mum. Come to think of it that's most likely why I'm not sleeping well; I miss her mum. Not literally the cat's mum. My wife I mean. She's away for a couple of days contemplating the meaning of dahl. And she must be missing me, which is nice to know, because she's rung my both nights so far. 10 years together, everyone a gem.
I was in the navy once. The Royal Australian Navy. I'm afraid it's true. Joined up in 1980 and got out in 1986. Swore allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II and all her heirs and successors by law and everything. ‘Course, at the time, I didn't really realise what that meant. I didn't know they were a bunch of inbred dribblers when I was seventeen. I think you need that bit of perspective age and education gives you to figure out some of these important things. Allegiance to that pack of idiots? Your Highness? YOUR MAJESTY! Oh give me a break!
Got to go out tonight. I have to work, but it's good, fun work. I host Murder Dinners. 80 people at this one, not bad. You'd have a hard time making a living out of them, but they do provide a bit of pocket money. It's the School Reunion scenario, so I'll pull out my Butch Jarvis character, dust him off a little, and then proceed to insult, harass, appall and offend the willing victims. I'll tell some bad jokes and have a couple of drinks and enjoy myself. All in all, not a bad way to spend an evening.
Only a week until I turn 40 now. I'm not going to got into crisis mode; not like when I turned 30. Even so I can feel it looming slightly. It irks me that such an arbitrary milestone should concern me in anyway, but I think it's just that aging in general nibbles at the conscience and it's easy to make those big zeroes at the end of 40, 50 etc. focal points. Like a big fat odometer clicking over the years until your next major service. Like way stations, perhaps, where you stop to look back at the view.
I went and listened to my Lovely Bride's celtic band this afternoon. A most pleasant way to spend an afternoon; sitting in an open air courtyard on a 30 degree day surrounded by hippies. Well, the hippies kind of add to the atmosphere, don't they? They inject a sort of humorous element for me. Come to think of it, in summer they don't stand out as much as when they're wearing winter dress. I like the ones that look like they've rummaged through Granny's cast offs and then decided to wear them all at once. Except for shoes, of course.
Aah, the smells and tastes of an Australian summer. The cloying scent of over-ripe mangoes whipped with crushed ice, piquant marinated meats on the barbecue, the fruity bouquet and sweet taste of chilled wine, and the unbeatable aroma of fresh foccacia. The smell of sea water dried on my skin and the unmistakable taste of sea salt on my wife's lips. The rich, earthy smell that rises from hot earth after an evening shower, the unique flavour of raw oysters swallowed one at a time, our veggie garden, fresh cut lawn, hot bitumen, frying onions, cold beer, hot pizza. Summer.
Wow. Friggin' hot today. 39 degrees and plenty more to come. Of course when we hit late January it'll really get hot, but this'll do to be going on with. It doesn't help that the air conditioner in my attic office died in the arse. I swear to God, some sort of greenhouse effect is going on there. It had to be 45 degrees. Sweat running into my eyes, blinding me. Well, stuff it. I've got a couple of appointments tomorrow and after that I'm going to start my RDP (Run Down Period) leading towards my holidays starting on Friday.
Three days until my party, and preparations are in full swing. The marquee is up, the coloured lights have been hung, I've almost electrocuted myself, the barbecue is clean, the lamb has been butchered (or if it hasn't, it's time is short), the grass is green, and the Bocce balls are ready. I still have to hang the spotlight, mow the lawn, pick up the rolls and salad, and lubricate my vocal chords. The first of the beer cartons has been purchased and placed on ice, and there is plenty of red and white wine for those choosing to partake.
Oh yes, it's true, I'm half pissed! We've been down the pub, having some Christmas drinks and a meal! I started off with a schnitzel, accompanied by a Grant Burge Cabernet Merlot, a double Jim Beam, and a few other things. As you've probably guessed I'm quite merry. The air-conditioner still doesn't work up here but now I'm too pissed to care. Then we came back to the office and had a very enjoyable coffee. So all in all I've enjoyed a slack four-hours at my employers expense, but since my employer was there I guess that makes it okay.
Today I'm not typing. Today I'm using voice recognition software! Isn't that exciting; well it will be if it works. These things are supposed to be timesaving devices, they are meant to be faster than typing. I don't type very fast, but I can type a damn sight faster than this software. Oh, the words go in quite fast, but a lot of the time they're not the words I intended. The manual says I'm supposed to speak like a newsreader; clearly, annunciating each word. Does that mean I'm supposed to talk like I've got a pole up my arse?
Here it is; December 20th, my birthday. More to the point, my fortieth birthday. And I feel great. I'm looking forward to the day and the coming years. Much to do today though. Gotta pick up the lamb-on-a-spit, the bread rolls, the salads. Got to set up the back yard, get the lamb spinning over hot coals, get the ice and quality ice at that, chill the beer, supervise the setup of the Karaoke machine, greet my guests, feed them, enjoy their company, sing some songs, get drunk, stagger off to bed in the wee hours, recover, and clean up.
A little later in the day than I usually write, but then it's been a day of recovery. My party was a great success, thanks to the efforts of my Lovely Bride. It was the right time of year too; people just starting holidays and ready to relax. Most people were still here at 2am. I didn't stagger into bed until 4. I was up again around 8am. Very delicate state I was in too. Bloody hot today. We had to wait until it cooled down to do the last of the cleaning up. But the whole shebang was great.
I seem determined to kill myself recently. The other day I put 240 volts through myself, by being unusually careless, and this afternoon I fell off a chair while erecting my birthday hammock, which is a damn stupid thing to do. Bloody hurt too, splat right onto my back. My wife reckons (jokingly, I hope) that it's Freudian, that I'm subconsciously having these accidents as a reaction to turning 40. Now, while I fully admit that dying is the only known cure to ageing, I think even my subconscious realises that it is a little extremist. I'll just be careful.
Dad's over for the Chrissie holidays. It's been a year or so since we last got together, but that doesn't seem much compared to when I settled here and couldn't get home for 8 years. Boy, I missed him then. He wasn't much of a traveller back then; he'd only left the state once. Now he comes over every once in awhile and sees his grandchildren. We get on well, even though we don't have a hell of a lot in common. I know bugger all about racehorses and he knows even less about theatre. Doesn't matter, he's my dad.
I did my Chrissie shopping today. Hadn't started, hadn't given it any thought. But I knocked it on the head in about 2 hours, including food shopping. To be fair, I didn't have to do a lot. Alison and I aren't exchanging gifts, so that left the kids. I got Sean a DVD. Emma gets an air-cooler, Melonhead gets a watch, and The Grizzler gets a book voucher. I was tempted to buy Alison a remote control car, ‘cause she's always wanted one, but she'd have freaked if I gave her a pressie and she didn't have one for me.
Oh, goody! Another Christmas Day. Bah, humbug! Just call me Grinchy. Oh, it shouldn't be that bad. The kids are old enough to understand I don't have to spend the morning with their mother. We'll have our Chrissie lunch tomorrow, with my Dad and Nola. Today should be quite restful in most respects. AJ and I will enjoy our quiche and salad out back, perhaps sharing a nice white wine, and then later we'll pick up Charlotte, Jessica doesn't want to come, and take her to dinner with the quasi-parents. Apart from the bad jokes, they're a low stress encounter.
Well, there it goes . . . Christmas for another year. Can I start my holidays now? You know, the part where I just laze around reading, eating, drinking, and reading some more. It's been quite enjoyable, but now I just want to relax and zombify. We're going down to Normanville next week, where it's so much easier to do nothing. Swimming, snorkeling, maybe even a dive or two. Perhaps a day trip to the Southern Vales wineries, and then back to the flats to cook some gourmet pizza and open a bottle of the day's best samplings. You beauty.
We went into the city today, to witness firsthand, the madness that is the post-Christmas sales. We were smart in avoiding the initial opening of doors, but it was chaotic enough for me. Actually my Lovely Bride and I escaped into Borders and let Dad take the Melonhead shopping. We bought a couple of items and admittedly the savings were good, but not good enough to tempt me into making it a regular post-Chrissie event. The queues were enormous, by Adelaide standards anyway. But I did get a good water cannon cheaply, with which I intend to subdue my children.
I went to see "Lord of the Rings" last night. Not bad! They've taken liberties with the story, but that's because it's a film, not a book. People need to chill out a bit on the subject. My biggest complaint is dodgy computer graphics that pop up from time to time. As an actor I am intimately familiar with the idea of "willing suspension of disbelief" and therefore able to go with the flow. But then a particularly bad effect pulls you right out of the story and weakens the entire effort. Why does the effect quality vary so widely?
I did some serious bumming around today. God, it was good. It's harder to find things to write about when you've been slack. The days seem to blend into sameness. I am doing some mild recovery after last night's party. Oh man, that's it; I'm partied out. No more meat, please. The lamb on the spit was done to perfection, but I'm full. Time to purge a little. No more meat, apart from fish, for the next month. Oh no. I have to go out to dinner with Dad and Nola tonight. Oh well, I'll look at the vegetarian option.
I've got lots of books from the library to read over the next two weeks. Some are a little more intellectual than others, but nothing too taxing. There's some suspense, a couple of horrors, a comedy or two, a biography, and . . . ooh, a book about "Lost in Space", one of my favourite shows when I was a kid. My Lovely Bride and I are heading down to Normanville in a couple of days and I won't have any computer access for nearly 2 weeks. No movies either (don't watch TV). So books are the way to go.
So today is the last entry. I've got to say, it's been harder than I thought. I've never been one to keep a diary, and I don't think I'm about to start. But it has been quite enjoyable. Certainly the 100 word limitation has been educational in promoting concise prose. I won't be doing this again next month, but I'll probably have another go down the track. I know my Lovely Bride is keen to have a go. She hasn't read any of these. She was waiting until they were finished. New Years Eve and I'm chilling out at home.
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