I’ve done something a little out of character tonight. I haven’t had the stereo on at all, and I’ve watched about 4 solid hours of TV. This includes a movie with Reese Witherspoon in it and at least 20 solid minutes of Big Brother.
I feel so dirty.
So I did something today at work that I’ve been building up to for a couple of weeks – I pitched for time off in the next couple of months. I was careful about how I did it, in that I gunned for time off around Hell’s wedding before I went for something sooner. I got March/April last week, and today I went for the last week of July and the first week of August. And I got it.
I’m not sure if it’s getting easier because my negotiation skills are getting better, or she’s getting less anally retentive about me leaving the office. It might be a little of both. When I first started with the company (what, over 8 years ago? holy fuck) she’d been working on her own for 6 years and in that time had barely had a day off herself. Then, within 12 months of me starting we’d grown to 4 full time staff. Then within 4 years, 6 staff, and now we’re 10. The bigger the team gets, the more she’s realising she’s got to compromise. ??And every one of your 10 staff accruing 4 weeks a year can only end badly – imagine if we all left at once.
Man, if I left now, I’d probably bankrupt the place 😉
So I’m faced with two weeks leave in July/August. The original plan was to drive from Melbourne to Adelaide with Hellen, but she (rightly so) is saving her leave for the wedding, and work is nuts for her right now, so she can’t afford the time. I should head down to the big WW for at least a few days, because I’ve no plans to go there before then. ??I thought maybe, after some time in Wagga, I’d head to Wangaratta and see Nathan. He’s suggested while I’m there maybe we drive to Beechworth and see a bit of the area, which sounds cool. Then, instead of driving home via the Hume Highway, I thought I’d come home via the coast.
There are a couple of reasons for this. I thought I’d head south, instead of straight for the coast, and start my coast drive around Lakes Entrance in Victoria. When I first finished university I heard of a job at an Australian Stud Book Pony farm in Orbst, which is in the same area. I spoke the woman a couple of times and she was really keen to give me the job. We’d spoken about a salary package, accommodation, the whole shebang. I didn’t take that job – at the time I had only been with Alan 12 months so was still a bit silly about that and gunning for something in Sydney, and there was a lot of me who was terrified about stepping into a part of the world I had never laid eyes on.
I have always had this morbid fascination with taking the wrong path, or wondering if I’ve taken the wrong path, or wondering where the hell I’d be if I’d taken a different path. It’s like there’s this whole other alternate life of mine happening without me. So I’m thinking I’ll pay a visit to my alternate life in Orbst in August and see what I missed out on/what missed out on me.
Secondly, I want to go back to Bermagui. When I was in Year 8, so about 12 or 13 years old, the whole family decided we were going to start doing a pamphlet run (which, incidentally, might be the shittiest job in the world) and save up to go away on a holiday. We had never been on a holiday, save day trips to Paddy’s River Falls near Tumut and trips to Sydney that were never really a holiday but were to take Nathan to a specialist about his migraines. There was never any money, and we had a car that was like a Sherman tank (a Holden Premier) that guzzled fuel, so a holiday was a very exciting prospect.
The big plan was for a REAL holiday, where we rented somewhere to stay, we went to the beach and we didn’t have to worry about money. I remember eating more than once in a real restaurant and being able to choose what I wanted from the menu. I remember going to a newsagent before we got in the car to start the drive and Dad saying ‘pick any magazine you want’ – I picked a copy of The Horse Magazine with Haflinger ponies on the front.????
I had never, ever seen the beach in person before. The strongest memory I have of that trip was the first time we went down to the beach at Horseshoe Bay – pretty much the second we drove into town. We went down to the sand and approached the water with some trepidation – Mum hung on to Tara and Hayley so tight on each side of her. I edged close enough to the water so that the sand was wet and hard under my feet. Then, without realising it was going to happen, a wave rushed in and swirled around my legs and engulfed both my feet. When the water rushed back, and the feeling was nothing like I’d ever experienced – the power of the sand rushing around my legs, the suction of the sand through my toes – it was such an exhilarating thing. I remember noise coming out of my mouth involuntarily, and looking at Nathan who had the same look on his face that I did – absolute joy at the discovery of something so new and so good.
They had rented a house for two weeks about 2 blocks away from the beach. It was old and run down and overrun with frogs and Huntsmen the size of my face. The best thing about this house, though, was that I had my own room. This was really something for a 13 year old girl who’d shared a room pretty much her whole life with her two little sisters. As much as this was exciting, it was also terrifying – that room was so dark, and I could hear the ocean clear as a bell out my bedroom window.
Those were good times. It was about fishing and swimming and Mum’s coleslaw and everyone getting along. Halcyon days indeed.
So I’m thinking about winging by there again, so reinforce the memories, jog some forgotten ones, and make some new ones. Also, to walk down to that beach again and put my feet in the sand and feel it suck around my toes.
In other news, it’s nice to not be planning and packing right now for a work trip to the Hunter. The 4 day epic has turned into a day trip. I could not be happier about that.