A life in the day of

As promised earlier (two blogs in one day!).

The radio and mobile phone go off practically simultaneously at 6am, one on either side of the bed so there even if we have a power cut, we can still get up on time. We lie listening to the news headlines, bleary eyed and spooning each other as we come too. It is a nice way to start the day, with a hug and a kiss, at the weekends the alarms are off, unless we are going out anywhere, when they are hopefully set for a bit later in the morning!

After being told off by Sue, my hairdresser, I am not washing my hair every morning, this goes against the grain for me and is taking some getting used to, but as it is getting longer, I don’t need to use as much product on it, so I don’t need to wash it, and as I am straightening it out every so often it is sitting better. Except for today, when I couldn’t face washing, blowing, straightening to sort out the nice curvaceous kink over my right ear thanks to the hair-fairy visiting over night; so it is tucked behind my ears instead. I will sort it out tonight as I am off to the gym so can have a shower there, then come home to faff about with it.

Our clothes are laid out the night before, lunches are in the fridge, ready to be put into bags and on Tuesdays and Thursdays my gym bag doubles as my tote/carry all, slung over my shoulders. After washing and dressing, we sit down to breakfast together, the TV is on with ABC news in the background, it gives us a round the world coverage, whereas Channel 9 or 10 focus on what the Soap ‘stars’ are up to and what Bogan (Chav) antics have been happening overnight in the cities. They seem to forget there is a whole other world out there, sometimes with other more important news items to cover. When we’ve eaten I go to clean my teeth and colour my face in, or finish it off depending on how long I was in the bathroom earlier.

We leave the house a whole hour later than we did in the UK at around 7.10, this gives me time to walk from where Dan has dropped me off to the station, and him time to miss most of the traffic, while listening to his beloved Radio National on the way to work. When we were driving between Melbourne to Brisbane in 2007, he asked for the radio in the car in the mornings to listen to the news, I could then listen to whatever I liked on the iPod or radio, except when the cricket was on of course, (good job I like the news and cricket). Why can you listen to cricket quite happily on the radio, but not golf?

He drops me at the end of Darling Road and the junction with the Princess Hwy, he takes the highway into work, I cross it and walk all of 200m to Carnegie station. I use a 10 x 2 hour ticket to get me to and fro work, costing $29.40 or £13. It can be used on the trains, trams and buses, and after 5pm when you pass through turnstiles, is valid till 3am the following morning to allow weary and squiffy commuters to get home. The train stops at two stops, Caulfield, Malvern and then runs to South Yarra, where I get off. I then have a 20 minute walk down Toorak Road (I am putting in the names so you can look them up online if you have a yen to), half of which runs alongside a Park. It is a slow slope up then down a hill, but I puff my way up it in either trainers or this week walking shoes that Dan brought me for my birthday (we’re off on a Bush Walk this weekend, so I needed them, it also means we both have a pair now and can be more adventurous in our walks). I thought I walked quickly, but I get overtaken by people speeding past me in flip flops which is a bit disconcerting. I see the same lady every morning, she is easily in her 50s and is as thin as a whippet, but strong, you can tell as she wears a sports top and running leggings. She is normally hands on hips, breathing hard and stretching at the top of the hill, but sometimes she is a bit late and I meet up with her running with her loping stride up the hill towards me.

Crossing over St Kilda Road, the office is just by the junction of Toorak Road, it is an old-ish office building, but not in a high ceiling, cornices nice way, but in a 1980s monstrosity with dodgy air-con way. It looks old and tired, and desperately in need of a refit. My desk is right behind the entrance to the office, behind our reception. Kylie is on the other side of my Dilbert partition, we spend the day muttering to each other and helping each other out as we have been abandoned on our training programmes, so muddle through with the paperwork and keep our fingers crossed it is right. I am based in the ‘Paris’ end of the office, so called because everyone else started off sitting at the other end of the office, and Kristi was the only one down here when they ran out of room. She joked it was like being banished to Siberia, but decided she would prefer to be in Paris if she was going to be miles away from everyone else.

My hours are 8.15 – 4.45, with an hour for lunch, I work for advisers that retrained from school teachers and haven’t lost that mentality. So if you are late, you feel like you should have a note to explain; you have to ask permission to work a shorter lunch to leave earlier for a doctors appointment, and we have to make up every minute that you miss sitting at your desk if you are late in or need to leave early. Never mind that Kylie and I sit here most of the time with nothing to do, we have to be sitting here. It is a peculiar company.

Lunchtime is spent on a walk outside, reading or sometimes online. I am trying to wean myself of being online at lunch as even if I am sat at my desk with fork in hand, people will come up to me and ask me a question. I have started ignoring them, or giving them Paddington Bear stares. Unlike London where we had a good range of shops nearby, we are in an office based area, so there are minimal shops around, this is a good thing in terms of fundage, but a bad thing in terms of mooching. There is a Post Office and a Chemist nearby, a food hall for those who have left lunch behind, and a fair few little coffee shops, the best one of which is in our building, which is handy for quick nip outs.

My day varies from completing pension and superannuation account opening forms, to lodging the forms, to entering the account details on the database, to sending out forms for withdrawals and switches (moving money around within the account, happening a lot as the share market gets over its wibble). While at times I am busy, with workload, it is mundane, mind-numbing and boring as hell. Especially when you have 4 accounts to set up, you complete the name, DOB, address for each client anything up to 3 times for each application. You get to the point where you can’t see if you have spelt their names right, and almost forget how to spell your own name.

The post arrives whenever the postman gets here, I can’t imagine Don being happy with this, sometimes it is in the morning, most of the time it is in the afternoon. It can also fluctuate wildly in quantity, with some days bringing much more than others. Nearly every item will need actioning, we don’t get junk mail, we get filing posted to us. Our filing room could be used as a fridge, and has big sliding racks to hold the clients files in, they lock it every night for security, but forget that we have files all over our shelves and desks, so no ISO 9001 here!

When my paper shuffling is complete for the day, we log off and I get the tram home. I cross half way over St Kilda to the tram lines and hop on the number 3. This pretty much takes me back to my front door, I travel through a big Jewish area, lots of kosher shops and a few religious bookshops. Even though the trams have right of way, they will still get stuck in the traffic on the way home. This is where I now do most of my reading, I don’t get time really on the train in the morning and unless I have something particular to read, I will spend the time with Dan in the evenings instead. I am still working on several books, not really ‘Self Help’ but more designed to get me thinking about what I want to achieve with my life, and I am at a stage where I need to sit down when it is quiet and physically write things down. Now Dan is not cricketing every weekend I have lost the 6 hours each week that I used for this, it isn’t a problem, but does mean I need to get creative in finding time.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays I get the no. 6 and go to the gym, I also try and go one day over the weekend too. I am still cycling away on my interval training, I get off the bike and it is all I can do to walk downstairs. I know that people think I only go in there for 30 minutes, so what can she be getting out of it, but if they knew how much I blew out my ar$e, they’d know. Over the weekend, I do weights as well as the bike session. It hurts, but it is a good hurt.

When I get home, we know what we are eating as we’ve planned it out the Sunday night before the week starts. This gives whoever is home in time first a chance to start dinner, or do the jobs we decided to be done each night. Monday, bedding, Tuesday, hoovering and so on. The pair of us love that I am home by 6.30, even if I have been to the gym, so we get an evening together. We watch the SBS World News at 6.30, then turn off the TV if there isn’t something specific we want to watch. We’ll sometimes put a DVD on, or some music, but we chat over the day and also with Dan’s uni course starting in March, we are also factoring in study time. Hence getting into habit of jobs/dinner and lunches etc in the evenings.

I see a chiropractor every other week, Dan is seeing a physio from when he landed on his shoulder playing cricket, we go out for walks in the evenings too. Over the weekends, we see Lachy, Renee, Ross and Leonie, do a bit of shopping and sight see around Melbourne, there is a lot of area to cover out here, so we could be having day trips out for a while! Dan’s first cricket match for this year is on Saturday, we are off for a Bush Walk on Sunday, my birthday, and we are going to Brisbane in between our birthdays for a steak at the Breakfast Creek Motel. Flying all that way for a steak, is frivolous, decadent and funny. We are looking forward to it.

So although I am miles away from you, my life hasn’t changed a huge amount, I still take a packed lunch to work, I still paper-shuffle for a living, I still use public transport. But I have 3 hours extra each day where I am not on a train or on the underground, I have a park I can walk in each lunchtime (when it isn’t 30 odd degrees out), I can sit on a bench, with my iPod on and listen to a meditation podcast, I
am fitter already than I was in London. One thing we do need to make time for is the wedding, eek. It’s probably the biggest thing logistically we’ve organised, because of the people arriving at odd times and days, but we want a good day for everyone, so need to spend time on everything to ensure it runs smoothly.

Lights out are between 10:30 and 11, we have a skylight in our room, so when it is a full moon the eye mask goes on, curling up on my side, my ears have to be covered so I can sleep while Dan has to have his feet out; so after wrestling with the covers for a bit to make sure we both are happy, he starts to snore, I tell him off, he maintains he was awake, I reassure him that he wasn’t, he rolls over, I can then get to sleep. Like clockwork…

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