It's a long way to the top if ya want to rock & roll!!! Depending on which side of the Equator you're on, I've certainly had an interesting Summer/Winter. After 11 ½ months of gallivanting around the globe, I did what all normal well-adjusted growned up big kids should do and got myself some gainful employment. I settled on a company that outwardly showed it was dynamic, progressive and headed in a upward direction.
Alas, the honeymoon was to be very brief, do to several factors, least of which was the management and interpersonal skills (of what I called the "Gang of Five Cheerleaders") or lack thereof. in any form of business, whoever heard of "a lot of turnover is good as only the people who work there - stay"??? After 3 weeks, I knew that my tenure was going to very brief when the purchase of a corporate jet took more precedence than the desperately required IT infrastructure.
This glaring anomaly was never more evident, than with me having just 5 weeks of exposure to the environment, 70% of the company took off to Europe on an annual 3 week cruise and left me running the entire show with assistance from a Database Administrator. Firstly, the one and only file server died and it took an entire day to recover. Secondly, the only email server (a virtual one at that) died and that took another complete day to recover. I knew there and then that (a) the corporate jet could have been out to better use and (b) I'm should start considering career options as this has the reverse Sprite mentality - "Forget your thirst, Image IS everything".
Through some sense of misguided loyalty, I promised myself that I would stick it out until everyone got back, but it was there and then that I decided to return to the United States to sort out the mess with renewing my Green Card. With most of the company I worked for returning to site on June 12th, I had no dramas jetting out of Townsville and had a few days on the Gold Coast with Philthy, Jodi & the girls before heading back to Boise.
Through the good graces and generosity of my good mates Ian & Jax, I was put up at "Sinkatinnie Downs". This gave me a great base camp for trying to accomplish several goals - (a) renew the Green Card, (b) sell the "Man Pad" i.e. the motorhome, (c) sell my Harley and move permanently to the Dallas, Texas area.
Starting with the Texas move. I was all keen on doing it until a couple of totally unrelated incidents combined to change my entire thought process. The US Immigration gave me a 12 month extension on the renewal on my Green Card. Had I renewed it for 10 years and had left the country for a period exceeding 12 months, they would have cancelled the card. More importantly however was running into a couple of Kiwi mates and Glen says to me that in order to settle in an area usually takes 12 to 36 months to establish yourself. Good point! Was I really giving Townsville a fair go???
As mentioned earlier, I've got 12 months to decide on the Green Card and the &Man Pad" had yet another deal fall through (this was the 4th one due to financing), but Jarame is still hawking it like a 2 dollar crack ho. Go you good thing!!!
With the Harley, I was going to ride it on down to Austin, Texas and surprise Dash & Christine with a visit and leave the Harley with Dash to sell for me. He would have done it, but after thinking about it for a while, I thought it would be unfair on him as he was the original owner of the bike and we both have a fair amount of attachment to it. I offloaded it to my old neighbour Jim after putting 2000+ miles on it in 6 weeks or so.
Yeah, it was a few miles and as the old cliche goes "if I have to explain it - you'd never understand". Riding just on dusk through fresh cut hay, wheat, corn or mint fields or the smells just after a light shower a but a few of life simplest, but most rewarding experiences.
While I was in Boise, I didn't simply park me carcass on any and all available bar stools by any stretch of the imagination. A good mate of mine - Gump, who is a real estate agent, asked me to give him a hand with his cabin and I thought why not, it's not like I've got a lot on in the day planner.
About 320 kilometers North of Boise, Idaho, Gump and his family are building a small log cabin that measures about 7 metres by 9 meters with a 3 metre porch across the front of the cabin. The plan was to do a bit of work on the cabin and enjoy the clean mountain air and just relax a bit.
After getting up there around 2 in the afternoon, the first task was to build some steps out of 300 millimetre diameter logs. So armed with a chainsaw, a pencil and a fair amount of "avagoyamug" we completed half of the stairs before the sun started setting. After a quick dip in the river, there was no running water or even a bathing facility, so the river was as good as it got for getting the grub off. I tell you what, it was a quick dip as it was near freezing water. Dinner was a Steak " Spud affair and it was lights out.
Saturday started early and we knocked off the stairs and proceed to plumb the organically composting toilet. This saw me clambering 10 metres up a ladder attaching a 4 inch diameter vent pipe to the side of the cabin. We had to knock of early as we were invited to Gump's father in-law's (Matt) wedding. I was concerned as I didn't exactly bring a tux, just on the off chance I'd attend a wedding in the sticks ;-) Gump's says not to worry as is Matt's fifth wedding. No dramas I reckon - I'll dress up for the next one ;-) Another quick dip in the river and I had the Levi dinner suite on.
Sunday saw the two of us building the entire loft floor structure and then some walls for the lover level master bedroom, toilet, bathroom and kitchen. It took a bit of time as every nail had to be hand hammered as there were no pneumatic nail guns to be seen. Luckily the small generator could run the electric saw or I'd still be up there. ;-) It was a lot of hard work, but a thoroughly enjoyable time.
From there is was over to Ian & Jax's office as it need a bit of TLC. We ended up drywalling the new vestibule, installing 500 square feet of siding and trimming out the exterior of the house/office. We accomplished a considerable amount on a short timeframe and hopefully they can paint the place next weekend.
Interspersed amongst all this fun " frivolity was me running around helping out quite a few people with my IT skills - is there no rest for the wicked??? ;-)
I started my return to Australia on Friday arvo blowing the froth of a couple with rugby mates, Kush and Gump. From there I headed over the other side of town for some brilliant sushi with 8 of my close mates around 6 o'clock. Don't worry, I took it really easy on the giggle juice as I was riding the Harley. As you can appreciate, there are no second chances on a bike and no matter what, you will always come a miserable second in any prang, so slow and steady was the gee-oh.
I was riding back to where I was staying, about 30 minutes ride from downtown Boise, when I pulled up alongside a fella on a new $50k Big Dog custom motorbike. He asks where I'm headed and we work out we're going in the same direction, So Paucho Beaner (yup, that's his name. You think I make this shit up - don't you?) says let's shotgun it (ride side by side - as at night it appears as if you are a big vehicle to oncoming traffic) to his brothers bar near where I was staying.
I walks into the bar and it was no scene from the movie Deliverance, rather it was straight out of the Mexican Deliverance - just needed the banjo playing Marriachi band to crank up and "boy howdy vato" I would sure would have had a purdy mouth!!! ;-) The place was full of 3 toothed mullet fluffers pounding out karaoke hits by the (tone deaf) earful. It was hilarious.
Paucho introduces me to all and sundry and for some reason I attracted the flotsam and jetsam of the local Hillbilly Hilton bar, at its prime - no less, on a Friday night. Most memorable "ol' lady" (as she described herself), of the night was this bushpig who proceeded to wax lyrical of her wide and varied world travels when I mentioned I was from Australia. She loved Australia and made no bones about telling all and sundry that she had the best time on the drink when driving from Germany through Australia and on into Italy. I didn't have the heart to correct her as the 10 inch Bowie knife on her hip was within arm's reach.
Good fun, but it's like WOW - there really are window lickers on the short bus!!!
I got home about 11PM, pack & stacked and checked the eyelids for holes. I get to the airport and come to find out that I have managed to accumulate 107.5 pounds (48.8 kilograms) of contraband for my homeward journey. I knew I should have kept my suitcase single as I entered the US with 23 pounds (10 kilograms) of luggage. Are my undies breeding??? Scary thoughts ;-)
I've prattled on for enough and the tin crow is about to drop in into Auckland, New Zealand - gotta run.
Stay Happy ;-)