Usually that’s a good thing. Doc loves going to the farm. It’s where he relaxes and recharges, but this time it was an attempt to run away. I should have known better – because, of course, things didn’t go smoothly!
Doc has been going through some shit lately. Without going into too much detail – he’s been on leave from his job (which he’s been in for 30 years) since January. There were lots of problems going on with bullying and harassment. It took a while, but finally they accepted responsibility for what was going on.
After all the battles – including with depression as a result of the workplace issues – things were starting to look up. Until they sent a letter sacking him.
30 years of service, lots of improvements implemented and ongoing budget savings for them, and they sacked him by letter. Because they couldn’t provide him with the workplace conditions his doctor was demanding.
Now I’m not an expert, so perhaps Doc’s doctor was making too many demands. The organisation obviously thought so because they sent Doc to their doctor for a second opinion. Then sent him to a WorkCover investigator for a third opinion. Maybe all three experts were in cahoots, because they all said Doc couldn’t return to work until the workplace issue was addressed.
I guess sacking him was easier than dealing with the issue.
So I suggested we go to the farm for the weekend so he could relax.
Things started badly. I was planning on leaving work early so we could get away, but I had a meeting that went very wrong, and waaaay overtime. So I got home late, and upset at the way I’d behaved with my staff. All of which meant I had to work during the drive, so rather than talking with Doc, I was concentrating on working on my laptop.
But he handled it. I finished what I was doing and we spent the last half hour before the farm enjoying the drive and the conversation. The gale-force winds at home had subsided to nothing by this time, and when we turned in at the farm gate we both breathed an audible sigh of relief.
Which lasted until we got to within the last 1km of our house – and got bogged in the mud.
I’m sure I’ve said before – Doc is a bloke. He can start a fire with twigs, know where north is by looking at trees, and get a car out of any situation. Except the mud at the farm the other night. The more he tried, the stucker it got. And being in the mood he was in (if you can call clinical depression a ‘mood’), the more personally he took it.
Deciding the best way I could help was by staying out of the way, I got out a bottle of wine and sat in the car, drinking wine and looking at the stars. And it was a beautiful night. One of those clear, crisp winter nights where the stars look like you can touch them, and the milky way looked like it had been painted across the sky with a highlighter. If you’ve seen the Dr Who episode with Vincent Van Gogh, (or even the painting Starry, Starry Night) that’s what the sky was like.
And still Doc toiled away.
After about an hour and a half, he decided to give up and walk to the farmhouse to get the hilux to drag us out. So off we tramped. Doc resolutely, me trotting along trying to keep up. In the dark. On the dirt track and through the mud. In my uggies. Not a pretty sight!
Fortunately the hilux started first time (it is a Toyota after all!), and it pulled the ute out of the mud first time (as I said – it is a Toyota). So after planning on being at the farm for dinner, we finally got there at 1.45am.
But it was a beautiful night, the stars were amazing, and we lit a fire and sat with a quiet drink contemplating the majesty of nature. And trying to put our problems into perspective.