So we rolled through September and reached the long weekend that celebrates Labour Day and, you know, here I am, busily retired (for real; not the way I thought I was a redundancy or two ago). This is the last ‘view from the window’ update. Progress was more obvious during the demolition phase.
Not at the office, I’m trying to walk daily at an hour when I can see where I’m going (as long as it’s not raining or blowing a gale). I’m steadily chipping away at reducing the volume of incoming emails by unsubscribing from professional organisations and removing duplicates that have crept in over the years (when email addresses change, not all earlier variants die, although the technology sometimes does). I’m gleefully signing up to workshops that take place during working hours (genealogical research, here I come, rubbing my hands and sharpening my pencil).
So, yes, it’s all baby steps as YoungB would doubtless describe it. But the good part? If I’ve had enough, I don’t have to keep going 🙂
I hope you’re in a similarly positive frame of mind, whatever your employment status.
With COVID-19 numbers dropping nationwide, the order came from On High: “Back to the office with you!” Happily for my continuing sanity and overall family wellbeing, I won’t be. The previously agreed timetable will remain in force for a few more weeks. We may renegotiate the last few days.
YoungB started a new job today. It’s city based and one where the end-of-trip facilities are so good that they feature in the orientation video. That means he’ll be back on his treadley once the first week is over. He’s looking forward to that with great enthusiasm.
In preparation for the forthcoming silly season, YoungB has also been participating in another lot of Latin-American dance classes. Whether from work or from the class, he reckons he’ll be home again before it’s too depressing outside. The evenings are lighter and the mornings are certainly light enough to see where you’re walking. Not warm, mind you! But less dangerous simply because of the improved visibility.
And I have – finally – finished and delivered the little knitted baby beanie I’ve been slugging away at since what feels like forever. It was one of those things where I’d knit a bit, then I’d knit a bit more, and although it should have been growing, it really didn’t seem to be making much progress at all. YoungB kindly reminded me that the longer I took to make it, the better chance there was that it would no longer fit the intended recipient. Fair point!
As you can see from the photo, the beanie is a simple mistake-rib design. The colour is probably brighter IRL, but difficult to photograph well. Bendigo Woollen MillsBaby Meadow 4-ply, 100% Fine Australian Merino Wool in shade Golden Sands. I used 3.25mm (UK 10 / US 3) and 2.75mm (UK 12 / US 2) Aero knitting needles that I have had for many years.
I’m now having a bit of a rest. I hope you are, too 🙂
We’re being told that the COVID-19 case numbers are dropping; and overall, that does appear to be true. In any case, in the spirit of cooperation and pretending to care, I was at the office one day last week. The work? Yeah, nah, it’s reporting time and busy and, you know, I’m finding it increasingly difficult to muster the energy for any of it. Enthusiasm vanished long ago.
But the view from the window? Aha. That was almost worth the trip into town. I will miss my 13th-floor viewing platform. Since the last update, there’s a lot more to see in that snapshot of the current status of the GPO Renovation. Obviously, they can manage quite well without me!
In terms of managing (or not), it was also a week of colliding responsibilities that nearly defeated me. I tried to shoulder my workload at the office while not dropping the one I have outside of work. That ended with me thinking I’d have to retire NOW and leave the team to the rest of whatever I haven’t been able to tidy up. While that is appealing at one level, it’s not how I would choose to leave any workplace.
Unexpectedly, we had a win on the home front with some long-term appointments confirmed and slotted in. As a result, I’ve negotiated that I’ll continue full-time WFH until I retire, with two days off every week to accommodate the juggling. I’ll take other days off as required. It might not be ideal, but it will mean that everyone is in with a chance of success and – fnigres corsesd, and equally as importantly – that nobody falls over in the meantime.
I hope your juggling is also meeting with success, whatever its nature. 🙂
Being at the office is sometimes a drag and often exhausting, but the view from the window is a nice bonus. I don’t know what’s going to keep the troops occupied once the building is finished. The view to the square will be blocked. There will be no WH&S whoopsies to chuckle about.
Ladders, gents. It’s all about ladders.
May all your ladders be properly supported and your bollards, witches hats and hazard bunting be appropriate and appropriately placed. Can’t have you falling over something you didn’t see 🙂
ETA 24 June 2022: I’ve only today realised that the tags didn’t work; so this is not really a new post, just a little update. Sorry about that!
Recently, our office provided a course that allowed us to refresh our mental health first aid qualifications. I’m often humbled by quite how personal some of the shared information is, because you’re putting your trust in other people’s good faith. Some might argue that the nature of public service positions means we’re already vetted and considered capable of maintaining confidence. Yeah, that too. But we don’t spill those sorts of beans most of the rest of the time.
The facilitator had a few good ideas for managing our own wellbeing in these still remarkably strange not-quite-post-COVID times. One piece of advice was to reconnect with bare earth and grass, something where you can really wriggle your toes. Pavers don’t count. Ideally, if you can manage it, make it a barefoot walk on the beach. Great idea!
However, given the time of year, my reconnecting with nature is more likely to be going out and hugging my lemon-scented geranium. I do it most days, and the perfume lingers for hours.
And when you need to get up from your desk at work, there’s a well-trodden path to the window from which we can watch the construction. There’d be no joy in wriggling your toes in that dirt. Once the new building is finished and we can put our toes over the threshold of what’s being marketed as a fancy shopping precinct, it will be a good trick to remember just how much concrete and dirt they took away, and how much concrete and dirt they brought back, and how we lined up with our noses and toeses against the window to watch it all. No grass involved.
YoungB’s contract is at an an end, so he’s on the job-hunt. Again. The thing about our recent elections – both state and federal – is that the change of government (at both levels) means that there are opportunities aplenty in different fields, some of which he might find appealing. He’s had his resume professionally tarted up – I beg your pardon; updated – and it’s impressive.
Me? I’ve officially notified the Powers That Be the date on which I’ll be retiring later this year. Leadership at work seems surprised. I don’t know why! My age is no secret. I’ve clearly been suffering work-related aggravations to existing health problems ever since I started there. I’ve made absolutely no secret of my intentions. Why is it suddenly unexpected, and something they hadn’t foreseen? You know that emoji where you smack yourself? Yeah. That seemed about the right response; but I didn’t.
Someone who appreciates why retirement is a good idea asked me what I’m going to do – apart from all the obvious things like crochet and knit, of course – and I said I might cook. She thought that was a wonderful idea. So did I. I like cooking. I would have to shoo Dr B out of the kitchen – it is his domain, after all – but I’m sure he wouldn’t mind me elbowing into his space if it means he has more time to do other things. I would bake, too. It would be gratifying to go back to making bread. That was one of my great pleasures that simply disappeared.
Dodgy back and leg notwithstanding, some routine exercise will also feature large. It’s most likely to be continuing the hydro-pool exercise classes that I presently attend. They’re generally kind in terms of both parts of the physique and, because it’s a therapy pool, the water is always wondrously warm. I would be free to join a book club. Or a gardening club. Or a photography group. Or all of the above!
I could once again suss out options for joining local choirs. This time, when they all respond with some version of, “We rehearse and perform during the day, during the week,” thus putting such delights entirely out of full-time worker contention, it wouldn’t matter. I’d have that availability.
I might by then have reached the top of the waiting list for eye surgery, and, postoperatively, be able to see better than ever – really ever, as I’ve been wearing specs pretty much all my life – and then I might be able to reinvigorate my sewing and make some inroads on all those projects that are presently too difficult. Oh, boy. And people wonder if I’ll have enough to do. Smack-yourself emoji again, I think.
Meanwhile, however, there’s a certain amount of excitement and tension around YoungB’s potential new job. There are choices in fields where he has qualifications and expertise, and there are choices in fields that would suit his outgoing personality. There are jobs with crossover. He’s already sent inquiries and job applications. It’s going to be an interesting few months, watching how everything turns out, but he is likely to have some much-needed downtime before starting in any new position, whatever the field.
During that downtime, I anticipate the mealtime conversation will centre on matters mechanical. I’ll be knitting in my room, if you’re looking for me 😀
That would be me on the border of the blanket. When the rounds get this long, you sometimes can’t easily see the progress. You’ve worked steadily for what is a significant chunk of time and you still haven’t finished the next colour!
The preparation for the remodelled GPO, however, is a bit the same. It has reached a point where there’s a lot of work – mostly pumping concrete, as far as we can tell when we line up at the window of our 13th floor lookout – but there’s little enough to see for the effort. The concrete is all going into the ground in long pillars of extremely-heavy-duty REO.
I’ll get there, and I’m sure they will, too. It’s not in any way a race, but I reckon I’ll finish first 🙂
Yesterday, I worked in the CBD. Of course it was a chance for me to check the progress of the renovations on the old GPO. As you can see, the knocking-down stage appears to have finished. The large crane at the left of the photo is concreted in place and being used for construction. There’s a sad irony in comparing the amount of new concrete used to ensure machinery is safe and secure with the enormous amounts of it that were removed from the demolished part of the building.
Of course, in Australia we simply say “reno”, but if you don’t understand that it’s a shorthand version of “renovation”, you might want to pronounce it more like Reno, the city. That would be quite wrong.
In blanket news, I have about six squares left to enclose in row 20 before I get to turning that Very Exciting Corner. I’m off to wield my hook. Hope you’re able to wield yours, too 😀
The simplest things are often the most mystifying. What the Bs were up to on Saturday wasn’t earth-shatteringly difficult or blokes-only motorcyclist business, although I loved YoungB’s description of it. They were fault-finding a longstanding ignition problem on one of the motorbikes. While they were doing that, I was working back along the enclosing of row 15 of the temperature blanket. They found their fault, to whoops of joy, and I finished the enclosing PLUS made the first square of row 16. While finishing those ends, I also finished ends on two centres I’d made during my cityward commute on Friday.
Yes, I had a day at the office last Friday, in my role as First Aid Officer! We have to ensure cover if there’s anyone physically at the CBD site and the roster reached me. The office was practically empty and, therefore, weirdly quiet. I’m back again next Friday in the same capacity, but otherwise continuing to WFH. The real benefit of the commute, however, was that it enabled me to produce another couple of centres for the ever-lengthening temperature blanket.
Oh, and being right there in the CBD with that high-rise-view gave me a chance to check the demolition progress. Impressive!
Party plans down the gurgler. Booked-and-paid-for Christmas lunch at the pub out the window. Family catch-ups in disarray. Offices bewilderedly closing in a hurry. Because it’s Christmas? No. It’s that jolly bug making its presence felt. If anybody is surprised, they shouldn’t be. This was a predictable outcome of reopening borders.
Today, YoungB and I spent a shade under two hours in a testing queue and thought we were doing well for it to be that quick. Some sites have reported waits of up to eight hours. To put that in perspective, the site we wanted to use – our closest, a 24-hour facility that’s for bookings only – didn’t have any vacancies until Christmas Eve. Right-oh, then. The queue it was.
Wouldn’t you think that would have been a fabulous opportunity to read, or crochet? You would, yep, you really would. Not so much. I think we were both a bit surprised by the relative suddenness of it all; discombobulated entirely, if I’m being truthful.
Last week, there was a confirmed case of COVID-19 in my office building. Other staff on that floor were considered casual contacts. Today, possibly entirely independent of that first case, we were advised that someone in our office had tested positive and anyone who’d been there at the relevant times was considered a close contact. We have lots of shared spaces, but there is some upper echelon disbelief about how that classification was reached.
Whatever the rationale, it meant me coming home post haste and getting a test asap. As a close contact of a close contact, and because he works with cancer patients, YoungB was similarly commanded to do so. More by good luck than good management, Dr B is away for a few days, so, although he’ll undertake routine testing on his return, he’s not immediately affected.
Our jurisdiction’s regulations say that, as we’re vaccinated, I have to quarantine for seven days (as opposed to 14 if unvaccinated) and have three tests. YoungB has to have two tests, but doesn’t need to quarantine. Of course, that is predicated on our tests coming back negative. We are both asymptomatic and in good health so – all things considered – it will be a rude shock if either of us gets a positive result.
I really don’t go anywhere but work, and I limit my outings from the workplace, largely because I can’t control other people’s mask-wearing behaviours. YoungB is pretty much the same – no gym or swimming sessions this week – but he visited friends on his way home one night. It’s plain that the tracking system is overwhelmed and can’t keep up with new sites, so he let those friends know what was happening; just in case.
I’ll have to send him out to do the shopping, but we could place online orders if necessary. Missing our Christmas lunch at the pub upsets us most. We were really looking forward to having a wonderful couple of hours celebrating and being silly and Not Having To Clean Up Afterwards.
Let me repeat the mantra: Stay home. Wash your hands. And keep smiling behind that mask!