Blogs by Vena McGrath
15 January 2008
1/14/2008 1:49:13 PM
Where is this month going? It seems like yesterday when I was gearing up for Christmas and my much awaited holiday.
Tuesday morning, 8.51 am, 15 January 2008. I now have 2 weeks left of my break from work and can't believe where the time has flown. It seemed like a waste of all those recreational days I worked hard for, and yet I really did need a long break.
I went back to work for 3 days last week as I knew there would be a backlog of mail to be handled, and other work. We also had a new temporary receptionist starting work on 7 January when our office re-opened after being closed from 22 December. I was concerned that she was okay and that she would stay at least until I get back to work. Those 3 days were busy and I will be glad when I finally return at the end of the month for the hard slog again that I did go in and catch up.
But, I kept wondering as I sat at my desk those days, why I am always dedicated to my job when really no one cares but me if the work is done or not. There's a lot to be said for autonomy in the workplace and I certainly have that in my position (and thrive on it). But it becomes quite lonely too and it always seems that no one is interested in what I do unless they have a problem that needs me to solve it. I don't get asked how things are going; I don't get any pats on the back for a job well-done when in fact the work I do is an important part of our business unit. I suppose you can't have it both ways and the rest of the team are busy with their own jobs and issues.
Shaye wasn't happy when I put him outside of a morning and left him for the day alone. He loves it when I'm here, or my son, so he can just lay around inside and follow us around to make sure we don't disappear on him. My younger son has been visiting regular since Christmas, and staying overnight. He brings Kyna (now known as Lizzie) with him and she and Shaye are the best mates after a battle to get Lizzie to an age and size where Shaye doesn't frighten her. They play together outside and lie around together sleeping. When they are inside they are both well behaved and much loved by all of us. Shaye is having a couple of down days now because Lizzie was here over the weekend and has now gone to her home once more. It takes him a couple of days to stop pining for her.
My sons worked hard over the last weekend laying a floating wooden floor in the new home theatre room. It looks just wonderful and they did a very good job. The heat was almost unbearable all weekend but fortunately the new a/c in that room worked as required and kept them cool. The larger new a/c in the loungeroom that is supposed to cool the rest of the living area hasn't worked since it was installed. Electrolux have sent out a technician (on 18 December) but no one has been back yet to replace the faulty parts. I think the service stinks and they should have just totally replaced the outside unit when it was found to be faulty and has never been used. The heat of the last few weeks on and off has caused me no end of strife as I just can't cope with humidity. And with no air conditioner in the main part of the house, it's been hard to get through the days.
We have had some rain in the last couple of days with more to come later in the week which is good. Our dams are now at around 60% which is a great improvement. Queensland is getting a bashing with cyclones and storms and heavy rain with flooding all over the east coast of that state. I believe the Brisbane dam has gone up to close to 30% which again, is an improvement. I heard last night that they now have enough water to last until some time in 2009 when it will drop to 8% if there is no continuance of rain in the next year. Down south, in Victoria and then across to South Australia and Western Australia, the temperatures have been soaring with more hot days predicted this week. I don't envy them at all. Yesterday was supposed to be 21C in Sydney and as Sunday was 37C or more out here where I live, that was a huge drop. Today is expected to be around 26C so another nice, bearable day.
My boss just rang me. He returned to work yesterday. After he explained the predicament he was in, I offered to go in to the office this afternoon to help out with a few things that no one else knows how to do. They have to be done today so ..... See what I mean about dedication? I had one condition though ... I'm taking Shaye with me. I don't think he was too impressed but that's something he will have to get over because it't the only way I will go to the office today :)
From the news items I read this morning about the economy, it appears that this year ahead of us will be a hard one for many people, especially those with large mortgages. The Reserve Bank seems likely to keep raising interest rates to stop people spending. However if you have a fixed income that already is at the wall, where do you find the extra money? One place is of course the old plastic credit card and I imagine they will get a bashing as people try ot cope.
Greed in our society is huge and will bring most people to their knees. The dream of being a home owner is a big thing in Australia and I am one of those people. I hated any time I had to rent a home to live in and would rather pay my mortgage off than someone else's. I am fortunate that I have done all the hard years and don't have a mortgage but then I'm also facing having to retire in a couple of years so there won't be an abundance of money around to spend for me either.
I feel for all those people trying to cope as I remember all too easily how it was for my ex and for me to survive when our kids were young. We only had one wage and it wasn't a great one either. My ex was paid fortnightly and by that second week there was no money for anything until the next payday. But we did it and although the kids didn't have what the Jones' kids had, we always ate good home cooked food and had clothes on our backs and shoes on our feet. None of us went without what was important; we just didn't have things we may have thought were important.
Today it seems that very few families accept that they should go without luxuries and just get on with it being grateful to have a home and a car and food on the table and money to pay bills. The homes being built now are what I still consider 'mansions' compared to the small 3 bedroom, lounge, kitchen/dining, bathroom and one loo home that my ex and I bought. My son still lives there until the house has to be sold as it's part of the estate. I go there to see him sometimes and I look around and wonder how I lived there for 22 years in such a small area and brought up a family of 3 children. And yet when it was our home, we didn't think it was that small because it was all we had and we were so happy that it was our home (well the bank owned it for years of course).
One thing about it in those days. We accepted having second hand furniture and a black and white TV. We accepted having a fibro house and not a brick one that was a few thousand dollars more. We accepted that I should stay at home and bring up the children and be there for them before and after school and when they were sick or on holidays. The fact that we bought a home that we could afford to buy so long as nothing went wrong, made the difference. The fact that we didn't worry about what others had that we didn't have, helped us get through those years without jealousy of others. Whatever we eventually were able to buy was treasured and there was always such excitement for all of us. I remember those years with much pride and a sense of real achievement for a job well done.
For anyone who may read my rantings today, I wish you well for this year and hope that any hard times that you may have to face you can find your way through without despair. I know it's easy for me to say that from where I'm sitting in 2008, but I have been back there in those hard days and believe me, compared to today, they were just as hard. Many do not believe that; they seem to think that in the 60s we had it easy. I don't recall what easy was. I cook cook, I could sew and knit and I earned my place by saving money doing all those things. Today it's a much different world and I often wonder if it's a better world or if turning the clock back 40 years would make a lot of people much happier.
Personally I believe that I was born into a wonderful time in Australia and my memories now are good ones, even about the hard times. I am glad that I am not among those millions facing the very real possibility of losing their homes. I also realise that the type of home we bought no longer exists and the only way to own your home is to buy something that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. Back to the greed factor of the builders that are multi millionaires and the banks that won't lose out either way because they have invested in property.
And so on it goes and I must away.
Until next time, take care.
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