Monthly Archives: August 2013

Making it work

We may have finally worked out a system that allows me to get enough solid PhD hours under my belt and still get to be a mum and do all the things I want/need to do around here. This may not sound like a big deal to some. In fact I’m constantly amazed at other women who manage to juggle more kids and more responsibilities than me. But for me (and J) it is a big deal because we have kind of failed in the past. And besides – it feels great and empowering at this stage to see that it just may be possible to achieve everything we are aiming for.

The plan is simple. I wake up early, disentangle myself from Lil I, make a pot of coffee and a thermos of tea, grab the laptop and disappear into Granma’s caravan for 5 hours. I’m aiming to wake up at 5 but it’s been more like 6-6.30 due to various factors (mostly Lil’ I induced lack of sleep). I feel so productive anyway. The rest of the hours needed to fill the 40hr/wk quota I attempt to make IMGP7238up in the afternoons or evenings. But really I’m not that worried. I feel like the 5 hours I do are hyper-productive because they have to be. I’m not a PhD student asleep at my desk or wasting time on facebook. Any distraction that pops into my head during this time, mostly garden related, I jot down on a piece of paper to address after ‘school’.

Like I said it’s not an out of this world strategy. But it is ground breaking for us.  The whole time we were in Melbourne I struggled to get enough study done. J was either working, or recovering from a late shift or there was some housework that urgently needed doing or the guilty lure of getting Lil’ I out of the suburban house and doing ‘things’. For some reason it feels really brave to write that. Admitting that we don’t have everything together and that sometimes (often?) we suck at life. It reminds me of this post by Clean about the tendency for people to crop out the messier parts of their lives on blogs and social media – which is kind of shitty because it leaves others (me) feeling inadequate.

For us, part of the problem has always been that my most efficient working window is in the morning and J really struggles with mornings. And of course mornings in our house are no longer just cups of tea and cigarettes for him. No. We have a toddler that needs things and who doesn’t understand that mornings are sacrosanct and who will ask/whinge/argue about anything at any time. But god bless him (J) he is getting better (awesome even) and I can, finally, picture what doing my PhD will look like.

And it makes me really happy. Like anything – when you are achieving things you feel good. So at this moment, right now, I am happier than I can remember being in a long time. We have so many things to be grateful for – not least being that we are both working towards our future in ways that are tangible and valued by both of us. Me trying to further my academic career with an eye for future consultative work and J building our future (and current) home/haven.

And what can be better than a sunny winters day, reading about intercultural capacity deficiency (yeah that does it for me – not because a deficiency of intercultural capacity exists – but that someone is writing about it), and basking in the sunlight and sounds of father and son building a swing as they filter through the caravan curtains.

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Smoko #3

Solar power: I do love solar power. It’s good stuff. It runs our fridge, lights, washing machine, computer, TV and all that stuff with a minimum of fossil fuels involved. But it has limits, detrimental to my well being and in need of resolving.

Bass: I do love bass. In Brisbane, I own half of a 12kW, bass heavy, UK style reggae sound system along with Champion Sound director and Dubwise Productions producer Chris Jay (look up www.championsound.com.au).  We use it for running events and parties.  It has limits too, but mostly imposed by authorities rather than technicalities…police don’t love a bassline.

Solar vs Bass: Our entire solar system is only about 2kW and so would be flat out (and probably incapable of) running even a 6th of that sound system for any amount of time – the batteries would be flat in minutes. (Monkey Marc I believe owns a solar powered sound system (for events), but I assume he has $100k worth of batteries backing it up).  And herein lies the problem.  With not enough power, how am I to get some bass ina the place?  I don’t have an answer yet (comments/suggestions?), but what I do finally have is a record player.  Since April I have not had one and my records have been staring at me, through the cupboard door, with hurt and sulky expressions.  So today we found one in a 2nd hand shop.  It is probably a 1960s model and has 2 tinny arse speakers hard wired into it – nary an output socket in sight – but for $45 we figured it was worth it.  And it is, but barely.  Got to hear some music, and did rejoice, but boy was it tinny.  It’s obviously a high-end 1960’s player: it has separate bass and treble knobs and everything…but I don’t think they’re actually connected to anything. Sly and Robbie sounded like a string quartet, though if I turned the bass right up and treble right down the bass violin got a bit of an echo to it that perhaps in the 60s would bring the coppers running, but out here just makes the kookaburras laugh.

Anyway, it’s a bit of a come down from 12kW to 20w, and I know some people who may read this will be laughing at me.  But I figure the solar can handle 100w or so (mostly plenty for home use), so we’ll be on the lookout for an amp and another record player (one with phono leads) down the track…and maybe a big fat 20kva generator for musical emergencies.

One of my sound systems
My other sound system

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