Search

skiddingtowardsretirement

semi-retiring, work life balance, lifestyle block living

Category

Leisure

New Life – Family Traditions

Mahurangi Regatta – a harbour full of boats, many of which are traditional and a day of old fashioned picnic fun with three legged races, sand castle contests, sack races, swimming races and …. for young and old

The Saturday of Anniversary Weekend means only one thing to the man and me – come hell or high water, the day will be spent at the Mahurangi Regatta.

And it’s been this way since our kids were littlies. It’s a family tradition, you see.

In the early days, more often than not, the two grandmothers would join us. Sadly, the years have passed and both Hilda and Dorothy are no longer with us.

But our family picnic group has not diminished in size, it has grown. Firstly, each of our three children introduced a partner to the mix; one brought with them our delightful step-grandson. Then, last year, our daughter and son in law introduced their three month old daughter to the tradition. This year our granddaughter was joined by her seven month old cousin. Our  picnic group now stands at 11, with, no doubt, a few more additions still to come.

The thing that the man and I find most gratifying about all this is that the children choose to come. They have continued the family tradition with no prompting from us. We, therefore, think it is here to stay.

Having said this, change is inevitable. Always.

The man is coming to terms with this at the moment. Let me explain. For those who don’t know, the man is a mad keen sea kayaker and has been since he discovered the sport as a 30 or so year old lad in the early nineties.

At the same time he discovered kayaking was the sport for him, he also found out that he was very competitive.  Go figure? Yes, the Stone family travelled up and down NZ so the man could take part in many a kayak race. And by the medals clanging around in his drawer, he was pretty successful – not in the league of MacDonald and Ferg*, of course, but successful all the same.

Now each year since about 1993 the man has taken part in the Mahurangi Regatta kayak race.  Most years the man has taken out first place. Except in 2015 and 2016, he didn’t. Those years he had to settle for second.

In 2018 this changed again. Yesterday he came third.  A close third, but third nonetheless.

So yes, third’s not bad. Except there were only three competitors.

The man, to put it mildly, was far from thrilled. I view it differently though: he should be pleased.  You see, the reality is my almost 62 year old partner can paddle way longer and faster than most of the general population.

So instead of him feeling disappointed with himself for being beaten by some younger bucks, which they were,  I have convinced him to continue competing.

Grant’s cedar Albatross sea kayak. This was designed and built by him. For those who don’t know we manufactured these in kevlar and fibreglass.

Why?  Well, the old bugger loves it. And hey, there is something to be said about not giving up, not to mention being the oldest competitor taking part each year.

So I have no doubt that as long as he is able to crawl into his lovely kayak, he will continue racing at the Mahurangi Regatta.

And  as long as he is racing, the kids, their kids and I will be standing there cheering him on!

*Ian and Paul paddled Olympic class kayaks in the K1s, K2s and K4s competitions – sea kayaks are quite different!

New Life – well-situated

Today, after months of trying, I have finally cracked it!

Or I will have, providing I pass the obligatory medical and drug test.

Yes, I have been offered a permanent role. And it is part time, which will allow me enough time to help the man launch his lovely new product, and to enjoy our property. It is also a job which expands my skill set, and is not in an industry I have worked in before. Perfect.

The ironic thing is that after months of rejection – I tried not to take this personally – I was in line for two jobs! The other one, however, was a relieving job and I decided to sacrifice the flexibility of  this for a position that actually appealed more to me, not to mention the idea of regular money was pretty attractive!

So how come my fortunes changed? I think the fact that I got to the interview stage in jobs I have never done before was because I ensured the CV I submitted matched the skill set the advertiser was looking for.

Now I know that many CVs contain porkies, and some even stray into the area of outright lies, but rest assured, Dear Reader, mine doesn’t. It is absolutely squeaky clean. Indeed, as someone who is pretty self-deprecating, there is not even a whiff of exaggeration contained within.

No, my doctoring was simply a case of keeping the relevant information and deleting the rest. And this focused approach seems to have worked a treat.

The two interviews also went well – I finally have got my head around two winning interview techniques: engage brain before opening mouth, and, be honest, but don’t shoot yourself in the foot with this honesty!

The job I have accepted ended up being a two interviews affair. The first was the one with the normal questions, the second was ostensibly to introduce me to their software system.  And I did get shown their software system, but I also got to sit a numeracy and literacy test. Surprise!

The literacy part didn’t faze me. The numeracy did, especially when the first half contained the directive that this was a calculator-free test. What is that about? Anyway, I am delighted to say I nailed the numeracy test! Yep, one wrong answer in the entire paper.  Clever me, right?

As for the literacy test, it was straightforward. Strangely enough, the part I probably got the most wrong was checking the formatting in a business letter – it’s changed a lot since a 13 year old Heather sat in a 3rd form typing class (1973, for those interested).  And the fact is this girl no longer writes formal letters, she emails pithy notes to all manner of professionals and signs off with ‘Cheers’.

So what is the job? Well until I sign my contract, I won’t reveal all. I will tell you it is a Health and Safety Administrator’s role with an element of HR in it too. The firm itself  is in the quarry and civil engineering area, so it is completely outside my area of expertise. It also means a bit of fluoro, some hard hat wearing, and some serious shoes!

I am so excited. I know I am going to love it.

And meanwhile, until I start, I will be gainfully employed working for the elections!

 

 

 

Chasing dreams

You may have noticed I am blogging less: this is not because I have lost interest in ear bashing all and sundry in a figurative way via the medium of a post, rather it is because I am putting my energies into turning my dream occupation into a reality. Sorry, exactly what this is remains embargoed information – this girl doesn’t want to end up with egg all over her face.

It is my hope that this new direction may eventually give me a modest income. I also harbour much grander dreams: I dream that my new occupation is so successful that not only does it provide me with a very respectable income, it provides me with an express ticket out of the 9-5, 5 day per week grind that I seem to spend more than my fair share of time railing against.* Move over, Adele!

I am, however, a realist. I know that being a success in anything is far from a given. It is also not something that is likely to happen overnight, rather it will take years of dedicated commitment and hard graft. To make dreams come true requires more than wishing; it requires one to take the first tentative step. In the last week or two I have done just that. I couldn’t be more pleased!

*The goal of reducing the man and my working week to three days by July 2017 still stands!

Letting Go

The son in the bosun's chair

Last night the man and I went on a wee adventure – we stayed on our boat moored in the marina. Odd, I can hear you saying, that is hardly sailing.  And you would be right. However, there was a valid reason behind it; we needed to charge the yacht’s batteries and this was going to take oodles of time, as they were spectacularly flat. Staying overnight was, therefore, the sensible thing to do.

It was nice to be aboard again – it has been a number of months since I have visited, and in the interim, the man has made a bit more progress getting her ready for the market. The middle cabin which was converted to the double berth last year is well on the way to being finished and, if I do say so myself, is looking very, very classy.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The double berth

Now this is all well and good, except it raises a few issues. You see the more the boat is upgraded, the more we consider keeping it!  Part of us thinks: why shouldn’t we enjoy the benefit of the more luxurious beast rather than someone else?

This is not a new feeling; we do seem to be people who do the things we always had intended to do, when we decide to sell whatever it is. And yes, this always makes it a struggle to let go.

In the particular case of selling the boat, the man and I have also had an orchestrated delegation to contend with: the children love going away on the yacht, and the grandchild too and they have made it crystal clear that they are not happy for us to sell it.

Now we are the first to admit that taking the family out for the day or longer is a great thing to do. The man and I derive so much pleasure from having the kids on the boat and watching them thrive in this environment. It is the stuff of rich memories for all of us and simply cannot be measured by mere dollar value.  In a perfect world, we would therefore like to continue our yachting with them.  Monopoly, anyone?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The son, daughter in law and grandson off exploring in Te Kaitoa’s inflatable

However, there are questions that need answering here. The first one is: would keeping the boat mean saying goodbye to semi -retiring in the foreseeable future? We aren’t sure: perhaps if we employ some  lateral thinking, we would be able to sort out a way to keep the boat and semi-retire?  Indeed, there are options: we could move onto the boat, give up work entirely, rent the house and sail off. *  Maybe? Maybe not?

The second question is: does the boat actually meet the family’s needs? It is a big, serious boat that is capable of going offshore. Yes, it fits everyone on, but maybe something smaller would be a better match for us, and more doable?

Lastly, if we do keep it, we need to make the best use of it. No point in it sitting in the marina getting a weedy bottom!

Yes, some serious thinking is in order. In the fullness of time, our wants and needs will align  of course,  and  we will choose the best way forward for us.

*This option always becomes very attractive after a slightly off day at work!

Goodbye weekend

laundry-405878__180

It is almost eight o’clock on Sunday night, so the weekend is fast coming to its conclusion and before we know it, it’ll be Monday morning again and back to work.  As usual the two days off has whizzed by far too quickly. Don’t get me wrong, the man and I enjoyed it, despite the fact that it unfolded in an ‘organic’ way i.e. it just happened and we rolled with it.

Now this rather lackadaisical approach to how we use our weekends is OK once in a while, but becomes a bit of a concern if it becomes the norm. And become the norm it has again – yes, we improved for a while, but there has been slippage and we are often finding that after completing the household chores, we are not making the best use of the time left.  This is despite having lots of things that we will tell you that we would really, truly like to do over the two days off. The man and I will instead find ourselves defaulting to making plans at the eleventh hour, which without too much trouble degenerates into doing stuff that just fills in time.

I am not sure why this is: both the man and I are pretty organised at work, so we can do the planning bit when we need to. Certainly there are old habits coming into play here, but maybe it is more than this? Perhaps it is because while we are at work, we get busy and we don’t think about getting our weekend sorted and then it sort of creeps up on us and catches us by surprise?

Whatever the cause, the man and I need to address it (again), if we are going to get the most out of our precious leisure time. We need to take a proactive, not reactive approach to Saturday and Sunday (note the management speak here – thank you to my present and past employers for sending me on courses where I learned these terms).

The weekend will still fly by no doubt, but by remembering to put a tad more thought into the forward planning side, we will hopefully be doing more of the things we say we want to do. Needless to say, this new approach to time management will work splendidly well until the vagaries of life get in the way!  Sigh.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑