This morning I checked last night’s calculations against the answers… and they were Right! Woo! I can now officially calculate upward support reactions for simply-supported horizontal beams (as long as the weight of the beam is not taken into account, nobody’s actually walking along it, there is no wind, and let’s not forget, there are Other sorts of supported beam out there, only we ain’t gone into them yet, presumably so as not to scare the horses). Still. I am now three days into this course and I have completed Chapter One of File One of Module One!

Now, there are only…  nine more chapters in this file, and then two more files in this module, of similar size, and then seven more modules, and each module has seven sacks and each sack has seven cats and it’s a bugger of a long way to St Ives, all of a sudden. Right, don’t panic. This journey of a thousand miles  – on which I could yet be set upon by the bandits of Maths Inability at any turn of the page – has started with a single step, so far so good, now do not raise your eyes from the path immediately before your feet, or you will clock the foothills ahead and the lofty peaks behind them and cry out in horror, I have to climb all the way up there?! To which the reply will be, Oh those peaks just mark the end of module one, pal, you have seven times further to go yet!

Time to focus on other things for a while. For instance, the muffin fiasco. Last week, among other discoveries, none of which were pleasant, I was suddenly informed that that bloke fae records has not been punting my muffins round his colleagues (dammit, everything sounds like a euphemism today), but has been scoffing the lot. In public. But telling me they’d been handed round anyway, natch. Therefore, instead of making friends and allies among the team, there has been Talk about why I would be giving a married man such a lot of home baking. Sigh. And it seemed like such a good idea at the time, too.

In order to shut this down, I formed a (second) cunning plan, baked and froze rather a lot of muffins over the weekend, and have now Unfrozen them to bring over to records myself, and set the, er, record straight in as diplomatic a fashion as possible.

This will, like the first cunning plan, doubtless go horribly Wrong.

And how! I was hoping to run into someone I at least vaguely knew, so as to explain the situation and give out baked goods. I wasn’t, however, banking on it being him. And I wasn’t banking on blokes from outwith the hospital piling in and out with truckloads of god-knows-what, so it was an awkward enough conversation without we all had to dodge out of the way every few seconds. Fortunately (or unfortunately), there were some folks there who were interested in eating the muffins, so I dished them out while saying, as diplomatically as possible, that they weren’t all intended for the one person, they were supposed to win me favours and allies, which I’ve been blithley banking on lo these many months only they haven’t sodding existed, so I have come to sort it out. And we had a laugh about what was really happening as opposed to what I thought was happening, and that should have been the end of it. If there was any justice.

Well, I wasn’t prepared for him reacting like I’d just chucked him or something. The lip started wobbling; he swore blind, in front of witnesses, that I had intended all the muffins for him and only for him and had said so, which is a lie; he asked if I wanted to come up to his desk with him to collect the tupperware the last lot had lived in. When I said no thanks, he said he’d keep it “for old times sake”. Christ. I think this actually looks worse. Dude, if you were single, I would laugh this off, but your wife is ill and the last thing I need is folks thinking I’m trying to get my feet under the table here!

So at least I went back and bitched about the turn of events in a fashion that amused my Cellmate and my Colleagues of Cakes and Skull Scarves, and got their agreement that the guy was merrily, if in all blissful ignorance, trying to throw my reputation as a paragon of virtue under a bus to save his reputation as The Man Who Ate All The Muffins. Which agreement I badly needed to hear.

Unfortunately, after that, my Colleague I Suspect Is Up To Something came through and, all innocently, my Cellmate told her all about it. Sigh. I like to have everything out in the open – can’t blackmail me if everyone already knows my horrible secrets, eh – but this particular colleague, I don’t want to know much about me because I would lay good money it will be taken down and used against me later. I haven’t quite worked out how to explain that to my Cellmate yet, however; not without also announcing that the rest of us heartily distrust the woman (and with good reason, so far).

For the moment, however, she contented herself with saying that she would never take something like this as seriously as I take it. Yeah, Colleague I Suspect Is Up To Something; but I already know that you don’t have a problem fooling around with folks who are in committed relationships with other folks. I do. And now you know that I do. Last time I found myself in a ‘friendship’ with someone where we disagreed on this point, I said I wasn’t about to try and force my morality down anyone else’s throat but she took the hump anyway and tried to sabotage me. Rather like this colleague has already tried to do, in fact. Uh-oh.

But as with the entire muffin fiasco, which could well not look anywhere near as bad to everyone else as I think it does, I’m probably worrying about nothing, as usual. Please god.

Tonight: no fighting, for I have not done sufficient hours of maths this week. This course claims that if you put in seven hours a week, you can be finished in only… two whole years, be still my beating heart, have I not wasted two whole years waiting for the damn thing to start? In theory, therefore, if I put in twice that, I could be done in one year and claw the other one back! Yeah, right, I am a bit thick, let’s acknowledge that already; so therefore I should probably put in thrice that. I have also had to acknowledge that I probably can’t do everything I want and still hold down a job, so I have made a list of Priorities and a big schedule to go with. It’s always so much more fun planning schedules than sticking to them. I am the Arnold J Rimmer of planning!

Anyway. Rather than just having a massive list of everything that needs done, I have now got Categories, and everything in category One has to get done before category Two, and so on all the way down to category Four which is, housework. Because I know what I’m like, and there is no house cleaner than the house belonging to someone with an exam looming large on the horizon. Category One is: maths, and sticking to a budget (which is also maths, I suppose) and is so much easier now I cannot spend any money, even online.

Tonight, again, the maths worked out. Man, this is so much easier than Social Interactions! So far.