Tuesday 20 July 2021

Wednesday, July 21st, 2021 - Trips to the Vet, Dental Procedures & Why, Oh Why Did I Do Dry July? + Recent Wristwatches.

June 7th

              Posting less frequently, folks. Spending all day in front of a computer screen makes me less inclined to get back in front of one for long periods after hours. 

Anyway, let's see how this post goes.  

At the time of writing, Victoria is currently in its fourth lock-down. After 84 Covid-free days, we had four new cases spring up. Then it rose to fifteen, then 25, then 34. So, on May 27th, we went into what our State Government called a 'circuit-breaker lock-down'. It was meant to be a seven-day lock-down. As this week-long period neared its end, a few more cases were still occurring, so the lock-down was extended for another week. We just heard the news about an hour ago that nine more cases have been confirmed. I suppose we'll find out on Wednesday or Thursday whether or not this lock-down will be extended further. 

In the meantime, it's been back to wearing masks in public, two hours of outdoor exercise, no travel further than a ten kilometre radius, and work from home if you can, or if you are not in an essential industry.

Anyways, here's the Rado Golden Horse, one of the watches that I wore since my last post;

I've had it one the Speidel Twist-O-Flex expanding bracelet for a while now, but I switched it over to a leather strap a couple of days ago, to change the look of it. While I like the look of it on the Speidel, the watch had felt a little loose on the wrist. This has more to do with my wrist having gotten smaller in recent years rather than the bracelet stretching over time.

Most likely, there'll be a photo of this watch on the leather strap before this post is over. 

July 2nd

         It's been a busy couple of months. I had my dental implant procedure booked-in for the 8th of this month, but I got a call from the dental practice yesterday morning asking if they could reschedule the procedure for the 22nd. Sure, I said. That would be fine. 

July 16th

              And here we are, in the 5th lock-down in Victoria. Four furniture removalists traveled into Melbourne from Sydney and delivered some furniture to an apartment block in an inner-city suburb. A couple of these guys were Covid-positive. Soon after, some residents tested positive also. It all escalated from there. Back up to 16 cases and the State Government announced another seven-day snap lock-down. 

This coincides with my week of annual leave, which begins on Monday the 19th. And, I have my dental implant procedure booked for Thursday the 22nd. If this lock-down is extended beyond Wednesday, this operation will have to be re-scheduled. Which would be a nuisance.
As it happens, I had a week off back in May. I accumulated a lot of annual leave last year and I was asked to take some of it, even though I had no obvious travel plans. Although, as 2020 and now 2021 have such strange times, I figured some semi-regular breaks from work might not be a bad idea, so I outlined four weeks off for the remainder of this year, to be taken as one-week breaks every eight weeks or so. This would chew up some of my annual leave time. 
So I had a week off back in May...and I promptly caught a nasty cold that took me a month to get over. It wasn't a 'flu, it certainly wasn't Covid - I got tested and came back negative - but I figured that I must have been so run down that I was susceptible to whatever was going around this year. Spent a week blowing my nose. Kleenex's share price must've risen slightly thanks to me. 
Anyway, I got over it eventually, but man, did it knock me around. And it was just a cold! We're now in the middle of Winter and as soon as the weather gets milder, as Spring kicks in, I'm gonna get fitter. That's it. No more mucking (playing) around. 

Okay, so I haven't posted since late March. Here's a quick list of some watches worn since then;

          The Oris Divers SixtyFive. 40mm in diameter, with blue and black dial. That Martini book was written by a guy named Barnaby Conrad III. I had been after this book since it was first published. I think I even saw it at the Borders Bookstore that I worked at back in '98, and I'm not 100% certain, but I think I may have bought the book back then. 
About 12 years ago, our garage was broken into and somebody grabbed a few boxes of my books that I had stored in cardboard boxes. I left for work one morning and as I turned into a neighbouring street, I saw some of these boxes strewn along the gutter. I retrieved them and brought them back home, but every now and then, I'll remember a book that I used to have - such as Nabokov's Lolita - and my blood boils slightly because it appears that they did indeed take at least one box of my books. Bastards. 
Anyway, I decided to hunt around on eBay for this book and wound up finding it. That long-stemmed cocktail glass cost me a whole dollar from a thrift store. It's not as large as modern cocktail glasses, which suits me just fine. 

Started reading Thrilling Cities, a collection of travel articles that Ian Fleming was commissioned to write back in the early 1960s for the Sunday Times newspaper. 
He writes about a restaurant called Gaddi's, which was part of The Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong. My wife came home one day a couple of years ago with a huge glass jar filled with book-matches from around the world. Inside this jar was a box of matches from Gaddi's. 
Well, I couldn't waste the photo op. 
The book isn't bad, but surely dated by now. Still, it shows further examples of Fleming's writing style, and it's interesting to read his non-fiction writing. He wrote one other work of non-fiction called The Diamond Smugglers, an account of the efforts of the International Diamond Security Organization to combat the multi-million dollar diamond smuggling industry in Africa in the 1950s. 
The Submariner 5513 got some wear since my last post.  I have to say though, and I had a feeling this might happen, the Tudor Black Bay 58 has been getting a lot of wear since I got it. 
This may put the future of the Sub 5513 in doubt. Anyway, I'll spend the next year or so thinking about it. I could still be in the honeymoon phase with the Black Bay 58 and this may be influencing my thinking. The Submariner 5513 is a very photogenic watch and whenever I wear it, I remember exactly why I got it to begin with.  

Work-wise, we will be moving offices into the city sometime in August or September. This will mean that, rather than a 40 to 50 minute drive in to work, I will have to drive to a nearby train station and catch the train into town. Last time I worked in the city, when I was still in retail, my train line was not exactly reliable. I used to get to the station early enough to allow for four different trains because there was almost always a delay or cancellation. It was damned annoying and nerve-wracking. Not a good way to start the day.   This new commute will add around 35 to 45 minutes to my morning travel time and it'll cost me ten bucks a day in train fares. 
Needless to say, I ain't thrilled about it, but I'm adopting a wait-and-see policy with it all. Might not be as big a problem as I think it will be. 

Speaking of the Black Bay 58, here's another shot of it. I was jotting down some notes about - Wait a sec, I'm getting ahead of myself. A little back-story first; my wife has been doing an online counselling course. Part-time, it's meant to take around two years to complete. She finished it in eight months. The last module consisted of 12 role-play videos that she had to complete. These role-plays consisted of various scenarios, such as a young man who's intensely shy and is nervous about asking a girl out, or a middle-aged housewife who works full-time and is studying to become a CPA and is finding it difficult to maintain home, work, and study commitments and is on the verge of a nervous breakdown. 
I played this middle-aged housewife. I wanted to do it in drag because my daughter was itching to do my make-up, but my wife said she would not be able to keep a straight face. These role-plays were filmed and uploaded onto a dedicated YouTube channel once completed. As soon as she received a mark for them, they were deleted. Thank God.

July 19th
              The snap lock-down was due to end tomorrow night at midnight. Our Premier held a press conference this morning to announce that there were thirteen new Covid cases overnight and, therefore, the lock-down would be extended. 
I got a call a few hours later from my dentist. The implant surgery would still go ahead on Thursday morning, but I had to get a Covid test done in the meantime. Bloody hell! So, off I went to a nearby testing facility, which was located in the car-park of an X-Ray clinic. Stood out in the cold for about fifteen minutes before getting tested. I should have the results in the next 24 to 48 hours. 
I'm slightly dreading this dental procedure. They're gonna drill into my gums to fit a titanium screw which will form the base for a crown. Aside from that, they will go into the sinus cavity and perform a 'sinus lift' whereby some powdered substance will be mixed with water to create a bone-like foundation for the screw. As we get older, our gum-line and jawbone can thin out. My jawbone will need to be reinforced or thickened with this sinus lift procedure. 
Needless to say, I'm gonna lose my youthful beauty for a while. Probably gonna look like I went three rounds with Tyson by the end of it. 
The op should take around 60 to 90 minutes. As I mentioned, I have this week off and I've also arranged to have next Monday and Tuesday off as well, as I think I'll need a good five days to get over the swelling, etc. Last thing I need is to be at work answering phone calls. 

Madame jumped up onto the kitchen bench-top and sat there, with her hind legs shaking slightly. 
Then she jumped down onto the floor and crouched before we saw a few drops of urine land on the floor. Very uncharacteristic of her. Something wasn't right. It was about 8:15pm on a Saturday night. I called the nearby animal hospital. 
Bring her in, they said. 
Fifteen minutes later and I sat in the waiting room and looked around. There were four other people sitting there. All glued to their phone screens. I brought in my car-copy of Octopussy & The Living Daylights because I didn't want to be yet another person sitting in a waiting room staring at their smartphone. 
It was past eleven-thirty by the time I got her home. Some painkillers and a muscle-relaxant was prescribed. It was not a cheap visit either, so I felt a little ticked-off at being given this band-aid solution. I took her to the vet a few days later and they said it was a urinary tract infection and we got a course of antibiotics. Man, these two cats have run up a crazy tab in vet bills over the last eighteen months. 
There was one visit to the vet last year where my wife and I sat there while the vet patted our cat and asked us a few questions. Afterwards, we got the the reception counter; That's eighty dollars for today, said the young lass at the desk.
I felt like saying; Eighty bucks?! What for? She sat there and stroked the cat for ten minutes. We should be charging her
Oh, the Tudor Black Bay 58 has been getting a lot of wear, as you can see in the shot above.
I do sometimes spend a little too much time and trouble staging a photo. This one here took me a little while, as the sun kept disappearing behind clouds on an increasingly overcast day. Once it peeked out again, I got the shadows of the slanted Venetian blind across the page. Not a moment to lose. Also, that espresso would soon lose that creamy schiuma (foam) off the surface, making it look like just a black coffee. 
The IMCO Triplex lighter has no fuel in it. The ashtray was from my parent's house and it advertises Centerba Toro, a liqueur from Abruzzo, the region in Italy where my folks were born. There was always a bottle of this stuff in the house. I never saw my parents drink it, but they would always offer a teaspoon of it to a cup of coffee whenever guests came around. It's made up of aromatic herbs and spices from the region and dates back to 1817. The green-glassed bottle is wrapped in straw, with a distinctive black and green label. 

Oh, one more thing; this stuff is 70% alcohol by volume. That makes it around 140 proof. 
Which is why I only ever saw a teaspoon added to short black coffees. 
I have two bottles of the stuff and I don't think I've ever properly drunk it.
The small bottle on the left was given to me by my aunt when I visited her in Pescara in 2016. I cracked it open and had a sip, but I don't recall the taste of it. I'm currently doing Dry July - whereby I'm not touching any alcohol. Seemed like a good idea at the time - so I won't taste it now, but I'll do it properly and add a dash to an espresso at some point and report back. I daresay it is probably something that's worth having on a cold winter's night. You could add it to a cup of strong tea to add a hefty kick to it. 

The large bottle was taken from my parent's house after my Mother died in 2012. While going through the kitchen pantries and throwing out various dry foods that would spoil, I found this bottle and thought it was a nice reminder of my folks and the house I grew up in. 
Just looking at this bottle conjured up memories of loud conversations emanating from the kitchen/dining area, ashtrays filled with the butts of Senior Service and Viscount cigarettes, drained beer glasses, the ornate wooden sugar dispenser, the steaming coffee poured from the Bialetti Moka Express percolator, and the liberal pour of a dash of Centerba from the strange bottle. 
This half-litre bottle still has the seal intact and it would  appear that there is less than 500ml inside it. I think this bottle may have been laid on its side at some point because the label around the screw-top looks stained. Did this liquor corrode the aluminium top? 
Dear God, what's in this stuff?!
Either way, this Centerba triggers a lot of memories.
I'll have a taste of it once Dry July is over. 
Speaking of which, what exactly possessed me to do Dry July? 
I tend to drink more consistently through the Summer months. Gin & Tonics, Americano cocktails (Campari, Sweet Vermouth, topped up with soda water over ice), the occasional beer. I noticed last month, though, that this Summer style of drinking kept right on going once Autumn (Fall) and Winter came along. In the colder months, it tends to be a glass of wine with dinner some nights or a shot of scotch or bourbon after dinner if the evening is particularly cold. 
So, I thought it might be a good idea to 're-set' things by avoiding alcohol for the month. I have to say that it was tricky for the first week or so. I had some busy days at work and a nice G&T would have taken the edge off and provided some closure to the workday. 
Same with the Friday Night Dry Martini, a crisp bookend to the working week. At any rate, I started, or rather, stopped drinking on July 4th and I'll stay that way until August 1st. 
After that, I'll ease my way back into it and keep it in check. 

21st July
                 So, I have the dental procedure booked-in for tomorrow morning. I got a text message regarding the Covid test that I got done a couple of days ago. Result is negative. 
My wife will drive me to the dentist by 8:00am and after I fill in some paperwork, the op should commence around 8:30. They'll be giving me a twilight anaesthetic, which means I'll be awake and semi-lucid during the procedure. Dental surgeon said I could bring an iPod if I want. I just might do that. 

One last shot, taken in early June. Did I mention that the cat doesn't like being given a tablet? 
But at least she didn't scratch the watch! 
The first round of tablets didn't work. It wasn't a long enough course, so the vet gave me 45 tablets and said he'd see me in August sometime. Half a tablet, twice a day, can be given with food. So, I've been using a pair of flat-nose pliers to crush the tablet into powder, then I add a dash of boiled water, which dissolves the tablet, then I add her food, which is a special formulation for her kidney condition and I mix it in with the water to create a paste-like consistency.
Her appetite's been back for a couple of weeks now, so I think this urinary tract thing is gone, but I'll continue with the tablets until they're finished. Tell ya what, between these two cats, we've spent a small fortune at the vets over the last year and a half. If it's not one, it's the other. I don't know how people with multiple pets do it. It's not the cost so much, it's the fact that you always have to keep an eye on them if they suddenly start showing behaviours that are out of character. And it always happens at eight or nine o'clock at night. 
Anyway, one thing at a time, as they say.

Think I'll wear the Oris Divers SixtyFive for the procedure. Although I doubt I'll be looking at my watch. 
Those Hot Wheels cars have been packed away in some box for about a dozen years. My son is twenty now and doesn't seem to have any special attachment to them, but I thought I'd go through them and keep a handful, for the sake of posterity. 

Anyway, there was more I was going to write, but I think I'll stop here and maybe start a fresh post that I can put up in a week or two. Either way, I think I may be too zonked out over the next few days. The Victorian lock-down has been extended until the 27th, but I'm off work until then anyway. 

I hope you're all staying safe. Some experts are saying that it will be a long time before we get back to anything resembling normal. Others say that we'll have to treat Covid like any other 'flu and take the necessary precautions. 
Whatever the case, we are living through history, and these times are designed to test us, as I keep telling my kids. 
Who are probably sick of hearing it. 

Thanks for reading!


  1. Like any other flu except for the transmission rate and that pesky "long Covid" thing that nobody seems to have a handle on. Frig that, I stay inside, write code and wait 'till Delta, Lambda and whatever other variation burns itself out on the ball-draggers who think it's all fake news.

    Anyway, rant over - how'd your toof fixin' go? :D

    1. Yeah, Ted, I hope it burns itself out, but it looks like it's gonna take a while.
      Tooth op went well. Face still swollen, and I only need the occasional painkiller.

      Stay safe!