Getting Closer

This past week has made a big difference to life in the new home.

On Tuesday, after much distress, we finally got the phone line and broadband installed. That makes things so much easier. No more trips to the library, suffering terrible computers and watching the clock count down till it threw me off.

But yesterday, something just as good as that occured.

We got a shower installed. A proper shower, with real water pressure.

And it works so good. Even better than the one at my Northern home.

I’ve been desperate for the new shower to appear, largely because I’ve been having to have baths, which I hate because of the huge amount of time they take in comparison to a shower.

But something the other day made it worse. I was leaning forward to wash my hair – as you do when you don’t have any form of object to get the water from the bath up to your head – threw the water around, then opened my eyes to a rather unusual amount of red in the water.

I was, quite literally, having a bloodbath.

My nose is quite feeble even at the best of times. There’s obviously a dodgy artery up there. But leaning forward clearly provoked it and the consequences were not pretty.

At least there won’t be any more of that.

And even better, now that I’ve got a real shower, I’ve been able to cut my hair. Yes, I’m still cutting my own hair. It’s the only way to save money. Those clippers I bought five years ago have proved to be a wise investmenet. Plus, I always feel like I give myself a better haircut than the barber ever did. That’s quite something when you consider that cutting my own hair involves razors, the bathroom mirror and another handheld one.

In sum though, all of this has made me feel a lot better. My new life is still very much moving slowly into existence, with no progress on the business yet, but I have a feeling it won’t be long now. I’ve got a lot of ideas ready to deploy once my new printer arrives – which should be today.

Only one problem… I’m going back home again tomorrow. The nightmare five hour train journey awaits, with four changes. So the business is going to have to be delayed again. I was originally getting a lift home with my housemate tonight, but he’s now decided he doesn’t need to travel North. Fortunately, there were still cheap tickets available, so it’s not hurt me too much.

Anyway, life goes on. And at least I now have things to do to while away these tedious work-free days…

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Still At Home

It’s now been a week since I was in my supposed new home down South.

I came back last Friday because I had some work back here. That plan worked out nicely, and I have had several things that have earned me some money. That’s more that can be said for life in my accommodation.

But now I’m in this position where I’m starting to think, well, should I go back at all. Of course, it’s a silly thing to say, because I have to go back. After all, I’m handing over the best part of £600 a month just for the place and all the bills, and I’m not even there.

But if I had the choice right now, I would choose not to bother. Firstly, I’ve grown to doubt the business proposition, largely because I believe I’ve been led up the garden path by my housemate. He assured me that he would be able to get enough work from his web design angle, but nothing has materialised. He also keeps raising my hopes that he may have found me some work via his extensive network of contacts, but it never actually appears. That is frustrating.

So I’m prepared to go it all on my own, and one day I will. When I finally get back down there and get things moving.

Another reason why I’m not impressed with life down there is my utter lack of social interaction. When I’m someone who struggles with this anyway, life has become a disaster if the only person I speak to in a day is my housemate. He’s OK, but is probably the world’s worst listener. I don’t feel comfortable discussing anything with him, as invariably the conversation turns back to his life and the wonderful things he’s achieved.

It might help if I had a working phone line, as that way I could keep in touch with life at home better. But the farce over the phone/internet installation is long and continuing. They still haven’t put the wires in outside the house, and if they haven’t before Tuesday it will mean further delay, as that’s when they’re supposed to be coming out to do it. Only they can’t do it if the preliminary work hasn’t been done outside the house.

Next, there is the general logistical problem with travel. If I really am going to come home every two weeks, the bills are going to be large. But not only is the cost high, but the problem of the travel itself is a nightmare. At both ends, the houses are 20 minutes walk from the station. 20 minutes carrying a heavy bag and a laptop. Then a hellish 4.5 hour journey. Crazy. I wish I’d thought of it more before I agreed to the move.

Finally, there is just the general cost of living down there. At least while I’m here, sponging off my parents again, I’m not having to pay anything to live. Not ideal. But it’s better than the large sums of money I seemed to be handing over all the time for my food in the new house. Sharing the shopping bills appears to be a loser for me, as my housemate eats far more than I do, and has terrible habits of buying things that he’s never going to use just because they’re on offer. Which in turn go in the bin.

There are many problems in my life at the moment, and I have no real clue how I’m going to solve them.

Same as it ever was, it seems.

And Then There Was Internet

Though not in the way I might have expected it to appear…

It’s been a long while since I last posted. Two weeks, in fact. In all that time, I’ve been mostly sitting around, waiting for something interesting to happen.

It hasn’t.

It’s been a hard slog. The lack of internet has meant that every day I’ve had to trudge to the library to get my daily fix of social communication and news/opinion.

But now it’s over.

I have internet, of sorts. It’s through the wall into the neighbour’s house, as they’ve been exceptionally kind enough to let us use their connection while we wait for Virgin Media to install.

They were meant to do so on Tuesday, but, in a move that I totally expected, turned up and told me they couldn’t install. Something to do with the fact that, on this whole street, we are the only house for which there appear to be no connection on the path outside.

Talk about bad luck. Yet somehow I just knew it was going to happen. I had a similar NTHell problem when I tried to get setup with the service when I moved to London for a year.

However, this time they are coming back in two weeks to try again. In the meantime, someone is going to come out and install a proper connection outside the house, where it’s supposed to be.

When our neighbour heard of this plight, they took pity on us and lent us their wireless password. Very kind of them. Otherwise, it was going to mean another two weeks of tedium, wasting time in which I could be getting my business up and running.

And, by Christ, do I need it. My bank balance has taken an extraordinary dip with the amount of spending I’ve been doing lately. It seems the bills for this, that and the other just haven’t stopped coming. And I’m already having to consider next month’s rent payment. Nearly a whole month spent here already.

The bitter irony of all of this is that later on today I’m going back home for a few days, meaning I won’t really need the internet anyway. And it may turn out to be longer than a few days if I can’t think up some cheap way of getting back down South.

It will be good to get away from here anyway. I have to admit it’s not exactly been socially fulfilling lately. I’m already starting to get a bit annoyed with my housemate. That didn’t take long… but it’s because I’m so fussy over things. So it will be good to get a break from him. And I have missed my family a bit too. Especially the banter I enjoy having with my younger sister. I can’t watch The Simpsons – her favourite show – these days without thinking about her and the obsession she has with it.

Still. The transition to this new phase of life continues. I think I’ll get there in the end..

Dying Of Boredom

The level of boredom in the new house darn Sarf is such that I have actually decided to come back home for a few days.

And those few days could easily stretch to a week…

It’s good to home… but in truth, it’s just good to be somewhere with working internet. I knew I was reliant on it, but I didn’t think it was that much.

The move on the Saturday was OK. It was a little sad… and tears were shed by most of us, even my dad. They were tears that marked the end of an era, I think. I knew I would be back… and here I am to prove it… but during the week it has dawned upon me that “this really is it” and now it is entirely down to me to sort out my life. That never again will I truly live in the sanctity and safety of the family home.

Sunday was awful. It was spent spending over a grand in IKEA, travelling to and from the store, and then building the furniture. It still isn’t all built now. Luckily, my housemate was a lot better at the stuff than me, and so we managed to get through the important stuff, like a couch and the two beds, OK. Nevertheless, it was still incredibly frustrating and stressful.

Then the week began in earnest. No internet meant several trips to the library to use the exceptionally shitty computers there. Talk about basic. 640×480 resolution. Internet Exploder 6. Horizontal scrolling. Crashing. But it was my only connection to the outside world.

And one of the first things I did was order my ticket home!

The main problem is that it’s going to be two weeks before the internet gets set up in the house. Without it, I’m lost. I can’t do anything. I can’t do my political writings. I can’t keep in touch with friends. I can run my business. I can’t keep up to date with the world. Instead, I’ve had to go back to the dark ages, relying on Radio 4 (urgh, too pedestrian) and reading newspapers. So out of touch…

And then there was the lack of a fridge. We finally got one delivered yesterday, but in the meantime its meant having to go and buy every meal especially. And worse, having dry toast for breakfast. Not good at all. It’s also meant some rather eclectic meals, depending on what ASDA or Tesco were reducing that evening. Rocket salad. Nasty. Far too bitter for my tastes. But needs must…

We will get there. Right now I’m not keen on it. It’s a nice house, for sure… but I’m unsure about my housemate. He’s entertaining, but sometimes he tries too hard. Needs to relax a bit more. That puts me on edge. I want to try to enjoy my new house if possible.

Note the use of house. Not a home. Not yet, anyway.

Maybe once things settle down I’ll begin to enjoy my freedom again. After all, within minutes of me arriving back home I was already getting stressed out by the dog.

Still… there’s some work for me here. That’ll keep me busy, and escapes the boredom, sitting, waiting, wishing something exciting would happen. It was like the bad old days.

At least here, I’m occupied. And, even better, the work pays for this trip a couple of times over. Happy days.

Departure

This one is going to be a little different.

This time, I’m going, while my parents are staying here.

On all previous occasions, they have taken me to my new place of living, helped me get setup, and then left, leaving the final goodbye on the doorstep of the new place.

But now… today… I’m being picked up by my soon-to-be new housemate. He’s arriving in a van, which will be loaded up over an agonising period of a couple of hours, and then we’ll be off.

I like travel. To me, as much a part of a holiday or any adventure is the journey to it (though the journey back is depressing). So I’m bizarrely looking forward to the many hours drive to my new house.

Note the use of the word house. I don’t know whether it will become my home yet. The jury will be out for some weeks, depending on whether I feel comfortable there.

But this is it. This is the genuine end of an era. Not like the many false dawns that came with other “leaving home” moments, when I’d move to Hull or London for university purposes. No. They were always done with the idea that, one day, I would be back… whether it would be for the holidays or permanently, as has been the case since June last year.

This time, though, I am moving out properly. Though there will remain some of my stuff here, because I don’t have the boxes to shift it, mostly I am going. My life is currently sitting in my old bedroom, waiting to be shipped out. And never to return.

Of course, material possessions are one thing. I know for a fact that I will be returning here. In fact, the ridiculous thing is that I will be back here next weekend. I have agreed to try to keep up one of the regular contract jobs I have here in the hope that it will lead to more work. Which is bizarre if I’m moving 200 miles away, I know… but if I can organise it properly, I will be able to come home fortnightly to work which pays for the journey, and maybe a little bit more. Making a profit from coming to see my family will be a beautiful double whammy!

That’s the plan. If it becomes inconvenient, it will be ditched. And on that point, I will sever all remaining reasons to travel home for anything other than Christmas.

So while I’m not fully leaving here forever, there is a very decent prospect that it will become that. Especially if, as I hope, the new business down in my new location takes off.

Before that, though, will be at least a month of settling down. I don’t really know what living with this person is truly going to be like either. It’s all a gamble on many fronts. I only hope I’m making the right choice.

But it’s too late now. Gotta roll with it. Gotta actually try and be a Real Adult, rather than sponging off my parents. That will be a big relief to me, and to them as well, I’m sure. Though I do more than my fair share around here. I wonder how they’re going to cope. The rest of the family are going to have to chip in a lot more than they normally do.

Anyway, it is time to sign off. Lots of things still to do till the move this afternoon.

Here goes nothing.

Work Work Work

It’s been a busy old week, which pleases me greatly.

Out of the blue on Tuesday I got a call from one of my very first customers. He is a headmaster of a school, and all those months ago he promised me that when he got enough work in his school he would give me a call

And, at last, he did. I had started to think maybe he’d had enough of me and thought I was a bit of a joke, and had just said something nice to get rid of me.

But it seems, after all, that maybe I did a good job after all.

I’ve been there for the last two days now. It’s not exactly in a convenient location, requiring a two hour train journey to get there (even though it’s not that far away) but it’s been worth it. So far 12 hours of work, with a little hardware sales, and the prospect of at least a few more on Tuesday.

All good timing as it’s going to help make sure my cash reserves are in good shape for when the move comes.

Which is, at this point, scheduled for next Saturday. That’s scary. I’m looking forward to it, but the nerves about whether I’m potentially frittering away over £5,000 are now setting in. I’m also starting to think that maybe things are just about getting into shape around here at the very moment I’m abandoning it all to start again.

Very risky indeed. But, at the same time, I know I’ll be able to make a much better go of it in my new place. I should be able to build up the business much more quickly and get back to the same position I’m in now in a much quicker time. Fingers crossed anyway.

So next week is potentially my very last one here. Well, that’s rubbish, actually, because I know I’ll be back the following weekend to bring back more stuff and keep in touch with my other loyal customer (another school), which I’m going to on Monday.

But it’s still a significant emotional milestone. The end of the road for my life here. In all honesty, I can’t wait. That’s the way I’m feeling right now. I’m sick of my family, I have no friends here. I’ll have no friends there either, but at least my family won’t be getting in the way.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, it seems. I think I need a good absence from them now. They don’t appreciate the contribution I make to this household, and I’m sure they’ll properly notice it once I’m gone. All I ask for is a little thanks, a little recognition. But no. Too much to ask for. That’s the way this family has always been; we don’t communicate. Even when I try to.

So I don’t bother any more.

And soon I won’t have to. The odd phonecall every week. That’ll do me fine.

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…

Search Results

The weekend now seems a distant memory, but it was a productive one.

I arrived at my destination on Friday evening, and was met there by my friend and prospective house sharer. I’m still a little unsure about what he’s going to be like to live with, as though we’ve known each other for years we don’t really appreciate each others way of life habits. The kind of thing you only begin to understand when you live with them…

So it’s a gamble from that perspective. But I think it will be OK.

We started the house hunt in earnest on the Saturday morning. We had worked out a tight schedule to view some 11 properties in the space of six hours, spread across our prospective new home region. It ran like clockwork, as we managed to get to all our appointments early and the estate agents were all on time too. Good for them.

Some of the properties were embarrassingly bad. The estate agent almost seemed apologetic showing us round them. They were top floor flats with grimy communal areas like staircases and lifts. Then you’d go inside and either there’d be a total mess in there or it would be clear but that would expose the rather curious holes in the plasterboard walls.

After much scouring of flats and apartments we quickly decided they weren’t going to work.

So we moved on to the house part of our itinerary. That, I’m pleased to say, was much more successful. The advantages of having entirely your own space are huge. Even better, one of the houses we looked at had a small garage to its side which would be perfect for my computing business.

That house is the one we’ve decided to go for. It was new, modern, recently redecorated, and the price was a steal once we offered a 12 month tenancy.

It’s a massive gamble for me. Can I possibly recoup the £4,000 in rent over the space of a year? If I can I’ll be happy. It will be a positive sign that there is room for continued growth.

I will also have a much better chance of running my business properly as my friend is going to be heavily involved. That’s one of the major attractions of moving.

If it doesn’t work I think it will become obvious to me very quickly. In which case, I really will have to find a proper job. That won’t be too difficult, hopefully. But in any case, it will result in me successfully leaving home and starting my own life, something I’m desperate to do.

If it does work… well, the sky’s the limit.

It’s now just a case of waiting for the estate agents to do their bit. And, of course, hand over huge sums of money for trifling little bits of legal and clerical work. Bastards have me over a barrel with their fees for this, that and the other.

Exciting times ahead…