Thursday, May 29, 2008

Crisis hour!

Well, maybe not quite. But it may as well be. Remember I moaned about having to do that 6 hour meeting last time? Guess what, I've got to do it again. This coming Monday. Oh, it's so good to be me!

I'm hoping that now it's Thursday, things will get back to a more normal keel. Monday was not good.

Rocked into work after the conference, and straight into the meeting that I had to organise while away. And guess what. Seems I wasn't popular because I didn't organise tea/coffee for people when they arrived. Morning tea wasn't long after, so I didn't bother. BUT! I also forgot the data projector..... And we're off to a good start.

Then, I get a phone call. One of the GTs I had to organise travel for, while away, didn't get registered for his conference. It was panic stations because he couldn't attend without being registered. The corporate card I would have used to pay the registration was maxed out and totally useless. What to do, what to do.... I eventually found a solution, but meantime the GT wanted to register. He used his own. Now I am trying to organise a refund to put it against a different account. *sigh* When I break things, I really break things.

There were a couple more things that went badly wrong that day as well. I was nearly ready to pack up and go home.

It's evened out a little now. Hopefully the rest of the week won't be bad.

We have a visitor on the weekend. Just for something different. I haven't met this one and I am hoping we'll get on well. We've chatted online and not often. He's a friend of Sunny's. He seems nice. And his visit could be good for Sunny. Sunny is in transition from one medication to another, and he isn't having a good time of it. Hopefully this visit will help distract him.

The Elder is looking to have some people over this weekend for the Teen's birthday. Nothing major, but we were looking not to have any of them sleepover. The thought was that maybe the Teen could sleep over at one of their places after the bbq. We will have to see how that one pans out.

All I can say is, roll on weekend. Next week, don't come! I don't wanna do that meeting....

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Conference. Part 3. For the slow readers

WEDNESDAY: Back at the booth again this morning. I'm supposed to be off. She's late. And then I'm told that the one thing I want to see, I might not be able to see after all? WTF? No way. I'm going. We would be doing 'bump out' which is an optimistic way of saying Pack-up-the-stand-we're-outta-here.

MOTH went home this morning...

Back up to the boys room to work on the catering for a meeting next Monday. Sometimes, it just never seems to end. What? No free icecream? The fridge is empty?! I hate Wednesdays when the conference winds down.....

Back on the booth for the afternoon. We started the pack up. I let her take the lead - there's less trouble I can get into that way. I was just thinking I had managed to get through the conference without being taken to task, when presto! Things back on an even keel.

Did get to see the panel. About a dozen speakers, with 3 speaking for the side. Not the same 3 each time mind. Questions were posed, and each of the 3 chosen speakers had 1 minute to put their point across, either for or against, depending on their stance. Some of the panelists were very acerbic and funny at the same time. It was hosted by Adam Spencer. A geek from ABC shows.

Wednesday night was state of origin. They usually put on a bit of a beer and pizza night and set up the big screen. The food was good - pizza, chips, salads, quiche, pies. And beer, wine and softdrink. After packing up, I went back to the room. Kinda empty and lonely without MOTH. I ran the spa, added bubbles and light cubes. Grabbed the vodka cruiser Sunny gave me before I left home, and a couple squares chocolate. Oh, and don't forget the sudoku puzzle book. Soaked in the tub, tv on loudly in the next room, playing some stuff on the Foxtel Music Maxx channel.

When I was dressed, I flopped out backward on the bed and played a while with the iPod. Next thing I know, I awoke and it's 7.20pm. The function started at 7pm. I wandered down, and feeling kinda mellow, grabbed a slice of pizza and sat crosslegged on a chair against the wall. By myself. In my own space bubble. I sat for a little while, and was joined by Mz & Mr M. They amused me for a while then we were joined by Uncle. He was feeling mellow too. He told me. We chatted for a while, he showed me photos of his godsons, his wife and his puppy. He left after a time, and I decided that I would leave too. I wandered outside and discovered that Uncle hadn't left yet at all. He offered to escort me to the lifts. He left on his floor with a goodbye kiss on the cheek and a pat on the knee. Naaawwwwwwwww.

THURSDAY: Tutorials today. Got through the first one. A tute about digital forensic evidence in court. Presenting expert reports.

Had to have a go at chairing for the second one. I've never done that before. It's scarey. I have to get up in front of everyone, introduce myself, give the housekeeping notices, introduce the speakers and at the end, thank them and present them with their gifts. This tute was a week workshop squeezed into one afternoon. Rushed!

Tonight, we are off to see Indianna Jones and the Crystal Skull. The movie was very formula IJ and I really enjoyed it. Best part was, I flashed the discount card I use at a different cinema, and they accepted it!

FRIDAY: Today is an all day tute. I'm not sure if I can manage it, it looks a bit techie. But I'll give it a shot. Maybe I can shoulder surf with one of the GTs.

Come morning tea time, I had to check out. I looked to put my stuff in the boys room with theirs. I had a laugh though. My suitcase looked really tiny compared to theirs. I thought boys travelled light, and girls did not.

Survived the tute. And had a great time too. I really did enjoy this one. And I got to see some techie software tools I would never have normally seen.

Travelling home this evening. With one of the GTs and an IRT driver. In a fairly small car.

And I got home, and ran into a very, very enthusiastic greeting from Sunny. And slightly more subdued from MOTH and the Teen.

It's good to be home....

Monday, May 26, 2008

Conference Part 2. There could be a few parts to this!

MONDAY: Awake bright and early. After an early night. True. I was in bed by about 12.30am or so. Breakfast comes supplied with the room, so I sent MOTH down to claim it.

Down to the stand to finalise the set up. I think I have this morning off. Off the stand that is, I still have plenty to do. Travel! I can't even escape it this week. I've got to email the travel agent, check to see if the tickets have been sent. Book accommodation and get the itinerary finalised. And no computer to do it with. Looks like I will have to rely on the generousity of the GTs. Up to the boy's room. Grab a free icecream on the way. Settle in and oh no! I can't log on! It takes the GTs about 20 minutes to get it sorted out.

MOTH had been out for the day doing his committee stuff. Got back to the hotel though in time to come down and pop his head in. They did give him a delegate day pass though for some reason, so it ended up that he had a conference bag and everything. He had a great time, going round the stalls looking and begging for free stuff.

The function tonight is the Sponsor Cocktails. The theme this year was a birthday party. My employer has been in operation for 15 years. The boys were given pointed party hats; girls had tiaras. Kiddies ones I might add.... One of the speakers is a bit of a character, and ended up placing his party hat on his groin.

Had to quit early though! I developed a very severe headache. It was getting to the point of making me feel sick and I had to leave. It was 7.30pm! Grrr. And on the way back to our room, while talking to MOTH I remembered that I was still wearing the tiara. I took it off, and presto! The pain started to ease off. Well, don't I feel stupid??? Still crashed when I got back to the room though.

TUESDAY: Working the morning 'shift' on the stand today. MOTH went down for breakfast; I had noodles. In the room. He was back from breakfast before I went down to the exhibition. Wow, that was quick!

I spent the afternoon in the boys room. Grabbed an icecream on the way. Again. Boy, will have to stop this or I won't be able to fit in the car when I leave. Took the iPod headphones with me so I could type stuff for the Project Manager. I need to type meeting minutes for her. Apparently I did such a good job of the last lot, I get to do them again. *sigh* Just shows that doing your job well is often rewarded with more work. I didn't get as much done as I had hoped; I have to keep rewinding the recording so I can pick up what is being said.

Gala (galah) dinner tonight. They are having it at the hotel. I would have preferred the original option, which was stuff at Dreamworld/White Water World, but one of the Managers on the organising committee spat the dummy big time. He didn't like the idea of water or rides. But on the night, it did turn out to be a little cold by the hotel pool. I managed to snaffle a free ticket for MOTH. Meals were served 'alternate drop'. For the uninitiated, that means there are two options on the menu and you get one or the other, depending on what the person next to you was given. So, MOTH had lamb, I got salmon. Dessert was a really rich mudcake square. I couldn't finish it..... Waitress was serving at our table. Some of the young boys at the table were flirting terribly. They thought she was hot.

The entertainment for the evening was Tripod. Headed up to the Hydrate bar after the dinner. MOTH headed for our room.

Oh, did I mention glo-sticks? Yes, glo-sticks. We had them.

GCee was there, resplendant in skirt, soft fuzzy top, sandals, painted toenails. I would have stopped to chat, but she and another female were leading some chap about, 'chained' up with linked glo-sticks. I was wary of the gimp. Mr M swore later that she tried to pick him up at the bar. Uncle and I weren't too sure if he'd misread the situation or not. We felt it was too soon after the coming out for her to start doing that to people she knew from her previous life.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

A long, long post about conferencing...

SATURDAY: I didn't keep a journal to start. So I decided to write this while I was in the middle of tutorials. The following Friday.

We arrived at the hotel about 2.30pm and checked in. I think we had the same room we did last year - high floor away from the lift. It's the corner spa suite and the room is fantastic. Ooohhhh look, that's a big telly! The bed is huge!

Had a meeting with the boys to do a brewery tour. Headed down to the lobby to meet with them. Talked MOTH into driving us out. Found the Burleigh Brewery. Set in the middle of an industrial estate. Right across the road from the headquarters of a local bikie gang. Tried a sampler of three different types of beer - mid strength, european style and pale ale. Loved the pale. Look out for it people; Duke's pale ale, coming soon to a bar near you.

It stormed just before we left to go back to the hotel. It was just MOTH and I for the return trip, aaaannnnnddd ... we got lost on the way back. *sigh* And we couldn't find an undercover park either. We ended up parking near though and made a quick dash through the sprinkles. Up to the room and room service for the evening. I had fish and chips from the kids menu, MOTH had a beef burger. Oh, and I had dessert - chocolate tart with chocolate icecream.

SUNDAY: I had to work. And since registration was to open at 8am, I thought I had better get myself down and get set up. At 7.30am. Down I went with my bundle of stuff, and hey! The path is blocked off! I evenutally had to go down a level, along the corridor past security, and up a level. Spent the day outside the room. Missed almost every presentation bar one, and it wasn't very interesting. Uncle was back from Great Britain. He's older, a gentleman. I was asked later if I had seen his presentation. Nope. I was busy playing firewall, steering folks away from that end of the conference exhibition, and down a level to the registration desk.

Met a lovely young lady who was waitressing. She shall be called ... Waitress. There. Score one for originality. She loved my hair and we got to chatting.

Sunday after the workshop, I went to help finish setting up the booth. Yay, it was complete. And I didn't have to lift a finger.

Sunday evening is the Welcome reception. This is the function put on to welcome the delegates. Free food, free beer, free wine. What more can you ask for? I spent most of my time with the Divine Mz M and her partner who is a member of the GTs. Love those two; we get along so very well. There was plenty of food circulating. Oh, look, something shiny. Nope ... just a cute waiter.

Up to the hotel restaurant for more drinks and snacky food. I was introduced to one of the speakers whom I shall call Frodo. Then down to the Hydrate bar for even more fun and alcohol.

GCee arrived at the bar. We'd only just found out about the whole gender issue. I think that coming out at a function like this takes a whole lot of courage. There are about 1000 people who attend over the three days. At the end of the evening when everyone dispersed, she gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek. I confess surprise; I didn't think we had known each other that well in her previous life. Not repulsed, just surprised....

Monday, May 12, 2008

So long and thanks for all the fish!


It's Monday. And the start of a very hectic week. Maybe Mother's Day should be timed a little better. Like, when I'm awake.

This is the lead into conference week. And everyone seems to want everything done yesterday. And the list of things I have yet to do seems to grow even longer. Lets see ... organise travel for mid week; organise a roster today; proof a document against a paper copy today.

I'm hoping that I don't forget anything.

I shall be out of range for a week. Since I don't have a laptop and all. No mySpace, no msn, no blog.... Definitely the black hole from hell!

My Mother's Day weekend was surely fine and dandy though, thanks for asking! And if you didn't ask, I'm telling anyway.

Friday night was a little disappointing. The Teen had been copping some attitude and I had decided that a couple of days at her friend's houses might be good for both of us. We dropped her off there, but I still did feel a little bad that it had come to that.

Saturday was much better! I seem to recall some calm and peaceful. Of course, that could just be wishful thinking, and it was just uneventful. But the kid's were taking me clubbing so I was wound up all day.

We were ready a little early, which in itself is quite surprising! Sunny was eager to be out and about, so we left home. I'd never been to the Beat before. Neither had Sunny. In fact, it was his first time clubbing. We arrived, flashed our id. Yes, me too. And entered. Only to discover that they weren't stamping or giving pass outs before 12.30. Sunny was soooo disappointed. He desperately wanted that stamp.

But, once in, we were stuck. And it was way too early for any peeps to have arrived. I thought Sunny was going to be withdrawn and somewhat cranky, but I managed to distract him long enough to go exploring. The place is quite large, and up the stairs and bridge, I found a bar. I leaned over the railing and told the Elder. Drinks? Sure, I'm there and she almost flew up the stairs. So we sat at one of the tables. Closest to the bar. And waited for everyone to arrive.

Eventually, someone decided to come over and chat. Because he liked the leggings that Elder was wearing. Black with skulls and crossbones. And we made new friends. And passed the time while we waited for the crowds and other friends who were meeting us there.

They eventually arrived, along with a couple of others we hadn't met before. And the boy was adorable! Sparkling. And he said he's seen me round campus. I'm guessing the purple hair might be a little hard to miss..... Not much taller than me, good conversationalist, good looking, and dances really well. Defs alternative!

And I could have danced all night. Elder doesn't dance, but did make some small effort. Actually, for her, a huge effort. And Sunny loves the dance floor.

He was pilfered by someone he knew. Quite rudely. A Someone who was determined to have him all to himself. By this time, Sunny was well under and Elder and I weren't completely sure that he wasn't in a condition to be taken advantage of. He swears later that he knew what was going on *grin* but it was his first time clubbing after all. And Someone knew how to take advantage I suspect.

However, by the wee small hours, like 2am, Elder had had enough and wanted to go home. We had yet to find Sunny - Someone had led him off somewhere. We hunted high and low and finally found them in a dance area we hadn't been to before. And guess what, the music in that one was a little better than where we had been. Darn. Wish I had found it earlier! I'm not altogether sure that Sunny was ready to come home, and Someone definitely wasn't ready to let him go.

But that's one of my rules. You come out with me, and you go home the same time I do, or I go home the same time you do. I don't let you find your own way home. Never. If you want to find your own way home in your own time, then I'll meet you out.

Elder was defs not impressed with Someone, and was thinking that he was going to lead Sunny astray. And he asked her if Sunny could stay. She said no. Of course she would.

I had SUCH a great time though. I would go again. If they asked me.

The taxi home cost $55 - ouch! - and it was about 3am. Sunny cooked ravioli. We crashed on the couch and watched a movie. Sunny firmly stated that he was going to pull an all nighter because he wasn't sleepy at all. And promptly fell asleep. I watched for a while then escaped to bed at nearly 5am. I was up again at around 7-7.30ish.

The presents for Mother's Day were beautiful. Sunny gave me his first - a tall ceramic cat, painted a dull gold with a long neck. I hung some of the beads from the night before around it. I have name it Kat, which is short for Salem..... And never mind the other one he gave me before Mother's Day. A beautiful silver cross with lots of bling. I wear it most every day. Cause it just goes with everything.

Elder and Teen gave me 'combined' presents. Elder gave me a ring. Wow! It's a delicate band with a small teardrop red stone. There are diamond chips around the pointed end of the stone. Oohhh and it's a tiny bit too large. I'm not sure to get it resized, or find some small plastic to wrap around the band to make it snug. And Teen gave me the matching earrings.

I am soooooo happy.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Don't know if I've mentioned this before, but...

I might have mentioned it before. I think I have. But I can't be arsed checking through the backlog of entries to find out.

I has a mySpace. Yes, I'm sure you knew that. I check it regularly. Maybe a little too regularly. Mostly at work. But shush, don't tell anyone. That's just between you and me. And the geeks who check the access logs.

Once upon a time, checking this mySpace, I chanced across a notification of a blog. Done by mySpace Australia. Mums on mySpace. They say curiosity killed the cat. And satisfaction brought it back. I went for a look.

I left a comment. Nothing much, just a line to say I have one to keep up with the kids. And that I thought the Teen didn't mind too much.

Suddenly, from out of the blue, I'm contacted by the Aussie Hub mySpacer letting me know that they were contacting some of the mum's who had left comments. Would I be interested in providing comments and possibly sound bites for media? Ummm *aprehensively* sure, why not? The chances of that happening were kind of slim to none.

I've been contacted a couple of times since by the mySpace Australia PR people to check that I'm still with it and that they have all my contact details. And if they could pass them on to any media that might be interested in doing a story about mums who use mySpace. As a kind of Mother's Day thing. Sure. Not a worry. Like, that's not going to happen, right?

Wrong. So very wrong. I had a phone call today from a reporter from the Sattelite. A small paper with local circulation. Let's do an interview. Oh, and I want a picture. W.T.F. ? Oh, and can we do it tonight? *panics* Ok, sure.

So we did. He turned up, chatted to Sunny and I. He didn't know what he was supposed to be doing - he'd been given the assignment, but no brief! *shakes head at incompetent bosses* So we talked for a while, and he was quite impressed that quite a few of the younger kids I have as friends call me Mum. And that others who aren't mySpace friends call me Mum.

And even more impressed that the kids are taking me clubbing for Mother's Day.

Just as an aside, I think the date was coincidental.....

However, the article, if it makes the grade, is supposed to be in next Wednesday's issue.


Sunday, May 04, 2008

I love long weekends. Don't you?

Well, I think I've managed to put a full weekend in. Monday is Labour Day. A public holiday. And while I'm thankful, it's a pain not having any shops open! That means I have to find some way to keep myself amused. Hmmmm.....

And what a weekend it's been so far. Here's a brief update. Ok, I know. Since when have I ever been brief?

Friday night showed promise. I think I may have stated before that Sunny and Blondie have not been on the best of terms. Things deteriorated even further. And I didn't think that was possible.

Something set Blondie off. Down the hallway he stalked, straight into the room Sunny shares with the Elder. And started. By the time the Elder's new friend turned up, he was in full swing. *groan* He backed off, and was quiet for a time.

So, we met Elder's friend. He's certainly different from her usual choice! His skin is olive. His hair is black. His eyes are an amazing blue with long black lashes. He wears eyeliner. He paints his nails black. He has skin ink, loves bundy and jack. And he shall hereafter be referred to as Jack. And plays lead guitar in a partially formed band. There are only 2 remaining at the moment. Wonder what that says about their music!

He smokes like a chimney. He's polite. Goes outside to smoke. Respects her wish for him not to smoke in the car. Hates drugs. Swears a lot. But not loudly spoken. She was so nervous - Sunny had made it quite clear that if he didn't approve and she chose to continue the friendship, then it would put a great strain on her relationship with him. He explained that it would mean to him that he wouldn't feel comfortable spending time with the two of them etc... I still thought it a touch selfish and controlling, but I guess I can see his point.

After meeting with Jack, Sunny and I decided he needed to get out of the house and took a walk to the park. We weren't gone long. At least, I didn't think so. When we got to the driveway, I went to walk inside. Sunny suddenly stopped and asked where had the Elder gone? Gone? I dunno. Why did he think she was gone? He'd gone to step around the end of the volvo, and noticed it wasn't there. I'd gone straight past the invisible car, and hadn't even noticed it was missing!

On our return, we decided to share around a bottle. I haven't been that drunk for a loooong time. But I sure as heck had a good time. For a while. In the brief period of time between imbibing and the nausea kicking in! 

Jack ended up sleeping over. I don't know what he thought, because at around half 2 am, Blondie decided to tackle Sunny again. And they had this huge discussion with complete disregard to who may have been about. It was the last straw for me. 

Saturday dawned and Blondie and Sunny had decided to ignore each other for now. The day passed quietly - Blondie slept until late. We popped out on some errands leaving Blondie at home. When we came back, he was playing music. A little loud, but Sunny bit as soon as he walked in the door. He came across as quite abrupt. I don't know if it was intentional, but it didn't sound good. Blondie bit back. Of course he would. And when Sunny's phone went off a bit later, yelled that it was too loud. Too much for me - I tapped him on the shoulder and shook my head.

Some little while later, I was in our room. Blondie started bluntly asking me what that was all about. I remarked that I didn't want the argument to continue, but he shook his head and let me know he was asking about Sunny's behaviour. How can you tell someone that the person who asked him to stay can't tolerate him anymore?

I was just sitting him on the couch to have a chat, when Sunny put on his shoes and stalked out the door. I didn't comment, but gently told Blondie that it obviously wasn't safe for him here - he'd been threatening suicide ... again - and that he needed to remove himself from the situation as soon as possible. He was upset. I didn't like to do that, but I really had no choice.

Sunny decided to text me. He wasn't coming home until Blondie had gone. And he was prepared to roam the streets if he had to. I was sooo angry! How dare he do that!!! I don't do emotional blackmail..... 

I told him there was no way I could put Blondie out on the street like that and to come home. MOTH went out to fetch him, fed him some icecream and brought him back home. Stupid, stupid behaviour. 

And I sent MOTH to tell Blondie that Sunday was the day he had to go. MOTH wasn't happy about getting that job. But I found out this morning that old timer's had kicked in and he didn't know that I had already told Blondie he had to leave. All MOTH was doing was letting him know that Sunday was the day. How the heck he could have forgotten that is really quite beyond me! 

Blondie had paid us board for the week, which we had been holding on to. We gave it back so he wasn't completely destitute. When we went out for the paper this morning, he packed up and left.

For the record, the only ill effects for me on Saturday was a slight nausea. Which cured itself midmorning. *happy*

I'm hoping things will get back on an even keel. As even as they will ever be around here...... 

PS The Elder informed me this morning that she and Jack are officially an item.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Weekend. Or Gee I Love Friday!

It's the weekend. And party time at our house!

And I do think we need it. Things have been getting a little tense for a while now. As you know, we had Blondie move in. Temporary of course. I said one week. But then, at the end of the week, he didn't have anywhere to go, so it got extended. I nearly fell off my chair when I realised yesterday that this is the end of the third week!

He's been advised by MOTH that due to the fact we are renting, he will have to be gone by the time of the next inspection. Now, that isn't till June. Somewhere around the middle. But I don't know if MOTH told him that it had to be a week before. To give MOTH time to do a thorough clean up.

Things have been a bit hairy though. He is a friend of Sunny's. At least, he was. The first week was wonderful - he actually contributed to the day to day running. MOTH really appreciated this, although he did have some reservations. The boy is an almost incessant chatterbox. With a limited selection of topics. Most of which have to do with weight, junk food, hair, skin.... You get the idea.

He and Sunny used to get on. We did have some trouble a few days after he moved in. He brought with him a stash of diet pills. Which he took. And encouraged Sunny to take. Now, I'm not sure if you've seen any pics, but if you have, you know that's the last thing Sunny needs. And then the Teen asked if she could try them. I hit the roof. The Elder was tempted, and stepped in and removed them to her room so she couldn't see them. And of course, those heavy handed tactics kind of make situations like this a bit tricky. Things were rough for a few days - Blondie was unhappy because she removed them, Sunny was unhappy with her because she removed them, she was unhappy with them both for taking them. And so on the circle continued. It eventually quieted, but things were a little uneasy while they found their footing. The pills eventually made their way down the loo. And good riddance.

There have been many episodes since. Now, Sunny has stopped talking to Blondie. Blondie is kind of confused. And Sunny can't understand what happened to make the difference between the first week and now. It could be that Blondie declared himself depressed, and now doesn't make an effort? Blondie does have a crush on Sunny and can't leave him alone? Sunny does like his space! But even I am growing annoyed with the constant tension between the two of them. Which brings the others down as well.

I think I am going to have to ask him to find alternative accomodation. But I know he has nowhere else. The very tiny humanitarian voice in my head tells me that turning him out on the street is not an option. I really must do something about that voice......

But on a different note completely, the Elder has been on the up. She found renewed friendship and possible romance with an old flame from high school. Although they have now decided that it won't work. She doesn't seem to be crushed by this development. But is busy cultivating a new friendship.

And hopefully, if he doesn't chicken out, I get to find out what he's like tonight.....