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Time flies when you’re having fun

It’s been almost 3 weeks since my last post, and I think it’s about time I gave you an update on what’s been happening, and why I’ve been so quiet.

I started my new job on the 2nd of April with the Australian Department of Defence. Talk about earning my money! Until I get my security clearance – which I’m still waiting for today, and might still take another couple of weeks or more – I can’t get onto any networked computers, as that’s a security breach. This means no internet, no email, and no daily contact with the people that I’m so used to being in contact with. I’ve been forced to do my personal email and friendship management before or after work, which can pose its own challenges, especially when you’re still trying to sort out your life by email and you can only check it when everyone’s gone home from work.

And the work…! What an interesting and exhausting challenge it’s been. Since I can’t actually do what I was hired for (the lack of a security clearance prevents it) they’ve been getting me to do all kinds of other things. Like cleaning out storerooms, and pulling apart laptops to get at their hard drives to dispose of them, and moving assets around from one location to another… All the stuff that Joe Blogs can do, but he doesn’t have a security clearance for. Well, neither do I, but they need to find me something to do while we’re all waiting!

Along the way, there’s been a lot of rewarding activity. And I say rewarding because I cant’ really think of any other word that’s appropriate… In the past week I’ve managed to learn how to setup and configure Windows Server 2003 to build a network, domain control and active directory integration for network authorisation. It’s pretty basic, but I’m absolutely amazed that I’ve been able to do it in the first place! And then they gave me a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) system with monitoring hardware, which I had to learn how to configure and manage as well.

Oh my… The skills… The experience… The new things I’m learning… I love it!

When my security clearance finally comes in, I’ll become involved in the things I was actually hired to do, which is provide helpdesk and software (Sharepoint) support. I’m planning on using my new skills to move forward with studying for an MCSA (Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator). I think that could be a good thing for me, and this job could be a good way of getting there.

Over Easter Deidre and I drove from Canberra to Adelaide, and back again a few days later. It’s a 13-hour drive, which we did over two days on the way down (Thurs – Fri), and one day on the way back (Monday). We shared the driving, 2 hours each before swapping for the entire journey, which made it a bit easier. We had the day off on Tuesday to relax, which we certainly needed!

I caught up with my parents, and my brothers. What a story I have to tell about that… I’ve already written it out, and it’s about 4 pages long (A4 pages in Word), so it’s going to be a long read when I get around to posting it. That’ll be over the next few days.

While in Adelaide we caught up with Mel’s parents, whose house we’re staying at while they were in Adelaide. They advised that they’ll be settling things by the beginning of May, and would be coming back then. So we had 3 weeks to find a place of our own. Deidre freaked a bit at this – she doesn’t handle stress too well. Me, I just knew that we’d do it. I have a habit of making sure that if something absolutely has to happen, it WILL happen.

Canberra is going through a real shortage of housing at the moment, due to mismanagement of land planning resources. As a result, there’s more people coming into the city (mostly with the public service) than the city can accommodate. This has led to a few illegal auctions being held by real estage agents for rental properties, forcing potential tenants to try and outbid each other in order to get the house. We had 3 weeks to get a house in this kind of environment….

I did it in 3 days.

Instead of doing what everyone else was doing (gotta love those sheep) – which was obediantly going along to the 15-minute open inspections of houses, filling out a tenancy application, and hoping that they’ll be the ones randomly picked from the many dozens of other applications – I organised to meet the owners of the property we wanted the night before the open inspection. I told them we couldn’t make it the next day, so they agreed to show us through the place before the official inspection. Deidre and I loved the place, built a rapport with the owners, and gave all the relevent information that house owners want to hear from potential tenants, like how we were both working and where we worked, how much we’d look after the place because it was so nice, and how we’d do stuff with the garden to improve it.

The next day they rang us to tell us it was ours if we wanted it, which we most certainly did! The place has 3 bedrooms, a covered deck out the back, with a pond and foundain in the garden. It’s got an absolutely huge 2-car garage which has plenty of extra space in it which we’ll initially use for storage, before turning it into our own little gym. There’s reverse-cycle airconditioning inside, as well as ducted heating. It’s going to be great! We’ll be moving into it over the next week, and pictures will be coming soon.

I was pre-approved today for leasing a car. However, due to our current financial instability with the new house, and how we need to furnish and equip it, but with hardly any money to our name right now, the car will have to wait a month or so.

Life is apparently meant to be a challenge. That’s how you grow. I can’t thank my friends enough for being there to support me through this growth period, and it’s a great feeling to have those friends in my life who value me enough to help me out when I need it.

That’ll do for now… there’s another really, really long post coming soon. You’ll need your energy for it!

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