Ten years ago today, I found myself fronting up to start the first full time job I had had for nearly a decade working for a company I didn’t even remotely try to hide by calling it ‘Goliath’ on this blog.

Something like this is not ordinarily remarkable, but it coincided with a very difficult moment in my life… my father had just passed away from Motor Neurone Disease, and by ‘just’ I mean, yesterday – the day before I started this job, and my entire family was upset and stressed as all fuck.  There are posts about how conflicted I felt about taking the job in light of my father having just died, and how I didn’t want people to think I was a heartless baggage for going to work the very day after he passed away, but I also felt quite strongly that Dad would not really have applauded me for sitting around crying and passing up a job opportunity, when we were three years expecting his death…  As I said, It was a messy, emotional, stressful and fucked up week.

So on the Monday morning that I was starting that job, January 22nd 2007, I fronted up to a high-rise building in Roma Street for the start of four weeks of orientation/training . There were lots of geeky looking guys in my training group, who all seemed to know way more about what we were supposed to be doing there that I did.  I, on the other hand, was hired for my ‘customer service skills’, they figured (rightly or wrongly?!) that they could teach me the technical shit.  So there I am in orientation, feeling guilty about being at work and not at home with my family who were all still crying their eyes out, feeling a bit dazed after having spent all the previous day calling friends and relatives to let them know that my father had passed away, and feeling somewhat overwhelmed as a lot of the technical stuff they were teaching us was going over my head in my ridiculously stressed state.

On our morning tea break, I had to tell the instructors that I was going to need some time off on Tuesday afternoon to go to the funeral home, and the whole of Thursday off to go to the funeral, and they both looked at me like I had sprouted a second head and asked if I should even be there… unbeknownst to me, as soon as I walked away from that conversation they put bets on that I would go home that evening and never come back.

But come back I did, and I persevered through what was an extremely difficult week – both on the home front and the new work front.  After a few days, it became apparent to me that there was a stupidly tall guy with a deep voice and enormous hands, who had a slightly familiar look about him that I couldn’t quite place, who really seemed to know what he was doing.  I mean, the trainers were giving us information and then confirming with this guy that the information was correct.  ‘yaleman’ was his name, and I couldn’t understand how one of the ‘newbies’ knew what the hell they were talking about or why the subject matter experts, who were teaching us all these systems were deferring to him on their own training materials, but self preservation kicked in pretty quick and I decided I needed to be get to know him, because I knew I was going to need someone knowledgeable once we hit the floor and were dealing with customers!  It was a semi-calculated and mercenary move on my part… but I knew I needed all the help I could get if I wasn’t going to sink completely!

I actually used the whole, ‘You look familiar’, line on him, saying ‘Haven’t I seen you at a party at Blokenstein or somewhere?’ to which he replied in the negative, but I swear he seemed really familiar – it turns out that yes, I probably had seen him before, and potentially as much as eight years before, when I was a patient at the IVF clinic that his mother worked in… he used to come in after school and then commute home with his mother, and it is entirely possible that I saw him there in the waiting room on a number of occasions as I often had late afternoon appointments – but we didn’t figure out that connection for several months.

In the meantime, we were all let loose on the unsuspecting public, and I really felt sorry for some of the people who got me on the end of the phone – I sometimes took twice as long to solve their problems; issues that any self respecting IT geek could pick up in minutes would elude me completely, resulting in an hour long call (why the hell does Internet Explorer have a ‘Work Offline’ option anyway?!), but I was seriously thankful that I had yale on Dbabble (the inter-office chat platform) to help me with my curly questions.  I was constantly asking him how to do this, how to do that, how to use this program, what does this error mean… I still understood very little of how the whole shebang worked, but thanks to yale I learned the best place to start and the most effective order in which to work through each problem, and eventually got into the rhythm of the place.

All the while we were forming a friendship.  Him, being a typical IT geek had no idea whatsoever how to talk to women… Instead, he would ‘poke’ me as I walked past, making me start, and once sending my neck into spasms as I whipped around. I put an end to that poking nonsense pretty quick (mind you he still does it to other women he fancies that he has no idea how to talk to!).  We ended up working the same shifts quite often… this was not an accident, as my ‘phone a friend’ on the floor, I asked Rachel, who set our rosters, to put me on at the same time as him, telling her we commuted to work together.  We’d quite often do the 3pm-11pm shift and after that it’s hard to just go home, switch off and go to sleep, so we ended up hanging out after the late shift – he’d drive me home or I’d drive him home, even though we lived on opposite sides of the city, just for some company and a chance to unwind.

We’d sit and chat quite a lot and got to know each other fairly well.  Then came the crisis of yale’s flatmate moving in with his girlfriend, leaving him with no where to live.  I asked my Mum, who was still living in the granny flat under our house since Dad passed away, if she wanted a lodger for a few months while he got himself sorted… I think it was good for her to move back upstairs into the house proper, but little did I know he would stay for the next seven years!

Our friendship turned pretty quickly into something more, as we grew closer – until one night when I was dropping him home, he got out of the car and tried to say an affectionate, ‘Goodbye’ that came out, ‘I love you’.  I teased him mercilessly for the Freudian slip and he tried to claim that all his friends said that to one another but it was true.  We were forming a loving relationship based on friendship, attraction, respect, and his vast IT knowledge!  😉

Those early days were so much fun – that amazing time of getting to really know someone can be very heady, but also be pretty nuts. The few times we disagreed on things, yale would get all emotional and irrational and throw these unproductive tantrums, and I couldn’t stand it.  If he had his way, it would be raised voices, punched walls, slammed doors, and roaring off in the car up the street, followed by the silent treatment and a waiting for one party or the other to apologise.  The first time this happened, he got as far as the front yard when I told him that if he got in the car and left, then he should stay gone as he would not be welcome back.  If he wanted to continue to be in a relationship, then he had best come back inside, calm down and talk the issue through (I have no idea what the issue was). For all his high IQ, amazing capacity for knowledge and extreme proficiency at work, his inability to handle confrontation, and his non-existent conflict resolution and interpersonal skills were infuriating!  In his defence though, even Mr K who has crazy good communication and interpersonal skills, says I am very difficult to debate… Seriously, I don’t understand why these men don’t recognise irrefutable logic when they see it, and just damn well do things my way without an arguement – but so be it! 😉

We have since been through a lot together, in particular a serious car accident that turned us both upside down for several years, fucking with both, our ability to work and landing us with chronic whiplash problems… well, more problems in my case.  We have taken up shooting as a sport, and even though I will never ever be able to shoot as well as he does, I really love it and enjoy our trips to the range.  We’ve been going to the SCA together and my friends are now all his friends too.  yale has taken over the IT management of my house and I have no idea how to access my own router anymore, because I just haven’t needed to do it. He reaches high things, and lifts heavy things for me and I analyse work politics and translate what women say, for him.

Probably every six months or so, I would remind him not to get too attached and would prod him to really consider if he wants a ‘proper’ relationship with diamonds, and white picket fences, and children and happily ever after because I can’t offer him those things.  And every six months or so, he would tell me that he is truly happy and he doesn’t think he wants those things. I worry that I have given him unrealistic expectations of what intimate relationships are like, and now other women seem frivolous, jealous, unpredictable, and annoying or even disingenuous.  I don’t play games, and now he has no time for them either.

I never would have guessed that ten years later we would still be together.  It certainly wasn’t conscious planned and I have to acknowledge that all our lives would be a lot less complicated if we were all living a more traditional lifestyle!  I know some people don’t understand our choices and worse, understand them but don’t approve.  But I feel so fortunate to have yale in my life these last ten years… to have his love, his friendship, his support and acceptance.  He has taught me as much about myself, as I have taught him.  We have laughed, and cried, and encouraged and commiserated together.  It is an amazing privilege to be loved by him, he is a truly amazing person, full of generosity, warmth, strength and compassion.

yale, I know you will be reading this at some point… I think you know that you and Mr K are my rocks.  It is no exaggeration to say that I would not be here without you guys.  Some people never find one real love in their entire lives, and I am literally at a loss for words to describe how fortunate I feel to have found you both.  <3

New Haven is my kind of town.

Took our time driving up to New Haven today, via the dirty ugly smelly New Jersey Turnpike again.  I tell you something for nothing – that must be one of the more expensive bits of toll road that I’ve had the misfortune to need to use… it cost us $2.05 when we got off the Pennsylvannia Turnpike, $11.80 for using the New Jersey Turnpike, $13.10 for the George Washington Bridge and then another $1.25 when we got off somewhere else, I don’t know I lost track!

imageimage Still, glad we were going North, because the traffic going South was totally cactus! imageWe made an unexpected stop at the PEZ factory as we made our way through Connecticut for a place to stretch our legs, but that is a whole other post as it is full of silly photos and stuff.

Anyway, we made it to New Haven just after lunch time and decided to go check out the B&B first up. We had booked to stay at The Farnam Guest House, which is a beautiful quaint old building on the north side of town on Prospect Street.imageThe Farnam Room where we were staying for the night, also another bedroom whose occupants had not yet turned up for the evening, the main parlour and dining rooms were also gorgeous.farnham-house.jpgfarnam-house-2.jpgfarnam-parlour.jpgfarnam-dining.jpg
So, after we settled in we decided to go take a drive around town before heading to the centre of town to check out the University and the local shopping district. I have to say that I am finding Connecticut is absolutely my kind of town. I love the architecture here, I love the beautiful old houses, the buildings that belong to Yale are all gorgeous, and I can only imagine how lovely the place looks when it is all green with new foliage (I’ve said it everywhere we have been – but the North East REALLY needs more evergreens!), or even better, during the fall when the leaves are al turning. New Haven reminds me a lot of some of the university towns in England, Oxford, Cambridge etc… I am pretty sure that is no mistake. So we went on a bit of a real estate tour, checking out beautiful houses as we drove past 🙂new-haven-lawyers.jpgnew-haven-house-1.jpghouse.jpgreal-estate-new-haven-1.jpgreal-estate-new-haven-3.jpgreal-estate-new-haven-2.jpgThe photos are a bit on the wonky side, but that is what you get for snapping out a moving car window with an iPhone!

After pottering around the suburbs a bit, we went down to the town centre which is is full of gothic style sandstone buildings, and of course, bulk Yale stuff everywhere you turn. My university sells a couple of hoodies, a jumper or two, some umbrellas and maybe a hat, some cufflinks and a compendium… Yale has several stores dedicated to merchandise and you can get Yale and Yale Bulldogs, printed on nearly anything! Even a garden gnome – and you know I totally would have bought one of these silly things home if it weren’t for the stupid airline’s luggage allowance rules. 😉yale-stuff.jpgyale.jpgyale-shop.jpgI would have loved for it to be a little less cold, so that I could have done a bit more wandering around taking photos of the buildings, but as it was, it was hard to stay out of the car for more than five minutes together.architecture-new-haven-1.jpgarchitecture-new-haven-2.jpgarchitecture-new-haven-3.jpgarchitecture-new-haven-4.jpg
After checking out a little bit of pottering around town, we went for a drive to ferret out the Lighthouse, which we were assured is at the aptly named, Lighthouse Point. Only it turns out you can drive for ages around the shoreline in this area and NOT find a public access to the water. We could find the lighthouse in the distance, but it appeared the only place to get anywhere near it was a private, fenced off, boat ramp area. Oh well, a bit more driving round in circles and finding lots of dead end streets confirmed that suspicion. So we head off looking for any access to an area of East Haven beach, and we eventually found the one area that seemed to have parking and access to the beach – mind you, everywhere we looked there were signs up saying ‘No Parking, Residents Only, All Others Will Be Towed’. Enquiries a little bit later revealed that these signs only applied during peak season when the car parks were busy, and it was to make sure that East Haven residents could go park near the beach and keep the tourists out… no shit, it seems that there is so little public access to the beach, that they make it a priority to allocate parking for residents, and bugger the tourists! It makes no sense to me – surely if you live nearby you have some way of getting to the beaches?! But apparently not. Anyway, we parked by the beach by encroaching on a restaurant car park and went out there for… oh, about three minutes. Given it was *mumble mumble* below zero and the winds were apparently around 35MPH, it just was not pleasant at all, no matter how pretty the area was.
east-haven-beach.jpgeast-haven-beach.jpgimageIt was at about this point that we decided to resume our real estate tour of Connecticut, and keep checking out beautiful houses. The median price in New Haven is approximately $240,000 which sounds awesome if you ask me, even if many of these homes are considerably smaller than what we are used to back home. Obviously many of these houses might have been much more than that, but $240K for a property in East Haven, Connecticut close to beaches and all the amenities of New Haven? I think I have found somewhere I could handle living on the East Coast now – San Francisco being the only place I have found that I would consider living in, on the West Coast. 🙂 connecticut-house.jpgconnecticut-house-3.jpgconnecticut-house-2.jpgAfter a quick bite to eat (delicious and cheap lobster rolls… why, yes. I am planning on overdosing on all the fresh seafood while we are in New England!), at the Sandpiper restaurant with the handy carpark, we then tootled back the the guesthouse for a warm and toasty night in.image

Love is… what you want it to be

Love is… (love is…) what you want it to be
Love is… (love is…) heaven to the lonely!
Show me… What you want me to do!
‘Cos love is what I got for you!!!

Love is… finding long blonde hairs wrapped around the contents of your bag!  🙂

Love is… handing over the slice with the most anchovies on it!

Love is… having to come down to your level!

Love is… never having to be something you’re not!

Love is… getting your toenails painted AND paying up 🙂

Love is… painting toenails and not expecting payment!

Love is… the warmth of your hugs. 

Love is…  being the little spoon and warming your butt on the big spoon!!!

Love is… laughing at the little spoon trying to be the big spoon!

Love is… bringing home the bacon – to go with the oysters kilpatrick.

Love is… oysters full stop  🙂

Love is… seeing the smile on your face from silly oyster inuendos!

Love is… the feeling of seeing her smile when she’s at the circus.

Love is… getting all wrinkly from canoodling too long in the bathtub.

Love is… getting a mouthful of soap while loofah’ing!

Love is… assuming the position!  😉

Love is… <page cannot be displayed>

LOL.  I think you’ve finally nailed it!   🙂