Monday, 22 January 2007

Not quite a Damsel but definitely in Distress: My Worst January on Record!

I should be marking essays right now, but after marking half of them and discovering endless abbreviations, spelling mistakes, and single spacing, I feel compelled to have a rant first. So far I’m not having a brilliant 2007, which is unfortunate given that we’re only 22 days in. I actually started writing this yesterday, when I foolishly said to a friend that surely nothing else could go wrong…

Let me see – this is the month when I am overwhelmed with work. There’s planning for next semester to sort out, and lots of assignments to mark, not to mention that novel I’m supposed to be writing for my PhD in between coaching gymnastics and attempting to be a full-time house wife and mother. Basically I need every waking minute, and then some.

So in week one the car failed its MOT and cost a tidy £500 to put right, and then I got two punctures in the same tyre in two days – which was okay because bad things come in threes, and that made three. Only I seem to be having groups of three, so the dishwasher died quietly in the corner and refused all attempts to coax it back to life, costing £200 to replace, plus the time wasted in trying to fix it and then washing dishes the old fashioned way for a week while waiting for said replacement. Just as things were quietening down, we got a letter from some company we’ve never heard of, threatening to take us to court if we don’t use their insurance broker because apparently they’ve bought the lease for the land our house sits on. We checked up on the law – another day – and wrote back to them quoting Section 164 and explaining we’re happy with our current insurance, thank you very much.

In the second week the building inspectors decided that the loft conversion hadn’t passed its inspection, even though the builders insisted it had. Another afternoon was lost to numerous polite - but getting less so - phone calls to sort it out. There was the file that couldn’t be found, then was found, and promptly lost again. When it turned up two days later the building work had indeed passed inspection but someone needs to photocopy something and post it to me to photocopy again, and then post to someone else so that the loft conversion will be ‘satisfactory’. Then we got another letter from the new lease people, threatening legal action within 14 days and demanding £30 for the privilege of not being taken to court if we insured with the company they choose! Cue all the neighbours turning up with similar letters and more hours of planning and marking were lost to fruitless discussions of what to do next.

More bureaucracy followed in week three, from various government bodies intent on making sure a myriad of rules and regulations are being followed in order to make our lives safer, healthier, and more politically correct. I’m sorry that legalities prevent me from expanding on this in a public blog, but rest assured I’m not a happy bunny. It is interesting to note just how many little laws were passed/changed over the last couple of years while I wasn’t looking, and why is it that we now appear to be guilty until proven innocent in every capacity the law has to offer? And even when proven innocent/no case is found/decisions I’ve made have had just cause, is there no apology at all, just the implication that one should simply be happy that all investigations/misunderstanding/outrageous accusations are over? Another letter from the lease people, and another week lost to bureaucracy and bullies.
On Saturday evening I sought solace in some mindless television only the dish got blown off course in the wind, and the analogue aerial was in next door’s garden along with our shed roof.

Sunday went disconcertingly well. The offending satellite dish was re-aligned and the shed roof nailed back on. I consoled myself with the knowledge that I don’t live in a war-zone and we’re all okay if you ignore the runny noses and chest infections.

So this morning, as I loaded the car for the school run, I was positive because I’m told positive thinking works, only to find the car battery as dead as the dishwasher. Luckily Super-mum was running late and answered the phone in time to save my neck and take my little one for me. Now I don’t like to think of myself as a non-technically minded useless female but have to admit that it took me half an hour to figure out how to open the bonnet and another 30 minutes to work out how to disconnect the poorly battery without undoing the engine or something else of equal importance. Covered in oil I even managed to find the battery charger in my husband’s chaotic shed, and connect the terminals without blowing the kitchen up. Then I marked a few essays before buying a new battery. Which was dead. And then taking it back and replacing it with another one, which was also dead.

So now it is nearly 8pm and I still have heaps of marking/planning/writing/crying to do. I can hardly wait for week 4 of 2007!


Morning-Loves-It said...

I hope this makes you feel better. I had to call the AA to open the bonnet of my ancient Peugeot Cabriolet.I did.

Later the same day on the A23 I had to call them again as I had a puncture.

Then, in a service station on the M27 on the same day, I had to ask a lorry driver to open the bonnet for me as the temperature gauge was on Boil.

Then I had to ask another lorry driver which of the bottles with screw tops underneath the bonnet was the one that water went in.

That was my last long journey in that car. I started to travel by train.

hesitant scribe said...

So glad I'm not the only one! Thank god for lorry drivers... and I never thought I'd say that! The new car battery is still sitting in the kitchen on charge waiting for my husband to put it back in the car because I just can't face it! Maybe we should do a car mechanics course instead of all the lit!

Rob Spence said...

...but apart from that, how did you like Dallas, Mrs Kennedy?

hesitant scribe said...

You tryin' to say my life is dramatic?! Luckily I had two lovely days of teaching so feeling a bit better now!