Katherine Hayton | BLOG

I often complain bitterly about our current government. I’m a socialist at heart, so my voting usually leans lightly to the left.

However, today I’m rather pleased that the right wing were in office to enact the legislation in 2014 that means that tonight, despite being Sunday, I’m not getting that Sunday feeling.

You know, that sinking feeling that grows throughout the afternoon, and puts a damper on anything that you’re doing in the evening.

The regret that you feel as you crawl under the covers. The list of things that you were so positive you were going to get done during the weekend but didn’t even come close to touching upon.

Unless you’re on a different contract and work on bizarre days and at bizarre hours (my definition of bizarre being anything outside the hours of 8.30 to 5.00 on Monday to Friday) then you’ll know what I’m talking about. If you’re bizarre then please insert whatever the bizarro equivalent is for you.

Anzac Day is always commemorated on the 25th April. It’s the day in 1915 that the New Zealand and Australian troops landed on the beach in the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey where they would begin a two-way slaughter that ended on the 9th January 1916 in defeat of the Allied troops and the loss of quarter of a million combatants on either side.

What a great day to celebrate. Who needed those half a million people anyway.

Turkey gracefully allows the countries that invaded its borders and slaughtered its countrymen into the area each year to commemorate the campaign. Because this year marks the centenary there’s been even more stuff happening than usual.

While I have the greatest respect and gratitude for our servicemen, I have to admit that I’m slightly more interested in the public holidayness of the whole thing.

Until this year if a public holiday fell on a Saturday or a Sunday, and those happened to be days that you weren’t working anyway, you missed out on a holiday. Between Waitangi Day always being celebrated on 6th February, and Anzac Day always being celebrated on 25th April, there have been years where we’ve missed out on either or even both of them.

There was even that horrid time where the leap year in between meant there were fewer years celebrating both and more years celebrating neither.

But now we have Mondayisation. And yeah, that’s a word. It may be a word that we made up because it’s annoying to say things like ‘the occasion whereby a public holiday falls on the weekend and therefore workers who don’t work during the weekend may take the public holiday on the Monday instead’ but that’s just a good a reason to invent a new word as any other.

So this is the trial run. Yesterday, we have the ceremonies marking the centenary since the Anzac troops landed in Gallipoli, and tomorrow I have the ceremony marking the sleeping in of the Katherine.

Thank you National Party. Your work here is done, you may now leave the Beehive.

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on Lotto tonight. Just sitting here waiting for the shiny balls to start jangling about in their big ball sack, before popping out the end into a little tube.

Always so exciting. Figuratively glued to the telly. Apart from taking a break to write this down right now, the screen has my full attention.

There’s hosts on there at the moment, but I know they’re coming. The balls of joy. The balls of happiness.

Money may not bring you happiness, but I’m kind of happy already, so making my life a whole lot easier could quite literally buy me the time to enjoy it.

Even if it doesn’t work, I’d be the first to hold up my hand and say, I’ll give it the good old Kiwi try.

They’re spinning now. They’re spinning.

If I look closely enough I can even see my lucky numbers spinning and jostling in order to make their way to the tube.

Ball One. Green 25. I have that. I’m a winner baby. Not really, I need a whole lot more before I’m even in the money, but at least I haven’t ruled myself out yet.

(BTW they should definitely live tweet the Lotto numbers every week)

Okay. That was unexpected. Not the best of all things. Don’t have a yellow 14.

Don’t have a yellow 15 either.

Don’t have a green 20; don’t have a yellow 10.

Do have the bonus ball, but I’ve already trashed my ticket because that ain’t gonna buy me happiness. It ain’t gonna buy me love.

Just a minute, just a minute. I forgot there was the winning wheel number…

Oh, okay. I’ll just get back to ripping up the ticket then.

Watch that happy couple spinning the wheel. $250,000. That would’ve been nice. Would’ve come in handy.

Damn you Lotto. Where’s my gamblers anonymous card got to again?

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24 Apr / Added extras

It’s become increasingly apparent to me over the last couple of weeks that something has been missing in my current work in progress.

The story is pretty much unfolding in the way I kind of thought it would. Sort of. But even though all the plot points were hitting there was something a bit… flat.

Something a bit… empty.

Too many… ellipses.

A light bulb started dinging in the back of my head as I reached the half-way point and realised that no way is there enough words in there.

Usually there’s more than enough, and I get the pleasure of knowing that soon after I’ve strained my wee heart out putting all those words on the page, I get to go through and cross at least a quarter of them out.

But if I take in the superfluous words as well, then what I have on my hands is a novella.

I don’t have anything against the form per se. “The Body” and “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption” are perfect examples of the excellence this format can achieve. It’s just that I thought there was more stuff going on.

And then I worked out what had happened. I got the character A viewpoint, going on nicely. Got the character B viewpoint, acting in perfect harmony and coming in gently for a nice co-mingling of plots at just the right point. Ohhh sexy.

Now I just need to have that third eye watching out. The point of view that’s going to corroborate a whole lot of testimony right up until the point that it actually doesn’t. (Or until it does. Who can tell? You’ll need to buy the book at the ever-extending release date to find out.)

It seems like a lot of extra work to be right now, but at least when that finally occurred to me, all the other troubles I’d been having on the way through started to work themselves out.

Onward, ho. This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

(Unless or until I kill her off.)

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22 Apr / Lights out

I could sense that the day was full of possibilities when I walked into the office this morning and the automatic lighting sensors didn’t instruct the lights to turn on.

The previous day we’d been warned there would be power cuts if we were lucky enough to be working at 9.30pm at night (I don’t know who these messages are directed towards, but not me obviously) but the power would only be out for 45 minutes.

There is one permanently turned-on light in our office and it was still functioning, so the power still being out was quickly overturned as a reason. Luckily this also meant the coffee machine was up and running so I had a hot chocolate and a latte while I pondered my options.

A phone call to the extension of the property manager was rerouted through to a cellphone number that I wasn’t expecting to be answered at 6.30am but was. I gave a startled message and then settled in to work in the dark.

It’s harder than it looks.

Since High School I’ve had and maintained the skill of touch typing. Little did I know that my well developed and long practised skill only worked as long as I have the ability to look at the keys from time to time. Turn the lights out and I’m reduced to the good old hunt and peck.

I’ve long been under the impression – mainly courtesy of Hollywood – that if you lose one of your senses, all of your remaining senses are heightened to compensate.

I’m not sure why, therefore, taking one sense away from me lessens all my other senses to throw the balance out even more.

Not much of a plot to build on there, I suppose.

The incredible unable-to-see-in-the-dark girl. Watch as her skills drop away one by one.

I fared better than another woman in our office who turned up early to work to find the office in total darkness, and asked her similarly affected podmate to have a nice romantic breakfast with her. Her podmate promptly phoned her husband.

I may be a useless typist in the dark, but I still know how to hit on people.

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This morning I decided that from now on I’m avoiding sugar in my diet. This shouldn’t be too much of a stretch, I used to follow a low carb high fat diet and when I got my craving on I invested into a pantry full of alternatively sweetened products.

For breakfast I had a sandwich. For morning tea I had unflavoured porridge and some sugar free chocolate to flavour it. For lunch I had MSG laden noodles and some slow-roasted pork belly. For snacks I had roasted cashew nuts.

Three hours later I forgot and ate half a chocolate bunny left over from Easter.

Given my inattention it was a perfectly acceptable mistake to make. However, given the lengthy track record it follows in the footsteps of I’ve decided that I need to come up with a new plan. Commitment in food related matters just isn’t in the cards for me.

So… I’m planning a bit of reverse psychology.

Tomorrow I plan to eat all day long. Sugar in it? Stuff it in. Saturated fat in the triple digits? Add it to the plate. Is the ingredient list a series of numbers and letters then a few words ending in -ose? I’ll have seconds please.

Fingers crossed these rules slip by the wayside as easily as any other promises.

If I don’t fall off the wagon from this one someone’ll have to clean up my corpse in a few weeks from now.

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Today I went on a hunt for a new box cutter. I thought we could get them at the supermarket, but when I searched for it on their app there was no such thing listed.

I tried under art knife in case they were being all fancy and stuff, but that didn’t locate it either.

Unwilling to risk stepping inside an actual shop and encountering an actual shop assistant in my hunt, I turned to the World Wide Web in search of my prey.

You cannot buy a box cutter in New Zealand. There is not a .co.nz .nz .kiwi or .net.nz site listed that has a box cutter in its inventory.

And yet we do have box cutters. Maybe it’s some sort of weird 9/11 thing where the box cutting industry is trying to distance themselves from terrorism (much the same way Kool Aid tries desperately to point out that it was Flavor Aid used in Jonestown people; Flavor Aid) but I finally located them under the name cutter snap blade knife.

Well that’s… descriptive.

After telling this fascinating story to my darling (oh, how the long summer evenings just fly by) he went into the spare bedroom and returned with a drawer full of old stationery. There were staples, more staples, a stapler (lucky), a hole punch, a cheap compass and an expensive compass, paper clips, and a full collection of felt tip pens that despite being at least twenty years old worked perfectly well.

I clapped my hands with excitement and ran over as he excavated these items from the general mess they’d tangled themselves into.

I don’t know what it is about stationery, but it always seems to make the world a better place. That, and a glass of Kool Aid while you’re scoring your pork belly with a cutter snap blade knife.

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18 Apr / Break-up

My darling and I broke up last night.

It came out of nowhere for me. His only explanation was that he wanted to chase ‘other women.’

I think that was more insulting than being left for another specific woman. Just being kicked out for ‘some other woman’ whoever that may or may not turn out to be.

Soon after he’d told me and I’d turned my shocked self around to go to the bedroom and pack up, I walked back through into the lounge and discovered he’d taken down all the pictures that I’d painted. He’d replaced them with cheap ugly photos. They weren’t even of planes – that I could understand – they were of landscapes. Blah.

I then had to listen to the tearful entreaties of his son from his first marriage, because my ex-darling had chosen to tell me he wanted me to leave on the alternate weekend that his son flies down from Wellington to spend with his dad.

Like I needed that on the same day I’d discovered that I was now forced to enter the crowded and expensive housing market of Christchurch. Just couldn’t be bothered to break up with me pre-earthquake. Had to make it all inconvenient.

When I walked over the road to the park after packing, I found my ex-darling rolling around on the grass with another woman and exclaiming how much he enjoys kissing. Yuck. And then he kissed the skank some more. Double yuck.

In an act of pure retribution I marched back into the house, and returned with his son in tow. I then emphasised to the boy (yet again) that it wasn’t my fault that his Dad and I were breaking up.

When I woke up I still had the bitter smile on my lips.

My darling hasn’t even bothered to apologise so far because he thinks that the excuse ‘it didn’t happen’ counts for something.

Like that’s going to make it up to his non-existent son, or dry his non-existent son’s tears.

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16 Apr / Flu jabs

In pursuit of living forever I had a flu jab today. I’d booked in a few weeks ago and filled out the compulsory form at the same time as otherwise I’d forget. I was just making the guess that if I end up using the form I’ve not come down with a fever in the last 24 hours.

The appointments this year were unusually precise. The first time I signed up for a jab in my office – far longer ago than I wish to recall – the schedule was sometime between 9.30am and 10.30am. Maybe.

This year I signed up for my injection between the minutes of 8.34am and 8.36am. I didn’t recognise the room at first because there wasn’t a line of people outside sitting and waiting. Just a row of empty chairs.

Unlike last year – when apparently even random flu injectors were trying to force me onto a diet – there were lollipops. The nurse apologised for her cold hands. Apologised.

I felt guilty when I ignored her advice to wait twenty minutes to see if the injection would kill me or not before returning to my cubicle.

I made the excuse that there were first aiders on our floor, knowing full well that if there was anything seriously wrong with me I wouldn’t be saved by a lot of hand-wringing and saying ‘I don’t know what to do.’

I survived, however.

In fact, I’d completely forgotten about the jab altogether until I lightly brushed my arm in the exact injection spot when removing my uniform this evening.

I have not forgotten since.

Still, whatever doesn’t kill you should make you immune to swine flu. This year anyhow.

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Winter is in the air, and do you know what that means? Recruitment time!

Recruitment time is strictly seasonal, in that every time the season changes we need to recruit.

There was the drought of 2014 where we over-recruited and then no one left for a year, but the usual pace of life has once again caught up with our unit and we’re back into the three month routine.

The best fun of all is working out the “challenge” to run in for the group activity.

We used to use the good old spaghetti, string, masking tape and marshmallow construction challenge. The leftovers were good, but the tables would get all sticky.

Then we progressed to the newspaper, Sellotape, and scissors, free-standing tower project. That’s a lot less sticky (even when candidates ignore the free-standing bit and start taping the whole construction to the table) but you get blackened hands from the newsprint.

Our next option was the phone call to a toy store, where the candidate is the toy store employee and they’re about to realise the toy you phoned to order is out of stock. Joyous fun ensues. But it’s labour intensive.

Personally I prefer the one where all the candidates have just crashed their plane into the side of the mountain and have to make life or death decisions on what to take with them as they attempt to find help. Anyone attempting to make a frivolous choice to lighten the mood will get an instant scowl of death from his table-mates.

Maybe this is how elections should be held. We get to see a government attempting to construct a tower out of spaghetti and marshmallows, and see which side can work together the best, and which side gives up and just eats the marshmallows.

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