Consider the Possibilities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back in February we went down to Busselton with the QBC crew to swim in the annual Jetty swim. As a family (well… Ellie, Sam and I) we started training mid December when we headed off on holidays, so by the time the event came around we could allI manage swimming a kilometre with no trouble.

On the day of the event there were no real nerves and even though the swell was up and the water cold we all got out bit done fairly easily. Sam and I swam the second leg for our teams and Ellie did the final leg. None of us set any records, but once it was finished we looked at the jetty differently.

Sam was the first to say it, ‘I reckon I could swim the whole thing dad…’.  As we chatted we realised we all felt we could probably do it – admittedly with a little more training.

If you had asked me prior to the weekend if I thought I would be able to swim out and around the jetty I probably would have laughed. It is 3.6kms – a fair swim by any stretch and well beyond me.

But having done one part of the swim and seen other people complete it, I think we all realised that it is quite achievable – if we were willing to give it a go – if we could get beyond the mental conditioning that had made us think it only for the elite.

It made me wonder how many challenges I fail to pursue because I have already written them off as too difficult, or how many opportunities I miss because I just can’t visualise myself getting there – because I have cast myself in a certain mould or because fear or laziness have taken hold of me.

Sometimes you just have to jump in, get started and then along the way discover that you are more capable than you realised. Of course it may not all go to plan, but that’s still a lot more fun than not even bothering.

So what’s the opportunity you are fudging on because you can’ see yourself pulling it off?…

What Kinda Year?

As we close the door on 2016 and begin 2017 its time for my own personal reflection.

The biggest shift for us this year was that our kids went back to school. It hardly sounds momentous, but after 6 years of homeskooling we had got into a pretty good groove with life, so having them re-enter the system has taken some adjusting to.

Danelle was the one who needed the break, as anxiety and related gut issues had got the better of her in 2015 and the change was forced on us as much as it was the right time.

The kids did really well at school, Sam being the academic he is and Ellie the hard worker, they both got really good results in their end of year reports. They have thrown themselves into all sorts of activities and have found their feet socially and academically. All that crap about home schoolers not being able to slot back in… yeah…

However it took Danelle a little while to adjust to the kids ‘not needing her’ as much, and to let them just get on with their own homework without her assistance. No such problems for me…

Back in January both kids got baptised, a beautiful day for us as parents. You always want to see your kids own their faith for themselves – and while I’m aware there is a long way to go in life – neither of them took the step lightly and both know what they are about.

Danelle’s anxiety eased as she settled into a new rhythm and she managed to get a better life balance for most of the year, including a day of work at the school, something she enjoyed immensely. We have both enjoyed making a more significant connection with the school community this year.

I started the year with some new found energy for leadership in the church scene and we enjoyed a really good year in QBC. Having made plans and formulated ideas at the start of each year I’m always amused to look back and see how the year actually turns out. It was a mix of ups and downs – we farewelled a number of people courtesy of the economic downturn, which was actually very sad as we are a pretty tight bunch, but by the end of the year the church had also grown quite significantly and on Christmas eve we were pretty much at maximum capacity for our auditorium.

I don’t put much stock in numbers and we haven’t chased them at all, so its been curious to see the church grow more this year than previously. I wouldn’t say it was down to our clever planning, but there is clearly some things people like about who we are. We’re still a pretty laid back family like bunch of people, raw and terribly unsexy, but I guess for unsexy people maybe that’s the appeal. No one to impress…

Late in the year we were given an opportunity to start an Out of School Hours Care facility in QBC in 2017. It was late August when we started into it, but even with the short lead time its now ready to go in Feb this year. When I say ‘we’, it was really Danelle and Janet who shouldered an enormous amount of work as they ploughed thru red tape and bureaucratic BS to finally get there. Its a significant project for us as a church community and not one we went into lightly. Both Janet and Danelle worked flat out for a few months and unfortunately in the process Danelle’s anxiety levels climbed, which aggravated her gut issues so that after 3 days on holidays she was in trouble. Its gently gently now as we try to get the job done without her being a mess.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My business slowed to a crawl in January and didn’t pick up again until September. It was wonderful… I realise that may sound weird, but once I got past being worried, I slotted into a new pace and found it suited me much better. Currently I am coming back after holidays and 4 very busy months (Sep-Dec) and while I was hoping for a similar downturn this year, I’m currently almost fully booked for January even before its started.  I’ve been sending back quotes that are significantly higher than usual and people keep on saying yes, so even when I don’t want the work I seem to keep getting it.

It would have been awesome 5 years ago, but right now my body is showing signs of wear and tear and I’m not sure how much longer I can sustain this. I used to consider giving it up from tiredness and sheer exhaustion, but this year I came back from mid year leave with screwed up knees after trying to get back into running and while they are still mending, my hands have struggled and got really sore from overuse. I’ve been popping anti-inflammatories for the last 6 months pretty regularly, but I’m just not winning.

Selling the business doesn’t excite me, nor does trying to employ someone. Its just so sporadic that I can’t guarantee work. I had hoped to take someone on last year, but when things died so quickly I had to let him go as there was barely enough work for me. I am wary of going that route again as its hard for everyone.

I’ve just started swimming again as prep for the Busso jetty swim in Feb and after a month of swimming my dodgy shoulder is just hanging in there. Just 1.5ks every couple of days seems to be as much as I can tolerate so hopefully I’ll get thru to Feb without too much pain. Its been great to do it with the kids and see them really improve their own performance and confidence. I wouldn’t say swimming is a Hamilton family speciality, but we are getting better as we go.

At the start of the year I changed cars again – from the classic 1987 60 series to the almost new Colorado and there have been no regrets there. I have to admit it is nice driving a car and never having to worry about ‘that noise’ or whether ‘its supposed to feel like that’, or whether its getting to the end of its life.. We also changed the caravan yet again for an expander with bunks. We are hoping this will be the last change until the kids are older. But who knows… Some days I think the caravan is wonderful and other days I look and see $35K gathering dust in my driveway and feel like its a stupid idea. A few bad experiences in caravan parks have left me re-thinking the whole thing a few times now, but letting the caravan go would be hard…

What does 2017 hold?

I’m not sure at all. I have felt change in the wind for a while now, but I still seem to keep on rolling with the same stuff. I’m not chasing anything new, but I get the sense that at least with retic is may get forced upon me.

I’m ready for some fresh inspiration, new vision and challenges, but I’m wary of just manufacturing those things. I’ve ‘been there done that’ and it usually ends up just being very wearying.

So that’s the year that was… and hopefully 2017 will be the breath of fresh air I’m hoping for.

The ‘Tamala’

screen-shot-2016-09-19-at-6-17-41-pmSam’s been asking for a ‘billy cart’ for a while now and last weekend he decided it was time to make it happen.

He downloaded a plan off the net and priced up the parts at Bunnings. It came to about $165.00, a bit more than I wanted to cough up for a cart, so we began to talk about other options.

As is often the case it was Tamala Park (the local tip) to the rescue!

We went there Sunday afternoon and picked up two old fridge trolleys – one for the wheels, axel and frame and the other just for the wheels and axel. The two trolleys cost $15.00 total.

If you really needed to buy wheels on their own then they are about $25.00 each in Bunnings (which is really bizarre because you can buy a whole trolley in Bunnings for $24.95…)

We hunted the furniture section of the tip for a plastic chair to use as a seat and picked a cool red seat for another $5.00.

Then we hit Bunnings for a piece of timber, some saddle clamps and fixings. We spent another $10.00, but truth be told I had most of the stuff in the shed and when you live in an area where there is lots of building going on you can pick up scraps of wood pretty easily.

From there it was all trial and error to get a finished product. Its a project that needs a little bit of adult input to angle grind and drill holes into steel, but the kids can also do parts of it and feel like they have achieved something.

This is the ‘instructables’ version using plywood as a frame – a fair bit more expensive than the ‘Tamala’ version

cart

Some basic instructions:

  1. Use an angle grinder to cut the top and sides off the trolley you will use as a frame
  2. Get your piece of timber for the front wheels and screw the axel to it using 18ml saddles. The width of the timber is worked out by putting the wheels on the axels and then measuring in between.
  3. Drill a hole in the front middle bar of the trolley to fix the front axel / wheels to. Make sure this is perpendicular to the frame or the wheels will sit wonky. (We messed it up the first time.)
  4. Drill holes in the timber for the rope and thread thru with knots on the underside.
  5. Use duct tape to attach the seat to the frame squarely and then drill some holes thru the seat into the frame and back. The use some self tapping screws with washers to hold the seat in place and you can remove the duct tape.

It took us an hour or so to make it – and probably as long again to gather the parts!

Not 21 Any More

Since the age of 30 I have struggled with tendonitis of the ilio-tibial tract, a fairly stock standard overuse injury for people who run a lot, like I used to and I haven’t been able to run for a couple of years. Recently that knee has been hurting just from everyday use so I decided to see what can be done. I went to see the Doc and explained that I was over the minor pain, but more than that I wanted to run again. I asked what can be done to ‘fix’ this permanently?

He mumbled and muttered and basically said ‘not much…’

So I pushed him harder – ‘If I had 100K what could be done to fix this and get me running again?’

He sent me off with a script for an ultrasound and a cortisone injection (which is now in the bin). He didn’t want to know and once I had realised that I gave up and went thru the motions of listening to him just to get the consult over.

Waste of time.

So I decided to go see my physio – Damian. I like him because he is a straight shooter and knows his stuff. If anyone can fix me, Damian can.

‘So Damian…’ I gave him the history, some of which he already knew and then asked, ‘what’s it going to take to get me running again? If it takes surgery and major effort then I’m pretty much ready to sign up.’

Thankfully he suggested surgery is the last thing I need and probably counter-productive, so both the wallet and the mind breathed a sigh of relief. But, he told me he reckons he can get me running again in a few months. Here’s his plan.

Step 1 is some good shoes. I have good shoes, and have always worn good shoes, but he recommended going to see some of his physio mates who own a running shoe store and getting some that really fit my ‘problem’. Ok – I can do that. Sounds easy.

Step 2 – interval training… I cringed. My last experience of intervals was when I was playing basketball and doing some serious sprint training. Intervals really kicks your butt. Damian’s intervals were 10 minutes walking, 3 minutes light jogging, 10 minutes walking 4 minutes light jogging followed by 10 minutes walking.

‘Are you serious?’ I asked. ‘That’s so lame… I will be embarrassed to even do that!’

Damian tells me, ‘Andrew – you’re not 21 any more. You’re 52 and your body responds differently to exercise. It will take longer to get there, but if we do this right you will get there.’

I just hear the words ‘walking’ and feel like my next step is a gopher. I have always run with the idea that ‘running is running’ and I may walk the dog, but that’s about it.

And then the final stage we are working on now is some exercise to strengthen the muscles that are allowing the ilio-tibial to be overworked in the hope of easing the strain on it.

My hope is that by January I will be able to run 5ks without pain. Then from there I’d like to run a half marathon ( but I think Damian might just say ‘one step at a time…’)

Its hard accepting that I am not 21 any more. I want to put on some shoes step outside and run 5ks. But I can’t.

My body reminds me often that my youth has gone, but I would like it to shut up and start behaving differently. I live in the confident hope that one day I will get a new body – whatever that mean and whatever shape it takes – and I am ready for it. But for now I’d like to ‘re-tread’ this one and get a few more ks out of it before handover.

 

I’ll let you know how I go…

 

Wussification

woosification

Don’t you just love your local Facebook community forums as places of thoughtful sensible adult interaction?

This photo appeared on one of our local sites recently and I had to withhold comment because anything I was going to say was not likely to be helpful. Its a photo of a group of school-kids from QBC kayaking from Two Rocks up the coast to Moore River with their Outdoor Ed teacher and two adult assistants.

From the hysteria on the Facebook page you’d think they were about to grow big beards and hop on a plane bound for Syria…

A bunch of kids were off on an adventure – doing something that will stretch them, challenge them and mature them, as well as teaching them some valuable lessons along the way. Remember when we used to think that was a good thing? Remember when setting young people a tough challenge was considered part of growing up?

It was before the wussification of young people began… before we started to worry that they might get cold, hungry, home-sick, that they might get wet or that they’d miss their ipad…

A bunch of young people who’d prepared for the activity, were doing it and today they will get back home – probably cold – probably hungry – probably wet, but tougher, tighter and better equipped to face many of the other challenges life throws at them. And it will form memories in them that will last for many years. I still bump into my ex school students from the days when I ran the survival camps and inevitably we go back there in our conversation – because those were valuable times… maybe not that safe… but then that was the 80’s.

When will we realise that cocooning young people does not prepare them for the world they are living in and that we do them a disservice by shielding them from struggle? But when we take them out of their comfort zones and push them to new limits they grow and flourish and become better people for it, and as a result we become a better society…

Great work Brock and crew – I hope my kids are out there one day cold, wet, hungry, weary, but tougher, sharper, better people for the experience!

‘Thwack’

images

 

 

 

 

 

 

Its the sound a disposable rubber glove makes as you try and slip it over your fingers on a humid day in Clarkson.

It was around 2pm. I had finished work for the day and just done the banking. I left ANZ and began to head up the street for an end of work-week coffee. As I walked I sensed something was going on, a small crowd gathering, a man striding off in disgust, shaking his head and then two police arrived on the scene to sort things out.

Just between Rivers and the library I saw the ‘problem’, a man standing there barefoot in tatty brown trakky daks drooping so low as to expose the fact he didn’t have any underwear. His top was a hoody opened up to expose a hairy gut and chest. His beard and long straggly hair didn’t look like it had seen a wash in a while and he stood there – not so much cornered, but in surrender as he wasn’t likely to escape any time soon.

As the police approached they asked him to make himself decent – to pull his pants up over his crotch. He consented, seemingly oblivious to the problem this may have presented. He looked weary, beaten, but also like this was a regular event for him – to be fronted by police, stared at by strangers, to be dishevelled and naked in public.

It was a sad scene, but the moment that struck a note deep in my soul was the application of rubber gloves to deal with the man. It gave a whole new meaning to untouchable.

Still pondering and wondering what this says about who we are now…

 

 

Lucky Faith

bible-verse-fortune-cookies-k365

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It can be a fine line between faith and superstition…

And we may not even realise that at times we cross over. How often have you heard it said (usually when someone is applying for a job or similar) ‘If God is in it then it will all work out – if not then its not his will’?

Really? Is that how it works? Sounds quite Islamic in tone, but for many this is how following Jesus can look.

Or when you miss out on buying that house you placed on offer on?… Then clearly it wasn’t ‘God’s will’ right? (Or maybe you just didn’t offer enough)

What about when you sense God leading you in a direction and you take the path and it doesn’t go well? Surely if God’s leading and we are following then all will go nicely?…

Yeah… Cause that’s how it worked out for Jesus’ first disciples…

There’s, the guy who tithes religiously and believes God will bless him with wealth – so when he doesn’t tithe he sees his lagging business as evidence of God’s judgement on him.

Why do we draw these conclusions? I imagine some of it is because we want to be part of a world where the divine is involved and that’s a good thing, but I imagine some of it is because we need an explanation for life’s twists and turns. We need a way of predicting outcomes in our world. We need security…

The problem comes in that when we develop either a fatalistic faith or a ’cause & effect’ faith we eliminate mystery from the equation and we veer dangerously into the superstitious. And security is funnily enough generally at odds with faith. That’s not to mention that we have to pin some stuff on God as ‘his will’, when in reality it may be at odds with all he hopes for.

Reality is we live in a screwed up world, so we simply can’t draw these simplistic conclusions no matter how they ease our troubled minds.

Sometimes you didn’t get the job because you’re a dick…

Sometimes your business can boom and you can give nothing away…

Sometimes … fill in your own story here… but let’s leave behind the childish equations that allow us to either manipulate God or explain him and lets accept that faith must go hand in hand with mystery and that’s a good thing

 

Car Insurance Tip

car

So I bought a car… Ok nothing new in that… I do it often

But I needed to insure it so I called the mob I am with (GIO) and their first quote to me was $1600.00. Really?…

I’m not 17, I haven’t been in jail… I have had one at fault claim in the last 5 years… Even though I paid for a no claim bonus protection it only applies to the ‘current’ policy, so if I take a ‘new policy’ I lose that advantage. That said if I switched the Cruiser policy to the Colorado it was still $1100.00 which seems like a lot.

A quick ‘compare the market’ check showed $900.00 as about average, which still seemed a bit high to me.

I went back to Progressive Online who we have our other car with and they came up with $825.00 so I bought it. Suddenly it seemed cheap!

But…

Then I got to pick the car up early and I needed to move the policy start date forward by one day. How hard can that be?

With Progressive you can’t talk to a real live human so I had to do the email thing.

Eventually my advice was to cancel the new policy and ‘add’ the new car to the existing policy. I didn’t know you could do that and I anticipated a nutso service charge (skeptic that I am).

Because we needed it sorted asap I nearly baled on them altogether, but just in time I found the necessary info, got the emails sorted and discovered that by ‘adding’ it to my other policy the premium was now $383.00

The policy is the same as GIO’s, but you just can’t speak to a human. I think I’m willing to take the gamble for the saving.

As for you ‘YOUI’… after 30 minutes on the phone of never ending questions… $1800 was never going to be considered a fair price. And you even sent me the quote via email just in case I changed my mind.

Possibly not…

So – I learnt something there and it might be useful to someone else. I suggested Progressive may want to let us in on the idea of ‘adding’ a car as cheaper as I instantly saved over $400 as a result.

So that’ll pay for some new car accessories!

But Because You Say So…

I woke this morning to a new year and began reading in Luke 5 where Jesus calls the first of his disciples and as I read I couldn’t help but notice his audacity in telling seasoned fishermen, who knew their stuff, but had caught nothing all night, to push their boats back out and give it another try.

Yeah right…

Simon frames their response well, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

What Jesus asks seems like foolishness to them. It flies in the face of their many years of experience and does not make any sense. Better to just go home and call it day, maybe wait for the tide to change and come back tomorrow.

Simon kinda makes that point, but then goes on to say ‘but because you say so we’ll give it another crack’. I’m not sure of Simon’s tone in that conversation – was he humouring Jesus? Deferring to him but inwardly believing he was wasting his time?

Clearly they weren’t.

But I’m less interested in the outcome of ‘so many fish that their boats nearly sank’, than I am in Simon’s recognition that Jesus is the one who calls the shots and our role is to listen – to be in a place where we can hear him – and then respond in line with what he asks. The reality is that sometimes Jesus asks us to put the boats back in the water and the result is not a huge haul. But what does matter is that we trust his voice – whether it makes good sense or not.

Its the question I find myself asking men all the time now, ‘What is God saying to you? What is he asking you to do?’ Because if you know that then your opinion, no matter how informed, is not an issue.

Sometimes he will ask you to fall in line with good sense, sometimes he will take you down a back road for no apparent reason. But if we genuinely believe that there is a God who interacts with us – who seeks to guide – then we do well to ask him what he wants of us.

Too much of our thinking is shaped by contemporary wisdom – by what is smart, expedient, financially prudent and so on, but these things aren’t always Jesus concerns.

I’ve been challenged numerous times lately to do things ‘because he says so’ rather than because they are in the best interests of what my culture tells me is important and I imagine its an idea we need to keep continually returning to if we are to live a life of faith rather than a life simply reliant on our own smarts.

 

 

 

 

 

A Week in the Life…

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.

Monday

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.

Tuesday

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.

Wednesday

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.

Thursday

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.

Friday

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…

Saturday

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.

Sunday

Church and chill

That’s the week… How’s yours looking?