Working From Home

And when I say “working from home”, I’m not talking about the “working from home” I’ve been doing for the last fifteen months.

“Working from Lismore” means something quite different to “Working from Surry Hills”.

I’ve been here for almost three weeks now, having returned home when Nancy became very ill and subsequently died. For the next week, I was involved in organising a funeral/wake and in organising some of her “affairs”.

But since then, I’ve been working from either the front bedroom or the kitchen of Pat and Jack’s place.

And when it became obvious Sydney was going into “lockdown”, I saw reason to return to there, and so I’m continuing to stay here in Lismore.

It’s a much different routine here. For a start, I’m going to bed fairly early most nights, though not always sleeping. Pat and Jack are both in their 70s/80s now, and so they go to bed early, after watching Neighbours, Home & Away, and NCIS.

They also have a nap most afternoons, which is providing me with an awful temptation. As I continue to work from the kitchen table, the phrase “we’re just going to have a little nap for a while” makes me jealous that I can’t do the same.

I’ve also started to develop a daily routine of going to a nearby coffee shop.

“How long have you been here?”, I asked the woman behind the counter. “About two and a half years”, she told me. I mentioned that I remembered when the building behind their coffee shop as Lismore’s Baby Health Centre.

“I used to bring my children here, to the Baby Health Centre”, the woman running the Duck Pond Espresso coffee shop told me.

As I go about my daily routine, Pat and Jack get on with theirs. As Jack no longer drives, he and Pat go for a daily trip to the shops, visiting both Aldi and Woolworths. They also do a variety of odd jobs, and right jow Jack (in his 80s) is helping a similarly aged friend to contstruct some scaffolding.

While I was working at the kitchen table yesterday, Jack was going through a box of old papers and found this.

In case you’re thinking of stealing all my money, my signature has changed a fair bit. How about the old fashioned “J”?

“What was the Gould League?”, a couple of younger colleagues asked me over a video conference. Though I understand the Gould League is still around to a degree, it doesn’t appear to have the same notoriety as it did back in the 1970s.

I told them it was an environmental organisation focussed on school kids back in the 1970s. Vincent Serventy was the face of the organisation. “I hope you stuck to your commitments”, Jack said with a smile. “Yes, I hope I have, too”, I told him.

Feeding birds in the backyard.

Author: James O'Brien

Born / Currently : Lismore / Widjabul Wia-Bal - Bundjalung Live : Sydney / Gadigal - Eora Also : Brisbane, Bourke, Renmark, Wagga, Perth Pronouns : He/him/his.

4 thoughts

  1. James, enjoying these reports from your home in Lismore…(absolutely LOVE that your 80 year old relatives are doing construction work…)
    And it’s just been a true pleasure to get to work with YOU from home OR office, whether it be Lismore or Sydney…🎙🎙🎙

  2. Jack has good genes. His parents lived for a long time, well into their nineties, whereas Pat and my family haven’t been so lucky, with most lucky to make into into their seventies. One of our all time favourite stories about his parents concened the time when, aged in their eighties, they decided to go visit their son in Mildura (1500km away). By this time, Jack’s father could drive, but his eyesight was failing, while Jack’s mother had quite good eyesight, but couldn’t drive. That didn’t stop them from making it half way – to Dubbo – combining the driving skills of one with the eyesight of another. We laugh about it now, but at the time..

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