Roller rink update

We nailed the last piece of ply down on the 15th of November, and since then have been doing ongoing upgrades – we discovered that we needed more dwangs than we originally planned to add strength to the structure and keep the boards from popping up as they get wet and then dry out.

I’ve spent hours pulling up the boards and re-drilling them. Not the most fun job ever, but it makes the rink much flatter and more awesome to skate on and to play hockey on.

The last piece in the puzzle has been to get sides for the rink so we can hold safe skate events, and hockey practices without having to chase after pucks.

And the sides were delivered yesterday, thanks to Dan Lucas at Fulton Hogan. They come in the form of 36 x 2m x 1.2m road barriers. They are just perfect. How I came into possession of these barriers is a pretty neat story…

A couple of weeks ago I was invited, along with dozens of other awesome people, to have afternoon tea with the Mayor and Councillors. It was an informal event so the Mayor and Council could “express their thanks for all your inspirational work in our city”. There was a great selection of truly amazing people there – Gap Filler, Life in Vacant Spaces, Ministry of Awesome, Student Volunteer Army, Hapa, C1 Cafe to name just a few of my favourites!

The Mayor invited us all to say a little something about our projects, and one thing the Council could do to help (that didn’t involve money!). People talked about the importance of good policy, of coordinated efforts, of being joined up and well-networked. These are really important things, but all I really needed was barriers for my roller rink. So that’s what I asked for. I have been trying for months to get hold of road barriers (called water-filled delineators) without success. They would be a super-easy way to make the rink safe for kids to use. When I asked for them, everyone laughed – in the good way (I think) because it seemed too easy. But these barriers mean the world to me, as I explained. Barriers would mean that kids can skate on the rink safely, so we will be able to hold awesome-fun summer events at the rink.

Deputy Mayor Vicki Buck said “that’s a simple one! I’ll get onto it on Monday!”. And she was true to her word. I sent her an email explaining exactly what I needed, and quickly heard back from Will, the General Manager of the Horizontal Infrastructure Management Team at CERA (Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority), who put me in touch with Duncan, the Executive General Manager of SCIRT (Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team). I called Duncan, who contacted Fulton Hogan to see if they had any spare barriers, and before I knew it, BARRIERS! And brand-spanking new ones at that. It took two weeks in total. Amazing.

I am ever so grateful to everyone who helped to get them there.


Now if only the rain would stop…

Year in review: 2013

As per established tradition (and mostly for my own benefit so I can remember what happened), here is a brief summary of 2013.

January: Megan turns 21! We move back into our freshly EQC-renovated house, there is a lot of family time, and skating.

February: A lovely getaway to Queenstown for Stephen and me, we get our gardens done, a fun trip to Tekapo to watch inline hockey, lots of work, family, skating. The 2nd anniversary of the Feb 2011 earthquakes – not much has changed in a year.

March: Our 2nd wedding anniversary – celebrated in style at Rotherhams. We come 2nd in our ice hockey grand final, I graduate roller derby freshmeat and into the league.

April: We go to Dunedin to celebrate Granddad’s 96th birthday. We put the finishing touches on the house. Roller derby.

May: Megan moves out, and in with Blair. Lots of working, family time, roller derby training.

June: Bronwen gets braces. The Mt Albert Thompsons come for a visit. I go to Blenheim for a derby bootcamp, Bronwen NSOs (officiates) her first derby bout. Derby, derby, derby.

July: New roller skates for me and for Stephen! A fun-filled hockey weekend in Tekapo with my Rangers. My first big roller derby bout (Superheroes v Supervillains).

August: Raro! A blissful week of sun, sand, scooters and family. Wyatt starts playing ice hockey and LOVES it. The league takes a much-needed mid-season break from roller derby.

September: After several months of planning, work begins on the roller rink. I have an enforced break from derby after rolling my ankle, then come back with a vengeance in the bout against Dunedin’s Bonnie Brawlers (beat them 238-108). Hockey kicks off for another year – the Rangers kick ass. Life and work is intense. Little Arlia turns 3.

October: Bronwen turns 13, a teenager at last. We move the roller rink from Tuam St to Peterborough St and building progresses in earnest. TEDx is inspiring. Roller derby nationals are EPIC! Work is scary-intense.

November: Antony turns 25 (OMG!) and gets roller skates of course. Wyatt turns 5. I learn the basics of skate jamming with Danger Danger. We finish the roller rink (AWESOME!!). We have the last bout of the season – Rocky Horroween. Junior derby kicks off, Bronwen is fast and furious. Derby awards night, and I take away the Hard Yards award – super proud.

December: A visit from Gillian, lots of motorway skating, the derby girls play some ice hockey (LOL), Bronwen graduates from Chisnallwood Intermediate and we mentally prepare for high school. I get an iPad mini and a Pebble watch (lucky girl, me!). Christmas comes and goes and the whole family takes a much-needed break from the fast lane.

I’m not gonna lie, in many ways it’s been a tough year. We had some fun and joy in there, but overall it’s been hard work. There have been several projects going on at once that have made life pretty intense at times. I took on the job of league secretary for roller derby, and returned as secretary of the Senior League for ice hockey. Stephen took on the chair of the Senior League and the secretary of Canterbury Ice Hockey Assoc. There was a lot of unpaid administration work going on in our house this year. Building the roller rink was a HUGE undertaking – it occupied most of our spare time for the latter part of the year. Roller derby was very intense – three 2-hour training sessions a week, plus going to the gym, plus ice hockey. It was a bit relentless.  And then once I added in three of the busiest months I think I’ve ever had at work (in Sept, Oct, Nov) and it just about broke me.

What kept me going this year is the intense joy I get from all the things I did. I love skating (can you tell??), I love my job, I love spending time with my family, I am hugely proud of our roller rink, I love ice hockey. I’ve indulged my passions this year, just binging a little too much at times.

2014 will be about finding the balance. It will be about saying yes and no more carefully – so I get to do the things I love, but not so they become work.

Christmas cheer

How can I explain my apathy towards Christmas in a way that all you yuletide-loving nutjobs will understand it?

Imagine you lived in a world where most other people were crazy in love with some pastime that just didn’t rock your boat. Gran Turismo 6 or lawn bowls or horse racing or underwater polo. Something you understand in principle but have no personal passion for. Now imagine that these people insist that you must love that thing. There must be something wrong with you if you don’t. They even call you names for not being passionate about the same thing as them.

This is how I feel about the insistence that I should love Christmas.  I can’t manufacture feelings I don’t have – Christmas is just not part of who I am. Over time I have moved from a discomfort and dislike of the holiday to a general apathy about it.

Why discomfort? To say I come from a dysfunctional home would be an understatement. And Christmas is ‘all about family’ (although it seems to me, is actually all about spending money on random stuff you don’t need). Christmas made me feel like a freak as a kid. It was just one more thing that made me different – my weird family. And I don’t recall ever getting Christmas gifts from either of my parents. Maybe it happened, I just don’t remember it. Understand, I am not traumatised by this – it is just another part of my history that makes me who I am.

When my kids were younger, I had a tree and did the present thing. I didn’t want them to miss out on that magical event everyone raved about. I wasn’t especially enthusiastic, and we did less as they got older.

Now that I am married and part of a Christmas-celebrating family, I accept I need to do the Christmas Day family thing. I’m happy to spend time with these people any time they invite me around, so I participate enthusiastically in the eating of ham etc. In my mind, I’m just hanging out with my family – it has nothing to do with Jesus or Santa or whatever.

In the last few years there seems to be increased pressure from people around me to ‘stop being a grinch’, and ‘get into the spirit’. I truly and honestly don’t understand why. You don’t miss out because I’m not enthusiastic about Christmas. I’m not asking you to keep your Christmas cheer away from me. Celebrate away. I just prefer not to get so involved personally. I don’t feel any need to decorate my house and buy you gifts. Think of me as Jewish if it helps.

A note: I get a similar reaction to not celebrating my birthday, although most people are less vocal about that. It would seem it is far more offensive to not celebrate Jesus’ birthday than my own. I find you people very weird for this.