No Such Word as Can’t

‘Some will say “There’s no such word as can’t”, but they are wrong. There is such a word and there is such a feeling’ – Grace Sheppard

Today I will be doing what I can.

(I will expand on this at some point – for the time being it’s a bit like a Facebook status – but I won’t expose my vulnerability on Fb like that 😉

Still here, still moaning

I’m really hoping this is going to work – this big old dashboard thing looks way to complimacated …

Anyway, yes, life goes on, I’m still feeling stuck in many ways and tempted to just wallow, but I declare myself a ‘Restricted Wallowing Only’ zone. The most pressing thing for me at the moment is trying to sort out the house – our tenancy is due for renewal at the beginning of August and our landlord wants to cancel the agency agreement and enter into a tenancy agreement directly with us. We’re fine with this, but I’m just angsting about a) getting the agreement sorted and b) getting the house straight because it seems quite likely they might want to come and have a look for the first time in the three years we’ve been here. So I’ve decided to make house-sorting my main focus for the next few weeks, and am off to start another crash clean/declutter mission at 2pm 🙂

Positively, Spike is loving working for himself and the work is starting to come in recently. My new job, which I’ve been doing for over eight months now, has been a real culture shock in a good way. I won’t say more at present as I’ll only get bogged down and not get on with my housework! But on that note, why is it that I find it impossible at home to sit down and read for 15 minutes, then put the book away, but can do it fine on the train home? Maybe I need to record myself an announcement ‘The next station is … the washing-up. We are now approaching … the washing-up’

Ways to spend a Saturday: #2 – the House of Good Intentions

Well, the plan was that I was going to have a mammoth cleaning day (as there are dirty mammoths lying about everywhere, badoom-tish). I’d made myself out a timetable, based loosely on Flylady’s Crisis Cleaning plan and, geekily. my old school timetable.

However (blokes may want to look away for a sec), I woke up this morning with bad Lady Pains. So the plan was revised. I took a couple of Ibuprofen and stayed in bed until the pain wore off. The plan now is to just start and see how far I can get. Updates to follow, for accountancy purposes rather than because it’s in any way interesting …

Update: I’ve got about an hour and a half’s cleaning done, which is rubbish considering I was planning about four hours, but good given my state of health. I’d normally declare Sunday a doing-nothing day, but tomorrow I’ll have a housework-if-I-can-face-it afternoon.

Ways to spend a Saturday: #1 – Girly day

Well, I finished w*rk on Friday and had a nice easy day, tidying out my desk and giving the shredder indigestion. The lovely folks in the office asked me what leaving gift I would like, suggesting vouchers might be useful as I could get what I wanted. So yesterday, after having a haircut, I headed off to Croydon, where I purchased a navy and turquoise silk Monsoon dress (lovely) and a pair of boring-but-necessary-for-w*rk dark grey pinstripe polyester-blend trousers from The Welsh Shop for Fat Birds. In my post about weight, I mentioned that I’m a size 24. Well, that’s the short answer. The Monsoon dress is a 22 and the trousers are 26. Sizing – it’s nothing but a label …

I’ll spare you too much detail on the joys of large-size, skint clothes-shopping, as the other gift my colleagues bequeathed me was the office cold, and as the afternoon wore on Girly Day morphed into Lurgy Day, and has been followed by Lurgy Sunday (fifteenth after Trinity, liturgical colour is, appropriately, green). Today I’ve been trying to strike a balance between resting and trying to kill the cold, and organising myself to go to college tomorrow. I want to be there about 8.20, to have time to get a cup of tea and a muesli bar and to visit the loo, and the journey time is about 1 hour and 30 to 40 minutes. Which means I have to leave home at ‘noooo’ o’clock. And, I have to travel to Zone 4 (sounds like somewhere the government keep captured aliens and results of strange genetic experiments, and as it’s in North London that’s entirely possible). Travelling up there is going to cost me more than twice what my travel to w*rk normally costs. I can claim the difference back in expenses, but I have to pay it out first. There’s my bank account buggered for another month …

On a cheerier note, I’m feeling quite a bit better in myself (and thanks for those affirming comments). Last week I put two of those lost pounds back on, but this week I have taken them off again. In answer to Auntie Doris, I am indeed trying to work myself gradually into getting more exercise – have been making sure I get a 15-minute walk most days, in preparation for the fact that my long journey to college includes a 15-minute walk each way. Once I’ve got used to that, I’ll look into doing some sort of Pilates/Aquarobics/gentle cardio-gym stuff.

My weekend …

… has been quiet. Both yesterday and this afternoon Spike has gone to Guildford to rehearse and then sing for Evensong. Today I’ve been to Mass this morning and visited my mother-in-law this afternoon. Now we all know the stereotypes, given a huge boost by Les Dawson, about mothers-in-law and how all men suffer at their hands, but my experience is that the difficult in-law relationships tend to be between women. But my mother-in-law is a star and I love her 😀 (although Spike has the best mother-in-law ever, obviously).

So what did I do yesterday? Well, I walked up to the shops for a few bits, and I did a leetle bit of housework, but mostly I read. My reading list is:

Jane Hirschmann and Carol Munter: Overcoming Overeating (first read this a good few years ago). Talks about how eating too much and being overweight are not motivated by self-destructiveness, but are a misguided attempt to care for ourselves, and how we can get a healthy relationship with food by allowing ourselves to eat what we want and stop trying to diet.

Sophie and Audrey Boss: Beyond Chocolate (first read this a year or two ago, and mentioned it on here I think). Talks about how trying to diet doesn’t work, and what we need to do is accept and take care of ourselves as we are now and stop dieting. The healthy way is to eat what you want, when you are hungry, and enjoy it, and you will then find yourself eating a balanced diet (ie enjoying healthy stuff and only wanting junk occasionally, when you stop thinking about ‘naughty’ foods and ‘being good’). A bit Trinny and Susannah, only far more polite.

Paul McKenna: I Can Make You Thin (first read this last weekend. Bad BAD title – I don’t want to be *thin*, and if I become *slimmer* it will be through my own efforts, with your advice.) For non-UK readers, Paul McKenna is now mostly a pop psychologist/life coach type, but first became famous as a stage hypnotist. The second half of the book is about what he calls ‘reprogramming your mind’. Stuff about using positive language and not beating yourself up is good, stuff about visualisation and repeating affirmations has been heavily filtered through my combination of evangelical dodgyometer and liberal scepticism (is that how we spell it in the UK?). But as for the bit about banishing food cravings by tapping various bits of your body (acupressure points allegedly) and humming ‘Happy Birthday’ (I kid you not), well the bollocksometer really went off. However, Paul McK’s four main action points, which are a more concise version of the Beyond Chocolate points are: Eat when you’re hungry (and don’t when you’re not), eat what you fancy, eat it slowly and enjoy it, and stop when you’re full.

I’ve also been reading – the Weight Watchers handbook. Erm, yeah, I’ll be mostly ignoring that one. You may perhaps have noticed a theme. About a month ago, all the girls on my team came up with the idea of us forming a diet club. You probably won’t be surprised to know that most of them aren’t at all overweight, and none of them come anywhere near the 17st8, size 24, BMI 38-ish I started with. But I thought I’d give it a go, following the principles outlined above. I’ve been on it for 4 weeks now, and lost 6lb. Yay! My long-term goal is to get down to 13st4, which will be BMI 29.75 or something, and therefore moves me from ‘obese’ to ‘overweight’ (thanks, medical terminology), and into a place where I should be eligible for endo surgery and/or IVF, by my 38th birthday 13 months from now.

So the weight-loss project continues, but I think I’ve done enough reading up on it for a while, and it’s novel time. I’ve started reading World Without End by Ken Follett, and I’m enjoying it, but as it’s 1111 pages in hardback I think I’m going to put something else in my handbag to read on the train ….

I am a vacancy! I am a free woman!

… well, nearly. After being offered a new job (internal transfer) on June 3rd, it was finally confirmed at the beginning of last week that I am leaving my current post on 29th August. I’d heard rumours that this was so, but I then checked our staff planner for September and found that in the line where my name is for this month, the row had been greyed out and marked with the wonderful ‘v’ word. Until this time, I *thought* I was going to be spending the first week of September learning my way around the new department, then starting the four-week training course on the 8th. Now it turns out the course has been brought forward a week, so off I go on the 1st. I’m looking forward to being a student for a wee while, except for the fact that the college has a postcode that starts with NW, and I have a postcode that starts with SE. Those with an understanding of the vastness and postcodery of London may understand why This Is Not a Good Thing. Ah well, four weeks of 3.30pm finishes and no shifts. Meanwhile – two weeks left in the current post. Of which three days are Annual Leave and one is a Bank Holiday. Woohoo!

In other news, I’ve mentioned before about how I’ve been struggling, and veering between I Should Get Help and I Should Pull Up My Big Girl* Panties and Deal. Well, it seems I shall be doing both. With the encouragement of my new, nice-but-scary GP, I’ve had an initial appointment with a counsellor, as this is available to me via w*rk. We’re due to start a course of sessions at the beginning of October.

*The counsellor asked me, among many things I wouldn’t post here, how I felt about my weight. I told her. I didn’t go off on one about our stupid flesh-denying society and how pissed off I am to think that that is the first thing anyone notices about me, and the likely cause of All My Problems. I’ll come back to that. All I need to say at the moment is that something seemed to go click about a month ago, and I have started losing** weight.

** Yes, it’s only one ‘o’, people! The pedants will not go quietly. Or discretely.

Spectacular flashing at Beulah Hill …

Earlier this evening, and finally we’ve had some rain. I confess, I stuck my head out of the back door (which was open to try and get some breeze to break up the insufferable sticky heat). I’m currently still feeling uncomfortably warm, but hoping the bedroom, with both windows flung open, will be cooler. Erm, can you tell that, heretic that I am, I hate the hot weather? While colleagues check BBC Weather and exclaim ’28 degrees by Friday, yesss!’, I can be found groaning and muttering darkly about emigrating to Greenland.

Spike and I were away for the weekend, and this post was going to be called ‘A Secud Class Returd to Dottigham, Please’ in homage to that dreadful 70s ad for menthol-medicated <scary John Cleese-esque cut-glass accent> Tuuuunes (help you breathe more easily). I liked Nottingham. I saw the statue of Robin Hood and visited the beautiful gardens of the castle. Sadly I didn’t see, let alone shoot, any sheriffs*. But I didn’t stay very long because it was too frickin’ hot.

* Top Five Sheriffs of Nottingham:
1) Alan Rickman (swooon) in Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves – ‘And cancel Christmas!’
2) Tony Robinson in Maid Marian and Her Merry Men – damn, that show was wasted on kid’s TV. It must be on replay somewhere?
3, 4,5) Err, can’t think of any more. I haven’t really thought this through …

Meanwhile, I’m working on sorting out all kinds of things – of which more later. But, since it’s weather-themed, one thing I have been doing is getting a ten-minute walk every day. Until this week, when I find myself thwarted by the heat. I’d quite happily walk if it didn’t mean boiling and sweating. If I could walk somewhere air-conditioned. I’m wondering how many brisk laps of my local Sainsbury’s I could do before either I’d done ten minutes, or I got spotted and ejected by security.

I have a feeling David Icke rode a bike, but I’m not entirely sure.

Stuff continues apace

So, last week Spike and I spent a week camping. Well, spending our nights on twangy tubular metal beds in a tent, and our days in fairly basic communal facilities, contributing to provide a holiday for eight people with various disabilities. This was my fifth time at camp, and the usual reflections occurred to me (apologies for the prevalence of weeing-related issues):

Camping. I mean, why? Humankind spends thousands of years mastering building, taming first fire and then electricity, improving the standard of living so most of us can live in solid homes with sprung mattresses, private bathrooms and light at the touch of a switch, and then what do we do with our holidays? We go and sleep under a big piece of smelly canvas held up with poles, rummaging around by torchlight to get settled into a big padded sack before we have to put our clothes back on, undo the complicated laces on the tent and pick our way across the field with the trusty torch to accomplish what a bleary, semi-clad six-foot stumble and a tug of a cord can facilitate at home.

On the other hand, going on this camp always reminds me how privileged I am. When I do start wanting a pee, I can choose a convenient moment and take myself off to the nearest bog, without having to ask for anyone’s help. I can just shut myself into the cubicle, me, myself and the Andrex. I don’t have to be hauled about with mechanical aids, I don’t have to make the choice between having an audience and waiting for my assistants to come back, hoping they haven’t been waylaid and left me marooned.

On the other hand, being home from camp and back at w*rk, the permanent tiredness is here again, and it’s bothering me. I need to get a repeat prescription for thyroxine, and I really am going to go talk to the doctor. I’ve wussed out of it long enough.

In other news, my dad is doing well and will be going for angioplasty on 4th July. I was pleasantly surprised to find this doesn’t even require an anaesthetic. On the other hand, it does seem to involve someone cutting a hole in one’s groin and then leaning on it, so maybe anaesthetic wouldn’t be so bad.

Oh, and I came back up to London one morning in camp, for an interview for the internal vacancy I applied for many (well, two and a half) moons ago, and I was successful 😀

Lovely people: they’re everywhere

If you’ve read Steve’s blog post of earlier this evening, you’ll know that my dad suffered a heart attack yesterday morning, but is making an excellent recovery in hospital. Lately I sometimes feel that I’m turning into a reclusive misanthrope, but over this weekend I have so many people to be thankful to and for. In roughly chronological order:

The paramedics who got to the caravan park (my parents were on holiday five miles from home?!) in five minutes, administered clot-busting drugs and got Dad to the hospital.

My colleague who immediately told me to go home (I’d foolishly volunteered to work yesterday, because the office needed to be supervised while work was carried out – a grand total of one workman actually appeared).

Our vicar, who also said ‘Don’t worry, I’ll sort those out’ when Spike phone and explained that he wouldn’t be there to do Intercessions, and I wouldn’t be there to do Sunday School, and has got Dad’s name on our prayer list.

Mum and Dad’s neighbours, on both sides, who’ve offered help and concern, and brought over a cup of milk as all the perishables were still at the caravan, while we were being terribly British and responding to stress and anxiety by brewing a pot of tea.

For the shipmates/bloggers who have offered their prayers, and sent us PMs (those of you reading this, thank you!).

Numerous people at my parents’ church this morning who’ve passed on good wishes, cards, prayers and offers of help. Not to diminish their loveliness in any way, but there is an element of ‘You Get What You Give’, as my dad ever since he retired has always been ready to help with practical tasks and ferry carless people to hospital appointments etc. But generally, I felt pretty well ‘love bombed’ when I got back from church this morning.

Last but not least, my husband, who unquestioningly dropped his plans for the weekend to drive up to Cambridge, pack up the caravan, drive my mum’s car back while she drove the huge 4wd beastie that pulls the caravan, accompany my mum back to the hospital to lug my dad’s overnight bag from the car park, and generally help get everything set up before visiting dad again and then driving us back to London. I’m going to gush now if I’m not careful, but thank you Spike.

Update: Frank Spencer meets Victor Meldrew

Well, I promised to update you.

I was on early shift today, and arrived at w*rk at 6:50am, knowing that, as crime sadly doesn’t stop for Bank Holidays, there’d be loads of stuff to read through this morning. I was not disappointed. Plus, due to the joys of political neutrality, when I logged onto the internal computer network I was greeted by the intranet headline ‘Commissioner congratulates Johnson on Mayoral victory’. Just to make my morning complete.

I eventually left the office, having left an email explaining to my colleagues what I hadn’t had time to do, and feeling very bad about this as I’m on a course tomorrow.

I travelled the three stops on the tube, and arrived at HQ with about forty minutes to spare, just enough time to grab a rather dull tuna and salad sandwich (there were some delicious-looking/smelling hot dishes on offer, but I figured I wouldn’t have time, and would be sleepy and heartburny for the afternoon if I indulged). I located a loo, then located another loo which didn’t have builders taking it apart, and eventually parked myself in the lobby of the room we had been directed to (the room being currently occupied). Just as I was beginning to panic, other folk started turning up and asking ‘are you here for the H***** test?. The test was scheduled to begin at 12:30. At about 12:28 someone turned up to tell us that the lady organising the test was delayed, and would be with us in about 10 minutes. In about 15 minutes this lady arrived, peered into the room (which was still occupied) and announced that she would have to go and organise us another room. About ten minutes later she returned, very apologetically, to announce that there were no rooms to be had.

So the test was cancelled.

It’s now been rescheduled for 23rd May, ten whole days after I have my other interview. Life is getting very confusing. Thank you for your good wishes (and good point, lanark!)

Oh, my course tomorrow? Assertiveness Skills. Tee hee.