Oh what the hell…

I’ve been tagged by the delightful Kath for one a them Meme thingies. Grr.

This blog is for me to rant and rave about things that drive me mad, not about me… me… me…. But what the hell.

Seeing as I’m orf in Melbourne for a couple of days at a conference, I’ve pre-posted this to appear while I’m away. (Evil laugh).

Todays exciting topic is: Seven random and weird facts.

1. Milk. I’m not a big milk drinker, it seems I’ve become lactose intolerant, though I’ve never had a formal test to confirm or deny. Not long after I started work, about 3.5 million years ago, I did the same as many others and had a big flavoured milk at lunch. Talk about feeling sick! Nothing twigged though, until years later when I used to have the obligatory bowl of cereal for brekky, and then feel sick, bloated and gassy until about 10am. After subjecting myself to this torture for another 5 or so years, somebody else described their problems and the effect of cutting out milk – or switching to low lactose milk. I did the same and the trouble cleared up in a few days. These days I’ve given up the low lactose milk as well, and just have a bit of plain milk in tea, and that’s about it. The thought of drinking 600 ml of flavoured milk makes me feel ill.

2. First serious job was a spot of nepotism by my father, working over summers for the electricity authority pushing lawnmowers, pulling up weeds and so on. I did this 2 summers in a row. Shovelling 20 tons of mulch off the back of a truck with a pitchfork on a 35 degree day was not especially intellectually stimulating. But in that job I learned how to plant things, how to run out drip irrigation pipe, changed my share of lawn mower blades, and when things got really boring I would mentally calculated how much I was being paid, in dollars per hour, and then cents per minute. Then count off the minutes and figure out how many dollars (or cents) had gone by. My brother did the same thing a year or two later, for one summer only, and hated every moment of it.

3. First really serious professional job was working with a friend from uni, for a guy he knew. We built some electronic thingies and made some software to automate the operation of his chicken hatchery. The amount you can do, and learn, in 10 weeks of summer holidays is astounding. It was installed and ran happily for several years. Later we worked for the same guy writing software – to manage a piggery. I must have been about 19 or 20, something like that. There is nothing quite like driving to the other side of Murray Bridge to see the piggies and then going home to roast pork for lunch. Strangely enough, piggies in a pen smell much like roast pork. It took years for the smells to become disassociated again. Those holiday jobs paid for my first car. Looking back now I realise how fortunate I was to get that kind of work experience, it comes very rarely.

4. First car. Was a brand spanking new Ford Laser, KB, in post-box red. I paid cash for it, and had almost nothing left to use for putting petrol in it. But I didn’t want a second hand car. More fool me, probably one of the worst decisions ever. The first and only new car I’ll ever own. The value of a new car falls by about 20% the moment you drive it out of the showroom, and that money can be put to use for better things. I did keep and drive that car for over 16 years, and sold it when the constant need for maintenance drove me mad. When it reached the point of spending a whole weekend doing repairs, enough was enough.

5. Study and all that. I spent FIVE years at university, travelling in on the bus each day. That five years was about 2 years too much, I was thoroughly sick of it by the end. But that did get me two degrees, one with honours, and an offer to come back for year 6 to do honours in the other. Which I gracefully declined. There was some special arrangement, since gone I think because they didn’t like it, where I did the first 3 years of a 4 year engineering degree. Then took a year off to do final year of a maths / science degree (there being so much overlap), then back for final year engineering. Seeing as my year 12 score saw me barely scrape in, I was kinda chuffed for pulling this off. Mind you, it required massive study and hard work and a completely zero social life for the first 4 years. I finally got the hang of the studying thing and breezed through the final year. The best part was getting out. These days, if in town and we park in the right place, we can walk through the grounds of the university. It feels completely foreign, which seems odd after it being such a bit part of my life for a long, long time.

6. Worst ever bout of laughing. All sorts of things make me laugh. Sometimes I’m the only one to see the humour, which probably says more about me than anybody else. The worst time ever ever ever was at the aforementioned university, where I was sitting in a very boring Physics lecture about quantum friction dynamics, or something equally exciting. The lecturer was small, balding, and spoke quietly. We utterly relied on what he wrote because otherwise you got completely lost. Somebody leaned over and said “what’s that blob” – pointing at the board. To which another quick-witted friend replied “that’s the lecturer”. That was it, I was off. Uncontrollable giggling which I could not quite get out of. I was painfully, helplessly giggling for the next 1/2 hour. Poor guy must have wondered what on earth was going on. Hmmm. I suppose you had to be there.

7. Thin. When younger I was very thin. OK, skinny. OK, skin & bone. First job after university was for a large Commonwealth Government department, where you had to get prodded and examined in an obligatory medical. They are not supposed to tell you the results, but this doctor did. His advice: gain weight. I was underweight, that means more than 20% below the mean. Nothing I did for the next 10 years or so made any difference. The last 10 years have been wildly different. Now I’m technically a normal weight for my age, the downside to the girth expanding has been the need to go and buy new trousers. Seeing as I detest shopping for clothes, I normally buy 2 pairs of trousers at a time. It’s very frustrating though to end up with two pairs that are fine in all respects apart from not fitting. It’s not just the girth, though. Things from when I got married over 20 years ago don’t fit either (yes, I still have a few clothes from those days), which means I’ve expanded across the shoulders as well. I put a lot of that down to the years of physical work on weekends after we built a house. Years and years of digging holes, building retaining walls and laying bricks. Or perhaps that’s just wishful thinking as well.

——-

NOW… the way these thingies are supposed to work is that I have to tag some other folk. Seeing as half the blog-folk won’t bother, and the half that would might be grumpy about it, I’m not going to push that side.

One Comment

Nice post Wally. Agree with you whole heartedly re summer jobs – did my share of babysitting, garlic, apricot cutting, cucumber picking, waitressing etc. Wouldn’t have had any beer money for the year without it!

Agree too re walking through Adelaide Uni occasionally too. I only did my bog-standard 3 year Arts degree, then went back a few years later to do the Grad Dip Ed, but still feel kind of proud (and relieved) to have spent some time there.

Comment by MillyMoo | March 14th, 2008 8:06 am | Permalink

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