Good Morning! My goodness, haven’t these past two weeks flown by? I have been so busy that I practically met myself coming backwards and my stress levels have been at tsunami level. Firstly, what is happening regarding the new job situation? Well, as you know, I handed in my notice two weeks ago. There were some complications about when I was leaving and how much holiday I was allowed to take, but eventually, HR told me 27.5 hours. Looking at my rota though, they have only allowed me 25 hours, so I have been emailing people trying to find out where the missing 2.5 hours have gone and why I am being made to work them. HR passed the buck squarely to the guy covering as manager – they still haven’t found a new manager yet – so I emailed him. He is in the wind though and now no one will answer my emails so I assume I will have to just accept that they have stiffed me those 2.5 hours. Will I be paid for them? Who knows. I don’t even know how much of my commission I’m going to be paid. Some of it? All of it? None of it? I suppose I will have to wait until I get paid next week and see what I get. It will be very unfair if I lose the commission on sales I made which are not scheduled to be delivered until after I have left, but I don’t suppose there will be anything I can do about it.
I don’t know the starting date for my new job yet, some time from the 1st of June onwards is all I know. But I have dropped off all the paperwork they needed, so everything is in hand.
Now, the lodger. Well. As I told you last time, the lovely lady came and viewed the room and later said she wanted it and would like to move in the following Friday. As a parting gift, my old boss had given me five days off over the bank holiday weekend so on Monday I made a start dismantling beds, boxing up stuff, and moving furniture.
There were three beds in all to move. The giant king-size bed in the basement was going upstairs to the tiny box room. The single daybed already in the box room along with the desk, bedside cabinet, and small bookcase needed to be moved into Franki’s old room. Then, the small double bed in Franki’s old room needed to be moved down to the basement – along with a desk and chair, a bedside cabinet, and a small armchair.
I got up early and made a start. I had assembled the single daybed and the wooden small double bed, and they both came apart like a dream. I cleared the box room and moved as much as I could by myself.
Then I heaved the mattress off the king-sized bed in the basement and started to take it apart. My dad was coming Tuesday afternoon to help move everything so I wanted to be as prepared as I could be by then. Six bolts were fixing the wooden slats to the base. Five came out with no problem, but the last … the last flatly refused to budge. They were the type of fixings you need an alan key for and I knew I was using the right one because I’d already taken out the other five fixings easily.
I kept trying. Nope. I put my glasses on and had a closer look. This bed was assembled by two burly delivery drivers who clearly didn’t know their own strength. Peering at the fixing, I could see they had overtightened it so much they had mullered the inside of the fixing so there was nothing for the key to grip onto and so it went round and round, going nowhere.
I kept trying and trying. Nope. I swore. A Lot. That didn’t help either. I fetched my toolbox and tried every tool and gadget I could think of. Nope. By this point I was sweating like a pig and using language a sailor would blush to know. There was nothing for it, I was going to have to confess to my dad I was being a right big girl’s blouse and needed help.
Complicated arrangements were made for Tuesday.
Since the death of my dad’s old van, my parents are a one-vehicle family which, owing to their very diverse interests and past times, can lead to issues. Dad was playing golf in the morning, but Mum needed the car for some sort of church thing, I think. Dad’s golf partner who lives in Bury had offered to pick him up and drop him off so he could still play golf. It was arranged that the partner would drop Dad off at mine after golf. As this saved him from driving out to the village my parents live in, he was more than happy with this new arrangement.
Meanwhile, Mum would call around between her church appointments and drop off Dad’s tools ready for the afternoon. As a thank you, I offered to cook us all a nice roast lamb dinner to have after we’d successfully moved everything.
Monday evening, I placed my order on Tesco for everything I would need and booked a collection slot between 8 and 9 the next morning. I aimed to be as close to 8am as possible because I knew I had a busy day.
Tuesday – I was up and hit the ground running. By 9am the shopping was collected and unloaded, and a shoulder of lamb was roasting in the oven, along with potatoes and parsnips which I took out just as they were starting to crisp and set aside to cool. There was also a lovely wedge of Cambozola squelching on the cheeseboard for later.
I had social media to sort, emails to reply to, and more stuff to box up and move. Once the shoulder of lamb was cooked, I wrapped it in foil and left it to sit for a while. I then carved it into slices and placed it in a casserole dish. I made a thick gravy with the juices and covered the lamb completely and put the lid on. It would now only take about twenty minutes to reheat in the oven.
By now, my dad had arrived, so I made him a cup of tea and we sat in the garden to drink it and allow him a bit of a rest – he had just done 18 holes of golf, bless him.
I can’t get that bed apart, I told him, once we’d finished our cuppas. He took his toolbox and went down into the basement. Approaching the fixing with a confident grin, as it refused to play ball with him either, the smile slipped. Although I wanted the bed to come apart, I must admit to being secretly pleased it wasn’t just me being a girl, that the fixing was shagged (a technical term, apparently.)
He tried tool after tool, muttering things under his breath, eventually we had to chisel away the wood of the slat around the fixing and slip it out. It won’t affect the stability of the bed in any way, and we had no choice. This bed HAD to be moved.
Next, we had to get it out of the basement. The stairs up are narrow and there is a sharp turn at the top. It went down, but the headboard has two wings which were bolted on after it had gone down those stairs. We tried to bring it up without unbolting them. We got the headboard out. Just. With Dad pulling and me shoving underneath, we inched it up step by step and managed to angle it into the kitchen and then straight into the dining room. It was awkward getting it up the main stairs, but not as tight as the basement stairs had been and we got it into the box room where it filled all of one wall. I looked at the bulk of it and gulped. I prayed my measuring had been on point.
The rest of the bed came out easily and we assembled it in the box room. It fits, but the room is full of bed and there is only a narrow gap all the way around. I don’t think it’s practical for long-term use – there is nowhere for suitcases and travel bags to be stored when Franki and their partner come home. There is no room for even a chest of drawers, let alone a small wardrobe. I honestly think I will have to sell this mahoosive bed – lovely though it is – and buy a more sensibly proportioned double bed.
We heaved the king-sized mattress up to the dining room and left it there whilst we got on with everything else.
Then we moved Franki’s old small double bed down into the basement. Compared to moving the king-sized bed it was easy and went together like a dream. The small double mattress was an absolute pig to move though. Containing over 4000 springs and layers of wool, it weighs a ton despite only being a 4’ mattress. We heaved and grunted and strained to get it downstairs. I had taken the precaution of taking the pictures off the wall, but as we were shoving the mattress downstairs I heard a rip. Oops. Once down and in the basement I examined the mattress. A tiny hole had been made by a picture hook, but it is tiny and right in one corner where the pillow will go so it won’t affect the lodger sleeping. We brought down all the bits of furniture to go into the basement, then spent twenty minutes or so moving it around until we found an arrangement that worked.
The last thing we had to do was get the king-sized mattress up the stairs and into the box room. I was pulling it up and Dad was underneath shoving. It wedged in the stairwell and caught on the hall ceiling. It was just too wide to go up. We pulled and grunted and shoved and wiggled it. Nope. It did not want to know.
We rested for a minute, gasping for breath. Sweating and spent, I could not believe we were stuck on the final furlough.
It’s not going to go up, said Dad.
It f*****g well will, I snarled, and then I went all Hulk on it. Yelling and cursing, I gave an almighty yank and the mattress lumped up a step and then another. Flakes of ceiling paint fell, scraped off by the side of the mattress. It’s fine, it needs painting anyway. Together we pushed and pulled and strained and we got that bollocking thing up the stairs, into the box room, and onto the bed.
I thought I’d broken my poor dad. I hurt all over. Later, when I got ready for bed, I would discover I was covered in bruises from head to toe.
We stopped and gulped down glasses of water and I noticed the time; it was coming up to 4:30 and I knew Mum would be around soon. I turned the oven on to heat and took the partially cooked potatoes and parsnips out of the fridge.
Whilst Dad took a much-needed rest confessing he felt a bit tired – I wonder why! – I laid the table, prepared the veg, and slid the meat into the oven to warm through. The potatoes would only take ten minutes to finish roasting and the parsnips even less than that. I drizzled some honey onto the parsnips and put Port Salut and Cornish Tickler extra mature cheddar onto the cheeseboard. I washed and dried grapes and put them on the board as well. I opened a bottle of wine to breathe.
I then popped up to the box room and made the bed so we could see how it looked.
It does look good, well, it is a lovely bed, but it is far too big for that tiny room, and yes, it does have two massive drawers underneath, but you can’t fit suitcases in them. I need a double bed frame with space underneath to store bigger items.
I slid the potatoes and parsnips into the oven and put the veg on. I’d washed and scraped baby carrots, put peas on to boil, and put a portion of braised red cabbage from the freezer into the microwave to heat through. We poured out wine, dished up dinner, and sat down to eat. I was so hungry, and everything tasted so good. Best of all, there was enough to plate up two more meals for the freezer.
I hadn’t bothered with a dessert, instead, we had a simple cheeseboard with soft French bread and Cornish salted butter and fresh fruit. And it was all delicious. Dad and I were exhausted but satisfied with a good job done. And done just in time. I was at work on Wednesday and Thursday, two long days which wouldn’t leave me with any time to do anything, and then Ms E was moving in on Friday. She told me that it wouldn’t be until the afternoon, so that gave me time to clean the bathroom and kitchen, vacuum the ground floor, and make sure the room was ready for occupation. The rent money plus the damages deposit arrived in my bank Friday morning so we were all good to go.
She turned up with a lot of stuff and I did wonder how it was all going to fit in, but one advantage of my room and – as she later told me – one of the reasons she liked the room, was that it does have lots of storage.
Her daughter and her daughter’s partner helped her move in, so I stayed out of the way and left them to get on with it, only emerging to give her the key and show her how it worked. They disappeared off to have dinner, and I settled down to eat mine. It felt odd to have a lodger again and be aware they could come into the house at any time. But I managed to live this way for over seventeen years so I was sure I could do so again. She hadn’t come home by the time I went to bed. I was vaguely aware of her coming into the house at about 1:30am – I guess the celebratory meal stretched into an evening out – but she was reasonably quiet, and I think I was probably sleeping with one ear open just in case she had any issues with the lock.
I wasn’t working on Saturday, so I had tea in bed and read for a while before getting up. There was no sound from the basement, so I assumed she was sleeping off the stresses and strains of moving in plus a late night, and maybe copious amounts of alcohol. The day ticked on with no sign of her and I began to wonder if she was okay. I was also admiring her bladder control. At my age, there’s no way I could sleep until gone two in the afternoon without having to get up at least once to pee.
Finally, at almost four o’clock I could hear her moving about and eventually, she emerged.
I made a pot of coffee, and we sat down and went through a few housekeeping bits and pieces such as where the switch for the outside light was, where the bins were and which was for what, how the appliances worked and where cleaning products were kept, you know, stuff like that.
I asked what she was doing that evening and she said nothing, so I asked if she’d like to share a takeaway and watch Eurovision with me, which she happily agreed to.
It was a nice evening. We shared a Chinese and a bottle of wine. Eurovision was fun and all in all, it was a great bonding experience. I think this is going to work out very well.
Sunday I was back to work and if I weren’t leaving soon I would be in despair. Ridiculously high targets have been set for all of us, but no one is buying. Many days we don’t sell anything or even see any customers and there is a rising sense of panic. The day dragged and I was pleased to come home, especially as I had the next three days off. It’s amazing how much better I have been sleeping on my days off – yet another indication it is work that causes my sleepless nights.
Tuesday was busy because it was the day Mage Quest was due to be released as an e-book. It had been available to buy in paperback for a week and it was wonderful how many people had bought a copy and posted about it. Some had even read the book and already reviewed it. Quite a few pre-orders for the e-book had been placed and on the stroke of midnight on the 16th the e-book was sent to all those who had pre-ordered.
Was it a success? For an indie author with a zero publishing budget, it was as successful as I expected, although it did get to number 43 in the hot new Kindle releases on Amazon in its category, which was wonderful. I received a lot of support on social media, which is always heart-warming, and I finished the day on a high.
Going into work on Thursday, I was greeted with the news that I had to take a course on the new products coming into the shop, at the end of which there would be an exam. I was stunned.
Really? But I’m leaving soon.
Doesn’t matter, Head Office says you have to do it.
Sigh. I did it. At least it filled an hour in an otherwise long and dead day.
Today (Friday) was another day off and sadly I had a dreadful night sleep-wise. Barely managing three hours in total, when I climbed into the shower at 6:30 I was tired and gritty-eyed. I couldn’t even stay in bed and try to catch up with my sleep because I had to collect my shopping at 9 and had a doctor’s appointment with the rather lovely if improbably named, Dr Silk. I still think he sounds like the lead character in a medical romance novel. We’re trying to get the dosage of my thyroid medication correct because so far it has not made me feel any better at all so it’s back to the hospital for another blood test I have to go.
When I got back there was the shopping to unload and laundry to sort, then I settled down to write my blog because I’m back to work tomorrow and won’t feel like doing it when I get home. I broke at midday to have lunch and then it was time for the Zoom meeting with my local author group. It was a bit sad because it will be the last time I can attend the whole meeting. I have been told by my new employers that one of the days I will probably be working each week is Friday. Depending on when my lunch break is and how the staff room is set up, I might be able to pop in briefly whilst I’m eating lunch, but I will have to wait and see how things work out.
And now it is now. The meeting has finished and I’m sitting at my desk writing to you. The sun is shining through the window, and at 5:30 there is Happy Hour outside with the neighbours. I have a nice bottle of red wine to look forward to and pizza for dinner. I have one more day at work before I have ten days off, so there is that to look forward to as well. The lodger has settled in nicely and book fifteen was successfully launched. There is a feeling of things coming together which is gratifying. I hope, no I believe, that this job change will be good for me. Talking to Dr Silk about the stress I’ve been under he asked me what I did. When I said front-line, commission-based sales, he pulled a face and said – oh, not good, say no more. I understand now why you’re stressed.
I am sure some people thrive working in such an environment and I am good at my job, but it’s burnt me out and I’m done. It’s time to try something else although I can’t wrap my head around the reality of the fact I am starting a new job. It still doesn’t feel real.
Okay, I need to stop now. I do have something else to tell you, but it will have to wait until next time because it’s kind of a secret – I know, another one, but it’s a nice one – and I can’t spill the beans just yet because it’s not only my secret to tell. And on that note, I will say goodbye, take care of yourselves, and I look forward to chatting with you next time.
All the best.