Thursday, April 23, 2009

To Oz and Return. . .

Lance Lassen and I are back from our two-week Aussie odyssey--16,000 miles by air and around 5000 km in a hire car-and have got a bunch of great piccies and stories to tell. Ideally, I would have tried to keep up with this while on the road, but late nights, lots of traveling, and lack of virtually any wireless network I could access worked against that idead.

Sorting between the railfanning experiences, the modeling experiences, and the observations and stories from a first-time-abroad Yankee into neat and tidy places for each will prove problematic. . . so for continuity's sake--and to make it easier on me as well--all my Aussie vacation coverage will be posted on my Under The Weather blogspot.

It'll probably be a couple of weeks until I get around to uploading the entire trip; so, check back every few days and there should be something new to look at. The trains were interesting, the scenery great, the people outstanding, and we've made a bunch of great friends in the process.
In the meantime, here's a shot to whet the interest: Late night at Narrabri, New South Wales. The home signal is illuminated and the most amazing display of stars--including the Milky Way--light up the sky overhead.

Narrabri at night. . .

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Thanks, Mary. . .

As I pack cameras and clothes for this week’s flight to Australia, I have to say that none of this would have been possible without the support of my wife, Mary. She never questions (at least out loud, or at least to me!) my sanity in wanting to travel halfway around the world—without her, without the rest of the family--to look at trains, of all things! She never complains about the time I spend corresponding with new friends down under and learning about Australian railways. And she doesn’t give me guff for all the hours I’ve spent so far building a little bit of the NSWGR in an upstairs room, often at the expenmaritose of time that I should’ve devoted to playing with our two boys.

I guess that means that, on the whole,  I’ve been a good, (somewhat) attentive and always loyal husband to her, and a loving daddy to the kids.

There’s never enough money to take care of everything around the house that needs attention, of course, nor to give the boys everything they deserve, let alone need. But Mary has always been supportive of my crazy pursuits, and I in turn have tried not to take advantage of her good will. Lord knows going to Australia for two weeks isn’t a cheap proposition, but Mary hasn’t complained about the few hours a week I spent earning money for the trip through my “second job,” so it wouldn’t add to family debts and take away from my providing for the family.

I certainly won’t forget that while I’m in Australia, having a great time, exploring a wonderful land, meeting new friends, seeing a whole new continent and being introduced to Touhey’s and mushy peas, Mary will be back in the states, working as tirelessly as she usually does, getting the kids to and from school and baseball practices,  feeding them (and picking up after their messes), doing the laundry, the shopping, and the cleaning. Hopefully she’ll find time in there to take my Skype calls!

Why am I saying all this on a model railway blog? Partly so she can know what I sometimes don’t express in words to her; partly so I can just get these thoughts down on how lucky I am to have her in my life; and partly so perhaps some of the other guys reading this—if they’re half as fortunate as I am-- can nod their head and agree that many of us couldn’t get by without the love and attention of our wives.

Thanks again,chickie! I love ya!