Well we’re back from holidays and life is in full swing.
The guys who looked after the church leadership while we were gone are ready to take a breath and a couple of hot days this week saw the phone ring hot with people needing retic fixed up.
How’s a week shape up for a retic bloke cum pastor? If you are interested here’s how this week rolled.
Slow start… most mornings begin with prayer and reflection and this one starts a little later as there is no rush to be anywhere. I’m back in Luke at the moment seeking to reconnect with Jesus in the gospels – a regular place I go…
Teaching prep and admin… we are hitting a new teaching series in the book of 1 Corinthians and I began some reading around this letter. When you go to a church conference inevitably you hear about the ‘Acts 2’ church and the Corinthians are held up more as a bunch of losers and the church not to be like. I wonder if they aren’t a bit more like us than we want to admit. Some meaty issues in this letter so I’m partly looking forward to it and partly wishing we had picked something easier…
Most of Monday happens at home around the computer, updating websites and writing emails as well as reading.
There are constant interruptions from phone calls as its that time of year when people want their sprinklers fixed and Monday is the day everyone rings. I’m pretty good at ignoring it, but right now I still need to generate work so I’ve had to multitask more than I’d like.
Reticulation install in Yanchep on a big block. I’m working alone but hope to get it all done by 3pm…
The plumber is late so its a slow start. I do other things while I wait, one of which is trying to push a pipe under the driveway using some dismal water pressure. If the plumber was here I would have a better water source and would be able to do it. He arrives at 9 instead of 7.30 and discovers he hasn’t got the right parts so he needs to drive back to Clarkson to pick up gear.
In the meantime I manage to break two stormwater pipes and hit a gas line just 50ml below the surface… After an hour of trying I can’t get the main irrigation feed under the driveway so I go and do something else and hope that when the plumber gets back things will change. I’m weary from the ‘plunking’ and the day is heating up.
I go drag the trencher around and dig a heap of trenches. I get most of the trenching done, but its heavy work in soft sand and warm sun so at 11.00 I head home as I’m feeling a bit woosy and like I need some food. I hate the first hot day of the year…
A quick sandwich and a coffee and back to it. The plumber finishes his bit at 1pm so I can ‘start’ from the new water source. Another half an hour and I have got under the driveway – a big relief as the day was looking grim with that problem unresolved.
I begin installing the retic but text home at 2pm calling for help – one of the kids to come and fill trenches would be nice – and apparently I also asked Danelle to bring me a ‘fuzzy drunk’… whatever… auto correct is fun
Ellie comes as Sam is knackered from two hours of surfing (love home schooling for flex). I finish off the install and she follows me filling in trenches and sweeping up. With her help I finish at 4.30 and walk thru it with the client who is very happy. Not as happy as I am given it was looking seriously ugly earlier that day. Also very grateful for my daughter who helped me get thru and finished earlier and she earns some good $$ as well…
Danelle picks Ellie up while I head off to do a quote – a backyard retic and turf job. I get the job and head home for a shower. I spend another half hour returning calls, one to a woman who wants me to do her wedding because her current ‘pastor’ is moving house and can’t do it. I have no idea who she is and I’m not remotely interested. It probably doesn’t help that I’m exhausted… There was a day when I would have felt an obligation to be available for this kinda thing, but not anymore. I love doing weddings for friends, but to be the religious guy for random strangers doesn’t light my fire. Sorry – nope…
There’s dinner and an early night. The first warm day wins again.
On the road early and not sure what I’m going to hit today. A nice easy one for a regular in Butler to kick things off and then down to Ocean Reef to solve a solenoid puzzle. It is a puzzle and I don’t have the right parts to fix it, meaning a trip to Total Eden… down time…
I slip a couple of quotes in before I pick up the parts and head back to see Barry, an 80 year old whose son went thru Uni with me we discover. The puzzle is solved and we are all happy even if Barry’s wallet is now considerably lighter.
Playing catch up now and a horrible job to come in Iluka on a day that is hotter than the previous one. I installed some retic for some folks before holidays and they would like all microsprays changed for drippers on tube… all 87 of them… because they have changed their minds… I let them know its going to cost a lot as it means digging up all the old stuff, removing it and then making up 87 drippers and installing them, under trees and in all sorts of crazy places. And its tedious work that won’t do the dicky knee any good. Two and a half hours later I get it finished. In the process I discover the concretors have damaged the main feed in about 5 places and it will mean some creative re-routing of pipe to repair. The owners are good people and happy for me to fix it, but its a tricky one… booked for next week…
I’m running well behind now so I skip a job I had intended to do, knowing I can do it next week and go to service another regular in Butler on the way home. Its a big block with the retic controller located in the most inaccessible place so I’m grateful for my remote control which turns a 90 minute job into a 45 minute one. I head for home at 4.30 and get in the door soon after, returning all my phone calls on the drive home.
The goal of finishing at 3pm isn’t going so well this week, but I’m just happy to be finished.
Its home group night so I shower, chill and scoff down some dinner before heading out to catch up with our crew for the first time in 10 weeks. Its good to see everyone, but I’m pretty wiped out so the early finish is nice.
I get home and read my Jo Nesbo novel until late. I’m tired but enjoying the book.
Its still early in the season so I’m prepared to travel a little further for work which means this morning I am in Kingsley. I use the drive to listen to the first chapter of 1 Corinthians a few times. I get a few inspirations and get Siri to take notes.
When I get to Kingsley a dodgy controller gets replaced as well as a solenoid and some sprinklers. A nice quick 45 min job to start the day before off to see a senior cit with another dodgy retic box. Fifteen minutes here and then off to Warwick where there is a wiring problem. Tracing wires… fun… not. An hour later the loose connnection is found and its pouring with rain as I hop in the car.
I drive to do another controller and a 5 minute job takes longer than it should. It starts to go bum up and the rain gets heavier, but I manage to find a way around the problem and get out of there only half drenched. Dodged a bullet…
I’m on the homeward stretch now and its only 11.00… This day is looking better.
I stop in for an old customer in Madeley, just to repair some dog damage and discover that as well as chewed sprinklers, he has left his control box door open and needs a new one of them as well. Easy work = happy Hamo
I grab some lunch from the lunch bar opposite Total Eden in Joondalup – supposedly satay chicken and fried rice, but more accurate would be satay potato with chicken flavouring. I have lunch in the shop chatting to the staff who I haven’t caught up with for a couple of months. I know this is a better day as I can stop and chat for half an hour and enjoy it.
I check out a water feature that isn’t working in Kinross on my way thru for a regular client. The pump has died, but I’m no expert with small pumps, so it would be trial and error to get it right and I pass the job on to someone else who might be able to solve it straight away. Ted shows me his backyard that backs onto the trainline and will soon back onto the freeway… He’s not a happy man as its all got very close to him. Crazy…
From there I head to Quinns and am nearly done. But of course, just when you think you’re on the home stretch you get a messy one. Not hard, just fiddly and in drizzle. I’m tempted to defer it to next week and head home, but I know that I can push thru if I want to… so I grit my teeth and trudge on. All done and another happy lady. (I’m constantly bemused by how happy a functioning retic system can make people!)
Its 3pm now and I’m wondering about the next job… should I start it or head home? Its in Quinns so I drop in to have a look and assess whether I’m going to keep rolling. The owner tells me the solenoid does’t work, but I discover he simply hasn’t set the controller correctly. 5 minutes and I’m done… I hate to bill people $75+GST for an instant fix so I let him pick a number – ‘how’s $50?’ he says… ‘Sure’… I’m happy to be finished early and he’s happy its a cheap, quick fix.
I have a quote scheduled for 4pm but I’m not hanging around for an hour so I call and reschedule.
Heading home at 3pm – that’s the plan I am trying to work to…
I drop in for a haircut, to give Danelle a breather from the monthly shave and meet the world’s most extroverted hairdresser. She doesn’t pick the ‘I’m an introvert at the arse end of a long week leave me alone’ cues, so I make a mental note not to go back there. A quick stop at the chemist to pick up some anti-inflammatories for the dodgy knee and then home to have a shower.
Two weeks of invoices get entered while I down a coffee
Its a cruisy afternoon and evening as Danelle and the kids head out and leave me alone to cook my own dinner.
Tomorrow begins at 7am with our leader’s prayer meeting, before Ryan and I catch up for an hour and chat. That’s always one of the most valuable hours of my week. Having someone you talk honestly with is a gift so I enjoy this time.
Then I sit to write down the teaching for Sunday and hope that over the week the rough thoughts I had on Monday tumble out into some sensible order tomorrow morning. I like to close the laptop by 1pm with a solid first draft printed out. Then I revisit it later that day and give it a polish for an hour or so. I alloacte a sermon around 8 hours in total these days and if it isn’t done in that time then so be it… Such is life when you wear two hats. Its nice to rest the weary bones, but sometimes if its been a hard week the brain doesn’t kick into gear easily so I never know if teaching prep is going to come easy or hard. I sense some thoughts have been percolating, but I never really know until I start the writing process tomorrow.
Aash is coming for coffee at 2 so that’ll be good to catch up and share some stories and encourage one another.
Friday night will involve kids at kids ministry and then youth groups so I’ll be taxiing and shuffling them around while Danelle is on the Fresh Conference. Living in Yanchep means we do a bit of extra driving, but its just the price you pay for paradise!
Highlight of the day might just be pizza for dinner and a good book…
Will be veg day…
I have a new boost gauage and EGT gauge to go on the cruiser so that might get done. Ellie has her netball final and then the rest of the day is empty.
Church and chill
That’s the week… How’s yours looking?
For a few years now I’ve pondered dumping Facebook and the other social media I have active, but I’ve been hesitant to make the jump. Social media is a double edged sword, keeping me in touch with lots of people I rarely see, but also sucking me into its quicksand vortex of mental slush and holding me there way too long.
I’ve noticed my ability to think and concentrate has deteriorated and I’d say part of it is a result of the way I’ve been reading online. I read an article online (ironically…) a while back about how the ‘internet is rewiring our brains’ and shuddered because I could feel some of the effects on myself – a shortened concentration span and a distractedness that meant I struggled to read a book or fully engage in conversation because I was wondering if something ‘better’ was happening elsewhere. The fact that I have a naturally addictive component to my personality also means I tend to REALLY get stuck into things like this rather than just having the occasional skim. Its well documented that net surfing has an addictive component so I feel like I’m hitting some unhealthy territory at the moment hence the exit.
The other factor that concerned me was the way I may have been communicating the shape of my life online. I try to ‘keep it real’, but as I reflected on some of what I’d been posting I realised it could have been seen as a bit unbalanced towards my life being better than it is. No one really wants to know if you’ve had a boring day. No one really wants to hear your inner turmoils online, and no one certainly wants to read a vague attention seeking post that seems to imply the world has ended, when in reality you have just run out of milk.
I had ‘unfollowed’ around 600 people on my ‘friend list’ in an attempt to keep the volume of info down, but over the years I’ve found some things just don’t happen in ‘moderation’ for me and I need to dump them entirely and recalibrate my internals. It isn’t as easy as ditching Facebook altogether because my business is linked to it, our church has a facebook site and people send me FB messages, so I will be there in some form by necessity. This blog is now linked to FB so I will still ‘pop up’ online occasionally when I post on here. But you probably won’t see many pictures of my holidays, dog, car or kids, nor will you hear my occasional snapshot reflections on the world… however there are a gazillion others to fill the void…
What’s odd is that in the last week as I have stopped using FB I’ve been conscious of framing some of my daily thoughts in the form of a FB post… bizarre hey… That my brain has begun to sift thoughts into public and ‘other’. I’ve had the odd moment where I’ve thought ‘I should post that!’ and then asked ‘what if I don’t?…’ and generally the end result is that nothing will change in the world.
As well as FB there is Instagram, and Gumtree, all ‘time wasting’ and ‘distraction’ sites that I’m going to be checking out of for a bit. This blog will keep rolling – its actually suffered from neglect because now I can just say in 50 words what used to take 500, but this is a format I enjoy and feel I need to invest more in. I’m hoping the end result will be that my ability to concentrate will return and I will be more mentally present in the conversations I have.
My plan is simply to skim FB / Instagram and Gumtree once a day for anything of value and interest but not to post and not to interact and see what develops.
So if you have seen me online and interacted and you are wondering ‘where did Hamo go?’ then this is just a heads up. I’m checking out at least for a while…
So we got home last weekend and have been adjusting back to reality.
Eight weeks is a long break. I noticed that after 2-3 weeks I had some sort of a tug to ‘go back’ and get on with work and life, but 8 weeks took me to a different place, almost like I had ‘forgotten’ that old life, so coming home was harder than I imagined.
We had got quite used to life on the road and were enjoying the time down south as a family. Someone asked me if we were feeling ‘cramped’ in the caravan. It seemed like an odd question… ‘Cramped?… Nope…’ Funny how you just adapt to things. 17 square metres is plenty once you get your routine sorted. I felt we could have rolled on indefinitely, but it was time to come back and replenish the bank account.
It was hard heading home knowing that with the kids going back to school next year, this was going to be our last big holiday for a while. School holidays are now setting the tone for our life… Blech…
So this week I launched back into work and went pretty hard – even fell asleep on the couch a couple of nights this week… I haven’t quite settled back into this life yet, but I’m hoping it will come, because it kinda has to…
The final part of our time away was great – probably better than the first 5 weeks even. Koh Samui was nice, but I’m glad it was free as I probably wouldn’t pay money to go there – a bit like a clean and expensive version of Bali. We had a good time there away from the kids, but the long flights and travel time weren’t great.
We came back from there and headed down south where we spent another 10 nights. We skipped our old favourites of Busso and Margs and headed inland to Bridgetown, before heading for Walpole, Parry’s Beach, Albany and the Stirling Ranges with a final night staying with friends in Narrogin.
The real value of this trip was that it reminded us again how much we love the southwest. Its been a long time since we had been there as most of our holidays are in winter, but this was beautiful… cold, often wet, but still really nice. We dodged the weather a bit as we travelled, but did get caught in a few storms here and there. One night in Walpole I remember going to sleep and reflecting on how good it was to be in such a remote, quiet and peaceful place, then at 5.00am we woke to a strong winds making our awning flap like crazy. Danelle and I hopped up and packed it away in the cold, raining darkness before tucking back into bed, only to hear the bed end flys trying to take off. So I was back out 3 more times tying things down before finally settling again at 6.00am. Of course by then I was wide awake…
All things considered the caravan served us really well and while we aren’t deeply attached to it, I think we will keep it for a bit. The extra space, the onboard bathroom and hot water system made life a lot easier. The hills and winding roads of the south west meant driving a little more concentration and the fuel bill was a little steeper, but given we only did a total of 2000ks it was hardly noticeable.
We had some wonderful moments while away and the beauty of being ‘cramped’ up in a caravan is that you simply have to interact as a family. We had some fun and games, DVDs, some deep conversations and then other nights there was silence as all 4 of us read books.
Our kids were brilliant. At the end of week 1 I was worried as they were making unhappy noises about not having friends and being stuck with us for another 7 weeks… but we talked and they chose to enjoy the time rather than endure it. They made it as good for us as hopefully we did for them.
Sambo got right into the fishing standing outside in the freezing cold until dark some nights, we all climbed Bluff Knoll together, caught up with old friends and generally had a really memorable time.
Given it was so good I think we might do the shorter southern trips a little more often from here on it.
So now I’ve just got to adjust my mind to the demands of real life, a business to run and a church to lead… all very different to waking up when you like and the hardest part of the day being deciding what to have for dinner!