Sunday, 30 October 2011


Well, that was a bust. After posting that last entry, did I set to and do an hour / hour and a half on a file? No. Instead I wasted an hour looking up random shit on the computer. I've just wasted time, given myself a late night, AND stored up a bucket more pain for the week.

Grr. Some days I'm my own worst enemy.

Sunday, after a lunch

I've just ironed my shirts for the week and I'll do a quick update.  Maybe only the first draft.  Or part of it.  We'll see.

It's been quite a weekend.  Today my family came over for a long lunch, which meant yesterday Mrs T went to Costco to stock up on food and the like.  As it happened, the Lake Goldsmith Steam Rally was on yesterday, so the old man and I decided late last week to go and see it (with, I should add, Mrs T's approval - her comment was that I need to send time with people).  We did this each year for a long time before I got married.  We even went twice to the National Historic Machinery Rally, once at Heyfield (Vic.) and once at Naracoorte (South Aust.).  Old machinery was one of the things we really bonded over, I guess.  I even recall when I got that particular bug - Good Friday, 2002, when we went to check out a Fordson Super Major on a cool, damp, cloudy day in a little peaceful valley at a place called Taradale.  I go back to that day in my head sometimes.  It's just one of the times in my life I've felt most at peace.

Anyway, I'm getting off the subject.  So, the old man and I went up to that yesterday.  It felt kind of good to seem to step back in time.  Just to soak up the smell of grease and kerosene and metallic steam and to hear the pop-pop-pop of old engines.  One of the static displays included an open bale of merino wool, and that smell took me back to the shearing shed that was part of where we always went on the school holidays when I was a kid.  Nice memories.

I did get a mild attack of the blue devils on the way back - we stopped to check out a large second hand dealership in Beaufort and for some reason being in that big warehouse of old souvenirs, homewares and miscellaneous crap, with cold air around me and Fleetwood Mac playing on a radio somewhere, I just got the feeling of someone walking over my grave and had trouble keeing my head straight.

For the get together, my sister K and her fellow came down from Canberra last night and stayed with us; they went shopping this morning.  The get-together was also for them: K has landed a job with the government of the Solomon Islands, so she's off to Honiara in 10 days and expected to be there for 2-3 years.  So, it's likely to be some years before she sees the munchkins again.  It was a fun evening with them last night - big thick steaks and a bottle of wine.  And for today, Mrs T flung her efforts into preparing a pork roast and the best crab/prawn/corn soup I've ever tasted.  Which was really sporting of her - she has a somewhat complicated view of my family, and especially of my mother.  It's a subject for another blog post, but in short (a) my mother really made no effort to help out after the girls were born when Mrs T was suddenly on her own in a foreign country with infant twins, and (b) Mrs T has always felt that my mother viewed her as a less-than-ideal wife for me.  So, she went to a phenomenal amount of effort and as I said - it was pretty sporting for her to do so. 

Anyway, it was a really good lunch, and as well and K and the parents, my other sisters J and F came with their significant others and they all got to see the girls for the first time in a while too.  I don't know quite how I felt as people were leaving.  The girls were tired and cranky and I was just too busy to really reflect too much.  After everyone had gone, I did find that the blue devils were troubling me a bit.  Not really badly, just enough to be noticeable.  And enough that listening to my favourite bits of mood-lifting music (The duet from the Pearl Fishers; Rhapsody in Blue; Jupiter from The Planets) just didn't cut though.  If you can imagine having a ribbon tied around your head at forehead level, very tight, you'll just about have it.

OK, I need to stop procrastinating and have a look at a file for tomorrow.  Really don't have my heart in it but I guess I just need to have a cup of "pull yourself together".

Friday, 28 October 2011

OK, well.

It's been an interesting day.  I had court in the morning, and was then able to focus on making today what I'd planned it to be viz a clean-house day, to get out the medical examiner briefing letters, the surveillance requests, and a couple of briefs I'd been ill-advisedly letting slide.  Pretty productive, and didn't succumb to the occasional temptation to jump into the blues.  Kind of pleased about that.

Some interesting news from Mrs T this evening.  Basically, it turns out that she can't take her retirement fund with her when she moves for various reasons (long story - basically, as long as she can move back here and work, she can't withdraw it) which does throw our financial planning out of whack a bit.  We had a good chat about it, and the bottom line is I'll likely be stuck out here for a bit longer to make good the loss.  This sucks, and it means that the second job I talked about before will become a real necessity.  I am pleased, though, that I didn't let that whole fiscal shame thing get its hooks into me, and I could just think, well, how are we going to solve this?  Another thing that I reminded myself of was of the much longer separations other people have to endure.  I thought of Ralph Clark, a young lieutenant of marines in the first settlement out here, who was away from a wife and young son he clearly adored for a full 5 years.  God willing I won't be out here that long!

I do hope Mrs T, for all of this, doesn't regret coming here.  In a lot of ways, I guess we should have just settled in America right at the start.  I guess God will  make the meaning of all this clear in time.

OK, the girls seem to be asleep.  Time for dinner and a drink.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Late night post

I'll try and keep this brief.  It's nearly 2am and I seriously need to go to bed.

It's actually been a pretty successful day in a number of respects.  For one thing, it was a fairly stressed day - a lot to do, and not a lot of time to do it in, largely because of some ill-judged decisions I'd made in the last few weeks as to prioritizing work.  On top of which, I had a number of case reviews with my boss, which is often a way to chip at one's pride.  Usually at some point through a day like this I'd be well into the up-and-down (mostly down) thing and by the end, would be hopelessly blue and wanting to give up.  But, I did manage to keep my head mostly and applied the things I've learned from the head-shrinker, and got through the day pretty well all things considered.

Mrs T had a work function late afternoon, so I was home looking after the munchkins.  She got home just on their bedtime, and not long after turned in herself - she's not feeling so good so some sleep will be good for her.  I had some dinner, cleaned the kitchen, made tomorrow's lunch and then fired up the computer to do some work on a few files I've brought home and also do a couple of move-related things.  Naturally, I managed to sabotage that part of the plan: First I found myself unable to get my fat stuid backside off the couch for about an hour watching some risible thing about the occult on the History Channel.  It being on the occult wasn't the problem, but I got annoyed by the appallingly simplistic coverage of the middle ages and Italian Renaissance: Frankly, the vision of the past it offered would have disgraced a first-year undergraduate.  Grrr.  Anyway, eventually I did get off the sofa and get down to business.  Firstly I checked some financial issues, and also looked for a second job I can do at the weekends after Mrs T and the munchkins fly out - as I think I said before: may as well make hay while the sun shines.  Unfortunately, there wasn't a lot I'm actually suited to in terms of hospitality or retail, never having worked in either.  And some of the other jobs I saw also didn't suit me, not least because I'm too fat and uncoordinated to be an exotic dancer.  Still, there were a couple of other things that presented - not especially glamourous jobs (leaflet delivering, some factory work) but frankly as long as they pay in Australian dollars I'm not going to be picky.

And, then working for about an hour and a half on a file.  

So, some progress on all fronts.  Tomorrow promises to be a clearing-house day at work which is something I need like crazy.

OK - Bedtime.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011


OK, a quick update just to clear my head before I plough back into a briefing letter.  It's past 5pm and Mrs T's given me a pass to work a bit later tonight.  Which will help: I'm drowning in work at the moment.  Still, I will head off soon though so I can spend a bit of time with the girls before they go to bed.  Sure, they probably won't remember it, but I will, and it's going to be a long stint without them.

I've been more stable today than the last few days.  It occurred to me last night that part of the thing with being up and down all the time is that once my mood starts swinging, it kind of takes on a life of its own.  The downs seem very down and the ups insanely up.  So today I've made a conscious effort to keep my reactions under control and not to keep calling myself a spazoid/retard/P.O.S./etc etc.  Haven't really faced a situation where the thought-management techniques I learned from the shrink would have been germane, but seem to have been managing nonetheless.

I may have call to use them now that the date for Mrs T and the girls to relocate to the US is getting closer.  As I think I said elsewhere, I'll likely be out here for 6-12 months before following her.  Already I do feel pretty miserable about being away from them, but I also know it's what she wants more than anything else.  I truthfully don't know quite what I'm feeling now.  I guess I miss her and the girls already, and I feel pretty guilty that this will hurt my own family, and I can't help fear that I didn't do enough to make her and the girls happy.  I know that Mrs T loves me - I've never doubted that.  I dunno: I guess the thing is that I'm looking for some kind of answer without even knowing quite what the question is.

Back to work.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Lunch Update

Updating at lunchtime?  This is getting way out of hand.  I'm keeping this to a couple of minutes.

It's been an up and down morning.  I got a proper night's sleep last night - just short of 8 hours - and felt a world better for it this morning when Mrs T and I were getting ready for work.  I found myself slipping on the drive to work: I found myself getting crashingly blue and the radio just began to frustrate me.  This may have had something to do with ABC-FM's decision to play Stravisky's "Ragtime" just a the point I found I was running late.  Genuine ragtime is music to lift the heart and please the ear.  This was not geuine ragtime.  This sounded more like an acidic parody of what Gershwin was able to do to jazz.

My own mood lifted quite a bit partway through the morning, when a windfall advantage one one of my files came into view courtesy of my opponent who needed a favour (long story).  And then, I found myself slipping backwards in mood as well, to the stage where I felt so stifled in my office I got out for and walk and some air at lunchhour.

So there we have it: Up - down - up - down - meh in the space of 6 hours.  Roller-coaster mood swings are surprisingly not as much fun as they sound!

Two updates in one day? This blogging is getting right out of hand.

Grr, I thought I was in control of the bloody mood swings.  I felt like mould on the way in, battled through the morning and had a kind of a yen to do something stupid, and then was freaking out (rationally) because I realised I'd stuffed something up.  Then, got pretty elated over seeing the solution to a fairly knotty problem.  Then took another major stuff-up (pointed out by my boss) with equanimity.

This really doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

Screw it.  It's late.  I'm going home.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Monday morning

It's 8:53am and I'm at work.  I should be getting into a file but my brain's been squirming on the way in, so I'll write and hopefully settle it.

Awkward conversation with Mrs T yesterday afternoon about money and my failure to manage our financies better.  She sensed I was shutting down and tried to probe me on what was wrong.  In the end I said I had this big feeling of having let everyone down.  She asked if she'd told me such a thing, or otherwise gotten stuck into me about it.  All I could do is say that it isn't about anything she's said or done.

Whenever I think about money or the management thereof, I can hear my mother's voice in a combination of loving and censorious tones saying "Monny a mickle macks a muckle" or the couplets she never tires of "Mr MacDougall / who was always frugal" and "Mr McTavish / who was never lavish".  And I've had those thoughts running through my head through all the nice things Mrs T and I have ever done or bought or whatever.  I always knew it would all come to this, and now it has and there's no way of thinking about it that doesn't make me feel like scum that's now being justly punished.

I'm really over this.  I just want this day to be over, over, over.  It should be a good barometer for my state of mind that I've set the machine to tape the Indianapolis-New Orleans game today, and I genuinely can't even get myself to look forward to it.

OK Stephen, pull yourself together.  The sonner you get the day underway, the sooner it's over.

Saturday, 22 October 2011


I suspect I may be doing too much of this...  Still, blogging beats just keeping silent or endlessly talking things over with the voices inside my head on the drive to and from work.

It's a beautiful Sunday.  Mrs T is helping one of our friends clean house, so it's Daddy-Daughter(s) day here.  The girls are napping at the moment; when they wake up I'll take them on an excursion somewhere.  The beach maybe.  Or a brief road trip - me, the munchkins, and Kenny Chesney.

I've had two "awkward" conversations with Mrs T about the move back - one yesterday where I don't actually remember what I said but recall that it was very much gallows humour, and one today where I said how "alive" her mom sounded knowing the girls were coming back.  I guess it must be a pretty conflicted time for Mrs T.  My only excuse is that I'm starting to feel how far away she and the girls will be - now that she's making plans to catch up with friends over there or (for example) to go to the LSU-Arkansas game around Thanksgiving.  It kind of brings home to me how far apart we'll be for a big whack of the next year.  I guess what you'd say is that happy thoughts on the one hand, and gallows humour on the other, are what seem to help me keep my own confidence in what we're doing, and to keep my own morale up.  Still, I know it's a difficult time for her too, so I'll dial it back a bit, and try not to make her feel any bluer than she has to.

And really, it's not as if I should complain.  As I said to her: I'm going to be out here for 6-9 months for economic and immigration reasons.  It's not as if I'm some young National Guardsman who's just received call-up papers for a 6-month tour in Afghanistan.

I just hope she knows how much I'm going to miss her.  I wish she could see herself through my eyes, and see how pretty she is, and how mind-bogglingly blessed I feel that I ever found her.

OK - the washing machine just dinged.  I'll go hang those clothes out and put another load in and then see if the munchkins feel like going on an adventure.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Update after ironing

It's mid-Saturday afternoon, and I've just done the week's ironing.

It's been a busier Saturday than it felt so far.  Mrs T took the girls to Chaddy in the morning so I could do a very quick clean before the real estate agent got here for an inspection for prospective new tenants.  Oddly, nobody showed.  So, I had a shower and went to Southland for a much needed haircut.  I met Mrs T coming the other way and we had a quick chat in the road.  Then, I went for my haircut and she came home.

Anyway, I'm now back here, Mrs T is working on her computer, the girls are napping, and I've done the ironing as I said.  It's very heavily overcast and cool outside, and very still.  Which feels about right following a week which was pretty intense psychologically, emotionally and professionally.  It feels good for things to feel at peace.

The sun seems to be over the yardarm.  I think I'll see if Mrs T feels like a drink.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

I can't think of a title

Another short post tonight - 5 mnutes or less!

Today's been a bit of an uphill battle.  In the morning the blue devils had their hooks (pitchforks?) into me for some reason - just worried about work, I guess.  Anyway, it was enough to throw me off my game and that slowed me down with the work I was trying to get through.  I felt kind of like one of those big old steam engines, only running with not enough oil.  Annoying, and messed up my plan for the day's work.  Added to which I got a terse letter from a plaintiff solicitor threatening to enter judgment if I didn't get a defence in pronto.  I was more than a little ashamed when my boss brought the said letter to me and asked if the defence had not been done, and I had to concede it hadn't.  Not a disaster by any means - God knows I've made far bigger mistakes than that - but it breaks little chips off what I like to think of as my confidence.  For some reason I couldn't or wouldn't bring the thought-altering techniques I've learned from SD to bear, so I just had to slug my way though it.  On the upside, slugging though the day did still get done a lot of what I needed to get done, and that always helps bring some perspective back, so I'm back to normal much more now.

Tomorrow I have a hearing on, and a bunch of case reviews, but God willing I'll not have to reschedule my appointment with SD again.  I'd like to get that process brought to a head.

OK, this is longer than I intended to write.  Bedtime.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Keeping it brief

Another very short post tonight - just to keep the blog turning over.

Terribly tired.  I keep trying to get an early night, but that means having my shit together.  Recently I'm in a state of chronic un-together shittedness.  It's been a rough day at work - a minor run-in with my boss over precisely what we'd agreed as action on a file.  For my sins I hadn't made a note of the discussion and so I didn't exactly emerge looking brilliant.  Sigh.  This morning's Pristiq did mean I didn't go off the psychological deep-end but this created an odd experience - expecting to fall into a pit of the blue devils and not actually doing it.  The sensation was oddly disconcerting.  As Dante said, "Questi non hanno speranza di morte", which was a frankly bizarre way to feel.  Still, it also tells me something about myself: sometimes it actually has been easier for me to despair, when the really hard thing to do was keep slugging it out.  Hmm.  That'll give me something to think about!

OK, bedtime.