Hello again

I’ve been slack. Super-slack, if you like. I’ve just not been around this way much lately.

Mostly, this has been due to unerring demands on my time by work, but also sheer laziness on my part. Anyway, no one really wants to listen to my boring life, do they?!

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Preparatory Work…

So a little, simplistic facelift in advance of what will probably become a rather large blog post. You have been warned!

Yes, I’m back, people – back! Just a few things have changed since the last post, all of 9 months ago – how slack am I?

In a nutshell – new job (yes, again, I’m sticking with this one), fab holiday(s) and the small matter (ha!) of a wedding. 2015’s been a busy year so far.

That was the year, that was…

It’s not like me to succumb to the traditions of blogging, but it appears that the norm is to review your year in a nicely concise summary of events. So, given that I haven’t blogged much over the past 12 (that may change, it may not), here’s a non traditional GOAS-style blog of wot-I-did-this-year…

In no particular order:

·         Planned a SecretTrip for L’s birthday. That was January. SecretTrip was May. Yes, I kept the secret for that long. It was in fact a jaunt over to her old haunts in Northern Ireland, and my first journey over to the northern part of the island. We had a great couple of days. I’d hoped that it would be nice and warm but alas not, but we basked in the luxury of one of the best hotels in the area, and tramped around Belfast doing touristy things. She introduced me to Tayto Crisps, Maud’s Ice Cream, and the views of the mountains and the sea.

·         We managed to decorate another two rooms of Abomination Towers. It’s slow going! Our spare room is now purple and oyster, and our bedroom also following a purple theme; albeit on a different shade (honest!). A bathroom has also made it from bright red to a more subtle silver, with a view to eventually replacing the entire suite and remodelling. It’s about putting our stamp on it rather than living with someone else’s woeful taste. We did, however, also remove a pond and two enormous trees from the garden; giving much more space and light outside.

Sadly, the kitchen remains at large and we have lived through an entire year with doors falling off and badly fitted work surfaces and cupboards. A tentative plan is in place, however, to give us the kitchen we want; but it requires more than just a refit; building work aplenty including creating doorways and moving gas, electricity and water sources will be needed. All in good time.

·         I left my old job, started a new job and hated it. I still hate it, but it pays the mortgage and will continue to do so whilst I look for something else. In the meantime, the boss who I never properly connected with has retired, so I’m awaiting the installation of a new boss. Hopefully it’ll be someone who understands my “why do it THAT way?” rather than “you have to do it that way because that’s how we’ve always done it”.

·         Decided to get married (well, *we* did: it was a joint decision, honest!). Next year. We have spent a lot of time sorting what we wanted, and we are building one helluva ceremony for the day. I am really rather excited. Hopefully everyone else will be too. I can’t wait!

·         Cheered when C made lots of new friends to play with in the street, for that was one of our aims for moving. Booed when she brought home lots of little non-friends in her hair. We became NitNinjas for a day, in a mass of curly hair. It wasn’t fun.

·         Spent another lovely long weekend in Arran, in glorious sunshine. There’s something about the pace of life in Arran that is immediately relaxing, and I will miss the fact that we’re not going next year.

·         Indulged ourselves in a week of sunshine and pool in Tenerife. It was nothing short of fab, although just a smidge too hot for us.

·         Enjoyed a hot summer’s day on my birthday yet again, on the beach and paddling in the sea. Much fun and a great way to spend your birthday!

·         Made some cakes, made some bread and created some good food. Also created some disasters which I’ll gloss over; but that’s the joy of cooking, right?

 

For 2015, I’d like:

·         SuperDad to actually parent and take responsibility for his actions (I say this every year, it never changes)

·         To marry L and have a fantastic day to boot. If the latter doesn’t happen, I don’t care: I’ll have married her. That’s the most important thing to me (can you tell I’m a bit excited?)

·         To try and enjoy what I do for a living. I’ve fallen out of love with it.

·         To revamp one of the big rooms in Abomination Towers, be it a bathroom, kitchen or lounge. Maybe

Another Numpty Freakoid

I’ve written before about how my namesakes just can’t seem to remember their own email addresses. Today is no different. Whoever Me.K.Surname on Gmail is, she’s a thick as pigshit. She keeps dropping the K from the email, and thus I get all of her rubbish.

Today’s was a corker:

From: anf@americaneedsfatima.org
(Please read with caution. This is very disturbing.)

Dear (me) K, 

In April of 2013, America Needs Fatima email members helped to peacefully SHUT DOWN the Broadway play “Testament of Mary.”

Well, I’m sorry to say, IT’S BACK…this time in San Francisco. 

And they’ve shortened the name to simply: TESTAMENT.

That’s why I ask you to sign this new petition to oppose “TESTAMENT” right away:

Just listen!

First:  As I reported to you, in the Broadway rendition, the Virgin Mary was represented by an actress who goes totally naked in the show.

Second: She does not think her son is the Son of God.

Third: Holy Mary is portrayed as a skeptic who did not follow her own Son: She says: “I am not one of his followers.”

Fourth: She thinks the apostles are “a group of misfits.”  Not one of them “normal.”

Fifth: At the Crucifixion she fled, saying: “It was my own safety I thought of; it was to protect myself.” 

PROTEST HERE.

This play is nothing but perversity and blasphemy.  No Catholic can remain indifferent to such offenses.

That’s why it’s vital you take action today.

And I promise you, your Petition of Protest will be delivered to the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco.

(me) K, you know that blasphemy is a grave sin because it directly counters man’s very purpose in life, which is to love and serve God.

And this play, TESTAMENT, is an unspeakable insult to the Blessed Mother – a terrible sin.

Please join America Needs Fatima and all God-fearing Americans to reject it — legally and peacefully.

So sign your petition and offer your prayers and reparation for the offense it gives to Almighty God, Mary Most Holy, and the Catholic Church.

Thank you!
In Jesus & Mary,

Robert E. Ritchie
America Needs Fatima
www.ANF.org

P.S. Please let me repeat:
I am urging you to exercise your love for the Mother of God by signing the Petition of Protest.

This play, TESTAMENT, is a terrible insult to the Blessed Mother.

To see our full financial disclosure, click here.
© 2014 America Needs Fatima – P.O. Box 341, Hanover, PA 17331 –(888) 317-5571

p

 

So, I unsubscribed, as I always do, and decided to reply to them. A little trolling, if you like….

Hello,

You’re right, I am disturbed. Disturbed for the following reasons:
1) that you have to include financial information links in your email. Since when was religion a business?
2) America Needs Fatima? I was saddened to learn that this isn’t the great athlete Fatima Whitbread. She is, by far, the most iconic Fatima that has graced our lands.
3) your unsolicited spam is unwelcome and your own members of your cult can’t even remember their own email address. Stay well away from me.
4) I hope the play goes ahead. Try focusing on more important things that are wrong in the world like poverty and hunger. Things caused by wars. Wars which have arisen through, oh, religion.

Now go back to your own little hole and never email me again.

The Bus Stop Blog

Buses. You wait ages for them and they all turn up at once.

This blog is becoming like the virtual bus stop… you’ve all been happily ignoring me because I’ve not been on my bus, but now I’m back and hoping to make regular stops here. So, welcome back; hop on board.

What’s the sign on the lollipop? Today our journey takes us to the marriage stop. Yup, you read me right: the marriage stop. No, your eyes aren’t going funny.

Those of you who are super-long-term-GOAS sufferers will know that I’ve been here once already. Naiiveity and hindsight (and, let me not take away from it – fun too) create wonderful lessons learned. However, I’m putting it out there now: L and I are getting married. Next year. Yes, 2015.

The Scottish Parliament passed Equal Marriage laws in early 2014, but various legislations and typical red tape mean that the first marriages won’t happen until early 2015. L and I were big supporters of the equal marriage movement, we followed the England and Wales laws with interest and knew that the Scottish law wouldn’t be far behind (there’s a few tweaks in Scottish law that means that there is greater protection for Trans people). England and Wales’ first same sex marriages (not Civil Partnerships!) happened in March 2014. We’ve been waiting that bit longer up here in Scotland.

We talked about marriage a lot before we decided it was for us. Having both been married / Civil Partnered before, we know the pains and expense that a divorce (/dissolution) can bring. One of us (moi) knows the stigma that society applies when you say you’re Civil Partnered. Until last year those of us loving someone of the same sex weren’t able to say we were married. We all did anyway, but legally, the Civil Partnership status was another rung on the ladder; and an immediate “outing” for those who had to tick that little ‘civil partnership’ box on forms.

When I split up my last relationship, I remember my mother saying “don’t ever get married again”. I don’t think she felt that I was the right person to get married, or to commit. Many people feel that one should only get married once in life; but the sad fact is that marriages aren’t for life any more. People are stronger and more willing to put their hands up and say “we made a mistake”, and that’s what I did at the time.

You might be wondering why I would want to put myself through a marriage again. There are so many reasons this time that I know that marriage is absolutely the right thing for me now. My relationship is the most secure, open, honest and upfront that I have ever known. I know that I can speak my mind without worrying that I will cause upset. I know that whatever happens in my life, I want to be with L. I knew it from very early on, and learning from past feelings, I know that this is so very different, and as a result, so very right.

There is nothing more in my life that I want than to be able to stand beside her, exchange vows and look at my wife. Even typing that makes me extremely excited. I want to celebrate our love.

We have not properly announced this until now, apart from the odd mention on Twitter and Facebook. I’ll be honest and say that whilst we have told the families, we haven’t been met with the most positive responses. I think some feel that it is a throwaway thing that has been decided on a whim. Others aren’t so positive about the idea of marriage in general.

This is where I struggle. This is happy news. No one has died. No one is terminally ill. We aren’t tearing lives apart. We are wanting to commit to each other lawfully. For two people who have already been through this, you’d be hard pushed to argue that we’re doing this lightly. This time around, we both have a lot more to lose. First of all, there’s C to consider: and everything we have done since we have been together has been to create a safe, loving and happy family (and family home!) for her to thrive in. We also have each other to consider: we’re both at a point in our lives now where we have done a lot of our growing up: your twenties are for that. Sadly we didn’t grow up with each other, but we’re lucky in that we found each other when we did, and we have the rest of our lives to spend together.

The odds are stacked against us. The internet is littered with sites with “I told you so” attitudes stating that second marriages are more likely to end in divorce than first. However, I know a fair few people who’ve been through a divorce and entered a second marriage. They’re still married. Some are way past the years that their first marriages lasted. I think I know less than a handful of people who have divorced a second time, and all of them have done so with regret, rather than vitriol. Most of them have all said the same to me: “my first marriage was done because that’s just what you did next. My second was because I wanted to”. I wholly identify with that and suspect that many second brides and grooms also do.

And, forgive the swearing, but &*Fs it: I *want* to marry her. I want to commit to her and wear a symbol of our love for each other. I’m happy. I want to celebrate that happiness and the contentment that my life is now. I want to be ‘off the market’. I want to tick that ‘married’ box on forms, knowing that it means that I’m married to someone who has changed my life and changed it for the better. I love her, damnit, and I want to make that statement as soon as possible. What’s so wrong with that?

A blog! A whole blog!

Well, hello.

Lots has changed around these parts since I last posted. I have a post in draft, grumbling about many of the barriers I was facing in my old job, and talking about how my manager was encouraging me to get out.

Then I blinked, skipped a few months and I’m out! So all my grumbles from the old place have gone, to be replaced with grumbles at the new place! One might say that this giraffe is never happy.

It’s been a big change. I hit the infamous glass ceiling in the last place; there was nowhere to go and no promotion prospects. Growing ever-disillusioned with the civil service, I looked at the possibility of leaving. Imagine that! Nearly 8 years of Civil Service life, and I was planning to step outside. The thought scared me immensely.

As I say, my manager was encouraging me to leave. I spoke to her at length, showed her applications and job specs, and she encouraged me with all her heart. I later found out that’s because she is looking to escape too. She knows that there is a finite time that one can spend in that particular Civil Service department, and her and I had reached our limit. She’s a lifer in the CS though, and it was interesting to listen to her thoughts on how people today shouldn’t spend their lives in the CS: it’s moved on from the institution that it was 15, 30 years ago. Nowadays people use it as a stepping stone, and move on.

So that’s what I did. I was quite nervous at leaving the Civil Service; I was used to the obvious flexible work/life benefits that it brought: I could start early and finish early, but when we needed to drop C off in the mornings, I could go in later without any penalty. I was based in the centre of Glasgow, not far from L, and we lift-shared in. It was lovely, quite frankly, and I don’t think I knew at the time just how good it was.

I went for a few interviews; all in the same area of work that I’m used to: no point rocking the boat too much! Some were just too inflexible for me: a rigid 9.30-5.30 and for someone who is used to working 8-4 (and has done for over 10 years), I’m not prepared to lose my evenings, thank you. Also: outside of the world of the Civil Service: holidays. Since when did people expect you to work on bank holidays, and when was 22 days an acceptable allowance for holidays? I almost stopped looking and went into teaching!

I was lucky in interview terms: I didn’t have that many. I was chased for one job that I later rejected: I’d got to the second interview but decided that losing nearly 2 weeks holidays in a year was a step too far for me. My second interview was the job I eventually took; I was the second person interviewed and 5pm that night on the way home I got a phone call to ask me if I’d accept the job. I was astounded. It took a bit of wrangling, and obtaining a few extra days’ holiday, but I eventually accepted, and started on the 1 September.

Of course, wherever you end up, compromises must be made, and I have. I work for a Local Government organisation now; my hours aren’t as flexible as they used to be, but that’s a small trade-off for the pension and pay that I’m getting. Flexible working seems to ‘exist’ but not be utilised here; so one of my challenges is to try and create a working environment that permits flexible working at each end of the day. No prizes for guessing which end of the day I will be working when I get that in place!

I’ve also moved to 4 weekly pay, which is odder than odd to me and has taken some getting used to. My first payday was 2 weeks into working here, which has threatened to rock my very tight financial ship with regard to paying all bills within the first three days of the month. With only 2 weeks’ pay to last me until the second week of October, I’ve had to borrow from my savings to ensure that the bills are paid in October. Only for a couple of weeks, and then I’m back on an even keel again. I have a convoluted system of bank accounts paying each other at different times of the month as a result.

One thing I will find difficult forever more is the commute. I’m up to a 45mins commute now, from the shared commute with L three days a week that took 20mins on average. Now me and my little car have to pootle off twice as far, for double the time, on our own. No longer can I whinge about rubbish drivers to L, or play the Yellow Car game. I miss that already. I think 45mins is about my personal limit. I detest finishing work and spending 45mins of my own time in the car, when I could be home in half that time… I think the answer is story CDs, starting with Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy… and to forget the quick commute that I used to have.

2.5 weeks in now, sometimes it feels like forever, and other times it feels like no time at all. I have a vast amount to learn, an even bigger amount to change and a new helpdesk to put in. I would be lying if I said I was bricking it, and I’m already questioning if I am the right person for the job. I’ve joined at possibly the busiest time of the year, ever, and am feeling quite under pressure at times, yet I have no autonomy to change anything; I’m just toeing the line until the ‘holy grail’ of the new software arrives, and then the pressure is on to deliver. I guess, as they all say, time will tell.