There Is No Normal

Right now, my sleep pattern is well and truly up the wall.

For the past week or so, having done three night shifts on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I have been trying to work out a sensible routine that I can stick to. Unfortunately, my body is having none of it, and it’s not helped by simply going to bed earlier and earlier, thus putting me back into my old sleeping ways.

No, that’s no good at all. What I need to do is like today, even though I’ve just finished a 7 hour shift which was extremely busy, and managed to make almost no mistakes whatsoever (except trust one customer for just a little too long, meaning my till was slightly down at the end of the shift…) … and stay up late.

Tomorrow I will be doing a night shift again. That’s all good, but this week they’re going to be much more difficult as they’re in a very busy location. And the customers just don’t fucking go to bed. Ever. One might think a lull would arrive after a certain hour, but it doesn’t. They just keep on coming. And they’ll happily queue up at the window. It’s no bother to them at all.

It’s at times like that, though, that I’m always grateful when I’m behind the bulletproof glass and I’ve got a safely locked door. It makes what should be a rather arduous job much more tolerable. Indeed, I’d go so far as to say the night shifts are much better simply because things aren’t so frantic for you. There’s much more time to get your banking right, get your safe drops spot on, process the vast amounts of change the taxi drivers give you, and make sure things generally run smoothly.

So while I’m readjusting to working life, I’m actually being hit with work for my business. Got a couple of customers ongoing at the moment, and I’m in the middle of some PC sales, which should be concluded shortly. The miracle of the past few days was that I actually sold a PC through my website. I’m very happy with that, it makes a very pleasant change indeed. If only I thought it would keep going.

Tomorrow I’ve got to try and finish these few jobs off and get my room in order. It’s such a horrible mess at the moment that I hate going up there. And I hate it up there anyway because it’s either too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter. And right now, it’s obviously too hot. I like the sun. I’m enjoying the heatwave. But at night… it has to cool down at least a bit.

Unfortunately it doesn’t. And worse, I have to try and sleep during the day in a room that at times reads 34C on the thermometer. (Don’t ever get a loft conversion. They’re totally uninhabitable)

So it’s a strange old life I’m leading at the moment. Always on the go, always doing something. I just wish more of my time actually earned me a living rather than kept me from getting bored. After all, it’s not like I’m all that enthused about the potential prospect on the horizon of me becoming the secretary of my local junior football league. Great!

Hot, Hot, Hot

According to the now infamous thermometer in my room, tucked into the loft conversion, it is currently 30 degrees C. The outdoor temperature is a more reasonable 23 C, which means it’s rather odd that for me I have to go outdoors to cool down.

The alternative outside, though, is a zapping of UV rays. And so it came to pass, as I’ve just spent the last couple of hours in the garden in full sunlight, roasting hot, reading the newspaper from cover to cover. It was worth it though, as life felt so good. Briefly.

It’s been a strange old week, on reflection. I seem to have been busy all the time, apart from the times I have made some time for myself to relax and enjoy the sunshine. When I haven’t been helping my dad out with some maintenance work, I’ve been redeveloping my business website. While the former job is outdoors, the latter is something that I would dearly love to do outside too. The only problem is that the laptop battery can’t take the strain for more than 30 minutes. I wish they’d do something about laptop batteries. They really are shit, and don’t seem to be getting any better as the years go by.

With it being half-term, my brother and sister are off school, my other brother is finished for the year in university, and my mum and dad are both off work. On top of that, my nephew has been staying here all week, as my sister couldn’t get the week off work. On top of all this, work has just started on the front of our house to turn the wreckage of a so-called garden into a slightly more habitable space. The noise has been incredible.  Basically, the net result of all this is that it’s been yet another week in the madhouse.

I can’t take it much more, but at the same time, I have no choice. So I really am going to have to learn to stop moaning about it. I have to find enough stuff, instead, to occupy my time. I’m really hoping, crossing my fingers, that my website redevelopment will start to encourage some regular business to flow. It’s too sporadic right now, and that’s half of the reason why I feel so depressed about the whole thing.

But, at the very least, when the sun shines, and rather unusual things happen like me winning a £250 competition, I can briefly feel contented. It seems such a long time ago now when I posted about my, brief, perfect moment. I suppose it was a year ago, but still, I feel like not much has gone right for me since I graduated.

Still. At least I’ve got my health. Which, I’m happy to say, is now fully restored. It’s now two weeks since the Three Peaks hike in atrocious conditions. Hard to believe as I sit here contemplating taking off my t-shirt. That would be a miracle even for me.

Sounding Like Barry White

When I told a friend that a current sore throat was making me sound like Barry White – deep, husky and rather sultry – he quipped in reply: “What, dead?”

I rather walked into that one, it seems, but still, I think this may be the first time in a long while that I’ve been ill. And in truth, it’s a trifling illness. Normally sore throats come attached to a cold or some other nastiness. This one appears to be an entirely isolated sore throat, with some collateral damage through excess phlegm production.

The problem is that the collateral damage ends up being worse than the sore throat itself. During the day the sore throat is pretty much irrelevant. It hurts a tiny bit when I swallow, but I’ve made up for that by ramping up my water consumption. Yes, this means I’m going the toilet every hour, sometimes twice, but this trick usually works for flushing any bugs out of my system, literally speaking in the case of the toilet trips.

Anyway, the real problem is that, at night, because I can’t drink overnight, and it seems can’t cough or get rid of mucus in any other way, I am waking up in the night with a blocked nose and difficulty breathing in any way other than through my mouth. Which only dries my throat, making it worse. The result of all these shenanigans was that last night I was awake from 3am to 4:30am, unable to get back to sleep, and unable to drink lots of water to stop the problem… because I’ll be damned if I’m getting up every hour to go the toilet – the stairs coming down from the loft are incredibly creaky (despite being six months old) and it probably wakes up my mum and dad in the room next to them.

So a piddling little illness that by day is nothing to me becomes a ridiculous ordeal at night. I don’t think I’ve had a good night’s sleep for a while now, definitely not since this whole sillyness started on Sunday afternoon. I’m not even sure how I caught this one. Usually bugs like this have a known origin… but no one I know is ill right now. And I can’t have picked it up during Sunday’s little jaunt outdoors (see previous post) because there’s no way it would have affected me that quickly.

Of course, being ill is hardly a big deal… but at the same time, because my life is so dull right now, in some respects I’m annoyed because it’s ruined what I perceive to be an incredible couple of years without me falling victim to any illnesses. I put it down to my outstanding hygiene practices… but then again, they
are so good that I have a habit of annoying other people by constantly berating them for their lack of handwashing, which has only gotten worse since we got a dog three years ago.

But in every bit of bad there’s a little bit of good – and my new bassy tones, a whole seven semi-tones below what I was previously capable of are proving a useful amusement. I suspect they won’t last once this has all cleared up (which makes me want to know why this effect exists, as I’ve observed it before) – but it’s still been fun mimicking those opening words to Can’t Get Enough of Your Love.

Brass Monkeys

In the past week or so, it’s suddenly become rather cold. I hasten to use the word “very” in front of cold, because in truth we Brits don’t really know what “cold” means; suffice it to say that anything around zero degrees Celsius is not good. I would never survive in Canada, the north of the USA or Russia, for example. So let’s just say that it’s too cold for me.

My tolerance for cold seems to have waned with every passing year. I don’t know whether that’s because these days I seem to be lighter than ever. My current weight is 65kg, and while I’m not underweight, I am moving towards the bottom end of the BMI scale. I don’t really know why this should be. I seem to be eating about the same amount of stuff I always have done. I do a little bit more exercise than I used to, but I wouldn’t have thought it was making me lose weight. I really ought to patent my diet, because to me it’s 80% junk, 20% good with only mild exercise and yet the kilos are disappearing…

But because of my low weight, and presumably low body fat, I am feeling the cold more than I’ve ever done. I can’t bear to be outside in the cold. On Tuesday I was outside helping with my team’s football training, and the wind and the driving rain would have been enough to make a grown man weep. Well, I nearly did. But it was just so horrific that I don’t think I’ve ever felt so bad in my life.

The situation is now being exacerbated by the fact that I am essentially sleeping outside. My new bedroom, the converted loft space, is, to put it bluntly, fucking freezing. I took a thermometer up there and at the moment daytime room temperature doesn’t go above 12°C. At night, it drops to 8°C. I have been assured that there is insulation in the loft, both below the floor, in the roof, and the windows are double glazed, but there is a ferocious draught that brings in the outside cold air with consumate ease. Let this serve as a warning to others wanting to get their lofts converted – you’re exposed to the weather on more than one side, unlike a normal room, the draughts are ridiculous, and in order to keep the room warm you need to have the central heating or other electric/gas heater on constantly. Meanwhile, in the summer, the heat is outrageous.

Basically, it’s uninhabitable right now. Even with serious jumpers on. I haven’t switched my computer on up there since Monday, so I’m doing all my computer use downstairs where there is at least some degree of warmth. All I’m doing up there at the moment is using it for sleep. Which is bad enough. Even a thick duvet doesn’t keep the cold out. I wake up several times a night at the moment shivering with cold. I think I’m going to have to get an electric blanket, and some more blankets in general.

But do you know what the worst thing about all this is?

It’s not even winter yet.

Working It Out

There is a problem brewing.

Time is running out for me to make a decision. All of a sudden, we are in August. Not only am I annoyed by the fact that, so far, summer seems to have consisted of a couple of nice days in June and no more than a week of good weather in July; but I am also increasingly frustrated by my lack of progress in making a decision about where to take my life.

I probably have only a week or so left of reasonable time to decide what to do. I need to leave myself enough time to actually put the plan into action. But right now, it just seems so easy to not decide. For ages now I’ve been saying “You’ve got loads of time”. Which I had. But, what with this being the first of August, it has suddenly dawned upon me that I really haven’t.

I have dismissed one possible route that I was considering, doing further study to gain a company secretarial qualification. Or doing anything in this direction. It really isn’t me. I may have found it interesting, because I have quite an analytical head on my shoulders, but I could exercise that skill in other careers. It just wouldn’t be stimulating enough overall. I would find it very very dull after a time, I’m sure of it.

I have been scouring job websites for some time now, and also looking at the various graduate career options that there are from the big companies who recruit graduates once a year. Some of them look mildly interesting, but at the same time I am really not certain I can be bothered with it. I would probably have to apply to lots of them simultaneously, going through the process for most of them, which would entail endless interviews, tests, presentations, travel all round the country… for the simple reason that if I only apply to one I’m putting all my eggs in one basket. Worse, most of them don’t start the process until November onwards. That would result in unacceptable delay.

So I’m increasingly left with a smaller number of choices. The first, the bog standard, do the PGCE. Then decide what to do after that. This may or may not be teaching. But I’m really not sure I can bring myself to do the work for the PGCE now. The motivation has gone.

The second option is to start applying for political jobs. This will mean a move to London is inevitable. But it probably won’t happen quickly, leading to a small time delay. It also presents the risk that my chances of being able to emigrate are lessened considerably, but I am every day coming to the opinion that I really won’t be able to do this after all. The opportunities just aren’t there with the degree I’ve got. If I had a degree that lent itself to an obvious profession (e.g. medicine, architecture, law) then it would definitely be possible. But I might have to resign myself to defeat here.

The third option is to try as hard as I can to find a job in this area, all the while looking for a better option (which could even be the graduate employers I’ve thought about). This would at least give me money right now. It would also mean I wouldn’t feel as guilty abandoning home when my parents have spent so much money on this loft conversion. But there are very few reasonable job opportunities in this area for a graduate.

Above all though, my main annoyance is that It’s just typical that I’ve graduated at just the moment the economy is turning to shit. Great timing, dude.

Meanwhile, I am yet again left in charge around here as my mum and dad have gone away for a few days to celebrate their anniversary. Last night I made everyone curried beans and rice. Still feeling the after effects this morning…

Window On The World

From this seat here, in the “bunker”, I have a window directly above me. Unfortunately, it is a north facing window, so the sun never shines directly into it. But it’s bright, and it feels good to be right underneath the natural light…

I look out of it and see that hardly any other house in the area has a loft conversion. All the houses facing me are all south-facing too, which makes them ideal candidates for this kind of loft conversion. But then again, it does cost a lot of money, and with the economy going south (or is that west?)  there’s not likely to be much change in that.

Anyway, discussing whether other people are going to be having loft conversions is not a particularly interesting subject.

It’s been a fun past few days for me. On Wednesday afternoon I decided to go with my family to their static caravan in Wales. Little did we know at the time that the weather was about to be much better than we were expecting. The forecast was bad, but since my parents and family were all off work and school last week they decided to go. I thought I could do with a break, and so joined them.

There was glorious sunshine every day. Couldn’t ask for better. So a couple of trips to various castles and playing tennis in the park followed. Excellent stuff. More pictures for my collection of all the bits of Wales I’ve visited over the years. It really is a very nice country in all the bits I’ve ever been to. Though I have to admit my time has mostly been confined to the rural bits. And much as I like them, I couldn’t see myself living there.

Cos that’s what my life is like at the moment. I’m thinking carefully about where I’d like to go. I don’t want to stay here in this city (unidentified for my privacy) forever. Life is too short and I want to try somewhere else. But I don’t know where…

In any case, now that I’ve returned home from my four day holiday, and the family are all back in work/school, I have reached my idle position. I don’t have anything to do for now. I can live with that for now – I need a break… but it won’t last long. Soon I will begin to think what I can do.

I could do with a job. Money is low and I feel like I need to contribute something to the house. I can only do that if I find a way to make some cash. This is certainly possible if I think about it carefully. I have a contact I am about to call in to see if he’s got anything I could do. Then there are family friends of friends who’ve been asking about me making them a website for their businesses for ages. I could do that with all this time.

That is my immediate priority. Beyond that, I have to go and find some schools to do my work experience in. But that can wait till July.