Late on the afternoon of 30 March my beloved rang me and asked "do you mind if I go up to the Gold Coast
for two weeks? Work needs me to mind their Southport office and train a new staff member. Oh, and I want you to come with me too." Now when she
said "for two weeks" that really did mean two weeks..... starting with the red-eye flight up to Brisbane
on Monday the 3rd to pick up an office car and then head off to Southport.
I think I've hinted before in this blog that I really, really
dislike Sydney, and I take any and every opportunity to get out.
Her phone call came at just the right time, since the day we were to travel up (2nd) was when my sister-in-law was scheduled to have her baby. As if either of us would pass up the opportunity to see our new relative!
Before we could fly up to Brisbane, we had to take coder cat
off to the boarding cattery, I had to get the tyres replaced on the car so that when we got back from Queensland we could drive on good tyres up to Coffs Harbour, and then ....... then we had the weekend to deal with!
My brother-in-law has two speeds: dead and a bazillion km/h. He used to sail the Laser one-design Olympic class dinghy
, but has recently (last 2 years) taken up mountain biking. The event he competed in (solo, not part of a team) on 1/2 April was the 3rd annual N-ZO 24 hour race
... yes, you read that correctly, a 24 hour mountain-bike race. We had agreed that we'd bring him dinner on the Saturday evening, hang around for a bit, wander back to the Sebel Hawkesbury Resort
(yes, we've been pampering ourselves a tad) and have a good night's sleep before heading back to Dargle Farm in the morning to see the end of the race and then drive him home.
By the time we got back from Dargle Farm on the Sunday arvo we were pretty tired.
So we flew up on the Monday feeling quite exhausted. J got a very quick briefing from the manager in the office there, we picked up the car, grabbed an espresso and headed south.
When we got to Surfers the roads had changed a heckuvalot from what we were expecting based on our vintage-1995 refidex, so it was a little bit stressful, but we managed to find our way to Candlelight Holiday Apartments
without too much fuss. We stayed there for three reasons: (1) it had broadband, (2) it had a reasonable kitchen, and (3) it was cheap
. So while J did a 10 minute commute up to her Southport office I made use of the in-room dsl modem and Dan McDonald+team's punchin software
to connect and work quite remotely
We went up to Brisbane on the Tuesday to see our new nephew O (2.386kg =~ 5lb4oz, 46cm but very healthy) and spend a little bit of time with my sister-in-law and my brother. It was sooooo good to see them again, and to see the new addition to the family.
On the Friday evening we wandered down to Currumbin to have dinner with L+R+C and kinda restart the conversations we'd been having when we visited them in March. On the Saturday we went to SeaWorld
, spent the day, got a bit sunburnt and had one of those all-too-rare days where you just have a great time with no strings or regrets or anything. It was all good. On Sunday we had brunch with L+R+C before heading up to my brother+sister-in-law's place to see O at home. We had about 4 hours with them and took much better photos with natural light. (The hospital's lighting was actually quite dim).
One this I did enjoy about being at Surfers was that Q1
(20th tallest tower in the world) was only a few hundred metres away, and we took the opportunity to go up it. It was just after sunset when we got up there (300m up to the obs deck iirc) and I got to take this photo:
J had to start training the new employee the next day and cram as much as possible into 3.5 days because we had to get back to Brisbane to drop off the car and debrief on Thursday afternoon before catching a rush-hour flight back to Sydney. This is exactly the sort of thing that she excels at, and that made her possibly the best person to train the new employee. Anyway... the debrief went very well - the Brisbane manager was very grateful that J had been able to come up at short notice and get them out of a hole, and made encouraging comments regarding the possibility of working for the company up there. (Music to my ears :))
We got back to Sydney late-ish on the Thursday, had enough time to do some washing on the Friday morning before packing to go to Coffs
for 10 days. It took us 90 minutes to get from our place just north of the Bridge to the start of the F3 freeway, a journey which normally - outside of school holidays and long weekends - takes us about 30 minutes. After that it just seemed like ages and ages before we got there - nearly 9 hours later for about 530km.
J's best friend from Sydney Uni
's OT course had her hen's night on Easter eve and her wedding was last Friday, 21st April. J actually took some time off and had a relax, but I worked remotely again, this time via wireless in Ocean Spray Holiday Apartments.
I did have a few problems getting connected - I think due to a combination of the lowish-powered antenna in my laptop and the complex's firewall, but with the dedication of the owners and a MIMO cardbus wifi adapter I managed to get connected to Sun via the Cisco vpn-3000 system. Yes, that meant that I had to work in the MS-WindowsXP environment. Let me say now, I just don't like that at all. Still, I managed to get enough work done that I didn't feel guilty at taking last Friday off to go to the wedding. Saturday was our relaxing recovery day before we headed back to Sydney on Sunday.
I figured that a snapshot of the sunrise from our balcony in Coffs would be a nice way to remember the place:
The trip back was considerably better - it only took us 6 hours to get back, and we were back in town early enough to go and pick up coder cat
a day early.
We're glad to be back in town (even though it's Sydney)... and I'm glad to have access to all of what makes my kitchen hum - my good sharp knives, herbs, spices, non-stick and heavy-base frypans... all those things that you miss when you have to spend three weeks away.