Craving and no I am not pregnant

It was Friday evening and I had a sudden craving for sausage and chips from the chip shop. Now we very very rarely go to the chip shop. I think we have probably only done this about four times in the two and half years since we moved to this house. I decided to combine my taxi service of picking up Skater from the station with a trip to one of the chip shops in the area. There is one in one of the housing estates between the station and home, we would go there.

As I was driving towards the shop I could see that there were no available parking spaces, I figured that I would drive a bit further along the road and turn around to find somewhere to park. The couple of cars driving right behind me meant that instead I continued driving and ended up leaving the estate altogether. Never mind I would go to the one that I pass on my way to and from work. This is the one we have used before.

‘Oh no!’ there is nowhere to park here either, Ok, we can go to the parade of shops at the end of this long road. There is a decent car park there. ‘What! I don’t believe it. I have never seen this car park so full.’

I managed to park half on the curb at the far end of the car park. Leaving Skater in the car I walk to the small chip shop in the parade. I have never seen such a small chippy, barely room for a single line on people. I couldn’t tell which end of the shop the queue started. I stood in the doorway looking up at the meagre menu on the wall. I might be craving chips but I didn’t fancy getting anything from this establishment.

I decided to continue my search. There is another chippy on one of the main roads not far from where I now was. So a few minutes later I pulled up outside the popular chippy we had gone to once before when the lads and their girlfriends were with us. I remember that service had taken an absolute age on that occasion last spring. Here I see that the only place to stop is in the bus lay by. I know I shouldn’t park here and Skater is not happy with me for doing so. As I pull out from behind the camper bvan taking up the majority of the bus stop I see a car pulling out of a space a few yards ahead.

Damn, before I can get there another vehicle slides into the space from the other direction. Why oh why does everyone else want chips on the one occasion I have this craving. I could give up and go home, we do have food I could cook, but no I must satisfy this craving. On we go, where to next? Maybe I shall have to go into the town centre there is sure to be somewhere there in the parades near to the station. An area I have only visited a few times. We are nearing the town’s college where both Statto and Pug studied for their A’levels. If I go along the road that passes the college entrance I know there is a small parade of shops up there, I wonder would there be a chippy there?

Oh great, I have finally found a chippy with parking spaces outside. Going into the shop I place my order, hand the girl who is serving, my debit card. They only take cash, I have no cash on me! I tell the girl I will be back. The nearest place to get cash is back where I had earlier stopped in the packed car park. This time there are a couple of spaces. I have to struggle to get out of my door as there is not enough room. There is a convenience shop in the corner which has a cash machine. I wait impatiently for the guy who is composing a whole album on the buttons of the machine. Finally he is finished and I can pay £1.75 for the privilege of taking out my own money. This done we drive back to collect our dinner. By now I am beginning to think that after all this running around in my quest to satisfy my craving, I will find that I don’t actually enjoy it once I get to eat it. I needn’t have worried though.

I actually did enjoy my food and felt that driving around for almost an hour had been worth it in the end.

 

 

The key

It should be so simple. Why do I always fall into the trap of thinking that things will be simple? I am 52 years of age for heavens sake, I should have learnt by now. Nothing is ever simple.

A few weeks ago whilst shopping I stopped at the key cutter’s kiosk. I wanted to get a spare key for our car, we have only ever had just the one key. I was told that because we drive a Chevrolet they were unable to cut a new key, they do not hold blanks for this make of car. They might be able to order one in but it could take a while. Owl searched online and placed an order for two spare key blanks. He had a little trouble placing his order, so we now have four blanks.

Today I took two of these blanks back to the kiosk and asked them to cut the two keys for us. I placed the two blanks on the counter, only to be told.

“We can only cut keys from our own blanks.”

“But you don’t keep blanks for my car.”

“Ah yes Chevrolet, I remember you came in before. Sorry even if you got these blanks from Chevrolet we cannot cut them. We can only cut blanks that we stock.”

“So what am I supposed to do then? If you don’t stock the blanks and you can’t use another blank?”

” You could try an independent key cutter, they might do it for you. Unfortunately we can’t because it’s our Company policy. In the past it has been done and then the key has got stuck in the ignition leading to a claim for hundreds of pounds.”

Oh why had I not known it would be down to this litigious society that we are forced to live in these days.

Thinking about things not being as simple as they should be I had already had a feeling of let down having visited one of the main high street banks. I am sure that I have mentioned before that I am now the new treasurer for our writing group. I have been attempting to get the signatures on the Group’s bank account changed. It took a while to get the relevant forms downloaded and printed. Next the three of us who would be the new signatories had to take our forms into a branch of the bank to get our signatures authorised. I took mine in weeks ago. I was then told that I had to collect these forms from the others and bring them in together. This week I finally had all the forms, took them to the bank this morning only to be told that I now need to get another form signed by two of the existing signatories. Only then can the forms be sent off to the correct department, wherever that may be. I can’t even get a statement of our account until everything has been sorted which could still take a few weeks yet. At least I have been able to pay some money in.

Whilst shopping I picked up a screw thread candle bulb for one of our light fittings on the stairway. Obviously I picked the wrong one. Yes it was a screw thread and yes it was a candle bulb, but the screw thread was the wrong size. I guess that tomorrow I shall be out getting another light bulb as well as finding an independent key cutter.

What did you do today that wasn’t as simple as you had expected?

 

 

The Bolt

As I reported a few days ago my poorly Chevrolet Blazer had to hitch a ride home on the back of a recovery vehicle. Since then Owl has taken out the battery which he has charged up. He has also taken out the faulty alternator. We have the new alternator sat on our dinning table waiting to be installed in its place. I have watched a video on how do this. Owl has watched the videos many times to make sure he is confident in what he has to do. There is one small thing stopping him from putting the new part into it’s place.

The Bolt!

When he was taking out the old alternator there were three bolts holding it in place. the two front ones came out easily. However the one at the back, whilst not difficult to extract, has become a problem of the mountainous kind. It pinged out of his grip and now rests somewhere unseen within the engine space. It has not reached the ground, that would be easy. It has been three days now, the gravel under the truck has been searched time and time again. Owl has peered into every conceivable crevice that he can see with the help of various torches. I have stood on the step stool so that I could look down into the engine armed with feather duster in the hopes that I might be able to dislodge the bolt from it’s hiding place. We even tried rocking the car from side to side.

Owl has used the garden hose in an attempt to wash it out. So far nothing has worked. I have phoned the garage which has looked after Owl’s car for years. If we can give them the exact dimensions of the bolt they could find us something to use in it’s place. Even if he can find the dimensions we would have the problem of getting to the garage.

I have suggested that perhaps he could put the new part into it’s position, securing it with the remaining two bolts then carefully drive to the garage, which is probably only about 3 miles away. Owl doesn’t want to do this as he doesn’t want the missing bolt to rattle around in the engine space causing damage.

We are still searching for our second car but in the meantime we have no drivable car. Now if by magic the missing bolt comes to light then it will be all systems go.

I never realised how much one simple bolt could affect my life. Just when Owl has got his new driving licence back too.

The difference a year makes

This time last year things between us were not good. We had been married for a whole 6 months. When we married I felt happier than I ever remember being in my life. Three months into our marriage we had our wonderful honeymoon in California. But within days of returning home things began to go wrong. My husband was not himself, he was showing signs of dementia or so I thought. However it turned out to be a mixture of anxiety attacks, and an over indulgence in secret vodka drinking.

The anxiety attacks were dealt with by the taking of anti depressants. The alcohol abuse is an ongoing situation, but at least I now know what I am dealing with. At the time I was extremely angry, I felt that I could not trust my husband. I felt betrayed.  More than anything I was angry with myself for not realising what had been going on.

Owl still drinks but, we never go out to the pub anymore. Back in March Owl had a fall in the road  due to his legs giving way. His alcohol level had dropped. I took him to hospital with a cut head and broken hand. There he was given some medication to replace the alcohol he hadn’t had. He was promised help by the hospital clinic. This didn’t materialise other than one appointment where he was told that he is a binge drinker and should cut down for a week then stop. Ha ha what planet did that advice come from.

Anyway, for a time Owl was not able to do much at all. Gradually though he has become stronger and fitter. He has been very busy working in our garden doing all the things he should have done last year but wasn’t in the right place to do anything much except sleep.

The shed that I bought for him last year was finally erected. Owl began by making it stronger in places by making wooden braces. He painted the shed forest green.shed 1  shed 3 before adding fixtures for everything to go inside, there is a purpose build space for everything that goes in there.IMG_1944 then he painted the old shed green to match the new one. IMG_1947 the back gate was also painted green to match. This also involved taking off the ironmongery to be painted black.back gate When he had done that he reorganised the space near to the back gate which meant adding a hanging basket bracket to the wall as a hose tidy.under magnolia tree Once all this had been done he turned his attention to the hedges that he had hired someone to cut a few weeks prior. He was not happy with the way they were looking. He spent the next couple of weeks cutting the hedges by hand. hedge 1 now he is simultaneously working on the five bar gate and taking up the decking at the front of the house.hedge 3 Oh and I nearly forgot he has painted all the fences under the hedges and along the outside of the house.

None of these things would have been possible a year or even 6 months ago. I am so pleased with the progress he is making. I am also pleased that he has even begun to apply for work outside the home. Ok so I have been applying for jobs on his behalf but he has sent his CV to some places too. Step by step we are getting back to where we should be.

When we get knocked down

When we get knocked down we get up again.

Three out of my four sons are on the move or at least they are trying to be.

It should be easy, you find a place you like, you put down a deposit, sign the contract and move in.

Number one son and friends found a flat in London that they liked. The idea being that four of them (two couples who have lived together for a while now) would share a flat in London. They scraped together their deposit, the landlord increased the deposit required. The deposit found, provisional moving date agreed, (today). The landlord cancelled!

Time was running out as the house that the group currently live in has been sold.

So they picked themselves up, dusted themselves off and looked again. Yesterday they put down a holding deposit, today they are told that the rent is actually higher than advertised. They were hoping to move in the next week.

Tomorrow Number three son is due to move into his new home in Oxford. For a while it was touch and go whether he would be able to move. Many calls and messages back and forth the move is now back on.

 

It seems as though all my life or at least for many years I keep getting knocked down, I dust my self off and get back up again. I feel like a weeble. I just hope that my son’s don’t get knocked over as much in their lives, but when they do, they get back up again.

 

Well oiled

This evening Owl and I took a trip out to do a few chores. First we went to the recycle point at one of the local supermarkets. You get points on your card if you recycle glass bottles, cans and plastic bottles. However when we got there the recycle machine was out of operation. There were however some temporary bottle and can banks. Between us we managed to get rid of all that we had brought with us in about 5 minutes.

Following this we went across town to a well known DIY store. We wanted to get some lengths of decking to make repairs to our decking at home. We selected one of those flat bed trolleys, much easier to control than the normal shopping type trolley we used last time.

We knew what we wanted so headed straight to the far left back corner of the store. We were also looking for a rainwater diverter for one of our water butts. The plumbing dept appeared to be for internal plumbing only. Perhaps the piece we want will be in the garden section, after all that’s where the guttering should be in my opinion.  We found the decking we wanted, selected 6 lengths. I didn’t believe we could comfortably transport more  than that at once.

Owl left me in charge of the trolley whilst he went in search of the other items he wanted.  After a few moments I was bored of loitering in the wood section. I began to push the trolley through the centre aisle. I walk slowly, taking my time waiting for Owl to appear. My trolley starts to squeal. A very loud high pitch squeal. There is no way that I could creep up on my husband. The whole store can hear my progress as I move with my trolley. It is very embarrassing but it occurs to me that there was no squeal until the wood was loaded onto the trolley.

Owl returns to me and we continue to make our way through the store. I am just starting to say that maybe we should re distribute the weight of the wood into two piles, when one of the store employees rushes over with a can of WD40 in his hand.

‘You have the squeaky one then.’

He sets about spraying all four wheels. However when I start to move again the trolley is still squeaking. The employee again sprays the wheels, this time on the inside. Again I begin to move off, but the squeak is still there, a little more muted but still present. Now, because I have a slight hearing loss, unusually I can hear high pitches better than low pitches. (Most people are the other way around). I am finding this squeak very unpleasant. I try pushing the trolley whilst sticking my fingers in my ears. (Not easy).

‘Maybe we should split the wood into two piles, redistribute the weight?’ I hear myself  saying.

Before anyone can say another word the employee has grabbed 3 of the lengths of wood and moved them to the other side of the trolley so that we now have 2 equal stacks. Hey what do you know, the trolley has stopped squeaking.

‘Can you tell us where we can find one of these water diverters?’

Owl asked the employee, holding up the old one he had brought with us.

‘Try the garden centre.’

‘That’s what my wife said.’

How smug did I feel ?

I left Owl browsing around the store whilst I went through the checkout and loaded up the car. Before settling down with my book to wait for my husband to reappear.

I couldn’t help having a small giggle at the thought of a mere woman out witting to men. I just knew that if the trolley only started to squeak after the wood was loaded that must be the problem not the wheels.

The journey

I have not been on here for a few weeks, firstly life in general was getting in the way. Then I set out on a journey that I had never expected to take. I couldn’t write about it at the time but now I feel that as that particular journey has reached its end, I can now write about it after the fact.

The journey was a personal one involving my work. If inadvertently I offend anyone involved who might happen to read this. Please know that no offence is intended. This is merely my stance on the journey that I took.

I work in an office (not huge but it has doubled in size in the 7 years I have been there). In the department I work we have a Manager, Supervisor and four staff (one p/t). Recently our Supervisor applied for a more senior position in another part of the office. He was successful. He had been in his present position for many years. For some years now I have covered for him when he is on leave. At first the were many discussions behind closed doors. Would a new Supervisor be appointed or would his responsibilities be divided between those of us left?

I gave much consideration as to whether I would want to be the new Supervisor if one was needed. I knew that I could manage the work, but would I want the added responsibility, the added pressure? Now, I like and admire the Manager of our dept, however, she does have a trust problem. She doesn’t trust anyone else to do anything without her checking it. I happen to know that she admires the way I come in and get on with my work without having to constantly ask questions. For this reason I was unsure that I would cope with her constant questions and interference.

This said I told myself that, I still have 15 years before I can retire, she only has 3. Would I be able to manage 3 years? Well maybe it wouldn’t be as bad as I anticipate. On the other hand do I want to stand still for the next 15 years, doing something I have already done for 7 years.

This morning I saw this which I felt was rather apt.

F E A R I chose to do the latter.

When the time came I duly prepared my CV (the first in 7 years), I took my time getting it exactly how I wanted. (printer problems included) but finally it was ready.

I handed in my CV not knowing who else was applying. Then I found out that there were three of us to be interviewed, myself one of my colleagues and an unknown person. We had a week to prepare a 10 minute presentation on our ideas for setting up Telesales within our office.

Despite knowing that my manager and I have a mutual liking and respect for each other, I knew that this was going to be a one horse race, and I was not that horse.

Knowing that a) I’m not the right horse, b) I have never in my life had to put together a presentation. c) I am totally clueless when it comes to setting up and or running a telesales operation.

I thought about doing the first … forget everything and run. I could take the easy option and withdraw my application. I could sentence myself to another 15 years of not progressing. Don’t get me wrong I have enjoyed my job, I have been very lucky in that respect but the last couple of years things have not been quite the same and I can feel myself becoming stale. I don’t get the same job satisfaction that I did have.

I am not a quitter so I took up the challenge, I decided to face everything and rise.

I made discrete enquiries, I sought advice from anyone I felt could help me. My evenings were spent on google searching for relevant information. My weekend was spent putting together my presentation and going over and over what I wanted to say, until I was happy that I had done the best that I could.

My Interview went well, I was nervous but managed to keep my composure throughout the hour I was in there. I was feeling good in myself that day, I had made an effort with my appearance and felt good both on the inside and out. There was nothing more I could do.

I had to wait days before I found out whether I had reached the end of my journey or was I about to start an even bigger journey. When the news came that I had not been successful, I was fine with that. I was probably more relieved than anything. My journey had ended but the main thing was that I had had the courage to make the journey in the first place.

Going on this journey has made me realise that I need new challenges. Maybe there will be other opportunities for me to shine. Perhaps there will be other challenges for me to rise to, I am not afraid. The next time a new journey presents it self to me I won’t be afraid.