Almost Holiday Time…

I need a holiday.

My body today has hit probably near the final stress point that I can handle without having a full-on panic attack. For anyone who has had a panic attack in the past, they know how that feels and would understand why I am very keen to avoid it if I can.

For those of you who don’t know… it is a very irrational but nonetheless scary event to go through. Your mind goes quite strange. If you pay attention, you find your respiration and heart rate speed up, and your breathing also gets shallower (thus the need for breathing at a faster pace). You feel quite light-headed, and the more you respond negatively to the symptoms, the worse they get.

The stresses at work — trying to get this spa therapies course written, getting the new space downstairs completed, trying to make sure Jacqui and I keep our expenses right down as we understand the financial pressures the school is going through at the moment to make this expansion happen — coupled with the stresses in my personal life — Noel’s mother Molly slowly going mad and repeating herself every five seconds (which, in turn, drives me mad), looking after Jamie and dealing with an additional person in the house (including the financial side that goes with that), bills and so on and so forth — have not really helped. I’ve given up drinking wine every night (which, I think, acted like a natural stress reliever) to help deal with the stress because it wasn’t help me lose weight.

So all these stresses have hit home finally on Wednesday. Noel was talking about the school and how the expansion was costing a bit and I could feel the panic attack coming on. Noel wanted another glass of wine so I poured myself one too (a rather big one) and, after finishing that one off (not quickly, I should add), I got another glass which finally calmed me down. And today hasn’t helped either… trying to arrange the May Expo, writing the spa therapies course (and hitting brick walls again and again with research), looking for additional ways to bring revenue into the school, finding out what in the world is going on with our applications to government, and adding to that not trying to stress Don out because he has enough stress as is (supposedly… personally, I think he’s becoming a bit of a hypochondriac!) even though sometimes he’s responsible for some of the big bills at school.

Jamie missed passing his learner’s license by 1 point, which means probably shelling out another whatever-it-cost to have him resit it, bringing to the forefront the lesson that study is extremely important in everything you do to ensure you are adequately prepared. That led to a discussion with Jacqui to say I think I’m at the end of my rope there with Jamie as well because I am too tired and stressed to keep asking him if he has any homework (which he never seems to have, and to which the school never really seems to have an answer for other than he is taking 1 class that probably gives homework and he has a study period in which he probably can finish that homework) and at a loss to know what the hell to do to get him to study something to make sure he passes his high school year this year. In addition, his personal problem is compounding and stressing me and Noel both out, and, even though it is underlying (i.e. like an undercurrent or rip tide), it is something that he needs to look at seriously and make plans for. For some reason deep in my gut, I get the sinking feeling he just thinks it will disappear all by itself or that life will be rosy and not a problem, but those of us who know better know you need to take the rose-tinted glasses off and get in and work hard. And that hard work usually doesn’t stop… it keeps going.

I’m trying not to stress Jamie out because his mother is having massive problems at the moment, which, even though he doesn’t say anything about it, probably adds to what already must be a pretty stressful situation (i.e. not doing terribly well at school last year, his personal problem, et cetera). On the other hand, maybe I shouldn’t try to shield him so much from the big bad world. You only learn things about it by getting burnt once in a while, but, maybe, as we get older, we want to shield the people we care about and love from these problems so they can learn through us, not through experience. (It is a flawed argument.)

So all these stresses are compounding and I just think I need a break!

Thank God we are going on a cruise in less than two weeks… and hopefully I can unwind and not worry about everything just for a little while to let my body recuperate!

The Really Heavy Tub

Hydrotherapy Bathtub
Hydrotherapy Bathtub

Wow, was that heavy!

As many of you know, we are in the process of renovations in our new area downstairs for our new spa school. As a part of the new spa school, we are having a dedicated hydrotherapy area being built, so our students can perform treatments using water in a room where it doesn’t really matter if it gets wet (i.e. easy to clean).

Noel and I journeyed out to Otahuna Lodge to inspect a second-hand hydrotherapy tub, and, ended up purchasing it for the school. In total, it had been used maybe a maximum of 15 times.

Now, for those of you who don’t know the difference between a normal spa tub and a hydrotherapy tub, you are about to be enlightened. A hydrotherapy tub is a professional piece of equipment with various attachments to perform treatments with. In addition, it has many many more jets and other spraying areas than a normal spa bath has. A hydrotherapy tub is outfitted with various computerised controls to assist in treatments, and its fittings are marine-grade, meaning it has a lot more wear and tear in it than your normal spa bath.

All this equipment built in makes the tub approximately 350 kilograms in weight. Putting this in perspective for our Imperial friends (i.e. those who use pounds still), this is about 770 pounds.

In short, freaking heavy!

Two men from Otahuna Lodge came to deliver it. In addition to them, Noel, Don, Jacqui, Soni and I were helping, and we recruited our two builders working on the school. It took 10 men to carry the bath out of Otahuna and 9 adults to carry it into the school.

As we started moving it, one of the movers (whom Noel believes was the gardener at Otahuna) smacked his back on the metal frame that holds the garbage can to a lightpost outside our school. It looked like he got the wind knocked out of him (and it would have hurt like hell) but, as he said, once you get the tub moving… keep going.

Leading into the school, we have double doors, and then another set of double doors leading into the new reception. The builders have kept the new walls down but some of the framing is there, but they left a gap so we could get through.

Unfortunately, the doorways, even as double-doorways, weren’t wide enough for us all to fit through. Soni and Jacqui — lifting on the side with me and the uninjured mover — had to let go, leaving the two of us carrying the corners.

And let me tell you, that wasn’t a fun thing! I smacked my wrist on the first door frame. It has come up in a nice red patch and is slightly swollen and bruised.

Soni (bless him) kept running to help, then would have to let go because of a wall frame (but this didn’t stop him; he’d launch one arm around the frame to try and grab the tub and then do the same with the other). I think Jacqui wasn’t entirely sure exactly how she’d get back in to help.

We all seem to have got away relatively unscathed though, despite all that. No hernias, no heart attacks, no sprained or strained muscles!

I am not looking forward to moving the tub into the hydrotherapy room once they finish the floor and plumbing!

Writer’s Block

They lodge in my throat, piling up behind one another, threatening to burst out in one large rupture.

That’s how it feels anyway. I’m talking about writer’s block. For some reason, I always envisage the words and ideas being there, like logs and twigs and debris on a swollen river, piling up at some sticking point and building, building, building until the pressure behind forces them to cascade forward and onward.

I think, though, lately with writing so much for the spa therapies course at work (and, let’s face it, the power of the senses in spa therapies treatments when I’m talking about the anatomy and physiology of the brain in processing sight, light and colour is really in-depth!) I think the writer’s block is more a case of burn-out. I try and write this blog on a regular basis and also write my Star Trek fan fiction and also help out at the Star Trek Expanded wikia… so perhaps it is burn-out instead.

And then I read blogs like Noel’s, Jules’s, one of Noel’s friends Cat Zen Space and even the multitalented and not-hard-on-the-eye Gavin Mikhail and think, wow, there are some really talented blog writers out there. And I hope like hell that I at least provide some amount of entertainment as great as they do and that I can aspire to be more like them.

And then it comes to me too that they do inspire me so… that’s where this blog has come from.

I think the dam has burst!

Can’t Get Enough

As if work isn’t already a large part of my life, I am now dreaming about it!

Some of you may know that the school is now expanding into spa therapies. Part of this includes writing a comprehensive syllabus which involves a lot of time, concentration, skill and research. I guess you could imagine that this is also a very tiring task.

Instead of having sugar plum fairies or sheep dancing through my head the last few nights, I have had spa therapy courses and syllabuses and all sorts of lovely wonderful work-related things shuffling along in there instead. Add to that I have a cold now — sniffle sniffle sniffle — and I am tired and miserable!

I think, when something is quite important to me, I tend not to stop thinking about it. Lately, as Noel will tell you, I have been distant from things and not seeming to pay attention. It’s just with so much on my plate mentally I guess I disengage.

So this is why the lack of blogs lately, but hopefully the spa therapies course will be done soon, the renovations on the school will go smoothly (did I tell you we went downstairs yesterday and there were two HOT builders down there? LOL I digress!), and I’ll get rid of this cold!

Dark Matter

Dark matter exists between us.

According to Wikipedia, dark matter cannot be observed directly by the naked eye and does not emit or reflect enough radiation to detect through conventional equipment. Humans assume it exists because it has a gravitational effect on everything around it and, simply put, we cannot account for enough mass in the universe; this dark matter must be most of the stuff the universe is made of.

Dark matter is between us as well.

We sometimes tell the truth, omitting some information, and this becomes a lie of omission. We all do it; there’s no denying that.

But sometimes, someone reveals a truth, or we discover a truth, and the gravitational effect on our lives is amazing.

I’d like to think of this as the dark matter of our lives.

Every action, every word, hidden or not, has an effect on something or someone. We don’t know it all the time, but it does. Like dark matter, our lives are influenced by the great mass of unspoken words and unknown truths between us.

Wednesday was a long day. Jamie’s dean called up and said he’d been ditching school for the last two days, which, to be totally honest, was out of character for him. Even his dean admitted that.

I was very angry. Not that shaking-in-rage angry but that simmering pot angry, so, when he walked into my office, I confronted him with it.

But Jamie was adamant he didn’t ditch class. He had people in his classrooms who could vouch for him being there, and he even could explain what he had done in class.

Both Noel and I were satisfied with that explanation. Since Noel was teaching, he left to go back to class.

I’d picked up on something else the dean had said, so I asked Jamie about this as well. I’m not going to get into it because it is a very private matter for Jamie to tell people if and when he feels he would like to.

The dark matter pushed our lives in a different direction. This unspoken truth between us — up to that point, we hadn’t asked, he hadn’t told — was like that dark matter, that unseen but felt influence. Since day one, I felt there was this undercurrent of unknown truth, this dark matter streaming from Jamie.

And now I know the truth, the dark matter revealing itself to me.

But I ask myself: what further dark matter lies ahead? And, how much influence is it having, or will it have, on my life?

The Next Step

We’re getting ready for the next step.

If you read Noel’s blog or my blog as of late, you’d know we’re expanding the school. Probably a bit too long in the making — found a few notes about expansion back from 2003-04 which shocked me — but it’s a big step we need to take.

In a way, yes, it’s scary. Yes, it’s going to cost money. But it’s a move that we will regret not doing if the status quo stays and others move beyond us.

As part of my job, I do need to research other providers in our industry and find out what they are doing. The Internet, and more specifically the Web, has made this easier for me to do.

But what is scary is that a lot of providers in our industry are stuck with the status quo. There’s no expansion, no pushing ahead into new and emerging parts of our industry.

Don’t they have the expertise to do this?

Do they have the money or resources to take that next step?

Or are they merely scared at taking such a large leap?

I’m a great believer in you have to spend money to make money. Work hard, get good results, and people will flock to you. Look progressive. Never keep the same look for too long. Give people timely, relevant, honest, up-to-date information. And so I think this should extend to our school as well.

So yes, it’s a big step. But, if we plan it all right — get the course approvals done on time, hire the right tutor, get the new part of the school just right, have the new spaces earning money as soon as possible — it will work.

I’ve already said to Jacqui, my colleague and neighbour and brilliant equal (who has taken over part of my position at the school), she’d need to be independent and run interference for me so I can complete my normal job plus get course approvals, new uniforms, new prospectus, new information, new funding applications, new presentations and brochures for the expos we will be going to for the first time this year, etc. etc. done. Of course, she rose to the challenge and said I can rely on her. Great!

I’m a bit bewildered by such a huge challenge but, as I’m starting to find, 2007 is a year of great challenges.

We can’t stay stagnant. No status quo. I don’t want to look back in a few years and say, “What if?” We need to move on, not only for ourselves but also for the school.

As for the challenges? I say, bring ’em on!

Song on My Profile

The song I have on my profile at the moment is by an Australian singer, Pete Murray. I’ve seen his work before, mostly on music videos, but his song “Opportunity” really strikes home for a lot of different reasons.

Far too often, too many people mope about when there is a loss or they feel they have been disadvantaged. I admit, sometimes I am guilty of this as well, but usually, I’d like to think I am determined to fight on instead of let the darkness get the better side of me. Sure, I could give up, but what will that achieve?

The lyrics of this song are so brilliantly wonderful, and the tune probably helps them a lot as well. I feel it is inspirational and helps me feel better in a defeated/deflated mood, so I’m passing them on to you to inspire you as well.

The lyrics go:

“So it goes another lonely day
You’re saving time but you’re miles away
Your flowers drowning in some bitter tea
Foreseeing lost opportunity
Find your mirror
Go and look inside
See the talent you always hide
Don’t go kid yourself, well not today
Satisfaction’s not far away

“Hold on now, your exit’s here
It’s waiting just for you
Don’t pause too long
It’s fading now
It’s ending all too soon you’ll see
Soon you’ll see

“Your coffee’s warm but your milk is sour
Life is short but you’re here to flower
Dream yourself along another day
Never miss opportunity
Don’t be scared of what you cannot see
Your only fear is possibility
Never wonder what the hell went wrong
Your second chance may never come along

“Hold on now, your exit’s here
It’s waiting just for you
Don’t pause too long
It’s fading now
It’s ending all too soon you’ll see
Soon you’ll see

“Hold on now, your exit’s here
It’s waiting just for you
Don’t pause too long
It’s fading now
It’s ending all too soon you’ll see
Soon you’ll see
Soon you’ll see
Soon you’ll see
Soon you’ll see
Soon you’ll see”

So, for those of you who feel a bit blue or down on yourself, maybe feel you aren’t contributing to life… you are. We all have our moment in the sun, we all are loved (maybe by people we don’t know love us), and we are all special.

My most favourite part of the entire song is the second verse. Yeah, life is short, and I hope when I get to the end — and I have no plans to get there any time soon — I can say, “Wow. What a ride!”

Chins up, buttercups! I love you all! 🙂