What Happened?

I’m finding it rather hard to accept that the past week went by so quickly. But it did, just like every other half-term. My parents were both off last week, as were all my brothers and sisters and my nephew. So the entire family were all either not in school or not in work. 

And somehow, because they were all hanging around here all week in some form, that made the week just disappear. Even though I can’t remember that much of what we did, apart from trying to sell stuff on eBay. 

But at the same time, I think it also felt so quick for me because I had stuff to do. My work has once again dried up, but from Tuesday to Friday I had actual, real paying work. And now I have been paid, it’s back to sitting here waiting for the phone to ring or trying to dream up a new vision for the future.

I guess this is what self-employment is like. You live on your wits, waiting for work, which could come at any time. And then sometimes you’ll get work and it’ll be too much. Oh, I wish that would happen right now. I could do without another couple of weeks sitting here…

Though there’s not actually much chance of that at the moment. It seems everywhere I turn there’s something going on. The latest activity has come from the direction of my football team. Last Tuesday there was something of a crisis meeting at the league my team is a member of. The crisis is being caused because the league leadership intend to form a new, independent, league, and assume that everyone is happy to join in. Not so fast, said I and a couple of allies. We want to derail it. And that’s made us very popular indeed…

Today is the next crisis meeting, but this team the teams will be meeting with our local FA with a view to working out a solution to this problem. In fact, if all goes as I think it will, then I could end up volunteering to be a central organiser of the league, or at the very least a member of its management committee. Our goal, we think, is to topple the current management. We think we can do it once we put the full facts out to counteract the gross lies being told by the league secretary. 

So that means today is also going to be full of action. Well, tonight, as the meeting is at 7:30pm. But I can’t wait, as we’ve been worrying about the future of our local football league for months now. It seems we may finally be approaching an endgame.

The problem is that today is Pancake Tuesday. And, you know, it has been five years since I lived at home on Pancake Tuesday. In all those years, I’ve been living away, and I’ve never really bothered, possibly because I probably won’t ever be able to make a pancake as good as my mum. So why would I bother?

But today I am at home. And there will be pancakes made. 

I think it’s going to be a good day.

And that, my friends, is what happened.

The Upturn

Much as the economy will inevitably start to recover, so too will my business. Though I am filled with a sense that I may have been lulled into a delusion due to the nature of the events of the past few days.

In my last post I whined that my classified ad had failed. Well, it turns out that it didn’t quite fail after all. On Tuesday I got my first real customer. Followed by my second real customer the next day. Both incidents have turned out to require fairly serious work on my part, and both customers asked for memory upgrades, which seemed to be the sensible course of action for their computers. So no quick ten minute jobs, unfortunately.

But at the same time, it’s exactly what I wanted. Both customers should net me about £60… which is pretty decent considering that that will pay for the advert. Which is what I dearly wanted most of all. I had lost all hope that I was ever going to recoup the cost of it, but it seems like I got lucky and these two customers picked me out of the few other people offering computer repair.

There is still more good news. Turns out the first customer is a headmaster of a school. He said that if all goes well he’d be interested in getting me in on a freelance basis whenever their school computers need repairing. They save up work all for one big repair job… generating at least a couple of days work. This is what I was hoping for, success to breed success, for word of mouth to spread around and get me some additional business for nothing.

And so far, the work has been OK. It’s been tricky, as it’s always difficult when a customer has an intermittent fault, but I’ve tracked everything down and sorted it, even managing to fix something else in the process that I hadn’t intended to. Suffice it to say that customer was very happy indeed. Luckily for me, it was exactly the same customer as the one who had the school computer repair job…

So I’m feeling a little less despondent now. The past couple of weeks have been a real struggle as the worry levels increased that I wouldn’t get anywhere with my business, that my life was turning into an abject failure after all the years of education I’ve suffered. Now I have a little more confidence that there could be a light at the end of the tunnel.

Because, you see, this has to work. I have no other choice. The past few days I’ve been the most content I’ve been for a long while. I’ve been busy, active and getting on with a real life. I have always wanted to be self-employed. I don’t really like working for other people. I don’t like them benefiting more from my talents and skills than I do. I hate enhancing someone else’s profits and reputation if it’s not for a cause I don’t believe in. When you work for yourself, I get all the success and all the failure. And it’s all down to me.

I like that challenge. I like that responsibility. I want it to continue.

And like I said at the start of this post, I just hope that the two customers in quick succession is not a co-incidence and I go back to weeks of nothing…

Paper Man

It’s been a disappointing week, on the whole, largely due to the rapidly becoming obvious realisation that the classified ad in the local paper isn’t going to work. Yes, I should give it a chance, but we’re now into the second week and still no phone calls. Not even a joke one. I can’t believe that no one has a broken computer. More likely people just haven’t seen the ad. So now I’m beginning to wonder what my next step should be.

In the meantime, however, there have been plenty of distractions, so much so that I’m beginning to think time is accelerating. I simply can’t believe that it’s been two weeks since my mum’s birthday, and our little outing to Pizza Hut for a fabulous family meal, involving huge quantities of pizza, drinks and dessert for £45. And all thanks to a little discount voucher I got. 

Yes, it’s surprising me just how quickly these past few weeks have gone considering I’m doing absolutely nothing all day every day. Well, nothing is relative, I suppose. To me I’m doing nothing because I have no job or no work. But somehow I always seem to find something to do that will help me pass the time quickly.

It’s remarkable really. For instance, the past couple of weeks my brother has started doing a paper round. This ain’t no ordinary paper round though, because you drum up your own customer business, and then collect the money yourself. It’s almost like we’re a newsagent, and we get a weekly bill direct from the paper to pay. 

The consequence of all this is that, frequently, my brother is unable to do the paper round for whatever reason, be it an after school football match, or just can’t drag himself out of bed in time on a Saturday morning. So I volunteer to go and do it. And then I help him with the money collection, and then administer the paying of the money and the movement of funds to and from various different weekly collections as it goes to the bank or to my brother as his wages.

Something to do, I guess. Not very stimulating, but, in many respects, it makes me self-employed. Which is what I’ve told the taxman. So I’m not lying after all. Shame also that this, just like the so called business I’m running presently, is making me no money.

Going out to deliver the papers is probably the weirdest part though. Everyone expects paper boys to be young. You don’t often see a paper man. I look bloody stupid with my fluorescent bag, filled to the brim with cheaply printed local, parochial news, resulting in horrendously inky fingers by the time you’ve finished. The key is to remember not to touch your face at all while you’re out, or you’ll end up looking rather stupid. 

But a job’s a job and you just gotta get on with it. At least I’m getting out of the house and doing stuff. These days, I’m starting to wonder if I’ll ever achieve anything with my life. So much potential, so much talent. Wasted. Crazy.

Drill, Baby, Drill

One of the most common dreams that people have involves teeth. I don’t know why that is, or whether there are any significance to dreams really, but there you have it. Of course, there are lots of people across the net who think they know what it means, but I having a sneaking suspicion that, like astrology and reading tea-leaves, it’s all a load of bollocks.

But the thing is, until last night, I am certain I’ve never had a dream about teeth. The previous night I’d had a dream about a stunning piece of music that moved me to tears in the dream. I woke up feeling very emotional indeed… but I couldn’t for the life of me remember what the song was. It was soooo good. One of the best songs ever. And I couldn’t even remember one note. Maybe it wasn’t that good then. I digress, but for a good reason. This is the type of dream I normally have. Plain, boring, but usually connected to something I like to do. In this case, music.

So to have a dream about teeth was quite a revelation. As usual, the whole thing made no sense at all. Here I was, in need of emergency dental surgery. No reason was given, but in my dream I knew I needed it. It was like my whole purpose in life was to receive a root canal. 

But this was no ordinary root canal treatment. I was strapped to the dentists chair, pleading for some anaesthetic. The dentist and his assistant were adamant that what I was about to undergo would be completely painless. I demanded it anyway, it was my right, I said. They said they would not administer it. For some reason, I let them go ahead anyway.

The dentist then proceeded to take out a power drill. A bloody big thing with a gigantically wide drill bit installed. I know exactly which tooth he drilled too, the one I’ve always wondered, each time I go for a check up, will the dentist want to put a filling in it this time. And he never does, because I have excellent teeth, lucky me. But this one just feels very deep.

So in went the drill. I can’t actually remember if it was painful or not in the dream. But he went in, drilling for ages. He stopped in the end, and I sat up on the edge of the reclined chair, and spat out huge amounts of tooth debris and blood, again and again. Spitting it onto the floor, no less. It was dark in the room, lit with red lights only to the side walls. It made the whole thing seem a bit sinister. Like a movie baddie torturing the hero of the film. 

After that, I again demanded anaesthetic. I walked away from the chair, saying I would not carry on the with the procedure until I got it. The dentists again refused. This carried on for ages and ages, the anger getting higher. But I had a feeling that said to me that I simply had to go ahead with this dental work, no matter what happened. Like I said, it was almost my goal in life to get it done.

So in the end I agreed, tearfully, to go back into the chair and carry on. It was with this feeling of resigned inevitability that I woke up…

At this moment, I realised that it’s been a very long time since my dentist called me for a checkup. So this morning, I put that right.

Maybe the dream had a purpose after all

UPDATE: in an extremely spooky turn of events, later the same day a reminder letter turned up from the dentist telling me to make an appointment for a checkup. I’m surprised they bothered, to be honest, as they appear to be able to do product placement in my dreams instead…

Newness

There is a feeling of entering unchartered territory at the moment. It’s also a feeling that’s filling me with dread.

This is the moment. February has arrived, and in this month I have paid to run a series of classified ads in local papers. If they are noticed and people give my business a try, I will be on the way. If they don’t… well, all is not yet lost, but it wouldn’t be a very good sign. Oh no.

So it is in this month that I feel like I will discover my fate, whether I’m chasing shadows with this business venture or if I might just possibly be onto something. As is normal with anything to do with me, I am expecting the former but hoping for the latter. It just seems to be too much to hope that there’s going to be sufficient business near me that I will be able to get access to. Though there is always the opportunity to diversify and offer more services to increase the potential customer base, there would come a moment where I would feel like I’m fighting a losing battle…

The state of newness has also come with other attachments. Earlier in the week, the workmen finished our new bathroom, which was a snip at a mere £4,100, money that I’ve loaned to my parents for them to pay me back over several years. A good investment, for me, as it keeps them off my back – a very useful bargaining tool! But it’s so much better than what we used to have. For a start, we actually have a real shower. That’s a wonderful advance, as I absolutely hate getting a bath. It’s just too slow, and in here we don’t have a big enough hot water tank to get a decent bath out of it. But in general it looks so much better anyway. That’s real progress, at long last. We’ve only been living here for 12.5 years…

The other new thing has been the computer that I’m typing this post on. I now have a brand new laptop. It’s nothing special, cost me £320, but it does exactly what I want, which is to go on the internet. No need for snazzy specs when all you do is surf the net every now and then. It will also, hopefully, have a dual purpose when I take it with me when going to look at someone else’s computer. I figured it would make sense to be able to have a working PC to help diagnose what’s wrong with a broken one. The wonders of Google, you see. So that’s very good. Apart from the fact that I accidentally left it on charge overnight, which is certain to damage the battery, something laptops are particularly prone to suffer from…

And there was one more new thing… my rather impressive business cards turned up. They told me it would take 21 days. In fact it took 10, making me very glad I didn’t pay any more for their “quicker” services. I can’t wait to start giving them out to customers and trying to spread the word. It’s exciting, but the challenges ahead are daunting.

There could be another new thing today which might just make me feel a whole lot better. Yes, it would be a novel situation if my football team actually won a game today. Not gonna happen though, sadly. Oh well…