Monday, October 7, 2013

The only way is up

Saturday's tramp was every bit as exhausting as expected, but I felt so much better for it. We did a loop, walking to the top of Kapakapanui the steep way, and coming back down the not-so-steep (but plenty steep enough for me) way. Only four of us did the walk, if you can call it that because all four limbs were required. The summit was at an altitude of 1100 metres, a 960-metre climb from the starting point. We waded through a stream at the beginning; I quickly felt out of my depth. I'd expended a lot of nervous energy in the previous two days and that probably didn't help. This was the steepest part of the track. My heart was pounding and I struggled to keep up; the leader put me at the front. After that I kept up a decent pace, with The Only Way Is Up playing in my head. We saw four mountain goats including a baby one (a kid of course). It felt good to reach the top. The low cloud meant we couldn't see a thing up there, certainly not the amazing view you get in the brochure.
We had lunch up there and gradually made our way down, stopping briefly at a DOC hut. It wasn't an easy descent - it was extremely muddy and slippery. Just as I could feel my feet warming up, they were back in the cold water: we crossed the stream nine times at the bottom. I felt pretty good at the end - I could do with this sort of workout more often.

I did the driving - about an hour each way. As I said before, I get nervous when I'm carrying multiple passengers because it's something I rarely do, and I always think I'm being judged. I shouldn't have been too worried on Saturday - everybody was nicely subdued. My car is more suited to this kind of driving than what I normally do around the city. When I lived in Auckland I went on long drives at the weekends all the time, but that's when I was younger and didn't have to worry about money so much (isn't it supposed to work the other way?).

On Friday we had our after-work boat trip. My stomach had been churning and I'd made regular trips to the loo - I'd been dreading it, not the boat bit but the people bit. The boat was quite a majestic catamaran that our company had chartered. There were two resident dogs - a Dalmatian and a Japanese Spitz. The sea was almost totally calm, making for a very pleasant trip out to Somes Island and back. One of my colleagues, we found out, lived on a boat for five years. “And now I’m working for …” She prefixed the name of the company with "effing". It's always interesting talking to her. Unlike some people in her role (taking calls from customers) she hasn't been institutionalised by working for an insurance company. The people bit, yes, that was hard work, as was the bit where they gave out awards for amazing this or awesome that. One award was a monetary prize for getting the most points (how you get points I don't really know). The woman who received the most points, by a mile, had just left the company, and there was a tie for second place. How did they resolve that? By splitting it 50:50 (money is good like that - it splits easily)? No, by tossing a coin. When we got back on land, some people continued their evening in a bar. It was nice having the next morning's tramp as a valid excuse - I got home around eleven.

Yesterday morning I rang Dad - he's in the UK until the end of the month, sorting out furniture for their latest flat. My brother was out. His mood has lifted immeasurably since he got back to England. He still has a short temper though - it's a trait he's got from Mum's side of the family. Dad and I agreed that would be nice if he could curb that, but if it's in your genes what can you do?

After hobbling to the market to buy all the vegetables and eggs I'll now be eating, Martin came over. I asked him if he'd be interested in flatting with me. He has a guitar and a drum kit, as well as a record player and a selection of vinyl. He's had to leave most of that at his parents' place for lack of space at his current flat - I said he'd be welcome to keep it here. I offered him $190 a week and I'll see what happens. We talked about our relationships with our parents. He said he never got much affection from his mother and could never hug her now - it would just be "really awkward". Wow, that's sad.

It's day two of my new diet and I've already transgressed. A glass of wine at my cousin's place last night, a chocolate chip cookie tonight, milk in my tea and coffee at work when I just wasn't thinking. Bacon and eggs for breakfast is something I could easily get used to though. I posted a comment on, talking about the challenges of a strict exclusion diet when you're depressed, and my slight skepticism of the regime. I got a helpful reply, but then the topic vanished and I could no longer log in. I thought for a minute I'd been banned and IP-blocked for speaking out of turn, but no, there were problems with the site. In conjunction with the diet (or my feeble attempt at it), I'm still weaning off Efexor. On 1st October I dropped to 75 mg.

Tracy and Tom came over last Monday night to play board games. We played a rather good co-operative game where you had to recover the parts of a plane to fly out of a desert before you die of thirst or get buried by a sandstorm. It came right down to the last card - make or break - and unfortunately for us it was break. The game was good but the best part of the evening was the chat.

I've felt two earthquakes in the last week - at about 5:30am on Wednesday (an awkward time) and 7:30am yesterday.

I've yet to vote in the local elections, not because I don't care, but because I have no clue who to vote for. I only know of two of the candidates, and I don't think name recognition is a very good basis for casting a vote. Oh, and I'm fed up with those billboards that mention "reviving" Wellington. It isn't dying!

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