You might remember that, prior to YoungB’s leaving the country, I had to replace a zipper in a pencil-case I’d made for his new digital recorder because the one I’d originally used had been too flimsy and broken on the first day. The case sat on the sewing table with the zipper and sat a bit longer and then sat a bit more. For various reasons, I couldn’t get to the sewing machine. I could barely get to the sewing room! But eventually, the day before YoungB was due to leave the country, I managed to clear a big enough space to do the necessary. And that’s it there below. Done. Useful and necessary but, you know, I can’t wear it or anything, so how useful is it, really?
The suitcase still wasn’t packed and there were problems finding the electrical adaptors and the sleeping bag was forgotten and we had a lovely, long lunch with Nonna who accepts the idea that YoungB is going to be away for a year without too many qualms and we hope she’ll be here to share his tales when he returns and then after lunch we struggled a bit more with the suitcase and at the eleventh hour were thinning the ranks of the clothing in order to fit critical bits of technology and finally we said that what was done was it: we were ready to leave for the airport. Which we did. And nobody cried at all (though I can tell you that it is now remarkably QUIET in these parts). And lots of YoungB’s mates from school (with some of whom he’s now sharing university studies) came to wave him goodbye and they had the sense to give him a collective gift of a neck pillow because they said he couldn’t possibly endure such a long flight without one and I think that’s probably right.
As you can see from Dr C’s photo above, Life is pretty good! YoungB has seen a few of the sights from a hop-on, hop-off bus tour and cycled hither and yon with Dr C and managed to enjoy a run with her the evening he arrived and coped well with London’s rail and underground systems and met up with friends new and old and had lunches and a lovely holiday in a city that, at its summer best, can be quite beautiful. Now he’s off to Paris for a couple of days, for what will be almost the last of the holiday before the intensive language course begins. Paris will be beautiful, too, but entirely different. And then Rome will be beautiful but different again. And you know why I like that photo, apart from the fading light and the warm, late-in-the-day colours? That’s my baby in London (gasp!) and, guess what? He’s wearing a shirt that once belonged to my Dad. I’m hoping that YoungB has had a beer or two at the very least, if not a Guinness (can’t help it; that’s the Irish side of the family, right?), and toasted his grandpa’s memory. That would be perfectly appropriate, don’t you think?
YoungB is allergic to some nuts. I think I’m allergic to how nuts it’s been here for for the past few weeks (and it’s not over yet).
Amidst all the chaos of the family lunch – no photos; I’m having trouble with the camera – and YoungB’s final fortnight in the country, I’ve been trying to settle back into the workforce because, yes, I have a new job. That’s good. It will bring in some income and keep me occupied and off the streets while YoungB is away (if it doesn’t kill me first, having to use my brain again after more than a year of unemployment). The timing could hardly be worse; but what the heck? There are other bad things about the job. It’s on the other side of town and, realistically, in order to ensure that I’ll be there for a 9 o’clock start, I’m having to leave home about an hour earlier than I used to leave to ensure getting to town by that time because I have to change buses. Some days I get good connections, other days I don’t; and standing about in the cold, wet weather we’ve been having is most unpleasant. The shortest bus route would require three buses and take more time, though it’s an option I might consider for when the weather is kinder because it involves a steady bit of walking at the end and I’m missing my exercise routines. Sitting at a desk all day in a ridiculously chilly airconditioned office is ruinous for your blood pressure and waistline.
There aren’t any good coffee shops or cafes or friendly eateries near my – otherwise salubriously located – new workplace, at least not within lunch-break walking distance. There’s a Hit and Run store (as Dr B once wrongly called it and I’m sure you’ll appreciate why the name stuck), not far away and the coffee there is acceptable; but there’s nowhere to sit down. I’m told there’s a wonderful organic coffee shop “up the road” but it’s too far up the road to be useful because it’s too far to walk at lunchtime (see previous comment). You’d think that must mean I’ll save money? I’m not so sure. I’m also not sure about whether it’s good or bad or even more nuts that there’s this fabric shop just a few doors away!
We’ll be having a family lunch before YoungB leaves for Italy. You’d expect that. I am, little by little, clearing up so that we won’t have to half-kill ourselves to make the place presentable come party day. I achieved a major goal tonight, clearing the table where one of our computers usually lives (so that we can co-opt it for the party). And now? Oh, Dr B has put a printer on the other end and assures me it’s temporary. Yeah, right.
The transcription job I undertook for YoungB was actually not too bad. I did what I could with the Italian then left Dr B to clean it up (he was most impressed by the software I’d chosen to use – not the user-spiteful package I’m constrained to use by the company to whom I subcontract – and loved my foot pedal). What made it a little easier than much of the [paid] work I do was that the recording was good and, though there was some background noise, it wasn’t so intrusive that I couldn’t hear the speakers. That was a win for the family (the Bs recently purchased a small digital recorder and this was one of its first official runs). YoungB’s actually doing the essay was more chaotic because he’s out of practice and would leave it till the last minute; but, well, it was sound enough and went off in plenty of time. Fnigres corsesd.
Then there’s that huge to-do list, relating to YoungB’s year away, that’s slowly, slowly dwindling. Sometimes we don’t see much progress though we seem to be busy, but at our next family meeting we find ourselves saying, “Yep, that’s all done,” and, once the smaller components are accounted for, another big item gets a tick. Some of my effort there relates to getting things done for the family lunch we’re planning to have. I should have made my smaller to-do list larger, in the sense of making it into one with a greater number of small items that I could tick off individually, because I don’t seem to be making much impression on it in its present format. Having said that, when I walk into the room we’re presently dedicating to OS stuff, I can see that it’s well set up for what needs to be done and, yep, most of the background work was the result of my hard labour.
That I’m not getting to anything of my own – any of the sewing or knitting – is a minor detail. I mean, you’d reckon there’ll be plenty of time for that in the reasonably near future when both of the Bs are on their travels and I’m left home to party, wouldn’t you?
…then I’m not going to tell you about how I’ve been, er, co-opted into producing a transcript for YoungB from some interviews he recorded as part of his last assignment for this semester. The topic is immigration. No worries. Quite interesting, you’d think. Subtopics are around the provision of aged care for migrant communities. Certainly interesting, and an area in which I worked myself for a few years. The first speaker is Italian, speaking in Italian with a ferocious Neapolitan accent. I know I’m good, but, yeah, I’m going to have to call in the troops on this one! That will be just one troop, actually: Dr B, who’s deaf. Yes, that would be often wilfully so (in case you were wondering) but it’s genuine enough (see, I always knew loud rock music was bad for you). Even being deaf and all, he’ll undoubtedly be able to catch what I can’t in terms of the language. I won’t ask you to wish me luck. I don’t think that’s going to help much. :)
Fate feels that way, obviously, since I’m having to unpick a sizeable chunk of the mate’s beanie! For some reason, and I truly don’t get why, it’s too big even for Dr B. The mate’s head is about the same size, so if it’s big on Dr B, it will be big on our mate. So, you know, I could run a bit of shirring elastic through it – as you might recall, I’ve rescued many a saggy beanie by that simple trick – or, since it’s knitted in the round, I could just pull out the ribbing and redo it on smaller needles. I say “just”, but four inches of ribbing will take me quite a while (there’s too much else happening at the moment for uninterrupted knitting time). That, however, is probably what I’ll do.
And then there was the, “Please could you fab up something to put this recording device into?” request, sent in my direction at about 8.30 one night. Yeah right. That saw me scratching about for hours, trying to work out how to get a thick result that would protect the device, a firm bottom that would provide extra protection and a soundboard of sorts, and a suitably fine fabric for one end so that the recordings wouldn’t be muffled (all before 9 o’clock the next morning, when YoungB was scheduled to take it with him for the day’s work). I hunted down some denim and thick corduroy in my “these might come in useful one day” basket and sacrificed a plastic lid to make the base (using what I had; and at that hour, I couldn’t have done much else).
I also had to wrestle with a zip. “You’ve got this fabulous machine now,” Dr B said. True. I haven’t yet had much chance to play around with it, though, so although I did some of the straight sewing on the new machine, I had to pull out the old Singer to do the zipper (or spend a lot of time trying to figure out zippers on the new machine). I’m not particularly good with zippers, although I’ve done some that are very neat and they almost always do the job for which they’re intended. This one didn’t. It was the first I found that looked about the right length but it needed to be a sturdier beast. My fault entirely, though in my defence I’d add that time was a constraint, I ran out of it, I’m old enough to need more beauty sleep than I was going to get and finding a better zip wasn’t an easy option at that hour. Of course the zip broke the first day of use.
Now I have to unpick my very tidy work and redo it with a tougher zipper that I eventually tracked down at the bottom of my notions drawer, one flung in my direction once by Dr B, I seem to recall, because it wasn’t up to the job for which he required it but he thought it might come in handy for me. I know it’s not one I bought and I think that’s why I didn’t immediately fossick about looking for it: it hadn’t registered as being something I’d purchased with a particular project in mind (or any project at all, actually), so it was just there awaiting its moment. Right. At midnight, there is no moment. It’s all, “Can I make this work or will I have to get up early?” The latter was the case, but I still failed.
So there you are, Fate is laughing at me because I now have two projects to reverse, one knitting and one sewing and, yeah, when? Oh, I forgot! Dr B thinks we need to recording device tomorrow, so we’ll need the case tomorrow. I’m trying to work, but if you hear me snarling from where you are, you’ll know I’m wrangling with my seam ripper. Will that be okay?