I learned a new concept last week. It came about as we were lounging about my brother-in-laws pool on Christmas night. He’s got this great little bungalow out the back of his yard with a built in barbecue, fridge, television and stereo and with an adjoining pool. We were chowing down on King Prawn kebabs and the like while the kiddies swam in the pool to cool off from the heat wave we were experiencing. Christmas in Australia isn’t so much about “Dashing through the snow” as it is about “Dashing across the hot sand at the beach” in 35-40 Celcius.
I noticed, however, that Jett was struggling down at the deep end of the pool. He was paddling like mad, out of arms reach of the edge. Despite all the swimming lessons we have invested in, our kids are still not competent swimmers. We met eyes, and his look told me that he was going down and probably not coming up again. Everything else seemed to disappear from view, and my ears could hear no sound. The only thought in my mind, and perhaps in both our minds, was to make sure that Jett could take another breath.
I do remember one thought: should I jump in feet first or should I dive? I don’t know how I arrived at my decision but I do remember being very conscious of that question. I did a flying leap off a three step runup that would have made Bob Beamon proud, took another step and gently lifted Jett onto my shoulders and over to the edge of the pool.
After we sorted Jett out, I wanted to check the time. Being a modern guy, I don’t have a watch but prefer to read the time off my mobile phone. It was then that I realised that I’d jumped into the pool with my trusty HTC Desire Z phone in my pocket. I took it out and I kid you not, it was like the poor thing was shivering and moaning in pain. The water had shorted out the vibration mechanism as well as the speakers, and it was emitting a shrill death cry as it shook.
Which leads me to the title of this article: Nomophobia is defined as the fear of being out of mobile phone contact, an abbreviation for “no-mobile-phone phobia”. Yes, I later discovered that there’s actually a word for how I was feeling. I wasn’t scared so much as having an immediate anxiety of not having a tool which is pretty central to my day to day life. Everything I have is on that phone, or rather was. Under any other circumstance if I’d lost or wrecked my phone I’d be cursing like a mother fucker, but I just smiled at myself because I much preferred this outcome to the possible alternative.
The good news is that I now have a reason to go shopping, and also since everything in my online life is synced with Google (Gmail, Contacts, Drive, Play Books, Music etc) I haven’t actually lost anything. I’ll just turn my new phone on, log in, sync up and be on my way like nothing happened, which is exactly how Jett must want things too.
Christmas is over for another year. We spent our first Christmas in our new home, and managed to squeeze it in by a matter of days. Suzanne and I didn’t really buy for each other but chose to concentrate on the kids. We did our best to get them excited about Christmas but it seems some of the magic was lost during the move which is a bit sad. Ashton got a camera, and Jett scored a new bike which he’s still wary of riding. I think having new neighbors who have active kids will help, as Jett and Ashton will both try and be included in all the fun and games along the street including riding bikes.
We spent the rest of Christmas day down the road at Suzanne’s brother’s house with the rest of her family which was kinda cool. Because there’s so many people and because present buying can be so expensive we hold a lottery where each person buys just one present for just one other person. It isn’t necessarily secret, but it’s a good way to keep costs down.
For boxing day we took a little drive down to my parents house where Natalie and Dave had spent Christmas Day along with their new son James. More presents were distributed to the kids and then commenced a long two days of eating ourselves silly. I mean really, what are you supposed to do when faced with mountains of succulent turkey, pork, beef, ham, vegetables, salad and desserts. Not to mention the Rocky Road and Snickerdoodles and other nibblies.
The day after we took another little drive out to The Berry Farm. A nice place, but not really my cup of tea. If it looks like we took the long route then, yeah. We only started following the GPS about 15 minutes into our journey. The address had somehow been mis-keyed (I’m not naming names or pointing fingers here) and we eventually worked out that we were actually on our way to Queensland rather than the South West of WA. By the time we worked it out, the rest of the journey involved some dodgy back roads and unsealed tracks but we got there eventually. We stopped by in Margaret River for lunch and marveled at how busy and commercial this sleepy little surfing town had become.
But like all good things it had to come to and end and we were back home on Wednesday to finish moving a few things from our rental to our new place and clean it out for final inspection. As a reward for the kids we went to Scitech, where I managed to get everyone together for a nice portrait.
This is a house near us on one of the canals. It’s facing the water, but across the water there is a bridge rather than another house. This gives a great platform for viewing the lights these guys put on at Christmas. This house was one of the finalists in last years suburban Christmas Lights competition run by a local TV station. I can’t remember if it won, but if it didn’t then I’d love the see the winner. I think the occupants live upstairs for a month and vacate the ground floor because they have nativity scenes and other displays taking up the whole living area. On the upper balcony they have a large LCD TV showing things like The Wiggles Christmas, along with The Three Tenors Christmas and other shows. I guess the neighbours don’t mind the traffic and noise so much because they’re back again this year.
Sorry if the shots look a little ratty, I haven’t cropped them or anything. They’re raw.