Happy New Year, time to kick it into gear,
Leaving the horrors of 2018, a new adventure begins,
May this be one of good health and prosperity,
Confident in the knowledge I can overcome adversity.
Because the Christmas period was spent at my aunt and uncle’s house and then my sister’s apartment it only made sense that the responsibility of entertaining the family during the first day of 2019 would fall to us, a passing of the torch if you will. The sun had decided to unleash its wrath upon the land on the first day of the year and the temperature outside soared to levels that would could allow one to fry an egg on the sidewalk and maybe some bacon on the side while they’re at it. Summer was well and truly at its peak and I can only imagine how crowded the beaches would have been.
We were happy to take on the role as hosts but there was a catch. The air conditioning in the main house, now almost twenty years deep on the job, had all but decided to pack it in. Different parts of the house would remain warm and stuffy while the living room, where the air con was situated, would be the only area that would adequately feel that precious cool and even then it didn’t feel like anything full-strength.
Should have replaced that thing months ago.
In our defense it functioned well enough months prior but then that damn contraption decided to rebel against us once summer had arrived of all times, like a long-suffering employee that had once again been denied a pay rise.
Is that impeccable timing or what?
We knew that keeping the celebrations in that steam bath of a main house would have been tantamount to insanity and so we assigned the living-slash-dining room area of the granny flat in the backyard as the main gathering area as the air conditioner there was in good working order. It was a shoe box compared to the main house and much of that box was overtaken by a wide dining table and a massive couch in the corner that covered almost a quarter of the room but it was still an ideal setting for a rather small gathering, we weren’t exactly catering to the entire suburb.
My parents, sister and I prepped up that granny flat, tidying up, setting the table and bringing meals from the kitchen of the main house. My aunt and uncle arrived shortly before lunchtime and just as it was during Christmas at their home and Boxing Day at my sister’s apartment, we spent the day indoors chatting about a range of subjects over food and drink, mostly picking up where we left off from during those two days. We also heard from relatives that lived interstate, and once again we texted them some photos of the meals that we were enjoying to show them what they were missing out on. The massive couch in that room also unfolded into a bed and we unrolled it for the day, allowing all but two guests at a time to have a good lie down while conversing. Several people took turns napping throughout the day but I never got to have a turn on that couch since I was the primary caretaker of that granny flat and so was automatically assigned the duty of host and the host never sleeps. It wasn’t a role that completely suited me as I was far from being your usual talkative, do-the-rounds-type of host and mostly faded in the background.
I also retreated into my room once in a while for some ‘me time’ and read a few pages of Days That Changed The World. After five days I was close to the very last chapter that looked at the September 11 attacks and it was quite an incredible journey that this book took me through over these past few days, witnessing the rise and falls of ancient empires, the impact of the migration and settlements and the conflicts and ideas that brought out the best and worst in people, all of which served as the spark for a chain of events that shaped the world as it is today.
Kinda makes you wonder what could have been had some, if not all, of those events had never happened. Would life, as we know it, have ended up better or worse.
It was the same type of experience during my recovery in August and September of the previous year with some of the random, mostly historical articles that I read on the internet. That’s the beauty of reading about history, you find yourself thrilled, fascinated, horrified, amused and stupefied by the events in the past that paved the way to the present day. Then there were also some of the notable people that stamped their names in the history books, a collection of heroes, villains, weirdos, geniuses, artists, performers, warriors, inventors, politicians and royalty, some of whom lived lives that sounded too damn strange and disturbing to be real.
Hirō Onoda, I am looking at YOU!
The truly twisted were often at the mercy of their psychological shortcomings, egos and/or some ideal, often flawed, that they embraced wholeheartedly at the expense of their judgment and common sense. They would have easily made some of the nutcases that you hear about in the news today seem normal and tame in comparison. Even the ways that some of these people met their demise would make you cringe. Take a look at the painful, embarrassing and unfortunate way that Arius the Heretic died. As a one-time victim of Ulcerative Colitis reading that shit (no pun intended) gave me the creeps!
My uncle had fallen asleep on that comfy couch when I walked into my room and upon exiting I noticed that my aunt had joined him in Dreamland and so my sister and parents were left to continue the conversation. My parents were seated on a dining chair each, their backs to the table, while my sister sat on the couch, looking as though she would gladly doze off, too, if given permission to do so. That sure is one comfy couch, yet somehow I never feel drowsy whenever I’m sitting or lying on it. Whether I was immune to that couch’s comforting touch or was simply too hyperactive and anxious to fall for its charms is something that I haven’t quite figured out yet.
The sun was still shining bright at around 4pm and it was my mother’s turn to fall asleep on that couch. She was mostly running on fumes throughout the day, having stayed up past midnight the previous night, so that rest was well deserved. My aunt and sister stayed indoors enjoying the artificial cool from the air conditioner while my father and uncle converged outside to admire the plants and trees in the backyard. The afternoon sky had kicked in and the sun’s rays mixed with the damaging smog spawned by passing cars’ fumes to render the sky a light shade of pink. Thank goodness we had one working air conditioner, it was still tropical weather-warm outside and the air inside the main house was so thick with heat that it might as well had been one massive sauna
No need to go to Iceland for a good spa session, the main house’ll do.
I spent most of the afternoon outside with Pops and Unc but once in a while, I retreated to the comfort of the air conditioned granny flat. I even entered the main house at times to see if it had cooled down in there, which I knew was unlikely, but I did like the change in scenery so to speak. I also took some time in the main house to have a light meal between lunch and dinner, so lost were my family members in their respective conversations that they had left some of the food in the house unattended and so yours truly took full advantage like Garfield going for Jon’s unguarded dinner.
Meh, it’s still the holiday period. Let’s continue to eat, drink and be merry!
My aunt and uncle both headed home at around five in the afternoon and that left my family and I to a family dinner an hour later before my father and I drove my sister back to her apartment and then calling it a night. It was a nice way to spend the first day of the year and I looked forward to bringing Dr. B some more good news a few weeks later during our next meeting. My birthday was also up for the end of the month and so I hoped that a reduction in my dosages was on the cards as an early birthday gift.
But first, it was time for some rather serious business of a different kind – I’d allowed myself to splurge during this period and so it was time to make up for my ‘transgressions’ through training. My father and I had also agreed to re-paint the ceiling in the main house and so that was something else to take care of. The holiday period had come to an end and it was time to find out what 2019 had in store.