The day didn't start well but ended up being quite productive; I got a number of outstanding jobs completed, mostly to do with Country Week and mostly involving paperwork.
It's less than a month till Country Week, the event where we take 156 kids to Perth for a week of sporting competition and social events. As manager of the CW team it's up to me to make sure everything is organised and ready, from fees and budgets to buses and accommodation, meals, fixtures and risk management. I spent some time on the net today looking for the best deal on a hire car for me to use for the week so I can get around to all the venues, deliver the lunches, pick up last minute items needed for teams and be available to take kids to hospital when they get injured, note I said when not if, it's almost certain that we'll have a few kids hurt during the week, it goes with the territory.
This year I'm picking the car up in Perth so that I can drop it off at the airport because on the Friday afternoon (July 6) I'm flying to Melbourne for a couple of weeks for a feast of football.
It will be pretty tight that night, I arrive in Melbourne at 6:15pm and head straight for Docklands Stadium because the Geelong v Essendon game starts at 7:40pm!
I've booked a cheap little car to get around for a couple of days as I take in a couple more games of footy, before dropping that car off at Avalon airport and flying to Sydney on Sunday morning.
There's a dual purpose to this part of the trip; I'm going to watch the Dockers play the Sydney Swans at the SCG, the first time I'll have been to that ground, and then staying with Rachel and Michael for three days which I'm really looking forward to.
Rachel was chaplain at Perth Mod for many years and is a good friend but her real claim to fame is that she is the one who introduced me to blogging. In fact, the original Holt Press was created accidentally while I was in the process of trying to leave a comment on her blog, BarrandGirl, which is a clever play on words: Rachel's husband's surname is Barr and the blog title also borrows from the popular pub/restaurant theme "Bar and Grill" clever huh?
Sadly Rachel doesn't blog very often, she's too busy enjoying life and work and marriage in Sydney town but I still drop by every now and then to see if she's posted lately. A quick check reveals that Rachel's had nothing to say in the blogosphere since March 22! Shame ! You can follow the link if you want to find out more.
Apart from the Friday night game against Essendon I'm also going to see the Cats play Collingwood at the MCG and the Western Bulldogs back at Docklands. In case you're wondering about why, this will be the start of my long service leave which will see me have all of third term off work. I had a stack of credit card reward points I was able to use to pay for most of these flights.
In light of this, and because we haven't been able to come up with any decent plans to travel or do anything special for my long service, and because Geelong are playing so well and looking like genuine finals contenders, I took advantage of a sale at Virgin Blue this week and bought another ticket to Melbourne for the start of September with the intention of being in Melbourne for the AFL Finals, and Grand Final, with the "hope" that Geelong might make it all the way to the BIG GAME on the last Saturday in September.
Further to this, so as to assure my chances of getting tickets to the finals, and if the Cats make it, to the Grand Final, I have just become a member of the Geelong Football Club for the first time. There are various membership packages to choose from but living on this side of the country I will not get to fully utilise it to go to home and away games, although I will be able to use it for 2 out of the 3 games in Melbourne on the trip in July. The real benefit of membership is that it guarantees you the chance to buy finals and Grand Final tickets which are the most sort after sporting tickets in the country. There was a nice piece of serendipity in the purchase. I opted for the Home Game package which cost $165 for 11 games. Tonight at volleyball was pay-night for the first 6 weeks of refereeing. I was due to get paid $150 for the games I've done so far but one of the refs didn't turn up for duty so I had to step in, thus earning an extra $15, pushing my pay up to $165! So, in effect, my volleyball paid for my football!
Of course there is no guarantee Geelong will make the finals or do well enough in them to make it to the Grand Final, it's just hopeful speculation on my part, but, as a long suffering Cats fan of some 40 years, a period in which we have lost 5 Grand Finals starting back in 1967, this year represents one of the best chances we've had of breaking that terrible barren streak, and if it happens I want to be there to see it!
And if it does happen it will be the perfect use of my long service leave!