Balance. It is illusive and elusive. One simply know when it isn’t there. Like now. At this point in time.
I leave for work just after 5.35 in the morning. I’m in the office maybe 10 to 7. After a quick smoothie brekky I’d start working and would leave a bit after 5. I walk back in through my front door a bit after 6. So a bit over half of my 24 hour allotted time is spent on work and work commute. I do this 5 days a week.
Back in the day when we were living and working in Malaysia such a pattern would not have warranted a second thought. Here in Melbourne, and at my age, this is often in my thoughts.
Sometimes a weekend provide good reprieve. Certainly on Friday night when Tress and I were at a long table at Via Matta, seated with the Hippos and Chews, it felt the weekend was starting and the week’s labour could be forgotten. At some time around noon on Saturday it felt, at times, that the weekend wasn’t going to provide any meaningful rest. I had started my work maintaining the lawn and hedges, from just after 9. Tress did the laundry earlier and had also started vacuuming.
By the time she left home for a catch-up lunch with some friends in the city, I was soaking in sweat, caked and dusted with clippings from the James Sterling hedges. In these warmer months they grow quickly and will easily breach the 2meter mark if not clipped regularly. Regularly now means once a month. The Ryobi hedge sweeper feels like Thor’s hammer after the first hour. Thankfully the whole side fence can be done in a bit under one and one half hour and the back fence maybe another twenty minutes so by the time my arm could no longer lift Thor’s hammer up a step ladder anymore, the job’s done and I move on to the lawn mower.
By the time I finally moved on to the broom to start sweeping down the deck and driveway, it was almost 1pm. I felt so drained my earlier thoughts of going to the local deli to pick up some cold cuts to fix a nice sanger had taken flight. After a long shower all I could do was a quick instant noodle lunch. The fridge had only a solitary bottle and it wasn’t beer. Cider isn’t my go to beverage but it had to do.
After lunch I thought about continuing with the vacuuming but abandoned the idea as I was in no mood to lift anymore appliances. I headed to the local library as I had finished my book on the train on the way back on Friday arvo. Ann Henderson’s book on Menzies had been on my list but the sheer size of that book – given my arm’s weary state – scared me. I returned home, empty handed, and continued with the vacuuming.
Tress then came home with some ribs which I marinated for the week’s cook on Sunday arvo and we went out for some grocery shopping and the day’s gone.
Madam K was a little different after church – we didn’t meet our usual old friends and Rose was extraordinarily generous with her serving and added goodies. After lunch we went to pick up my suit, got more paraphernalia for the wedding and when we sat down for a coffee and watched the Sunday arvo crowd milling through the arcade’s outdoor dining strip, I finally felt the weekend reprieve. We later got home and I started cooking. We then took the little guy to the oval for his walk, which he enjoyed. Just looking at him – a sightless wonder – bouncing around with a smile on his face, made me feel, at long last, a true sense of having rested. Even as we went for a short walk past the oval across an adjoining field.
This morning as I lumbered through Melbourne’s suburban rail, I felt the imbalanced nature of my weeks starting again. It feels as elusive as ever.