Tag: bills

On the way to the dentist, reggae.

I am getting (some) things done. I am monstrously busy. Everything takes so much time. Getting my iPad sorted required two trips to the Apple store – that’s the equivalent of a whole working day used up, meanwhile I have over 5,000 unread emails.

I am in the middle of a tidal wave of existing work admin and trying to get organised on the home and finance fronts ready for new kinds of work in September. I have been feeling overwhelmed, it’s not that anything I have to do is difficult but there is just so much of it. Phone calls, emails, things that have to be written and monitored and dispatched etc etc. Most of this was stored in my head, no wonder I felt stressed.

This is how you know I am not just geeking out over productivity software for the fun of it. Trello is saving my life right about now, as is David Allen, the productivity guru and author of Getting Things Done and Ready For Anything. I’ve just read the latter while dumping every single task and responsibility that I can possibly imagine into Trello and the whole thing is making me feel a lot calmer. I am going to read Ready For Anything a second time because I am hanging on his every word right now, there is a reason why a cult has grown up around him.

Hmm, it’s just occurred to me that I can claim 1 Books point for that, plus it counts towards the Business Books brownie badge, plus I get a health point because I went to the dentist.

I showed up in Soho a bit too early to go straight to the dentist’s office. The sounds of some heavy, heavy roots reggae pumped like treacle out of this achingly cool record shop that only sells vinyl. It has a sofa. I went in and sat down.


phonica interior

Rod Taylor: Promised Land

I also had a long-overdue haircut (see how I am getting things done). Now my hair is free from grey bits and is sharp as a knife. I hadn’t seen my hairdresser in so long that he almost forgot what kind of hair style we have been trying to achieve. You will recall that it took several months for me to get the message through to him, with many unfashionable grandma haircuts along the way.

Him: (looking at very grown-out bob) So what length do you want it? How about jaw length!

Me: No! Earlobe length. Not even a millimetre longer than that. If you think you are cutting it too short, cut it shorter.

Him: What about the back? I will do a nice graduated bob!

Me: NO!!!

Him: (looks frightened) I just want to do what you want!

Me: NO TAPERING. Just a clean line, the same length all the way around.

Him: OK. (cuts hair. looks at hair dubiously)

Him: Maybe I could do some layers here at the top.

Me: No! We are done now. This is what I wanted. Very short. All one length. Buzzed off at the back. Very sharp. Nice. (gels hair into a sleek, shiny helmet)

Him: OK. It does suit you.

Me: (vainly grooming self in mirror) Thank you.

Him: You do have good ideas. Probably should have been a hairdresser.

This picture is as close as I can find to the length and general shape of my hair. I don’t have a fringe. I part my hair at the side and tuck it behind my ears and put things like Brylcreem on it like it’s the 1930s.

very short bob

It is a haircut that will look even better when I am slimmer and more muscular. I am the size of a house right now but I’ve been out walking a few times and am controlling what I eat, so hopefully there will be results soon. Various health points, blah blah, look at the time. See you later.

Time to say thanks to my friends.

I am trying to stay optimistic. Some days are better than others.

Last week was pretty awful but I am hoping it won’t be that bad again. It was a week in which I had business meetings every day, attempted to write numerous proposals, filled out job applications, talked to lawyers, was sick as a dog with a migraine and spent several days sleeping on the floor in the back room, surrounded by boxes, while a guest slept in my bedroom. After the guest left, he complained that ‘your guest room didn’t feel like a guest room and still had all your stuff in it’. It didn’t have ‘all my stuff’, it had a few books. All my stuff was piled in the back room where I was sleeping in conditions that I’ve seen easily surpassed in developing countries. I am not doing that again. It was worth about £40 in the end. If you ask me, it’s a triumph of effort on my part that he didn’t twig that he wasn’t sleeping in a guest room at all, he was sleeping in my bedroom, the contents of which had been evacuated as completely as possible while still leaving *just about* enough space in the back room for me not to have to sleep standing up.

Career opportunities that I have considered in the last week include prostitution. At least the punters go home after an hour and don’t sleep in your bedroom for days at a time while complaining that the room hasn’t been stripped as bare as a prison cell.

There is a tiny sniff of work here and there and this thawed my anxiety just enough that I was able to feel other emotions, and they weren’t particularly good ones. In particular, I was desperately upset that someone I thought was a close friend deliberately concealed from me the fact that he’d emigrated out of the UK six months ago, allowing me to think that he was 5 miles away down the road. Waited until I needed him, then finally revealed what was actually going on.

You really find out who your friends are in these situations. They aren’t who you think. People to whom I am terribly grateful: my loyal and long-suffering mother; my loyal friend C in Yorkshire; my former boss J who has really made a lot of time for me after barely seeing each other for 15 years; M who I briefly dated three years ago and have only occasionally spoken to since but who came over to comfort and help me the moment I needed him; my other friend C who is a doctor, who checks regularly on how I am doing. People in whom I am disappointed: S who lied to me about having left the country; K, who helped me by making a post on Reddit advertising a thing that I need to sell but who cannot make time for a 15 minute phone call or even a text message, despite being more aware than most people of my dire circumstances. I texted him about 3 days ago and said ‘It would be great if you could ask how I am”, but there was silence. I guess people are busy with their own lives.

I have been plagued by nightmares, which robs me of sleep.

Strangers have been kind. I have always believed in the kindness of strangers and they are not letting me down. Thanks to A who came over here two weekends ago, let me cry on him, made some excellent business suggestions, gave me a few good orgasms and bought enough food to keep me alive for a couple of days. I was so grateful for the food and the human comfort. He didn’t owe me anything, we didn’t know each other at all. I just liked his face, he looked clever and kind, and so it turned out that he was and I’m thankful to him for answering the call. Online dating is really something else. I am glad I am so good at it and have so much experience with it that I can use to identify decent, honest people who will help me when I have a problem that’s bigger than just having fun.

The Head Honcho is being kind as well. I have not furnished him with all the details but I told him that my life was hurting me and he was especially nice about it considering that empathy is not really his thing. He even suggested meeting up yesterday. It was a bit short notice and we couldn’t organise it in time but it was a nice offer and we are emailing each other and he is helping me think through some business ideas.

Things I have achieved, because I need to believe that I am getting somewhere:

– I have tried hard to raise work for my business and have a couple of briefs in. There is a big, huge gap between someone sending you a brief and you sending them an invoice, usually because briefs represent mere interest and have nothing to do with actual budget being available, but hey, briefs are briefs. Maybe ONE of them will magically turn into some actual money. Even one job would allow me to pay my tax bills, which are frightening.

– I have applied for some jobs. I had a phone interview that I can’t quite tell how it went, I have another job interview in June and I talked to a recruitment consultant who seemed really professional and has presented my details to a very high profile client with money to burn.

– I have been to numerous meetings in which I’ve sparkled and chatted people up and looked for freelance work. There is a little tiny sniff of work here and there.

– I achieved miracles with respect to making my house resemble a hotel, despite the petty complaints of the guest about a few books.

– Everyone who I’ve spoken to who knows anything about publishing says I’d be an idiot not to get a proposal for my book out to publishers right away, so I made time to write a chapter outline, write part of a sample chapter and start drafting a proposal because fuck it, I’ve got nothing left to lose at this point.

– I changed my broadband, gas and electricity suppliers, which will save a little bit of money.

– I returned my PC to the manufacturer.

– I didn’t die.

I am a bit tearful this morning but I am hoping that I will get over it in due course and then I can take a good look at the World’s Largest To-Do List and make a plan for the day and the coming week. I am trying to keep business meetings down to a bare minimum for the next week or so because I have more proposals and job applications to write.

Wish me luck. I am scared and I am juggling time and money like a circus perfomer but I am still here.

Let’s have some Church. I might have this whole album on continuous loop today, it has always given me strength.

Don’t ask me why I’m motherfucking stressed. Things done changed.

Notorious BIG: Things Done Changed.

My former boss.

My former boss, from 15 years ago, just spent an hour on the phone with me, God love her. She is a brave woman who has faced bigger financial problems than I am currently having, plus her husband just died, just a few months ago, around when I started to date Leroy before Christmas, so she knows a few things about adversity. Also she is a psychologist and is great at talking people down when they are upset.

I am grateful. She said interesting things. She didn’t say ‘don’t get a job’ which is what other business owners have said to me, using the logic that owning a small business is inherently better than working for someone else’s large one. She said ‘get a job, make sure it is a job you would love to do, you will be happier’. She is right about that. So I will continue to apply for jobs in this other career track that I should have been on all along, while at the same time trying to get my existing business back on its feet for a few months just so that I can pay the bills and the mortgage and keep my options open, what with the existing business commanding rather good rates when I can actually get any work in.

It is 10pm in London and I am choosing to believe that it is going to be all right. I may have to consciously choose that a whole bunch more times tomorrow and the next day and the next day but at least I recognise that what I believe about this situation is in fact my choice and is not determined by the situation itself, which is merely awkward and bit precarious.

1 Mental Health point. FFS.

Fuck. Time to start budgeting.

I should watch my bank account more carefully. I will have to, in fact, starting now. I just checked my bank balance and I have maxed out my overdraft limit. It was bound to happen sooner or later.

I have cancelled my online dating account because I can’t afford to go out and I’m about to go through my bank statements now and find out what the essential expenses are and where I can put a stop to everything that’s not vital to my survival. I see economical recipes in my future. I think I’ll go and turn the heating off as well.

The party had to end some time, didn’t it. Especially when the business end of things is drying up. The roof still hasn’t been repaired. They can sue me.

Health points: I have been out walking at least twice, so 2 Health points. I can cancel my gym membership and start using the municipal pool.

Friends: I saw L and B, so 2 Friends points.

I think that’s it. Other than that I’ve been working on my new business plans and have meetings coming up this week. Shit. I can sell some stuff on Ebay as well. I’ve got loads of unused knitting yarn that I can sell off and that will have the added bonus of creating some more space in my flat. I’m sure I can think of other things as well. Maybe I can sell some books and I’ve probably got some clothes that can go. I’ve just had my hair cut, so that will last a few months. I can dye it at home. I will have to stop having Botox immediately and I’m glad I didn’t book an appointment.

I am so irresponsible. Let’s make that past tense. I was so irresponsible. Really shouldn’t have gone on holiday.

Homeowner pain.

Did I mention how much I hate being a so-called home-owner (should be called home-ower). I had about two days of feeling vaguely responsible because I made a giant payment on my mortgage and now the situation becomes even more painful. I have just returned from a meeting with other people who own flats in my building, and:

  • The windows all over the building have to be replaced immediately and I am fully and privately responsible for the cost of the windows in my flat, of which there are a lot.
  • Windows means scaffolding, which is expensive and has to be paid for separately.
  • Because of the expensive scaffolding, the plan is to permanently repair the leaking roof at the same time. Roofers have been out twice now, the last two weekends, but the roof is in such a bad condition that the repairs that have been done are only temporary and now it has to be repaired properly. I don’t think I am privately responsible for the cost of repairing the roof, but I need to find out who is, and in the short term I am going to have to supply funds up front for both the windows and my share of the roof, which is going to be really challenging because I just blew all my money on my mortgage. I could have come up with money for the windows but I didn’t realise scaffolding was a separate cost, or how expensive it is, and I frankly don’t know where roof money is going to come from.

This is not pleasant. I would very much like to do some video gaming this Sunday morning but I can’t, not yet, anyway. What I need to do is sit down at my desk right now and go through all of the paperwork relating to my purchase of this flat and find out exactly what I’m liable for and where the roof money is going to come from. Hate.

I am having 1 Reclaiming The Home point for this activity, because if getting the roof and 6 windows replaced isn’t Reclaiming the Home, then I really don’t know what is. Also 1 Friends point because I went to visit a friend on Friday, which now strikes me as extravagant. Aaargh. I need a cup of tea. I wouldn’t mind something stronger but it is only 11am and I daren’t risk not being able to understand the buildings paperwork.

Madness: Our House (1982)

A pathetically small Finance point

Sorted through financial paperwork, checked bank statements, paid bills. I can tell I am a lot more on top of that kind of thing than I used to be, because there wasn’t actually that much to do and normally it is quite a daunting task.

It is time to start getting serious about money. I have now cleared the enormous backlog of unfiled, unpaid and largely unopened paper crap. It is time to act like I have some sort of financial future and begin properly budgeting. But that is for next time. For now, I am all up to date, which is good and deserves 1 Finance point as it is a much-disliked chore.

I also did some more housework and laundry but that was really a continuation of last night’s effort so no need to have a point for that separately.