Tag Archives: work

Reblogged — Our Update on the BIG move

It’s been such a long time since I last posted which gives you a bit of an idea of the head space I’ve had available.  I’ve been incredibly stressed about lots of things, but let me give you the update.

I went for the interview in Swindon.  It lasted 4 hours and I was pretty sure it went very badly.

The following week they called back and offered me a job.  YAY.

The week after that, they called back and offered me a lower paid job.  Not so YAY.

I went back to negotiate a little on the salary.  They came back, via my voicemail and met me half way. YAY.

We ummed and ahhed and weighed up the pros and cons and I finally decided to take the job.  YAY.

So straight away we had to switch our search area. The negotiation had taken place on the Friday, the day before we were due to go on holiday, but by then we had started looking for houses to visit. We cancelled 2 we had planned to visit en-route to holiday and threw in a different 3.

On the Saturday we packed up for our hols and headed off early to view the properties.  One was just outside Newbury and was really lovely, very detached, big garden, but it was very isolated with no community around and a drive to a primary school, the noise of the busy road behind.  We had a nagging feeling about it, not least because the family selling were doing so to be closer to Newbury, presumably as they weren’t in a good catchment for schools (we looked it up).

One house in Malborough was just very unsuitable. On a busy road and the garden had been photographed to look bigger. Grrrr.

The final house was just lovely. Big house (5 bedroom) with lots of receptions and a decent garden. However, it was in Pewsey which we thought might be ok, but after chatting in the car, decided it was just too far out from family.

So we went off and had a lovely holiday. I accepted my job via email whilst away and we did a couple of planning evenings, picking houses to visit on our return visit.  Hubby headed up to a higher place to make all the calls (we had no mobile) and booked 7 visits.  arghhh.

So we left our holiday on Friday and after a visit to friends en-route and a tyre blowout on the M4, we spent the night at family near Newbury.  My Mother in law came over the following morning to take the children and we began the mammoth task of visiting these houses.

I can tell you a valuable lesson.  If a garden has more than one photo and doesn’t look big, it’ll be big.  If a garden is shot in 1 photograph and looks massive, it’ll be tiny. TINY!  Bloody estate agents.

The two houses we liked the most were the surprises as far as gardens go.  One would require a big building project and the other none at all.

One of them is getting a second visit on Friday.

house drawing

“My Family Comes First”

What does that mean?  In the context of your life?

“My Family Come First”.

I only ask, because it’s a phrase I’ve struggled with, not just from my own perspective but when other people have said it. I heard it recently whilst visiting friends and it’s sat there, on my brain, waiting for me to figure it out.

You see, I was visiting a friend who works very very hard in a full-time job.  She gets to do that job 90% of the time from her home, which means she has flexibility to walk to the bus stop to meet her daughter from school a few days a week and drop her son at nursery.  On the whole though, she has to work a 40 hour week.  She has worked very hard to get to her position in a major British company.  She has done years of study since applying as a graduate there and has the job she aimed to get.  She gets the job done but she told me that nowadays “My family comes first”.Family

The trouble is, in the week I spent with her and her family I didn’t see a moment of tenderness, a second of play, an hour of discussion with either of her children.  I was just left wondering what her family were ACTUALLY getting by being first.  She loves them, she looks after them exceeding well and she cooks almost every family meal. She is a good mother. Perhaps this is her happy place.

I think I’m quite a strict parent. I don’t abide noisy children in public places, I detest children who don’t say please and thank you, even in a restaurant, and I know what annoyed me when I was without children, so I try to follow the same rules.  However, my friend made me look positively “new age” in my approach to parenting.  Her children had to sit down and not move when in a restaurant (we were sitting in a less formal sofa area for lunch at a low table).  She looked like she was having a terrible time because she was so stressed about upsetting other people.  I let The Monster walk/jog around his chair making babbling noises because 1) he wasn’t very loud 2) he was being kept busy by it and 3) there wasn’t anyone nearby as we were by the door.  I made a reference to it and could visibly see my friend didn’t approve.  I gave my son my phone so he’d sit still.  It wasn’t ideal.

We took them out for a meal one night and she commenting on my bag of pens and plain paper and said I was clearly a veteran. Her daughter is nearly 7 and has only been in a proper restaurant twice before.  I find this incredible.

I found her whole approach to parenting old-fashioned and I thought it was such a shame that she was putting her family first but her children weren’t seeing the best of her.

She left the children to play alone (both separately) whilst she went straight from her desk in one room to the kitchen to prepare a fantastic family meal.

I have known this person a long time, so she is very comfortable in my presence, I have no doubt it was exactly as she would be whether we were there or not.

I suppose I should have realised when she commented on the fact I had engaged her son in a conversation about nursery and his friends.  He was very shy (as many 4 year olds are) and he clearly wasn’t used to someone asking him a question.  We were on our own in the living room and if he was a grown up I wouldn’t have sat there in silence, so I do what I always do and ask questions.  She found this very odd.  She told me she never talked to other children.  I have no idea why.  I always find they say far more interesting things than grown ups do.

I’m not slagging off my friend’s parenting skills (I know it looks like it, I can see that), I am merely speculating on what “my family comes first” means to people. She didn’t look like she was enjoying her children at all.  She had no more time to spend with them and was just there to ferry them around to various places and clubs.  Whilst all very handy, I’m sure they’d have preferred some one-on- one time with her instead.

My family come first because I spend far too much time organising things for them to have fun (parties, play dates, activities) when I’m actually at work. I am hoping to reduce my working hours so I get to spend more time with them and I’ve now got a cleaner so I can actually play with my son on my day off on a Friday.  My idea of “My family Come First” is this and ensuring I’m a bit more laid back with my kids, I’m not stressed and snappy.  That’s when I stop being a great mother.  That’s my happy place.

What’s yours?




Arthritis, Exercise and the 40 year old woman

I have a dilemma. I’ve had this dilemma since about March. I’m losing my parking space at work, which, in London was very useful. I had originally been given one that the company rented, but the owners took them back and I was given a temporary space within our building. The reason I had one is that I have a form of arthritis called AS (Ankylosing Spondylitis) and I have limited neck movement and had a major flare up in my knees in 2009 and had difficulty walking. It’s better now and under control with long-term medication. However, my company can no longer justify giving me this space (I have fought it, but I’ve run out of ammunition).

My first idea was to pay someone in a neighbouring street for the use of their driveway. It can be very lucrative for people and there are lots of websites where you can advertise your driveway or garage for short-term or long-term rental. I couldn’t find anything nearby so I did a leaflet drop, but got nothing. I then discovered that I could rent about 5 streets away from work at a cost of £100 a month. However, another 4 streets further and I can park for nothing. It would mean a 25 minute walk which would prove a little too far for me with my condition and very tight on time when I have to dash from school/nursery run to work.

So then, I came up with an ingenious plan. If I bought a fold up bike, park for free and ride to work, I could probably do it in about 7-10 minutes. No weight on my knees and provided I didn’t push myself it shouldn’t be too painful. The added bonus is that I can get some much needed exercise (admittedly not much, but 20 min a day for 4 days is ok).

Flaw to the plan? Well yes there are a few.
Firstly, the cost. Whilst I could get a cheap fold up bike, reviews aren’t great and they don’t fold brilliantly so I’ve fallen in love with the Brompton bike. It is beautiful but it costs £810 for the most basic model (arghhhh). However, considering I was looking to pay £1200 a year for a parking space, then it is cheaper and I can get a finance deal with a bike shop.
Secondly, The Rain. What do I do when I’m in my work gear and it is pouring with rain. Well I’ve googled it, and a cycling cape seems to be the answer. It has thumb grips that allow you to hold on to the handlebars and effectively cover your legs. Might not work every time, but certainly worth considering.
Thirdly, my condition/age. I’m not that fit and some days are worse than others in the ole knee department. I haven’t found the best idea for this. If I happen to be having a bad week I could appeal for a temporary visitors space at work I guess. Fitness wise, I am hoping I’ll get better and better as it goes on.
Fourthly (if that is a word), wearing dresses and skirts. Well thankfully I don’t wear them that often. I have a few ideas for this. I could occasionally ask the receptionist for a visitor space and if there is one, I could opt to wear a dress then. Or, I could consider wearing trousers into work and then changing. Although I really want to avoid this if I can.

I think it’s the right decision. I think once having a Brompton we’ll find lots of scenarios where it will be helpful to have a fold up bike. Hubby might find it useful (a ticket just to Waterloo and a bike ride onwards would be cheaper). I could meet my family and friends nearby by cycling there and coming back by car.

Am I mad or is this the best decision ever?

What a clever little bike