My day started with one of my branch managers phoning me while they were having a panic attack on top of what turned out to be an acute asthma attack. They were worried that they might have to close their library as they were working on their own. There’s a lot to unpick there, and once I’d talked them through getting their breathing a bit less on the edge of collapse I wasted no time in telling them that I couldn’t care less about closing the library – their health is far more important. This is an individual who is new in their job and feels they have a lot to prove, despite my telling them many times over that they are doing a great job and literally have nothing to prove and they need to slow down.
While still reeling that in I got a call about another member of staff wrenching their back while reaching for christmas decorations in a cupboard, had an update on another person about to undergo surgery, and had calls from the cub’s school that he wasn’t well and could someone come and retrieve him. I may have growled about that as he’d pranked me this morning by walking out of his room with red vaseline around his mouth so that it looked like he had foot and mouth but was thankfully at that time okay. Lady M meanwhile had called in sick with a heavy cold, and while down in Portsmouth boy s had also succumbed to the same cold.
It turned out that the cub has, you guessed it, got the same heavy cold as Lady M and boy s – so I’m chalking it up to Con Flu from the weekend. Lateral Flow Tests have remained negative.
Me? I haven’t got time to be ill. I had school runs, building health and safety inspections, job shortlisting, event risk assessments, and partnership meetings to sort out – and retrieving boy s from Portsmouth after hours. Tomorrow I have more of the same, so I’ve quarantined everyone else in the flat in the other rooms and laid claim to the sofa. If I get this in the same week that I’ve had my blood pressure medications increased, I won’t be happy.
So, could you all just stop falling apart please? I haven’t finished my turn yet.
There’s a convention on this weekend focused on Streamers and YouTubers up at the Excel and so most of the household plus E2 the niece and nephew are off to visit their various favoured people. I am working so haven’t accompanied them and so last night I had a rare night on my own curled up with a montage of Mock The Week video clips and a pile of bacon butties as I used up things from the fridge. I may also have indulged in a bottle of wine too.
I needed the time alone. This has been a very stressful week at work with a new set of systems and processes coming online alongside a number of site and personnel issues that have left me with very few reserves to then deal with a rambunctious plague goblin. I suppose I shouldn’t call him that any more as he has tested negative and can now go back to school. Either way, being a typical ten year old he is busy pressing buttons and pushing boundaries and I’ve come very close to snapping and losing my temper. I can at least take a measure of comfort that I didn’t, and instead stepped away and got boy s to take over.
I have since been feeling awful about it, but I am reminded by several people that feeling angry is valid and that the important thing is that I didn’t lose control or do anything harmful – I retained the presence of mind to step away and ask for help so shouldn’t be beating myself up over something I didn’t actually do.
So, having a night to myself, and a day working alone in the office before I go join them for Sunday is a good thing and I feel a lot calmer. I imagine the nurse reviewing my blood pressure on Monday will thank me for taking care of myself – which reminds me, I need to submit a week’s worth of readings tonight as part of my review. There’s always something to do…
After that, paperwork for sorting out a referral for further investigation of my stomach issues. What joy… I suspect the various threads are related.
Somewhat fittingly I’m currently quietly stressing about the assessment tomorrow afternoon for the First Aid for Mental Health certificate. I’ve every confidence in my ability as its basically what I regularly do for staff and customers every day – I just worry about acronyms and jargon.
I know it’s just my brain pulling its usually tricks, all will be well. Even if I don’t pass I’ll still be supporting people as ever.
Oh, and I applied for a thing speculatively in the restructure but I’m not expecting to hear anything on that front. Still a minor stress to throw into the mix but there you go.
A year ago I was reading reports of some new virus that was starting to spread, and felt that we’d probably be okay if we were sensible. I never dreamed that a year on I’d be wearing a mask nearly all day as a key worker, and as of this morning breaking the news to staff that another colleague had lost a close relative to covid.
Sometimes I’m numb to it, sometimes I’m angry. I’m grabbing humour where I can find it. Sometimes I wish I could work from home, but most of the time I’m glad I can get out of the house. I remind myself I’m very privileged, even as I want to curl up and hide under the blankets.
But hey, someone yesterday asked to buy the original of one of my sketches, so that’s a nice thing.
This week went from being rather pleasant to incredibly stressful very quickly – and I’d be saying I was glad it was all over if I didn’t know I was diving straight back into a hot mess of work and tight deadlines tomorrow. Ah well. The worst of the things are over, and I haven’t caused more problems than I’ve solved along the way, so I suppose it counts as a net win.
So – stories will continue, and indeed today are proving a good way of writing away the stress. Lady M is busy playing Assassin’s Creed beside me while I type away and occasionally mutter to myself, and the spate of small power cuts that were plaguing the house earlier seem to have abated ever since I’ve started calling myself Magneto and swearing at the electricity meter.
Just to prove that the best laid plans absolutely will fall apart even for the most organised of us, our return trip took double the expected time.
In retrospect, believing our satnav when it first said there was an hour’s delay and that it knew a short cut was our big mistake. We knew there were roadworks ahead, and news reports started coming in of multiple crashes in multiple roadworks areas along our route. The in-car satnav and Googlemaps on my phone were both metaphorically screaming and flashing big red lines over significant portions of the roadmap of the North of England.
So we did the stupid thing and began rat running parallel to various motorways down and across the country, with occasional dips back onto main routes. Lady M did the first half but then the tiredness and stress triggered her fibromyalgia, so I took over. In the BMW with which I have been struggling the last few days.
Now, in a bout of desperate anthropomorphism, the car and I seem to be coming to a wary truce; but even so the experience of driving through unlit country back roads at speed in an unfamiliar car was perhaps a little more excitement than I had anticipated.
At least nobody got more than a little startled, and there was only one roundabout I drove round more than once – but I was still very pleased to finally reach the Magic Roundabout – also known as the M25 orbital because that meant we were only 20 or 30 miles from home.
We had intended to go to #Tuesday as usual, based on our original estimate of being home around 5pm at the very latest, but the combination of getting home long after 8pm, plus no food in the house and the local fast food places so busy they weren’t delivering was too much.
We picked up a simple pizza from the supermarket, made our apologies to the unusual suspects, watched a bit of telly and opened our Christmas presents to each other while supping some whisky.
Back to work in the morning. Who needs sleep anyway?
We’re on the road again, on the second leg of our whirlwind tour of the North of England. I did the driving yesterday, but I’ve taken a back seat today, largely to give myself a rest ahead of our long run home tomorrow.
I’m still adjusting to the very different driving style required by Lady M’s car, some of which feel counter-intuitive when it comes to accelerating and braking. I’m not even counting the higher bite point for the clutch, or the extra gear which means shifts are needed at different speeds and engine feels to the old rustbucket.
As you might expect, it’s been exhausting, especially on roads I’m not familiar with, so my witty repartee and naturally sunny disposition have been somewhat muted the last 48 hours or so. The lingering remains of the headcold aren’t helping either.
So if my communications with friends and family have been lacking over this Christmas period, I can only plead a bear-like sore head. If you’ve not noticed any difference, then I’m sure I’ll get round to annoying you soon enough.
To Lady M and Mre B I can only say thank you for continuing to be marvellous. Just kick me as I need it.