its been a long time since I read anyone’s blog, or written, or had much of an online presence at all. i’ve missed reading my favourite bloggers – Nicola, Tanya, Liam, Silverbetty – and the interactions stemming from the same. i managed to write The Magic Moaster, but that was more about allowing myself to get back to sleep during one of my occasional 4:30am sleepless moments than it was about the desire to write.
in short, its been a very stressful time combined with a great deal of activity that needed high levels of management on my part, combined with some sleeplessness and some low points on the depression cycle.
as catharsis, and an explanation to those brave souls who have nothing better to read, here goes:
- fight camp imminent. organising the marquee donors so that I can get them the colours and sizes they want for their reward packages. in itself, no mean feat – ordering approximately 40 teeshirts and hoodies of mixed sizes and colour. preparing the walking sticks, pyrography of same. each walking stick takes over an hour of effort. some stress here
- work. looks like my time at my job is coming to its end. company wants me to relocate back to the office 220 miles away from home. i’ve been invited in for a chat with the human resources department, in august, after fight camp. there is a question about my work from home status, it seems someone somewhere in the organisation is being difficult about it, and no longer wants to pay my expenses. does this mean i need to pay back 6 years of expense claims? no way that is going to happen. makes me angry. I manage to kill that concern dead – the company has been treating me explicitly and implicitly as a work from home employee. my future here is in doubt
- family. treatable cancer in my partner’s family. should all work out fine, thanks to our wonderful NHS
- work again. i’ve had a change of line manager from a person i respect, who is intelligent and has excellent leadership skills, to a person who is the opposite. i will not have my 37.5 hours a week managed by this person, and neither will i tolerate her being in charge of bonus decisions. this has to stop. i am resolved to leave, one way or the other. start looking for work.
- set up Macaw website, complete with online shop for the events that have been organised. actually take some money through the site, so that’s brilliant. need posters for each of the events, or at least images for the shop. purchase 2 metre banner for marquee, supply artwork for same.
- make sure all events for camp are publicised. create and maintain order list for 40 curries, along with tracking who has paid and who has not. will there be enough people for the chinese watercolour workshop, and can i organise enough chairs and tables for the same?
- purchase £600 of insurance for the marquee, ensure that the camp site are still happy for me to put it up. figure out if the curry machine’s power requirements will blow up the site’s electrics for all campers and caravanners. it may well do, so start figuring our generator requirements to keep food warm.
- with the exception of three days, we have house guests booked for all of August
- week before camp, i need to package up all rewards for marquee donors, into shoe boxes, nicely folder, badges, vouchers, walking sticks etc. Make sure there are plenty of apple cuttings and bamboos for the lantern festival. package all up for easy transport to camp.
- summer camp. once again, brilliant, but this time, much more stressful for me this year as there is an amount of organisation required for all events, coupled with the pressure to train and an eye on the weather. I am desperately keen to get the marquee up so that all those who donated can see that i haven’t just pocketed their cash. of course, they know i haven’t, but i still need to deliver. two days in to camp, we succeed, it looks great. the banner i ordered arrives just in time. will everyone pay their fees? I really hope so, as i have promised to pay some instruction fees this year. whilst enjoyable, camp feels as much like a job as it does a holiday which knocks me sideways a bit. wonderful moment when viewing the marquee from afar, seeing it full of happy people having a great time, and then feeling proud for once, thinking, I did this, I made it happen.
- although a brief trip to work, its about 450 miles round trip. discuss employment options, i offer to accept a redundancy instead of relocating.
- multiple car failures, still ongoing. one particularly stressful event is 15 minutes before I am due to teach, the same day that I am also due to drive us to visit family. loads of stress plus a significant lowering of mood means the wonderful boat trip and picnic up and down the river Dart is something that I take part in, rather than something i thoroughly enjoy. low mood the next day means that four of six hours in the local zoo is similarly anhedonic.
- invited, along with my drummer friend, to join a band for a gig locally. start rehearsing and learning numbers.
- Jazz week needs to rent my PA and 4 microphones. Need to order two more microphones. Come the period of rental, nobody on site wants to take ownership of anything, so its up to me install and arrange all items, and hope that its what is wanted.
- A sudden and stressful clash of dates – one of my oldest and best friends is coming to visit for his birthday, the village hall where i teach is having its AGM the same night as the friend arrives, which is also the same night as the gig. furthermore, having driven 250 miles to see us, I have training and grading commitments that weekend that I cannot change. oh, and the inlaws are coming that same weekend too. its all good!
- me and Pete Bongo are dropped from the band for no good reason, the week before the gig. i have spent probably 8 or more elapsed hours rehearsing and putting effort in to this. its not worth me being discombobulated about, i can’t afford to take a mood swing as a result of other’s selfishnes. others fume on our behalf
- invoice for PA rental falls on deaf ears. i am owed £100 for my efforts, but i end up having to post the invoice as the recipient does’t bother to use his email, and wants to pay by cheque. i eventually collect in person
- a student’s parent is giving me a hard time about the decision not to submit his child for the grading. i won’t go in to detail, but suffice to say it makes me angry and fed up. i resolve to stick to my decision and live with the consequences.
i am still teaching, but due to lots and lots going on, I can’t make it over for my training very often. i feel guilty about missing training, and receive pressure from my teacher. similarly, with boot camp, i have heaps of stuff to do round the house which is good exercise. i receive pressure from boot camp and pressure from my partner. boot camp looses. i can’t find the time to organise and play with our band, it involves coordinating and hosting 3 others, and i just don’t have the time right now, i harbour some guilt. Iain and Sue have their baby boy, Maxwell. I really should find the time to drive the 200+ miles to see them all, but its not that simple. more guilt *sigh* I have a sick friend whose behaviour is adversely affecting me, so for self preservation and in order stop loosing sleep, i decide i must withdraw a little. i am these days resolved to fight to maintain friendships, but at not at the cost of my own mental health. huge guilt. i am becoming increasingly interested in politics and feel guilty that i am not campaigning for our NHS as much as Nicola. in a similar vein, i feel i should make the time to read each party’s manifesto so i can make a vote for the lesser of all evils. perhaps our soon to evolve devolution will inspire me to get involved with politicians on a local level. that’s a lot of “volve”
Don’t get me wrong, there’s been some wonderful times this summer, this list is just the tricksty stuff that’s been eating my time and mood. its good to get it our of my head, hopefully releasing me from its grasp. to restore the balance, I must the write the blessings of the summer. we really need a holiday to spend some time together and just let it all wash away. must get on with organising that…busy, stress, guilt, *sigh*
and another thing, must write up our fabulous camp this year….