Friday, August 29, 2008

Last Saturday did turn out to be a pretty rough day on the harbor -- lots of wind and a little bit of rain. It was still nice to be out on the water, though, and we had enough wind to practice with just the jib up. I released it, Stewart (my friend from work) pulled it in, and Eric winched it tight. No problem.

We must have passed the test because they asked us to come out again on Sunday when the other prospective crew memeber, Ralph, could make it. By virtue of being last to join the team, Ralph got the toughest job -- getting the spinnaker up. Despite a number of attempts, I wouldn't say we were ever really successful. Ralph is from Germany, and I'm not sure he's able to hear all of the commands clearly up at the bow of the boat.

I think we also really need one additional person, but obviously Terry and Julie, the couple who own the boat, were already scraping the bottom of the barrel to come up with us. The next time we're together will be for the first race next Saturday. I anticipate either breaking something very expensive or coming in dead last, about 30 minutes behind the next-to-last boat. Maybe we'll just resort to pirate tactics and try to steal some extra crew from other boats.

Terry and Julie seem very nice and have been quite patient with us. However, I anticipate more heated conversations during the first race. I think they take it quite seriously. Terry is an anesthesiologist from England, and he and Julie have lived all over the world. He is now working at a hospital up in the beautiful Blue Mountains, where they live during the week. Each weekend, they drive the hour down to Sydney and stay on their boat in Sydney Harbor. We only have this weekend off because they are in Melbourne at the opera, their other passion beyond sailing.

I started yoga and "boot camp" this week. One morning a week, a trainer takes about 1/3 to 1/2 of the office to the park next to the Opera House and drills us. It's a bit like going to P.E. class with your co-workers. This week, we did a lot of boxing. Today, I can barely lift my arms over my head. Our building has showers on every other floor -- it's weird to be naked at work, though.

Last night, Eric and I both had work functions. His work bought all of the guys pizza and paid for them to go see Hellboy 2. The people from my office went to a Belgian beer cafe for beer and mussels. They were headed to a dance club when I left them...

Last Sunday, I came home to find a large lump of clay wrapped in wax paper in my mailbox. Our village, Erskineville, is creating a large art installation about the importance of horses to our local history. Each resident is being asked to make a horse and then leave it in their mailbox for firing. The horses will then be displayed in shop fronts around town. Today there is a workshop on how to make horses from clay for those of us lacking in sculpting ability or wanting to meet our neighbors. I'm headed there shortly.

We've learned that our shipment of nine boxes has been selected for a full customs audit. It looks like we'll be seeing our stuff around Sept 16 at the earliest. Sigh.

We continue to learn the subtleties of speaking Australian. Stuffed up means f*cked up, which I learned when I was commenting to one of my co-workers that they seemed unwell. Pissed, as you probably know, means drunk rather than angry, but I still seem to have trouble remembering that. Winging is complaining, and people say, "How are you going?" or "How did you go?" instead of "How are you doing?" or "How did it go?" People at Eric's work seem to say "Good on ya" a lot, but I haven't heard that at my work. One of my British co-workers did refer to someone as a bloke the other day, though. It cracks Eric up when people say the letter H, as in HIV or HR, with a heavy hhhhh at the beginning. It's hhhach r, rather than ach r with a long a. Even as we learn these linguistic differences, we still feel silly saying them ourselves.

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