Sunday, 30 May 2010

Who knew?

Fahed suffers from depression. He has to be kept busy and it has to be meaningful or he goes into serious decline. He cant cope with leisure time. His work as a swimming teacher is something he loves and would do for free but it is tied to the educational calendar. This means very often no lessons during school breaks & very little work during the day with mother and baby classes or school classes only. We need something to fill his mornings and his holidays. In short I think this is a more extreme version of my bored and fed up syndrome. He also gets over whelmed by how much needs doing to the house, although actually it is nearly finished.

So we have decided to take this in hand but of course budget is still an issue.
Whatever we do has to affordable, interesting and over by 3pm (ready for work, which could go on until 10pm, depending on the days).

So far we have;
GCSE science - at the local college for 3 hours per week plus 3 hours homework.
Saxophone lessons - £20 per hour/£10 half an hour.
German lessons - 3 hours per week with a friend. We haven't asked the friend yet though!
French conversation - at college but not sure of cost. Only suitable if they run in the day time.
Driving disabled children to school- Saw this job advertised and will ring up on Monday about it. He already teaches swimming to disabled children and so has some idea of the issues. He also has a CRB check which I would assume is mandatory. Some additional income would be useful to pay for the other things but there may be problems with the timing of collection from school in the afternoon as it cold clash with existing lessons.

Monday morning is a priority as he suffers most of all after a weekend with everyone around, so that needs to be the first point of structure.

I wish I had understood depression case and effects 20 years ago, it would have made life a lot easier. I am grateful really though to at least partially understand it now. I wouldn't wish it on anyone but its manageable when you know the triggers.

Time to go do some housework.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Whats to do

To counter my boredom blues

New haircut -as I currently look like a yetti.
New knickers -I kow no-one can see them but I will know!
New glasses - required as I am having serious vision problems.. Had my test today and had to fork out £200 for varifocals for the first time.
New laptop - Fahed is buying me a new laptop for my birthday. My current machine is nearly five years old & dying daily. I have ordered a new netbook from Dell Outlet.
Travel plans - aiming to visit friend in Sardinia for a few days in October/November.
Summer holiday - Flights are booked for 2.5 weeks in Crete in the summer.
Distant travel plans - I am checking out the feasibility/affordability of a short break in Marrakesh next year.
Discuss with Fahed what other events we can attend such as Chelsea Flower Show, Wimbledon tennis, gigs & festivals.Maximise the 'mystery shopping' restaurant visits that we do. Aim for one a week.

and ofcourse do all this but still be on a serious budget.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Feelings

I was going to say I am bored. Not sure if I get bored but I think I feel I am bored when I am actually a little fed up. And why I am fed up? No idea. Life is pottering along. We are re-organising the department at work but it is win win for me as I get more of what I like (managing a big team across three sites, total control of my 'area of interst' rents, service charges etc) and less of what I dont like (boring board reports, board/bored meeting, accounting returns, dull, dull, dull). So cant be that.

I have booked the flights for summer visit to the Crete house. Hope it is still standing.

The house here is progressing (slowly)and is certainly no more like a building site than usual.

Garden is looking pretty good and has tomatoes, cucmbers etc planted up & growing well.

Fahed hasn't got much work compared with previously, so we are short of csh, but we are pretty sensible with our cash so it's not been too noticeable. From September it is starting to pick up again so we may be saving more soon.

I feel really bad being all whiney when everything is pretty rosy. Maybe its my hormones or maybe I am just a bit bored.

I need some economical fun. Any suggestions??

Monday, 17 May 2010

I used to like to travel

and actually I want to travel again. I dont travel much for a few reasons. We like to look after our money and work towards financial security. We have a house in Crete and I feel morally obliged to go there atleast every year. My husband suffers from depression and change of routine and time away from work are to be avoided.

We need to find a compromise. I have an idea. Once every few year he travels to Syria or Jordan to visit family. He is gone for between 6 and 12 weeks (and comes back as miserable as sin becuase of change, no work etc but if he doesnt go then he gets home sick and that is worse). Its fine with me. Gives me the chance to miss him which is always good. If I didnt miss him then it would be bad. He is going again in the summer of 2012. He doesnt think I can handle to come with him. There are too many family members and everyone telling me what to do. Not suitable for a British woman of middle age, I can imagine. I think he is right, I am neither patient enough not sufficiently sociable to spend a lot of time with the in laws. They dont seem to be offended by my absence and I guess they assume I am some poor down trodden soul who isnt allowed to take a holiday.

I really would like to visit Syria though and I am wondering whether I can tag 2 weeks onto his holiday for us to have some family time togther. In my mind I am starting to ahve some ideas, maybe flyin to Cyprus and catch the ferry from Cyprus to Latakia. Perhaps a trip into Jordan to visit Petra and Wadi Rum, even the dead sea.

Before I had this flash of inspiration I had already started looking aorund at what availabel for a shorter amount of time. Maybe he could manage a short break once or twice a year or maybe I can go on my own. I can when he is away but I dont think he would cope well if I left him at home to travel (I know its not fair but lifes not fair). I am thinking first of a long weekend in Sardinia, visitng a friend of ours. That should break him easily into the idea of travelling for short breaks with the advantage that he is back at work before his gloomy side can take over.

My visit list is being greatly inspired by Easyjet so far. Loving Stelios!!

Saturday, 15 May 2010

So spoilt!


Last weekend I had a flying visit from my friend from the island, before I shot off to work for the day. My birthday isn't until next month but as well as a visit I got a superb book, The Hairy Bikers Family Cookbook, and a little plant, appropriately a Bizzy Lizzie, and she is now flowering. Feeling pleasantly spoilt now. They were off to cycle around Bath for a week so hopefully it was fun, certainly sounds like it would be and the weather was pretty good overall. Not too hot which is best if you are in the saddle a lot. Now wishing I had taken up the offer of a salary sacrifice at work to buy a new bike. Never mind,next year.

My 18 year old and my 20 year old sons were both around the house this morning. SO unusual for a Saturday. Normally there is work or play but today a few hours of pure sloth. Baby decided to come shopping with his mama. First to Lidl to stock up on salad and fruit, plus their fab Greek yogurt. I also invested a little in meat but not too bad. Shopping for this week was £50.30. Then to Ikea for some new glasses. I seem to be on a spree. They didn't have the ones I wanted but I found some I liked. Also a stepping stool for upstairs ( I am short, storage is high up)and a couple of bed side lights to take to the other house. Total purchases just under £20. For the rest of the time I was cleaning and being generally domesticated (washing up, cleaning cooker, laundry). Now I have just made a lovely salad for the old chaps lunch when he comes home from work at 4. He has a small steak to go with it.My other purchase was two cucumber plants from my neighbours stall. If I get all off my work done today then tomorrow is a playing in the garden day.

Now I am taking a break for a lunch of yogurt and strawberries. Eldest son has gone to pick his girlfriend up from work and baby has forgotten he was going out and is playing some game in the sitting room.

I just love lazy days sometimes, and the company of my kids.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Influence

I have been away for two days this week with my fellow managers learning how to engage staff and the importance of doing so. There was also a considerable session on how to stop whining and take control (although it may have also been called something like 'increasing you area of influence').There was a lot of focus on managing staff properly and allowing them to grown and develop. The session on increasing your are of inlfuence was very much that if you just get on with it and stop whineying then you find your area of control starts to grow. Probably not suitable for those who like a good moan but good for me. I liked the ideas and focus of the training and am proud of my organisation for actually thinking that the way to work but I also felt I personally benefitted from the training.

As it is year end I was working until midnight last night. I didnt have to but I like the idea that we will be ready in good time for the auditors. So tomorrow I am going to work again. However using my new control superpowers I know I am not being forced to do this, and so feeling resentful, but activiely managing the time avilable to me to get where I want to be over the coming week. My fun days will be less this weekend but they will still be fun. Today is cleaning day. Tonight a few hours with family. Tomorrow a short visit from my friend who is over from the island, before darting of to work again. However this means I can enjoying Sunday evening more so all is well. Knowing that I am where I want to be at work will mean the evening is more relaxing anyway.


As I type (and cook lunch) I can hear noise coming from the other room as my son tries to fit a double bed into the space only a single bed can fit it into (his girlfriend sort of lives here too). I hope the power of positive thinking is working for him too!

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Now we know for sure - Toast equals Headaches


I tested out the bread theory. Toast and all sorts of other carbs yesterday. Even had some fruit juice (ah, paradise). Horrendous headache starting at 5am this morning, left me after many painkillers a little the worse for wear at about 10am. Don't think it can be a coincidence.

Still, back to my frugal plans. I awaited my delivery of my free 'three' replacement phone on Wednesday, and again on Thursday and Friday. Each day I received a text telling me the times it would be delivered between. It never was which confounds my plans to sell it on eBay this weekend. Very clever high tech idea with the texts but doesn't seem to be very successful so far.


My son had a box of goodies to be collected by Virgin Media ( a failed attempt at broadband when he lived at the flat share with friends). They asked me to stay in on Saturday morning until noon for a courier to collect. Guess what, no courier. Gosh I am so surprised. Maybe it is the same delivery company that doesn't deliver three phones either.

This year I increased my shopping budget to £70 per week for the rather austere £40 per week that we previously kept too (mostly). Last week I spent just over £100 but this week £42 so just about on track. I certainly can shop for less but have chosen not too. I don't waste my money on ready meals though just plenty of fresh veg and fruit, nice meat and all the usual basics. Not matter how much the garden produces (which it generally doesn't) I couldn't keep up with my families salad needs. I think it is their Mediterranean blood!


On the subject of veg, my parents next door neighbour has offered me six tomato plants. I will do my best not to kill them off this year. The last two yea we had tomato blight in the whole area and they just died. The previous year was a success though and I had more tomatoes than you can imagine, I live in hope that we will avoid the blight at some point. Plan to plant a couple of cucumbers too, one courgette, maybe an aubergine, some chilies but not as many as last year, and some sweet peppers.

Maybe if it doesn't rain tomorrow I can actually get out in the garden to start everything off.

Summer Rain

The middle of summer on the sunny south coast of England, and the rain is falling heavily enough to keep us indoors again. We were hoping to...