It Happened in New Zealand…or Was It Australia…

#7          Dueling Egos  II        or          Stuck in Sydney …Part I

Not only are we temporarily stuck in Sydney after the New Year’s Eve fireworks (I’ll get to that part of the story later), but…I am just plain stuck about what to do…It’s the…

ol’ dueling egos…again!

Lights!  Camera!  Drama!!

Wait a minute!  My alter ego is sending me a message…

Think back, Gina, to that very serious time in your life when you immersed yourself in AlAnon to recover from your marriage to your alcoholic ex.

Oh yeah…My family believed I joined a satanic cult and tried to “save” me by inviting me to my own inquisition!  It didn’t work, of course.  Once I realized what was going on, I picked up my fast food ploy and booked…fast and far away!

Stop interrupting and let me finish…please!  The dynamics are similar:  think behavior versus no-think behavior…adult behavior vs. child behavior.  A person with this no-think/child  behavior is sometimes called a “brat.”  It may even be an “ism” like brat-ism and a person might be called a brataholic.  Even you, Gina, qualify as a brat…now and then…

OK…OK…I got it!  And now I DO know what to do!  I’m such a silly girl, I am!

In the past, I’ve been a professional chemical dependency counselor.  That’s right.  My personal life becomes my professional life.  I acquire my CCDCIII and LSW and work in the field for ten years. I use confrontation as a tool for the possibility (not probable however) of changing a person’s behavior.  And confrontation can be effective…

Wait!  Hold on…I’m getting another incoming message from my alter ego…Gina dear, confrontation does work, but only if a person chooses to change his behavior…

Oh yeah…that’s right.  Now that I think about it, Len has told me, “I don’t like confrontation.  I avoid it!”  A little louder, please.  I don’t believe you.

“I don’t like confrontation.  I avoid it!”

OK…I believe!

Sooo, confrontation is O-U-T.  What to do???  Well, I guess I’ll have to play the role of the think/adult and just ignore Len when he plays the role of the no-think/child (read on).  Yeah, that’s the ticket…for now anyway.

Dueling Egos II     or     Stuck in Sydney…Part I

Act I, Scene I

Dateline:  Conneaut, OH, USA… August, 2014 “Hey, Gina!  Wanna be in Sydney, Australia, for the New Year’s Eve fire works?”  shouts Len down the stairs from his upstairs study. “Yeah!  Watcha got goin’?” I answer. Well, he’s on it!  Even though it’s a full three months before the event, Len finds the hostel and backpacker facilities in Sydney are booked solid!  The closest we’re going to get to Sydney is Katoomba (nestled in the Blue Mountains), a two-hour train ride away, and that’s only one way!  He books a four night stay at Number 14, a lovely two-story backpacker house built on the slope of a hill and a 20 minute walk from the train station.  Sounds good to us! Now…exactly how close to Sydney can we get to observe the fireworks?  Len by chance finds the availability of Neilson Park (as the crow flies about three miles across Shark Bay to Sydney Harbour Bridge)  It is a gated event with a maximum of 400 tickets available.  The next  hurdle is to get those tickets in our hands before we leave.  The Park administration does not send tickets directly to patrons out-of-country; instead, we need to give them an Australian address.  Tickets will be delivered to that address, and then that person sends the tickets to us in the States.  There’s bound to be a glitch somewhere in that plan, right?  Right!!  As it turns out, our tickets are returned to sender, but the Park administration won’t reissue them to us until the “return to sender” tickets are physically in their hands. On the upside, they’ve changed their policy and will now send the tickets directly to us! Long story short, the tickets arrive at 567 Liberty Street just a few days before we leave for NZ.  Whew!!  That was a close one!

Act 1, Scene II

Dateline:  Number 14, Katoomba, Australia…December 31, 2014: Len says the weather forecast for this evening’s event is in our favor:  only 32% chance of rain and a high of 21°C.  He’s gone on an uphill walk to the ATM while I prepare/pack 6 sandwiches, a combination of tuna-n-egg and ham-n-cheese for our evening meal at Neilson park. Len returns upset…and without needed funds.  His ATM receipt says he’s used his daily limit ($1000.00 per day per card), which is false.  Now he’s thinking our account may have been hacked. An explanation is needed here:  My bank changed over to a new system the day after we left the country, and although each time we contacted my bank and were assured that the problem of extracting money from international ATMs using our PIN  (sometimes it worked and most often it did not) was “fixed,” it remained a problem throughout our five-month adventure.  Three weeks before we left for the States, however, we were told by an employee of Westland Greenstone in Hokitika, if we didn’t use our PIN, but requested to sign for each purchase, there was a 90% chance the purchase would go through.  We had NO problem with our purchases after that! I suggest we give the ATM at try with my card since I haven’t used it as yet.  Now we’re off on our upward trek to town.  Usually it’s butterflies that cross my path to give me good luck, but as the NZ fates would have it, my charm comes in the form of a sleek, green-eyed, all-black cat, wearing a belled collar.  ABC (All Black Cat) crosses my path right in front of the ATM.  My card works perfectly…of course! Now that we have money for the evening’s event. in my mind the crisis is over.  We head back to No. 14.  I turn to Len and nonchalantly say, “Have you cooled down now?” Angry words leap from his mouth.  Words, quick as a lightning bolt, escalate into a nonstop tirade!  I stare at him in disbelief!  The best I can do is turn around and head across the street.  The last words I hear him say are, “Go ahead…Put your head in the sand!” What the hell is he talking about?! I wonder as I head toward No. 14.  Downhill, thank goodness! Well, here we go again! I think.  It’s time to choose think/adult behavior to deal with Len’s no-think/child behavior.  Or I can fall back on my lemonade recipe and focus on the water ingredient:  Ignore the man!  And…for Pete’s sake, be a good little co-dependent and act as if nothing has happened!

Act II, Scene I

Guess what?  Life continues as if nothing has happened! Our train/bus trip to Neilson Park is uneventful; we arrive around 7:00 pm.  The park is located on the banks of Shark Bay facing west towards Sydney.  The sun sets behind scattered clouds.  The silhouetted city skyline and Sydney Harbour Bridge seem to rise up from the mist…a lovely sight indeed!  Families arrive, set up comfy picnic sites, eat and chat and enjoy the warm summer evening.  We strike up a conversation with a lovely local couple and…there we are sharing our picnic baskets! Lili and I spread a blanket near the bank and make ourselves comfortable lying on our backs watching the bats fly around, star gazing, watching searchlights pan the sky and just enjoying the fun of getting acquainted.  The guys are somewhere else doing whatever it is guys do. Finally, it’s 9 pm and time for the first pyrotechnic display.  It’s a good one!  Fifteen minutes of fiery sky lights and lots of pops and booms!  This one is especially for the kids (probably in response to parental request); it’s early so kids are still awake to enjoy the sights and sounds and then are home in time to get a good night’s sleep. It’s a long…drawn-out…wait…until…midnight.  Lili and I snack and chat, but my eyelids droop and the Sandman stands by.  Finally…midnight.  The Show of Shows is on and who cares?  Not me!  I just want to pretend I’m in my bed at No. 14 and sleep and dream.  When I wake up, I can enjoy at leisure Len’s spectacular images of New Year’s Eve in Sydney, Australia…

Act II, Scene II

Wake up, sleepy head.  It’s 12:30 in the morning and time to go!  My eyes pop open…OMG…there are people everywhere!  and going in every direction!  Hundreds of people!  We say goodbye to Lili and Andrew and they head for their car.  We stand on the curb along with hundreds of other revelers waiting..waiting…waiting for a bus to take us to the train station…the same bus… 130 am…Still waiting…Oh, we’re on a side road?  The buses don’t come down here?  We’ve got to walk to the main road?  Well, let’s start walking…sooo we join a moving wall of people, all headed for that same bus…Keep your fingers crossed the buses are still running… 2:30 am…The buses are already full going this direction..Wait a minute, I see a taxi.  I don’t care what it costs!  At least I’ll ask the driver.  Are you for hire?  Oh, already booked.  Thanks anyway…OK, let’s try for a bus going the other direction.  Yeah, let’s cross the street. Tuck in behind me…Jump!  By golly, it worked!  We’re on our way…Standing room only…Oops…Sorry!  The bus just zigged and I zagged!  What again??  Wanna trade places?  No dice, huh!…What was that thud?  Just a pissed off drunk gettin’ rid of his beer bottle.  I understand… 3:00 am…We arrive at Edgecliff where we change buses and stand in line to buy tickets to Central.  Len hits all the right buttons and…voila’!  tickets to go.  Next stop: train station! 4:00 am…Thank the stars we bought a round-trip ticket!  And now the start-n-stop ride to Katoomba…ZZZZZ… 6:00 am… Fourteen stops later we arrive at Katoomba station.  Now for the 20 minute downhill walk to No. 14.  And here comes the sun! 6:30 am…We’re tucked in for the day! Len!  Hey, Len!  Isn’t today your BridgeClimb day?  January 1st, right? Yeah, let’s get some sleep…ZZZZZ You mean we have to get up and do this all over…again??!!

Curtain falls

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