Good news: the mallards have stopped holding Fightclub in the back garden at three a.m. every morning! Bad news: only because they were driven off/ killed by a whole load of seagulls so they can reenact The Birds. Or that is what it sounded like. It was kinda terrifying, to be honest, perhaps because I am very easily terrified, but I don’t like waking up in the pre-dawn murk to find hundreds of what are basically winged hyenas may be about to try and kill me in my bed. Especially with the glorious Scottish Fug of summer and the window open.
With that excitement over, on to the excitement of the Boiler Saga! Woo yeah, this is what being a fully-fledged Adult is all about! Or something. I had to take half of Tuesday off to wait for a different plumber to come round (at further expense, natch), and when he finally did, he promptly told me the first guy had totally seen me coming and there was no way in hell a replacement diverter valve cost that much.
He then told me it was the circuit board, which previous Ripoff Merchant had said was the very last thing I wanted because it’s tremendously expensive. However, he felt sorry for me (which was embarrassing), and so he didn’t correct the incorrect billing, (which was still embarrassing but I felt I could live with it), so I only had to pay fifty quid on top of the more-than-a-mortgage-payment I forked over last time. The saving, it is in no way comparable to the massive rip-off, but still. There is hot water again! I did All the dishes to celebrate, you know, in lieu of spending any more money whatsoever on celebrating.
On Wednesday, therefore, I was not woken up at the crack of dawn by ‘the Birds: the Musical’, but by the soothing sounds of homebrew burbling away to itself. And a steady, high-pitched, ‘splat’ sound; much as if the boiler had sprung a leak onto the carpet, for instance.
OH FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.
Yup, the boiler has totally sprung a leak onto the carpet. So I had to take half of Wednesday off and wait for a third plumber to come round and explain what the hell. Alas, while on the phone booking Plumber #3, the guy on the other end discovered that they had under-charged me for Plumber #2 and helpfully debited my account to this effect.
Having exhausted all other options, I fell about laughing.
Plumber #3 opened with the words, Whoa, I have never seen that before! – which is possibly the least reassuring exclamation ever, except for, Get out now if you want to live! Then he showed me that the leak was coming from the pressure valve itself, which was at least not life-threatening. However, he didn’t have another, so…
I had to take half of Thursday off, which is Hellday and clinic day, or rather, the same thing, and thus the very last thing I needed (except for further bills). Having been panicked by the amount of time off I’ve taken this week, I actually got my arse into work for seven, then hightailed it out after doing the clinic prep, in a cab – see under ‘expense, argh’, bolted home in time to let Plumber #4 in, bottled off twenty-six bottles of mead, got a replacement valve fitted, was assured this was finally the end of the saga, and belted back into work, where I remained till late into the night because I now have about ten hours to make up.
While ‘calming down’, the Uberboss’s secretary called to ask who had done the overtime clinic for Dr Hurricane earlier in the month. Why, that would be me! I said, wondering what the snafu was this time. But no, she said, she was calling to see why I hadn’t applied for payment for it. Gasp. PAYMENT! I didn’t think we got that any more!
And I was right. Because I didn’t think we got paid, I had crammed the extra work into office hours and thus, apparently, forfeited the twenty I woulda been owed. Of course, being an idiot, I told the truth about that point, so that’s some sort of object lesson in itself.
The Uberboss’s secretary felt somewhat sorry for me, when I told her that while that twenty was a spit in the ocean compared to what I’d just forked out on the boiler, it woulda been greatly appreciated. So she told me not to worry, plenty of other opportunities for overtime were coming up.
…at the Rival Hospital.
So no handy cash for me in the near future then.
Having exhausted all other options, I fell about laughing. At which point she put the phone down rather sharpish, I thought.
So, buttons. The bright side is that I actually got permission to take half the sodding week off at very short notice; and that only happened because the boss is on her hols and whoever is covering for her totally pissed herself laughing at my emails about the steadily worsening situation (how does Beshemoth know this? you may be thinking. Well, she emailed me to say so). She was very sweet about it, just said that she couldn’t help laughing at my ongoing misfortunes ‘because it’s how I tell it’.
As an experiment, I then sent an email to the waiting list coordinators at the Rival Hospital, outlining my week, and got one back saying they were pissing themselves laughing too. Ironically, when I’m actually trying to make people laugh? Nothing.
Apart from all the excitement (which has admittedly consisted of sitting around clocking up hours I owe at work while waiting for someone to show up and charge me even more money) this week has mainly been about attempting to drag myself out of the fug of despondency and actually do something with my life, you know, before I turn around and discover it’s over and I did nothing.
Getting my arse in gear is not exactly compatible with the sort of ‘excitement’ I’ve been having recently; however, not getting my arse in gear is totally inexcusable, given the unique opportunity of Life in The First World and everything. And yeah, in the company of ‘several’ other people, this is probably not going to take the form of a Nobel prize / discovery that transforms our understanding of physics (current status of engineering course: attempting to transform my own woeful understanding of basic trigonometry)/ being declared the Best Artist Evah! It’s probaly going to be terribly, horribly mundane. A terribly, horribly mundane failure, even. But it won’t even be that if I don’t start doing something about it, dammit!
So by the end of the week: still waiting to get started, here. Man. Well, okay, so I planted out some fodder for the Allittlement slugs. And then tried to spin the Fug as a wee interlude of taking time out to smell the flowers. I mean, what sort of life is it if you spend all your time Achieving things rather than enjoying yourself? [A life in which you have left the world a better place than you found it, one would assume, and what could be better than that? – Ed]. Ah yes. Round about now is when the helpful part of my brain points out this sort of thing. And also, that I am not actually enjoying myself, but hey, it’s better than cowering in a corner in fear like I spent most of last weekend, right? Right?
I think I suck at this joie de vie, and in an era which features hot water on demand in my very own home*, that’s… well, some sort of achievement. I guess.
*(Hot water: finally available on demand. And no more drips. SO FAR).
But enough with the maudlin. For it was time to dust off all the gladrags, take Friday off (balls!) and take the tattered remains of my money to town. For other people have lives that are actually making progress, and I have been invited to come watch. Which is infinitely better than sitting in a fug, waiting for everything to end, what.
First up: the guy who sold the Bossman his company is getting hitched! Woo! Jubilations! My participation in this happy event mostly involved getting up at the crack of dawn to paint/ shave/ wax/ powder/ laquer pretty much every inch of surface area, which meant going over to the Bossman’s on the Thursday night with about three massive bags for all the products needed. I am not sure if I have ever actually painted my toenails before, but I suspect that when I did, my legs were a lot more flexible and my knees didn’t make that noise when I bent them. Ho hum.
Anyway, it was promising to be a lovely sunny day, and I was quite excited to be out of the office (even though I’ve barely seen it this week, go figure). It promptly pissed it down when we hit the Abbey, of course, but such are God’s little jokes. The ceremony was nice and short simple, the bride’s smirk was a thing of joy to behold, and we hit the champagne within twenty minutes of the dismissal and before one in the afternoon, which was a good sign. The lassies waltzing round the room with trays of canapés cornered me after I snuck up for my fifth helping, and wouldn’t leave until I’d eaten everything on the trays, which was maybe not so much of a good sign, but who knew when dinner was being served?
Anyway, me and the Bossman formed a small Gang with his mate and managed to stay out of every single photo. Except that one they took of us holding the bouquets, after they asked us to hold the bouquets for the people who were really in the photo. (Bastards). And we were all at the same table for dinner, hurrah. And so were some other snarky people, who were fun to talk to, and some people so snarky they shut me down instantly when I tried to initiate conversation. I bow in awe to their superior snark.
When I went out for a fag, however, I discovered the entire upstream generation of the bridal party smoke too, so I was in like Flynn with the bride’s mother and aunts, and we passed several happy hours where I got all sorts of inside gossip on all sorts of people I’ve barely met (and which I am sure won’t be awkward at all when I do).
So it was a pretty fab wedding, for an event where I knew 1. The Bossman, and 2. The Groom (if you count, ‘met twice, in passing’). And all the decorations were beautiful, with white rose petals and fake diamonds and that effortless beauty you know cost twice what your house did (and probably took longer to achieve than your house took to build, too). I was quite alarmed, in truth, and just wondering what the hell sort of half-arsed ‘event’ I’d manage to lay on if I ever got married myself; until the Father of the Bride stood up to make a really sweet fifteen-minute speech on how much he loves his daughter and all sorts of tales of her good qualities, and I realised that my own dad would probably choke to death if he had to say even one nice thing about me in public (seriously, I don’t know if he has anything on the subject, but if he does, it hasn’t been aired in front of me). And sure, if he stuck to his usual public shtick of totally putting me down under the auspices of ‘humour’, I would choke him to death, in front of witnesses, and thus spend my honeymoon on my own, in the clink. So phew, cannot do Wedding Thang after all. Thankyou merciful god, for I have no money after the boiler fiasco.
(So look, I score a goal there too! Probably an own goal. The irony, it is not lost on me, ah sod it. I’m not trying to slag the guy off, just reflect that he has never once had a good word – and I used to spend so long telling folks how awesome he is, before I realised that it would never – ah sod it. Nobody reads this, right?).
Anyway! The band were also the best wedding band I have ever seen. Team Antisocial, i.e. us round the back of the hotel, had to move out the way as several big rock-ish roadies, plus a lassie with dyed red hair and a vulpine smile*, moved all their equipment in. Then a silver platter with a coffee pot on appeared during set-up, which impressed me greatly (failed to observe anyone drinking coffee with their pinkie stuck out, alas). Then they all raced off to the loos and returned as a fifties-style band and played Moon River and Maroon Five and pretty much everything in between. The singer did Axl Rose about as well as Axl Rose does. Jesus, she did Adele better than Adele! Which may or may not be saying a lot.
*(In case it was not clear, it was an awesome look).
Alas, I was distracted by the Bossman’s mate’s tales of Kevin Smith at a bear convention, which just seemed a very odd thing to suddenly come out with; but it was quite loud and we’d been drinking for several hours at that point. The Groom especially seemed a bit out of it, but perhaps he was just delighted with his good fortune. He spent several minutes lecturing me on supporting the Bossman in his time of need (I had no idea it was his time of need, rather embarrassingly, until that moment, but I was assured I should have noticed due to the ‘increased grumpiness’. The groom seemed somewhat disappointed when I assured him there hadn’t been any, if you don’t count that time the Bossman spilled sweet’n’sour sauce on his rug.*)
Poor Bossman, he had to stay stoney-cold and drive me home. I was just impressed I had managed to stay upright in those heels the whole thirteen hours!
*(This is not a euphemism).
Saturday was a bit of a non-event, due to partying for about thirteen ours the day before, until we actually had to get out and go meet a mutual mate and her new bloke. Go mutual mate and her new bloke! He looks like David Tenant, if David Tenant had been put on a rack and pulled an extra foot taller, and he was very polite and considerate and told tales of deprivation that knocked all mine into a cocked hat. Which he agreed was totally the case, but he did it very politely. I was in awe.
So by the end of the weekend: still waiting to get started, here. Man.
But I did get to see lots of lovely people getting on with their own lives, which was nice.
And I might have to design a stained-glass peacock (don’t ask).