I don’t want to sounds ungrateful but…..

The next few days are going to be a little manic. Good manic but manic. I have a spa day booked with a friend that has been in the diary for well over 6 months and I am really looking forward to it. The only problem is that when the spa day was being planned I did not know that it would fall on the weekend after I had taken out my kitchen, the weekend before I have a family member coming to stay for a few days and that when the day finally arrived I would still be in the middle of DIY.

The original plan was a nice relaxing day at the Spa, followed by an overnight stop with my friend for a catch up (and a glass of wine or 3) and then a lazy morning before heading home. However as details started to come together I realised we need to be at the Spa at 9am in the morning, and stopping the night before is not an option. So to make sure I am at the Spa on time I am looking at a 6am start, on my day off and have I mentioned I am not a morning person?!  Want me to stay up until 6am no problem, ask me to set my alarm for that time and I feel dread in the pit of my stomach.

So the new plan was set an alarm for 6, snooze it a few times leave the house stressed at 6.30am sit in traffic for a few hours. I haven’t yet told you but the journey to the Spa is going to take me through a couple of big cities….. (at rush hour!) Google says the journey should take 1hr 30 mins. I am going to give myself at least 2 hours and part of me thinks I should probably give myself even longer!! Not ideal, but it’s fine, it will be worth it.

Saturday, I am now having my sisters boyfriends dad coming to help me fit the work surface (I feel I have already told you this!) and the original plan was they would rock up about 11am and meet my dad. This would give me time to have a relaxed morning with my friend and get back to mine about an hour or so after they started work. However I have just received a text and in a change of plans everyone is now meeting at mine at 9am. Everyone but me that is.

I don’t want to have to set an alarm on Saturday. I don’t want to have to rush of from my friends house. But this new 9am start time has me worried that I’m going to walk back into a finished kitchen and I can’t even begin to tell you how much that is going to piss me off.

I know everyone wants to help. I know I need to get the DIY finished but I feel I am so close to having it done myself. Plus my sisters boyfriends mum is coming up as well and so I had already accepted that she was going to spend half the day doing final bits of painting that I would really like to do but need to relinquish control of because they are coming up to help.

I know I am being ungrateful. I know that I was bitching last night about wanting my house finished. But I really wish the plans hadn’t been changed without even asking me.

Now I feel I either rush of from my friends or miss out on key stages of my house. Normally rushing off from a friend wouldn’t be a huge deal but the people I don’t see very often and its not the most simple of relationships. You see it’s the brother and sister in law of my ex. I get on so well with them I would have hated to lose them as well as my relationship (between you and me I had started to consider them as family). Although not voicing it I know that my parents aren’t fully supportive of this friendship (which is a shame). I can’t help but suspect that part of the reason they want me to rush back is due to this.

I don’t want to be ungrateful, but why did they have to change the plan. I know feel that instead of relaxing, packing and shaving various areas that need shaving when you are getting up close and personal with a masseuse that I have to paint all the part of the house and do all the odd jobs that I don’t want anyone else to do.

So much for my early night!!!

Who doesn’t eat lettuce?

I have a bit of a weird memory (what this is me, you didn’t think it could just be good or bad did you?!). In some ways I would say it is fantastic. I can remember details from way back, ironically I can’t remember anything to tell you I have remembered right now, but trust me things that are important I remember.

But in some ways I am also rubbishly forgetful. Friends boyfriends names – not a clue (although this is not as much of a problem anymore as they all decided to marry men with the same name). I forget important dates, birthdays, anniversaries – I would be struggling without Facebook, hell I struggle to hit the date with Facebook.

It really annoys me that I forget these things, especially as I spend so much time and try so hard to commit these things to memory. It seems to be if I say to myself “this is important, remember this” it is almost a code to my memory “make sure you forget this”. I’ve got a friend who has had a crush on the same person for the better part of our friendship, yet can I remember this persons name? They tell me stuff and I will really try to remember, but next time we are having a conversation I will ask a question and they will look at me as if to say “I told you this!”

My concern is that people will mistake this inability to remember as indifference and think that I don’t care; which couldn’t be further from the truth.

So please take this as notice. I do value each and every one of you. I will remember and cherish everything that you tell me but I will also completely forget the majority of the technical details you share. I will laugh with you, cry with you and cheer for you with everything that I have. I will be on the end of the tweet if ever you want your hand holding while your pet goes into surgery or drinking a bottle of wine thinking about the trials you are facing.

So please over look when I forget some of the details. It’s not that I don’t care, it is just that I am rubbish. For example today I have spent most of my day trying to remember which of my friends doesn’t eat lettuce before a friend comes round for dinner tonight (yes I am holding a dinner party despite the fact I don’t have a functioning kitchen!). I know one of them doesn’t but I will be damned if I can remember which one – it isn’t one of you is it?

Some bugger has sold on my information and I am not happy.

I’ve just been called by an idiot wanting to ‘discuss the most cost effective energy tariff for me’. It was not a long conversation as after the chaos I have gone through trying to switch from EDF (who are crap) to British Gas (who currently I would only rate marginally better) I told him where he could stick his call.

However as I hit the ‘end call’ button my mind started to whirl as the gentleman hadn’t asked to speak to ‘me me’ he had asked to speak to ‘blog me’.

To being with I was more aware of getting him off the phone as I was at work and hate taking calls while sat in the office – I think it harks back to the bullying when my every move was listened to and analysed. But now I have hung up I want to know where he got my details from. I protect my personal details so carefully, it’s one of the reasons I have a ‘blog me’ and I have begun to use ‘blog me’ when I enter competitions.

But now a company has sold on my details and this does not make for a happy Lauranne. This company has obtained my ‘blog name’, house address and mobile telephone number (something which I very rarely give out). I feel I should be able to do something. I have an urge to write a letter of complaint to someone, but I don’t know who has been so careless with my information.

Passing on my details is not ok. Passing on anyone’s details is not ok. I have had friends ask me for phone numbers of mutual friends and even in that situation I will get approval from the friend who’s details I am handing across before I give anything out.

I now want the idiot to call me back so that I can grill him as to how he has obtained my details. I have considered calling back the number he rang on, but I don’t want to make further contact with them.

I am tempted to contact every company I have reviewed for and ask if it was they who cared so little about my privacy (luckily there isn’t many!) but I don’t know what good that would do. So I am just going to Grrr at you and add a disclaimer on my emails that my personal details are not to be passed on and if I find out they have I will not only name and shame but wish them a slow painful death – too much??

A good cause ……and he’s just a bit yum so I had to share!!

You would have to have been buried under a rock to not be aware of the current #ALSICEChallenge that is working it’s way around the internet and celebville. This one is just so good I had to share it with you all!

ALS is more commonly referred to as Motor Neurone Disease (MND) and if you want more information about this please visit https://www.facebook.com/mndassociation

Why do weddings cost so much?

I have reached that age where everyone I know seems to be getting married, engaged and having babies. My three Uni friends all managed to tie the knot within 12 months of each other and a few months after I broke up with the ex another one of my friends announced her engagement. And while I am over the moon that for each and everyone of these amazing ladies, honored that I have made it onto the guest list for the special day (slightly gutted I have apparently always ‘just missed’ being the bridesmaid but that’s another days rant) and so happy to see them start their ‘happily, ever after’.

But with every wedding invite card I receive and hen do I enthusiastically gush about when we meet up for a drink, there is a part of me that dreads the whole process. The problem is I don’t know if I can afford to be a part of their special day as it all costs so bloody much.

For starters we have the ‘hen-do’. This one is going to be an action packed weekend in a lovely large country house. When the initial invite came round it was going to be a quiet weekend in the middle of the country (so no one would have to travel particularly far) and would just be very low key.

However….

The place we are staying looks amazing, but now we are having activities. The current price tag for this weekend stands at £200 (with a nasty rumor going round it’s going up) and although it was supposed to be local to everyone, it isn’t. I did a quick search for train tickets and I am looking at £120 to get there. I can’t afford that and so I will be driving. However to drive there will take 5 hours (if traffic is light) and so to arrive on time I am having to take the day off work. I keep telling myself to think of it as a mini break (just with people I wouldn’t chose to spend time with) but there is a small part of me that resents the people planning it. Clearly there has been no thought from them about people who live farther away and if I get one more email telling me how train tickets for everyone should be £20 I may scream!

The bride is my oldest friend, not going isn’t an option but I when I know she is having a small, low key, cheap wedding I can’t help but wish that this weekend was fitting in with that theme.

Of course the whole point of the hen-do is to get ready for the wedding. As we grew up together I always held out hope that for her wedding day my friend would return to her routes and get married here. She isn’t and has decided to get married where she now lives – London – which I understand. But that means another long train journey for me, the cost of a hotel for 2 nights, taxis from the hotel to the venue, food and drink on the none wedding days (unless I take a MASSIVE picnic) drinks on the wedding day… then there’s the gift where they have signed up for a wedding list at a top boutique.

Luckily I have found some very cheap, advanced tickets and so I have only had to pay £40 return. But to get that price I am traveling at very strange times. Had I taken ‘sensible’ timed trains I would have been looking at £131 one way.

I can’t help but feel the cost for this wedding is only going to increase and I’m worried if it does I am going to be priced out of enjoying my friends special day. The one we have planned, discussed and dreamed about since we were 11 years old!

Explaining blogging to a non- blogger.

Have you ever tried explaining blogging to non-bloggers? I have many times. Anyone who knows me (as in actually me) does not know that I blog and anyone who has read my blog (I assume) does not know me. Except one person who I know has put two and two together and found me as a whole.

As previously mentioned I purposefully try not to reveal who I am on my blog. This is because I want to be able to talk about whatever I want, whoever I want, whenever I want and if you know who I am and can by proxy figure out who I am talking about well that’s not fair. Being ‘anonymous’ allows me a level of freedom that I would not have if it was me. Likewise, if anyone who knew ‘me’ read my blog I wouldn’t be able to be as open. How do I write open and honestly when I know my nearest and dearest would be reading every word? I have been tempted a few times to share it, and in the future I may. But at the moment, knowing my friends and family were reading my every word would change the way I wrote and limit what I would be willing to divulge.

However, I am slowly telling more and more of my friends and family about my blog and I this has meant as well as telling them about what’s wisdom I have gleaned from each of your blogs over the last week I also share things that have happened to me.

Although sometimes in sharing them, and with the added enthusiasm of my friends and family somehow it manages to make blogging sound just a little bit ….. geeky.

For example;

Telling my parents ‘My blog’s got its first award’. Their response “Congrats, we are so happy for you, that’s amazing! When do you get it? Where will you keep it? Is there a big award ceremony? Who decided you would win – was there a panel of judges?“ – Sounds uber cool.
Telling them no, it was a graphic and I got to answer a load of questions and pass it on – slightly less cool. Still I’m beyond giddy I was even considered and nominated but explaining it to a non-blogger…

It’s just happened again. On realising the amazing Kristine had asked me to be part of the latest blogging tour I sent an excited text to my friend.

Me: “A blogger has just nominated me to take part in a writing tour. The fact she has chosen me is fab. She thinks I’m a writer!”

His response “Woohooo. You gonna do it? Is it actually traveling around places?’

Me: “No actually travel. Of course I’m going to do it. I’m so excited. I answer 3 questions about writing”

Him: “I’d stick with writing tour”

Me: “:’0( you peed on my writing tour bonfire”

Him: “Take it there’s a decent amount of writing to each question”

Me: “Depends how much I can think of to write!”

Him: “No limits, very cool. You know what the subjects are yet?”

Me: “Yes, it’s three questions about how about I write.”

Him: “Writing about writing, yea I couldn’t do that.”

Me: “Because you’re not a blogger :0P Although I don’t class myself as one either”

Him: yet to reply.

Perhaps I should have just let him believe I was taking off on a world tour!

How much would you pay to keep a friend?

Turns out the age old advice is true, money can muck up friendships. It’s happened to me. In Uni I had a friend ring me in a panic. She was broke and the house she was living in had burst its pipes and she needed to borrow £50 to pay for a plumber. She explained she couldn’t got to her folks because they would be livid about her spending all her money and so she asked if I could loan it to her. She had been a friend for years, pre-Uni and so I didn’t hesitate. I’m still waiting for her to pay me back. The few times we met up after I gave her the loan she always had an excuse as to why she couldn’t pay me back. Slowly I gave up, the friendship faltered as a little bit of me resented her not paying me back. The money didn’t matter. Ok the money shouldn’t have mattered.

She got in contact about 6 months ago, out of the blue, via Facebook. She said it was a shame that we had lost contact and thought it would be fun to meet up again, could I do coffee? I told her I would love to meet again, but as the conversation progressed I found I couldn’t not raise the fact she owed me money. She was gushing about wondering why it all went wrong and I wanted to start with a clean slate so I mentioned the fact she owed me the £50. Turns out she can’t remember me even lending her the money. I mentioned the pipes, told her the thing that annoyed me was the time she was on route to meet me, called me from the cash machine and still couldn’t find it in her to withdraw even a tenner for me as a ‘I’m starting the pay you back’ gesture. She apologised, was mortified that it had been something so small that had ruined a fab friendship. So I asked when she wanted to do that coffee. I’m still waiting on her response.

So £50 to find out a friend wasn’t really a friend, in the scheme of things it doesn’t seem like a too bad rate. Technically I’ve saved on birthday cards, gifts so I’m probably financially better off.

My concern is I think it may be about to happen again.

I have music lessons once a week with a guy who I met through a mutual friend. But over the years my ‘music teacher’ became a close friend. He turned up on my door step (with chocolates) to take me out to lunch and cheer me up when the soldier I was dating was re-located to another country. He’s supported me at various events and I thought we had a solid friendship. Then, slowly I started seeing him less. I’d ask him to do something and he would be ‘busy’ but then turn up when another friend made the same invite. It became a standing joke that he only saw me when I was paying him. The problem is, to me, it wasn’t a joke. I genuinely started to feel like I didn’t matter. I introduced him to various family members who also wanted music lessons and now I feel he is more their friend then mine. I find out his news from them, he seems to be constantly on the phone to them and I feel forgotten about. He has had a bad 12 months and I know he has a lot going on, but still I feel left out.

I have raised this with him and we had a massive clear the air argument – I admitted I thought I was losing him. He told me I couldn’t lose him but also told me he hated the ex, can’t understand why I’m not over him and has asked me not to mention him (the ex) again in his presence. This completely threw me as the multiple times they met they always got on so well together and to be banned from talking about something I am struggling with sucks. So now when I see him I am ‘fine’; there’s no point telling him otherwise.

So the friendship is on the rocks and I genuinely don’t know what’s going to happen. But just for added complexness I pay him monthly for music lessons and I am worried about whether or not I am getting value for money.

Now to clarify, he is an amazing teacher. I have improved so much since I started having lessons; my complaint is not with his skill. It’s more with us having a very lax approach to payment. Basically he tells me when I owe him money and I pay. The problem is this approach means I don’t know exactly how many lessons I have in between each payment. I used to pay for X lessons but recently for his own financial reasons he has switched to monthly; but I’m unsure as to where the month starts and ends. For example he is getting just under £50 tonight but because I cancelled one and he is on holiday for another I am only having 2 lessons in the next 4 weeks. If this is £50 for 2 lessons then with my own financial worries I don’t know if I can afford this. Plus as we have a catch up chat at the start of a lesson, although I pay for half an hour there are occasions where I have walked out having gone through one song.

I don’t think he is ripping me off. When I lost my job, he cut his rates and was so brilliant about helping me continue lessons while I got back on my feet. I don’t want to bail on him now when I can afford his lessons as my ‘weekly treat’. But with money tight, I want to make sure I am getting value for money.
I know I should raise this with him, but with the friendship already on a shoe string I’m scared.

Something to think about

25castleson25clouds:

Really makes you think!

Originally posted on Funny and Interesting Stuff People Have Sent Me:

2 Tough Questions

Question 1:
If you knew a woman who was pregnant, who had 8 kids already, three who
were deaf, two who were blind, one mentally retarded, and she had
syphilis, would you recommend that she have an abortion?
Read the next question before looking at the response for this one.

Question 2:

It is time to elect a new world leader, and only your vote counts.
Here are the facts about the three candidates. Who would you vote for?

Candidate A

Associates with crooked politicians, and consults with astrologist
He’s had two mistresses. He also chain smokes and drinks 8 to 10
martinis a day.

Candidate B
He was kicked out of office twice, sleeps until noon, used opium in
college and drinks a quart of whiskey every evening.

Candidate C

He is a decorated war hero. He’s a vegetarian, doesn’t smoke, drinks an
occasional beer and…

View original 81 more words

I don’t want to say it but…. it’s my house!

One sentence that would sum up the entire house moving/redecorating experience would be ‘it didn’t go quite as planned’. My first clue that things wouldn’t go as ‘the norm’ would be my offer on the house being accepted in a little under 5 minutes but me being me (and despite how I appear on here most of the time) I like to keep optimistic and so keep telling myself “things will work out this time”. Only yet again they haven’t …. quite.

For a month now I have been explaining to my dad the virtues of using the upcoming long weekend to fit my kitchen. I am busy Saturday night and so won’t need to be able to use the house meaning we can down tools Saturday and walk out for the evening. We wouldn’t have to stop and clean up so that I could cook and then have breakfast the next morning. After a lot of discussion (because a month seemed like a long time when I first raised the suggestion) it has been decided that this weekend is ‘kitchen weekend’. I have bought the sink, the tiles are being bought this evening, the wallpaper and paint has been decided on and purchased. I have taps, pipes, flooring, boxes to store the opened food in, a space in the conservatory to store the boxes I will fill. I as organised. I as excited.

Then my dad mentioned that we will have to ask the store to cut the work surface to size. I’ll be honest I hadn’t even thought about this. I had chosen the colour of my work surface (grey) and made sure it matched everything. I had planned the cupboard layout in minute detail (yes, I even produced a scale drawing for where everything is going!) but I hadn’t twigged that the work surface would need cutting to size. I am going to have two L-shaped work surfaces and so there will need to be at least two joins. Suddenly the decision of where to make the ‘straight’ cut and join had me panicked. Which way would I cut it to make the kitchen look as long as possible? Especially as in one corner the L bit is only about 50cms, which was would look the best? I was undecided and have been playing with the decision back and forth for a few days now.

Then my dad mentioned a join where it’s all hidden, but you need a special bit of kit to do it (see how much I understand I still don’t know what it’s properly called!).

If you care here is a link to the joining work surface thing I am talking about. if not then just accept it look very pretty, hides the join brilliantly and would solve my problem.

Turns out the special bit of kit I need to do this (as a normal saw won’t do) is owned by my sisters boyfriends father (keeping up?) and I can have it the weekend after next. Result. The only downside is that this weekend is ‘kitchen weekend’.

Dad and I have agreed that the short L shaped section would look better with a hidden joint and so have decided to hold off putting in the work top on that side of the kitchen until I can have it fitted by my sisters boyfriends father. But we are disagreeing about the other side. The other side contains the sink, and will be a large L so my dad thinks it’s worth battling on, getting it done (straight cut and join) and dusted. He says no one will notice as it will be a busy area anyway as it has the sink etc and if I don’t fit that side I can’t fit the sink, the dishwasher, the washing machine (they are all going to be inter-plumbed). Technically if I wait I would only manage half the kitchen on ‘kitchen weekend’ and rather than a finished kitchen I would have another room to add to my list of ‘nearly but not quite finished’ rooms.

However, to me waiting a week to have a clean hidden join is worth it. I know it is a faff. I know it is far from ideal, I know no one else will notice but I will see the join. I will notice it and I will wish I had waited the extra week every single time I wipe down the work top.

My folks have been beyond amazing whilst doing this. My dad has worn himself out trying to get this finished, making trips to DIY shops before and after work, watching YouTube videos, funding me when my finances became tight….. but I know if I don’t wait one more week to have it perfect I will be gutted and it will bother me every. single. day.

I’ve tried talking to my dad about this, but he is keen to crack on and so it’s falling a little on death ears.

The only thing I haven’t done is played the ‘it’s my house’ card.

I don’t want to play that card. But then it is my house and it does matter. It’s going to be years before I do the kitchen again and to wait 5 days to have a clean join seems so worth it to me.

But when my dad has given so much, knackered himself to get my little house perfect, how do I ask him to give even more?