Saturday, April 28, 2007

Busy, busy, busy...

This is the first post for a while. I have been SO busy. The work in the kitchen has been moving on and now we are almost done. Our fitter and mate, A, is away for a couple of weeks now but we are almost done. He still needs to fit the under-cupboard lights, do the tiling and finish the trims for the floor. We need to get our act together and paint the woodwork, remove all the kitcheny stuff from the dining room and restore it to its proper place, buy and fit a blind and some art work, I think to break the monotony of the walls. Well, when I say art work, nothing too fancy in a kitchen - just nice posters in clip frames, I think.

For the past two weeks, I have been frantically catching up on some reading. I had been asked to join a group to decide on some books which could be recommended to people who might wish to explore Christianity without stepping over the threshold of a church. Of course, me being me, I couldn't pace myself over it, I had to cram all nine books into the fortnight! All this and the other little incidentals like work, family, life eating, drinking and other bodily functions! It was like being a student again, an insurmountable task with only a short time in which to do it. There's nothing quite like that surge of adrenalin. Anyway, the meeting was this morning and I managed to finish the last book by about 11.40 last night. I enjoyed it, though, and I've learned so much. It was all very Late Review. Can't decide if I was more Tom Paulin or Germaine Greer.
In the midst of all this, I went to a superb concert at the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral featuring music from the Sistine Chapel sung by the Sixteen (heavenly!) followed by drinks at the Cafe deli Fratelli to celebrate E's birthday; went shopping with the family; went for a Chinese in Liverpool with some old friends; said 'Au Revoir' to my firstborn as she returned to Uni (the train which spirited her away is shown above) and had my birthday ( 2(7x3)+3 if you are interested!). Lovely pressies including everyday earrings (not a big jewellery freak but needed something to keep the ears open), a little gerbera in a vase ornament for my new study (when it happens!), a fragranced candle, 2 CDs (Corinne Bayley Rae & Ray Lamontagne), Betty Blue DVD and new trainers.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Identity theft...

No, I'm not talking about someone stealing your personal info to apply for loads of loans in your name. This is the twighlight zone type of theft. I saw a film, years ago. It starred, I think, Roger Moore. I can't remember the details too well but the theme made a deep and lasting impression on me. The protagonist nearly lost his life in a car accident. All was well until a little while after the accident when people seemed to be seeing him all over the place when in fact he was elsewhere. Somehow or other when he had had the accident, he split into two people. The worst thing was that his 'doppelganger' was a pretty nasty piece of work and was out to completely eliminate the real guy from his own life.
Well that's a bit how I feel from time to time. I have an associate. A little while back this associate hoodwinked me out of a particular role that I held. Not content to rest with this particular role, this person then went and pushed their way into various other subsidiary roles that I had happily been performing for a number of years. On and off I have struggled with this, but just recently they have been really getting my back up. When they adopted the original role, they enlisted me for 'holiday cover' but in over two years they have carefully avoided taking up the offer, preferring instead that the job goes undone. Difficult circumstances in this person's life led to me overcoming my own reticence and offering them a short sabbatical simply as a supportive gesture - I couldn't do more as I have other commitments now. Again they have not taken the offer in spite of the declining quality to the work that they are doing. So I have kind of grown accustomed to the territorial approach of this person. Just recently, though, everywhere I go, this person is there, too. I had learned to deal with them acting as my own personal haemorrhoid in our own community. But now they are invading all my other places and wheedling in with my other friends. It is truly horrible. My only consolation is that they are not an attractive person in any way. They lack any semblence of personality. They cannot make eye contact with people. They lack any interest in people other than themselves. They go all out to promote themselves in any way they can (well, no-one else would). They are so colourless that they are forced to live their life vicariously through their children in a vain bid to try to make themselves interesting. They cling like a limpet to those that might be useful to them. They elbow into conversation and situations without any regard for protocol.
So part of me wants to say, just give them enough rope to hang themselves. But part of me feels pity for them. They don't have much going for them and their marriage seems pretty lacklustre. There is also an unhappy past, a long stint in a mental hospital as a teenager. So actually they are quite unhappy. And, of course, as a Christian all of this negativity comes between me and the big guy and that grieves me. Life is not such a straightforward game to play sometimes, is it?
Apologies for the pluralised neutral state of this individual. I couldn't think of any other way to maintain 'their' anonymity. But at least it has got it off my chest...until next time.

Monday, April 02, 2007

The outcome...

I finally came off the phone at 10:35 having been on since about 9:15. I finally got through to the 'other' department at 10:15 though thankfully the awful music stopped at 9:59. The chappy here said "Sorry you're having trouble, unfortunately I don't have the facility to process orders so I'm going to put you through to the Sales department." I protested "NO! I've just come from there, I've been on the phone since 9:15. Sales said they can't process online offers. Can't you put me through to someone who can authorise this?" This flummoxed him a bit and he put me on hold. This time the music was 'Morning' from the Peer Gynt Suite by Grieg - soothing music to calm angry customers, presumably. At 9:15 he put me through to Customer Options. At last someone who seemed to know what they were talking about. Lynn gave me the deal I wanted for £3 less per month than I am currently paying (have I been overpaying all this time? How much more could they give?) The only sticking point was the wireless router which had been offered for £30 but she could only do for £50. In the end, she managed to come down so everybody's happy now.

Let's just see if promises are fulfilled...


The trials and tribulations of telephone enquiries

I have been putting this off for about a week now in the vain hope that the order would actually be fulfilled. A minor upgrade to my existing BT Broadband order. The offer arrived inoccuously enough by email - promises of increased connection speeds, monthly download quotas and an optional wireless router. I dutifully followed the links and ordered but two weeks later, nowt! Before venturing onto the phone I tracked the order via the website - no sign, the only option was to phone. I navigated the labyrinth of menus until I finally got through to a human voice. "No," she confirmed, "no sign of your order. I'll put you through to our sales department" So I gave the usual, name, rank and serial number info to the next department. "We can't help with online orders because the offers are different, I'll put you through to another department to see if they can help you." So here I am, multitasking, a phone wedged between head and shoulder and blogging, having been listening to the same awful tune for over 20 mins. Obviously they are very busy today in the "This'll teach the buggers to phone up with an enquiry" department.

What a way to spend the first day of the Easter hols!

Signing off now.


Listening to: Some absolutely dire 80's sax digi-muzak loop - for what seems like a day - nearer 25 mins, actually!