Winter Number Four

Willie Smith's Apple Shed enamel cups

We are coming towards the end of our fourth Tasmanian winter.

I don’t want to tempt the weather gods. Perhaps just by writing this I’ll prompt a flurry of sea level snowfall, but so far it has been the easiest winter we’ve spent here. Chilly, for sure, but mostly dry with bright blue skies and beautiful sunshine.

We have learned from experience and accepted the limits of this old brick house to keep out the cold. We’ve stopped being mean with the firewood, and instead light the stove almost every day. Before he goes to bed each night, DorkySon has taken to placing his cheek on the wall upstairs where the chimney warms it. He smiles at me.

Good old fire,” he says. Continue reading

Chocolate Milk and Mangoes

Mangoes

We are adjusting to a new routine in the DorkyHouse.

My time working at the Tasmanian Writers Centre has come to an end, and I’m enjoying being my own boss again, having a variety of challenging projects on the go, and structuring my time in a flexible way that suits our family really well. I’m working hard, but feeling happier and calmer than I have for months.

That said, I’m trying to take the lessons from a year in an office environment and apply them to freelance life. I’m being much firmer about setting boundaries around work time – different email addresses for work and home, different notebooks for specific projects, and no faffing around on social media.
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Eight

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I have an eight-year-old. How did that happen?

It feels like a matter of months since I was doing a last-minute run to the party store for the shiny blue 7 balloon. But a whole year has passed, and I was under strict instructions this time. No balloon. No birthday balloon, for the first time, ever.

Seven was quite a year – at times it felt like DorkySon was more comfortable in his skin than anyone else I know. He grew smarter and funnier, stronger and kinder, and made me prouder than I can put into words. But some days it felt like the pressure of new responsibilities was a little too much for him. I got a taste of how things might feel ten years from now, with slammed doors and sweaty trainers and more swearing than is likely appropriate. Oy. I’m buying my bunker now. Continue reading

Rooftop Bars and Hire Cars

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On the long plane journey back from the US a few weeks ago, while DorkyDad watched Muriel’s Wedding for the first time, and DorkySon watched the Peanuts movie for the fourth time, I chose to watch a documentary about Nora Ephron, called Everything is Copy.

It felt appropriate. I’m not half the writer that Nora was but our three weeks in the US – landing in South Carolina twelve hours before it was evacuated for Hurricane Matthew – certainly provided plenty of copy.

We’d been talking about this holiday for so long. Through the cold Tasmanian winter, during every sleepless night or stressful early morning, we reassured ourselves.

Hold on,” we’d say. “The holiday is coming! We have sunshine and music and shrimp in our future.

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What do you do when he travels?

Peter Kasprzyk Unsplash

People say it all the time.

“It must be hard when your husband travels… What do you DO?”

Oh no, it’s fine,” I reply, “we’re used to it.”

Then I laugh lightly. “I enjoy the peace and quiet.

It’s true.

It is fine. We are used to it. And I do enjoy the peace and quiet.

He travels much less than he used to. And much faster. Singapore and back in four days. Hong Kong in three. Last year he did a full circuit of the globe in less than a fortnight.

He packs well. A black bag, with the right sized pocket for everything; wash kit, tie case, shoes. I sit on the bed watching. In the early days he and I would write each other notes on yellow legal paper to find later. I would find a way to slip one into his briefcase while he read through the itinerary one last time. He would leave one on the pillow for me to find that night. We don’t do that anymore. We trust our love, and besides, we text. Continue reading