On therapy

The first session starts in 14 minutes.

I feel totally unprepared, but I hope it won’t matter.

I am also quite sweaty, which is worse than unprepared. The 18 degrees they promised us this morning when I put jeans on, have turned into at least 25, probably closer to 28, and the leisurely walk  I meant to have via the bank to the station, turned into a rush to get there before being late, and included locking my card because I couldn’t remember the pin number.

The reason I was rushing in the first place, is that I couldn’t work out how to get the printer to print my health and illness history onto a single page of A4 (or 2) as opposed to spread over 9.
Theoretically, I could have written it on paper, by hand. Or into word, where I can see the edges of the paper. Instead, I wanted to use excel. Theoretically, even that would have been a good idea, if properly executed. Which it wasn’t.

Instead, it was fussed over, in tremendous detail, until I realised I had to leave a couple of minutes ago, then rushed, without formatting or spellchecking, to get it at least printed, in whatever form possible. 

I am trying, by way of writing this out, to bring myself back out of panic mode, and into, ‘try and get a grip’ mode.

If not quite succeeding counts as preparation for therapy, then I guess I am prepared after all….
Wish me luck, or good questions, or whatever you feel is appropriate…

On surviving organisational failure

This is one of those posts that started life as an email in my rough draft folder and has been added to at irregular intervals since then. I’m going to tart it up a bit and post it so that it gets to see some of the world. The rough draft folder is a bit stuffy.

I thought about ignoring it, but it was too close to finished to throw away, certainly a lot closer than others, and it would be a shame to waste a good story about me winning against the “anti-organisation-field”… The original title was “On coins and organisation” but I have no idea what the coins bit was going to be about so I changed it… πŸ™‚

[written on a train in July 2013]

“If life was an exam and there were points awarded for organisation, I would have failed. Not the ‘just short of an A’ line of fail that isn’t really one at all, nor the ‘oh well, I can make up the points on creativity’ sort, not even ‘at least I scraped through with an E’.

Nada. I would have so few points that I’d get a Z. Someone might even have to invent a new alphabet.

Whatever. I seem to have been blessed with an angel whose only purpose in my life is to rush about getting the world to work around/despite the anti-organisation field I generate.

You want an example? How long have you got? πŸ˜‰

Take today.

I have the day off work. I have the day off work because I polished my finger last week and it still hasn’t healed yet. I have to visit the doctor (because of said finger), and I have to catch a train at 12:40 to get me to a-village-nearly-6-hours-away at the same time as my boyfriend. The doctors close at 12 and the bus leaves on the hour and then every 20 minutes.

The plan was to wake up, have breakfast, pack, tidy the place up and get on the bus at 11:20. That would have given me enough time for there to be a queue at the doctor’s, several red lights and a bunch of slow people in front of me…….”

[Written later July 2013 and slightly edited in early 2014 in an unsuccessful effort to get the post out]

“… and that’s as far as I got before I couldn’t take typing on my phone any more.

This is how I might have continued (and even if it isn’t, it’s how I’m going to continue today):

…The reality looked a little different.

I missed the bus at 11:20, and also the one at 11:40.

I only just caught the one at 12:00 by running up the hill and hurling myself at the bus driver.

Naja, running is a euphemism.

I was wearing a backpack and a handbag, carrying a wicker basket and dragging a suitcase behind me – thankfully one with decent wheels.. That doesn’t leave much scope for running up a hill.

I left my house in a state of general dereliction.

I’d been off work for a week and had chosen to split my time between reading, dancing, visiting people and doing the hyper-focus stuff I don’t usually do. Things like getting the black gunk out of the washing powder drawer in the washing machine with a toothbrush. Things like finally getting my receipts in order and updating my spreadsheet (not so much filling it in as changing some functions and adding a new totals page). While I’m sure it’s good to take life slowly sometimes, it probably wasn’t the best use of my time. Whatever. I hadn’t done the things I ought to have done. Things like packing, washing up or sweeping the floor. (Also things like writing the new school stuff onto cards, working on my Glass Thing Theory Project, drawing my masterpiece…)

When it occurred to me that I was leaving in a couple of hours I panicked. When I panic I am less able to function than usual. I had a shower. I faffed about looking for clothes to wear on the train. I looked for my shoes. An hour before I was supposed to leave, I decided it would be a good idea to get my suitcase out. I threw things at it for 10 minutes and then went to check my email and start reading a blogpost someone’d sent me. Once I’d started I was stuck for a good 20 minutes. Ignoring the problem makes it go away, right?

Wrong.

When I finally remembered I’d actually been doing something else, I had less than half an hour to be on the bus. I threw some more stuff at my suitcase and gave up. My house was a wreck, I was a wreck, I hadn’t packed, I was going to miss the bus and get to the doctors after they closed and then have to wait until after their lunch break and miss the train andmaybenotevengetANYtrainthatdayandmessupR’splansandmakehimhatemeandmaybehe’salreadyannoyedandmyhouseisamessandIcan’tpackorwashuporleaveontimeand…

At this point I think I managed to pull myself together and tell myself that sitting there wasn’t even going to give me the chance to make it to the bus stop. I continued on throwing stuff at my suitcase. Obviously it didn’t all fit, what with me going to a wedding an’ all. My makeup bag was bigger than my wash-kit usually is. I also hadn’t made the final decision about which shoes to wear so I had to pack them all. I went to get my backpack.

About then, the bus left. I figured I could get the next one and carried on.

As I was hoisting my backpack onto my shoulder I remembered that I was supposed to be working for a week (after the wedding) and that having snuck into work in the middle of the night to get my tools and goggles, it would be remarkably dumb to leave them behind.

I put my backpack down and tried to imagine where there might be enough space for delicate pointy graphite things. Graphite is wonderful stuff, but stupidly brittle.”

[added later – Sept 2015 – Two years on, my memory isn’t sure of the details, but the main events are still amazingly clear :)]

“There most definitely wasn’t room for them. I left my backpack and suitcase on the landing and looked for a suitable bag for my tools. My stash of bags lived in a wicker shopping basket. While I rummaged through them, looking for one without holes and with both handles intact, I decided the basket would be better than any of the bags, and it was stabile enough to withstand being bashed and still protect my tools. I emptied it onto the floor and took it to my room where I took a T-shirt out of my cupboard, ignoring the clothes which fell out in the process, bundled the tools in (carefully, but hurriedly) and rushed out of the house, picking up my backpack and suitcase on the way past.

I got to the door and remembered I’d been holding my buspass when I’d had to go back in, and that I wasn’t holding it anymore. I left the suitcase and basket in the hall, went back up stairs (still wearing the backpack), unlocked my flat (knocking a couple of shoes off the shelf with my backpack), picked up the buspass, relocked the flat and came back down the stairs.

The neighbour’s daughter was standing outside when I finally made it out of the house. She was 4 or 5 and for some reason she really really loved me. Enough to want to tell me all about everything every time she saw me anyway. I only got out of a long winded conversation about something complicated like rabbits, because she was supposed to be going somewhere too.

I half ran, half walked up the hill and caught the 12:00 bus. Just. I think it might have been a couple of minutes late but I don’t remember.

I got to the doctor’s somewhere between 12:10 and 12:15, totally out of breath, and on the verge of crying. They closed at 12:00 and have until 13:30 lunchbreak.Β I had to be on a pre-booked train at 12:40. The next train (which I would have to pay for again) would leave at 13:40 which was impossible to catch, if I was allowed into the practice at 13:30. The one after that left at 14:40 but wouldn’t be in time for the last connecting train to the place I wanted to get to. I was a bit stuffed. However. Whatever else happened, I had to be seen by the doctor at some point during the day. If you’re on sickleave because of work-related accidents, you’re not allowed to travel out of the town you live in.Β To make sure you don’t go gallevanting while you’re supposed to be recouperating, they make you go and see them every couple of days, even if it isn’t really necessary. If you don’t go, there’s big trouble with all kinds of autorities. I was on the way to a wedding, and would have taken the afternoon off work anyway, even if I hadn’t been off sick, but I wasn’t officially allowed to go anywhere until I was given the all-clear by the doctor.

Luckily, someone came out and I got in before the door shut behind them πŸ™‚ I left my suitcase and the basket in the foyer and went into the waiting area. The nurses behind the desk knew me, and knew I only needed the bandage changing, so they smiled and pointed me towards the nearest free room instead of kicking me out or making me wait until after lunch. They unwrapped my finger and made small talk until the doctor came in, glanced at my finger, pronounced it “healing well” and went out again. My finger was bandaged back up quickly and I was out of the practice by 12:25.

On a usual day – walking, with no luggage – it takes me 11-13 minutes to get between the doctors and the train station, depending on traffic lights and how many people get kicks out of standing in my way. On this day, the lights were on my side, and there weren’t enough people out, for them to really be in the way. I probably bashed some old people with my basket on my way past, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t knock anyone over :).

I was at the station at 12:38, and collapsed onto the train 30 seconds before it closed the doors to leave.

And then I remembered how to breathe.

(I also thought of the state of my house, and the craziness of my morning, and how unfit I was and how stupid the whole situation was and … yeah, I cried too.. and wrote the first part of the post :))”

On being informed v being ignored

I have a boyfriend πŸ™‚

This happened at some indecipherable point between the beginning of May and the middle of June. I don’t think it’s all that important to have a date, but he does so we’re going to have to think of one.

It’s now August.

I’ve told most people the news.

I’ve also been incredibly busy*.

Being busy not only translates into not-being-at-home, not-being-online, not-making-time-to-phone-people-I-haven’t-spoken-to-for-months-to-tell-them-the-news…..but also into writing-blog-posts-on-my-phone-and-saving-them-as-rough-draft-emails-instead-of-finishing-or-posting-them.

Some people are decidedly not amused at not being told sooner.

Other people are decidedly not amused that I’ve stopped writing.

The second group of people includes myself.

So I’m going to start again.

Writing on the computer that is.

And posting.

And phoning people up.

And maybe being online more often….

Maybe.

Being online isn’t good for my sleep-account.

Then again, not being online doesn’t seem to be so good for my friendships.

Maybe I can get online and still get enough sleep. That would be a first. And firsts are exciting.

 

Watch this space.

 

 

*not always boyfriend related πŸ˜‰

On Babushka and the curse of the holey sock

Babushka, for anyone who doesn’t know, was the lady who wanted to go with the wise men to see baby Jesus (and bring him presents and toys), but who hadn’t finished tidying her house yet, so she stayed behind, promising to follow them as soon as she was finished. The thing is, when she was finally satisfied everything was tidy eough to leave, the snow had covered their trail, and she didn’t know where to go.. Legend has it, she went from house to house, asking if the inhabitants knew where Jesus was (they didn’t) and sometimes leaving the children one of the presents she’d been meaning to give him.

Β 

I, like the heroine of the story, almost always end up running late… Mostly it’s due to trying to do too much before I can leave the house, but sometimes it’s because I have to try on a handful of socks before finding one with no hole(s).

From now on, as I pair my socks up*, I will get rid of the holey ones instead of putting them in the drawer. I expect I will need to buy quite a lot of new ones, but that’s quite exciting – nothing like wearing new socks for the first time πŸ™‚

Also, and this is unlikely to ever happen for more than a few days at a time, I am aiming to get my house to the stage where I could leave it if I needed to πŸ˜‰ (Or invite people in without handing out obligatory eye-patches at the door)

Β 

* I don’t match my socks in the traditional sense… I think it’s far more satisfying to wear socks which go together imaginatively, and not identically… like green-and-black-stripes and blue with miniature pandas.. Or blue-with-light-blue-hearts and light-pink-with-dark-pink-hearts.. Or rainbow-stripes and grey-and-black-stripes. That kind of thing. It’s easy when you know how πŸ™‚

Dear ticketmachine…

Thank you so much dear ticket machine. You must know how much I love getting to stations on time with the right money, typing my destination and how many tickets I need into your slightly greasy screen only to then miss the train I came to catch because you don’t like the taste of my money. It must make your day just that much sweeter!

I appreciate the care you go to, to give me the right change and print the right details on my ticket.. and you put up with all the grubby fingers poking your screen all day, and all the abuse from impatient people…

But is it really asking too much, to want to catch a train on time for once?

I might also be impatient, but at least I’m polite… and I didn’t punch or kick you.. I very patiently fed you my 20€ note 57 times (plus/minus a few) and you rudely spat it back out 57 times.That’s hardly helpful, is it? Hardly Customer Service. When I finally gave up and asked the other machine it obliged first time.. Can I suggest you ask it to teach you some manners?

I really hope that we will one day be successful ‘business partners’. Until then I will go directly to the other machine and you won’t get the chance to spit my money back at me.

Your friendly but frustrated Ticketbuyer

On plans, mice and men

On Plans (especially the best-laid ones):

I was up really early today. I guess it ‘helped’ that I hadn’t slept so well, and that I’d got a text in the middle of the night so my phone flashed all night (which it also does just before the alarm rings). I got up, dressed, had breakfast…and had 15 minutes left…. So I got back into bed πŸ™‚ Hey! What else is an option when you’re tired, it’s cold and you have 15 minutes to kill?! Naja, I got back out, put my coat on, put my shoes on (and laced them up πŸ˜‰ go me!) packed my lunch, turned all the lights off, figured I needed a hair tie, turned them back on, fetched one, turned them off again. Pure and simple faffing about.

I got to work 5 minutes late.

How stupid is that??!

Anyway. I’m alone in the workshop til Monday so it didn’t really matter and I stayed on after so I’m all caught up πŸ™‚

Of Mice:

Uh, nothing specific.. Just thinking of J.Steinbeck

Of Men*:

Why do they have to go about telling me how to live??? I’m sure they mean well… (I hope, otherwise it’s more stupid than I thought) but WHY must they assume I have no ability to think by myself? If the answer to my problem really was the one staring-you-in-the-face idea, is it not vaguely possible that I might have thought of it too? Just quickly, in passing..??

Argh.

Also my dear colleague apparently moaned/stressed/unloaded his issues-about-having-to-work-with-me to another guy from work about me while I was away before Christmas. And ‘the other guy’ agrees with him (and spent nearly an hour telling me why and what I should do about it and ugh – see above).

Is this new? No. Was it kind? I doubt it. It doesn’t feel kind anyway. Did it help (anyone)? Probably not. Did it change anything? Only that I will have to be more careful about what I say to ‘the other guy’ if they’re gunna talk about me. Do I care? Yes. It would seem so. Is that logical? No.

More Argh.

On the plus side, getting mad made me get creative. I have a plan. Not a plan of revenge or anything mean -I don’t do that- it’s a plan to save my sanity. Or what little’s left of it. I will hopefully put it into practise on Monday. Until then I will carry on scheming and cackling.

Lesson to learn from today? Assuming that conversations are like busses, I really need to learn when to tell people to get off.

Anyway. Flying.

I haven’t checked what I supposed to have done today… *checks*

“Today you are doing what we have already done:

  • Getting up and dressing to lace-up shoes
  • Keeping your sink shining

Now is the time to start exploring the Flylady BigTent Group. Be sure to read the β€œNews” section. This is where you will find the Daily Flight Plan, the essays, and the testimonials.”

Well that was tough… Like I said, I even put my lace-up shoes on to go to work with πŸ˜›

I stopped writing just now to see if there was anything worth reading in the BigTent news thing.. I found this (dated today):

“Don’t allow anyone to steal your peace:
We often find that the ones we are closest to are the ones that will say things to us that are not meant to hurt (or sometimes they are) but yet you feel the hurt. There are several ways to not allow yourself to get caught in that downward spiral of hurting.

Remember that you are Special!! No matter what anyone says to you or how they say it, you are a very special person because you are YOU! You are a smart, capable, loving individual that is FLYing!

Remember that you can’t change how people behave — you can only change your reaction to their behavior. This means if your cousin Millie always looks down her nose at you and has a tendency to treat you poorly — feel pity for her because most likely she is a very insecure person that can only feel good about herself when she is hurting others to make herself feel good. People like this do not know what it is like to FLY!

Remember that “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent” (Eleanor Roosevelt) This means that you need to keep things in perspective and not give permission to yourself to get caught up in feeling inferior to anyone!!! Do not give anyone the power to hurt you, keep the power of FLYing around you as a shield and wear it proudly.

Keep in mind an old saying “those who anger you conquer you”. This means that if you give someone the power to hurt you or make you angry than they have won. They have managed to beat you up without straining themselves because you gave them the ability to do so!

Keep in mind that unhappy people have a need to ridicule or talk behind your back and yet some “helpful” family member will want to make sure you know about it, sometimes to protect you and sometimes to be the gossiping middleman. I have experienced this in many ways and I promise you that truly the best way to handle this is with grace and dignity. Do not respond to mean and unhappy people. It is not worth getting dragged into a family nightmare. The unhappy ones always have a way of twisting things so that they will always be someone else’s fault. Do not bother getting down in the gutter of misery with these kinds of people. Remind yourself that you are FLYing and that loving yourself is far more important than what unhappy and miserable people think or say about you. YOU know you are worthy and deserving of love not hurt.

When you feel that you can no longer let things slide or roll off your back, it is perfectly acceptable to say in a low quiet voice “I am sure that you did not intentionally mean to hurt my feelings, but you have. Excuse me I see someone I need to speak with” and WALK AWAY! See, you did not cause a scene or publicly embarrass the sad person that was trying to get your goat, you were polite, firm and left them alone without them getting the last word. Leave them with the words that you spoke not tears or anger. You are FLYing, this means taking care of you!! Finally Loving YOURSELF!!!!

You are entitled to a fun, loving, joyful, and peaceful new year. Do not let anyone take that away from you! FLY through the New Year!!! Do this for YOU!”

Ho-hum. Why do all the ‘mean and unhappy people’ have to work with me??? And what a bummer I work in a room with an opaque door. I tend not to randomly ‘see people I need to speak to’… Maybe I should try saying it anyway. Perhaps they’ll think madness is catching.

Normal task:
“Today you are to sweep your front porch area around your front door. Shake out your welcome mats and wipe down your front door. This makes a huge difference in how your home looks. We have a tendency to neglect this area and yet it is the first thing that people see when they come to your home.”

Hmm.. Okaaaay… Best jump to it then..

The focus was ‘Errands’. I suppose shopping is an errand.

 

*[edit] Okay. Not all men. Just the specific men who feel it necessary to instruct me on living MY life instead of living their own. Sorry for offending all the ones who don’t.

On the danger of over-eating on a Saturday.

I ate LOTS on Saturday evening. I hadn’t had much lunch apart from the cake at the sale, and there was a galoptious potfull of leftovers to eat up. We didn’t quite achieve empty, even with 15 of us, but I did my best ;). Not sure to what extent my stomach would agree with me on that – on top of actually eating too much, lentils seem to expand once you’ve eaten them. I went home with the feeling I’d narrowly escaped exploding.

I tend to eat too much, then curl up to digest, a bit like a snake. This meant that I wasn’t really hungry on Sunday, in turn meaning I didn’t really eat (apart from yogurt, the most amazing chocolate muesli and the left over crisps from my ‘party’).

This morning, I woke up to the sound of my meanest alarm clock blaring in my ears. I have several and the mean one’s really only for emergencies – I usually wake up to one of the milder ones and turn the mean one off before it wakes the whole street up or someone calls the fire brigade. This morning I’d slept through the others and even this one had somehow managed to work its way into my dream and escape detection.

The reason for my ‘out-like-a-light’ sleep? Not sure, but it probably has to do with not going to bed early enough. I was trying to fill in a form. Or, more accurately, trying to write my CV so I can send it off with the already-filled-in-form to the nice lady who wants it. I probably haven’t done many more exciting/relevant things than the average person, but the manner in which we moved around while I was small, means I went to a LOT of schools. Then, despite changing schools again in order to do my selection of A-Levels, I ended up attending yet another school parallel to the first (eighth) because they cancelled the course after AS. But I digress.

Being a Brit living in Germany generally confuses things anyway, but in this case makes things especially complicated because I don’t have the same sort of report as they do. We have a final exam/coursework based grade and a certificate for each subject, they have a report with the result of every test they’ve ever taken on it. Someone works out the average overall grade, based on how many hours over how many years were spent learning which subject and [probably] what the headteacher eats for breakfast. At least I think that’s what they do. What sort of school you went to, and in which county, determines what people think of the number produced at the end of all the calculations. Whatever. I don’t have one. So I have to explain what my string of letters mean to the official people who are expecting a solitary number.

Oh yeah, and I spent a year ‘dossing’ between sixth form and starting my apprenticeship. At least on paper I dossed. In reality, chasing after small children didn’t feel much like dossing.

I haven’t figured out how to fit all that on one side of A4, so that it’s still readable, and fits the requirements of being in reverse chronological order. Yet.

I would be quite happy to spend the next few weeks working on it (like playing Tetris), but it should already be lying on the nice lady’s desk. And it’s worth something like 1500€. *sighs* With a price tag like that it ought to be at the top of my priority list. Which it was for about 3 minutes, and then life happened. Which is why I was still up at 12:30 last night. At one point it looked quite hopeful that I was going to have something to show for my lack of sleep, until my printer decided it was going to have a headache and print one stripy line a minute. ARGH.

I gave up, washed my hair and went to bed. I did admittedly sleep remarkably well, until the lorry reversed into my room anyway.

I left the house at least 6 minutes too late, realised it was raining, rushed back upstairs for my umbrella, rushed back down my stairs and then up the next flight of steps to the street (oh the joys of living on a hill ;)). I arrived, with wet feet and my jeans a couple of shades darker than usual, 1 (or 3) minutes late, depending on which clock you go by. This remarkably didn’t translate into decibels, but rather into a scowl which, while not being particularly upcheering, was at least gentler on the ears.


The connection to the title? Pff.. Isn’t that obvious? I didn’t eat much yesterday, and didn’t leave myself time for breakfast. Running while hungry is silly, and much harder than it ought to be. The rain didn’t help, but I can usually make the journey in about 9 minutes if I run compared to 17 if I walk, today I needed 14 despite attempting to run between alternate lampposts.

Okay, so maybe that’s a bit of an overkill, but I need something to blame πŸ™‚

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…