From then to now … getting the hang of it


For the first few weeks, I felt a little out of place. All the team I was with, bar one had been office workers since leaving school and most of them had been with a Local Authority, so I was a bit of an oddity. Most of them couldn’t seem to get their heads around why, with the qualifications I had, would I want to work in an office. This was something that had been explained to us on the course and so I was expecting it. They soon got over it within a couple of weeks, and I settled down to become an “Officer of The Council” as we were called.

The briefcase was the first thing to be ditched, quickly followed by the fountain pen and dictionary. I had also bought a Rucksacksuit and I soldiered on with that for a couple of months. We shared our office floor with a couple of other sections of the Council and I soon discovered that literally nobody carried a briefcase. Most of the women had some form of shopping/tote bag to supplement their handbag , but the men didn’t seem to have bags at all. I still had my lunch and calculator to carry, so I needed something. I eventually dug out my old school bag, which was one of those thick canvas army types that we used to be able to get from the Army and Navy stores. Now what ever happened to them?

It had been noted at my interview, that I had an interest in computers and technology. This of course led to me being given a ‘very important job’. Everyday, at 4pm I was to  perform the database back-up. Because IBM Computerthere was two types of parking ticket (on-street and car parks) we had two computer systems. The reason for this was that back in 1986 the on-street parking service (parking meters) merged with the off-street car parks service. Each brought their own systems which were not compatible. So the off-street system (car parks) used Microsoft Windows 2.1 and a software package called DataEase, dBase 2 screenwhereas the on-street part of the team had an old IBM machine that ran a program called dBase. It also ran Wordstar and Supercalc, but we never used them. It was dBase 2 that we had, but it was not like the other system which had it’s own built in back-up routine. No with this one, you first had to ‘drop out’ of the database and jump to a ‘DOS prompt’ Then you had to ‘Setpath’ which basically told the computer where to look and then type the back-up command. This had to be exact and had the location of the file to be backed-up, and the location where it was to be backed-up to. You then had to verify the back-up by following a similar routine.

It took me a couple of months before I realised that I could write a batch file to do all the leg work. When it worked first IT Experttime, I was a hero. I had shaved a good 10 minutes of the time and it was far more accurate.. The only downside to this was that I was now the Parking Departments IT expert! Everything from changing the computer plug filing the back-up discs to replacing the printer toner was now my job. I even got asked to ‘have a quick look’ at the photocopier. Other staff started to come to me with their IT related problems and I came to the attention of the IT Department. I was now the unofficial IT support (more on that later) for Parking. If IT wanted any small work doing, then I got the call and was talked through the problem and solutions. I was loving it.

From then to now … a new start …


Now it gets a little boring as nothing much happened for the next couple of years. K**h had a few jobs which included a vacuum cleaner salesperson. She answered an advertisement in the local free newspaper Kirbyfor a demonstrator and within five to six hours she had become a reseller. Now you may remember from films, the name Kirby. It was/is a huge brand of heavy duty vacuum cleaners from America. It was K**h’s job to follow up on leads, demonstrate the cleaner and convince the householder that their lives would suffer without one.

That job didn’t last very long and she moved on to various other jobs. One was setting up and Safewaysmaintaining houseplants in offices. That got her a large amount of knowledge of gardening and plant care. Other jobs followed before finally getting a job as a cashier in what was then called Safeway. That lasted a while and then got a better job at Marks & Spencer in  Pudsey.

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I didn’t find work straight away and we decided that I should decorate the whole house first. Well I managed the kitchen, the living room and the main bedroom, before the money started to run out. After about eight weeks or so I received a letter instructing me to attend an interview at what was called the Social Security Office (SSO). It was to “Discuss the reasons for me not being employed” and I had to attend on the Thursday morning at 9:30. So ‘suited and booted’ I duly arrived at 9:00 and was told that the interviewer would be late and I should come back in the afternoon. I remember looking at the one of the pin-boards where jobs were posted and spotted one for a “Cook in Charge” at a nearby Aged Persons Home (APH) The counter staffHillside APH rang the number and I was told to go along for an interview straight away.

Finding the place was easy as it was just off the main Leeds & Bradford road. I was shown into the office and the interview began. It was a strange experience and I almost knew that, after explaining the circumstances, the job was mine. It felt like I was interviewing them. Anyway, they told me they would be in touch. I went back to the SSO, knowing now that I had missed the interview I had originally gone for. I was told that the interview would be rescheduled for the following week.

I got home, and at about 5:00pm I had a phone call. I had got the job and when could I start. It was the following Monday when took my first tentative steps in the new job at Hillside APH.

Problems still ongoing…


When I started to compose this post at the beginning of the week, the problems I was having with my laptop were indeed ‘still ongoing’. However, and I am touching as much wood as I can find, things seem to be a little better at the moment. Many of the problems seemed to be with my Microsoft Office 365 applications. I was getting a lot of ‘xxx not responding’ messages when using Word, Excel and Outlook which seemed to point to an issue there. Although, other software was often slow to open and close. The internet gave me a few ideas, and one of the more prominent ones was to ‘repair’ my Office application. So I gave it a go, and (here’s when the touching wood comes into play) at the moment it seems to have worked.

Later yesterday, I got what IT people call the “Blue Screen of Death” or BSOD. For those that don’t know, it’s when Windows decides something is amiss, produces and ‘error code’, uploads the code to Microsoft and restarts your computer. I checked out the error code, which told me nothing at all but I was advised to run a system security tool. This tool, called Windows Defender Offline, which is part of the Windows security system, runs a much deeper scan for viruses and malware than the normal scan. It takes about 40 minutes on my laptop and (back to the wood touching again) seems to have done the trick, although I’m not holding my breath.

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I’m going to try a new approach to my posts. For a long time I have been combining the topics I want to say into one post. I usually separate the topics with a divider (as above) and the post can often have 4 or 5 topics. I have now decided to use single topics in each post, and post more often (how many times have I said ‘post more often’). I shall see how it goes.

Another bitten bullet and other things


The laptop I’m currently using is a Windows 7 machine. I’m always quite reluctant to change, espcially if I don’t feel the need to change. So I have never been tempted to upgrade my machine to a later version of Windows. However I may have no choice as Microsoft seems intent un upgrading users to Windows 10, whether they want it or not. As those in the know, it’s a free upgrade and brings ‘all the benefits of an up to date‘ operating system, if you believe the blurb.

It is probably a good thing to upgrade and I have come around to the idea that I need to do this. The problem is, that on this machine, I have a number of software applications that I use regularly (daily or every other day) that will not run under Windows 10. I struggled to get them to run under Windows 7 and people have tested them for me, and they simply fail. These are not applications that need the internet to run so I have decided that I will buy another laptop running Windows 10 and leave the Win 7 machine as an ‘unconnected’ machine that I can use for non-internet specific things.

The issue now is, that I need Microsoft Office on the new machine. I cannot install my current version as it is tied to the machine I’m using now and it can only be used on one machine. All is not lost. Last year I bought my son a subscription to Office 365. It seems that the subscription type I purchased allows the software to be installed on upto 5 different machines. Job sorted! The only thing now is how? A quick on-line chat with Microsoft support and I have all the info my son and me needs. Well done Carmina P. the help desk advisor.

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So, how am I doing with what I called my ‘New Year Intentions‘? Sad to say, not as well as I would have liked. The number 1 on the list, was to blog at least once a week and this is the only one I have kept up to press. Although they are all still on-going, just not quite quickly as I would have liked. I am reading more (No 10 on the list) but it it difficult to read at work as the dining room can be quite noisy and there is nowhere else in the office. I recently chatted to a friend who has a blog about theming my blog (No 2) and their answer was to either pick something that I enjoy (she said obsessed with) or that I’m and expert with and blog about that. Well the only thing I’m either obsessed with or an expert in is … me, and I’m blogging that already. With regard to the rest, who knows where I’m going.

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Talking of blogs, I have been looking back over the years at my stats on WordPress. I have noticed something quite unusual. I have been posting on and off some of my photos, following The Daily Post‘s ‘Weekly Photo Challenge’. I’m by no means an expert photographer, I just take pictures of things or scenes that I like.

It looks like my average views (no going into comments here) for my written stuff is around the 3 – 4 mark per post. However, when it comes the the photo posts, the average has rocketed up to 10 or 11 per photopost. When I started this post, my last photopost under the ‘Weekly Photo Challenge’ banner had hit 31 views!  Looks like that old adage ‘A picture is worth a thousand words’ is true! One could say ‘ A picture is worth a thousand posts.’

Happy New Year


Did it start with a ‘Bang’? Well no, not really. We stayed up until midnight as we are obliged to do, watching good old Jools Holland, but it was nothing special. I suppose now I should spout all the usual clichés, but to be honest I just cannot be bothered.

It’s been a bit of a rough year all in all. What with the concerns about the new job and the worry about whether I would actually have a job. The five office moves, the problems with R***. Eldest moving in with his girlfriend. Finally to cap it all, my heart operation.

Still, I came through all and am still here (well 99.9% of me is still here) so I don’t suppose I have too much to grumble about really. R*** seems to be in a good place at the moment. Eldest and his girlfriend both seem to be very happy. I still have a job at the same on the same pay and it does not look like we are moving office for the foreseeable future. And to cap it all, my old heart is working properly again.

Life changer + 103


Well I did go back and see the doctor. He went through my notes and I explained that I did not seem to be improving at all. He examined me, and we chatted about everything really, home life, work. I explained the pressures of the changes at work and asked if it could be stress related. He said it could be, but thought that it was all to do with my heart condition. Now that is what I thought it could be from the very start, but it had been dismissed by both the previous doctor and the practice nurse. He thought that there was some fluid on my lungs, which would explain why the other treatments did not seem to work. So he prescribed me a course of Diuretic or water tablets. This treatment is supposed to get rid of excessive fluid from my body. So on Friday 2nd May, which I had luckily taken as a leave day, I was packed off to Harrogate District Hospital where they have a drop-in chest X-Ray unit. We were not there long, in fact we were in and out so quickly, that the parking was free!!!

The results came back last week, and K*** got the doctor to ring me, as the receptionist could not tell me anything because it was clinical and she was allowed to. It now seems that it is not a Silent Reflux and it may not even be Asthma. The doctor confirmed that is something called Pulmonary Congestion. This was explained as being a “…… difficulty of my heart to work as well as it should, leading to a build up of fluid at the top of lungs …..” which explains the cough. He is going to give me the full results to take to my assessment, which if I haven’t mentioned it before, has been brought forward by a day to the 13th May. Should mean that it will be one test less on the day. That is about all I can tell you at the moment. I’m slightly concerned that this Pulmonary Congestion, might mean that the operation is pulled forward, but I don’t think that happens outside of the TV soaps, but you never know. I hope not, as I have got my mind focussed on the 12th June as the big day. I also need some time to get my colleagues up to speed with work issues.

Work, well some of them, have been very supportive. I now have, what I call my “Dolly Trolley”. Amazon call it an “Executive Business Bag Laptop Trolley On-Board Travel Flight Case Suitcase” and it is simply a way of carrying my office requirements in one bag, with wheels. It really has made a difference, although there are a few things that I take with me, that I think could be kept in my locker.

A pleasant day all told …..


Today was the second ‘whole team’ meeting of our new team. In my opinion, in spite of, or maybe because of the little ‘let’s get to know each other’ game that M*** had us play the afternoon went very well. Everyone seemed to be a lot come comfortable with each other. Of course there are those that appear to be comfortable in any situation, but those like me seemed to be more relaxed.

There were a lot of comments about the new office. Interestingly, at the start there were no positive comments at all, but within an hour the complaints had narrowed down to one single complaint. I don’t think they are going to do anything about the complaint, as it would be too expensive to implement, but it was interesting to hear the majority of complaints disappear during the discussion.

The networking drinks went down well, and at the end of the day, I’m glad I stayed for a while, and I even managed to mingle a little.