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It was so nice to have a long weekend in Melbourne just gone. We spent the Saturday with the help of our friend taking some old white goods to the tip, along with some general crap which was cluttering up our carport. It was nice to see all the junk areas cleaned up at long last, but it is amazing how quickly you find more junk. In this case, our junk was washing machines, dishwashers and fridges which had crapped out at various times over the last couple of months.

And when you get the replacements, you suddenly have another big cardboard box and packaging which doesn’t in and of itself fit in your normal garbage. It took less than 24 hours for a new box of crap to find its way there. This is because we finally decided to chuck out my heirloom family microwave. As our weekender is our second residence (we live the rest of the time in a house owned by Hub’s work), our furnishing of both houses is a mix of new stuff and bizarre hand-me-downs. In this case, my parents had offered the use of the very first microwave that our family owned growing up. It dated back to the 1980s (still working) and this weekend we finally admitted that it was probably spewing all sorts of unhealthy rays at us, and to add to that it was the size of a minivan. So no sooner than we had cleaned out all of the crap (including the mini-van microwave) than we had more boxes and packaging (from the new microwave) to fill the niche. Sigh.

I think I got the worst end of the stick though. While the boys were carting whitegoods on the trailer, I was left with cleaning up the mess left behind said white goods (two of the fridges hadn’t been moved since we bought the place). Ugh.

When we finally got back from our various chores, we realised the downside of our unintentional failure to do any shopping. We had stuff in the house we could eat, but nothing to snack on. Who wants broccoli for lunch? Instead of going for a shop, we proceeded to indulge mightily on 3 or 4 separate occasions over the weekend. We still didn’t go shopping as we had real food in the house, but we talked ourselves out of real food and into hamburgers (they were real hamburgers from a fish n chipper so they tasted goood) and later into pizza (again, at least it was good quality pizza).

So eating wise, the weekend was a write off. That being said, we didn’t regret it for a moment – just a long weekend version of a cheat day and it helps that we were sufficiently restrained that none of the indulgences left us feeling gross. But the long weekend is over and we don’t get another one until June, so it is back on the almighty bandwagon until then.

Needless to say, the steady downward progression on the scales stalled this week somewhat (though by no means disastrously), but I have no hesitation in saying it was TOTALLY WORTH IT.

Oh and thanks for those with advice about the bike buying below – have added some more information so if anyone has more suggestions they will be gratefully received.

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I keep forgetting to keep up with the old blogarooney over here. The problem is that I don’t do that much which is interesting. At a certain point it becomes more of I-went-to-the-gym-again-and-then-came-home-and-ate-some-protein-and-vegetables. And frankly, repetitions of those sort of posts would just bore me (and doubtless everyone else) to tears.

Everything is going well, though, which I can be thankful for. We finally got our shower back. It is AWESOME.

So some short updates.

The weather is weird. Stop that.

Sasha the dog shaped girl has been having some health difficulties recently (again). Poor girl is getting older and we are on a campaign to fatten her up – every time she gets sick she loses more weight and she is on a restricted diet so it is very hard to get her to bulk up. Trying to convince her to carb up, but she prefers to eat lean and clean.

Wallet stolen and car broken into which is now three thefts separate thefts/break-ins in less than six months. Apart from the hassle of replacing cards and so on, it did give me an excuse to geek out over getting the best replacement wallet. We also managed to get the GPS stolen from our car back after the cops arrested the “gang” responsible and called us cause our address was listed as “home” in the GPS. Since then heaps of people have told me that you should never list your own address as “home” in the GPS cause it means people will know that you are out and then come and break in to your house. Seems like a much bigger hassle than just looking in someone’s driveway to see if they are home and choosing to break into *that* house.

It will surprise nobody who knows me well for me to admit that I am something of a clutz. If there is a way to smash myself, knock myself or cut myself from being completely uncoordinated, I will manage it.

At the moment things are at a particularly low ebb, coordination wise. First there was the falling in the small-arsed shower incident. That led to a rather alarming collection of quite vivid bruises. I don’t know what from, as there isn’t actually that much room for things to fall on in the small-arsed bathroom, but I managed it.

Then this weekend, while trying to deal with some surplus produce, I decided to whip up a couple of batches of fruit wine (in this case, a nice plum/apple and a plain peach). It is something of an artisan hobby to make wine out of all kinds of vegetables, fruit and herbs. I got into it as an extension from homebrewing beer. It is quite fun in a global sense, but choosing to prepare two batches of starter in the space of weekend when I hadn’t done it for a while had me mightily pissed off by the time I got halfway through. It is a bit fiddly and it is one of those “cleanliness is king” type pursuits so as to avoid any introduction of contaminant into your ingredients. So I was in the bathroom crouching next to the bath scrubbing out one of the big 24L fermentation vats. I stood up to carry the thing out to the kitchen, put my pretend crocs on a patch of water and go for an absolute flyer.

This wasn’t in the small-arsed bathroom so there was plenty to hit, and I ended up rapping my wrist pretty smartly against the door-knob. So now I have a quite visible and quite painful bone bruise there. I took stock this morning as I was getting ready for work and I seriously look like I have been in the wars. It’s one thing for my nieces and nephews under the age of ten to get about covered in bruises and scrapes, but it looks a fair sight less impressive on a thirty-something professional. So I opted against a skirt and grabbed the pants suit for work today and vowed to keep the jacket on.

And unfortunately my unco nature has been further supported by spending the day having to hitch up my pants, as they have passed the point of being comfortably wearable for work. While a nice problem to have, it means I might have to stick with showing off the bruises until the next size down start fitting properly. I just hope people believe me when I say I bumped into the door.

So, sitting here in dreary old Melbourne on a freezing day.

The running is going well. Still sticking to a short loop which gives me about 20-25 min of running/walking depending on how much I walk. Amazingly enough I have to move to my next biggest loop as am beginning to get through it too quickly due to few walking breaks. Yay me.

Don’t you hate it when you try to make a good food choice and opt for a salad or something instead of that yummy looking fish burger which you are so tempted by. And then the salad turns up drowning in dressing, totally soggy and lacklustre (and the person who ordered a burger said it was fabulous).

I don’t know why it should be that I eat so much better when religiously tracking my food. It is not like anyone checks whether I am telling the truth or finds out if I have done the wrong thing. Maybe I just want to impress the the little online tracker tool with how conscientious I am being.

You know, you can be really focussed on a new running program, but sometimes you have more residual soreness from the weeding and garden clearing galore from four days ago. Ouch. Hammies still sore.

I wonder why my work isn’t more like Boston Legal? It gives me a little let down when I come into work and find that Alan Shore and Denny Crane haven’t materialised in my office holding a cigar and a glass of scotch.

So just to clarify, there ain’t been much in the way of running over the last 6 months. I have started up again in a more dedicated way but it will be a while before I am thinking about any serious running goals. Just for the moment getting out there and moving regularly will be fine with me.

Toby the dog shaped boy didn’t destroy the house, though he did destroy a few things within the house. Nothing too concerning though. Perhaps Sasha the mature one kept him in check. Actually they are lying on my lap snoring at the moment so who can be mad at them, the darlings.

So with the whole turning over a new leaf, I am tracking exercise, I am tracking food (though I am spectacularly bad at choosing healthy options eating out – I choose something that seems healthy, then go and punch it into the system and whoah – why didn’t I just eat some dried crackers and chug a bottle of champers – it would be less calories and I wouldn’t remember that I was still hungry). And as of tonight, we decided at my church congregation that we would each spend a couple of months tracking our spending. Though I have done this before, I am a little concerned about what it will reveal about the poor way that I steward my resources (always a good source of guilt from my father’s teachings). I use a budget and do these types of assessments relatively regularly but have been putting off doing this one. Suspect that there will be a few changes in that area I need to implement as well.

Okay, so that seems the whole triangle of self-assessment horror. Good-o.

It is really very easy for months and months to slip past with all the very best intentions giving way to a vague undirected sort of half effort. The vague half effort has been good as these things go, but ought be replaced by something a little more well-intentioned and consistent. Random thoughts:

1. I am a clutz. How is it possible that I don’t fall down more? I half feel like I should wear crash gear to go running these days.

2. Audio books rock as a soundtrack for running. Started listening to I am Legend last night during my run and can’t wait to go again so I can listen to the next instalment. Side note – how is it possible for me to have completely missed the whole pretext of that plot? I mean, I didn’t see the movie or anything, but I saw a heap of ads for it, and still within the first 2 minutes of listening to the book I was all like “Hmm, that was unexpected”.

3. I still can’t understand why my ribs hurt after I go running. Do I really swing my arms so violently as to provide a workout for my ribs?

4. I am pleasantly surprised at how much fitness I have maintained. Though the other day Hub cautioned me not to run in public because I “run like a [my maiden name]”, as if that explained everything.

5. Note to self – remember that you drove the car to the station today – remind yourself of this so that you (a) get off at the right station and (b) don’t walk home.

6. So reading around it appears that lots has been happening for various people since I last read forums and blogs. Consider this my all purpose congratulations, commiserations, expression of interest in your lives (to the extent that you still read this).

7. Additional note to self – stop spending the day fretting about the destruction that toby the dog shaped boy is sure to have wreaked at home with Hub away all day. He has already destroyed all of the books that your sister lent you so it is not as if you will have to buy (even) more replacements.

8. Too late. I sure hope that the house is still standing when I get home (after remembering to get off at the right station and pick up the car).

1. Keep the whole exercise thing more regular – not necessarily breaking any records or anything, just regularly getting out there.
2. Get a good night’s sleep more often.
3. Keep myself accountable to 1 & 2.
4. Really really really do work on my thesis.
5. Really.
6. Stop putting off all of those things I need to do for myself – eye check, doctors check up, health insurance, tax agent etc etc
7. Be more efficient so that I can spend more time lolling around doing nothing much.
8. Stop procrastinating.
9. Actually, I will leave that one until next year.
10. Catch up with my (extended) family more often.
11. Eat more sensibly more consistently.
12. Walk the dogs more.
13. Finally sort out all of my finances.
14. Get organised – clear out all of my un-needed junk.
15. Get rid of clothes that I don’t wear.
16. Suck it up and buy enough clothes to have a full wardrobe, even if I am trying to drop dress sizes.
17. Organise it so that I actually have a wardrobe, or at least somewhere to hang stuff.
18. Teach toby the dog shaped boy to stop eating my clogs (seriously, 7 pairs in various states of disrepair is too many).
19. Get over my fear of confronting how far I have fallen, and hook up Nudge the garmin again, and load my training records.
20. Maintain training records.
21. Welcome Betty into our home (hopefully more on this in the coming months).
22. Finally find a new bloody house (with a nice laundry) and move in.
23. Finish that cool cardigan that is half knitted under the bed before winter hits.
24. Have a really flash celebration for the wedding anniversary (10 years!)
25. Get savings. Or gold ingots or something.
26. Make another batch of mead.
27. Increase giving to charity.
28. Teach toby the dog shaped boy to come when he is called, even if he does have a ball in his mouth.
29. Go away somewhere nice that I haven’t been before.
30. Embrace my newfound love affair for plain mineral water (ahh, so refreshing).
31. Go through with the plan to get all of the nieces and nephews football memberships.
32. Go to the football more often.
33. Play golf at least once a quarter.
34. Do fun and adventurous activities that I have avoided for a while or have never done (swimming, water aerobics, bike riding, trap shooting).
35. Be a good boss so that people speak about me in awe and hushed tones (seriously, that would be cool).
36. Spend more time with the nieces and nephews.
37. Go to some fun runs and events so that I can catch up with ausrun people again.
38. Be svelte.
39. Drink water lots.
40. Get all the washing done.
41. Take mum and dad out to dinner or to a show. For no reason.
42. Get a new watch
43. Have people for lunch/dinner more often.
44. Dye my hair.
45. Finish painting the house (One part of the house has been done for like 4 years – time for the rest to be done).
46. Preserve lots of tomatoes.
47. Plant flowers.
48. Organise my paperwork once and for all.
49. Keep contact with all the people I know I should keep contact with.
50. Be at peace.

No, it’s not three conservative female fairfax journalists, it’s almost *christmas* dummies!!

So in deference to those who have kindly followed up with me and inquired about my whereabouts and activities, thought it was only fair to update. So, to the lightning update.

Life continues to careen along at break neck speeds. All of those things that I was organising 6 months ago are still happening – still trying to find a new house to live in hopefully in the new year sometime, still trying to sort out a major shift in my professional life, still without a DVD. Strike that, we actually got that one fixed.

There has been an unusually high level of absurdity going on lately which is always fun. Like the people I am having a lot to do with at the moment who seem to expect that someone at my age and stage should have secreted away somewhere multiple investment properties and, I don’t know, gold ingots or something. Makes me feel like a positive slacker – what have I been doing with my life?

So after dealing with the strange sado-masochismo (heh, see what I did there) that is personal finance, I thought I might as well keep pounding the pavement in my own, less financial, form of public torture. This was at least in part prompted by Hub’s insistent prodding – “you know that you are a nicer person when you are exercising regularly”. No guarantees, though.

And it is a weird form of torture. Last night I had feckless youths heckling (feckling?) me and they actually called out “run, fatty run!”. Not the wittiest remark anyone has ever made and I was tempted to scold them, but I was afraid they might beat me up and dump me behind a row of multi-coloured wheelie bins (has anyone else noticed how the sheer variety of recycling/greenwaste/rubbish bins sometimes makes the road seem like a UN peacekeeping movement of soldiers with gaily coloured helmets? No? Never mind.) The big advantage was that I bloody wasn’t going to permit myself to indulge in my semi-regular walking/gasping for breath break until I was well around the corner thank you very much.

One of the advantages of looking for new houses is that I get to plan myself all sorts of nice things that my current house doesn’t have. Oddly enough spacious well-organised laundries seem to come close to the top of the list (because currently I don’t have one). But well equipped rooms for all of our exercise related equipment are also great attractions.

I am of course in the midsts of the particular hell that is christmas shopping. Depressing that I spend several hours running around spending money I don’t have only to realise that I have still only bought birthday presents for all those that I will be seeing at Christmas and who have a birthday in Novermber or December. Botheration.

Still no exercise but actually beginning to feel human.

So after a good ten days waiting on hearing back about my puter at the shop I finally get to the bottom of what has happened with it. Nothing. That’s right, it has taken them close to ten days to report that it won’t turn on (yeah, like, that is the fault!!) and do nothing else. I find this out when they clarify to me that if I want them to actually open the thing up and diagnose the fault, they will charge me $140 per half hour just to *diagnose* the fault, and then will give me a quote for how much to fix it. No, they won’t place a cap on how many half hours it will take them to diagnose the problem. And they do require payment of at least the first $140 in advance. Given that I fully expect the verdict to be “it’s fried”, I don’t really want to spend too much more money on it simply so that I can make a claim for reimbursement on my insurer. Particularly when they are charging just as much as MY HOURLY RATE to open the bloody computer up and have a look. Bloody delicate geniuses (genii?)

So, after that wasted 10 days of messing around with zero progress, I approach it from a different perspective. So now the plan is for my insurer to get the computer and assess its brokenness, which means I don’t have to pay for pointless delicate genius work.

The frustrating thing is that I am 90% sure that my computer is a write-off. I am 100% sure I have the money to buy a new one and won’t have to wait until I get the insurance payout. However, I am also 100% sure that if I go ahead a buy a new one now, they will declare that they are able to fix the old one and I will then have two (2) notebook computers. So more waiting.

I must be clear that I am not without computer of course. Apart from the fact that I use a computer all day at work, I have been using our spare mac (which I can’t stand), so I haven’t gone cold turkey.

Oh, and prize for the best customer service in this whole debacle goes to the girl from the insurer’s appointed computer technician who rang this morning to get all of my details so that the job could be assigned to a technician. I explained that the problem was that the computer didn’t turn on and had no function lights. She concluded her call by saying “If you notice any other faults with the computer in the meantime, please call us and let us know”. I shall be sure to inform them if the machine decides to go further than just totally ceasing to work. I mean, it is just a very expensive paperweight at the moment. How much worse could it get? Spontaneous combustion perhaps? A side order of total structural meltdown?

So apparently I am allergic to running because immediately after going for my first run in ages, I became terribly ill and spent the best part of a week in bed. Blerg. Just beginning to feel better now but still a few days off running. And predictably, Hub is now sick. Heh.

A week after sending my computer off to be diagnosed they rang me up and told me two things that I already knew – if it was spillage damage then it wasn’t covered by warranty (der), and that it didn’t switch on (double der). I explained again that I need them to diagnose the problem, quote me to fix it so that I can show that it is not worth fixing and they need to do it all in writing. Apparently this type of service is an entirely new concept and they have gone away to think about it some more.

To joey who said that she would have gone off and bought a new DVD player for the 6 weeks of warranty, we were way ahead of you on that one. Justifying on the basis that a) DVD players only live about 6 months in our house and b) we can use the spare one in the bedroom, we trotted off to Kmart. In a lesson in true customer service we told the guy our requirements (cheap, no novelty tie ins, otherwise we don’t care) and he went off and found us something that fit the bill. And of course has been working perfectly since.

Have two more weeks of work before a luxurious month of combined study/annual leave. The aim is to knock my study on its head and get most of it out of the way before some ramping up of my work/life commitments later this year. We will see how well that works out, but it does mean that I need to get me a new computer sometime within that period which means I have to get “technicians” to do more than tell me that it won’t turn on. Seriously. And then I have to go through the flipping house insurance run around to try and cover the cost of the new one instead of delving into my hard earned recently paid off debt.

Am aware that this blog is turning into an electronics/customer service tirade rather than a running blog, but Sara said that she wanted to hear about my dreary life so youse can all put up with it.