Tired Old Bastard Blues – A whinge.

Gee I bet that title really reeled you in.

I need a holiday, big time.  Energy levels nearing empty, the Tired Old Bastard gauge is reaching critical.  This was compounded last night during a slightly sad outing for the somewhat-less-than Mighty Lyttelton football team in our last game of the year for the Summer League.  Slightly sad in that our healthy looking squad from the start of the season only managed to turn out 9 players and we required the services of two backpackers who happened to be passing by.

Slightly sad also in that I spent most of my time in the game chasing after younger, fitter, faster guys who I had no hope of catching without resorting to bolas and generally finding the whole experience akin to one of those nightmares where you have to run to or from something and you can’t make your legs move.  This is what happens to you at 35 if you take a fortnight off to recover from the minor whiplash you incurred last time you played.

Remind we why we’re doing this again? I said to myself more than once as I watched the player I was supposed to be marking once again run past me and off into the open pastures of our exposed right flank.  That’s right, it’s meant to be fun.

Football really is a winter game and fun is relative in 28 degree heat on a pitch that’s magically metamorphosed from green grass to something resembling volcanic rock with all sorts of uneven divets, bumps, holes and thanks to the earthquake some actual sand bunkers.  Oh and losing 1-8.

Nothing like all that to make you feel old and tired.

Now the Tyranny of Convenience take on this would be I was out running around in beautiful Hagley Park on a beautiful summer night playing football (the beautiful game) with my beautiful friends, enjoying using my beautiful body and building health and flourishing. blah blah blah.

But sometimes the only thing that makes you feel better is a cold pint at the pub.  Which is where I took our goalkeeper afterwards – he’d had an even worse day at the ‘office’ than me.

For some reason I offered to take home the jerseys as well.  So, loaded as I was with 3 bags and most of the skin of the second toe of my right foot apparently missing, I was really looking forward to the walk to the bus stop and the slog up the hill to follow it all.*

I must say, The Idler is really catching my attention at the moment – I think Tom really is on to something there.  The whole ToC Loving the Effort idea is suddenly looking a bit… well, let’s just say that given the way I’m feeling right now,  a breath of fresh air on the whole subject of convenience might be just the tonic.

“I have often said that the sole cause of man’s unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room.”
– Pascal

* There is a happy ending!  I bumped into one of our neighbours on the bus who’d parked their car at the bus stop and drove me up the hill – how convenient – hooray!


The Hard Yards

Well, it happened faster than I thought it might.

No, we haven’t snuck out and bought a car and then hoped the blog would quietly fade away. At least, not yet.

But I’m talking about losing momentum. The motivation to keep going even though it’s tough and inspiration is short. I have an image in my head of being on my bike on a cross-country trail and going down a small, steep slope that leads immediately into a steep rise. You think you have enough momentum to carry you up the rise but find that without pedalling to add to your momentum it is quickly sapped and you eventually succumb to inertia which when strapped to your pedals on a 45-odd degree incline is less than ideal.

Such has been the tail end of our winter. July was all about illness in our house and it just sapped not only our witty, insightful bloggery but our very shpadoinkle too.

But ah, peace has once again settled over our little portion of Lyttelton.  And while the soggy old winter that we’ve endured robbed us of traction we are once again noticing longer days and milder temperatures.

Reflecting on the past month with a fellow MHP today I noted that it was easy to be all ‘jolly hockeysticks’ about getting out in the rain and enjoying the breath-blowing winter walks up the hill when everything was shiny and new and I was full of the zeal of righteous eco/health do-gooding.  But add in a continually sick toddler, about 4 metres of rain and a lack of sunshine and it all starts to say “get a car, get in the car and get the hell out of dodge for a weekend.”

So yeah, why didn’t we?

Good question and no answer.  We’ve already reported on the financial savings of not owning a car and the fact that, in theory at least, we should be able to afford the odd rented car for a weekend.  Well when everyone is ill, the idea of going away starts to take on a herculean hue of difficulty.

It’s easy in hindsight to go “oh yeah, why didn’t we think of that?’ but sometimes, in winter and the freezing, pouring rain, it’s hard to see the forest for the firewood, dvds and a cheap bottle of wine.

Oh and the sporting metaphor?  The hard yards is also about spending Sundays in the aforementioned nippy conditions carving out a little bit of sporting history for our little port town with the mighty Lyttelton B’s who despite intervention from the elements and bureaucrats have continued to press on to glory in the Christchurch Sunday Soccer League. It hasn’t just been Tyranny of Convenience that has been sliding around seeking traction in the mud.  I suppose there definitely has been health benefits to all this ‘trudgery’.

And if you think the link to football in this post is gratuitous, just be thankful I decided not to post about the trousers I can now fit into…

The boredom of the habitual procrastinator

My new favourite occupation in that precious hour when the beast lies sleeping is to ransack the web for inspirational blogs.

This doesn’t vary that much from the usual. To you, standing on our deck, looking in the window, I’d still be seated at my computer, my posture probably not all it should be, as I peer myopically at the screen. Usually I’d be working, or possibly just wasting time, in a mental slump, slurping up the worldwideinternetweb in a passive haze, before the thud thud thud of little feet alerts me to the fact that I’m on duty again.

But I’ve noted there’s been a bit too much mindless mousing. I’ve ignored my child’s requests for a cuddle to click through one more vacuous pop culture link, or have opted to crouch half on, half off my chair while surfing, because that means that any minute I could leap up and do something more productive. But of course I don’t, I just stay there, contorted, until my muscles start to protest furiously. I have an aching muscle in the small of my back that tells of too much sitting and a dull persistent annoyance with myself that I’m not using this valuable quiet time to better effect.

So here’s my new resolution regarding using my computer, which I’m making right here and now. Once a week I get to have a goof online and mess around checking out newspapers, auctions, Facebook, various favourite frivolous blogs and estate agents (house porn darlings). The rest of the time, if I sit down at my desk, it will only be to work, to write or to research for writing. If what I am reading does not feed my mind, giving me ideas, making my fingers itch to be typing, or my muscles flex to be doing, then I’m going to put it down and walk away.

Now I’ve just got to muster up the self discipline to apply this excellent resolution to my promiscuous book reading habits, but not right now. I’ve got two Inspector Rebus novels and a biography of Coco Chanel out the library and I’m not made of stone you know.

Thinking harder about how we live as a family and why we live that way; has made me start to question many of the habits I’ve fallen into. It’s one of those big fat self evident facts that if you keep on doing the same things, day in day out; you’ll keep on getting the same results. Before you know it you’re in a rut and then you start to get bored. When I get bored, I get into trouble. The catch for me is that I’m not very good at changing the way I do things. I’m a creature of habit even if that habit is stultifying. If this exercise jump starts me to do some new things and find some new paths, well, that would be very nice and not at all boring.