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Thursday, May 31

Too Busy?

Somehow I've managed to be busy enough not to find time to write up my thoughts in the last couple of days. This doesn't please me since, although I've no plans to become a "must blog every day" person. The whole point of writing something is to keep a handle on where I am. Welcome to my twisted world of words.

The reason I've been busy is that I returned from holiday with the intent of trying to get the plan at work sorted out. I couldn't do this single-handedly. In fact, I barely did anything except get everyone else to do it while I acted as the medium through which it all flowed (flew?). This is not quite placebo progress. I think I came in from a suitable distance and could both rise above and sink low into the detail of what was required.

Where, before going on holiday, work seemed like an insurmountable mass of intractable problems, it now seems like an insurmountable mass of intractable problems with a few manageable and meaningful tasks sitting atop the midden, waiting to be plucked out, washed off and dealt with. Progress.

To make progress slower, we've now got new computers. Theoretically, they will make life easier. In fact, the twin monitors and the must faster CPUs, bigger memory, more hard disk space... yes, these machines will be a lot lovelier to work with. Having said that, the effort to set them up has meant that I've been absorbed with silly things like which background picture to use for best effect across two screens.

My background picture is this:



Nice, isn't it?

The house also requires a lot of time. I have a couple of free nights to devote to it and I will. I was going to do something constructive (literally) on Tuesday, but I ended up moving some stuff around to make it possible to do work in one of the rooms and ended up turning my bedroom into part-bedroom/part-office. This isn't ideal. Not in the least. Anyway, I then took the opportunity to do some paperwork that's long been overdue. This was a good move. In one fell swoop, I managed to sort out a fair number of annoying issues that feel like they've been hanging over my head.

In fact, I've just discovered, this morning, that I've finally sorted out my PayPal account. This has been suspended since February when I was the victim of some internet fraud. At the time it struck me as ironic that the only person who didn't seem to be able to screw around with my account was me. I had a bit of effort to get the money back and then get the currency adjustments sorted out so that I was refunded the actual number of pounds that were stolen, rather than the number of US Dollars, which were worth fewer pounds than were taken, by the time they got round to dealing with everything.

However, the problem of not having account access resulted in there being about £600 sitting in my PayPal account that was my money, but I had no way of spending it or transferring it anywhere. They wanted me to prove that I was who I said I was. This involved receiving letters (each of which took about 10 days to arrive) to both my old house and then, after that one, my new house. Then they wanted me to add more credit cards to their system. I couldn't re-add my existing card, or take it off their system. Annoying. They wanted to see a faxed copy of bank statements, credit card statements, utility bills... I mean, I applaud their making the effort to verify my veracity, but they seemed quick enough to allow $2000 or so to be plundered from my account in the first place. Horse? Stable Door? Bolting?

Still, it's all sorted out now and I can start selling all my possessions on eBay again. Given that I discovered that I bought the same DVD twice recently, I can now start putting that right.

So that's good.

There's more to life than paperwork...

... whiteboards!

Unfortunately, I had to take down my whiteboard and pinboard when I started wrecking the kitchen. Shame. Still, the kitchen has moved on a little since I was away. The new backdoor is in place, as is the new kitchen window. I need to start thinking seriously about plastering. I suspect the deadline will move further back.

Oh, and finally, on the whole sorting things out front, I had been worried about money and the potential cost of my Gas Boiler installation in Newcastle. It's on a knife edge there. It's either going to be £7000+ (boiler and redecorating after) or it's going to be significantly less. The heating engineer who will ultimately do the new boiler install, went along to see if the problem could be fixed. I paid him about £120 by cheque yesterday, and the problems are sorted... for now. That's a lot less stressful than it seemed when I was getting reports about how bad things were while I was on holiday.

In fact, gas and electicity have been behaving quite well this week. I rang in my meter readings to the power company, who had threated to put my monthly payment up to £130 from £80. They told me that they wanted to drop it to £50. Neat. See. Meter readings really do help.

So, a lot of bitty things have been getting sorted out. This is good.

It has kept me away from writing, but I'm back for now. Maybe I'll write up some gig stories later on.

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