Funny

I don’t blog much these days, due to being on the road a lot. It’s very rare that I have both the ability to (way out in the remotelands) and the time. If I have the time, then I am putting it towards an online university course. Also, most tours are just repeats of experiences and boring for others, no matter how interesting I find them.

But certain things are memorable, which is why I am writing today.

 

Currently I am in Cairns, enjoying a few days break after an exhausting start to the year. The company flew my husband in, rather than me go home, and I am relishing the downtime with him on holiday. Next trip starts in four days: two weeks up to Cape York.

 

The last trip I completed was a sixteen day desert trip, entitled ‘The longest shortcut’; from Perth to Cairns, through the red centre. It was an almost full vehicle, with 25 passengers on board, including two parent/adult child couples. One was a lovely older gentleman with his daughter and the other a mother with her daughter, from the UK. Daughter in this situation means in their forties in both cases.

 

The English one had never done a camping trip before, although her mother had, and she had to be introduced to a lot of new things, including flies, heat and dirt. Oh, and the art of bush peeing, without access to toilets or paper. Several ladies, including myself, gave her graphic dry run demonstrations and it was very amusing.

 

This woman was a typical English rose, both in appearance and comfort level, and I admired her determination to enjoy herself in spite of being way out of her familiar zone. We got on really well and I liked her a lot.

 

She also got on well with my male driver partner, B. Too well, in my opinion. I could see she had developed a massive crush on him and I wasn’t surprised. This happens a lot on tour. The males in this industry are very, very competent and their mechanical skills added to the leadership role, gives them a position of authority, which is really attractive to females. Added to that, the different lifestyle that being on vacation means and regular standards seem to go out of the window. Mostly, they can pick and choose who they want to share their bed with absolutely no further effort at all.

 

In 25 years of touring, I’ve only known three guys who remain faithful to at home partners, including B. (For some reason it doesn’t happen that female leaders get the same hero worship so not really an issue for us.)

 

I warned B. I told him at the start that she was majorly crushing on him and he dismissed it. He likes women and he relates well to them on a teasing level but he doesn’t ever consider long term ramifications. He didn’t believe me until the second last night, when we were in Cairns. A few of the group, including myself, were sipping wine around the pool and gradually peeled off to bed. She patiently outlasted everybody else until she was alone with him and then told him how she’d fallen for him and wanted to be with him.

 

(He told me all this the next morning)

 

I asked what he’d said to her, knowing that clueless him would have been blindsided in spite of my warnings. I thought it very funny right up until he told me that in rejecting her, he’d used the excuse that I would be jealous and that it wouldn’t be fair to sleep with her when it really should be me, if he was that type of person. Fucking what?!

 

Basically, he left her with the impression that the only thing barring her love being fulfilled was me!

A) it’s not true (we have a great working relationship but that is all; we are both married and faithful types and I have no unfulfilled hankerings for him)

and

B) I am not the jealous type, even if that was the case.

 

So for the next two days I had to deal with this woman shooting barbed glances at me and being extremely rude. I didn’t make an issue out of it because it would have stirred up more drama but it was very uncomfortable. All due to an obtuse male.

I’ve told him that I’m making up a flow chart for future situations! And/or flash cards!

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I like to think that I am a good employee

I put my utmost into my job and hope that it is a two sided deal, which it mostly is. I value them and they value me. But sometimes the employers behave badly and whilst I might accept that and move on at the time,  I don’t ever forget.

I once worked for a local company during my first marriage. When that marriage horribly and spectacularly disintegrated, I wasn’t capable of working at all. Instead of being understanding about it, they just went on to try and sabotage every other touring job I applied for and even went so far as to tell a rival company how I would ruin their business if they employed me.

I went on and worked for the other company anyway, for six years. When I eventually left them I was called up by the original employer and asked if I would do some last minute tours for him. I told him that I hadn’t forgotten how he behaved and that I would never work for him again.

The second company was a good fit right up until it wasn’t. I’d asked for three weeks off over Christmas, as my husband was compelled to take those weeks off for holidays. I asked in October and was told no because others had asked earlier.I had worked every other Christmas prior and was the Senior Driver there at the time, paid the same wage as everybody else.

So I put in my notice and made it three months so I could train up any newcomers over the upcoming season; I valued my job enough and the company enough to want to do as much as I could to keep on  making it a successful business. The next day I was told that I could finish up and they divided all of my hours amongst the other drivers. It’s a casual business: I could have worked right up until the day before and still legally been within my rights to quit.

So, yeah, a few lean months right around the time when you need more money, just because I tried to do the right thing by my employer.

I didn’t forget.

In the previous post I mentioned being asked for alternative drivers when I can’t tour. So far I’ve turned three of my former colleagues to other companies, simply from my recommendations. I hope for more.

 

I don’t forget.

 

 

 

 

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Life suddenly got very busy

I am having to turn down so much work. I currently am employed by three tour companies fairly regularly for local work, plus my main employer.

I’m guaranteed a certain amount of days by the main one and I get paid out if it doesn’t match (which has never happened yet). The others employ me on a casual basis- if I am not already working, then I’ll pretty much always say yes. (Well,bar these last six weeks when I wasn’t capable of even getting out of bed, anyway.)

I very much enjoy doing the work of tour development and I’ll put a heap of unpaid hours into getting it right. It is the part of tourism management that I’ve always shone at and I do a lot of free planning for friends and friends of friends as well.

 

I’m out in the bush on Wednesday, for my main employer, and I’ve turned down two other jobs, apart from the aforementioned, for this week already, referred to me by people who know me in the industry. When I’ve said that I couldn’t, they both asked me if I knew of anybody.

 

It feels good to have got to this point in my career. Validation that I really am good at what I do and that my judgement is respected.

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I’m feeling better

The best thing I ever did was marry my lovely husband. He could see the deterioration in my mental health and he supported redrawing our mortgage to access private treatment for me.

I had a great mental health support team: my counselor interacted with my GP to treat me urgently and, as a result, I got an emergency psych appointment. I’d done all the right things (even some medication) but none of it made a difference. I might have struggled out of it all but my cousin being diagnosed with a (different type, not genetic) brain tumour flipped me over the edge.

All I could see was the common denominator in the loss of people I love: me. Obviously, I logically know that correlation/causation aren’t the same things and that some people just end up statistically on the wrong side of the bell curve but I couldn’t relate statistical science to my circumstances when I was struggling through them.

We have a great public health system here in Australia. Every time I, or one of my loved people, have been in a truly life threatening situation, the access to care, and the care itself, has been exemplary.  But mental health isn’t the same.

 

If I had tried to wait out the public health system, I honestly believe I wouldn’t have made it.

 

Instead, we took all of our savings, re-drew on the mortgage, and paid up front for inhospital treatment in a private psychiatric clinic. I wanted to access ECT treatment immediately and that is what happened. I stayed in the hospital for four days and had the rest of the treatment as an out patient –  four sessions in all.

 

The improvement was noticeable from the first time.  Physical side effects have been very hard but mentally, it is like a total reboot of my brain. I am now able to address things I need to and I can see a really busy work season completing the healing process.

I’ve kept this information to myself as far as my work relationships go but I’m not embarrassed about it. I’m functional again and that makes the people that love me very happy. I’m having ongoing therapy and I’m still doing grief support – I cry all the time when I think/talk about my brother (exactly a year ago today with the first operation)  but at least I can talk/think about him.

 

Best of all, I no longer think that everybody I love will die. I mean, I know that they will but it won’t be just because I love them. It has been so hard with my girls away doing scary stuff in South America; I was absolutely convinced they would die over there. Now I look at videos of them bicycling down the Death Road in Bolivia and I shudder but I can look.

 

 

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My girls are in South America right now and I’m facebook stalking them. I had a brief chat with my eldest, via messenger, and when I said it looked like they were having the time of their lives, she said there had been some bad moments, too.

 

She wouldn’t tell me what had happened because “you’d only worry” and that they were learning to be more vigilant here on in, so I am thinking a mugging?

 

I am so scared that something bad (worse) is going to happen. That I will never see my girls again. I know that me feeling this way is part of the depression but knowing the reason doesn’t take away the fear.

 

I’ve lost a lot of people I love over the last few years: I constantly expect that those remaining close to me are going to be taken away from me as well.

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