Monday, 30 May 2011

A day in the life of an Australian working poof

I woke up this morning nearly an hour before the alarm was due to go off. I wasn't worried if I fell asleep again, and about a dreadfully loud and annoying alarm going off that made start my day with me being fuckin really pissed off. The alarm is set to a radio station that I can barely hear but plays rock. It's quiet and gentle, but it still wakes me up. This morning it went off after I'd fallen asleep an hour before again. 

I'd moved over and Simon and I were together; him facing opposite and me behind, my arm around his waste. My dick was against his ass, not that I wanted to do anything. I was just happy to wake up next to him holding him. We were both warm and close. Outside it was pouring rain, the sun still not up, damp and cold. "He has a lovely ass", I thought. "It's so comfortable and nice, and he loves me being so close to him". But the alarm had gone off, and I had to get up for work.

Stumbled through my morning pills in the dark. Dindn't want him to have to get up yet, and to enjoy the warmth of the room on a cold depressing morning. Had breakfast and feed the cat, went back in the bedroom to kiss him goodby. He was so comfortable and warm, had fallen back to sleep. He woke to kiss me, me telling him to go back to sleep. Left for work, via the buses.

On the way to work I thought of thew weekend Simon and I had had. So close. So in love. Hours of lovemaking. Such depth. Such meaning. At times we became almost one person. At times the overwhelming beauty saw me sobbing in tears. Such was the experience. He takes me to another world during sex.

At work told the Dept head that I'd not be working there very long if the stress continued in the job like last week. He said he would address it. Finally he's gotten a casual in for afternoon shift. Likely he will be there now until the work drops off, I can't see that happening for about a month at present, at least. A bloke arrived at about 2:30, soon almost stunned at the amount of work in the place.

I worked hard all day. Everyone did. 

After work went to the pub for some cheap happy hour beers. I had 4, maybe 5. Can't remember. My back relaxed and stopped hurting, and I decided to head home. Simon is at the friends house near here for the night. He will give her a lift to the airport tomorrow or some shit. He's invited me around to this house he's looking after for a day now and then. Some modern house. Don't want to stay nights in a row as I don't want to have to pack a bag, but would be nice for a few odd nights. He also gets the use of her car whilst there. Five minutes from my work. ..... ...

Got home, turned on the heaters around the place, and smelt the dope smell in my daughters room when turning on her heater. Had a little smoke. Typing this now. Soon dinner, bath, and bed.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Marijuana memories

Was walking through my daughters room yesterday to open the window and let some air through the place. Noticed she'd got out some old photos from the box in the lounge room (the one that I avoid looking at as there's so many memories in it). On the top was the above picture. Wow, that one goes back about 20 years. 

I grew it on the little balcony in the dept of housing place that we were at the time. The lady above could see it and asked for some later on. It ended up like a small shrub in the end as I had to keep trimming it so it wouldn't get too high and be seen by all. When it headed it was a smooth and strong smoke, but all natural. These days I don't like to smoke as they seem to put too many chemicals in it when growing it.

Unfortunately, after harvesting it at the end, the police got most of it. I took over a small rented place around the corner from a friend of ours, who could no longer afford to rent it. I proceeded to set up a few pot plants there and had some seeds sprouting. It turned out however that the friend of ours was importing heroine from Asia and had a parcel on the way, to that address. The parcel was followed from up there by the police, and when it arrived at the address the Federal police broke down the door and arrested her there; she'd been waiting there for the parcel. So the cops found the seedlings of mine, and the plant from the year before still drying out (the one in the photo above). 

The Federal police came out to work and arrested me, taking me back to the main Fed police building in the city. In the end I got fined $1,500 in court and the magistrate told me to "keep away from drugs". She got 6 years in Silverwater jail.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

U2 pic

Went and had a couple of drinks after Simon got into Sydney, across the road from Central Station. He's looking really well. Got home later on, and it was wonderful to have him here through the night.

Noticed on the U2 website they have free wallpapers giving away. One of them is of the concert I went to here in Sydney last year. A very good picture I thought. We were in the stands off to the left past the edge of the picture.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Major problems with work

Missed work today. First time in a while though. In fact I even have a couple of hours sick pay built up, unbelievable! Woke up this morning and just couldn't face it. Didn't want to go in and use all that energy when there are other things in life I consider more important. Like Simon arriving at nearly 10pm tonight on the train, the last thing I want to be is exhausted when he gets here from work. He usually likes to go have a beer or two after such a long trip like that, and I know from past experience it's just horrible if I'm sitting there virtually falling asleep in front of him.

It has been an incredibly stressful week at work. None of it's been my fault. Rather, bad management. As I'm vulnerable to mental stressors I found it particularly hard to deal with. The workload; way too much of it, too little staff, and little proper organisation for the area. I've been telling the dept head since Monday that we need a casual bloke in from the agency for a while to do another shift on the guillotine, all to no avail. He finally mentioned something about going to do that yesterday, this was after I'd already spat the dummy the day before after having 5 different people bringing me work, all of it needed right away. Ridiculous. In the end told them (not in so many words) to all fuck off and that I can't fuckin do everything. 

I particularly pointed out that I still have problems with organising things in my head, after the brain injury from the GKC. To have all that work thrown at me in such an unorganised way is to me overwhelming; I just don't know where to start and it's all too much. In fact it's like that situation accentuates that mental illness that I have now, and it's almost like I have some kind of relapse into it. Other than that it's simply that the work load is too much, and when they start running jobs of 1 or 2 million in Print dept then we need a casual in to help with it. Fuck man, I know I'm good, but I'm not that good!

Seriously wondering again now if I'm going to last in this job. I don't think so the way it is now, unless they change things in the future. I'm dealing with the physical aspect of it OK now, but I don't get paid enough to deal with that sort of stress. And I don't want to have to deal with it either; life is too short for that. Likely in the past I would have just copped it and gone on with work, but not now, not anymore. Near death seems to do that to you. 

I also have to look after my mental health, whatever it is now. I'll have to bring these issues up with dept head on Monday. As far as I'm concerned they have to be addressed if I'm to work there long term.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Time apart nearing its end

Work has boiled over with me the last couple of days. 

Yesterday I nearly went home I had the shits so bad. I've been telling the dept head for the last 2 weeks that we need a casual in for a while to do another shift on the guillotine (3-11pm) but he's kept coming out with crap like we don't really need to. Slowly I've gotten more and more behind with just the work from Print dept, let alone anything else. I did finish one job I'd been on for about 2 weeks, 2.5 million finished A4 sheets. But I keep getting all this other shit to do that interrupts these other big Print jobs. 

Then yesterday the other guillo bloke decided that his smaller guillo was broken beyond repair, and declared that I was now "the man". The dept head at the time was too busy with a big client to sort out his BS. The day progressed and the other bloke didn't even bother to ring the fix-it people as in his opinion there was no need: the guillo was fucked beyond repair according to him. He proceeded to fuck around and generally do nothing. I suddenly started getting dumped his pissy little work in my area from various people.

Being as I still don't seem to be able to organise my head cognitively very well, I had to draw the line. Just simply refused to take on any more work. Told them all just to blame me, I don't care. Dept head came along after a period of time and wrote down a list of priorities and I could deal with that and it was OK then. 

Said that to him today, that that was the reason I go the shits, was because when multiple things are thrown at me I can't do it in my head. Reminded him when I told him I had only half a mind to come back to work. 

But the worst thing was that today the fix-it man came for his guillotine. He was only there for about half an hour and it was fixed, and it wasn't a major problem. And work could have been done on it yesterday even in the condition it was in. The other fuckwit guillo guy though had declared it fucked and refused to work it. I was fuckin fuming; the fuckin BS dramas he created yesterday.....

It's my last night alone for a while tonight. Simon is arriving tomorrow at about 9:30pm on the train. I'm meeting him at Central station and we will have a beer or two before we both come home here. I'm just so excited. Don't think I've ever looked forward to us being together as this time. Miss him so very much.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Group discussion, sero-discordant relationships

It was an effort but I made it to the discussion. Was tired as hell (another hugely busy day at work) but had a couple of beers at the Oxford before going the short distance to where it was. The beers helped to relax and get me in the mood for talking. Seriously was considering going home before that as was just so fucked after work.

The people there involved were very friendly and open. Both positive and negative. The main point/theme I took home with me from it was that it's about how you feel for each other, how much you love each other, that is the key to the trust and communication that is in a close relationship. HIV in such a relationship is sort of secondary; I mean if you love someone, do you really care if they have a manageable illness? You overlook that if you love them. You want to be with them even if they are positive. 

It was certainly that way with my late wife. She was ill when I met her, and slowly progressed over the years to death because of it. But I always loved her, despite that.

Monday, 23 May 2011

What a fuckin day!

Monday. Dunno if that had anything to do with it, but ended up with this job from scanning dept. Cutting off the spines of test books done by students from various schools around Australia, so that they could go through the scanning machines to be marked. The work wasn't prepared properly for me, and I ended up with boxes of tests rubber banded, turned in opposite directions, and lots of unnecessary sheets distributed through it all. It took me forever to do the first pallet of 15 or so boxes. During that time a girl from scanning had sorted the second pallet, making all the books the same way, taking off the rubber bands, and removing the unneeded sheets. Did that second one in half the time, but overall I still spent 3 hours on this one job, nearly half the fuckin day. Wouldn't have minded but have so much other work to do on the guillotine, about 7 pallets to go yet of a job that is 2.5 million sheets after being cut. 

Having a bath and off to bed. Tomorrow I have the discussion group re sero-discordance. If I have another day like today I may not go, will be too much. It goes from 6-7:30pm. 

Daughter stayed home today. She went to a rave Sat night, all night, with her friends.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

World doesn't end

A quiet weekend, although I did end up having a bit of a drink Friday night. Hugely busy at work last week, fuck knows how many tonnes of paper I lifted. Had to change the guillotine knife after only 3 days instead of the usual week or so, as it was blunt already. Another busy week coming up this one too. It was thankfully easy work, just single cuts and no great accuracy required. 

Was pleased how I lasted the week. Seemed OK coming home after work. Didn't even feel like a beer most days and just went straight home. Hard to get up in the mornings at 6am, but once up was fine. Looks like am definitely getting back to full capable-ness with it. So will get a full pay next week. 

Learned on Friday that apparently the world was going to end this weekend. 

As I'm still here, looks like it didn't. Dammit, would've been nice all that excitement. People floating away into the air. Suppose I might have waved them off or something.... "bye darlings"....   Earthquakes galour. Followed by all us heathen carking it from god's wrath. What a way to go! But alas I'm still here plodding on with my fucked up life. *sigh*

Also I'm some kind of precursor to all this Armageddon stuff. Supposedly gay pride is a warning that the world's end is near. Well fancy that. Although it does make me feel very important playing such an important role in all this unfolding drama, I can't accept the accolades for such. Alas, I'm just a humble human being, and not involved or interested at all in some evil plot to destroy the earth. Although going to hell sounds much more appealing than sitting around on clouds all day playing harps. Stoking the fires would be much more my style.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Beyond the shadows

I dunno if I'll ever be without the past. It's there now, haunting and threatening. Always with me. I try to live my life apart from it, but sometimes still the memories are triggered. Hellish memories. I just can't believe what I've been through. How is it possible for one person to endure so much emotional pain? The scars remain, they will never go. The shadows still are cast long, still darkening life. I try to walk between them, like a fuckin tight rope. Sometimes I succeed, and it seems like I'm succeeding more lately. But sometimes I don't, and am trapped in that world of depression and pain for a while. I hang on, because I know it won't last. I'm even having some days when I'm actually feeling happy now, a strange but pleasant emotion. 

And I wonder.... what's it like beyond the shadows? Where you don't have to walk a tight rope. Where the sun shines and the shadows don't haunt. What's it like to be just naturally happy, without even any help from pills? What's it like to not be worried about what the past could do to you? These things for me seem a far off dream. I doubt I will ever know.

Thursday, 19 May 2011


The first overtime since the GKC. Nothing spectacular, only about 35 minutes, but overtime nevertheless.

It involved an urgent little job that was being done at the other factory site in Sydney, which didn't have the machinery as at our site, namely the guillotine. The job was supposed to be trimmed smoothly all around, as they were having trouble with the auto trimming thing on the end of the 4 colour machine there. 

The job arrived about half an hour before I was due to finish. It looked a simple 5 minute job, no worries at all. But upon measuring it the whole lot was smaller than A4 (297 by 210mm). They had printed it 2 up on an A3 sheet (297*420) and had shrunk the image to fit the page, trimming it all around there with their trimmer thing on the end of their machine. So the image, and the actual sheet now, were smaller than the A4 size that was required by the client. In short, the dumb fucks who did all this didn't even appear to know what fuckin A4 was FFS!

So the debt head is on the phone with various people, trying to get a bloody decision about what to do. Basically I was left there standing by for about half an hour doing fuck all, whilst they went berserk at each other wondering WTF to do with this fuckin BS job. It was supposed to be utterly perfect and HAD to be in the mail tonight, yet what was supplied to us was already fucked. 

In the end the decision was to take a slight trim off one side to fix it a bit, and send it off to the mailing machines. It would make the 8pm mail truck from Australia Post. 

I still can't believe that such an important job was fucked up in such a simple way; namely that they couldn't get such a basic thing as the size right. For me this is first week of first year apprentice stuff. Yet today they don't seem to have printers involved in the digital machines, and they simply press buttons without a clue.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Sero discordant relationships

Sero discordant relationships, is the technical term for relationships between two people with one HIV negative and one positive. I went to the research interview a couple of weeks back that was just between me and the researcher. I'm now set down for a group discussion next Tuesday with the researcher, the group being a number of both HIV+ and negative guys in relationships. 

So I am a research subject. Very fuckin interesting man. They are using the information they get from this research for some kind of campaign in the future from the Positive Life centre about this sort of +/- relationship. There are issues involved of course, and it will be of interest to me to talk to others involved in a relationship like this, as I'm happy to do now. This is the sort of thing I'm happy to be involved with, unlike the kidney thing that I declined the other day.

And really, why should HIV stop you from finding someone you love? HIV is a disease that is just as treatable now as diabetes. I don't see any diabetics having some crisis about their future love prospects because of the diabetes.

I was genuinely surprised with Simon and how little he cared that I had HIV. There I was thinking he'd want nothing to do with me after finding out, only to see him not bat an eyelid and go on with the conversation not involving HIV. He wanted me and just didn't care about the HIV. Something that perhaps us HIV+ people don't seem to realise.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Today I was happy... *faints*

Simon had some good news last night when he rang. Said he may have someone who wants to rent his Lightning Ridge/middle-of-nowhere house. He's here end of next week for a month, and then will go back to see if he can sort it out. If so he'd be able to come and stay here with me on a long term basis. 

I've been feeling happy about it all day. Even a bit excited. But mainly happy. Never thought I'd ever be bothered with anyone ever again, especially after getting HIV. But we're both really missing each other and want to be together. I've told him I can't live out there in the sticks, not with what I've got.

I'd be really really pleased if it all worked out like that. Have no reservations now about having him here. Just want him around all the time.

Haven't told my daughter yet, there's no hurry. She's 20 anyway, 21 later this year. If she starts to feel a bit crowded here she can move somewhere more suitable for her. I don't expect her to be here forever. She's too independent for that.

Monday, 16 May 2011

No future relapse?

Went to the appt with the renal team today at the hospital. Very  uneventful, thankfully. They did the urine, took my weight and blood pressure, and had a consultation with one of the doctors. He was the one who did the second biopsy with the results that were good enough to stop dialysis. He ordered another blood test and said it was just monitoring now. They will ring if there's a problem, but otherwise I don't go back for 3 months. It really does look like I'm past the Great Kidney Collapse now. Being as it was an allergic reaction and  not a chronic illness, I'm starting to feel confident that I won't have a relapse in the future.

I was asked if I wanted to take part in a dietary study over the next 12 months, to gauge the effects of reduced potassium in the diet for people with sick kidneys. It would've meant going to the hospital once a month for blood tests, and possibly severely limiting my potassium intake. Normally I'm happy to take part in studies, but not this time. I explained that I just didn't want to be visiting the hospital that much after what happened to me. And I found it very hard to do the potassium limiting thing earlier this year in my diet. I pretty much gave up on it when things got better. Also being an allergic reaction, I don't see how much of a contribution I could make to a study with my blood results coming back near normal. 

Went to work after the hospital. Was glad to get out of there. The kidney clinic is only just down the hall from where I was getting dialysis for 2 months. Not a good feeling being there at all. A lot of hellish memories.

Still mountains of stuff for me to do at work. Just shrugged my shoulders, meh. Didn't work later to make up the time I was late. Came home and got a big bag of shopping on the way. Will have a hot bath after dinner and go to bed.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Time apart

Went to the local pub last night for happy hour, and stayed for a bit chatting with friends. Got shouted a meal later on, Chinese across the road. After that feeling very tired and so went home, they went back to the pub. It was a good social night out. Just with friends from the pub. None of them positive. Think it's good to just get away from the whole being positive thing for a bit. Didn't drink a lot either, drank very slowly as didn't feel like having too much. Taking it easy today, not going anywhere near the pub I think. Enough for one weekend.

Simon was worried about me Friday night when I went out to Planet Positive and Oxford st. Feel quite bad about it, evidently I told him I was going to text through the night to let him know how things were going, and then forgot to. Oops. So he's sitting at home in Lightning Ridge worrying about me as I'd not texted the rest of the night. Apologised the next day as I didn't mean to worry him. I must have been a bit pissed when I talked to him earlier and forgot. Thought it was very sweet of him though. 

We're both missing each other terribly this time. Usually I'm OK in between visits, but I've never missed him this much before. He'll be here again in a couple of weeks to look after a friends house near here. The time just seems to be dragging.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Friday; work and play

Really busy at work this last week. Spent all of Thursday and Friday on one of the folding machines, running an A3 to DL mailing job. Reward points statements. 150,000 all together, all individually addressed. On Thursday did 62,000, and Friday 65,000. They had to get a bloke in from the agency to work on the guillotine as I had no time to. The other folding machine has a similar job running on it, but a much bigger run at 500,000. Print dept has run a huge amount of work to be cut, I reckon they need to get someone in to do afternoon shift on the guillotine for a week or so to get through it all. I'm in late Monday too as I have the 2 monthly appt with the renal team at the hospital. Have to go. Apologised having to be so late in but there's nothing I can do about it. That's just when they have their clinic. 

Wasn't offered any overtime, which considering the amount of work in the place was a bit of a surprise. Dunno if I'd have said yes anyway. Am really only lately getting used to working full time at normal duties, it'd be easy to over estimate how capable I was at the moment. Think it's best to take the weekend and leave work for the working week. Tempting, as it's all double time on the weekend, probably get about $300 pay for a Sat or Sun. But I do have to be aware of my body. Starting to realise I'm getting a bit old too. Turned 49 couple of weeks ago. One more year and am 50, that's quite old I think to be doing the sort of physical job I do. Will see how I go.

Went to the 3 monthly "Planet Positive" last night, a social night out for HIV positive people and their friends. Hadn't been since last year, before the GKC. So I certainly had a few grand tales to tell! I stopped going towards the end of last year, as the venue that they have it in now decided that putting on dreadfully loud industrial sort of music, that completely drowns out everything, and you have to be on drugs to like, was what we wanted. Ugh, you couldn't hear yourself think, and the music was utter shit. Those in charge requested this time the music be turned down much quieter, so I was happy with that. You could actually have a conversation without having to yell into the persons ear.

Honestly some of these venue owners are fuckin clueless. Why do they just automatically assume that all gay people, no matter what age, actually like that crappy music? I mean we're not all the same. We don't all come off some gay production line liking the exact same things. I have rather straight taste in music I must admit. I can't be the only gay guy out there who doesn't enjoy what the venues put on most of the time? The pubs on Oxford st all seem to be going the same way. They redo the insides of them, rip out all the carpet and anything else that might absorb a bit of sound, tile the whole place and get bazillions of patrons going through over the weekend. The music is so loud you can't hear anything, and the decor is so bad when the room has a lot of people in it it sounds like they're all yelling. It's a horrible atmosphere, not my idea of a good time at all.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

A reason to live?

A few months before my wife died, she was in physical rehab at the hospital. Everything was looking marvelous at the time, with the years of unhealthy lifestyle and being physically capable of getting back home after months in hospital, being addressed. She'd been going very well with the exercises and walking again. She however was scratching herself profusely for some reason (liver?) and got an extremely bad blood infection.

Nobody knew this at the time. I walked in there a day after she'd been doing well, to the sound of her in hysterical crying. The nurses were completely beside themselves as to what to do about her behaviour, and it was so distressful to me that I went and had a discussion with the ward psychologist about it. The psychologist tried to be helpful but himself was mystified as to her behaviour. A day later I got a phone call at home from the hospital, saying that she had a serious blood infection and I needed to come in and discuss it with them. This was nothing more serious than many other of her experiences re sickness and so I didn't consider it as life threatening; everything else had been but she'd recovered.
But she did. She must have felt the infection go through her body and taking the last bit of life from her. She'd already suffered beyond words. This was the last straw, and she knew she was dying. She accepted it long before anyone else. On that day that she was hysterical on the exercise ward, she was yelling at me all upset, saying "I'm going to die". I was dumfounded as the day before she'd been fine. I asked her what about our daughter? Her reply was "It's not enough".

I've often thought about that in hindsight. She'd fought long and hard, but finally it got to the point where even our growing daughter wasn't enough for her to hang on. A bit later on when I realised what was going on, we had a discussion about her death and her wish to let go. I gave her permission to die that day, and she appreciated that I understood her wish. Such behaviour was an exhibition of our love for each other. Like behaviour continued between us finally to her death a few weeks later. Those moments we had during those last weeks and days, right up until her final departing, I will never forget. They were the best moments of my life; the saddest, but the happiest. Loving each other so deeply, we portrayed that in her death.

Since then I've not feared death. And when it all went bad I desired death. Many would have asked "What about your daughter?", but it wasn't enough. The pain was too strong. It had overtaken my life completely. Since then it's been all about dealing with the pain, not being happy.

Today I wonder, as I feel genuinely happy being with Simon. Perhaps I can move on from just avoiding the pain? Perhaps there might be a life with Simon where happiness exists? Perhaps I have a reason to live, instead of a reason to not die?

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Strike averted 11th hour

The strike was set down for tomorrow. Today union members voted to accept the company's new offer. It was almost a unanimous vote yes. The union organiser gave his view that we'd be very unlikely to get an offer better than this one. We agreed. There will be a period in which all parties have the legal time to look at the agreement (management and workers) and then the signing off of it legally.

This is the first agreement negotiated with the new management supplied by the new Empire owners of the company. They just had not the faintest idea about our resolve, and from the start thought they could simply walk all over us. By doing so they caused union membership to increase on the site by over 40%, as workers there saw the attitude of the new management.

For example, we've had in place, negotiated over many years, a redundancy agreement that was up to about 48 weeks max depending on years of service. They wanted to walk in and slash that right back to just 16 weeks max. The pay offer at the start was only 2%, not 4%. They wanted to link the pay increase to individual tests of capability (remember we're talking here about an increase pretty much in line with inflation only). And it went on, simply an attack on our current conditions. Three months after we were due a pay rise as the agreement ran out in Jan, on top of that attack they hadn't even offered any pay rise yet in the negotiations. I mean seriously, did they really expect that we'd just let them walk all over us?

I many ways it's been disappointing to us that the new management are such a lot of bumbling fools. That they so underestimated our resolve. That they nearly presented the shareholders and clients with a one day strike. That it took the threat of a strike to finally get them to listen to us. Fuckin unbelievable.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

No strike?

It has reached a head today at work. The strike is currently scheduled for Thursday. 

Management has made a new offer. We all had to go to the management "information meeting" today and hear their new offer directly. It sounds OK to me. The wage offer has increased to 4% payable immediately, and back paid to Jan when the agreement run out. The new agreement is a 3 year one (like the old one) and the offer is 3% each year for years 2 and 3. Making a total of 10% over three years.

They also chucked in some other sweeteners. Buying work uniforms and footwear for all permanent staff. That in itself is I reckon worth a bit of money, even without the wage rise. I know myself clothing can cost quite a bit, even when it's just casual wear for a factory. They also increased the redundancy to a max of 51 weeks after 15 years service, in line with the other big site they have in Sydney (at the start they wanted to reduce that to only 16 weeks). 

It now looks like an OK offer. There will be union meetings tomorrow for the 3 shifts. I myself will be voting to accept the offer.

Went to the Infectious Diseases appt I had today, had to leave work a bit early to get to it, at the hospital. Nothing major. They just discussed aspects of how I'd been the last 2 months, and currently. Gave blood, made another appt for 2 months from now, and they said they'd be in contact if the blood results were of concern. Fine with me; I don't want to go to that hospital any more than I have to.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Five years

Have mixed feelings about today. It's 5 years today that my wife died.

It was after many years of illness, slowly succumbing to disease. In the end she was just skin and bone, very weak, most of her hair fallen out, no control over her bowels. I was there with her when she died in the nursing home, was just us two in the room. Her breathing got weaker and weaker, and then stopped. I waited for about 5 minutes as we both said goodbye to each other. Sometimes I wish I'd have been able to go with her, but it wasn't to be. Those last weeks of her life we'd become the closest we'd ever been. And then we had to part. 

That was when I lost the fear of death.

So much has happened in that five years. Needless to say that on occasions I nearly didn't make it to here and now. So many traumas. So many times of pain. It has been the worst 5 years of my life. I just hope I'm through it now, and maybe get dealt a few good cards.

The shadow of those events still looms over me. They have left their mark on my psyche. I fear the pain; of it coming back at times from reminders. It scares me to think what I've been through, and what it's done to me. When the pain monster completely took over, and death seemed to be the only way out. The only way to stop that terrible pain. The only escape. 

Five years I think is a significant marker. These five years I want to put behind me. Bury them in the past and look forward. Surely the next 5 years will be better. They couldn't be any worse.

Didn't go to work today. Felt a bit sick from a bit too many beers yesterday but that wasn't it. Couldn't face work on an anniversary like this. Daughter has stayed home too.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Fatigue issues

Was really tired last night, and after dinner went to bed at the ungodly hour of 7pm. Was a nice dinner and full after it, t-bone steak. Simon rang at 8 and I was already in bed and had been dozing off for an hour. He was at the pub out there in the Ridge. Said he'd rather be there with me, in bed. 

Dunno about this fatigue thing. It was a bit of a problem when we were together for the week out there. He seemed to find it hard to understand why I was going to bed early a lot. Even out there I was feeling tired at about 8-9pm. Reminded him that having HIV does that, especially without medication. I find I need usually at the very least 8 hours solid sleep a night, but usually more likely around 10 hours. I'm still getting used to work, the psychologist last week said it'd probably take about 6 months to get back to the physical condition I was in before the GKC. I never found the work particularly hard before I got sick, but after two months being in bed and away from it, getting back into it involves sore muscles and a lot of fatigue. Even without the HIV. 

I hope this isn't going to be some major problem with Simon. During the week I'm hardly worth knowing, as all my energy goes into putting the 37.5 hours a week of full time work in. It is slowly getting better of late, as I'm finding myself not so tired and sore by the end of the shift. But it's going to take time before I'm coming home from work wanting to do little more than eat a meal and go to bed. He is a very understanding sort of a person.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Sad news

Finally got a chance to look at my email this morning. I just don't seem to have time through the week. Actually worked 5 days in a row this week, I think that may be the first full 5 days I've worked since getting back to work. Another milestone. But all I seem to be able to do is post a little on the blog and then I have to go make dinner and get ready for bed. Some days have been going to bed very early as I get more and more tired toward the end of the week. That does seem to be improving though. Normally I can't seem to last past about 8:30. Often I have a nice hot bath to relax my muscles. Have taken to recording the odd show on the telly that for some reason they put on at the ungodly hour of 8:30!

I've set the alarm to 6am now instead of 5:40am. That extra 20 minutes makes a big difference, must be something to do with the body clock? My head seems a bit clearer too lately so am more confident to get everything I need to do done, before walking out the door to work. The weather here has been bloody cold in the mornings suddenly. Most of the houses here don't have any kind of central heating. I just have a heater in the lounge room in the winter and electric blankets on the bed. Might get out the little heater for the bedroom, it's just a small thing that keeps the chill off the room at night. Have it next to the bed to make it easier to get up in the mornings.

Got some very sad and unexpected news today in the emails. An online friend I've known for years, has lost her husband to cancer. Was shocked to read the email as it all happened so suddenly. Only a little while ago things seemed to be going very well with him, and responding to the treatments. I really feel for her as I understand exactly how she feels right now; in fact it's the 5 year anniversary of my wife dying day after tomorrow on the 9th. Hi "C" if you're reading this. Thinking of you today darl..... 

Sometimes I wonder how the fuck I survived you know. There were so many things that happened simply by chance, that if any one of them had not happened I'd have died. I suppose I'm due some kind of good luck from the Universe. Although sometimes I wonder that with all the shit I'm dealing with I might have been luckier to cark it.

Have been feeling happier this last week. The trip away to Simon's has helped a lot. Feeling confident now that we can go forward, take some sort of next step with whatever  our relationship is. I never ever thought I'd ever again want another relationship with anyone. It seems chance has dealt me a good card.

Friday, 6 May 2011


I am stoned. 

I had a very busy day at work, doing the big folding machine. It was folding an A3 sheet down to DL; once in half, before going cross ways into the second section getting folded into 3 to fit into the envelope window face. It was  from laser, each one going to an individual address. That information feed into the laser dept printers for mailing to each individual address. The whole job is about 350,000 (yes all individually address/different). They are wanting our dept to fold about 50,000 of the job each day to supply the mailing machines running to client schedules. Today I did just over 50,000, which I think is good considering I've not run that machine for a while, and I had to stop everything anyway to Guillotine 2 jobs along the way.

After work I had the dentist. He was continuing with more of the failed tooth, along the way to a full root canal. Today I spent about 40 minutes at the dentist whilst he put stuff in the tooth canals. After all this, I had 4 beers at the pub next door.

Got home and my daughter had left the place smelling like dope. Enough was enough. I had a puff or two.

Mildly stoned. 

Thursday, 5 May 2011


It has finally reached the point at work in the current negotiations that a strike by us workers is the only way of showing management that they need to be more reasonable. In the latest round of union meetings today (over 3 shifts) we voted for a one day strike sometime next week, probably Tues or Wed.

The management has been entirely unco-operative and difficult through the whole process. This is the first agreement the site has negotiated with the new Empire that took over the company a while ago. They appointed a new factory manager and it seems that they're wanting to try it on with us. 

The other agreement ran out in Jan, so we are supposed to have had another agreement in place by then along with the yearly wage rise involved. The union entered into negotiations well before the run out date, but all the management has done has stall and put up propositions to attack our current conditions. Then in doing so accused us of stalling the negotiations and refused to back pay the wage rise (whatever it will be when received) to Jan when we were supposed to get it. And after 3 months of negotiations after Jan (which according to the legislation are to be engaged in "in good faith") they hadn't even offered us any wage rise at all. So we decided to proceed with industrial action.

We have done it all by the book, followed all the procedures. If we do strike next week it will be a "protected action". It will be unlawful for anyone in the union who takes part in the strike to be fired for example. This is part of the negotiating process, which is a last resort on our part. It appears this is the only way forward. Nobody likes going on strike, but sometimes you've just got to do it.

The management after it became clear we were actually willing to strike a couple of weeks back, caved in on most of the attacks against our conditions and came up with a 3% wage rise offer. Being as inflation is above 3% here then that was unacceptable to us and we want more. We are working people living from week to week on our pay, and anything less than the inflation rate is just BS. Along with all the management lines about why it can't be more.

"The company isn't making enough profit". FFS that just makes my blood boil. We workers are just as much a part of the company as management. There would be NO profits if not for us. Why should we go without so that the executives and the shareholders can line their fuckin pockets? We work there for our livelyhood, just like everyone else involved in the place. We need the money the company makes, just like they do. Why shouldn't us workers get our fair share of the profits? We work hard for our money. And how much are they paying their glorified BS artist executives anyway?

This really isn't so much about money. It's about management treating us like idiots. About the Empire testing us in this first agreement with us. They thought they could walk all over us. Like we were all brain dead fuckwits. Well we are about to bring their corporate machine to a grinding halt if they don't realise we're not slaves to their Empire.

Management called the union organiser this afternoon for an emergency meeting. It was held late in the day so I don't know the outcome yet. The last thing they want is a strike and will do everything to avoid it.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

"I miss you making me cry"

I had the research discussion re the sero-discordant relationship Simon and I have; that is that I'm positive and he's negative. I got paid $25 for turning up. If there are enough people there may be a group discussion at a later date. They are researching for a campaign directed at us in such a position.

One of the questions was "What is good sex?". I described the sort of sex that Simon and I had, and the lady said she'd not heard it described like that before. I basically just talked about the almost spirituality of it, being so connected with each other.

I thought later about it over a couple of beers at the pub. I hadn't even mentioned the tears involved: when he takes me to another world and I end up crying from the beauty of it. Almost sobbing from the release, holding him so tightly afterwards. I love him so much, we're so very connected, so very much together, so much a part of each other, so much ONE.

I sent him a text: "I miss you making me cry".

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Pictures from country NSW, Lightning Ridge

It's amazing what you can do now with a fucked up picture on the computer. A lot of these were taken through the bus and train window when traveling home. The bus seemed like it had absolutely no suspension, and the camera was going everywhere. The train was better but the window was very tinted. So fixing them involved getting rid of the window tinting, straightening them up, and applying some sharpening to reduce the blur of a moving camera. Have been very pleased with the results.
They're not in any order, but I will crap on about them before. 
*click to enlarge*

These first few were not long after leaving Lightning Ridge for home on the bus. Flat land, much of it flooded in Jan as the water came down from up north. There's been no rain at all though now for three months there. Even at 9am or so when I took these, you can see the heat in the distance shimmering and looking like water.

These were much nearer Sydney on the train, and farmlands. They've had a bit of rain recently and looking green. Hilly land. Very different than from earlier in the trip.

These a few around Lightning Ridge:

This one the Community Centre where I posted on the blog a couple of times.

Here is the highest bit in Lightning Ridge. In the distance is farmland, which was all underwater in Jan. The foreground shows a camp where people live and mine opal. 

And here is the town centre. The Lightning Ridge megalopolis. 

Simon's front yard and driveway. And some of his land where he is. The neighbours can't hear you there... he he.....

Monday, 2 May 2011

Ear infection

No time tonight to do much at all. Went to the psychologist after work and I'm not going back for a month now. It seems I'm making some kind of full on mental recovery. I'll take his word for that. I was very jovial and happy in the session though. Something I've noticed after being with Simon, in this case for a week. I never feel like crying when I'm with him. He takes that away somehow.

Have decided that it will be good for us to live together. A big step for me. 

Saw the doctor afterwards who looked at my ear that has been blocked for at least 3 weeks now. He said it was time for antibiotics. The prescription was only a $15 one so it doesn't appear it's time for spectacular antibiotics, just boring old run of the mill stuff. Daughter is all worried as I got this from her after she got it from her work. Told her not to worry, no biggie.

I'm very pleased at how some of the pictures came out when I was away. I will post them but just don't have time tonight to do so. Perhaps just one?

This one on the bus not long out of the Ridge. Flat land, goes forever:

Sunday, 1 May 2011


Spent the day traveling yesterday, and arrived back in Sydney and home at about half ten pm. Back over the great dividing ranges, and through the outer suburbs of Sydney; the suburban Utopian houses of the great masses, but which I perceive as boxes of suburban death. Back to Sydney's east. 

It was good to get away. Another step forward in many ways. Despite all the anxiety involved, everything went well. Next time I go anywhere will be much more confident. The alternative is to sit and slowly die at home. Literally. I realise there is that danger, even at this age. Have never been in the past afraid of change and new things, yet lately have been a bit paralyzed with anxiety and fear. Just wanting to stay at home and do nothing. It's a natural response to the horrible state of affairs I've gone through recently, so I'm not going to beat myself up over it. But I do also have to realise that there does come a time when I'll be facing a choice; a choice between giving in to the anxiety and fear and never moving forward, or to challenge said anxiety and fear and get myself back to some sort of life not involving mental paralysis. I'm always reminded of those immortal words from Pink Floyds "Dark Side of the Moon". I listened to it a lot as a teenager, and early on in life. Didn't want to end up like a lot of my older brothers and sisters did back in New Zealand. They've spent their whole lives in the same local area, done the family thing and mortgage, but today often feel like they've hardly lived life at all.
Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way

Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun

And you run and you run to catch up with the sun, but its sinking
And racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in a relative way, but you're older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death

Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
The time has gone, the song is over, thought I'd something more to say

I wanted to see how Simon and I got along too. I've not spent an entire week up there away from all the hassles here. It's Simon in his own surroundings. The actual place of Lightning Ridge just isn't viable as a place for me to live in the long term, mainly due to the lack of services out there. Takes a week to get to see a doctor for example, as there's only one there. Just fuckin ridiculous. Had my kidneys collapsed out there I'd have died, have no doubt. Am still a bit miffed about having to declare what medication I was taking in front of everyone at the Pharmacy counter there the other day too. It was just chance that I wasn't on any HIV pills, but if I was there I'd have been, put into the position of having to declare my status to a Pharmacy trainee taking the notes, and in front of about 5 locals. A small town, it have not taken long for the whole place to know I was positive. Simon suggested if that situation arose to demand a private place to discuss it with the pharmacist, which sounds logical, but still ....

But anyway, apart from the unlikely chance of me moving out there permanently, I was pleased at how well Simon and I both got on. I'd say the closest we'd ever been. It's more than just a fuck, as he really cares about me. Told him he proved that by spending a month in Sydney in Jan/Feb looking after me after getting out of hospital. And he stayed around even when he thought my mind had gone and I barely recognised him. And when he was here for those weeks my mind was damaged from lack of oxygen. I couldn't feel hardly any emotions at all, or if I did I remained quite detached from everyone, including him. So it was of great interest, perhaps even of concern, that I wanted to gauge how we felt for each other now.

We also had some discussions about the future. He's talking about selling his place there down the track and coming and living with me. Would say Id be very happy for us to live together, but I dunno if I'd want the responsibility of him selling his place if our relationship went pear shaped. He has however assured me it would be his decision what he wants to do with it. Being in the middle of nowhere and off the grid, it's a hell of a lot of work to maintain. I mean you can't just plug something in and it goes for instance, as the solar panels supply only 12 volts. They run the lights and anything else you can plug in to work with 12 volts, perhaps via adapters and such, but not a normal plug in thing. To get normal electricity you have to start the diesel generator (a major feat in itself) which is fuckin loud. Then the rainwater tanks are what you use for showering and dishes, but it's not the best to drink it so you have to buy drinking water. You can't have a hot shower unless you turn on the boiler, which uses heaps of gas out of the gas bottle outside. A normal sized fridge they run with gas out there (have never heard of a gas powered fridge before) but they use so much gas that he bought just a very small thing about the size of a small bar fridge. Can hardly fit anything in it. So he buys that milk that you don't have to refrigerate until you open it, instead of fresh milk. You can't flush the toilet very often because it fills up by gravity feed and takes forever to refill the cistern. And it just goes on and on, the amount of work involved just to have what we all take for granted is staggering. So he's saying he'll have to get rid of it sooner or later because of that. Reckons he didn't realise all that was involved when he bought the place.

Being there for a whole week too, gave a much better understanding of the sort of people who live there. This visit I did feel very different. Perhaps it was because around Easter there's a lot of farming rather than mining people in town, or simply that I had more time to mix with them. I honestly can't imagine what their reaction would be if I disclosed even that I was gay, let alone that I was HIV+. 

Took a few pics. Will look at them and see if there's any worth posting.