Monday, 7 July 2014

We've got holes in our hearts, we've got holes in our lives.

Listen to the song.
And I'll tell you what else has got holes, is every piece of damn clothing I own.
Another blog moaning about how poor I am, but with I hope a soupcon of wry humour to offset the whingeing.
The title of this post is the first lines of the chorus of the song by Passenger.

Like most of my interaction with new music that is known by the younger set, I heard this song in the gym.
Many of the other, older gym patrons, dislike the modern fangled music, and I'm generally the same, but every so often a piece of music comes on that I appreciate, and so it was with this song, Holes it's called.
I like the whole song, but was particularly taken with the line, "when you've nothing, you've got nothing to lose".
While I agree with the philosophy, I can assure you that it's a lot more comfortable to philosophise from much higher up the money tree.
It's winter on the coast, and that means much less gardening to do, so I go into my yearly downturn and once again have to check the prices at Woolies to see which cans of beans cost three cents less.
What's more I nearly gave birth on Thursday last week when I checked the fluid levels in my car, and the radiator needed more liquid than normal.
God knows what that is, hopefully just a leaking hose, but anyway I've had to put my car in for a service, and had to borrow the money to pay for it from pharmacist Fleur.
Which in its way is a valuable thing to do, because it teaches me the value (and all men could really learn this lesson) of asking for help.
The romanticised view of men, particularly in the movies, is only one man can save the Earth, and he does it alone, without help, by cutting all the corners, and bucking authority.
Well here in the real world, it can't be done.
We need to ask for help throughout our lives.
Things began going, sorry, continued to go downhill for me financially about two posts ago, when I reported that I lost my glasses to stomping on the side of the soccer field in Bangalow, and then had to but a new battery for my car in the days soon after.
That then led me to take stock of my meagre possessions.
So here is the poverty list.
As you can see in the picture, my wetsuit is held together with cable ties - and it was the cheapest one I could find at the hock shop in the first place.
Guess you get what you pay for, although I didn't help myself by cutting the legs off at the knees to make knee guards for soccer.

Here are my bike pants - this crazy view shows that indeed not only do we have holes in our hearts, and holes in our lives, but in my case, holes in my pants.
Then already struggling to make ends meet, I was making dinner the other night when the damn saucepan feel apart in my hands.
I leapt backward like a reverse Ninja, and managed to escape third degree burns, but was then left without a useable spinach cooking device.
So, I had to then set to and repair my saucepan before I could eat.
Who else do you know that can't even prepare a meal without having to resort to running repairs?
Elsewhere, we had a period of rain up here and I went out to do my nighttime check on the car.
I wore my Ugg boots, and they got wet, or rather my right Ugg boot got particularly wet.
When I got back inside I decided I was damned if I was going to sit there all evening with wet socks, having no heater I then struck upon the brilliant idea of putting my Ugg boot in the oven.
This I duly did, turned the dial to 200 degrees and let 'er rip.
It did work, the boot was certainly dry, but what it also now was, was two sizes smaller.
It had shrunk.
After some time wrestling with the thing at the end of my leg, I realised that my only solution was to cut it open to allow my foot ingress, this I duly did and got the thing back on my foot.
It does still work, for warmth, but the now open lower shin bit lets the draft in, so now I have to wear socks with my Uggers to ensure that I am remotely warm at the southern end of my body.
Also in this photo, you can see another symptom of my poverty, those plastic pots around the end of my chair legs.
What happened was that my friend Crazy Russell, I can call him that, as we refer to me as Loony Lachlan, gave me this chair as a house warming present when I moved into the flat from the tent.
Trouble was that the rubber feet on the chair quickly gave out, as I scraped the chair back and forth to get it into comfortable position.
The black line in the foreground of the photo shows the gaps between the tiles on my floor.
In these cracks the now unshod feet of my chair would catch, and it led me to go over backwards one evening.
Sadly, I was too embarassed to take a pic of myself, stretched out on the floor, but take it from me, the floor was just as hard as the concrete I landed on at force ten when I came off my bike.
So I picked myself up and realised that I had to reshoe the feet of my chair to not catch in the cracks.
I tried a few things, but none of them stuck, till I hit on the idea of these pots.
It doesn't look great, but it does work.
Since I have no social life, and therefore few house guests, presentation is not an overarching worry, so I can now scoot around the house while seated without going over.
Then with the Tour de France on, I once again got excited about cycling, so I went out for a ride.
This was also good therapy for my injured knee.
I got my $30 bike, bought from the side of the road, out, and went off pedals flying.
As I took the first hill the chain jumped and got caught between the cogs and locked the whole thing up, nearly wrenching my damn leg off at the knee.
Thankfully, as I was just starting on a hill, I was going slowly, and I didn't fall off, but I took a look at the rear gear assembly and found why the thing was on sale on the side of the road for thirty dollars.
Some previous owner had crashed the thing, and the rear gear derailleur was bent.
"Oh for fuck's sake", I said to myself and a passing Ibis, the only other life nearby, "can't I buy anything that can be used, without having to stop and repair it in situ?"
Apparently not.
Anyway I jury-rigged it and then went back home.
About a hundred metres from the chain-lock incident site, I went to have drink of water, and realised that the shock of the catching chain had broken my drink bottle holder loose.
I turned around and went back and picked it up.
I carried it home under my arm.
When I got back, I got out my tools and went to reattach the drink holder, when I realised that the two screws that hold it to the bike frame had come out and were now lying on the ground somewhere near the crash site halfway to Ewingsdale.
Me (l), McKayhi and Dingo making
use of all the room my living room had.
"Fuck", I said with some feeling, well I wasn't going back to get them, and so now my bike joins the almost innumerable list of things that I own that are held together with tape.
So in general things are pretty much as normal in my life, riding around on two or four wheel vehicles that involve considerable mental strength to not panic over every clunk and rattle, wondering if I have to stop and fix it, or worse, pay for repairs.
On the up side, with the advent of the soccer world cup, a couple of my old friends from uni, Mckayhi and Dingo, came up to visit.
Both these guys are on the almost limitless list of people who have loaned me money, and so I was happy to see them.

I played soccer with McKayhi, and cricket with Dingo.
So we got into the flat and watched some soccer.
A good time was had by all, and a good test of how many people the flat could hold.
As you can see in the pic, it was cold.
Of course nothing like as cold as the old home town, Bathurst, where men's scrotums don't descend until they're 60, but cold enough for the sub-tropics.
Dingo knows how to surf, well, he can ride a long board, but McKayhi didn't and one of the things we were going to do was teach him how to surf.
However, the problem was we only had two wetsuits, and so either Mckayhi, or me, could surf, but not as the same time.
So I got on with my writing and sent the two of them off to the ocean.
Once they were accoutred for the task, they came around to my desk to give me the keys to the flat.
And I took this photo of them clowning on the footpath.
They nearly went like that, but it was just lucky that when I looked at the photo that I noticed that Mckayhi had my wetsuit on inside out.
I was sorely, sorely tempted to let him go like that and then wait for the report when they got back on how he went on trying to zip it up with the zip on the inside.
However, as I owe Mckayhi money, or more actually, he's a good friend, I thought I better not let him catch hypothermia with an unzipped wetsuit, and so told him of the error.
The wetsuit duly righted they went on their way, and I went back to work.
Some time later they returned in the hands of the emergency services with severely frost-bitten limbs.
Not really, but it was cold, one of the reasons I chose to work at my remotely warm desk, rather than brave the ocean.
Dingo and Mckayhi went surfing...
Mckayhi bought me a really useful gift.
When it came time for them to go home, Mckayhi offered me a gift in thanks, and while I was sorely tempted to ask for a) a new bike, b) a new car, and c) a new computer, I kept my avarice in check and instead asked for a pair of fingerless gloves to allow me to blog through the winter, without losing a finger to the cold.
So having the lads here had filled a small hole in my life.
What's more, Mckayhi still enjoys a beer in moderation, but didn't drink anything while he was staying with me.
It's great when friends have that understanding and don't put pressure on a recovering alcoholic.

Sunlight through the hose spray.
And so now to return to the start and the song by Passenger, the full chorus goes, "we've got holes in our hearts, we've got holes in our lives, but we carry on".
And in the end that is all we can do.
I can report to you from the bottom of the money tree that things are cyclical.
Although poor (at the moment) I have been able to learn that things always turn around.
So with the lads back in their home towns, it was time for me to get back to work.
So I went and did the watering at one of my gardens.
And in so doing I was reminded of why I became a gardener.
As I watered I became aware of the beauty around me in the garden, and that helped take my mind of the perpetual state of poverty that I inhabit.
This garden is a mix of sub-tropical and temperate plants, all beautiful.
The Camelias were flowering, and that made me happy.
And I was in luck this day, for the Cameilas were flowering.
I don't know why this happens, but somehow up here many annual bloomers choose Winter to flower, in a total reversal of the normal order of things.
But whatever, it made me happy to see those oh-so-beautiful crimson blooms.
Also please note, I am wearing my bike helmet in the photo simply because I had forgotten to take it off, I wasn't wearing it for safety reasons.
Mind you, the way things have been going lately, that's probably not a bad idea.

Car update - and a lesson in the torturous nature of OCD

While I was writing this I got a call from my new mechanic Paul.
He had done the pressure test on my car, and the problem was that the top radiator hose was perished.
That is great news, as it meant a relatively simple repair.
I mention that because it showed that I did the right thing by putting the car in for a service the moment I noticed something iffy.
The down side is that because my obsessive checking of the car had found something, it has set up a new spiral of checking in my mind.
Now I fear that I will have to check every damn system the car has before I drive kilometre one, and who's got time for that!
But there was a secondary up side to this putting the car in for a service.
Paul couldn't get it back to me on the same day, and so rang me to ask if it was okay to keep it in for the night.
I said "fine", and then went back to my desk.
Last night as 7pm rolled around, I jumped up to go and do my evening car check.
Then I remembered that the car was out at Paul's, and so for one evening I was spared the brain-locking minutes staring through the driver's side window of my car frantically trying to convince myself that the car was in park, and the hand brake was on.
So the lesson from this post seems to be that everything in our lives is cyclical, and there is an upside to everything.
So if there is a hole in your life, and a hole in your heart, it will turn around, the hard part for all of us is believing that, but we move along.

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