Goodbye to a long year


     By the time you read this, 2012 will nearly be over. It’s a year that has had it’s ups and downs and I’m probably glad to see the back of it. Some the downsides have been quite traumatic: finding out that the job you’ve been doing for the past seven years, will no longer exist; Mrs H finding out she had a Melanoma on her arm; coming home to find the Police in the house after R*** had had a melt down; discovering that there was a plan in place to section R*** if needed and that the ‘plan’ had nearly been invoked twice, must all rank at the top of the downers. Then of course there was the uppers: getting a new job; R*** settling in at his new place; R*** taking to his respite without a problem; S**** getting a great review for his part in the local panto; surviving Christmas (still have New Years Eve) are all up there with good times. I also got a new laptop, and I was not sure if it was an upper or a downer. It was struggle to get it to how i wanted it, but when it was all done, it was brilliant!
     My writing is coming along. It is a slow progress, because I think in my own mind, that I’m not good enough to do it. I will have days when I will just sit at the keyboard, and do not know what to write. Then on other days, I will hammer out a couple of hundred words. But then i read back what I’ve written, and realise that it is nonsense, and I have to start again. I’m currently writing a story that has a troll involved. I’ve got up to 4000 words, but I don’t know where I am going from here, or even if going to take it any further. I may just use this a practice piece whilst I figure out what I really want to write about. I did start writing a blog for a national magazine and wrote a few  posts, about the local area and what was happening, but the stats were very disappointing, with no comments neither good or bad. You do need people to comment. Even if they just tell how bad the piece is, it shows that they have interested enough to read it and offer advice. I gave up after four posts and have not written anything for it since December 2011.
     I have recently taken one of the pieces I have written and turned it into a sketch/play. It still needs some work, but with that one, I know what I need to do. I’ve been reading and bought a couple of books about Creative Writing, and am now beginning to understand where I have to start from, and how to develop ideas. It is going to a long process, but as I have indicated to HR at work, I am interested in taking voluntary early retirement in March 2015, I need to get my skates on, so to speak.
     I suppose, that the last sentence needs a little more explaining. I work for local government, and without going in to the politics of it (especially my views) a number of staff in the 55 – 65 age bracket, have been asked to consider either early retirement (VER) or voluntary severance (VS). As I fall in to that age category, I decided to apply for VER. I have sufficient service to give me that maximum payout, and although the pension will not be full amount, I would only be eligible for a further £2000.00 a year if a I stayed on until I was 66. It has yet to be passed by management, but at my level, I do not think there will be a problem. It will mean a massive change, and I will need to get some kind of part-time job, to help with the finance situation, but I think it will be okay. So you see, if I can get my head around writing and develop the skills I need to write creatively, the boredom factor that people get when they retire should not creep in. Who knows, I may even make a few pounds from the experience.

 

     Well, I think I have blathered on for long enough. All that is left now is to wish you all a  very prosperous and successful new year, and hope that 2013 brings you everything you wish for.

It gets closer …..


    I don’t need to tell anyone, but it just over a week to go. Then we can get back to some form of normality, whatever that may be. Just a couple of presents to get, (last minute hints from Mrs H) and I should be done. So I’ll be nipping off to the White Rose centre tomorrow, and I also need to pay a visit to Aldi too. I need to get some Parmesan, and it seems to be one of the best places to buy it. We also bought some ‘mini’ mince pies there last year. They came out top in the Which Best Buy.

     This week will see the usual Christmas Fuddles start. Ours is on Friday, but I’ve also been invited to the one at my previous office, on Wednesday. I made the mistake of saying I would go there on Monday or Tuesday and was told that I was invited. I now have to find an excuse not to go. I never liked it when I worked there, so I’m not going to like it now. I think D*** will get it, but the rest of them won’t.

     K*** and me went to R***’s college on Friday. It is just outside Barnsley, and we (replace the with ‘I’) had to drive through dreadful weather. It was icy, foggy, and rainy at the same time. There had been numerous accidents on the M1, and it had been closed in parts, so we opted to travel the A1 instead. I think, if the weather had been better, it would have proved to be the more suitable road. It certainly seemed a lot easier to find his college this time, and I don’t think it was anything to do with the fact we have been three times before.

     It was a good day, and it was nice to see the flat where R*** has his base, and to meet the support staff he works with. I have just thought though. He currently uses this flat just as a day base. He does not sleep there when he is on respite, because it is/was a shared resource. The person who shared with him, will be based in another flat in the future. I wonder if they have given any thought to R*** using this flat as his respite flat now. To me it makes sense, although there may be many reason why the management cannot put this in place. However, it is worth a phone call next week. I shall let you know.

     His psychiatrist and the community nurse, that works with us, told K*** that they wanted to have their next meeting at a different place from usual. They tried to sell it to me as a way of getting him used to different places. However, it came out in Friday’s meeting, that this place is some kind of secure unit/place of safety. It did not click at first, but his psychiatrist want to get him on to an anti-psychotic drug to help manage his behaviour. Now we had this before, when he was put on a drug, and it completely disagreed with him. It made him worse. He was depressed, sobbing and weeping often, and also self-harming. The self-harm was only minor, hitting the side of his head and nipping himself, but the specialist wanted to increase the drug, bur we said we wanted to stop it. After a day or too, he was back to ’normal’ or as normal as he was before.  So what this new psychiatrist want to do, is to take him into ‘hospital’ so they can observe and monitor him whilst on this drug. This secure unit is the ‘hospital’ they want to use. We are going to have to be very careful here. I don’t want him on any anti-psychotics, and I think K*** feels the same, but I feel that there may be plans that we are not party to. A year ago, he was a teenager with Autism and challenging behaviour. Now it seems that he some kind of psychopath and a danger to the community !!!!! When did that all change.

Improving times


It’s just over three weeks since the operation, and it’s been a bit of a rough time for Mrs H. The main wound seems to have been okay, apart from leakage the first week, and a slight infection at the bottom end. That is right on the  crux of her elbow, so any movement would have delayed any healing there. No, the main problem has been her underarm. As part of the procedure, the surgeon performed, what I understand to be called a ‘Nodal Survey’. This, I believe is to check whether the Melanoma had spread to her ‘nodes’, which is not a very good thing to happen. Well, this has been where the main problem has been. Last Thursday, she could feel that there was more tenderness in her underarm that there had been the week before. Also there seemed to be a ‘bit of a lump’. By Saturday, this had turned into a very painful swelling, and did not seem to be getting any better. A very very disturbed night followed, and on Sunday morning she rang the ‘out of hours’ doctor. She was told to go straight to the emergency department at the hospital, as it sounded like a cyst. The only problem with that, was that R***’s support worker could not take him out that day, so he would have to come with us. So with a fully medicated son in tow we sped off. We were only in the place for about an hour, before we were on our way home with a packet of antibiotics. Job done. R*** had coped extremely well, and I think they may have pushed her up the queue a little, because of him. The infection is starting to improve a lot now, but the ‘Jubilee Holiday’ has been a bit of a damp squib, and not just because of the weather.

Work has been brilliant !!! Firstly, letting have the time off the week Mrs H had the operation, and now they have allowed me to take leave this week. Mrs H really could not have coped on her own, with R***. He can be difficult with all of, when there are no other problems. So a big thanks to them. Seems different, having a management team, that are willing to put themselves out for an individual. It’s not really happened with the last ‘team’. I’ll be glad to get back and start to become a real part of the team.

Quick update


The interview did go well. When I got home on Friday afternoon, there was a voicemail from my new Manager. I was offered one of the two jobs I had applied for. It wasn’t the first preference, but there was so little difference between my preferences, that I was quite happy. Very happy in fact. However, this is going to cause some problems for my current management. I felt that I was being pressurised, even bullied, into trying to get keep the ‘status quo’ with regard to my job. It was never going to happen! My job had gone, and I was fighting to get another job. I still don’t think my line manager has grasped the idea. He will do soon though !!!

I’m going to ring my new manager first thing in the morning. Hopefully before my (ex) line manager (SM) gets in. I will need to both formally accept the offer, and need to talk about my new roles and responsibilities. I also need to talk about, what will happen in my old job. I have a strong feeling that SM will try and cause some trouble. He has already dismissed my new manager as not knowing what things are about. Some of his comments, such as “What she needs to understand is ….”, shows his contempt for people that he does know. I have come to the conclusion, over the years, that he does not like so called ‘powerful women’. I think he feels threatened by them. I, on the other hand, have no problem with women bosses.

On a whim, I decided to write up a version of the telephone message, from my new boss. I added a little bit of dramatic license. Just over four hundred words and I feel it reads quite well. I may post it on here, but then again …….I am going to start writing anything and everything. It can only give me more experience, and I am also going to start calling myself a writer. Not a good/bad writer, just a writer.

Colleagues … what to do with them ?


I have to say, that possibly one of the downsides of working for a Local Authority, is that getting rid of ‘dead wood’ is damn near impossible. People can be totally incompetent, and they seem to be untouchable. It’s everyone elses fault that they are useless. It is all put down to ‘a training issue’ and management has not trained them properly. Well that is the case sometimes, but when some takes a shortcut to allegedly save time, after being told not to, then that is not a training issue. That is a disciplinary issue !!!!

The council is looking to save money by cutting back on recruitment. Better way …. sack the crap and employ quality staff.

Today it snowed …..


   The snow had been falling for nearly 1 minute, before that fateful cry came from within the ranks … ‘Can we go early … It’s snowing ???’ It is the same every time. Snow only has to be mentioned, and there are some people wanting to leave early. Tomorrow, those same people will spend most of the day, watching the weather through the few windows we have in the office, and bemoaning the fact that management will not let us go home. Well is you like your home so much, LEAVE !!!!!

   To be honest, it’s 22:40 and there is a good 1 inch of snow. We probably will not get much more overnight, but you never can tell. I’ll take it easy driving tomorrow. It’s motorway for 9/10 of the journey, so the road will not be so bad, once I get out of the village. I’ll wager good money, that the car park at work is like an ice-rink. It usually is.

   No problems with the system today. However, one of the major parts of the upgrade, still has to be started. I am supposed to run a Windows ’Scheduled Task’, but our IT department, in their infinite wisdom, has disabled that particular function. Thanks guys, you really know how to make things easy for the rest of us. What really bugs me, is that technology is supposed to make work more efficient and productive. But IT departments do not seem to think that way. I’m convinced, that if the IT department had their way, then we would not have computers, just in case we caused any problems !!!!!

Success !!!!!!!


   Paid my car tax online at last. I just have to hope that the disc comes through by Monday. A maximum of 5 working days they say, so bearing in mind that Government working days now include Saturdays, the latest it should arrive is Tuesday.

   We had our ‘Road Show’ today. It was quite good, very much as expected really. We got an overview of where the service is now, where senior management wants it to be in the future and a reality check on where it will actually be !!! It was interesting to find out the type of information that was available to staff, that our manager is not disseminating.

   Just about ready to go to the pub now. It’s rehearsal night, and the drama group usually head off to the Red Lion at around 10:00pm. I’ll be in from just before, and I think it is my turn to buy a round. As it is a Sam Smiths pub, a round is not too expensive.