D4D

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Archive for the category “Getting Organised”

Slow Roads

Every so often I have a day where I just want it to be over – not in any kind of self-harm way, just when a lot of things have turned to shit, and all I want is to go home.

Unsurprisingly, today has been one of those days.

It started OK – it was cooler last night, so I actually got some sleep. I’d got a meeting down near Reading, so once I was awake at 6am, I left to get down there while avoiding the worst of the rush-hour traffic, and aiming to be down in Reading before it even really started. That mission was kind-of successful, in that I was down there by 8.30 – but still, it took two and a half hours to do a journey that I can do on a weekend in an hour, or just over.

The meeting itself went OK, and I’ve got a bundle of work to do, which will make life entertaining.

Afterwards, fortunately I checked routes home on my phone, and found that the M1 had been completely closed due to a fatal accident.  It’s an area I know pretty well, so I knew I’d got a bundle of cross-country routes I could take, and that’s what I did.

However, it seemed like every single part of that route, I was preceded by slow-moving drivers who had nowhere to go, or no desire to get there.  The entire way back was spent going at 30 or 40mph on roads where the limit was 60, and all on what turned out to be the hottest June day in more than forty years – warm to the point where even the car’s air-conditioning wasn’t really managing anything.  (I may need to look at re-gassing it, but we’ll see)

All told, the journey home took two and a half hours – most of which was just due to being so much slower than I would’ve been on quiet/non-busy roads.

So, by the end of it, I was just wanting to be home, for it all to be over and done with.

It’s going to be the first day in several months where I haven’t achieved my steps-per-day walking target – I could still have done it, but frankly, with the temperature and everything else, I just couldn’t be arsed.  In fairness, I’m already well up on the week’s target anyway, so a day off is perfectly doable (and I’m doing a bigger walk at the weekend too) but still, it’s also the first time in ages where I’ve had a day with such levels of failure to be arsed.

On Being A Cretin

With life taking several turns over the last year, I’d given up a bit on going to the gym.  OK, I’d given up on it a lot. So I’d put my membership on hiatus, paying a small maintenance fee rather than the full monthly amount. (Because while I’m definitely an idiot, as will be shown shortly, I’m not a complete idiot)   It meant I wouldn’t have to pay a re-joining fee etc., and could reactivate things really easily once I was back to being in the mood for it.

Last month, I decided I wanted to get back to going.  Again, a number of reasons, but mainly just realising I wanted to do more, as well as some preparation for my idiot event in September – of which more later.

So I went to the PureGym website, logged in, and reactivated my membership.  Oddly, I had to pay a joining fee again, but I thought I’d just not read the terms and conditions properly, and it’s not a huge amount, so there we go. The proper payment comes out of my bank about a week later, and all good. Job done, I’m going back to the gym from June 1st.

Come June 1st, I look at my bank account, and there’s that maintenance charge again.  Weird.  Maybe it’s connected to that billing cock-up where I paid a joining fee.

So I call PureGym, to try and find what’s going on.  They tell me that the Direct Debit reference I’ve given them isn’t connecting to any of their records, so they’ll need more information from the bank, to know where that DD started, where it’s going etc.   Annoying, but indicative that a significant cock-up has occurred.

I ring the bank, and speak to someone there.  Let’s cancel that under the DD guarantee, here’s the details, it’s a Direct Debit for The Gym…   And a light goes on in my head.   I’m a cretin.

For whatever reason, I’ve got “PureGym” in my head as the one I’m going to. (And it’s one I was a member of, in two different locations)  Only that’s not the one I’m using. I’m using “The Gym”, and that’s where the maintenance payment’s come from. So I’ve re-joined a gym I don’t want, and not restarted the membership of the gym I do want.   For fuck’s sake.

The lady at the bank (having laughed) reinstated the DD for the Gym, and re-paid the money to them that’d gone out that day.  Then I went back to PureGym, explained that I’m a complete idiot, what had happened, and asked if it was possible to get my money and joining fee back from them.  No problem if not, we’d class it as an idiot tax, but if possible it’d be great.

And they did. It’s not a standard thing, but I’d not used the gym, it was still on the first full day of “membership”, and – I suspect most importantly – I’d admitted it was entirely my fault, and that I’m a moron.  (It also made them laugh, which is fine)

All told, I got lucky in many ways.  I’m lucky that (in general) my bank are pretty good on this stuff. I’m lucky that both gyms in question are month-to-month ones rather than contracts. I’m lucky that the people in both cases were nice, and obviously far more used to people shouting and swearing, and making out it’s all Their fault.

I’ve not lost anything (except some self-respect) and it’s all worked out.   But man alive, do I feel like an absolute cretin.

A Week Of Wankers

Last week seemed to be purely populated by incompetents and clowns, sadly.  It meant I was dealing with cretins and “customer services” on about four fronts, which is… less than ideal.

My idiot bank has done an ‘update’ which means that payments done through the banking app aren’t going through. It works via the website, or via phone banking, but not through the app – neither the iOS or Android versions.  So I called them to explain, using the version numbers for the apps – and the in-app versions don’t even match up with the release versions. Genius.  The people I spoke to didn’t seem capable of even understanding the problem, and then when they did, told me there was a new version of the app that I needed to download.  Except… that version hasn’t actually been released and made available on the app-stores yet.  Genius².  So there’s a complaint in about that, where I was promised a callback within 48 hours. Seven days ago. Genius³

Following on from that, my shitbracket accountants continue to be the epitome of incompetence – failing to communicate on anything; breaking promises left, right and centre; failing to provide stuff within deadlines; needing to be nagged every inch of the way; the usual.  It’s a good job I’m not paying for the service at the moment (I’ve had an issue about their communications “skills” for the last 18 months, and their Operations Director promised I wouldn’t pay until that was sorted.  As they’re ongoing, and with no signs of improving, I’m still getting the service for free) although I’ve no idea what they’ll do instead as an apology when they get round to it.

Having made that complaint, including copying it to Directors, not one of them even bothered to acknowledge it. Which continues to confirm that they’re crap at communication.  Oh, and then they tried cancelling my account, then reinstated it, and fucked that up too.  Massively impressed, as I’m sure can be imagined.

On that one, I was promised a callback from the Operations Director (again) by the end of Monday. Still waiting.

There were a couple of others too, although to a much lesser degree. I’ve no idea where it’ll all end up (except with me getting apologies and some form of compensation) but it’s all good fun in the meantime.

Of course, it would be nice if these people just did the jobs they’re meant to, and did them without cocking it up, but there we go, that’s life.

Five

Amazingly, I’ve been in the current house for five years today.  How time flies when you’re having fun, and all that piss.

As it stands, this is now the longest I’ve been in any one place since I moved out of the parental home. It’s certainly not my “forever” place (whatever the hell that means) but it does suit me for the moment – and even admitting that feels kind of weird.

There are two significant reasons why I’m more settled here than pretty much anywhere else I’ve lived…

  1. The location. To coin a cliche, it’s easy to get away from (as I’ve said before) with the M1 for North-South travel, and the A421 for East-West, both within easy reach. It gives me plenty of options, and lets me be away from here on a regular basis while still having somewhere that’s easy to come back to. Compared to (for example) living in Norfolk and Suffolk where it was an hour to get out of the damn county – or onto decent dual carriageway – and this is just easy.  Because of that, I’m not keeping on thinking about where would suit me better.
  2. The finances.  While I’m doing a lot better now, and could easily fund a move, it’s more about the credit-checking and so on that would go with any new tenancy.  At the moment, I’d likely faily it (or at the least it would cause problems) so it’s easier to stay here.  That wouldn’t stop me from moving if I really wanted to – but because of Reason One, that’s not currently the case.  And without an urgency to it, why cause myself more problems or hassle than I need to?

As things stand, my tenancies expire in November – because the first tenancy was just six months, and then they’ve extended as 12-month ones.  The bankruptcy comes off my record in August 2018.  Unless things change radically in the meantime, I think I’ll be here ’til then, and from there I’ll see how I go. So the odds are, another 18 months here, and who knows after that?

Doing Less, Doing More

After this coming weekend, life calms down a bit once more. (I know, it’s a recurring theme)  From here, I’ve got fewer weekends with stuff already booked – at least until September, which is already idiotic. (Of which more later, or in a future post)

However, that doesn’t mean I’ll not be doing much.

Come the end of September, I’ll be walking a marathon distance, and I want to have an equivalent distance already under my belt by then, along with some other practice/training walks building up to it.  I did a half-marathon distance back in October, but then haven’t done anywhere near as much since, and I’m aware that I really should have done. Oops, as they say.

So in the run-up to the end of September, that’s (part of) what I’m going to be doing. Taking some time, some days out, doing a shitload of walking. It won’t all be London-based, although the majority will be.

I know I could easily just rock up on the day and complete the course – but I do want to at least appear to be taking it more seriously than that.

I Don’t Understand

As part of the whole “write more here” ethos, I’m introducing a new occasional topic, which is quite simply “Things I Don’t Understand About People“.  Not the snappiest of titles, but it’ll do for now.

Of course, most of them can probably be explained away as “Because people are generally horrifically shit“, but I’ll try to do a bit better than that.

It may be a short-lived theme/topic, or it might be something that keeps me going for a while. There’s certainly a few bouncing around in my head already, so we’ll see how it goes.

Getting Scheduled

Over the first dollop of this year, I’ve been trying to write more here, as it’s all become a bit intermittent.  It’s been kind-of successful, but it’s still not great. I’ve found it too easy to lose several days at a time, and once it’s broken, it’s harder to get back into.

I’ve also got some other writing ideas going on (as briefly mentioned in other posts quite recently) which are also slipping, so I feel like I need a bit of a plan.

Gordon this week wrote about something similar, and about aiming to have more of a schedule for writing, which is something I’m going to try out for a while.

So, starting today, the plan will be to have new stuff here on Mondays, Wednesdays and Friday. It might not be much, and it might be rubbish – but it’ll (hopefully) be on schedule.  Even if it ends up that I have a day where I braindump three posts for the week and schedule them, I’ll be OK with that, to be honest.

Of course, it may not be written on those days – I may write things and then just schedule them in. But having at least a set of target days seems like a good plan.

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