After Life

This page written circa 17 August, 2023.

My plans of 5th December last year got upended by the death of Kay's sister Jane. Coming not too long after the deaths of Denis and then David, leaving her as the last of her immediate family, this knocked Kay around a huge amount. For months she might cry at the supermarket if something triggered memories. At the time we heard, I was in Sydney, while Kay had been taking care of Brad in Auckland after his liver transplant. Jane died before Kay could get to Canberra. Kay spent a long time sorting out Jane's estate before turning it over to Seb and the solicitor.

It would be March to receive the Thomassons before we both returned to Hillcrest. I think I realised soon after, that Sydney, and perhaps Newtown, was where I wanted to be. In the following few months, three of my grad students completed, while Chris and Vance will finish in less than a year. Kay and I both feel the need to simplify life, shed responsibility, and I think location-wise I was happiest of all living in Newtown. I may oscillate between there and Hamilton with Edwin or Dunedin with Mer. I have a secret bet with myself that one day it might be they who oscillate to Sydney, but time will tell. Kay is undecided about what she wants to do, except to be a nomad for a while, and she feels a need to live on a beach. She made an offer on a church not far from Dunedin (but not on a beach), and as she has often wanted to renovate a church, I reckon that would be just the thing. (I am not planning to winter there!) In summary, our plans slowly crystallise.

I cannot resist documenting yet another of the neoliberal disasters that befall my most recent alma mater:
Asbestos was detected in the old workshop at Ruakura (which the uni has been leasing for the last 25 years). Owing to the asbestos contamination all of our workshop's power tools, battery powered tools, welders, and both computers will be discarded. Anything with a cooling fan can not be cleaned throughout and cannot be considered decontaminated. My friend writes "We've lost our overalls, lifting strops, tie down straps, any wood or paper, nuts & bolts and small fasteners. Any material which can not be wiped down with swabs is to be double bagged and disposed of as asbestos waste. It's just gone crazy. We were told to vacate and have not been allowed to re-enter to collect personal belongings since". The decontamination crew is costing the university around $6k/day, making replacement of small iems more cost effective than cleaning. The total cost will be upwards of $500k to replace everything. A nurse will come to check lung capacity and take blood pressure every five years.

Back in 1990, I had removalists put all my worldly mass into a garage until I could move into the apartment I had just bought. I plan to have Grace Bros do exactly this again, same garage, only the source will be 17 Hillcrest instead of 21 Baltic. All my things easily fitted then, perhaps 15 cubic metres. I figure the garage has maybe 12 square metres of floor space free, and might have 25m^3 total. My plan is to live in flat 4. Perhaps eventually renovate 5, and then move into it. If I can afford it, I will live in both, so there is landing space for kids. I have a tentative plan to rent a room from Edwin in East Hamilton, and use it for visits back.

EISgage may prove to be a problem. The world is suffering a great squeeze, and Waikato U is seriously skint. WaikatoLink is "cleaning house", which seems to amount to axeing anything that is not showing profit. We can barely afford to file patents, and there are maybe two to go. Concatenating them, we may get away with protecting all our IP. I have already commented at length on the woes of finding venture capital in NZ. On the other hand, my colleagues and I are applying for funding that might fund EISgage work, and tie me here part time.

Part of me is troubled by the thought that I am attempting to return to what could be described as an earlier part of my life. Nevertheless, I have done what is recommended, namely imagine it in as much detail as one can, plus I have tested life in flat 4 ( I have a plan to make railways-as-art... I have even dreamt of having a studio in the old school building between Chelmsford St and the Catholic church that has been reborn as Lennox Street Studios.

Liv Tyler's character Lucy in Stealing Beauty (1996) writes, "The dye is cast, The dice are rolled, I feel like shit, You look like gold". In any case, my time at 17 is closing. If things come off as well for me as they did for Lucy, 2024 will be fabulous.

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