Here’s the real news…
Something exciting happened today. At 5:10pm Australian Eastern Standard Time (there is no daylight saving in Queensland) I completed my last exam of the semester. I am officially on summer break. YAY!!
But on Monday I start work. BOO!! (Or YAY, depending on whether you are viewing it from a spare-time-to-cycle perspective or a money-for-food perspective)
Here is my world during semester. My wife studies with a full-time subject load and also works 8-20 hours a week at a supermarket packing shelves. I study a full-time subject load and work 5-15 hours a week delivering pizzas and training new delivery drivers.
During summer break my wife is doing 2 university subjects plus still working up to 20 hours. There is not the option for me to study over summer as my degree can not be accelerated. Therefore, from now (18 Nov) until orientation week next year (13 Feb) I have spare time which up until today was filled with diligent study (or fragmented study and diligent blogging).
A point. There is always a point. I rarely get to it quickly.
Back in September I bumped into a person I hadn’t seen for nearly 10 years. His older brother was my wife’s boss at the video shop when I met her 15 years ago. When the video shop closed down these two brothers went into business together. We talked for quite a while about people and events those 10 years had thrown at each of us. Enthusiastic farewells ensued, with promises to catch up again soon.
Here’s the point (including the origin of today’s title).
I’d been thinking about that conversation after we parted, and then I ran into him again a few days later. Here’s an excerpt from conversation number 2:
Me: "You guys get busy around Christmas, right?"
Me: "Do you work extra hours or do you put on extra people?"
Him: "A bit of both. We normally work with a crew of four, but for the four or five weeks leading up to Christmas we usually put on a couple of extras. And everyone is doing ten to twelve hour days for the last week or so before Christmas day."
Me: "I’m available until the middle February. Can I have one of the extra positions?"
Him: "I guess so. I talk to Gary (brother) and call you later today."
Two hours later my mobile (cell) phone rang. "Mick, it’s Gary. Come down to the depot and fill in some forms. We have to get federal police clearance for you before you can start."
Done. Five weeks later my clearance arrived and I had a training shift this morning. As I jumped in the van this morning it went something like this, "By the way, both of my employees want a bit of time off. When it dies down in January do you want to stay on in a relief role while they take holidays?" "Of course." So I thought I was getting five weeks work and now it will be eleven.
What the hell am I doing?
I still haven’t really gotten to the point yet, have I? You have been very patient and I am now going to disclose what I will be doing while the northern hemisphere freezes for the next 3 months.
I’M GOING POSTAL!
Yes, that’s right folks. My wife’s former employer, and now my employer, has a parcel delivery contract with Australia Post. As of Monday November 21st I will be a postal worker. For the non-believers I have attached a photo of my work ID. So if I develop a permanent frown or a nervous tick or a twitch or a desire to purchase a large calibre handgun, please ring my wife, my mother, my therapist and the police. In that order.
Maybe I’ll lose some weight this summer after all.
I’m guessing that running up and down people’s driveways carrying the crap Santa won’t haul constitutes exercise. I was told to expect about 50 parcels per day next week increasing to about 200 per day for the last few days before Christmas. That means that after four weeks practise, in the fifth week I will run about 2000 intervals of 10 seconds each. That’s certainly a bit better than the half-a-sit-up-in-the-morning regime I have been following recently.