Two Weeks On

Another day off.

It’s another bank holiday weekend, the second of three that we get at this time of year. I have come to value them immensely. If there was one bank holiday weekend every month it would be so awesome. I now realise just how much I need catch up days, back to back. Two days gives me a day to do rubbish Adult Life Chores, and then a day to relax. I’m so used to only getting one day “off” per week that that day is spent savouring the freedom, rather than doing ALCs, or the incredibly tedious things I just keep putting off.

And off and off. One such example is the mountain of computer spare parts that I have had at home for maybe a year or more. Some of them I keep for legitimate reasons, cos I might need to use them in the future. But others I have had for such a long time because I kept saying that, one day, I would get a chance to get on eBay and get rid of the valuable bits.

Yesterday, I started at 8am and by 6pm had listed a mere 15 items. But that represents the sum total of the destruction of seven laptops… most of the bits are of such low value (£1/£2) that I don’t even want to spend the time wrapping and posting them. So in the bin they went. My living room now has much less of the computer workshop vibe.

In reality, if all those 15 items sell I will get a return of about £200 for my day. Three of them have gone so far, and all the higher value items. I had a feeling they would sell quickly, but hopefully the rest will too, as I could do with a little financial kickback.

Why? Because a few weeks ago I managed to screw up a client’s computer because I forgot to take the battery out of their laptop while changing the screen. Pretty pathetic, really, but I got lazy and complacent. 99% of the time I take the battery out before doing any work. But for some stupid reason I left it in while changing the screen. It must have caused a short, as by the time I’d finished it it would never work again.

We live and learn. I have been quite philosophical about it. In all the years I’ve been doing my job, nothing serious has ever gone wrong. A couple of minor things have happened, but I’ve always been able to recover the situation. This time, however, it was such a disaster I had no choice but to throw lots of my own money at it to set things right again.

Never mind.

But it’s been a quick couple of weeks. The work has been relentless, and my life has been generally rubbish. But I don’t really complain. I am more than aware of the fact that I am quite a loner. I do enjoy my own company. I enjoy relatively solitary leisure pursuits. It’s just been me all over, and it doesn’t even affect me any more.

Not quite sure that is a good thing in the bigger picture, but there you go.

Hoping The Phone Doesn’t Ring

It’s a curious business I operate in. When I fix someone’s computer, the first thing that enters my mind when I leave their house or they collect it is: “I hope the phone doesn’t ring”.

It’s simply a case of fear that I’ve made a mistake. Normally I want the phone to ring, because it usually means a new customer is on the way. But, at those specific moments, the phone ringing would mean I hadn’t fixed the problem I just thought I had.

Until yesterday, this had never actually happened to me. But I guess it was bound to happen eventually. It seems that my diagnosis of a problem was incorrect. Sadly, this means me now having to take time out of my day today to make amends, at no extra cost to them.

The big issue though is that I’m still not certain what the problem is. There is one other possibility, but it requires me to turn into a serious PC Tech to diagnose it… and that is learning how to use a multimeter. This is a device that apparently will help me test the voltages being delivered by the power supply. I have one already, but have never really figured out what the hell to do with it.

But today I have to, otherwise I’m going to look a fool. The only other way would be for me to lend them a working power supply and see if it solves the problem over the period of a week. That would mean going back next week, which is very inconvenient.

Apart from this snag, the PC world has been treating me quite well this week. I’ve had quite a few customers and even sold a new computer. This has to be something I keep working on as I want this to be the real future of my business. It’s the bit I enjoy most and is the most convenient for me.

Anyway… things aren’t too bad for me at the moment, especially if I can resolve this problem today. I felt pretty good last night until the dreaded phone call. Worse was the fact that the customer only phoned me a whole 24 hours after they’d taken it away. So I was, legitimately, thinking all was well.

That’s the problem with intermittent faults. They bite you on the arse when you least expect it.

Meanwhile, my cleaning job is boring me to tears and giving me physical problems in my back and shoulders. I need to stop it, but I need the cash. I’ve set a limit: no more than two more weeks of it.

And the house move? Progressing slowly… but it’s definitely going to happen. Very exciting…

Sleep Deprivation

It’s not something I’ve been used to – but my life is now in such a state with a constant stream of night shifts that I am beginning to feel rather run down.

This morning as I was walking home from work – a 45 minute journey that I chose to do because it was sunny and warm for a change (after weeks of rain) – I was talking to a friend on MSN on my mobile phone.

Now – this is normally a difficult experience at the best of times due to texting replies very slowly compared with the usual qwerty keyboard entry with several fingers all at once. But this morning I made a mistake nearly every word, and seemed to be going even slower than ever.

Worst of all, and all those who’ve been sleep deprived will know, you get into this rather strange state of watching yourself making a mistake, knowing full well that you’re making it in the process, and still doing it anyway. And then it turns out to be very funny indeed – because everything is hilarious when you’re massively tired.

This persisted for the entire duration of the walk. I did it to try to save me money (might as well as I desperately need it if my plan to move out is ever going to happen) but also because by walking back it means I can take a detour via a McDonalds… as Monday mornings, my last night shift for four days, are usually celebrated with the consumption of an Egg McMuffin. 99p of pure stodge. Yummy.

But lo, upon my arrival home, there was a clutch of things to be done. Two things involving my business – one of which was finally getting rid of a computer repair I’ve been working on for two weeks that has suffered from problems at every turn: broken motherboards, suspected broken CPUs (that weren’t broken), incompatible memory despite the motherboard saying it supports it, and reformats and reinstallations galore.

Sadly though, there were two things I was meant to do this morning and totally forgot due to my sleep deprived situation. First was bagging up the newspaper returns and leaving them on the step. Not done. No returns. No credits. £3 wasted. Goddammit!

Then second was calling up my workplace to tell them about something I forgot to tell them about. Now there seems no point in trying to tell them as it’s probably been resolved, but no doubt with a large degree of confusion caused by my foolishness.

But fuck them. They haven’t paid me properly and there are no wage slips, breaking the law. I owe them nothing.

Then – finally, the worst piece of news hit my inbox at 9am this morning. My plans to move out are in disarray as the place I wanted to move to doesn’t have any flats available in my budget range. Surprise, surprise.

Stuck here. For many more months. The thought chills me to the bone.