Step five: While away an hour or so steaming slowly up and down the river, noticing the height of the riverbanks and the wharf, and the high flood marks. There are birds, and fish, and other paddlesteamers to admire, and people to wave to on houseboats. Have a coffee on board and try not to fall asleep as the paddlewheel turns with a rythmical shushing sound. Return to port.
Step six: Drive around the town a bit more, find an Aldi (my first time in an Aldi store, it seemed a bit random to me, avoid gummi bears as I am trying to be good) and get some supplies for breakfasts. Realise you are running a bit late for the welcome function and drive back to the caravan park, have a lick and a promise wash, change clothes and drive across the border to another. whole. state (like you do it every day, except if you lived there you would, but it was kinda fun as a novelty.) Try not to woo-hoo as you do it, its lowers the cool quotient. Mental thrill notes are OK.
Step seven: Arrive pretty early for the function. Realise it has been at least 12 hours since you actually spoke to anyone apart from customer service folks. Gradually wander around looking for a familar face to break ones silence. Find a friendly looking face on a stranger, respond. It pays off. Phew.
Eat delicious food while juggling drinks. Talk some more. Realise you have hit the wall with fatigue and must drive responsibly to another state to find your bed. Do this. Curse while reading caravan park literature that promises electric blanket on bed, while finding no such appliance in residence. Lie in bed only in the small spot you have warmed. Sleep well, but feel too cold to accept turning over and warming another spot. Wake up with a sore hip. Freeze ass off while getting washed and dressed. Attend conference with excellent food and company and speakers.
Return to cabin to get changed for dinner and hunt up the park manager for an electric blanket. Make the bed again. Resist urge to leave the electric blanket on while away. Return to venue in upper left of map and have a great dinner, with excellent singers and entertainment, dancing and chatting. Return to cabin in farthest right corner of map and sleep much better in a cosy bed.
Step eight: Repeat much of previous day, and give thanks for the profession of midwifery. Talk with a woman who has a disabled child who is tube dependent if possible, as this will enrich your experience, and hopefully hers as well. Hear some more great speakers. Order books from a learned person far, far away. Say goodbye to colleagues, and have dinner with a few more. Return to cosy bed.
Step nine: Next morning, to round out your experience, you will drive to Melbourne the long way, phoning complete strangers and introducing yourself as a distant relative. Be welcomed to their homes, drink their tea and find your photo in their genealogy albums!!!! Take photos with them, and marvel at family ties. Learn new things, share info and scandals in turn. Drive a really long way to breathe the air of your grandfather's hometown and birthplace. Drive farm roads in the middle of nowhere to see your family's name on a street sign. Get stared down by curious sheep. Buy a souvenir postcard for your Mum. Buy yourself a piece of fabric from a craftshop in the town to include in a special quilt (if you plan to make one that year). Get a teensy bit lost, but marvel that south is south and all roads eventually lead to Melbourne.
Step ten: Drive straight to the airport carpark at exactly the right time to check in easily for your flight home. Sigh with contentment that you have had such a great day with 'relative strangers' and be happy that you made the effort to meet them. Fly home in a cramped plane. Be greeted by loving family and head home to your own bed.
There ya go - do you reckon you could manage it? Add in a dose of hubby with a very bad back in your absence, which persists. Add a dash of large son hopping in with a badly sprained ankle 24 hours after return that has required a trip to hospital, doctors, x-ray, CT scan, bed nursing, chairs in showers, and much medication and driving around, 4 shifts, 2 meetings, housework and washing and driving of hubby and son to all points. Garnish with despair and frustration at the state of midwifery led care in this state, and resolve to keep plugging away at changing the state of affairs. Finalise preparations for a major practise review I am undergoing that will help me in my ambitions to practise more autonomously as a midwife. Make phonecalls to all and sundry, and not enough people, all at the same time. Planning, planning, planning. Cook, cook, cook, read, read, read. Just to stop oneself going completely insane, pick up a quilt that you made 10 years ago and continue handquilting it. It will get finished one day. You're not dead yet.
Tomorrow I will go back to the radiology place for the fourth day this week!
I'm pooped! I'll be grateful to go back to nightshift this weekend!