On eating sausages with a wooden spoon and other questionable decisions

Written January 23rd. Posted now because my back is mostly better ๐Ÿ™‚


At face value, eating sausages (and beans) with a wooden spoon is not an undertaking I recommend. As it is, I was very thankful for it, and not in the least willing to do anything to change it.


I’ve been organising my flat. That’s a euphemism for ‘creating complete and utter chaos and devastation’.

It’s a useful kind of chaos, the sort that will hopefully produce tranquillity and calm and lots of free time when I’m finished. In the meantime I am refusing to let people in because I don’t want to be evacuated or end up on an episode of Hoarders..


Once upon a time, way back in spring last year when I still thought I was quitting everything and going cycling, I got rid of most of my cupboards* and bought 60 small book boxes from Ikea instead. They have lids, they stack well and they’re sturdy enough for books. No one is paying me to say that :p.

Anyway. The cupboard buyers came before I’d sorted and got rid of or packed the contents of the cupboards so I emptied them (the cupboards) into piles of things to to deal with later.

‘Later’ is a tricky thing. It doesn’t happen the way you think it will.

In this particular case, I left the piles of things and flew home to see my family, planning to finish packing everything and repaint the flat when I got back…..and then the world closed and none of my plans was a real option anymore.

Bam.

When life give you lemons, you make lemonade. When the world gives you a pandemic and border closures and cancels all your plans for the indefinite future, you make new plans.

So I made new plans. This time they were plans to make the indefinite future the best it could be, starting with my flat, since I would be spending a lot of time in it..

I decided not to replace the cupboards, partly in an attempt to motivate myself to keep thinking of cycling and downsizing and partly because I liked how big my flat felt without them.

Instead I bought another aquarium and a trampoline. Because who wouldn’t, right? And then I decided to decorate the bare wall behind the new aquarium…which I’d have to do before putting the aquarium in place and setting it up because of the awkward impossibility of trying to work round it.

‘Decorating’ involved cutting the background out of a roll of leafy wallpaper with a tiny craft knife and pinning the remains to the wall with bug-shaped drawing pins. The results are a lot more awesome than the description but it wouldn’t be something I could afford to buy, even if they charged minimum wage for the time.

Working on it required many many many hours and almost my entire sitting room floor, so all my remaining furniture (4 seater sofa,  coffee table, CD rack, trampoline) plus the new aquarium, the small aquarium and the contents of my ex-cupboards towered precariously around the edges.

When the wallpaper finally went up on the wall, the towers of things spread into the available space and the aquarium cupboard took up the fight for my time and energy.

Trying to make 8 adjustable feet match floorboards that are off level in all directions at once is a nightmare. Especially when the feet are joined to an unwieldy quarter cylinder of cupboard. They don’t even give in when you glare at them. I eventually admitted defeat and let H sort it out. (He dismantled the cupboard first, which seems vaguely like cheating but I wasn’t going to argue.)

Then I went socially distanced gallivanting for a bit.

Then I had to go back to work and everything else came to a standstill. I have no idea how ‘People On The Internet’ have enough energy to do all the things they do because my batteries are fully depleted after working and eating. Ok, I was also trying to get my time sheet out of negative hours and teach a couple of kids English, but nothing objectively crazy or strenuous… subjectively though, even getting washing done or going food shopping during the week was very hit-and-miss.

At weekends I tried to catch up on sleep and housework and get some km on the bike. I dabbled in boxes of papers and packed clothes for the local clothes swap/donation place. Nothing really made a noticeable dent in the pile. I could have packed it into the cellar but I really wanted to avoid filling it with things I didn’t intend to keep and the things I wanted to keep were generally things I use enough for it to be awkward in the cellar.

In the lead up to Christmas I had the amazing idea of making advent calendars for a good handful of people. It turns out advent has a lot of days, and lots of advent calenders have many lots of days. Miniature packages might be tiny in their own right but somewhere in the region of 200 miniature packages take up a lot of space. And time. And require continuous effort. And I still didn’t get the last ones sent until Christmas Eve…..

In the middle of all that, Ex-DB finally agreed for me to go and collect my remaining belongings from his house. (Wheee!!)

In my memory there were a couple of shelves of books and a sewing machine. In reality there was enough to warrant multiple trips in a not-very-small car.ย 

Oh joy.

For various logistical reasons, I ended up borrowing traditional, big moving boxes that I emptied each time I got them here so I could reuse them for the next load and give them back after the last.

Despite 7 months and various lockdowns, I hadn’t found a suitable ‘later’ to properly deal with or find homes for my original stuff, and there really wasn’t a lot of space to pile new things..

..so..

..I went back on my decision to remain cupboardless and arranged to pick up a shelf-cupboard-combination that would cover a whole wall.

That would mean losing all the wallspace I wanted for my map of the baltic sea though, so I had a rethink and did some measuring and came up with a whole chain of changes, each reliant on the previous chainlink.

Get rid of the chest of drawers in the hall and replace it with a shoe bench and a stack of box drawers, leaving enough wall free for the white board from the sitting room, which in turn would free up a wall for the map. Then I could get the shrimp from the small aquarium into the new one, sell the table they were on and make space for the new shelf&cupboards. The shelf that used to be under the whiteboard could go up in my room and the computer monitor could go directly onto the wall, freeing up desk space and making the desk useable.

Still following?

The first bench I bought wouldn’t fit into the space I provided for it, no matter what the tape measure said. I put it aside and got a different bench. Selling it requires too much brain power at the moment.

The new bench is actually just a couple of drawers with a thin lid. I wanted to be able to stand on it to get to my whiteboard and it’s definitely not sturdy enough for me plus my corona-kilos.. H is making, painting and varnishing a thick wooden board to go on top which will be amazing when it’s finished. Until then though,  it can’t function as a bench, the wall boxes can’t go up and I can’t use my planning board.

There’s very little point in filling the boxes before they go up so those things and the boxes are wandering around homelessly.

The shelf-cupboard is huge and ridiculously heavy. The pieces are still waiting to be put up properly. Remember how the floor under the aquarium was off level? So’s the floor where this new thing is going. And the wall isn’t flat. And there are no right angles to be found at all. There are adjustable feet though. Yay.

While I muster up the confidence to adjust feet and drill holes, there are other things to keep me busy….

I got a new-to-me bedside table and a couple of matching plant tables this week, and I’ve been (loosely) following Dawn’s Clutterfree January program so there are boxes of plates and cups and clothes and a filing cabinet/bedside-table looking for homes, or at least waiting to go in the cellar or be donated.

I also, in a fit of pre Christmas madness, bought a couple of on-sale amaryllis bulbs which were desperate to be planted. The amaryllis bulbs from previous years were quite suicidal so I wanted to put them into a pot together so they can keep each other company and hopefully not pull each other over.

Cue thoughts about pots. If I’m going to plant things and get compost everywhere, I figure I might as well get all the the plants done in one go. I have window ledge boxes in the sitting room. German windows open inwards though and the boxes were always a pain. Time for new boxes.

There are very few flowerpots in the shape I wanted, so I bought boxes that weren’t designed for flowers. They are like fancy shoeboxes with lids and handle holes. I taped up the handles and melted holes in the bases with a soldering iron. The new amaryllis bulbs got one and I repotted the plants from my boxes into the others.

There are a few more plants to pot on and I need to get a couple more boxes for them. The compost is still in the kitchen with all the balcony plants that need protecting from frost.

The small aquarium needed to be emptied to make space for the new cupboard, requiring the new aquarium to be replanted – it was originally planted in the middle of the night and it showed – and the shrimp caught and transferred. I’d bought a fertiliser layer to go under the sand in the new aquarium. My plan to empty half, add the fertiliser and backfill, completely backfired. Sand is not a helpful accomplice. As I was ready to put the sand back in, I noticed something suspiciously like the leeches I found in the old aquarium last year. I put new sand in. New sand needs washing before it can go in an aquarium. Kilo for kilo. Rinse for rinse. Broken fingernail for broken fingernail.

Also, shrimp aren’t easy to catch.


So anyway, like I said, everything is chaotic.

Today I decided to put things in rows to make the obstacle course slighter more predictable. I made a first-attempt-bench sized space on the rug in my room, cleared a path to the sitting room by piling everything on the bed, and bent down to pick up and drag the bench into place…

“Nope” said my back.

“Really?” I bent down again.

“Really really.”

I had barely touched the bench before I gave up on the idea and went to lie down on the rug. (The bed was full of boxes)

After a long time I sat up and sorted through another box.

A long time after that I got up enough to fill a hot water bottle and climb into bed around the boxes.

Several hours later, I was hungry and the hot water bottle was cold.

I threw some sausages at the grill and some beans into a saucepan and refilled the hot water bottle. When everything was done, I scooped the sausages into the saucepan and a cork mat under it, and made my way back to bed, clutching the hot water bottle and wincing.

I only discovered the lack of cutlery once I was back in bed and had manouvered myself into a fairly painfree position. Move again? Nah. I’m here for the duration. Shame I didn’t have a hand free for something to drink…

I hope I’ll be ok tomorrow, I really don’t fancy dying of thirst (or having a ‘serious’ back injury)


Edit, several hours later: made it to the kitchen for a hot water bottle refill and some water ๐Ÿ™‚ Now to find a way to sleep between the boxes..

Goodnight all

* most = seven of them. I kept my wardrobe and the chest of drawers in the hall purely because I hadn’t got as far as selling them yet

On changing jackets and beds

I have a cycling jacket which I wear when I go cycling.

I have a coat which I wear when I go anywhere (outside) without my bike.

If I am likely to be going anywhere after cycling, or cycling when I get somewhere, I wear one and take the other one with me.

Today, I cycled to work, worked, walked to the station and caught a train to where my driving instructor picked me up. I came straight home after my driving lesson.

Guess which coat I was wearing when I got home this evening?

Guess which coat I put my house key in when I set out this morning?

Bonus points if you also guess who was out and who was asleep when I rung their respective phones and doorbells.

***

I luckily have a

<Ok. Life is crazier than I could make it up. I got to here in my write-up before Unexpected Things happened. I’ll go back to telling the story in the right order tho..>

I luckily have another set of neighbours who don’t have a copy of my key, but DO have a big sofa. L was in and still awake when I phoned (around 9:30pm I guess).

“Yeah, no problem, come in! I’ll find you a duvet.. Do you want anything to eat? What happened?”

Within very few minutes I had a huge sofa, a blanket, a duvet and half a million cushions.

And it was warm and dry and I didn’t have to go back to work to get my key (which would have been my backup option).

And I could finally go to the toilet ๐Ÿ™‚

L finished unloading the dishwasher and fed her animals and we yakked for a bit and watched the dog for a bit before it was time for bed (or sofa).

Instead of instantly falling asleep (which my body wanted), I started writing (because obviously the world needs to know about how I lock myself out..) and then this happened:

L knocks on the door and comes back into the sitting room.. “Jess? I’m really sorry about this.. E (her boyfriend) just phoned. He’s bringing a guy from work home for the night and I don’t think there’s enough room on the sofa for both of you…”

Oh. Well that’s great, I guess I’ll go back to work after all….

“…but I phoned the landlord and he was on his way over anyway so I asked him for your key..”

Uh.. What..? He wasn’t there earlier.. But cool! Am I asleep? Did he really just give you my key?!

“..I’m really sorry to wake you up and bother you..normally you would be really welcome to stay..I didn’t know anything about this guy coming over until just now..I’ll put your key on the table and let you get dressed..”

***

And that’s how I came to be sleeping in my own bed after all.

Zzzzz

On the [evening after the] morning after the ride before

Apart from sleeping through my alarm (s) I felt ok when I woke up. I even stretched without too much of a problem.

Then I stood up to walk to the toilet.

FUdge!

My feet, my knees, my legs, my shoulders, my elbows – all the moving parts – hurt. A lot. If that’s what getting old feels like, I don’t want to.

A little while later, after quarter of an hour on the erg (ouch!), and breakfast, and my usual faffing about, I could walk again, mostly without wincing.

Then I had to get back on the bike and cycle to work again..

..at this point I didn’t even bother trying to rename my expletives.

I am told that the second day is the worst.

I hope that’s true.

***

In other news, I now have a mattress! Whee!

(I also have a better pillow but the pillow case is in the wash)

***

The neighbour with a car helped me carry it up the stairs and into my flat.

The seller had rolled it up and tied it with string like a roly-poly pudding*.

I have never seen such knots!

I set to work undoing the strings, and getting the mattress into place on the bed while the-neighbour-with-a-car talked (and talked and talked).

It seems he’s capable of multitasking though, because I’ve just found this:

I don’t know anyone who ties string so neatly…

***

Goodnight people!

Zzzzzzzzzzzz

* Tom Kitten

On making ones bed (but not lying on it)

I’ve mostly slept on an airbed since moving into my flat. The first one died, despite the stars, and I replaced it with a second of the same sort. I love airbeds, especially the deep ones, but since winter arrived it’d started to get damp underneath and I really really don’t want the floor to go mouldy. Time for a proper bed.

***

Before Christmas I saw a nearly new mattress advertised in the small ads by someone who was planning on moving soon. My car went on strike on the day I wanted to pick it up but the seller said he’d keep it for me.

I also saw a bed for sale (different seller) and asked if I could collect it after Christmas. The lady said she wouldn’t reserve it for me but she’d let me know if it was still there in the new year.

It turns out that the bed was still available when I got back from England and now it’s mine!

***

I’m still car-less, so yesterday I walked the mile or so each way to the bed-lady and back multiple times, carrying pieces of bed.

The slats were awkward but not excessively heavy.

The sides and middle bar were by contrast enough to make me stop every few minutes to get my breath back. Luckily they were all taped together. Even more luckily, I didn’t knock anyone out with it on the way home, though I did come quite close a couple of times when I turned round…

One of my new neighbours (lives in the same house, don’t really know him all that well though) came home as I’d manouvered the beast up the stairs to my landing. I leant against the door holding the beast upright and trying to catch my breath and gather enough energy to find my key and open the door without knocking it over.

He laughed, “how come you sound so close to death, just from a couple of flights of stairs?” I nodded at the metal bundle, “The stairs would’ve probably been ok if I hadn’t carried it a mile first…” He picked it up and put it down again pretty quickly.. “must be close to 30kg!” he said. I nodded. “Yeah, could be. Certainly unwieldy”.

We talked for a while about cars and furniture and the state of his work project, (but not about cabbages or kings) and when the landing light starting getting annoying (it turns itself off after a minute or two) I opened my front door, took the beast into the sitting room, and came back out to the landing, leaving my hall light on. We chatted for another couple of minutes before he headed upstairs and I closed and started re-locking my door.

He stopped on the stairs and turned round, “Going back out again?!”

“Na klar, got to get the next bits of the bed”

“Bits? As in more than one? How many are there?”

“Two. The bedsteads”

“Wait a minute, you can’t carry them both at once and it’s already dark. I’ll come with you, it can my good deed for the day”.

So that saved me a trip.

“If you need anything else carrying, let me know..” *

“Rolled up mattress? Tomorrow evening? By car?”

“Yup – can do”

“Brilliant. Until tomorrow then”

“Until tomorrow.”

No one should say things as open-ended as this to me without really meaning it. I am liable to take the 63359 inches they weren’t offering as well as the one they were.. ๐Ÿ˜‰

***

Today (an extra day off work – whee!!) I packed up the air bed and assembled my new bed, washing all the pieces as I went.

It is a lot bigger than it looked in the pictures, much taller than my windowsill, and it took me a while to figure out where to put it so that it didn’t waste too much space or look too much like a cage. It meant rearranging almost all the other furniture in the room, but I think it’s the best place for it, even if I’m not happy with the placement of the cupboards yet.

Now all I need is the mattress!

***

Later:

The neighbour who promised to pick up the mattress with me didn’t. He wasn’t at home when I knocked and I don’t have his number. I will try asking again tomorrow, otherwise I will have to find another willing victim.

Argh.

Looks like I won’t be sleeping in my new bed tonight after all.

On sleeping in 7 beds in 7 days

Lying here in bed, I realised that I’m in the same bed as I was in yesterday. That hasn’t happened for a while. A whole week in fact.

I left my house on Friday morning last week and slept in a different bed each night until I got back home on Thursday evening. I love that my friends and my family have room for me. I love that I have the means to travel. I love that it’s all possible.

And yet..

..I am glad to stop spinning for a bit.. even if it’s just a couple of days before I set off again.

On reaching for the ordinary and finding nothing but stars ?

I have an airbed. It’s huge, and it leaks. Just a bit, but so that there is a considerable dent when I wake up. I pump it up before I go to bed in the evening and all is good.

This morning I decided to stay in bed after I woke up. I am a lady of leisure after all [..the exams]. I got up, turned the pump on, then off and heard an ominous hissing. I thought the plug wasn’t in properly, but there was no problem there. Then I noticed the hole.

It wasn’t a very big hole, but it was a noisy hole, and it was having a big impact. When I covered it with my finger the hissing stopped. When I took my finger away, I could watch my bedclothes sinking towards the floor.

I went on a hunt for sellotape.

What I found was a page of sticky stars.

Now I can lie in bed, knowing I’m protected by the stars ๐Ÿ™‚

On sleeping in the doghouse

The radio comes on loudly, waking us up the way it does every morning.

DB sits up and looks across at the dog (C) we’re looking after, who’s sleeping on the floor next to his side of the bed.

DB: (excited) Good morning C! It’s time to get up! Yup yup yup! It really is! (Hugs dog.) Now I’m going to get up! And then you can have breakfast! That means I have to get dressed! And you’re standing on my socks! (Starts howl-singing so that the dog joins in. Starts getting dressed, interrupting both his monologue and his dressing himself every couple of seconds to pat/hug/sing to the dog). (Ad infinitum)

Me: Good morning DB.

DB: Good morning Jesska. Come on C! Let’s go downstairs and get some breakfast!

***

Good thing I know my rank in the herd….

On skiing and looking elegant

– though admittedly not at the same time!

On Saturday I went skiing. I also went skiing on Sunday, but I’ve already written about that here. This is going to mess up the chronology of my posts, but hey… deal with it.

After 3 weeks of thawing and piffling about snowing-but-not-settling, it finally snowed properly again :). My Ski-Partner (D) wrote (on Friday – spontaneity is of the essence :)) to tell me it had snowed and to ask whether Saturday or Sunday suited me better. I had nothing planned for either day (except revision, church, dancing and a phone call to a really-good-friend-I-don’t-talk-to-nearly-often-enough) so we agreed to spend Saturday afternoon on the hill we’d been to before.

A late night of last-minute planning and faffing about was followed 8 hours later by a longer-than-expected phonecall. Turning the computer on to look up the bus/train timetable meant a skypecall with my grandfather ensued, and by the time my pizza was finished and I was dressed for the snow, I’d phoned D twice to change the time he was supposed to meet me and missed yet another bus. I ended up walking to the trainstation (via my workshop, because my ski stuff’s there), practically having to drag myself up the steps behind my house. If I hadn’t been so intent on not-having-to-phone-and-say-I-was-going-to-be-even-later, carting my ski kit across the carpark to the station would’ve been the last thing I felt like doing. The journey was uneventful and I was there before D which made me feel slightly less bad for the late start. He also reassured me that being late wasn’t a problem – he’d finally done all the things he’d been putting off doing for weeks and would have started on filing receipts if I hadn’t finally managed to catch a train :).

In short, although I was looking forward to it, I felt exhausted before we began. Despite having had a good night’s sleep, I hadn’t slept enough during the week to be really awake, everything ached, I was stiff, and grouchy and just generally not on top form. Putting my ski-boots on was painfull and lifting up the hill more so (uh, riding the lifts is known as lifting, I wasn’t trying to move mountains by hand). Getting off the lift at the top of the hill and thinking about skiing down it, or anything involving moving or putting pressure on my feet or my shins (the boots come up to about halfway) was bordering on masochism.

I moaned and whinged and asked if we could go home now. His answer? “It’ll wear off once you’ve got started – I give you 3 runs before you’re fine…” ARGH. Thanks for the sympathy vote then!

He grinned at me and off we went.

It was better than expected. 2 runs later I’d stopped hobbling, the run after that started being fun, and the rest of the evening was super.

It isn’t fair that other people get to be right so often!

๐Ÿ˜›

We had thirty-something runs on the card to use up, so we skiied until we ran out (2 or 3 hours).

When we did run out, I wasn’t really ready to stop, but I was willing to agree that it was late and D’s hands were cold and overdoing things is silly. Also, I was promised hot chocolate and cake. That, if nothing else, was a good incentive.

We stomped back to the car (try doing anything else in ski boots) and found it iced shut. There was no way the key was going to turn in the driver’s door and no way it was even going to go in to the keyhole in the passenger’s. I suggested we try the boot. After a lot of huffing and puffing, he got it open. Then we had to re-thaw our hands to get the string off the fiddly little hooks so we could take the parcel shelf out. The boot doesn’t stay open by itself, so we took it in turns to hold it up, breathe on our hands and mess about with the hooks. After a longish while, all was ready for my big moment. Round about then I figured I could hardly keep my skiboots on in the car, so I continued the breathe-on-hands, moan, whinge, breathe-on-hands routine, this time replacing the shelf hooks with boot buckles.. To be fair though, I don’t think I’ve ever taken my boots off quicker. Especially the second one. Once the first one was off, my foot was very exposed. The comparative warmth of a frozen car was incredibly appealing.

With my feet steaming/freezing merrily behind me, I clambered into the boot and slithered, courtesy of my slithery waterproof ski-trousers, headfirst over the backseat, just about rescuing my nose from the end of the handbrake, and hauled myself through the gap in the seats and into the driver’s seat. YEAH! Now to open the door..

It did, just about, agree to my light persuasion tactics, though the passenger door didn’t, and my shoulder forgave me pretty quickly.

As I sat in the front seat, thoughtfully putting my normal boots on, I wondered why the whole thing had been so much less spectacular than when other people talk of doing it. D, busy with getting the skis and boots and helmets and gloves arranged into a well-known phrase or saying (anyone apart from my family say that?) on the back seat, paused to thank me for opening the doors and declared I was a very elegant slitherer.

Then we went back to the cafe and ate cake ๐Ÿ™‚ and frothy hot chocolate.

And that was the end* of another good day.

๐Ÿ™‚

*except it wasn’t really the end because I still had the drive to the station, the ride to the stop next to my workhop, the half hour skis-and-boots drying rigmarole and the walk home to look forward to :). I think I deserved my sleep when I finally got into bed

On Flying…

A new year, a new habit. Why not flying? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Except I don’t mean flying in either the jumping-off-cliffs-and-flapping-your-arms-about sense, or the more civilised sense, elbowing my way through the masses of small children and tense parents into MY seat on an aeroplane. I do a fair bit of that as it is.

I mean the kind of flying coined by the Flylady, Marla Cilley. It means ‘Fully (or finally) Loving Yourself’ and is (as far as I can tell) a programm to get your house and life ‘sorted out’ without ending up a nervous quivering wreck.

The basic idea behind it (again, as far as I can tell) is that if you’re happy and you know it, and not tired, you are more likely to get stuff done, and if you get stuff done, you’re more likely to be happy. Which I guess I agree with. She says a lot about getting rid of perfectionism, and that doing something is better than doing nothing, even if you can’t do whatever-it-is perfectly right now. Waving a wet mop at the floor is better than nothing, even if it isn’t as good as getting down on your hands and knees and scrubbing. Twice. With some kind of cleaner. And then polishing it. It’s about starting, then continuing in ‘baby-steps’ instead of crashing and burning and giving up. It’s about getting more sleep and giving yourself permission to stop rushing about finishing things before it gets to 3am. It includes motivation to cook better andย excercise more which is something I struggle with, as my shortage of posts in December will testify to. It’s about attending to your own oxygen mask loving yourself first, so you can love other people.

At the end of it all, or more as a result of it all, the idea is to be a happy, rounded, fit, healthy, awake person, the sort who isn’t tired or stressed out and who has time to bake cookies and go dancing, who remembers to post birthday cards in time for them to get there, and who can invite people over at the drop of a hat because she has such a clean, tidy, welcoming house.

Not much of that sounds like me. Yet. *cackles*

– I don’t remember the last time I posted ANYthing on time, went to bed before midnight, had a tidy house for more than an evening or made biscuits (Ok. I made mincepies while I was at my folks over Christmas, but that doesn’t count). I have a huge problem getting up and to work on time. I have far less energy than I think I ought to have. I get home and can’t be bothered to cook, because I’d have to wash the saucepans from the night before first. Eveytime I want to go dancing I have a minor breakdown because I can’t find anything clean and/or presentable to wear. When I invite anyone over I have to work out how long I need to get it presentable before I suggest a day. Having cleaned like a wild thing, so that whoever’s supposed to come over can, it takes less than a week to get back to the way it was before.. ARGH. –

I found the site a year or so ago, and even signed up for it and read [some of] the emails. BUT. I didn’t ‘jump on the bandwagon’ as they say. I picked up [some of] the cooler tips (like leaving the roll of new bin liners between the dustbin and the current bag so you don’t have to look for them when you take the rubbish out), but I didn’t rush off and clean my fridge when they said “clean your fridge”, and I never really bothered with ‘decluttering’ or shining my sink.

This year… I’m going to try it out. Itย  feels a bit crazy, and if I’m honest, a little bit like a strange non-religious cult, but since this woman, the Flylady, has been going for over 10 years and has about a million followers she must have something going for her. Besides. I read yesterday, that the best way to prove something doesn’t work/isn’t true/is stupid, is to try it out and see instead of talking about it..

So. I’m going to do it. The beginning of a year seems a good place to start and my house could really do with it. Or I could. Or both.

I’ll write the missions on here, and maybe put before-and-after photos up if I think they’re interesting.

Watch this space.

On CVs and other paperwork.

(I have finally made myself do my Ski-Training, so I can write again ;))

My life seems to be full of paperwork at the moment. I’d like to say I’m getting better at dealing with it, but I think that would be lying. It seems to create more problems and hassle per square inch than anything else, and enjoy doing so. I have had some [half-]successes though.

Most notably my CV is written and sent and presumably in a pile of things-to-be-dealt-with-later on the nice lady’s desk.

I’m applying for funding to do my Meister-Prรผfung (an exam which allows me to set up my own company, should I so wish). I’d sent the original forms in, had them returned to me in order to be sent to another office to be signed and sent back to me, so I could send them back to the lady. I can’t see why this still happens in this age of email, but what do I know – maybe they’re in league with the post office. According to the cover letter, if the forms weren’t back in her office within 4 weeks of having left it, the application would be automatically rejected/declined due to lack of co-operation on my part. In the light of such a demand, the next sentence seemed rather out of place.. “We are checking whether the funding you’re applying for is available, this may take some time. We’ll get back to you when we know.” Obviously there was no deadline and no other timescale attached; that’s one of the things that bug me about authorities – they make the rules and no one says they have to be fair.

Whatever. I wrote and rewrote my CV at least 5 times and was helped (with varying degrees of success) by at least 4 people including, surprisingly, an ex boyfriend who happened to come online while I was working on it. He wanted to chat and talk about some largely irrelevant grammatical intricacies, I wanted to get finished so I could shower and go to bed. When I was a little less than my usual superfriendly chatty self (:P) he asked if he was annoying me. I don’t remember him ever noticing/asking that before. I told him I was working on 50 things that needed doing by yesterday and he offered to help me with one of them. Amazing. His new girlfriend must be working wonders on him ๐Ÿ˜‰ He went through my CV, making suggestions and correcting my less-than-perfect German while I showered. That’s teamwork for you ;). When it and I were finished, I emailed it to myself and went to bed.

By the time I’d looked through it, made some changes, got a friend to agree to print it out for me, realised that older versions of Word won’t open OpenOffice documents, gone to a different friend’s to resave it as a Word document, gone back to the printer-friend, printed it, noticed a mistake, changed it, printed it again, photocopied every certificate in my folder and was trying to put everything in some vague semblance of order, I was no longer 1 or 2 days past the deadline I was almost a week over. Hey-ho. I was pretty happy to have it out of the way. Except it wasn’t even nearly over yet. I went through everything to check it was all present and correct and realised one of the forms I’d sent off to be signed had been filled in wrongly, or possibly correctly but sent to me by mistake. At this point I felt like giving up. I sent the form off to be adjusted instead.

A while after that I sat at work formulating a cover letter when one of my otherwise more appreciated people came in and asked what I was doing. Against my better judgement I told him, including the part where I had to get everything sorted out by last week. In return I was told I was stupid for not getting it sent off earlier, that it wouldn’t be accepted since it was so late, that I ought to have started earlier, that I ought to know that officials have the right to do anything they like and if I want them to do something for me I have to play by their rules, that it would be ok not to get the grant if my school wasn’t included in the scheme.. but would really suck if it was my own fault, etc etc etc. As I said, I’m usually more appreciative. However. He has a printer, and as mine doesn’t seem very motivated, and I’d noticed something missing off my CV, I was a little dependant on being allowed to use his. I went into semi-silent mode, which I tend to avoid, but which is sometimes more socially acceptable than getting mad. He willingly let me use his computer and printer, but couldn’t resist reading over my shoulder. Apparently my CV was written wrong. ARGH. I rather sulkily rewrote my CV under his supervision and also started on a cover letter. Halfway through writing it, I thought how much better it would be to find out just how hopeless the whole situation was before wasting any more time, energy and creative thoughts on it. I phoned her up to ask if I needed to bother sending the forms and CV in at all, being as how it was already a week overdue. I also mentioned that the form was wrong and that I’d half been waiting for the result of the research into my funding potential. She was really luffly and said there was absolutely no problem and I could either send the stuff I have now and send the missing form on later, or wait for the corrected form arrives and send it all together. The woman responsible for the research is on holiday until about June (or New Year ;)) and the woman responsible for the rest of the application can’t do anything until she’s finished her research, so it doesn’t actually matter much when I send my stuff :). The computer guy had gone off to do something while I was on the phone. When he came back he apologised for telling me my CV was wrong. He’d been thinking about it and it was just different to the way he’d’ve done it and not really wrong. It’s amazing how much difference an apology makes, even if it’s not about anything really important. That and the good news about the non-deadline (aliveline?) helped lift some of my bad mood. I’d also decided that the new version really was better for the purpose. While future employers might want to know what you did besides school/college/uni/whatever, no funding office gives a wotsit about work-experience, school exchanges or helping out in little kids’ maths classes. And it all fit on one page with room for a signature ๐Ÿ™‚ I reworded my cover letter to fit the phonecall, slid the last sheets into the envelope…and realised I had no stamp. ARGH.

I was in town that evening, so I bought stamps, but having forgotten to take the letter with me it had to wait until the following evening to be sent. That was all over a week ago.

The ‘wrong’ form came yesterday, luckily correct this time, so I’m going to post it tomorrow or Monday and then it’s all out of my hands until January.

Man am I happy it’s out of the way.

In the meantime, I’ve received a reminder telling me to send off other forms to ensure I get some kind of bonus for saving money on a regular basis. I like to believe I’m not stupid, and I’m pretty sure I’m not illiterate, but hand me a wadge of official looking forms to fill in and my brain goes fuzzy.

In the middle of a sea of paper (although not with a calculator) I’m likely to drown, too full of self-pitying despair to think of swimming (or asking for help).

I’ve gone through my impressively orderly folders -a product of a rare bout of organisational madness last year- and taken out all the papers I think may be helpful, and all those I also need to fill out and send (and have been avoiding for too long). So I now have a small (read large) pile of papers on my table and a new deadline and no idea what to do with them. They need to be sent off and arrive by the 31st, but since there’s a lot of days off between now and then, I want to get them posted tomorrow or Monday.

I’m going to bed now in the hope that the sleep will help defug my brain enough to understand what to write where, when I tackle them again tomorrow.

On perceived productivity

Why is it, on some days getting out of bed counts as productive already, and others -like today- I can wash my hair, help out at Sunday school, clear and sort my kitchen, sort out a folder of certificates and ‘important’ papers, think about Christmas presents for people, decorate a pinboard, write 3 emails (one of which was long overdue), cook and eat, and allow myself to be tortured by my favourite ski-training-woman, and still feel like it was a very unproductive day??

On not sleeping…

Explain this:

  • Pausing to admire the sun

    This morning, as on many others, I had to fight myself to get out of bed. It was so cold everywhere but under the duvet, and I snoozed and I faffed about and ended up running halfway to work, so as to be marginally less late. (My minutes of lateness seem to add tens of decibels to my collegue’s vocal utterings. There are mornings on which my ears just aren’t up for that kind of treatment).

  • I spent the entire [work]day waiting more-or-less patiently to go home in order to get back to bed where I can begin the wonderful task of paying back my horrendous sleep debt.
  • evidence of a misspent night (Weds)

    Having just about made it home via an agonising process of “c’mon, you can make it to the next lamppost…and to that tree…just that staircase then you’re there…”*, I then had a bath instead of a quick shower and proceeded to completely miss the turning to my room, making a beeline for my computer desk and spending the evening reading other peoples’ blogs instead of actually going to bed (or eating or clearing up my kitchen or doing any of a number of productive things).

I got home at about 4pm. It’s now half past 1 in the morning. WHAT HAPPENED??

I have a wonderful bed

It’s not like I don’t have a bed. Or that the bed I have is in any way uncomfortable or uninviting. It’s a fantastic bed. The sheet’s clean and I even have a new duvet. I had about 6 hours sleep last night, and not quite 4 the night before that. The few nights before that were also shorter than optimal.. So by rights – or at least by my reckoning – I’m owed at the very least 4 hours extra sleep tonight. Tomorrow (today) I’m going to sell lunch tokens to people. That means dealing with money and giving the correct change, and that means mental maffs and would be much better accomplished with the ability to think vaguely straight. This is generally achieved by getting enough sleep.

If I know this AND am tired, WHY ON EARTH don’t I just go to bed?

The answer is I haven’t the faintest idea.

Or at least, none that would hold any water if it happened to have any poured on it.

My theory is that there must be some kind of magic woven into the words. Magic isn’t really one of my big themes, what with being Christian and all, but I can’t think of a better word to describe it. If I’m not actively choosing to stay awake (and if I am I’m not aware of it) what am I doing still up? There must be some kind of something keeping me here.

So just what kind of ‘magic’ (for want of a better word) do these blog-writers create? How does it work? And more importantly, at least for me right now, is “why am I not producing my own trail of sleep-deprived people?”

And that, dear readers, is why I made this blog. You are my guinea pigs. I want to find out what causes readers to read against their better judgement.

I also want to give some of the more restless thoughts and wonderings in my head space to run about and play, and give the others space to grow. And besides. If my brother can become a successfull blog-writer, why shouldn’t I be able to?

Dragged not carried

*in my defense, I WAS heaving/dragging 21 Litres of water and something like 6kg of Lasagne in a cloth trolley-suitcase behind me at the time…