The Lemming Advice Centre


Following on from yesterday’s post about car maintenance, and giving the Saab a treat, there was one final thing that needed doing.

Over the last couple of months, the car’s been intermittently reporting “Key battery needs changing”. It did it for a week, then stopped doing so. Then every so often the message would return. (I know, that’s pretty much the definition of ‘intermittent’. Sod off)

Anyway, last week it got more consistent, and over the weekend it started not locking etc., which I figure is a pretty good indication that it’s time to sort it out. (Luckily I’ve got two keys, so it wasn’t a complete hassle) Having looked at the instruction book – yes, a man reading the instructions, what a rarity – and picked up the necessary battery on Sunday, expecting it to be a two-minute job.

Safe to say, it wasn’t a two-minute job. Following the simple instructions, the panel on the key simply wouldn’t open. I probably could’ve forced it, but what the hell would be the point of that?

So it ended up that yesterday I went to my Saab garage, and got them to do it instead. It cost me nothing (except the fuel to get there, of course) and yes, it took them less than two minutes all told.

On occasion it’s galling to be quite this inept – although they did say it’s something that a lot of people have issues with doing – but at the same time I’m fairly secure in my inpetitude, and in getting things done by those who know how to do so.

Basic Maintenance

This week, the Saab must think it’s been stolen – allbeit by someone who actually gives a damn about cars.

With the various odds-and-sods and issues of the last few months, basic car stuff had kind of gone by the wayside. I’ve been promising the car some attention, and so now normality has been somewhat resumed, it’s been time to do it. Plus, of course, the onset of winter conditions, which means it makes sense to ensure things are sorted.

Over the weekend, it got a proper clean inside and out (I don’t quite know how car windows get so disgusting on the inside, but they do) which made a world of difference. There were also new windscreen wipers – the last MOT said they were OKish and wouldn’t fail the car, but did need replacing. So with the colder/wetter weather (and with the next MOT due in a couple of months) it was worth sorting out.

Finally, it’s now sitting on new tyres – it’s a year since I did the last new set, and they’ve done nearly 30,000 miles in that time.

Of course, now it’s had another couple of hundred quid spent on it, it’ll now break down spectacularly in the next couple of weeks, knowing my luck.

Getting Prepared

Over the weekend, I was talking to a couple of people, one of whom had had a couple of serious illnesses/medical issues in a short period of time.

It made me think about my own situation, and I realised (OK, I kind-of knew, but hadn’t thought about it properly) how screwed I would be if I were to be hit by long-term illness, or anything serious that required me to not be working for a while.

So I’m adding a goal to the list for the coming 12 months – have a backup plan and finances.

Ideally, I’m going to aim at having the financial backup that would cover me for at least three months of not working. I was pretty much there earlier this year, but then events conspired, and it’s back to zero. But that’s the plan. I know how much I would need, and what I need to do.

Interestingly, once I’m past 2015 it should be easier. At the moment, and for the next year, a significant portion of salary goes to payments from the bankruptcy. They come to a close at the end of 2015, and my current plan is that I’ll continue to take that money from salary, but instead of going to the Receiver, it’ll go to an ISA or secondary bank-account. I know I can do without that money, so it shouldn’t be an issue to keep on not having it.

Anyway, that’s the goal. Three months of funds, just in case the shit hits the fan.


So, the checkup at the GPs was OK, as far as it went.  Although in my opinion, it didn’t go anywhere near far enough.

Bear in mind, I haven’t been there for two years. I have a family history of numerous medical issues, including circulatory stuff (angina, heart attacks, high blood pressure etc.) as well as various body chemistry stuff – thyroid, diabetes and the like.

So you’d think the GP would’ve at least done the stethoscope thing, wouldn’t you? But no. Walk in, get my weight and blood pressure taken, and have to push to even get a blood test (although it is getting done)

All told, the most cursory ‘check-up’ I’ve ever had. And to top it off, it was delayed by half an hour, too. Not even an apology.

It’s fair to say, there’s a complaint in with the practice manager…

Checking Up

This afternoon, I’m off to visit the GP.  Not for anything major, just a checkup.

It’s been two years since I last darkened the door of my local GP. I try to visit GPs as infrequently as possible, they’re not my favourite place, and I’m not a fan of wasting the resources that there are.

However, I know my family history, and I want to make sure that any of those issues are caught early. So there we go, booked in for a check-up.

If nothing else, it’ll be useful to know blood-pressure etc., considering the weight loss this year, and see how all those things are going.

After that, we’ll see.

Signs of Life

Now that work-based sanity appears to have made a return, things are coming back to a more even keel – both life-wise and fiscally.

For me, the first major sign of this came this weekend, which went thusly…

On the Saturday, I went to meet up with friends in Nottingham. When I left home, it was a decent day, so I didn’t bother checking if I had a jacket/coat with me. (You can see where this is going already, can’t you?)

By the time I was halfway up the M1, it was absolutely slashing down, waterlogged roads the lot. “Bugger”, thought I, “but at least I’ve a jacket or coat in the boot”.

Once I got to Nottingham, it was still pissing down, but I parked up, and opened the boot. Jacket, there was none. Coat, there was none. Fuck it, thought I.

Due to being (as always) pathologically early, I still had the chance to go and buy a new jacket, so I did.

And that was the sign of being OK again. It wasn’t a worry, I knew I had the available money. I could afford this extra unexpected expense, and it didn’t mean I was concerned about what’d happen at the end of the month, what would be needed to counteract this item.

It’s still annoying, because if there’s something I really didn’t need, it’s another bloody jacket. I don’t even wear them most of the time. But needs must when the devil drives, or when the clouds open. It’s one of those things, a bit annoying, but better to have a day of not being soaking wet and enjoying things far less as a result.

But it was positive for showing the process of recovery after the shitty job…

A Long Five Years

While I was looking back through D4D™ and what happened when, I found the category for the “Five Year Plan”, which started in – um – 2006, to go from 35 to 40.  And now I’m 43 and still using it.


So anyway, it’s going to stay as a tag/category, but the goalposts are changing a bit. (Well, they’ve already changed, as I’ve been using it for three years past the original target) It’s going to take me through another two years now, to 45.

I’ve a nagging feeling I’ve written about extending the timeline before, but I can’t find it right now.Hey ho.

Along the way of that plan though, lots has changed. When it started, life was heading in a particular direction, and since then everything has altered pretty radically. Indeed, I don’t think there’s a single part of the original plans or intentions that has stood the test of time, or remains in place.

There’s still a lot of things I want to do, and things I’m working towards. There’ve been some savage roadhumps along the way, at least one of which doesn’t actually complete until the end of 2015. However, I do feel it’s generally going in a positive direction, and we’ll see where things end up.

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