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Rambling

It’s an interesting thing, this starting again, reinventing yourself in another place, apart from friends and (some) family.  It’s hard to describe.

I was on the train yesterday looking around, always seeing people I’ve never seen before. If I’m on a regular train at the same time each day I will occasionally see a person I’ve seen before but my current work is part-time (at least it’s permanent and not contract) and so I travel at all sorts of times. No-one knows me, no-one judges me, no-one even gives me a second look, and I like it. Too often in my previous life of routine and predictability, seeing the same people day in and day out, I did feel self-conscious for some bizarre reason. If I did something different or wore something different, people would comment (or when I did want them to notice something different, they didn’t). I felt judged. I felt labelled. I was expected to behave in a certain way because that’s the person they thought me.  I’m not expressing myself well here.

Now my mind has gone blank.

It’s cold today and I’m resisting the urge to put the heater on. My hands are finding it difficult to type smoothly. I look out on a totally different environment to one I used to live in, sitting in a chair I never used to own, surrounded by furniture I never had before, in a rented two-bedroomed unit instead of a three-bedroomed house.  I no longer have that “security” of my own home, but I don’t care. The choice was staying in a cold, damp house I didn’t love, in a town I had grown tired of, seeing only a grey future in a boring retirement home, or moving to insecurity and uncertainty, exploring a new environment with more of a feeling of “living” rather than just “surviving”. There is more to life than a job you hate. Ultimately, of course, you can’t change yourself or who you are, but you can change what you do (without judgement?).

My thoughts are a-muddle (is that a word?). Time for a cup of tea and then to get ready for an afternoon shift.

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I felt I should drop by. Strange, what did I use to blog about? Now I don’t feel a need. Perhaps it’s because H gave me a diary and I’ve been writing there instead.  It is difficult once you get out of the habit.

I am currently unemployed. My contract ran out and could not be renewed much to the disappointment of my immediate boss and colleagues. I applied for a couple of jobs but obviously didn’t have the required experience. It is a worry but the tax refund makes up for a couple of months of unemployment. I do hope something comes up soon. Do I have any regrets? No. The only thing I really miss apart from H, is being able to drive to my brother’s for a weekend of peace, lambs and Siedler.  I do miss that. There are some people I miss from work but continuing seeing most of them meant continuing working there and I no longer wanted to. Nope, I don’t regret my move. It’s just living with uncertainty.

I will spend a weekend in Geelong soon and am planning a visit to one of my cousins in Brisbane. It costs as much to fly there as it does from NZ to Aus, which surprised me. But it is a 2 hour flight. I hope I can visit Sydney soon and would love to go on an overnight train.  The only thing holding me back from lots of travel is the need to put Jasmine in a cattery (and I don’t have a car).

So what have I been doing? Lots of genealogy while I have a sub to findmypast.  I’ve embarked on another blog challenge – this time writing about 52 ancestors in 52 weeks. So far I’ve done the grandparents. I start another genealogy course on Monday through the University of Tasmania.

There have been other niggling things to get sorted: the split-system air conditioning wasn’t working to blow out warm air; a blocked toilet; registering Jasmine’s microchip (which, according to one website, involved a trip to the vet); registering Jasmine with the council (yeah, cats are registered here and I wonder what the money’s for considering she spends most of the time indoors); ringing my aunt; tax return, etc. Of course the real estate agent dealt with the first two problems but it was good that I was home.  The other things niggled at me as they weren’t as straightforward as I’d hope they would be.

I’ve been watching some great TV programmes on SBS On Demand. There is so much good quality stuff to see. I’ve also been playing Sims 2, my only “vice” if you can call it that. I don’t know why I should feel guilty about it. Illogical isn’t it. Why should one feel guilty about a fun pastime?  It must stem from childhood. There were always chores or homework or practicing the piano to do.  Anyway, I have combined my interests in things medieval and non-serious writing by blogging a story of the lives of Sims in a medieval-themed neighbourhood.

I’m typing this on my tablet, which I hate, mainly because there is some warmth by the window here as the sun shines through on this side. My PC is in the spare room on the dark side of the building, unfortunately,  which means it’s cold.  If there are any typos it’s because of the vagaries of predictive text and the need to scroll back to proof-read. I’m now dying for a cuppa so will end here.

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Week 2

Week 2 of work and it’s all going well.  During week one we had a tour of the parliament.  This week we went along during question time.  Politicians are the same the world over.  They must get special training on how not to answer the question, how to repeat themselves and blame the other party, how to shout at each other.  Really pathetic.  What a waste of time and money they are.

There was a conference on during the week.  I had been to it two years ago.  However, if I’d stayed in my old job I wouldn’t have been able to go.  I was told I wouldn’t be.  (“Fuck you” I thought at the time.)  How sweet then to turn up and say hello (invisibly raising my fist).  Boss let R and me have half a day each at the conference.  I was just about to eat a mouthful of lunch when Jn and Jl saw me and came up.  They said I looked well and asked how everything was going.  Jn seemed particularly disappointed that I had no regrets and appeared happy.  Ha ha.  Saw M later and then old boss, Ja.  She also said I looked well and asked if I was sick of the work yet.  What a question.  It was the sort of work I was doing less of in my old job and I actually preferred it to the other stuff.  Was nice also to see T, who I hadn’t known was going and she did say it was last minute.  Didn’t get enough time with her but had more time to chat to M.  Chatted to several nice people.  Lots of NZers there.  One said she felt inspired by my move, which was a nice change to “you’re brave”.

Sometimes it gets a little chilly with the aircon in the office, so it’s a delight to walk outside at lunchtime and feel the warmth and be amazed, once again, at where I was.  It always brings a smile to my face.  Even arriving in the morning from the train, I come out into sunshine, often buskers playing lovely music, and feel happy, even smiling at a child who was squealing with delight in her pushchair as it wove through a sea of legs coming towards her.  Apart from some loneliness (which I felt anyway in NZ), I’m much happier.  I won’t be able to buy a house again let alone be mortgage-free, but life isn’t about owning stuff.

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Talking of which, I went with C yesterday to view a house she and W were interested in.  It was a lovely house with lots of space but C said she felt it was too much.  I agreed.  She doesn’t want to end up like her father, up to his eyeballs in debt.  We went to another, smaller place, a townhouse.  I didn’t like it much.  It didn’t feel homely, with its polished concrete floors and large lobby space.  C seemed to like it and said that W would too (he was currently in NZ on business).  Funny what appeals to each of us.

Time to do some housework.

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I led a pretty spartan existence for the first week or two.  I made up the furniture from IKEA : a desk, drawers, and bedside drawers.  I needed help with the couch and bed.  The washing machine and fridge were delivered.  The fridge was a smidgen too tall to fit under the kitchen cupboards, but I’d got the cheapest fridge not the smallest (and it was still smaller than the one I used to have).  Electricity was connected ok.  Gas supposedly, although there was no hot water.  Had to get instructions on re-igniting the pilot light, then all ok.  Telstra a couple of weeks later.  Suffice to say they’re a nightmare to try and contact.

I had no TV to watch or music to listen to (the iPod, typically, had run out of battery life – it always does even when I don’t use it).  I bought myself a cheap transistor just for some noise, and joined the local library to be able to read something.  I did, belatedly, remember that I had an ebook reader and read about four old books on it before realising the battery was running flat and hence the visit to the library.  Eventually a guy had to come round to get broadband working, then I could use the tablet to watch SBS TV programmes on demand, including series 3 of The Bridge.  The rest of the time I played a couple of games on the tablet and went for walks to nearby parks.  I couldn’t buy much as I was limited to what I could carry (which wasn’t much if you added just one heavy item like cat litter).

It was a lonely time, but I just needed to go for a walk to re-confirm that I was in Australia: the birds, the gum trees, the heat, then I was happy.  I have always loved Australia from childhood on the family visits to Sydney and Melbourne.  My love for Australia does not mean I dislike New Zealand, but it was always a dream to live here.

Without my stuff around me it still didn’t seem real.  I had spent so much time and effort decluttering and preparing for this move (for at least two years), that I had not been indulging in my usual interests much.  And without the stuff around me, I was at a loss as to what to do much of the time.

However, my belongings were delivered and the place started looking more civilised and less empty.  I am still unpacking boxes.  I have about three boxes of stuff I don’t know what to do with (i.e. where to put the contents); about five of photo albums (no idea where to put them) and two boxes of my parents’ old crockery and antiques (again, where to put them).  I’d moved from a three-bedroomed house with sunroom, to a two-bedroomed unit.  Cupboards were even fewer here than there.  I will have to invest in an IKEA cupboard or some set of cane drawers or something to put family archives in.  I will need to start digitising the stuff or at least better organise it.

I have just managed to empty about another three boxes.  As I did so, I took a critical look at everything (with space at a premium) and have already put aside a bag of clothing/linen I don’t want and thrown out a few things.

There is a space in the kitchen, presumably where a table and chairs would go, although it’s a dark corner, which is currently chock full of flattened boxes and newspaper.  Once that’s gone, I will have room for said cupboard and/or drawers.  It will,  however, take me some time to get rid of it all, as recycling is only collected every second week and the bin is half the size of the one I used to have.  C and W are looking to buy a house so I can save the better boxes for them and put them in the garage.  I’m reluctant to put stuff in the garage as that’s where spiders tend to reside (and they’re not so harmless here).  I haven’t yet seen any (except for a jumping spider) but that doesn’t mean they’re not there.

My stuff came on a Thursday, and I had gone into the CBD to see about a casual job starting the following Monday.  I haven’t, therefore, had much time to deal with all the boxes, but I am finally making headway.  I will need at least those drawers though.  The space has to be cleared if I want to get a single bed in the room.

Anyway, the job is good.  I’m enjoying it and the people are friendly and welcoming.  At lunch I can go to the Treasury gardens or Fitzroy gardens and enjoy the sunshine.  Commuting there is as easy as could be.  A six-minute walk to the train station, a 20-25 minute journey to the CBD, then come out of the station and cross the road.  I am very lucky.  Others who work there have commuting times of between one and two hours.  Wow.  Of course they probably own homes and homes are cheaper the further out you go.

Well, I think I’ve rambled enough.  Oh, forgot to mention the TV.  I was happy to see it delivered and got it out to set up.  Couldn’t find the aerial cable, which really pissed me off as I was keen to see The Bridge on the bigger screen.  I had to go and buy one, but the TV still couldn’t find any channels.  Frustration.  I had no idea who to call, then remembered I had a local rag, picked up from the library, which had trade advertisements.  Rang up a TV/aerial chap and he came round just yesterday.  Who knew that TVs are regional like DVD players?  I just assumed that TVs could be transported anywhere and work, but nope, my TV was only good for New Zealand.  If I’d known that I would’ve made sure to buy a multiregional one when purchasing it, as it’s not that old.  Anyway, the guy had a “set top box” which could find the channels and transfer them to the TV.  A bit of a complex way of watching TV (press this button on that remote, and this button on the other, etc) but at least I finally could.  I had at least been able to watch DVDs during the working week (including “Jeeves and Wooster” and “Snatch”).

And, finally, I was able to set up the computer with the help of a purchased Wifi adapter.  The modem is in the lounge and I didn’t want the computer there so had to get this adapter (computer wasn’t Wifi-compatibile).  Works like a dream.  I had to ask an old mate about what to do.  I had envisaged having to get a very long cord to connect the computer, or having to move the bloody thing into the lounge.  Now all sweet.

On that note, I’ll end here.

 

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Now less than a week to go.

A few more items have been picked up. Still worried about a couple of major items of furniture.  There has been some interest shown but no specifics about picking up.  Not until they’re collected can I relax a little and concentrate on getting rid of the smaller stuff.  I can’t even imagine myself on a plane (let alone being there) until those things are sorted.  I mowed the lawn for the last time (with the most reliable lawnmower in my life – they used to be the bane of my life but this one started every time), and the purchaser picked it up along with the petrol and oil for it.  He was very grateful.  He got a good deal.

Jasmine went to the vet yesterday morning for them to check her out and sign the export certificate.  She miaowed the whole way there, the whole time while there, but only halfway back.  She was fascinated by the rain on the windscreen, I think.  (She loves rain.)  Vet said she’s a “nice tortie”… “in good condition”.  I’m going to feel very mean when I take her down to the pet exporters ready for her flight.  Poor baby.

I had two farewell gatherings yesterday as well (three trips into town!).  After the vet visit in the morning, I returned to town to meet three people from my previous workplace (the workplace before the one I just left).  Had a lovely lunch at Joseph Street Kitchen.  They do really good salads.  Salads at most cafes and restaurants are usually a pathetic affair of a few (fancy) lettuce leaves and a dollop of tomato with too much dressing.  At this place the salad is the main event.  Anyway, had a good chat, said goodbyes and drove home again to wait for some furniture to be picked up.  The weather had now cleared and it was warm and sunny.  Then back into town for drinks, hoping that some people from work would show up – I hadn’t sent a reminder.

It’s always interesting to see who shows up at a farewell event.  I really appreciated the attendance by all who were there, and disappointed by the absence of those that weren’t – especially those who had previously indicated they’d definitely be there.  Life gets in the way of course.  You can’t always do what you say you’re going to, but an apology would’ve been nice.  Perhaps they thought I wouldn’t have missed them.

Earlier in the week I had gone down to Wellington for the day.  While I was there I had intended to visit some of the family of the ex in-laws (they had insisted I try to see them). Most were at work but I’d been told that some would be home.  However, I heard back via text, that there was some kids’ event on at a supermarket so that obviously took priority.  Some parents spoil their kids too much.  Back in my day, it would’ve been more important to farewell an aunt who was leaving the country for good, than to attend some Xmas entertainment for kids at a supermarket.  Interesting.  The alternative would be to make another day trip to Wellington this weekend when no-one was working (their idea).  I’m not going out of my way when I still have much to do in the five days left to me before the movers arrive.   Yet to see the solicitor and pay her (ugh) and yet to transfer money to my new bank account in Australia.  I just hope I don’t lose too much in the exchange rate (no doubt I will).

I’m still waking up way too early – 4 am, 5 am, or if I’m lucky, 6 am, with a bloody song stuck in my head.  It keeps randomly appearing and just won’t go away (it’s still in my head right now).  I couldn’t remember ever having actually heard it or when, and couldn’t even identify it.  Thanks to midomi.com I found out it was a song called Lambada.  I have no idea where I picked it up from but the bloody thing won’t go away!  I’ll be happily doing something when it’ll suddenly appear and I immediately think “You have got to be joking.”  It doesn’t matter what else I listen to, as soon as there’s quiet, there it goes again.  It’s like a curse.  I guess it’s better than Sheena Easton, but I’m getting sick of it.

I’m gathering up stuff to take to a charity, hoping they’ll accept it.  They’re bloody fussy these days.  I’m not sure how else you’re supposed to dispose of stuff (apart from put it in the rubbish which is such a waste).  Where are all the poor people who can’t feed their kids?  I suppose they’ve gone and put themselves into debt by buying new stuff instead of looking for cheap or free stuff.  I don’t understand.  I wonder how many of them own a smartphone?  I see “poor” cleaners leaving work in new cars (well, a lot newer than my 20 year old car).  I don’t get it.  With a world full of greedy consumers, the planet is doomed.

Oh, what a lovely start to a morning.  Getting too philosophical and morose.

I haven’t packed any boxes for a couple of days.  I haven’t known what to pack where.  Which of the few boxes left shall I put all those little extras in?  Things like a hot water bottle (old fashioned but handy for things like sore backs or elderly cousins), electrical stuff, batteries, pens, all that little shit we acquire.  So, I’ll try and pack at least one today.  There’s a lot I can’t pack until the last day, especially food related things.

I’m rambling.  Time to get off here and maybe have some breakfast.

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My last day of work was yesterday. It felt weird – not real at all.  My brain is telling me that I’m just going on holiday, but saying farewell to several staff was strange.  Driving away from work, knowing I’d never return as an employee was equally weird.

There was a farewell  morning tea for me a couple of days ago over at one of the cafes.  People were dotted about at small tables.  Boss made nice speech, then an ex-co-worker made one.  Some bits of it were mildly amusing but I thought on the whole that he was quite mean.  Trying to be funny, but I just felt offended.  It was quite humiliating.  I think it was because of that that tears came to my eyes when I was trying to say something in response.  Total fail.  I was impressed with the turnout though.  Very touching.  I was given a copy of the speech but I threw it away as soon as I got home.  Then it was posted on the intranet, so some obviously thought it was funny.  Sorry, I didn’t.

Yesterday I said farewells to colleagues.  They said they’d be genuinely sad and will miss me.  Mostly, they’re a great team and we’ve had a lot of laughs.  I will miss that side of it.  The actual work and office environment I won’t.  I’ve arranged for drinks just before I leave for good, so will see some of them then.

I’ve dropped Jasmine off to the cattery, finally packed, and am just waiting for a suitable time to leave, to drive down to Wellington airport.  I’ve even done a couple of loads of washing.  The weather is changeable – sunny one minute, then rain the next.  (Washing is hanging in the sunroom.) It’s not warm.  Bro has already text saying they’re enjoying their accommodation and he was watching an echidna.  Immediate envy while looking up at my empty house.

I hope I can just forget some of the worries while I’m over there for the week.  When I return I’ll be trying to get rid of stuff in earnest.  One of the buyers didn’t turn up so I cancelled that sale as well.  It’s a lot of frustration and annoyance for the sake of a couple of dollars.  I may as well just give the stuff away and be done with it.

Another hour…

Next update in a week I imagine.

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The date of departure looms – just over four weeks away.  Slight panic…

On my return to work on Tuesday, after a physio appointment, I was met with everyone standing around staring at me, having waited for my return, food on the table for morning tea and my desk absolutely covered in Aussie-related items.  Everywhere I looked there were green and yellow things, pictures, gum leaves, gum bark, a banner of Australian animals and a sign to Melbourne.  It was so funny and so touching – they had gone to a lot of effort.

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Even our Mr Bean Mona Lisa picture had a cork hat on.

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They were having the morning tea that day because some people would be away the following (my last) week.

I spent the week going through email and letting outside contacts know that I was leaving.  I continued training others in some duties, then double-checked my instructions to make sure they were clear.  I actually had little else to do, it being a relatively quiet time of year and some of my duties already handed out.  I spent some time sorting out little worries, chasing up on little things that needed doing.

Yesterday I went into town to get a warrant of fitness for the car.  I was going to be away when it was actually due so got it done two weeks early.  Did some grocery shopping and returned a DVD to United Video.  Then tried to find a house in town to deliver an item I’d listed on TradeMe.  After a few days of silence the buyer said she couldn’t pick up, so I offered to drop it off.  I couldn’t find the address.  Where the number was supposed to be was a playing field.  Pissed off, I continued on to drop off the last home video to be converted to DVD.

Once home I emailed the buyer and she gave me another address to deliver the item to.  I was not going to waste any more time and petrol chasing her around town so applied to TradeMe to cancel the sale.  She had the gall to say she was leaving for Wanganui on placement.  If she had transport for that she would’ve had transport to pick up.  Not impressed.  Another person came to collect a bookshelf.

Spent the rest of the day packing more boxes.  The house is starting to look barren.  Bedding, photo albums, and stuff in my bedroom will take up most of the remainder.

Today two more items were picked up.  Two others are waiting for someone to pick up.  One buyer said Thursday evening and the other hasn’t come back with any pick up time at all.  The only feedback on her profile is negative, so I’m not hopeful.  It’s a very time-consuming and frustrating process selling and/or giving stuff away.  TradeMe got back to me and approved the cancellation.  I immediately sent an offer to previous bidders, got an immediate response and she picked up this afternoon!  Brilliant when it happens so quickly.

This morning, for some reason, I started editing scans of old slides and ended up spending most of the day doing so.  I had promised bro that I would give him a DVD of them all and have neglected to do so.  I got through quite a few, but some slides had a bit of mould on them, so lots of spots to edit out – time-consuming.

I’m due to fly to Melbourne for a week on Friday and haven’t even packed.  I can’t even think about it.  It’s weird.  I’ve been so pre-occupied with the house sale and packing and getting rid of stuff that I haven’t had a chance to look forward to it.

Mowed the lawn and enjoyed the peace and quiet afterwards at the back with the birdsong.  I will probably miss that.  Everyone in Melbourne I’ve spoken to (quite a few work contacts) have said I’ll enjoy living there and are excited for me.  I hope so, haha.  It will be so very different.

 

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