stress and sums and bad compost – sod it, it’s tapas time

I was up against it from the word go, today! Dr Anonymous’s new insistence that I check his entire roll-call of patients against the database and print off any relevant reports (so he doesn’t have to look them up on the computer on his desk, seriously) takes half an afternoon out of each week – and didn’t happen yesterday because of the printers being down. Mercifully, they were back up this morning, so I managed to cram all that into an hour. Woo! Back on target! Just have to get all this to the clinic before he does and-

Yesterday’s missing casenote has been found. The operation is this morning, across town, and the casenote has apparently been sitting on my Colleague of Empty Kettle’s desk all this time, don’t ask me why. I have ten minutes to get it on a shuttlebus. I stormed through and told my Colleague of Empty Kettles to look for it, stat, and got everything up to clinic before realised I’d just given the sodding woman an order and she had probably vanished to go make voodoo dolls of me in the loos for three hours. On my return, sure enough, there was no sign of her. I went through all the files on her desk, twice, and could not see it. Fuming, I returned to my own office where – and I will give her this credit – she was actually waiting with it. Goddammit, though, I had said I would meet her back there.
I missed the shuttle by thirty seconds. I ran to the old hospital to try and catch it there, where a guy with a trolley racked with the incoming crates (ah, balls) told me there wasn’t another for an hour.

Goddammit.

Apparently, things may be okay regardless. Phew. I’m not usually this stressed until about three in the afternoon. It’s not quite nine fifteen, my first coffee has gone stoney cold, still untouched, and I’m about to blow a gasket.

Methinks, it’s tapas time. I used to do this once a month – always on a Thursday, natch – just to get some headspace, but I can’t possibly afford it these days, even on the lunchtime special. I went anyway. God, just getting away from the office, walking into a quiet, empty cafe and having a nice glass of red and some – no, scratch that, just getting away from the office. It was like diving into a lagoon, feeling the stress just melting off. Ha, and I’m just a low-level clerical grunt; according to most folks, we’re too lowly to get stressed! (Because the proles Can’t get stressed, I suppose, only people on Proper Money do that. They should go tell that to all my colleagues who had heart-attacks of overwork in the last year. It’s a rather impressive roll-call).

Anyway. I sat in blissful peace, only occasionally being interrupted to be asked if I wanted anything else. It was great. And there was mackerel and apple salad and some sort of Spanish goulash stuff and aubergine fritters in honey. Supoib. Then it was back to the grindstone.

By this time, I was a bit punchdrunk, so instead of avoiding everything unpleasant, I grabbed the lot with both hands. I thanked my Colleague of Empty Kettles for her help this morning. I listened to Dr Hurricane coming through to moan about her kids’ eating habits and found myself giving her advice. No doubt, this time next week my head will be on a flag-pole somewhere. I called the zoomer with the urgent benefits claim to explain the situation to her once more. I agreed I would fax off the form that had turned up in her casenotes, just to make sure it arrived in time. Ha, and have we ever managed to get a fax sent yet? Nobody knows how the damn thing works! However, since I had flicked through her form and it said she was perfectly fit for work (I did not bother mentioning this part to her – a different department has filled that out, I can’t do anything about it and I’m not suicidally punchdrunk), I reckoned that the fax would be the one thing that I managed to get working today. And I was right. Though it only worked because the situation has been not one jot improved for anyone involved by it doing so.

Then I cancelled my bank appointment because I was in far too bolshy a mood for a finances meeting. I’d end up baldly pointing out all the places where the banker just wants to make a commission sale, and as revenge my overdraft facility would quietly expire.

Instead, it was off to a dark room with the Sums, ahead of tonight’s How To Make Compost meeting. And here’s where A Thing finally went right – yesterday, I had checked the engineering course email account, to see if I could get the second marked assignment sent out. We don’t have your first one yet, came the reply. Crap. Okay, don’t panic, you did take a copy of it, you just have to find it, bet you wish you’d kept a better filing system now, don’tcha –

But the email above that was my mark for the first assignment. Phew! Now let’s not get carried away – question three (of three) was murder and only contained one actual number, so I kinda had to guess at everything else. Which means, I am stupid and going to fail and had better pray for a scrape-though.

I have a Distinction. Primarily, haha, for my work on question three. ‘You did very well, especially considering we failed to give you two of the pieces of information and there was an error in the third’, the guy wrote. ‘This has now been corrected for future students’. Well, sheeeee-it. I tore my hair out over that – and they were wrong! It wasn’t me! Now, I am worried in case they are Wrong in future.

On the plus side: my presentation skills got a shout-out too.

And then, compost-making skills! Fortuitously nearby this may be, but I do hope it doesn’t go on too long. At least I have a lift home from the Lady who Runs the Allotments. Who I see is also running the seminar. Ah. Did not expect that. This means, Staying On And Packing Up, right?

But first, it was a sweltering hot night in a village-hall-style basement, where even the snacks were sweating. And I, being used to village-hall-style basements being freezing bloody cold, was in full thermals. Still, at least there were snacks – and blessed, blessed coffee. And I still might have fallen asleep, were it not for the news that I have been doing every single bit of composting Wrong, this entire year. Bread does not go in, it turns out. Cardboard, conversely, does. In fact:

How to make decent compost
* Equal amounts of ‘brown’ and ‘green’ waste! Simples! ‘Brown’ is carbon-rich – paper, cardboard, hair, even jumpers. In scraps and scrunches, because it needs plenty of air if it’s to decompose aerobically. ‘Green’ is nitrogen-rich – waste veg, peelings, banana skins, cut flowers etc.

* No cooked food waste (except probably rats dislike sprouts)

* The perennial argument about urine can be inserted here, because it generally is at this point in conversations about compost.

* Chuck all your stuff on the top of the heap. Mix it up as often as you can be arsed, once a season for instance. For mysterious reasons to do with magic, the compost bin will not get full. Ever.

* After a year, compost has practically made itself. The Lady who runs the Allotments reckons this part is magic. I disagree, see above.

So as well as everything else, I now have two compost heaps to pull apart and start afresh. Also, the meeting overran, the packing up was marred by the Husband (or Packhorse, whichever hat he has on at the time) of Allotments going home with the carkeys and having to be summoned forth again, and I didn’t get in till quarter to ten. On the plus side, I got to hand over a bottle of rosehip wine and tub of tomatillos I feel are owing (the Lady who Runs the Allotments did, after all, watch my plot for a fortnight when I was in the states) and was told that I am genuinely the most helpful person she has ever met. And everyone down the allotments is singularly helpful.

With this and a distinction in my first assignment, I win. Technically. I certainly feel like I’ve lost, however – in fact, I feel like I’ve had a severe kicking by this week. Bed!

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About beshemoth

Mainly making art, making wine, writing and gardening. Having a life only as the above allows.
This entry was posted in all the small things, allotmenting, cheese with that?, the fear of all sums. Bookmark the permalink.

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