Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Fall into Spring

After weeks of wondering whether or not to buy green bananas, we got the go ahead to return to Australia for the first phase of drilling.

Before getting the news, we had a quick trip to Calgary so I could have my IV infusion and final visit with friends.  We also went to see Transformers 4 that Brad worked on and were literally "blown away" by the special effects.  He worked 80 - 90 hours a week for months on the movie, and is happy with the shots he did, but it is a brutal pace when you have a young family.

A little blurry, but Brad is listed under Animators:  4th line down, second from the right.  Proud moment for us to see.

We returned to Idaho to start winterizing, but it wasn't all work.   We had a final weekend with great friends Shelagh and John Slater, and Paddy and Dave Carlson. 

We started off at Pour Authority in Sandpoint and sampled some of the unique craft beers they have in bottles and on tap. 

Left to right:  Heather, David, Roger, John, Shelagh and Paddy

Lots of really neat taps from the many craft beers

Couldn't help but laugh at this poster at Pour Authority
Anette was having a well deserved ladies weekend in Seattle with some of her new mom friends from Vancouver, so we went to Redmond to hang out with Brad and Magnus.

Brad took us on a tour of Valve, the video game company where he works.  I remember in the 1980's when I worked for a division of Dome Petroleum during its hay day.  Cookies were provided and I thought I had landed in heaven.  After touring Valve's facility, I realized ignorance is bliss.
Reception area
This is the main kitchen and eating area where EVERYTHING is provided free of charge.  Each day there is a large salad bar, and on Thursdays, families are welcome to come for a catered lunch. We're going tomorrow before our flight!

Valve has been a very successful video game company since 1996 and has a unique business model

Even my family doctor in Calgary plays Valve video games with his sons and was very excited to hear that is where Brad is working!
Valve takes hiring very seriously and attracts top level animators resulting in a very low turnover of staff.  And no wonder.  The perks are incredible:  personal trainers, massage therapists, laundry service, meals, excellent benefits and to top it off, a trip to Hawaii each year for the employee and their families!   How many of us are thinking we all went into the wrong profession?  Brad has worked hard and continued his education  to improve his skills since graduating with his degree in 2004 so the adage, "the harder you work, the luckier you get" rings true.

Redmond is a beautiful small city with lots of parks and bike paths

I'm one of those shameless grandparents who will do anything to make their grandbaby laugh.
 When Anette came home, we went to nearby Farrel-McWhirter farm park where Magnus had fun checking out all the animals.

Beautiful paths throughout  the park

Roger returned to Idaho to put in a drain along the west side of the property to avoid flooding next spring and to winterize the trailers.  I got to stay behind and look after Magnus while Anette worked on her Master's paper.  We put lots of miles on his stroller as we explored Redmond and went to many of the parks.  He is such a happy soul, and it brought back great memories of when Brad was little. 

Anette and I took him to get a haircut which he happily agreed to. The stylist put on a video and put him in an airplane so he was good to go.
All set!

He was focused on the video and hardly paid attention to what the stylist was doing to him

This photo brings new meaning to an "Up do"!
And so its time to return to Australia where they are entering Spring time.  We will be staying in a little farming community of 1,000 people in New South Wales called Balranald:  famous for barking frogs and fishing.  It will be a far cry from Adelaide, but fortunately only a six hour drive away.  We still have tickets for the Rolling Stones concert in Adelaide in 3 weeks time, so hope we can still make it.

What a fantastic summer its been with great weather, heaps of visitors and time spent on the boat.  We've had lots of bonding experiences with Magnus and have marvelled how much he has grown and learned since April.  It really IS so much fun being a grandparent. 

Christmas isn't too far away and we will be spending it with Brad, Anette, Magnus in Palm Springs along with friends of theirs and their baby who we've enjoyed meeting. 

Until then, we will explore a new part of the world and count the days until we come back.

"Your feet will take you where your heart is."
Irish Proverb

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