Monday 10 February 2014

Relax? What's that?

My posts recently have fallen sharply into two halves; ranting at the Abbott government or self-indulgent whining about how hard life is.
Well here these two strands intertwine. (You knew I couldn't go one blog without moaning about the Abbott government, didn't you?)
I guess the pressure began last year when I received notification that the property on which my beloved tent was situated on, had been sold.
There were seven of us on the property and at first we hoped that it would be bought as an investment property and we would all be kept on with our combined rents paying the mortgage.
Sadly it was not to be and on New Year's Day I came bouncing down the dirt track to find a letter left on my porch saying we would have to vacate.
'Nuts', I said with some vehemence.
However, it was a slight improvement as not knowing is worse.
So with letter in hand I went in to the office to write my blog, and as usual moaned about my lot to my work friend Scott.
And just to show that moaning does have it's place, by a lucky coincidence, Scott, who manages an apartment complex, said, "Oh, that's a coincidence, Ruthy is moving out, do you want to take her flat?"
I jumped on the opportunity, and my acceptance was out of my mouth before my tongue got out of the way.
The new flat is great, but pricey, $250 a week, as opposed to $170 a week for the tent.
My beloved, (and very quiet) tent.
However, I was happy enough as Byron Bay has a housing problem like you cannot believe.
Essentially, Byron Bay is a suburb of Sydney.
It may be ten hours drive away, but everything else about Sydney is present, the traffic, the prices, the wankers and the lack of housing leading to steep rents.
But even then there was a complication, I couldn't take possession of my new flat until the 16th, and I had to be out of the tent on the 12th.
This left a four day lag where I was initially thinking of reliving my arrival on this coast by sleeping on the beach for the four days.
I wasn't looking forward to that, and so next time I was in the chemist getting the raft of supplements that keep me rolling, I had a moan to pharmacist Fleur.
Once again moaning got me an answer, Fleur very generously said I could come and crash at her place in Suffolk Park for the in-between period.
Again I was thankful I had learned how to moan.
Grateful though I was (and am) this did create the complication of giving me a two-stage move.
You may have heard the oft quoted stat that moving is as stressful as a death.
Scott thought it was the death of a spouse, I thought it was the death of a cousin, either way, it is pretty upheaving.
And so now I had the added complication of having to move my stuff all over town in sequenced drives to get the permanent stuff to the new place and store it, while keeping my day-to-day stuff, including my gardening equipment, handy at Fleur's to be used.
Then, while I'm planning all this, I got the next major shake up of my nervous system.
My business partner decided to fight the case I brought against him.
So I'll just bring you up to speed with that.
Two years ago I went into business with a friend to sell stand up paddle boards.
However things went very bad, very quickly, and the upshot was that I had to launch legal proceedings against my business partner.
I won't say too much about it, as it is always a dicey area legally, so I'll just say it was dispute over monies owed and possession of stock.
So I worked my way forward like the Ross Glacier, and eventually finally filed the requisite legal papers.
Like the Ross Glacier, I ground my way inexorably forward.
I thought my business partner would just ignore this and then I would get what's called a 'default', or 'no-defence' judgement, but then on the tenth of January, I opened my letter box to discover that he was going to defend the case and had included an angry rant at me in the defence document.
So now I had to go into overdrive with preparing for the court case.
I had to get bank statements, bills of lading, customs declarations, you name it, every piece of paper related to our shared enterprise going back two years.
All the while keeping my gardening business going, preparing to move and still trying to find time to surf.
I consider it a day wasted if I don't surf, so my already busy schedule was going into hyperdrive.
Then, while all this was going on I got the email from my mechanic saying my car was due for a service.
I had noticed a few things, mainly that it was making a noise more like a lion with a sore tooth than a quietly purring kitty cat, and so booked my car in as soon as.
My mechanic is at Clunes, about 30k inland from Byron, so even getting the car to, and then picking up the beast is another complication over and above the normal service, so I had to plan that.
I got it all together with an intricate mesh of lifts from friends and the local bus service and showed up when the service was over for another of those meetings with the mechanics we all dread.
This was no exception, Garry and Harvey the two senior mechanics had a tale of medium level woe for me.
The car needed new engine mounts, a new muffler (hence the lion-with-sore-tooth roar), and a more or less complete overhaul of the brakes.
This wasn't unexpected, the car is twenty years old this year, but all the same it always comes as a shock.
But I was happy to have this pre-warning as the opposite is worse, that is, never getting your car serviced, and then getting the full Monty of repairs needed when rego time comes around.
I talked with Garry about it, he made a good point, which was, no one really believes the bill for the car when it comes, and he opined this was because so much of the good work a mechanic does is invisible.
Head gasket is probably the best example.
Two thousand dollars later you get your car back and it looks exactly the same, the part replaced is now buried deep inside the engine which had to be wholly taken apart to fit the said gasket.
I fully agreed with hm and reinforced the argument with an example of my own, to wit, a bad back.
Many of you reading this, being mostly middle-aged, will have experienced this, and the image issue with backs is that the problem is invisible.
If you break your arm, the cast is there for the world to see and so no one quibbles with you about why you can't come to work.
If, however, you ring work and say that you have a bad back, the scepticism is rampant.
Additionally, another issue with backs is their unpredictability, Wednesday you can't work, but then Friday you're back doing a full productive day, only heightening the scepticism.
The lesson seems to be don't show up and do any productive days, but anyway you get the point, back pain is invisible like a mechanic's work.
Mechanics spend a lot of time justifying their bills, which doesn't seem fair.
The best known depiction of trying to save
money by fixing your car yourself.
I might add, Garry also pointed out that one of the reasons you (if you are sensible) pay a mechanic is for safety reasons.
Here in Australia, and many parts of the western world, you are considered less than manly if you can't fix a car.
I have long since learned this lesson: every time I tried to fix my car myself, I ended up a short time later having to have it towed to Garry's to get it fixed properly, now with the towing fee attached. So then, while all these attacks on my equanimity were firing relentless shells at my equanimity, I hear on the radio that the Abbott government is reviewing the disability pension.
For a long time I lived with the grinding poverty of the dole, $225 a week, while trying to run a car for my gardening and pay the rent.
It was a period of my life characterised by fear of ending up back on the streets and checking which tins of canned veges cost three cents less at the supermarket.
Then my case worker with my employment partner, CRS Australia, learned of my difficult childhood and helped me move onto disability pension.
This allowed me to escape the grinding poverty and gain some degree of relaxation.
In this new world order, I was able to fix my car and gardening equipment when needed, and without having to go without food.
In this new space I quit smoking, both pot and tobacco, and of course, best of all for me and society at large, give up drinking for good.
So now they are "reviewing" it, meaning that people like me, with no visible disability, are going to be right in the firing line.
Like the bad back mentioned above, I still face the stigma of being a malingerer, of there being nothing really wrong with me.
That I am just lazy and not prepared to work hard and pay my taxes to Australia and expecting a living to be given to me.
Well all I can say is that, I would happily go back to full-time work if first we can go back in time and remove the terrifying abuse that overshadowed my life for the ten years aged five to 15, and thus come to adulthood with the ability to deal with bosses without fearing being beaten up (my boss invariably becomes my mother or father in my mind, depending on sex).
So we go on, some argue that I should stop attacking the Abbott Government here in my blog, as this is genuinely sticking my head above the parapet,and when they "review" the DSP I'll be the first one "reviewed", AKA, kicked off the disability pension back to the dole, but all I can do in response to that is print here something I read once that is a decent philosophy for life.
I'm not sure if it is a genuine quote from 1938 Germany, but even if not, it is still very powerful.
"When they came for the Jews, I didn't stand up because I'm not Jewish.
When they came for the gays, I didn't stand up because I'm not gay.
When they came for the communists, I didn't stand up because I'm not a communist.
When they came for me, there was no one left to stand up."
Thus, all my petty problems are small compared to the insanity of dumping waste on the barrier reef.
So rich or poor, it's time for us all to stand up.


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