Thursday, November 21, 2013

In the (re) trenches

16 Nov 2013 8:11 pm

It's been three months since Mister Fixit was made redundant. During that time Qantas laid off 300 aircraft maintenance staff and closed its Heavy Maintenance operation in Melbourne, so it seems that the chances of finding re-employment in the aircraft maintenance industry are now very slim. Fixit has applications in with 2 other airlines but neither of us are holding out much hope.  Sigh. And here was us thinking aircraft mechanicking was such a good career choice. We didn't predict that planes would be flown overseas for major servicing in the cheaper Asian labour market.

Fixit has reluctantly gone back to TAFE because we really couldn't think what else to do.  He is doing a 12-week course which covers the entire schooling requirement of a Heavy Vehicle Mechanic apprenticeship. Think trains, trams, diesel engines. If he wants to pursue it, he would have to find an employer willing to sign him up for the on-the-job part of the apprenticeship; in the hope that they might prefer an employee who doesn't have to absent themselves at school for 4 weeks a year. Neither of us feel very excited about him having to do another apprenticeship (this would be his third) but there doesn't seem to be many other options. It is a strange thing to have to reinvent yourself at his age. And as for being at TAFE again, huh. TAFE has always made him grumpy: having to share an underfunded and at times barely competent learning environment with a bunch of unmotivated 18-year-olds does that to him. He's over it, he's completely over it, but at least now has the savvy to navigate his way through it, so he is currently 23 days ahead of where he's meant to be. He keeps Doing The Things and Getting them Signed Off. I'm over him going to TAFE too, because it makes him grumpy and we have to put up with that at home. One of his grumpiness triggers is the cheeky Cherub, because let's face it, the kid is noisy in a fairly constant and nonsensical way. He will often just sit or jump around in our company emitting noise for noise's sake, riffing on silly sounds for the joy of it. That's his thing, he is our chirpy little lunatic. I find it cute and endearing but Fixit does not always. (I'm far more likely to find Climber annoying than Cherub, go figure.)  At least Fixit recovers well when I remind him gently that Cherub is actually just cute, not annoying. We've made it a family joke and our robust second-born takes it in his crazy stride.

6 Nov 2013 6:28 pm

Fixit is using the break from employment to work on his health issues with some exercise (riding the pushbike to TAFE), and some pool time (while Climber does his life-saving swim class), which is all good. If only he could deal with his sugar addiction as well.  I don't hold out any hope that he'll manage to give up biting his fingernails to the quick in these trying times, but this will not stop me admonishing him when I catch him in the act. Well he'd miss it if I stopped nagging. Here's a picture of Fixit in the pool with our boys and some friends, they love it when Fixit throws them around.

16 Nov 2013 2:15 pm

In the meantime, it appears that there may be a market for Fixit's general fixiting skillz, and he has been earning some pocket money helping our local cafe owner with his renovations.  So far we are doing well enough living on the redundancy payout and my earnings, but it is a little bit hard to plan ahead in this situation.  I had been putting money aside so we could enjoy another January holiday but now it feels like it would be unwise to blow it on such a luxury.  We'll see. I get a bit stir-crazy in this house over summer so getting out of it might be an investment in emotional well-being and family stability rather than a luxury.

12 Nov 2013 9:25 am

This is Fixit and Climber enjoying themselves at a lovely brunch last weekend. Our chirpy lunatic has been playing in a tennis competition this year, which has been a lot of fun and done wonders for his tennis skills, and it was his end-of-season break-up.

17 Nov 2013 11:25 am

Here he is with his team.

17 Nov 2013 11:25 am


  1. None of this is easy and I know it must be causing anxiety but I have always been struck by what a good team you and Fixit make - I hope things improve soon Miss Stomper

  2. Love the tiny hat in the first photo! Bummer about the job front. If only he could drive out my way with his mad deck skillz, do I have a job for him xx

  3. Depending on when I have to sign a lease, when I have to shift furniture, and when we actually land there, and given the kids will be in Tathra from 11-24th Jan there may well be a house sitting very near a beach wanting to be used. 4 applications in. Waiting game.... I'd hang off on booking any accommodation for just a little while longer. xxx

  4. Very sorry to hear that. Mr L was redundant for 9 months when he was 51: two children at uni and one at (fee-paying) school. Not fun. But then he got offered 2 jobs in the same week. All best wishes that something similar happens to F.

  5. I've been thinking of you every time they announce yet another aircraft thingy closure. I think going back to TAFE is a sensible idea, if gloomy, and hope that something bright and shiny comes along soon. This whole tradesman lifestyle can be so precarious. Mr Soup is getting creaky and i wonder about the future.

  6. I forgot to say that brunch photo of Climber and Fixit is a keeper!

  7. 2014 will be your year, hon.
    Love to you all xx


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