Once again, it’s been a couple of weeks since my last post. No real reason, except for laziness in the area of writing! I have been knitting some small gift bags for a friend which has taken some time. The picture only shows the first three. I did ten altogether. But it has basically been a case of nothing interesting (to me at least) to write about. Now I have been informed, that “… it is the reader that decides on the level of interest …” and I agree, up to a point. The point is that I need to enjoy what I’m writing about, or what is the point of writing?
Another week of stress is forthcoming. We will be going through R***’s Annual Review on Thursday. It’s always a strain at the best of times, but with the current situation facing us, it’s even worse this time. At least it’s a face to face meeting with his whole team, which is an improvement. Meeting over “Zoom” was ingenious, but it didn’t quite work as it should. His support team had a laptop between them, which was placed in the middle of a rectangular table. This meant that people at the far end of the table couldn’t be heard and the people closest to the laptop couldn’t be seen.
What should have happened is that there should have been a laptop between two people. That way everyone would have shown on screen when they spoke. It seemed such a simple idea.
I was doing a little computer “housekeeping” last week and came across a link I had almost forgotten about. I used to have a site on “Blogger”, but it began as a cross-posting site for this blog. I was never satisfied with it as it didn’t seem to have the style that WordPress has and I quickly abandoned it. However, the link I re-found was to a “Google Sites” location. I seemed to have created it way back in 2009 as a place to self-publish some photos and short stories. To be honest, there is not much there as I concentrated more on this site.
I’m not sure how long the site will stay live, but it’s there for now and I’ll just have to wait and see what happens in the future. I have no immediate intention of updating or adding to the content, but it was interesting to visit it again, and who knows what will happen, if I ever get the “story bug” again …… The five short stories that are on there are all based in part on things that did actually happen to people I know.
I’m not really a gambling person. I do the Postcode Lottery and the National Lottery Thunderball, but that’s about it. However, I do have a SkyBet online account. I opened it a couple of years ago, when I could not get to the local bookmakers, to place a bet on the Grand National. I wasn’t that bothered but a colleague at the time told me that a horse called Many Clouds stood a good chance and was being ridden by a friend of his. It was the only way I could get a bet on. The start-up was a minimum of £10.00 and they gave me a £10.00 single bet as a new customer bonus. It was a shame that I didn’t use that free £10.00 on the race, as the horse, Many Clouds won at 25/1 which would have been a good win. In fact, I didn’t even have a bet on the race as I had completely misread the starting time.
But all that is beside the point. I have this online account and I use it occasionally. The thing is I don’t speculate with large sums of money. I decided very early that having the opportunity to gamble whilst sitting at my laptop could lead to serious repercussions. So my betting account is just for fun! The largest bet I have made with it was a £5.00 bet on a horse that my sister-in-law’s partner has a share in. It lost! After that, I limit my bets to small wagers. Very small wagers. I like to randomly pick a venue, pick a race, and scroll down the list of runners and riders until a horse name strikes my eye. More often than not, that horse will not even be placed. Occasionally I will get a second or third place and get some of my money back. But they are never big winners, until recently that is.
Towards the end of March, I had one of my usual small bets, a 50p each-way wager (that’s how small my bets can be). It was the third race I had placed some money on and I didn’t even wait until the race had begun before I logged out and went to do some household jobs. It wasn’t until the following Monday, that I even checked the results. Big surprise, the horse had won and won at a price of 25/1. That gave me a return of £49.00! But it doesn’t end there.
Yesterday, I had a scroll through the various race meetings and I spotted that it was the day of the Irish Grand National. I scrolled down the list and picked a horse that was priced at 20/1. £1.00 each-way on that horse and then another one that was running at 10/1, another pound each-way. As a bit of a joke, I scrolled to the last horse in the race. The price was 125/1 and as I had an odd pound, I placed a bet, this time only 50p each-way. I logged out and completely forgot about it until this morning. Can you imagine my surprise when I checked the results and found that my ‘joke’ bet had won and my winnings were £75.00.
It’s been three weeks since my last post, and there have not been any real reasons why. I’ve just been a little bit lazy I suppose. I don’t like writing when there is a chance of being disturbed and with the problems we are experiencing with our youngest son, sitting and putting fingers to keyboard has not been the top of my to-do list. I think I’ve explained here before that Rh*s is Autistic and has several other linked conditions. One of the issues many Autistic people have is routine. Things have to be the same with little or no variation. Rh*s likes to know what he is doing, where and when he is doing it and who with. Changes, even the slightest can lead to anxiety and stress, which often manifests in his behaviour. He currently lives at his residential placement for 4 nights and 5 days a week. He is picked up from home Monday morning and returns Friday evening. It’s taken a long time to get to this stage, and he appears to be happy with the arrangement. He has his own flat and many staff to support him on a daily basis. However, it is now the time to plan his placement for the next year, and this is causing some issues.
I create a planner that shows the nights he sleeps at his flat and the nights he doesn’t. This planner is on his bedroom wall at home and one of his walls at his flat. The current planner ends on the 31st December this year. Since the middle of June, he has been ‘worrying’ that he is not going to his flat next year. Before he can see his dates we have to run it past the representative, of the people who funds his placement and this is where there has been a stumbling block. We believe, that as his placement is fully funded for 24/7 care, that the funders are going to insist on him going 24/7. We, as parents, and the support team do not think he is ready for this yet and we may have some arguments to overcome in the next couple of weeks. The uncertainty has come out in his behaviour, to the extent that he is not wanting to do some of the activities that we know he enjoys. He has also taken to ‘chanting’ about his dates. Every so often and at the moment it seems to be every hour or so he will recite “Friday, Saturday, Sunday” for every weekend up until the end of 2020. This is basically, we think is his way of asking “What am I doing next year?” We think he can actually picture his calendar in his head, rather than actually remembering the dates.
We were supposed to be meeting with the representative for a review of Friday, but the person had got some crossed wires and did not turn up. The meeting has now been rescheduled for early October, but this does not resolve the issue we have. What we and his care manager are now thinking, is that we just go ahead with the dates we are looking at, and if the funders are not happy with that, the issue will be taken to an advocate to speak for him in what they call “Best Interest”. From what I understand this advocate will look at what each party thinks is his best interest and make a decision. Could go either way, but I think that parents and carers know what is best for him more that someone sat at a desk with a financial spreadsheet in front of them. Gong to be a stressful couple of weeks.
Yesterday was a day I was a little apprehensive about. I was meeting up with an old school friend for lunch. We have met a couple of times over the past few years, but I seem to have been trying to avoid meeting again. I can’t say why. We both get on together. We have similar interests and both enjoy reminiscing our school days. However, whether it is an age thing we always seem to talk about the same thing … teachers, school-mates, punishments and the general high-jinx we can remember getting up to. We did chat about our current respective jobs, but not much of anything else. Now the problem is, for both of us is a memory thing. He remembers many of the people we were with at school, and I only a few. But then again, I remember things that happened that he can’t remember. So it makes for an interesting lunchtime. We have both promised to ‘do it again, soon’ but I’m not sure it will happen.
Today was K***s birthday. I did mention earlier that she was having a family break with her sister and father. I was going for the day to celebrate her birthday and have a nice lunch. That was the plan, and to all intense and purpose that plan was successful. The only downside was the location of the lunch venue. It was The Horseshoe Inn, in Levisham and was only 15 minutes away from the cottage they were staying at. The place itself was great, and the food was mostly very good. I had Haddock and Chips. The fish was well cooked, but the chips seemed to be in the fashion of triple cooked chips. I’m not a fan really. They tend to be really dark, over cooked looking and not the golden brown chips I was brought up on. Always seem a little bit greasy to me. But back to the down side. The ride to get there was tortuous. It was all narrow, windy country lanes, but the worst part was the inclines and declines. At one stage the road sign said that the incline was 1 in 5 (an old sign which is usually replaced by one saying 20%) which is quite steep at the best of times, but when you factor in the twists and turns of the road, it was a bit of a nightmare. I drove most of the way without getting out of third gear and on the 1 in 5 stage, I was forced to drop to second gear. One of the most scarier drives I have taken, and then I had to drive back.
K*** is back at some point tomorrow, and I am looking forward to it. I mentioned before about the noises, but not about the silence in between. I do like my own company, but I often find that I talk to myself as if there was another person there. I explain things that I know about, as if there is somebody with me that knows a lot less than me. Sounds a bit weird, but my doctor tells me that it can be quite a normal thing. To cap it all, there is nothing on the television that I want to watch. I can’t watch the few programs we watch together, as they are being recorded for when K*** gets home, so if the telly goes on, it is usually and old comedy show or the news. the comedy shows I have watched before, and these days the news is so full of doom and gloom, that it is positively depressive. Still it does give me a little time to write a new blog post.
A bit of an update on yesterdays ‘scary’ moment post. I noticed, this morning, a news item on my WordPress dashboard, advertising a WordPress event in Leeds. It would seem that there is a local WP group that meets up quite regularly. It is not likely that I would attend, but I thought it would be good to find out a little more, as I had no idea that this kind of thing existed in the UK.
So to get at the main details etc, I had to join up with an organisation called ‘meetup.com’. Sounded reasonable, so I went ahead and started to fill in the required email, username and password. I scrolled to the bottom of the screen, looking for the ‘next’ button when I spotted one of those Google location markers. To my surprise my location was described as “Huddersfield”. The Google alert claimed that the login attempt was from a PC in the Huddersfield area. A bit of a coincidence!
Now, here’s what I think has happened. The bathroom fitters had to turn off the electric for a while, which of course turned off the internet router. When the power was restored my PC tried to log me back into my Google account, and it failed a couple of times. When It did finally log me in, I then got the notification of the ‘Account Alert’ So it seems (don’t quote me on this) that the perceived hacking attempt, was actually me. Somehow, something was indicating the my laptop was in Huddersfield. Very bizarre indeed as it has never been to Huddersfield.
At the end of the day, I was probably safe, but it did shake me up a little and made more determined to review my password management.
The ubiquitous ‘team’ meeting today. I cannot think of anybody in the office that was looking forward to it. We have to go through this, usually, once a month. The main problem is, that most of the information we receive, is already on the Intranet !! So basically we have a hour listening to stuff most of us know already. Of course we get a ‘thanks for coming’ at the start of the meeting, but unless you are off work, you don’t really get a choice.
This should be publisized on facebook and Twitter …… we shall see !!!
Today was the day everyone dreads. Team Brief day !!! I cannot say what I really think about out meetings, as my blog is not ‘X’ rated. Suffice to say, it always is an experience !!!! A day to put out of your mind forever !!!! The words boring, patronising and condescending are too mild to describe what we have to put up with on a monthly basis. The Service Manager came in for the first five minutes and gave us some important information. We all took this information in, and there was no questions. There was no need. Then, the line manager spent the next 20 minutes explaining (in terms we low life could understand) what the Service Manager had said !!!! We are not stupid !!!! Even the ones that are not the brightest candles in the chandelier, understood, so why the patronisation ?
The problems we had with the IT software got resolved. As I expected, it was a problem with our IT department. It would appear, that a shared, temporary folder on the network had been set as read only. Who did that, and more importantly, why ? You see, the main problem we have, is that our IT department does not understand the software, what it does or how it works, and the software house does not understand how our IT department works. This often leads to very stressful and difficult times, with me trying to explain the workings of each. Not an easy task, when both parties believe they know best.
Quite a reasonable day today, except for the start. Today was the day we have our “regular” team meeting. I use the word regular in it’s most broad sense. We are supposed to have one every month, but thankfully, it is a lot less often. The problem is, that it last for 75 minutes, and 90% of the meeting could take 20 minutes only. Someone like the sound of his own voice too much. The agenda is always the same, and for the most times, the content is the same too.
The rest of the work day went okay. I think I have managed to sort out the problems with the handheld repairs. It would appear that the repair company were unable to create an RMA for 4 cases, so they left them !!! It was only when I contacted them, that someone realised the problem and tried again. I would put money on the fact, that I won’t get a customer satisfaction survey for these cases.
Youngest has been okay tonight. He got a bit upset when someone was letting fireworks off. They really seem to bother him now. It was strange, because when the first couple went off, he seemed to be quite excited, but that soon changed. To his credit, when I told him to put his head phones on, he did so straight away, and kept them on for a good 2 hours. They are noise cancelling full ear phones, and when they switched on really deaden all external noise.
He tried the IPod at school today. It looks like they have been showing him what to do, and he seems to have some understanding. I still think that it will not be of much use for him. School thinks it is marvellous !!! Mrs H spoke with the Principal today, who is determined to find the money to buy some IPods and the software to use in school. Maybe they can see more different uses than I can.
It has been a very interesting day. That is, after I had recovered from last night. It was almost midnight when S**** and me came out of the pub, and although I had not had a lot to drink, I had a bit of a bad head this morning. It was a good evening though, and it seems I may now be part of the ‘group’ now. Or as St**** put it ‘one of us now’.
We had the software house ‘User Group’ meeting today. Spike had arranged it, and it seemed to be going very well. Then, the guest speaker overran on her presentation slightly, and the question and answer session raised a number of issues, which delayed the remaining parts of the meeting. We had to be out of the meeting/luncheon rooms by 2pm, and by 1pm Spike was beginning to look like a headless chicken. All good fun. the lunch buffet was fine, but there was nothing to drink !!! Not even water, which did not go down well at all.
Eldest went back to his place tonight. I think Mrs H is beginning to start to get used to the whole idea now. He brought loads of washing with him, and she is going to take it back tomorrow, and try and get him signed up at the Uni’s gym. It apparently costs £100.00 for the year, or £4.00 per visit. Well you only have to go once a week, and your already making a big saving. He seems to think, that he will go a couple of times a week, and go swimming too. Swimming will be good for his back.
It should be a reasonably quiet day tomorrow. Spike is off, and I do not have too much on at the moment. I need to try and sweet talk the software house into either giving us 4 user license for one of our applications, or at least letting us have it cheap. I do not know how that is going to turn out. They want us to upgrade to a different piece of software, and it is not something we are in a position to do at the moment.
Well there was no phone call from him today. I did not expect him to ring, but Mrs H thought he might. It has been a long day. I was that concerned about Mrs H sleeping, that I did not get much sleep myself. She was awake around about half past four, and from about that time I just dozed with one eye open. We were both up at twenty past seven !!! I have a feeling, tonight may be the same.
It’s just five days work, then I am off for a whole week. I may have to go in on the Tuesday morning, but it will only be for an hour or and hour and fifteen minutes. I’m not too happy about leaving P*** to do both the download and the cash transfer. He would probably be okay with the download, but he just would not do the cash, which means D*** would have two lots to do on the Wednesday, and that can be a bit of a pain.
I have my appraisal or ‘Personal Development Review’ or PDR as it is called. I have always been a fan of appraisals, until S**** came to work with us. He takes everything just too serious, including the recording of the meeting. It will take at least an hour. All that will happen is that I will get my ‘objectives’ for the year, and a discussion about why last years did not get completed. There will be no training required (where does the ‘Development’ part come in ??), and I will be told what an asset I am, and how the section could not run without me. There is no financial incentive, no chance of promotion. No benefit what so ever. Total waste of time.
On a different track, my legs ache. It must have been all that walking up and down the stairs at S****’s flat. I thought I was going down with flu this morning. Apart from that achy legs, my head spinning. It was only when I realised, that I had drunk most of the red wine, that I understood the problem.
No one to chat to tonight. They must all be having an early one. Therefore, so will I. Tomorrow will be quite a busy day, especially if I decide to do my PDR prep.
This mornings meeting went as well as can be expected. Toby was in his usual ‘salesman’ mode. I have got to admit, he does know his stuff these days. He still gives the impression of the dodgy car dealer, but he is very sociable and likable. Dave was a typical IT manager … very defensive in a jokey sort of way. He’s likable too, but needs a bit of a boot to keep him on track. Mark was Mark. Knows what he wants, and expects it to happen. The problem (as usual) was Spike. He just seemed to be very disconnected. His three item agenda, turned into a six item agenda. He even asked about a project that was finished and signed off before Christmas. Unbelievable. Still he is off tomorrow, so everyone will be in a happy mood.
The rest of the work day passed without incident. Although I’m not very happy with someone at the moment. They seems to be fiddling their time sheets. Taking an hour lunch and booking only 30 minutes. Okay, I’m not overworked at the moment, but I try not to make it look too obvious. I don’t sit there reading the paper when I should be ‘appearing to work’.
Tonight’s meeting was informative. I feel a little more comfortable now. All the staff that will be going to Germany with the kids, seem to be fully confident that there will be no problems, and that if there are, they will deal with them. Cannot say fairer than that. It looks like they have 20 years experience between them. It is an interesting thought though. If anyone had said five years ago, even two years ago, that he would be going on a residential to Germany, I would have laughed them out of the room. Then here we are studying his kit-list and wondering which case he will be taking. When you think, all those years ago, and what we were given to expect. It is really quite amazing what he has achieved.
Firefox is fixed now. Usenet comes up with the goods again. Thank you ‘Fox On The Run’. It’s good to know, that when you want free professional help, that the newsgroups usually come up trumps. It has been a long time since I had a look on the groups, and to be honest, some of the questions asked, I know the answer to. With a lot of the questions though, I don’t even know what the question means. I’ll scan through the Excel posts and see if I can pick up a tip or two. I must have a serious look at getting a separate news reader. I don’t really like using Outlook Express. I know there are a number of free ones out there, but the last time I asked for advice about a free one, I got a lot of grief about not using OE. It was not what I expected. I used to use Forte Free Agent, and I understand that an old version is still available. I may Google the question. at least I won’t get flamed that way.