Monday, November 17, 2008

The weekend was a gentle one – relatively. Our only real event was our antenatal group’s first birthday re-union. We all met up without our babies for a dinner on Saturday night… at least most of us did. There was one no-show – from a couple who fall into the “fretful parents” camp. Who drop whatever they’re doing as soon as their baby sneezes and rush off to accident and emergency. This time, they cancelled because their baby had a temperature – despite the fact they live 10 minutes walk from where we were meeting and the babysitter could easily handle it….

Anyway, it was a fun evening comparing notes on babies, the potential chances of having more babies – and on the state the economy in the various lines of work we’re all in. The couple I was sitting next to are in graphic design for advertising – and although they’re both doing fine, it seems like the bottom has dropped out of various parts of the market.

I’m a bit concerned because just before the economy hit the rails, I had so much work that I turned off all the advertising I do on Google. I didn’t need more work at that point, so it seemed silly to advertise. However, I’m getting to the end of that work, and in a few weeks I’m going to switch the advertising back on. I have no idea what will happen when I do – maybe there’ll be no work out there. Maybe there’ll be loads…. I don’t know.

Still, at least it looks like I’ve got this job in vegas for the new year, so things shouldn’t be too difficult in the short term….

It looks like Lisa has found a tenant for one of her properties – which is good news because the work on the new one is (rather predictably) taking longer and costing more than we’d predicted.

Also, my tenant in Manchester has stopped paying rent. Apparently he’s lost his job and is applying for housing benefit. I’m inclined to give him the time he needs because I’ve been in the same situation and the councils tend to be so slow in processing housing benefit applications that people can easily get into problems. Lewisham council were six months behind in setting mine up when I had to claim and if I hadn’t had savings I’ve no idea what I’d have done.

In any case, even if the tenant moved out now, I doubt I’d get anyone else in before the new year, so there’s no point in making things difficult. I’m going to give him all the leeway I can…

More Decorating
Sam moved in with us for the week while her place was decorated so we moved into the spare room, turned the heating up to full and got some extra wine in…. the decorating was done by Eric. Eric is a really good decorator – but it’s difficult to get anything done in the house when he’s working as he tends to have plenty to say about almost every aspect of the job. He knows his way around the differences between the different makes of paint – even when they’re producing the same colour – and isn’t afraid to give you warnings about different finishes and different applications. When doing our hall, he praised our work on undercoating the woodwork – which was nice, except we’d thought we’d finished it!

Nevertheless, he put on a couple more coats and the results did look a lot better.

When he’s finished a job, he usually likes the result so much that he has to go home and re-paint his own house in the same colours. That is, after he’s done his paperwork, which always gets done in his “Office” – the pub across the road.

Wasting half the day
On Friday, I got a knock on the door at about 10am – it was a guy from the electricity company helpfully informing me there was a problem with the power and they’d have to turn it off for about 2 hours at about 12 oclock. A bit of a pain, but I was pleased I knew about it, so I could turn everything off before it all fused.

So I did – at half 11 I switched everything off, and took a long lunch break with Sam at the Bishop.

When I got back at 2, the electricity hadn’t gone off, so I’m left with a problem. Do I wait until they do turn it off, and not get any work done, or do I guess that they haven’t needed to and risk a power cut.

I took the risk and they never did cut the power.

In other words, although it was helpful and well intentioned telling me what was going to happen, the fact that they didn’t tell me when they changed their minds meant that I wasted 2 hours and was worried for the rest of the day about loosing all my work.

The warning did more harm than good.

This weekend we prevailed upon Lisa’s parents, leaving George with them, Sally, Colin and their children and taking ourselves off for a break. We stayed over in a five star hotel in Southampton for a night and had dinner in their restaurant which was great.

We’ve come to the conclusion that a couple of days in a really nice hotel every so often is a better way to relax than a two week holiday once a year. You come back refreshed, and relaxed, but you don’t come back to a mountain of stuff that needs your attention!

We got back to Worthing in time for me to play a muddy game of football with Ethan and Morgan….

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