Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Random Ramblings - February 2018 Edition (LBE & FD)

When I first started blogging, things were different to how they are now, and people worried less about whether what they were blogging about would be of interest to potential followers/readers.

I feel like I should be sitting in a rocking chair, nodding sagely while saying things like, "When I was a girl, people blogged about whatever they wanted to blog about." Or, "In my day, we had to wait fifteen minutes for a photo to load on Blogger." Or maybe, "I remember when people just blogged, and there was none of this nonsense about worrying how interesting their posts were."

It's true though! Well, OK, the fifteen minutes for a photo to load might be a bit of an exageration. Not as big a one as you might think though, since I do know of times I went to make a cup of tea while a photo I wanted to post in a blog post was uploading, and still ended up sat at my desk waiting for it a while after I was done making my tea. Although, come to think of it, that one still sometimes happens now, just not as often.

My point is that when I first started blogging back in 2006, I posted about whatever I felt like posting about. If the most interesting thing I had to say was that I walked the dog and did the dishes, I posted about it. If the only thing I really did that day was take online quizzes, and I felt like sharing my results on my blog, I posted my results. If I had a random question I wanted to put out there, I posted that too. Some posts got read and commented on a lot, some didn't get commented on at all. But it didn't matter.

Somewhere along the way I started worrying about whether what I had to say was interesting to potential readers. Do people really care what my weather's like? Are people really interested in what my health is like right now? Is anyone out there actually interested in the random thoughts and questions that pop in to my head?

Apparently the answer is, "Yes."

According to comments people have made on this blog, interactions I've had when I've posted random things on Twitter and Facebook to test the waters, and the responses a couple of online friends had when they asked these questions recently, people are still just as interested in those random posts. Apparently the day to day life of others is still interesting enough that even weather reports from other parts of the country/world are worth reading.

It must be another example of the curious nature of humankind. After all, it's clear by the "what if" questions that have sparked so many inventions and story ideas over the years that humans are curious creatures. Well, that and people posting about their lives online gives us a way to be nosy without getting in trouble. Either way, people want to know what's going on in the lives of others, no matter how boring it seems to the person it's happening to.

So... Here's what's been going on in my boring life. I did mean to do one of these posts sooner, but... Well, as it is I've had to use most Tuesdays in order to get everything I wanted to post posted. This should calm down once I've managed to get the audio book production caught up, since part of it is because of book announcement posts going up, and there won't be so many of those once I'm not announcing audiobook availability almost constantly. Anyway...

The first half of January was taken up with me getting ready to go to Wales, being in Wales, and then trying to catch up on the mountain of eMails and blog posts I had waiting for me to read them when I got home. The second half of January, and most of February, have mmainly passed in a blur of exhaustion, mingled with attempts to cross as many of the "publisher tasks" as I could off my to-do list for the year, some reading, a bit of DVD watching, a couple of short writing sessions, and the day to day happenings of housework, furkid care and playtime, etc.

Just something random: I tried cashew butter towards the end of January. No reason other than I hadn't, so I figured I would. I mean, I like cashews, and I like peanut butter, so why not, right? It was nice. Nothing special though. Tasted like I expected it to: like cashew flavoured peanut butter. Like I said, it was nice, but nothing special. I just thought I'd mention that I tried it, and liked it. Didn't love it, but I don't love peanut butter either, so... *Shrugs*

Anyway, I've been sleeping well most of the time - even with people keep waking me - which is nice. Well, the people keep waking me isn't, but the fact I've been getting plenty of sleep despite it is. I've not always been sleeping at the right times, but whatever. That doesn't help much with the exhaustion though. My health has never been great, and these days it seems I'm unwell more often than not. I try not to mention it much online, because I worry people will think I'm after sympathy or something. Yep. We're back to the worrying again. I'm good at worrying about things. I even worry about whether I worry too much. I'm told I really do worry too much, and also that I think too much sometimes. It's probably true, but when it takes very little for you to feel physically exhausted, but your mind's not so quick to want to rest, it's a natural course of action really. Anyway, this is just a long way of saying that I'm not well, but that's unlikely to change any time soon. I've never been totally well, just better at hiding it than I am now. But, hey, I know I'm lucky to have survived to grow up, and lucky to still be here... Even if I don't feel it sometimes... Plus, at least I didn't get that nasty virus thing that's been going around. Makes a change to be honest. Not that I'm complaining.

It's been cold here most of the time. I'm not complaining about that either. It's mainly only been a few degrees above freezing, sometimes even dipping slightly below freezing. Almost constantly in single digits, but I don't really mind the cold. We even finally got some more snow on February 5th. We woke up to it snowing. This is what we woke up to:

Here's a little snowy video clip done about the same time the photo I just shared was taken:

It was "real" snow! The kind that comes down in fluffy flakes, and settles, and can be played with! I didn't get to spend as much time out playing in it as I'd have liked though. But then, I never do get as much snow time as I'd like.

It didn't stick around for long, and there was no more snow before and after that (and that part I am complaining about). Some places not too far from us got a lot more snow than us. Like I said, we got some snow at the start of February, but the rest of the time we've just had rain, hail, and strong winds. You'd think I'd be longing for warmer weather rather than snow, but I like snow. I like storms too, so at least I've had plenty of those to enjoy. I still want more snow though. There's still time, but I'm not holding my breath. I'll just have to keep enjoying my storms, and be grateful for the snow we did get, I guess.

Even though I love a good storm, I do know they often cause a lot of damage. In fact, we were worried one had caused some damage to our roof a couple of weeks ago. It doesn't look like it though. At least, no obvious damage was visible when the landlords sent someone to check, and the rain and hail we've had since have stayed outside where they belong. It does make me wonder what the worrying bangs were that night though, since we know they came from overhead. I'm hoping it was just something like some of the junk in the attic from people who lived here in the past fell over, otherwise it means there's a problem that has yet to be spotted, which could cause trouble later.

Speaking of trouble: our heating stopped working. The boiler - which was only installed last year, as those who have been following my blog since then may remember - was saying it was on, but the heating wouldn't come on, which was weird, because the gas safety inspector had checked everything out the day before, and he said it was all fine. It was off though, and we were cold. As I said, the temperatures have only been a few degrees above freezing most of the time recently. We had to sit in the cold for several hours. It would have been longer, except the heating started working again. We didn't mention the fact it had started working again to the people who were meant to be coming to look at it, figuring it might be an idea to have it looked at anyhow, in the hopes of avoiding the issue happening again. So we waited for them to come out. Let's just say it's lucky the heating did start working again, because they still hadn't come out after 72 hours. Actually, had it not started working again, I never would have left it that long before chasing up where they were. I wanted to chase it up though, because it only seemed to be working sometimes, which we thought was strange. Anyway, we learned when we called why they didn't come out. Basically, we called two days before the 12 month warranty ran out to get them to come and fix it, so they dragged their feet so they could tell us we were no longer within the 12 months, so if we wanted them to come out it would cost us £85 plus VAT. I got rather annoyed at this, because they'd been called out in plenty of time to be here before the 12 months was up. Officially they're meant to be out within 24 hours, and they had 36 hours notice even if you work on the assumption that the warranty would end at midnight. I told them I wanted them to come out and see to it for free, since the warranty wasn't up when they were called. Then - since it's not our responsibility to pay for things like this anyhow - I told them if that couldn't happen they better call and talk to the landlords, but that I wasn't impressed that they were willing to allow a disabled person to sit in the cold for a whole weekend just so they could have an excuse to then charge for the callout. I guess that did the trick, because someone came out that afternoon, and no more was said about a bill for the callout. As it turned out though, all that was wrong was that the settings had been changed. The thing is, we had the boiler set to maintain a certain temperature, with us adjusting it using the thermastat. It had been set like that since the boiler was installed. We had no idea how to do anything else with it. It was set like that on purpose because all the fancy new digital bits in boilers and things these days means my accessability with them is limited, but turning the thermastat knob until I'm getting heat is something I can easily do. Anyway, we're guessing when the gas safety inspector guy was here he changed the settings, because it was set on timer. But since I couldn't see to check, and Kelly had no idea how to, we didn't realize. Erm... Oops! I guess it's a good thing I did persist in getting the free callout, or the landlords may not have been too happy with me. Like I said... Oops! The guy showed Kelly how to check and fix that himself in future, so hopefully we won't have anything like that be the issue again.

You know, I think heating systems and drains might have it in for us! It seems it's one or the other - often both - in every single place we've live, and often it's something small causing what seems at the time like a larger issue. *Sigh*

The council is trying to make landlords ensure they meet certain standards now. They're making them get certain things up to code, doing health and safety checks, and making them pass all the inspections to earn a special certificate if they want to continue being landlords. We had a health and safety check near the start of the month. The only issues the guy had with our place - other than the fact he noticed the window issue, which we did tell him the landlords are working on - was the need for another smoke alarm because of where they installed it when they put a new one in a few months back, and the fact he wants us to have one of our doors replaced with a fire door. So someone will likely be coming out soon to sort those things. They're supposed to, anyhow.

They're meant to sort the windows properly in a few months time too... When the weather warms up, and the winds from storms are potentially less likely to be an issue, in theory. I'm both looking forward to them sorting the windows, and dreading it. Looking forward to it because I'd like it to finally get done, and we'll save even more on heating next Winter if they get it done properly this year. Dreading it because it means more workman interruptions, which means a lot of unproductive time for me, since it's impossible for me to do anything with workmen around making a noise.

Anyway... Let's see, what else...

I've been trying to have Saturday's as my "day off" each week, but it hasn't worked too well most weeks so far. I keep ending up at least spending part of the day needing to sort things out. This is another thing that should slow down when I'm caught up on audiobook production, since nine times out of ten it's checking for things from narrators that's had me turning the computer on, and then I see other eMails I think I should just quickly see to, and then... Well, I'm sure you know how it goes.

Last Tuesday was pancake day, AKA Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras. Call it which you like. The end result in my house is the same: an excuse to have pancakes for dinner. Not that I need an excuse, since I love pancakes. I'm not sure I'd eat them every single day, but I certainly wouldn't complain if I had them more often than I do, and there's no way I was going to miss out on a day that actually tells me I should be eating them. So, pancakes for dinner it was. My plan was to have them all with maple syrup, because... Well, it tastes good, and I'm married to a Canadian, so it seemed right. But I had less maple syrup than I thought, and ran out before I ran out of pancakes, so I had the rest with honey. I also enjoy my pancakes with lemon and sugar, or with jam (as in jelly or fruit preserve... Whichever they call it wherever you are).

Speaking of holidays: we didn't do anything special for Valentine's Day. We rarely do. We do nice things for each other all year though, so it's no big deal. We did have take-away a few days later as a late celebration though. Like with the pancakes, we take any excuse for pizza or Chinese food in this house... Especially pizza!

Still sticking on the theme of holidays: our friends, Lorna and Andy, were unwell over Christmas, and in to the new year. But we had a present for them, and they had one for us. Neither of us wanted them to come here while they were so sick though. They weren't really feeling up to it, and they didn't want to give me anything extra to deal with, since it was a very nasty virus they had, and I was already dealing with both a chest infection and kidney infection. Actually, they were avoiding people as much as possible so as to avoid giving it to anyone. Anyway, we finally exchanged our Christmas presents on February 1st. They got us a really nice set of fancy pasta bowls. Now, if only the rest of our tableware was as nice. Haha!

OK... Well... Either nothing else has happened around here, or I'm unable to think of it right now. In my defence, Lilie is currently throwing a ball against my shin, which hurts. She's trying to tell me I've been on the computer for long enough and should go play with her. It wouldn't be so bad, except her passion for chewing toys means we have to buy her the sturdy kind meant for big dogs if we want them to last more than five minutes - and even then their days are numbered - which means the ball currently bouncing off my shin is a solid rubber one. So... Yeah... I think I'm going to end this post and go play with her. If I've forgotten to tell you anything, I can do so in another post later.


Danielle L Zecher said...

I think other people's lives are interesting to us because, like you say, humans are curious. The other thing, though, is that they're just different. Your weather may sound boring to you, your heating issues may sound boring to you, what you had for dinner may seem boring to you. But to me it's interesting, largely because it's different from what I have going on. Not any better or worse, but different enough to be interesting. Blog posts about someone's day to day doings are kind of like a perfectly legal, socially acceptable peak behind the curtains. In a totally non-creepy way!

That would have made me really mad about the warranty, too. We've pretty much stopped paying for any kind of extended warranties because it seems like they always come up with some excuse not to pay for or fix anything.

I hope all of the work coming up on your home gets done quickly and quietly.

Victoria Zigler said...

The peek behind the curtains part you mentioned is what I meant by "being nosy without getting in to trouble" - something at least most of us are guilty of wishing we could do sometimes, I'm sure. Anyway, I'm glad you find my life different enough to be interesting.

In my experience, if you bother with a warranty, things go wrong as it ends, or soon afterwards. Either that, or they find some reason why the spacific issue you happen to have will cost you anyway. But the landlords wanted the warranty to be on for as long as possible, and I wasn't about to let them get away with that trick, especially when - had the boiler really not been working at all, as they thought was the case - they could have potentially caused us to be very ill... Or worse. It is kind of funny what the issue was though. Although, I think the repair guy and I found it funnier than the landlords did.

I hope the stuff gets done quietly too. We can but hope, right?

Rita said...

As you know, I have always written about whatever is going on in my life--good or bad. But I occasionally wonder if I should keep blogging--as I did end of last year--because I am writing so much less often. I am so glad people wanted me to keep writing, though. Yes, has to be because other people find other people's lives interesting or they just plain care how you are doing. Tori. I loved this post!

Glad you got the heat checked for free. Sometimes you wonder how low companies will go, eh? Glad you stuck up for your rights! I hope they get everything sorted out by this spring. You got snow, too!! Nice. I love hearing about your daily life and whatever is happening--good or bad. ;)

Jeanie said...

I like this post and random posts because to me the difference between blogging and facebook or twitter is that you build relationships. People are more than their work. They have pets or problems (I had the furnace guy here today and you know about my water!). They're not just the latest recipe they made or book they read or project they created. They're all of that, but more, too. Posts like this make the writer "real" and not just like something you'd read in a magazine where there is no connection.

And that's a ROTTEN TRICK for the heating people with the warranty. You might have had legal recourse, having called them before but I'm sure they'd make it a hassle.

Victoria Zigler said...

I'm glad you didn't stop blogging, and that you're interested enough in how I'm doing to care about what's going on in my life... Good or bad. :)

Yes, that was a dirty trick they tried to pull, and I wasn't going to let them get away with it. I'd like to say I can't believe they'd stoop so low, but I wasn't as surprised as I should have been. And that fact saddens me.

Victoria Zigler said...

I'm glad you enjoy this kind of post. I agree about the connection thing. Luckily, I enjoyed writing the post too, even if I did feel like I started off with the "in my day" moments. ;)

They'd have made it hastle claiming on it, but I'd have had legal rights, no doubt about that. I'm listed on a priority register because of being disabled (the other ways to be on it are if you're elderly, or if you have children under the age of five in your household) and there's a clause in that wich states they have a legal right to at least have an engineer out working on the issue within 24 hours of being called. Like I said, they'd have made it a lot of hastle claiming on it, but I'd have had a claim, and they know it. They were just hoping I didn't know it, and was going to back down and pay them. Didn't work too well for them though. ;)