One week in

Today marks a week in my new role with the longer commute, which I introduced in this post.  I thought I would touch base on how it’s all going.

In the five day week, I worked 4 days from my new office in Hornsby, and one whole day at my previous office in Chatswood (due to some meetings).  On the Monday, I started at my former office, and then packed up the car with my computer and moved.

The park near Central station
The park near Central station

Firstly, let’s talk about the cost of commuting.  When the company ended our use of company cars to travel to and from home, I bought an annual ticket from the City to Chatswood, which cost $1,400 (thankfully I didn’t have to pay upfront, but can get it deducted from my pay weekly).  The journey is $4.60 one way usually.  The trip from Central to Hornsby is $5.20.  Interestingly, buying the Chatswood to Hornsby portion? $4.60.  So I need to trade in my annual quick smart, so I stop essentially paying double for my travel!  Plus, the daily cash handover for a ticket slows down my commute.

And for the weather report – it’s been rainy, off and on, all week :s  Yeah, so an interesting week to transition!

Overall, the team seems enthusiastic – most of them were either dying for work, or dying to move further North.  It took me no time to settle into the new (much smaller) desk.  One of my team returns from a holiday on Monday, and that will mean the one extra person in our area will be gone. I look forward to having all my ‘people’ around me, and not other dramas adding to the chats!!

As to essentially doubling my workload – well, yikes! My role previously hasn’t been handed over to someone.  I also have 5 staff to lead and support in a role that didn’t previously exist (they essentially carved up the workload in Chatswood, sent some of it to Hornsby, and gave each office 5 people to work on what 7 people were doing before.  Logically, that should mean we have more people doing the same work, however, it’s not without hiccups.

Sydney city - from near my local library
Sydney city – from near my local library

The statistics I was tracking in my prior role, well, they’ve seen a recent upswing.  The rainy weather certainly doesn’t help our cause, but it’s frustrating to know numbers were looking good before my move.  It has nothing to do with me, but I always take extreme ownership of things I’m responsible for.  Furthermore, as a business, we’re not performing well in this area, so there’s been a bit of a crisis meeting called, and again, I can’t help but feel defeated that all our recent measures to improve performance in our area really aren’t paying sustained dividends.

As to life outside work? It doesn’t really exist! I went straight from work to the SES on Tuesday.  Every other day, I came home, and got into bed around 8.30pm to read and fall asleep.  There’s been no runs/jogging or similar, and that’s not great.  But my walk from the station in Hornsby to my office is hilly, and longer than my previous station to work walk, so that’s got to be good for me, I’m hoping!!  But my junk food intake has also been creeping, so I need to work harder to either exercising, or eating healthier.

Next week, I plan to implement the three Ps – for myself, and perhaps my team.  Productivity, positivity and p… I’m working on the third 😉 Suggestions?

*not a holiday post*

So, just to take a break from all the holiday talk – though there is more I’d like to post, and I should also confess to purchasing more flights and accommodation for a trip to New Caledonia with the BF in the first week of November…  Interestingly, all good posts need photos, right – these have nothing to do with the content of the post however! Enjoy!

My job role and job location will change on Monday (18 August).  I will go from working in Chatswood, to working in Hornsby, and commuting by train from my home in the inner city suburbs of Sydney.

Map of life
Map of life

Am I pleased with this change?

No.

However, more or less since February,  I’ve been acting in a higher role.  The first 6 weeks, I blogged about here, here and here.  Those posts share how I struggled with the new challenges of managing staff, and with some incredibly thoughtful readers and commenters, I was able to make the most of what at the time I thought would a short term assignment.  That role managed staff, and carried the maintenance portfolio of the whole ‘north’.

Pictures at 5 August 571

However a few weeks later, I was asked to move into a role that previously had not existed.  This position was more or less a placeholder, and a slow move to the new structure and management hierarchy. It was a great opportunity, and again, for the first few weeks, I had no idea what the expectations of me were.  I was taking on ‘half’ of someone else’s workload, but for a long while, we both carried it all.  I put a stop to that, and drew an arbitrary and sensible line in what each of us would call ‘ours’.  That helped us from the torrent of CC’ed emails back and forth!!

So, from the second week of April, until the end of this week, I’ve come to enjoy this role as a senior engineer.

Pictures at 5 August 586

From Monday 18 August, I move into a newly created role, that mimics what I did in February, for a smaller geographical area – just half of the ‘north’.  With it, I will have staff, which the senior engineer role did not have (though I ended up working very closely with many staff, though not actually being their boss – which comes with countless dramas!).  I could have said no to this temporary assignment further North, but would have returned to my normal rank and file role as an engineer.  Since I moved to being a senior engineer, my position was backfilled, so it would have been awkward to say the least!

For an unknown but finite duration of time, I will continue to ‘act’ in the role in Hornsby.  At some stage, the positions will be formally advertised and all eligible candidates will apply. I will NOT apply for any of the (up to) three management roles in Hornsby.  This isn’t some blog secret – it’s something I’ve made clear.  There’s no money that would encourage me to a daily commute of approximately 2 hours by train and 1 hour walking.   Quite simply, instead of being paid for a ‘4o hour week’, I’m being paid for a ’65 hour week’ when I factor in my commute and that’s before we enter into staying back late here and there, or weekend or evening phone calls, due to the nature of the role.

Pictures at 5 August 600

Interestingly, (up to) three management roles will be advertised both at my current office, and at an office a short scooter ride, or easy run/walk from my home.  And whilst trying to remain somewhat anonymous about my company, most roles I have some experience in to make me eligible.  I am more than happy to put my hat into the ring, and should I not be the most meritorious candidate, to slip back into being a ‘rank and file’ staff member.  At least at that juncture, the public perception will be that I wasn’t successful at the interview. Currently, everything has been chess moves, rather than a formal requirement process.

We’re not looking forward to the move – that is the BF and me, nor my parents.  They all know the commute takes a lot out of you, and even the past few weeks have seen me be a little ‘zombie’ like.  The plan is to pay for a cleaner (who shall also iron my work attire), and to batch cook and freeze meals as much as possible.  The cooking will be a team effort, between myself, mum and the BF!  Other than that, I look forward to lots of time to read on the train – I’m steaming through my bible reading, and should be finished within a month.  Needless to say, my blogging might move to a trickle…  Though I should have a stack of time to read all your blogs!!  So everyone else, keep me entertained!

This and that

It would come as no surprise, but work has been insane.  Me blogging bloomed out of a less busy time at work, and now that work fills 40 hours and then some, and I still do many things after work, I’m finding blogging slipping by the wayside.
That, and a certain brand phone makes it SO much harder to share photos than my old phone (which couldn’t answer calls… so you can see why I stopped using that!)

Here’ some of what I’ve been up to:

State Emergency Service – mass casulty exercise a week ago

Moullage injury (ie injury made by make up)
Moullage injury (ie injury made by make up)
Close up of the 'injury'
Close up of the ‘injury’

Craft time whilst watching TV

My little baby blanket cross stitch/embroidery
My little baby blanket cross stitch/embroidery

Saturday auction and inspections in ‘my’ building

It was better than Melrose Place – I know all the characters, all vendors are major characters in our building!  First up was the auction.  3 bed/2 bath/2 car, walking distance from Sydney city.  Went to WAY less than new builds that are smaller!

The penthouse went for $1.395mil at auction
The penthouse went for $1.395mil at auction
Roof top pool - finished after I finally moved out!
Roof top pool – finished after I finally moved out!

This is a one bedroom on a higher level in my building.  An owner of a penthouse is selling.  Gossip says it was a ‘cheap’ makeover!  There’s no new kitchen, it was just repainted with new cabinet hardware (I’m stockpiling ideas)

You should compare this to my 'standard' bathroom!
You should compare this to my ‘standard’ bathroom!
Similar outlook to my apartment, hoping for $700k for this one bedder
Similar outlook to my apartment, hoping for $700k for this one bedder

This is a style maven’s 2 bed apartment – completely new marble kitchen and bathroom.  The walk in wardrobe is the BEST part, Pinworthy I tell you!!  Alas, no sales photos and I didn’t take any of my own photos, but I sorta wish I had!

Under window built in shelves were genius.
Under window built in shelves were genius.

Saturday night when the BF was out of town (last weekend).  I did 7kms from home to Kirribilli (over the Harbour bridge).

Saturday night alone = a run and an audit of lights on!
Saturday night alone = a run and an audit of lights on!

Sunday night before BF’s flight

Sunday night dessert with the water polo girls (following Sunday I made my own)
Sunday night dessert with the water polo girls (following Sunday I made my own)

State Emergency Service – normal learning night

SES after my injury - learning to sand bag
SES the week after my injury – learning to sand bag

Sunday early starts can be worth it.  This was my birthday gift for the BF last year

Sunday morning adventure for the BF
Sunday morning adventure for the BF (this is not him!)
IMG_0677
This is ACTUALLY the BF, the last to land

Less than a month to my half marathon – last week, I found out I’m not built for them, according to my physio. So it’s a slow build and I hope I make it over the line intact!

Then a week later, I’ll be off for two weeks in Japan with the SES.

What’s new with you?

Things I learnt this week

1. Tall glass jars are the best thing to melt butter in the microwave with.  No nasty splatter, and no nasty plastic!  Also, it diswashered clean so well!

Old tomato pasta sauce jar... works a treat
Old tomato pasta sauce jar… works a treat

2. I can write a report.  OK not that I doubted my ability to write, but I tend to loath writing for work, as it usually serves ME no purpose (Gen Y, will you put your hand up!)  Alas, today I was lucky to have the opportunity to write a report which is basically going to put forward what I want/need to get the results in the section I’m overseeing.  I am proud of punch of my graphs, data and thoughts, so here’s hoping it goes down well!

3. Planned graffiti art can be pretty awesome.  I bet Dar likes this photo:

Way better than a wall full of tags!
Way better than a wall full of tags!

4. The bible isn’t all ‘fight, kill, die’.  So I’ve even enjoyed my last few days of reading on the train. The last two days I’ve read lots of Psalms, Proverbs and Daniel – it’s been pretty relatable in a way Ezekial makes me want to poke my eyes out (he’s now finished too though).  I’ve got behind in May, but I got through 4 weeks worth of Psalms and Proverbs in short time, so that’s promising.  Proverbs has been like reading a ‘quotes’ book – some great things to live life by I think!

Seen on a real van.  Shared with you, just because
Seen on a real van. Shared with you, just because

5. I didn’t learn this, but I taught someone.  A customer complaining about a street light outage got a call back from me.  He asked ‘why are some yellow and some white in light colour?’  The answer is, some are mecury lights (being phased out) and some are sodium lights.  Also, there’s a preference in suburban streets for the ‘warm’ yellow light, but main roads tend to preference white, as it’s better light quality and less fatigue inducing.  Anyhow, we have a smattering of both types more or less everywhere, as there isn’t the capital to bulk change the fittings to all one lamp type – they only get adjusted as they die a horrible death (the fitting, not just the globe).  So there you have it – not all gospel truth, but as best as I recall it!`

That is all for now – what have you learnt this week?

Chit chat

There’s no great overarching theme of this blog – or this post.

This weekend, we went to an engagement party at the surf club at Maroubra Beach.  It was (likely) a ‘friends’ celebration of their January nuptials, and we thought it was a good cost saving measure.  A nice relaxed afternoon do with drinks and Mexican food (and delicious cupcakes).  And the upside of some gifts 😉  Speaking of gifts, I was stumped.  First I thought a tray, but the BF found out they already had three. Then I thought a cake slice… but they are all silver plated now, and while the costs vary, it hardly seems ‘worth it’.  Maybe I should look harder for old fashioned silver ones?  In the end, we I bought something that I thought would last, and stands to my values:

Hidden in the bottom is Vera Wang Serviette rings
Hidden in the bottom is Vera Wang Serviette rings
The marring couples initials... weirdly WAY more stock of embroidered ones than blanks (the rest are blanks)
The marring couples initials… weirdly WAY more stock of embroidered ones than blanks (the rest are blanks)

I’d have wrapped it in cello if I’d had some ‘leftover’ from something else, but I didn’t. So I took it naked…

We also bickered about cooking.  Since ending the 12 week body transformation program (I lost 8kg overall), we’ve lapsed into lazy DINKs.   It doesn’t help that my new role, which started a month ago and runs until the end of financial year (perhaps, likely longer) and some big pitches for the BF, and there was a lot of pizza and McDonald’s.  It’s weird that McDonald’s is SO successful and so polarising.  Anyhow, on Sunday morning I escorted school children for the Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal.  As a reward, the certificates come with a card for a free Big Mac or Wrap.  Alas, we’ve agreed to one cheat meal a week, so they’ll have to wait.  Although… seems home cooked baking is still slipping through.  Last week it was pear and pecan muffins, this week I made date loaf, and a caramel cheesecake for the bf.  He did get a Cheesecake Shop one for his actual birthday (time crunch again), but I promised a ‘real’ one.  I do much prefer the aftertaste of a homemade one… and there’s no pesky coconut in the base.

My new role is part of the interim structure until this last layer of management is finalised.  I’m in a role that doesn’t really exist yet, but will, in a slightly unknown but different form.  In any case, it’s an opportunity to learn more about another part of the company, and make some in roads in ways I’m becoming known for.  Basically, my first ‘new job’ in the last calendar year saw me reduce outstanding works from ~700 “urgents” to ~150.  Now my new portfolio has suffered a simple spike, thanks to a better website, but needs to move from 800 to a more reasonable number.  Naturally, that’s not my only focus, I’m also getting involved in investigations, which often lead to disciplinary interviews.  Taxing, to say the least.  The role also requires more hours, and has less earnt days off.  I suppose it’s all a concession for more money in the bank (which I didn’t need, nor really want… time is far more precious).

My half marathon preparation isn’t incredible – but I’m still trying to get in 2-3 runs a week.  This weekend, I ran around the beautiful botanic gardens and the harbour with a school friend.  The powers of social media – we both went to school in another city, and she lives in a third city now!  She’s a gun runner too – so she pushed me hard.  Glad it was only a short run though!!

So there you have it – just a chatty update about life… Seeing I’m diligently reading and commenting on your blogs, I thought I should come out of the silence…

How do you handle meals and planning when things get busy?  Any wisdom?

Fashion conundrums of coats and jackets

Oh readers – you’re all either wiser in years than me, or more experienced at these cold temperatures.  So please, enlighten me… are there rules to wearing jackets to coats and everything in between.

Exhibit 1: Trench COAT source: www.polyvore.com
Exhibit 1: Trench COAT
source: www.polyvore.com

So… I have a number of coats. They are either mid thigh (black woolen, navy synthetic trench), though some of hip length (cheapies in both grey and black, both double breasted).

EXHIBIT 2: Jacket source: www.polyvore.com
EXHIBIT 2: Jacket
source: www.polyvore.com

Then I have jackets: both a navy and a black stretch velvet, with button/s and square pockets.

If this wasn’t such a pressing issue in my mind, I might have even taken photos!  However can I wear a coat, such as the trench at work, during the day? I know a jacket = OK, but a coat, I’m less sure of…

And whilst we’re on cold weather fashion conundrums, is it OK to wear non silk scarves other than when outside?  Is the ‘thickness’ of the scraf hald the decision?  When I say ‘inside’ I infer ‘in the office’.

PS: What is Polyvore, and… why are their images so well ranked in search? Oh they’ll be making millions (or getting millions of visitors), cause did you know, it’s WAY faster to search images than words?  A lot of my early ‘hits’ form google were for well named photos?!

Private reading

In a post-cum-article innocuously called ‘To Read or Not to Read‘ I journeyed into the sorrow of a young woman making the final arrangements to empty the house she’d grown up in with her parents and brother.  There’s eight parts, and I’ve read at least half of them now.  The one linked above is about grappling with the decision to read her mother’s diaries.  I have, over the years, journalled intensely, then informally and now, not at all.  I have always wondered about the etiquette of the expectation of privacy, and should that be knowingly (and it is ALWAYS knowingly in my opinion) violated.

source: shopnectar.com
source: shopnectar.com

A while back, whilst tidying papers, I’d left a small sheet of paper on the kitchen table in the loft.  Whilst having a shower, the BF found, and read this sheet of paper, which was written in a moment of passion.  I use passion, but I mean the dark stormy fury and annoyance for which I’m known, and try to contain to the privacy of writing.  For some bizarre reason, I keep these notes, as a reflection of my moods perhaps. It was a very emotional night.

However, back to the path I plan to take this post in.  There is a paragraph in Olivia Judson’s To Read or Not to Read that speaks to me.

There are amusing comments on her suitors. One was “rather attractive, wrote well, but too intense and always convinced he was correct. We had violent arguments.” Another: “His solid presence and kind face and helping me to be cheerful. Bringing me beer and champagne and flowers. Dear sweet man … But he shares none of my interests. Doesn’t like reading or books, and I don’t know what he thinks about.” Another is “Very attractive, but somehow too wholesome.” And there’s heartbreak: “I adored that wretched man. He is hideous and small and unkind, but was like a snake and charmed … I was never so miserable in my life.” Another man caused her to write: “Oh God, what misery and sadness. I didn’t want to do anything except weep. I did that fairly well.” (Five years later, however: “He was very drunk by the end of the evening. Full of self-pity and himself. Really rather a bore. I couldn’t see what I ever saw in him. A middle-aged paunchy Communist.”)

I’ve often felt the need to summarise the thoughts and feelings after a failed romance.  Now, at a time that is separated from the heat of the emotion of a break up.  I pitched this concept to the BF and it spun off into the concept for a website called Letters to my ex.  I can see it being a huge viral success, as people anonymously (well, even with only first names, it would still appear somewhat anonymous in the world wide web) releasing their anger, or anguish.  Of the petty disagreements or arguments.  Of venting to others.  Perhaps of the things you’ve learnt, the mistakes that have helped you find the right sort of person to partner with.

I think my snippets might be a little less poetic than Olivia’s mothers.

Things like ‘He just oozed sex, to the destruction of all the lives he touched’ and ‘The charm that made him interesting enough to pursue was inevitably the undoing of the relationship.  It’s no longer witty on the n’th repeat’.

‘He thought his intellect was beyond compare.  He disapproved of the reading of anything fictional.  A authentic minimalist, one thing he didn’t think to flaunt for ‘cred’.

What would your one line snippets be about past loves?  What do you feel about the privacy of journal.

Things I wanted to buy

I went shopping for the BF on Saturday with a $120 giftcard. I got him two shirts and a pair of shorts spending a touch over the gift card. All the sizing was wrong – dar dum 🙁

I also used a $10 voucher to buy two gift cards (paper version) and some note cards at Kikki K, a Scandinavian styled stationary store.  I picked up a Mother’s day gift (thanks to an email from a company which prompted me to think ‘That’d be perfect for mum, and look, it’s almost mothers day’).  I also replaced my Burt’s Bee’s lip balm that had finished (the other one is AWOL and it’s becoming winter here).

I like the minty tingle when I put it on, and the light colour it gives.  It's not that shimmery at all source: http://www.burtsbees.com.au/natural-products/lips-lip-colour/lip-shimmer.html
I like the minty tingle when I put it on, and the light colour it gives. It’s not that shimmery at all
source: http://www.burtsbees.com.au/natural-products/lips-lip-colour/lip-shimmer.html

I also bought one dress whilst in the The Gap for the BF.  I can’t seem to ‘steal’ the photo, so you’ll have to go look here.  Regular readers and friends will be shocked it’s neither a neutral (black/white/grey) nor blue or green!!

And then there were all the things I could have bought…

From a distance: Marcs bag
From a distance: Marcs bag
Marcs bag - not leather
Marcs bag – not leather

Lime/blue bag at Marcs at $129.  It’s not leather, but I was worried the lime side would mark if it was internal or external, and it is the lime that really drew me to it.  I protectively carried it around the store, before returning it to the shelf.

Source: http://www.melissa.com.br/en/collection/ballet-ii
Source: http://www.melissa.com.br/en/collection/ballet-ii

Melissa ballet flats

Since I can recall, I’ve always wanted ‘plastic shoes’ and Melissa is the brand that does them.  They join up with all the big designers like Vivenne Westwood to make limited editions too.  The above shoe also comes in black (would that be more versatile?  But with jeans it doesn’t matter) and a ballet pink, which I’d be nuts to try.  I can’t help thinking plastic shoes are perfect for rainy but warm weather.

source: http://www.sportscraft.com.au/Bella-Luxe-Cable/9344961439259,default,pd.html
source: http://www.sportscraft.com.au/Bella-Luxe-Cable/9344961439259,default,pd.html

Teal jumpers at Sportcraft

I just LOVE LOVE LOVE this colour, and I want to buy EVERYTHING in the colour in case it never comes back in fashion.

srouce: http://www.sportscraft.com.au/Bella-Luxe-Cable/9344961439099,default,pd.html
srouce: http://www.sportscraft.com.au/Bella-Luxe-Cable/9344961439099,default,pd.html

Lime jumpers at Sportscraft

Ok, so they call this colour acid.  It’s like the lime colour that I’m currently experiencing a strong affection for.  I bought lime running shorts whilst in Cairns.  Oh my, they are brief! And I have lime in cushions at home…  But I’m growing more and more in love with lime.  I really do want a lime scarf at the very least this season.

All in all, I spent a small fortune, ie most of my weekly ‘allowance’ on odds and sods.  The vast majority of the above, I sadly left in store for others.

Thoughts?  Is one of these items just too good to let go?  What are you window shopping currently and not buying?

First world problems (and solutions)

Today was my first day back at work.  My first day at work without a car to my sole use, to shuttle me in 20 minutes for the calm streets of the inner city, to a small satellite city 20mins drive away.

I awoke at the same time as usual (5.45am) and figured I’d get to work when I did – rather than adjusting my wake up time any earlier to accommodate the new misfortune of no (wholly and solely free) car.  I left home at 6.15am, rather than 6.40am, but I was OK.  I didn’t feel rushed or put out.

I arrived at the train platform close to work at 6.57am.  There goes my previous start time of 7am, as it’s a 10-15 minute up hill walk.  Seeing the bright side, I walked to the cafe (where I’m well known for stopping in the driving days), and took the hill with pride.  Look at me – all this incidental fitness, before mere mortals (like the BF) have even stirred from their sleep.

The trains of Sydney source: www.railjournal.com
The trains of Sydney
source: www.railjournal.com

Arriving at work, I had blisters on my heels.  Thinking nothing of it, I swore to change to my ‘comfy’ boots under my desk.  Then I embarked on trying to enter the fortress known as my work.  Despite having the security clearance, there was no way to access the property on the three closest sides (one being a train line, the other two, both locked with keys safely stored in my desk, since relinquishing my car).  Still – more exercise, and arrived at my desk before the logical new start time of 7.30am.

Alas, the homeward bound journey was almost as fruitful (escape as difficult as entry again!)  I left work at about 4.15pm, a touch more than was required of me (and duly noted, as I have to accrue one day off a month in the new role, by documenting what I did beyond standard hours).  I walked to the train station, caught a train, arrived at my home platform at 5.03pm and was home by 5.20pm.

All in all, I worked (and travelled to/from) for 11 hours.  I used to manage 9.5 hours.  Losing another 1.5 hours makes me think about a lot of things:

+ I’m getting about 45-50 minutes more incidental exercise

+ I’m using public transport which I support from an environmental standpoint

+ I’m saving money – buying a car would be far more than my $1200 annual train ticket.  Even adding a daily coffee, I think I’m till ahead.

+ I get to see more of the ‘magic’ hours of the day – sunrise and sunset

Cairns at 5.45am: I promise to share more about my holidays when I learn to liberate the photos
Cairns at 5.45am: I promise to share more about my holidays when I learn to liberate the photos

– I have less time for running and fitness like before

– I’m getting hot and sweaty in my work uniform – more washing than before 🙁 (But I was thinking of Dar in the snow and freezing conditions)

– I get blisters

– I have less hours to myself each day, which might result in less sleep

Come find me stalkers source: http://www.sydneymedia.com.au/award-winning-facilities-at-prince-alfred-park/
Come find me stalkers
source: http://www.sydneymedia.com.au/award-winning-facilities-at-prince-alfred-park/

My promotion is temporary until the new structure is formalised, and there’s strong encouragement for me to apply for the management team.  With that, there’s every chance of a novated lease arrangement with a car, as part and parcel of the role.  So there’s no point rushing to buy a car until at least June 30 2014.

The negatives can be optimised.

I can travel in ‘free’ clothes rather than my uniform.  I could even travel in work out clothes and runners, which don’t cause blisters, and tack a park session onto my homebound journey.  Have I mentioned my ‘home’ station is spitting distance from the BF’s work? Probably not – this would mean we could meet and walk home together after my work out.  All I need to facilitate is getting washed and ironed clothes to work, and change there each morning.  I could even make a ‘clothing run’ once a week or fortnight by car, which is still better than a daily or more regular journey.

Well from what could have been a whinging post, I think I’ve found some valid solutions from normal days…

Clucky – and not just cause it’s Easter

Longtime readers will remember my only ‘he says, she says’ post about puppies and babies.  So there’s no surprise that I’m pretty keen on having children, and not in some far off distance time. However, after a week of holidays, having a friend with a 7 year old stay and the current book I’m reading (called The Godmother, and given away free when the library was culling books), I have been thinking more seriously about being a parent.

Somehow, travelling with teddy seems oh so easy! source: www.wheels24.co.za
Somehow, travelling with teddy seems oh so easy!
source: www.wheels24.co.za

I really enjoy some of my friends kids.  Other kids tend to drive me nuts.  It’s hard to know what reactions my children will arouse in me – and then I realise – it’ll be both!  Sometimes I will think they can do no wrong, whilst the world is secretly wishing there was a mute button on my baby/toddler/child.  Other times, I will curse their existence whilst others can clearly see it’s only a stage, or a mood, or the lack of sleep.

The biggest reality check whilst out shopping with my friend’s seven year old, is that they are continuously there, and so full of energy! There are so many questions.  There is so much energy.  The games never get boring to them.  Sure you can shower in peace at this age, which I am sure feels like a solid victory after going through the baby and toddler stage, but my oh my, it’s tiring.  And I tire easily from a day without children.

Still adorable? source: lifehacker.com
Still adorable?
source: lifehacker.com

How do parents deal with the utter exhaustion?  I really can’t imagine the interrupted sleep.  Whilst I have every intention of returning to work, I won’t be much use to anyone if I’m getting negligible amounts of sleep.  And I don’t think I’ll be a great mother if I’m always tired – I’m not a great human now when I’m tired.  Just ask around!!

In light of these thoughts, I’ve realised that while I sometimes think ‘now’ would be the perfect time for kids, I also have some time.  The BF isn’t ready for children yet, for a few reasons that I respect.  We agree that children will be a few years away. With that in mind, it makes it easy for me to say ‘yes’ to two weeks in Japan with the State Emergency Service.  It makes me realise that whilst tubing and snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef were options for children, would I have the money and inclination to do it with them?  Would the burden of their wants and needs and desires to do other things make it less enjoyable and as good as doing it as a couple?  So now I’m planning bigger and better – I’m thinking of squeezing visiting Russia, Romania, Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia into a trip to (mainly go to) France.  I’m imagining the destinations I’d like to see in the US, cataloging activities and restaurants.  Planning to this level is something I’ve never done before – no matter how organised I may be in other facets of my life.

The kids you dream of - happy!! source: www.patravel.org
The kids you dream of – happy!!
source: www.patravel.org

Sometime, this planning (and saving) stops me dead though –  when I think of the cost of schooling – even just of child care in the early years.  Maybe I should batten down the hatches and save every cent that’s not spent on essentials? And then I realise life is about balance – I can’t come down on the black or the white side of this issue, as much as I’d like to.  And if my parents are anything to go by, my desire to travel and my/our finances will always find a way, no matter the age or quantity of ankle-biters (or the logistics of car seats and hotel rooms).  So I will continue to plan the holidays even if my destination wishlist will never been done before kids.  Let’s face it – it’s human nature to dream, and we’re never done!

What are you thoughts? I know most of my regular commenters have children, so I’d love to hear your thoughts.