One of my horse racing clients offered me an office job this winter just gone. Naturally, a contractor will take the steady work; so I said yes to three days a week. I’ve now been on salary with them, as well as continuing to do contract work from home for other clients on the other two days of the week. My other writing (like this blog, and my novels) has been relegated to the time while I sit and watch kid’s cricket.
I’ve noticed one thing. Working in an office appears to legitimize my job. People have reacted to this new task as if I’ve finally stepped out of the home and starting going to work. Um, no. I’ve been working as a sub-contractor from home for twelve years. With the pay to prove it. And really, working in an office on salary is a whole lot easier than working as a contractor from home. I don’t have to worry about invoicing, or whether I’ll get paid for the hours I’ve done. That’s still a factor with my other clients. To be fair, three of the four are great and pay on time. The other client eventually gets around to paying me, and after twelve years of this situation I’ve learnt to live with their tardiness. Bismarck; not so much! It still irritates him that I have to remind them to pay me before I take on extra work.
As a salaried worker I don’t have to chase up my next job, to remind clients that I’m here and could do with some more work. I just turn up. The perception that my work is now real merely because I go elsewhere to do it is both interesting and irritating. It annoys me that all the other work I have done, and continue to do, is dismissed. And it annoys me that people think going to the office is somehow harder. Nah. No way. It’s much easier to just turn up without all the worries of contracting.
A couple of weeks ago, I sat in my office quietly doing tasks when my phone rang. Now, the office includes a call centre, and we are supposed to keep the background noise low for their sake. As the geek in the corner without a work phone (!), this is fine with me. I leave the room on the odd occasion when someone calls me. Not this time. This time I laughed so hard I couldn’t move. Quiet laughing, so as not to be too disturbing. The type of laughing where your stomach hurts because the laugh must come out, but not loudly, so it aches instead.
“Mum,” said No1. “I’m so embarrassed.”
“It was THE MOST embarrassing minute of my life,” said No2 in the background.
“Oh?” I said.
“Dad crashed the trailer,” said No1.
“I didn’t crash the trailer,” said Bismarck. “It just got a little stuck.”
“And people were beeping at us,” said No1.
“I literally had to hide under the seat,” said No2.
“We collected the (rental) trailer, and then they all said they were hungry,” said Bismarck.
“Sure,” I said.
“He took us to Maccas, Mum!” said one of the kids. Getting fast food is a bit of a novelty in our house, so this statement came with some excitement. We don’t do it often, but I’m happy to admit to being a food blogger that feeds my kids fast food. Shock, horror! There is a place for all types of food, and occasionally fast food provides a useful way to eat lunch while out and about.
“Anyway, I drove into the drive-through with the trailer behind, and it’s quite a tight turn. The trailer tyres got hooked on the kerb and we couldn’t make it around,” said Bismarck.
“And the trailer smashed into Maccas,” said No1.
“No it didn’t. It just kissed the side of it,” said Bismarck. “I tried to go forward and use the kerb to slide the trailer around the corner. But it was totally stuck.”
“And then, people beeped at us,” said No2.
“Were they waiting behind you?” I asked, through gulps of air.
“Yes. Lots of them,” said No1.
“Only two. But one had that face on. Like how dare you be such an idiot when I need to get junk food,” said Bismarck.
“And Dad had to get out and unhook the trailer so we could go again. I was SO embarrassed,” said No2.
Bismarck maintains that he didn’t crash the trailer. Nothing got wrecked, therefore it’s not a crash. I still smile when I imagine him diligently unhooking the trailer, moving it away from the kerb, lining it back up and hooking it back on. All the while, four kids are in the car, hiding, while a few people blast their horns at him. As if beeping ever made anyone faster.
And now for a meal fast enough that you won’t have to beep at the cook. It’s also more nutritious (and delicious) than purchased fast food. BBQ lamb with a fresh pea salad.
BBQ Lamb and Fresh Pea Salad
- ¼ bottle of white wine (I used pinot gris)
- A handful of basil
- 1 spring onion
- 1 spanish/red onion
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 splash rice wine vinegar
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 splash of chili sauce (I used XO sauce)
- Salt and pepper
Finely chop all ingredients and mix together in a big bowl. Place the lamb cutlets in the marinade and leave for at least half an hour. You could do this the night before if you want.
When you are ready to cook, heat up the BBQ, then lift the cutlets out of the marinade and place on the heat. You could keep some of the marinade to baste the meat if you want. Or just tip it out.
- Snow peas
- Spinach and Rocket Mix
Finely dice the capsicum. Mix through the spinach and rocket mix. Bring a small pot to the boil, then add the snow peas. Boil for 1 minute (blanch?), then drain and mix through the salad.
- Olive Oil
- Greek yoghurt
Blend the basil and olive oil to make a pesto. You could add pine nuts, but I always forget to have them in the pantry. Swirl the pesto through the yoghurt.
To serve, place the salad on the plate. Top with the lamb and dressing.