27 February, 2010

Something wicked this way comes.

So, I've done a full week at my new job, hence the lack of recent posts. I'm exhausted! I'd honestly forgotten what normal little boys are like, what with the truly bizarre ones at the last job and my last long term nanny role being with two little girls. These two are constantly in motion, always kicking things and each other, and descend upon any available food like a horde of locusts (including climbing the cabinets and counters to reach it). I'm working at a deficit of energy, but I'm sure I'll catch up soon enough. Rule changes are hard (see previously mentioned house-scaling activities and kicking habits) and they're having trouble accepting the new regime as any boys would, but I have faith that we'll get there. See that, world? No matter how hard you try to beat it out of me, I still have hope. Thbthhh.

Part of this hope springs from the fact that my new employers are unlike any I've ever had. They had the professional part of the arrangements set up before I ever set foot in their house. I had a contract, I had a manual, and I had parameters. Fabulous. Then add to that the fact that Himself and I were promptly invited to their country cottage, an invitation we accepted and are both happy we did. A lovely time was had by all, and this place is beyond gorgeous (see below). Good start, high hopes.

When I was home at Christmas I engaged in a spot of bribery with regards to my youngest sister. She's insanely musically talented and plays the violin in her school orchestra, but as she's simply too cool for school she hates having that "orchestra geek" label. She did her level best to come last with regards to chair assignment and still placed third, this is how naturally it comes to that ungrateful brat. *lol* Anyway, being too cool, she had planned to quit orchestra altogether and I just couldn't deal with it. One of my biggest regrets is that I was allowed to quit playing an instrument when I was young, and I'd hate for her to have to live with that when she's older. So, yeah, I bribed her to stick with it. *grin* I promised her a ticket to London, and surprise, surprise, she accepted.

Herein lies my problem. Part of being too cool for school entails a penchant for activities I wouldn't necessarily endorse for my baby sister. Himself and I both have to work, and there's no way I'll be able to get much time off while she's here. It's not that I don't trust her. Okay, yeah, it's that I don't trust her. *lol* She's too pretty for her own good, and wears tiny little clothes over her size zero frame, and the boys over here just LOVE that Texan accent. I might have to invest in a chastity belt and a padlock for the front door. That I can lock from the outside when I leave. And some metal bars for the windows. And an electronic tag for when she invariably escapes. So, London, you'd better batten down your hatches and prepare for the Unsinkable, Unthinkable, Rosita Chiquita Banana.

15 February, 2010

Series finales and new beginnings.

So I picked up my final paycheque from my last job this morning. : ) It was pretty funny, they left the cleaner with firm instructions to get me to sign a legal waiver that I'll never ask them for anything else ever again before she was allowed to give me the cheque. The only reason I find it funny rather than pathetic is because I was never asking for more than I was owed from the get go, yet they seem to have me pegged as a ruthless gold digger, out to get all I can from my hapless ex-employers. *sigh* Oh well, now all I have to do is wait for the cheque to clear and then rest easy.

More good news, the moggies got their stitches out today! Mass celebrations in the Gabs household, Himself and I haven't had an uninterrupted night of sleep between us in about two weeks due to the damned buster collars. The vet was very impressed we left the collars on the whole time. This was news to me, as the idea that we could take them off if we didn't like the effects didn't really seem to be a viable option due to Kit's wild and abandoned stitch-ripping antics whenever the opportunity arose. Apparently not all cat-cohabitants are so diligent. Kudos to us, but dear little baby Jesus, bring on the sleep.

On an even happier (and yes, less pathetic) note, I had my first day at the new job today. It's just a one off, I start properly on the 22nd. The boys are rambunctious, but helpful when asked in the right way, and the family is the epitome of professional. I have, wait for it... A CONTRACT! I know, I know, I'll wait for you to pick yourselves up off the collective floor while you absorb the idea. Everything's coming up roses. And now, I'll be doing a double gainer into the floorboards to maximise the "knock wood" effects of having said my life was going well for a change. Bring on the concussion.

14 February, 2010

Bleak times, but sunny weather ahead.

I've gone three weeks without work. Obviously, it's a temporary situation arising from my last employers cutting my notice period short, and my new job starts in a week, but it's been very strange. I've had fits and spurts of manic activity, dismantling and bleaching the washing machine or going on my hands and knees to use the cat hair attachment on the hoover to do the whole house. These have been interspersed with hours of lying on the couch, watching crap telly and trying not to cry. Depressing, eh? *lol*

I think part of it has to do with the fact that my last employers are telling all and sundry that I slandered them while I was still in their employ, and have lost me a lot of one-off work in the process. To stop them, I'd have to sue them, and having just dodged one court proceeding I'm not so eager to rush headlong into another. I find it ironic to say the least that they've slandered me so eagerly while claiming I've done the same to them and yet they see nothing wrong with this picture. I think it's fairly hysterical that anyone could believe anything they're saying due to the fact that being a nanny relies heavily on word of mouth references and I like to think I'm more intelligent than to shoot myself in the professional foot so thoroughly as to have said horrible things about any family I worked for to their friends.

I know, there's nothing I can do about it and the best thing to do would be to put it out of my mind entirely. Easier said than done. It's always stuck in my craw when people have incorrect opinions about me and what I'm about, and having had people tell whoppers about me in the past it's not exactly the first time I've had to deal with it. It just never gets any easier. It's great that I'm going to finally get paid what I'm due and won't have to go to court to get it. It just sucks that now they'll be telling all their friends that I extorted money from them, because that's exactly what they'll be saying.

That said, Himself has been absolutely fabulous during the whole process. He's been supportive and helpful and patient, and I couldn't ask for a better partner in life. And as I have two days worth of work this week and start properly next week, there's light at the end of the tunnel for my psyche. Bring on the sunny weather.

12 February, 2010

Legal, schmeegal.

I got an email today from my ex-employer. He's apparently gotten some legal advice, because they are now "prepared to pay you in accordance with your demands provided that you agree that this payment by us will be in full and final settlement of all claims arising out of your employment by us"... *lol* Someone's running scared. If this had gone to an employment tribunal, they would have been fined for not providing my contract, and we're talking a pretty big chunk of cash. Now it's my turn to run, as in "take the money and run". *grin*

I am so glad this is on its way to being finished. I'm tired of feeling jittery, waiting for the piano to fall on my head. Legally speaking I've had the high ground from the start of this fiasco, but they're weaselly little people and I honestly expected more of a fight than this. I am pleasantly surprised this won't have to take up the next few months of my life, I was never trying to claim for more than I was owed.

So now I get to go run a bath and revel in my having pre-empted a waste of time legal battle. Let's see how many times the cats fall in this time...

05 February, 2010

Tiny fur rugs.

We have a pair of female kittens, sisters from the same litter. They're six months old in a week, but as they started going into heat earlier than expected (about three weeks ago) we arranged to have them spayed immediately. Turns out immediately meant yesterday, as that was the earliest appointment available, which meant we had to live through the full duration of their insanity.

On heat, they rampaged around the flat at around four each morning, chirping at each other and bounding over the bed, rolling around in the floor and yowling for attention. Last night, post-op, they rampaged around the flat at around four in the morning, banging their buster collars (the lampshade things) against the doors and doorframes and licking the insides of the collars, which being textured make a fabulous rasping noise.

Don't get me wrong, I love the little monsters. They're hysterically funny most of the time. They each chose one human to own, Kit claimed Himself and Sophie chose me, and they have distinctly different personalities. Kit's more frenetic at play, pouncing at anything under the duvet and climbing the curtains, while Sophie's more laid back and dignified, but once roused Sophie will deliver the killing swipe of the paw without a second's hesitation and send Kit tumbling head over tail. They can smell tuna from anywhere in the house, and no food or drink is safe, including Himself's cuppa last Sunday morning (Kit helped herself). They're obsessed with the tape measure, the mere sound of it being drawn out has them running, and they persist in looking for the laser pointer a good half hour after it's been turned off and put away. They're also both fascinated by running water, and have been known to sit in the sink with the tap dripping on their heads. Kit's fallen in the bath with me twice due to overactive curiosity.

When I picked them up from the vet yesterday afternoon, Sophie came out meek and mild, let him take her IV out without fuss and went back in the cat box willingly. When the vet went into the back to get Kit, I couldn't figure out what the awful noise was until he came out with a double armful of screeching ball of fury (credit BFG for the terminology). She yowled, she hissed, she growled, she spat. The vet had to get the practice nurse to bring a towel to put over her head and hold her down while he tried to get her IV out. I say tried, because the first towel didn't pass muster and a larger, thicker one was soon sought out to put over her entire body. It was truly an experience.

So now, we wait. The buster collars suck, I mean, SUCK, and they're both fed up with them. We tried taking them off just to see whether the girlies would bother with their stitches, and five seconds after Kit was released she was ripping at her stitches with wild abandon and the collar was forced back on. It's disappointing because that means they'll definitely have to wear the collars until the stitches come out a week from now, and if tonight's anywhere near as bad as last night was I'll be enforcing the "noisy kitties sleep in the bathroom" rule. Himself takes pity on them, but a tired Gabs has more pull on his sensibilities than sad faced moggies. I'm meaner than they are. *grin* One more night without sleep and we'll have a new pair of tiny fur rugs.

03 February, 2010

Internal ice water.

So, you know when you find out something nasty that's been said about you and it gives you that bucket of cold water feeling? I haven't had it for a long time, over two years actually, and it's funny how similar today is to that day.

I had a boyfriend before Himself. I know, I know, it's shocking, call me a hussy and move on. He was an awful person, smoked incessantly and was always hungover, had weird affectations like saying "moo" instead of "you". Including "I love moo" instead of the usual. Yeah, you read right. I lived with a man who said "I love moo". Why was I with him, you ask? Why was he not bludgeoned with a cast iron pan and buried in the garden, you query? I credit low self esteem. When I finally left him it took me almost a year to recover from his foulness, and I haven't looked back.

I once had a Scottish friend who went a bit weird when he realised we wouldn't ever be more than mates, and for a long time after we parted ways he'd email me out of the blue once every three months or so. That day over two years ago, he emailed me a song he'd found online that was about me. Literally, the awful ex had written a song about me after we broke up. It's title? "Fat". Not only is it offensive to the very last lyric, it's poorly performed (which, spoken as a choir nerd, is honestly the worst part). Talk about gallons of cold water, and I was incensed for days afterwards. That he would write something so vitriolic frightened me, and it was months and months after we'd broken up when he wrote and posted this filth on the net.

Today, the facebook trend seems to be urban dictionary, you're meant to look up your name and post the first thing that pops up as your status. Out of curiosity, I checked mine, and damned if I didn't get that iced water again! The third entry down is written in that same vitriolic style, spewing anger all over the internet, and the combination of names in the dialogue is too coincidental to be chalked up to my paranoia. The date on it? 2008, three years after our split.

It makes me grateful that I'm in such a happy place in my life right now. I have a great life, a lovely home, a fantastic new job on the horizon, and people that I love and that love me. So now I'm going to make a cup of coffee, cuddle my ever-demanding kittens and count my blessings.

01 February, 2010

Litigious feelings and toothsome concoctions.

So here I am, thirty years old and entering what looks to be my first legal battle.

Perhaps that's a little overly dramatically stated, but I'm feeling overly dramatic today. My last job, the one mentioned before, is proving more difficult to leave behind than I had originally thought.

I'm still due a week's wages, and they've decided not to pay. Having obtained... *gulp*... legal advice, I have finally given in and sent a grievance letter in the hopes they'll realise I'm not going to just go away with my tail between my legs. It's too hard to walk that way.

I did, however, manage to get the bike fixed. Yes, BFG, you heard me, it's fixed. A few hoses replaced, the carburetor and the fuel line cleaned out, and we're back on the road. The cost of my wheeled freedom? £35. I'm still a little in shock, I was expecting a huge bill for major repairs. So, you see, sometimes the universe gives you a break. *grin*

Also, using some of my newly acquired down time, I was looking for something to bake last week. In the quest for something other than banana bread, I came across this great recipe for coconut bread, and it's deeelicious. It's great fresh, but my favourite was sliced and toasted in the oven with butter. Now that I'm drooling, I'll share. For convenience, I'll use the American measurements as most of you would be using them, but I can post the UK ones for anyone interested.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Whisk two eggs into 10.5 fl oz of milk. Sift 2.5 cups of all purpose flour with 2tsp of baking powder and 2tsp cinnamon into a mixing bowl. Add 1 cup of caster sugar and 2.5 cups of shredded coconut and mix together. Make a well in the centre and pour in the milk/egg mixture gradually until mixed. Melt 2.5oz of unsalted butter and mix in until the mixture is smooth. Pour into a greased and lined loaf tin and bake for an hour, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. (It took mine a little longer than an hour, so I covered the loaf with foil to stop the top getting too brown.) Allow to cool, remove from the tin, eat like a pig. It's great.

I'll leave you on that slightly more appetising note. That is, until the court case gives me more dirt to dish... *grin*