I’ve told you about my hand problems but I haven’t told you about the chaos that has ensued as a result of my visit to the GP. On presentation, she told me that I had a specific disease and that it was in no way related to my use of neat bleach on my hands when doing the cleaning. The day after my visit to see her, all my ‘symptoms’ miraculously disappeared. However, I got on to my private health people and got a claim form, found a consultant (who I chose because he looked like Barry Gibb circa 1970, complete with brown beard), got the referral filled in by the GP (yet to be collected and fee paid) and then found out that my excess is £250 – ah, maybe that’s why my premiums are so low!? I decided to put the whole sorry business on the back-burner, during which time I have used bleach again and lo and behold, I have had what I would have called a ‘severe attack.’ So obviously this is good news because it means I’m not sick (except perhaps in the head) but it is also potentially bad news because insurance companies being as they are, something has now gone down on my records and there’s nothing even wrong with me. When stoned goes bad.
In the interests of saving a bit of the money, I have undertaken an experiment.
However, mid way through week two have deemed it an abject failure.
I buy three bags of weed a week, so I thought I would try and cut it down to two.
In week one, doubtful of my success, I bought three and stashed one in a jar.
I score on a Friday and by last Thursday I was clean out, so I smoked from the stash.
Last week, I bought three, stashed one and now, Wednesday afternoon, my hand is back in the pot.
Conclusion; fuck it.
The time had come to get a cat flap, Ted’s nocturnal behaviour finally wore us down. I googled a few local glaziers to get some quotes and I presented them to Honey, who did his own search and came up with Colin, ‘What’s wrong with Colin?’, he said, ‘Absolutely nothing?’, said I and I gave him a call. By the time I arrived home, Colin had turned up in his old orange van. He looked like Captain Caveman, with no front teeth, he looked 64 but was actually 52. He convinced us to go for a PVC panel, which was great because it meant he could do it on the spot – deal. He attacked the back door and fitted the flap and we chatted about life and as I had just been to the GP’s with my hand problem, I told Colin that my hands were freezing all the time. He told me that he had the opposite thing, that he had two hot spots on the palms of his hands and he approached me to place them on my face – it was true, they were burning! He went on to tell me that the linseed putty he uses makes his hands soft and likewise his lips, when he casually brushes his hand over them … okay … after he left, he text me to say how easy I was to talk to, how he wished he’d had a toke of my spliff ‘so I could see what it’s like inside your head’ and the following morning he text me to say that his hands were hot, ‘Stop me if I say too much’ … ‘Colin, you say too much.’
As I was walking into Waitrose this evening, I bumped into my neighbour, Lini. She told me that she would love to come out for a walk with me some time but unfortunately her sister, Sal, has been ill – she went on to say that she loves my blog – which is a real compliment seeing as she is a writer and generally pursues creative endeavours – and as I basked in her compliments, I completely over-looked the fact that she said her sister’s been sick, so I just wanted to say that I wish Sal better and my apologies for my self centred disregard x
I was pleasantly surprised when I turned up for my 6.30, 90 minute session last night. I was greeted by the lovely Leah and ushered into an empty, warm, dark, room, complete with a two-way mirror, surround sound, stable desk surface and an amazingly comfy office chair – I must ask them what make it is, I need one! Leah brought me a bottle of water and a big bowl of crisps and closed the door behind her. I watched through the mirror and calmly took my notes, no panic and fear that had befallen me only 24 hours before. After the 90 minutes was up, I popped my things in my bag, got my dosh and was home by 9.00. I could get used to this.
Yesterday I branched out and went to work for one of my clients as a note-taker, live in the focus groups. As I don’t have a laptop, I professionalised my iPad and felt sure that it would be up to the job – I did turn down the offer of a laptop, such was my confidence.
I left the house at 5.00 p.m. to make sure I was there for 6.00. I arrived and they placed me in the corner of the room, where I sat patiently, waiting for the show to begin. I managed to hide myself behind a big flip-board and tried to be invisible. The first 90 minute group went fine, except the board was removed half-way through, exposing me to the camera, of which I was aware.
However, about half an hour into the second group, I pressed something and everything on the screen disappeared – I just wanted to run from that room and say, ‘I can’t do this!’ I fired off a frantic email to the lovely Carly, who was behind the one-way mirror, to say that I’d need the recording to capture the first half hour and that I was just going to soldier on.
Between the groups she paid me for my ‘hours’, which she had interpreted to mean £25 per hour of group, i.e. 3 hours, plus a tenner for travel, so basically I got paid £85 for 8 hours work, maybe 9. I left their offices at 10.00 and on arriving home I then spent ‘til 1.00 a.m. putting my notes in order, minus the first half an hour of group two.
This morning, Carly sent me the DVD so I could capture that which was lost and me and the kids had a good laugh at the video; me in the corner, still as a rabbit caught in the headlights, in group one looking quite composed and by the end of group two, looking like I’d just suffered a nervous breakdown! We laughed at the despair and longing on my face when the flip-board was moved part-way through group one, and in group two I knew when to stop re-typing the notes when I saw myself frantically touching the screen and then emailing Carly and getting back on with the job before I missed any more.
This morning I emailed Carly to say that I had under-priced myself and that I would need £75 per session – i.e. I’d have come out with £150 last night, instead of £85 – to which she has agreed, so tonight I will be going back to my corner for one session and I’m going to try to do a better job than yesterday.
‘Maureen, will you come back to Ally-Pally to take back that Pangea with me tomorrow?’, I implored doubtfully, as it was Sunday and I knew there was no way she’d want to drive (considering she does that journey every day for work). ‘I’ll pick you up.’
‘Sure,’ she replied, ‘I can’t wait to see Mark Chatfield’s face when you’re screaming at it! Lol.’
So off we went that sunny Sunday afternoon to Ally-Pally to return the offending infra-red hand warmer. We slunk up to the stall and I approached the apparent MD (a bit of a spiv) and presented my red shaking hands for him to see.
‘I think your machine is faulty because it’s burnt my hands and made them go numb, they’re ten times worse than they were! My friend had to drive me here today because I can’t drive and I can’t type and I type for a living!’, I told him, my voice quivering.
He looked surprised, mumbled an apology and said that this had ‘never happened before’. He asked me to wait to see Mark and we sat ourselves down, ready to do battle. After a few minutes Mark decided to give me his attention and I showed him my hands.
‘This has never happened before’, he said, ‘I wonder what we could do?’
‘I think you could give me my money back, as this is obviously not the product for me’, I said. Without a quibble or need of a threat, he refunded my money and we left the vicinity, almost disappointed that no scene was made that day.