Saturday, 20 February 2016

Last week...

The coming week is going to be a hard one for me. It's the last week of my career break and if I thought I had sad feelings when my holidays were coming to an end, it's nothing compared to my sad feelings now.

So many things I didn't get time to do. So many regrets. So many lie-ins which I'm going to sorely miss.

Come Monday 29th February I'm going to have to get out of the bed when the alarm goes and get into the shower, rather than just turning over and falling back to sleep.


Didn't see this one coming.

On the other hand it'll be nice to go and work somewhere where I can call someone if things go wrong. If the printer breaks, for example, or the computer starts working at a speed reminiscent of snails. If I type in the address for a website and it tries to download code instead of just showing me my book page.

Self-employment means the buck stops with me and sometimes that is no fun at all.

And, of course, the main thing that I'm looking forward to is a paycheque. Give it to me baby! Actual money. That I can spend at shops.

For six months I haven't bought a single thing which I didn't absolutely need. Included in that were two overseas holidays but I think they met the criteria. New holiday clothes though, not a stitch.

I haven't bought a new leather jacket in a slightly different shade of red for six months. I haven't bought a single piece of jewellery. When I haven't felt like eating the lunch I purchased at the supermarket on the weekend I have gone without lunch.

(just kidding - I eat the one I'm not feeling like, just with a grumpy expression)

For a brief moment of time I was thinking that since I have a contract with a publisher that isn't me I might be able to postpone the inevitable. Then I divided $1500 less withholding tax by six months and came up with not a lot of money. And no guarantee that in another six months I'd have the same windfall coming.

So, back to work. Back to working with people. Made of humans. Back to looking forward to lunch and then to 3.30pm so I can leave for the day. Back to fitting the job that somehow expanded out to fill entire days into the three hours between eating tea and going to bed.

Back to fiddling with problems that cease to interest me the moment I'm out the door and wrestling with decisions that only tangentially affect me.

When I left I was an expert in many things which left my brain about the same time I woke up and didn't have to go to work for the first time. I imagine I'm spending a lot of the first couple of weeks learning a lot of things I wasn't there for, and re-learning the things I was but only have vague memories of.

Sounds like fun.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Adventures in the Air

During the last six months, I've enjoyed the luxury of spending time at home without the needless bother of a day job. It's been a wonderful break (over all-too-soon) and my chief position in the house has been resident sofa warmer.

Such a nice change to sit cross-legged on my overstuffed, worn leather couch instead of straight-backed in an office chair. Sure, I miss the wheels when I want to cover short distances, but if I didn't stand up to walk those short distances, my legs might drop off altogether.

When I first started sitting on the couch every day I thought that I might need to abandon it at some point to relieve a multitude of back or hip problems. During the six months before I took a break from work I'd suffered through bursitis, starting in my right hip and soon joined by my left, and worried that my casual posture may cause further damage.

Not at all.

The blessed couch had made me pain-free. Even my stiff knee starts to warm up after an hour of practice at bending. My spine is in alignment, my shoulder and neck haven't had their usual painful days off every few months. My hips have forgotten what it's like to be swollen and sore.

Then I sat on a plane.

Due to scheduling conflicts between the airline and our accommodation, our trip over to Australia had an added domestic leg. It was either that or fly into Brisbane with a two-hour drive to look forward to on landing. I was keen, but my darling didn't seem quite so taken with the idea for some strange reason.

So, there was a short hop up to Auckland. My first time on a hard-backed chair (albeit with ample cushioning) for half a year.

By the time we arrived in the City of Sails, my tailbone was pleading with me to stand. Walk around a bit, it called out. Stop crushing me, it whimpered.

The pain was as intense as the time I'd fallen backwards while foolishly attempting to ice-skate without any ability to balance at all.

"Ice is harder than concrete," the DJ from the upstairs booth cheerfully informed me. As if I hadn't worked that out for myself by then.

During the wait at the airport, I acted like a teenage boy and perched in an overly relaxed sprawl designed to keep my tailbone from actually making contact with the chair. I balanced my body somewhere around my shoulders and my thighs.

By the time we landed in Coolangatta, I was in agony. My right hip remembered that swelling and warm pain were something it was good at generating and took to it with abandon. My tailbone wouldn't even display the courtesy of going numb and continued to complain loudly that I appeared to be SITTING on it, with MY FULL WEIGHT.

There've been some things that I haven't been keen on getting back into. Paying attention to alarms, talking respectfully to real human people instead of yelling at their likeness on a TV screen, concentrating.

Now a new fear has been added to the growing list.