Saturday, 16 March 2019

Sometimes it's about shifting perspective a little bit...

creditcards.com

I was online at my bank the other week and noticed that there was a little note beside my account information to let me know that I had been 'pre-approved' for a CC. I was sceptical, but clicked the link and was brought to a page that offered two options: both had 0% balance transfer options and both had reasonable interest rates (comparatively). It was the 0% balance transfer option that piqued my interest really.

Now, initially, I backed out of the page because it felt a bit dangerous. I don't need another credit card, and there was no guarantee that I'd be approved anyway (despite their 'pre-approved' claim), a refusal could damage my credit rating, etc.

This particular offer came alongside another offer of a 'pre-approved' CC via a bank I used to bank at in Canada. That had a huge ($10,000) limit. But I can't apply for a Canadian credit card without any affiliation to Canada anymore, so that didn't fly and I got rid of that offer (but thank you very much anyway!). There was something else, too, but that wouldn't have worked out either.

I've been with my current UK bank since I arrived over 5 years ago and have wanted to 'buy' more products with them for a couple of years. Perhaps I'm naive in thinking that loyalty does pay off in some respects, but I have no reason to change for the time being and the offer of a 'pre-approved' CC was tempting.

As I said, the first time I saw it, I backed away from it. Today, though, I was online for another reason and noticed that the notification had disappeared, so I followed the main link. The same two CCs were on offer, so I went ahead and applied (holding my breath a little...).

I am REALLY glad that I did - I was approved and I've transferred the balance of my 35.9% interest MC to my new CC where I have 29 months at 0% to pay it off!! The amount due each month doesn't change much, so in that respect, I'm not saving but it means I won't be incurring the interest so the balance WILL ACTUALLY GO DOWN. Noticeably. Phew. I can't tell you how relieved I am about this.

I feel like a very little weight has lifted! I already have April's word, and this ties in perfectly. It also ties in a little bit with my word for March - focus.

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Heading into spring

every-tuesday.com

Word of the Month: FOCUS

The word of the month came quite easily to me this month, so I'm paying a bit more attention to what's going on around me ('focus', right?!). 💪😀

It's edging slowly into spring here. The temperatures were in the high teens last week, but have settled back to a more seasonal level - cooler days, cool evenings, and rain on and off (it's England). 

Car

I love driving my new car! Two months in and I'm finally comfortable with (most) bits of it and don't turn everything on when I'm just trying to find the turn signal. Shortly after I bought it, I went to turn and had the wipers going, the lights on dual beams, both indicators going... None of that nonsense now! Most importantly, I feel safe in it - so solid. 

Last Friday, one of the bulbs in the headlights blew and I wasn't overly concerned because it's light enough (more or less) to not need them now, although I always drive with my lights on as a habit I picked up in the Yukon. I have a three-month warranty on the car (expires 2 April) and wondered whether that was covered (it seems very little actually is). There are options, though, including watching a video on how to do it yourself. It was in Croatian, but I followed it easily enough. But before I went into full-on DIY mode, I stopped at the garage where I bought the car to clarify if it was something that was covered or not. It's not; HOWEVER, they did it for me anyway. For FREE (!).

Goodwill is sorely lacking these days, and I'm so happy that they did this for me. My experience with them has been 5* and I would happily buy another car from them. They don't have to do little things like this - particularly as they're just a small, family-run business - but it's literally little things like this that can make such difference in the experience you have.

Work

Pretty much the same. 

The weather has kept me inside at lunch for most of the past week and I'm missing my walks. I've found a route that takes me about 40 mins (-/+ 2 miles) and that's just enough for me to feel like I've accomplished something and still gives me time to eat my lunch when I get back.

But, work...yeah. The trouble is that I don't want to necessarily do anything until the Brexit-mess has been sorted out (T-minus 20 days). Leaping impulsively into something that may or may not be more stable at this point isn't really worth it. 

I have to say, I've been less stressed out this year (so far) although more tetchy at the beginning. A lot of revolves around martyr syndrome, helplessness, fear/dislike of change, etc. And not on my part. Does it make me a martyr to stay somewhere because I'm more worried about disrupting the current situation than moving onto something that is a better/happier fit where I have a chance to advance, use my brain and like? Hm. Possibly.

Anyway. Focus.

Health

I'm doing 'no' sugar for Lent, along with a colleague who's given up chocolate and biscuits (but is allowing herself the odd piece of cake). I did that no-sugar programme before and have heaps of recipes from it, so I've started with that this week - but already have spent double my weekly grocery budget on it! So, based on that (and that I now have £60 for the rest of the month), I have to modify it severely. I want to keep the quantity of veg that the programme promotes, but need a way to make it stretch much, much farther (doubling recipes and having them for four meals rather than just two would be easiest).

Trying to walk, if not every day, at least regularly and for a minimum half an hour.

I'm doing 'no' sugar in that I'm going to focus on good food, but keep my tea as is: milk and 1/2 tsp of sugar (with a goal to reduce that over the next few weeks). I'm happier with this scenario.

I had an ultrasound on my kidneys a couple of weeks ago and the sonographer found nothing of note. Said it all looked normal (yay), so unsure now if my doctor will be following up. I haven't heard anything, so may call to follow-up next week. 

I have a follow-up appointment next Tuesday at the General hospital with the doctor who did my last procedure last year. He wants to see if the prescription he gave me has done what it's supposed to, so I'm 'girding my loins' so to speak, as he mentioned taking a sample in clinic. Not sure it's going to happen, but...okay... 😣

Anyhoo, the appointment is mid-afternoon so I've taken the day as a holiday instead of fussing with driving to work, leaving work, taking the train, blah blah blah. But now I've got a morning shift at the cafe, so have to make sure I'm out of there by noon or I won't make my train.

My dental cleaning is at the end of the month, and I've got the funds for that all ready to go (hurrah!) due to a little extra income the past couple of months. 

Miscellany

Lots of reading continues - I'm now down to 20 books remaining to review! Hurrah! I'm almost ready to be finished, and I can't believe I just said that...Just really makes a difference when you're reading because you want to and reading because you have to.

The conversation started about my Mum with my brother and sister has dropped off. Both my sister and I said more or less the same thing, and all of a sudden we have radio silence. We're not chasing, so nothing can/will move ahead until we hear back.

We've had a damp specialist by the flat to have a look at the mould/damp issues, but are still in the dark about it only because the report will obviously go to the owner. We've also broached the 'what's going on in June' query, as that's when our lease is up. If I was the owner, I would see the lease to the end then take care of these damp/mould issues. That makes sense to me and would help make the decision for us, although I'm already keeping my eyes on flats in Ringwood as, ideally, I want to walk to work. Hopefully, we'll know more by the end of the month. I can only (barely) afford one move, so it really has to count.

I spent some time clearing out my dry goods a couple of weeks ago. I know they last a bit longer than other stuff, but I'm talking about stuff that was up to almost five years old that I've just been dragging around with me. Nope. Time to go. Cleaning out feels good!

I found £2 in the parking lot when I arrived at work on Thursday! It was sitting on the ground by the rear tire. Thanks! :D

I took a couple of holiday days last month as my boss was away those days and I'd be quieter than usual. It just made sense. It was okay - I didn't get up to much, just puttered really, but I felt strangely restless and unsettled the whole time. It was very odd.

I've been focussing a bit more on my writing too, and have managed to produce some reasonable words on pages the past couple of months! I sneak it at work (naughty!) and try to concentrate more on weekends. I'm determined to have a veryveryveryveryvery rough but complete book by the end of the year. My writing group are supportive, helpful and make great suggestions and they're keeping me going. I'm so grateful to them! I also think that the fact I'm not getting distracted by FB is part of this.

But is it a murder mystery or a romance? Or both?

Hope you're all having a great weekend!

Sunday, 3 February 2019

January wind-up - hello, February!

bulldogvillage.com

Word(s) of the Month: Trust (in the) Communication

I spent most of last week sniffling and coughing at work, and took advantage of potentially adverse weather on Friday (and the fact that I've been sleeping so poorly the past couple of weeks) and finally took a sick day. We're pretty slow in the office at the moment, so I'm sure I wasn't particularly missed. There'll be plenty waiting for me when I get back tomorrow.

The adverse weather (heavy snow) affected most parts of the UK, including routes to and from London. I could have made it to the office, but quite frankly couldn't be bothered after waking up yet again at 4 a.m. I was feeling really rough, and I'm glad I took the extra day to just rest. There's apparently something going around, so I suppose it was just a matter of time. It wasn't too bad, considering, but has drained me of energy and it's been nice to sit and rest for a couple of days. I woke up this morning with a much clearer head, after a good sleep, so am finally feeling more or less back to normal.

I went to the dentist last Saturday and was pleased (and very relieved!) to have a clear checkup. I mentioned that I've been clenching my jaw and she didn't seem overly concerned as there was no pain or swelling anywhere, so there wasn't any damage to the muscles or joints. She did give me some paperwork about some exercises that might help a little bit, but it appears that clenching my jaw is how I deal with stress. Knowing that, I just have to be aware of it and unclench when I realise I'm doing it. I do, however, need a good clean, so that's booked for the end of March.

mvpfamilydental.com

I also returned that book I didn't think I could! After all that, I'd just picked the 'wrong' choice on the Amazon return options. I went old-school and printed off what I needed and off it went. The credit, less £3.99 for postage, was applied in the next couple of days, so I'm pleased. I've since removed payment details from my account so that there's no temptation. I do, however, visit my Wish List page daily, because sometimes there are free books that show up on it! Yes, please!

I'm still reading up a storm, and I cleared at least six books from my NetGalley list last week. To be fair, one was only a novella and took just about an hour to complete, but I'm feeling a bit better. I'm still two months behind, but I'm getting there steadily. Most have been very enjoyable, fortunately, with only a couple that I was slightly disappointed in.


Regardless, I'm looking forward to getting to the bottom of that TBR pile.

I've also been Netflixing a fair bit the last few days. I've worked through most of a 90s English show called 'Jonathan Creek' which is a murder mystery series. It's quite good - it stars a comedian called Alan Davies as Jonathan Creek, a magician's assistant (more or less) who lives in a windmill and solves murders. There have been some great guest stars. I've moved on to 'Hinterland' now, a Welsh police procedural filmed in and around Aberystwyth, on the central Welsh coast. I do love the Welsh accent, it always sounds musical to me. The show is really good, too. I saw the first several episodes a couple of years ago but started from the beginning again anyway. I didn't remember enough about them to skip them. So I'm going to carry on with that.

I had a bloodwork appointment at my new surgery (medical clinic) on Thursday morning. Here I was thinking a vial or two, but the nurse kept adding vials to the dish until she had six! Yikes. The doctor must have wanted tests for everything...fortunately, it was quite straightforward (I've got good veins), and I was in and out in about 10 minutes. I was startled, therefore, to get a call the next day to let me know that my doctor wanted a urine test and is going to book me an appointment for an ultrasound of my kidneys and abdomen. Nothing I've not done before, but it seems this issue is rearing its head again. I wonder if it could be part of the reason I'm so bloated? Anyway, happy to do whatever I need to - I've done all this before and if my current doctor wants to have a closer look at it all, that's fine with me. Perhaps I might get some answers this time? I'll have to wait and see.

As part of my 'Discover' January, I took myself to the Citizens Advice group at the library. Part of my stress is around how much debt I have (all, once again, self-inflicted) and was starting to panic a bit. I basically wanted to talk with someone about what options are out there for assisting with this sort of thing (without feeling the need to resort to something as drastic as bankruptcy). I spoke with a lovely lady, who walked me through some options and possible solutions and worked up a financial statement for me. I did a bit of reading up on the solution we discussed (a debt management plan, or DMP) and it seems to be the right solution - when I'm ready. One of the things that I'm trying to avoid is affecting my credit rating (which is VERY slowly creeping up). I got myself into this debt and it's my responsibility to get myself out of it. I'm not going to renege on my responsibilities to the creditors, but I am struggling a little bit at the moment.

Anyway, there is a slight risk that landlords may refuse to rent to you if you have a DMP on your credit record, although it's obviously not as impactful or serious as a bankruptcy or a debt relief order. With a move of some kind likely within the next few months, I'm not willing to take the chance that I could be turned down for a flat. As long as I keep on the way I am currently, paying my priority bills (rent, utilities, etc.) first and paying my minimums on my non-priority (CCs, etc.), then I'll be okay. Once moving is out of the way, then I can make a final decision on the DMP.

Part of the reason I wanted to gather some information was that I'm tired of not being able to do anything simply because I can't afford it. If I didn't have my debt, I'd have £375 a month to put towards travel, savings, horse riding lessons, yoga...whatever I wanted. Instead, I miss things like my brother's wedding because I can't afford it, even if part of the cost was covered. I'm angry with myself for being here at this stage of my life.

I discovered lots in January.

However, February has just started off on the right foot - my computer anti-virus is due for renewal soon and a little reminder popped up about half an hour ago. A few weeks ago, I had decided to amend my subscription renewal so that instead of automatic renewal, I would get a reminder instead. I'm not sure what prompted me to do it, but I'm glad I did! My auto renewal would have cost me £219!! That's for multiple devices, mind you, but holy Sh!t. I clicked on the website and changed my subscription to a 1-year, single device (desktop) subscription and paid £25 (it was 50% off for some reason - yes, please!). So I'm now renewed until next Feb. Phew! A good catch, I'd say.

So let's see what insight February's words bring.

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Update: week four, 2019

theinspiredroom.com


I mentioned in my last post that I had taken myself off social media for three months. My social media presence is only FB because I quite frankly can't be bothered with anything else. I've found it easier than I thought to remove myself, partly because I'd already cut down over the previous couple of months, so am pleased that I don't have any withdrawal 'symptoms' from it. I also figured out how to remove the news headlines from my Google homepage on my iPad, so I don't even see those. I only hear sound bites via the radio, so am blissfully ignorant of (most) of what's going on in the world right now. And I'm okay with that for the time being.

The idea behind this was for some self-care - which is not only a physical thing but also mental, emotional and spiritual.

Back in October, I (kind of) started a bullet journal, attempting to keep myself in some kind of ordered chaos. I've (kind of) kept it up, but left myself a bit more flexibility in it as we entered the new year. I keep track of the books I read and review (those ones -->) and am making a list of things to do this year, as well as trying to keep track of my debt, my habits, my reading, etc. My words for 2019 are 'joyful adventure' - I think to remind myself to just let go a little bit and say 'yes' to necessary/scary changes. Following on from my self-imposed social media ban, I decided that each month would have a word associated with it, as a way of paying attention to what I need (whether it be good food, a walk, to stop being so hard on myself, watching my thoughts, decluttering my room, etc.). 

January's word is 'Discover'.

I watched Marie Kondo's 'Tidying Up' show on Netflix. A gentle, mindful way of decluttering your home. The 'KonMari' method works seemingly contrary to most decluttering rules, by keeping only things that bring you joy. This mindful approach is the way to a clean house apparently, so I have a few notes to review.

I decided that I need to focus at work, doing the best that I can and not being such a complainer. My colleague reflects a lot of my own stuff at me (passive-aggression mostly, also victim/martyr issues), and I've vowed to pay close attention to that this year. A couple of weeks ago I offered to change my lunch hour with her because she's always 'absolutely starving' when her lunch rolls around at 1:00 (she starts work at 7:30!). But no, 'it's fine.' So I'm not going to offer again and take that on board. It's not my problem.

I want to be more present and make sure that I'm a little more measured and thoughtful in what I say, rather than spitting out the first thing that pops into my head, in an effort to try to be funny or whatever.

I watched a show called 'Addicted to Food' last week, about recovering food addicts. Both ends of the spectrum were shown, the bulimics and anorexics and the obese. The woman who runs the treatment centre is lovely (and a recovering alcoholic/binge eater herself) and pointed out that although what they treat at the centre is food addiction, the fundamental issues for any addiction are the same (trauma, abuse, neglect, etc.). One client was determined to leave about 10 days before the end of the programme, and one thing that stuck out to me from the conversation the director had with her was that the client's first instinct is always to 'cut and run, and what would it take for you to commit? What would it feel like to commit?' I do this. When I get bored, frustrated, etc., my first instinct is to 'cut and run'. My decision is to commit to my job - despite being bored, frustrated, whatever - and just be there for it, instead of day-dreaming of 'better'. Whatever I imagine that to be. After all, in the current climate, I could be in a much worse position.

I have also decided to do this with my book. Just commit to it and get it done. How would that feel?!

So, January has been pretty good, so far!

What else? My car is fab. I'm still getting used to it but took my cousin to the little village of Burley last weekend. I wanted to get a crystal of sorts for the rearview mirror but didn't find anything. I bought some chakra-themed candles instead (abundance, joy, motivation and compassion) which smell lovely and will help clear the air around here.

We got our quarterly electric bill which was a huge shock - £706!! I was expecting it to be around £350, but not a bill that rivals a month's heating in the Yukon in mid-winter. We don't have gas, so everything is electric. The heating is via night storage heaters, old, notoriously expensive and fairly inefficient. Realistically, we can't cut ourselves off, so we've been trying to figure out the best way to deal with it. This means turning off the rads during the day (they 'charge up' overnight, on the much cheaper tariff, and release the heat during the day so I'm not sure how this is going to help...but I've agreed to try it). I had to use my travel fund to pay my share of the bill. It means I have to start from zero again, but I'm glad I had it.

My biggest (arguably only) hobby is reading. I read ALL. THE. TIME. I love it. I review pre-release books (over there -->) and currently have a backlog of about 45 books to read and review. Phew. I'm struggling to keep up. It doesn't help when you come across a book that just doesn't do it for you, although you do have the option of not finishing it. As a result, I'm beginning to resent it, as I have loads of others to read yet feel obliged to read all of these first. I got myself into this dilemma so if I can get through a couple of books a week, I'll clear up my backlog relatively quickly and will take a break from reviewing after that. When it stops being fun, stop doing it.

I had bought a book released earlier this month and which I decided to return to Amazon. The return options have changed a bit which is frustrating, and instead of printing out a return label for the item, you're now issued a scanning option which you need to take to a post office (depot) for them to scan and print. Can I be bothered? No. And the book does fit perfectly into my January 'discovery' theme, so I'm keeping it after all.

I've been walking every day at lunch, too. I manage about 1.5 miles in 30 mins (according to my app) which is quite good, but I am noticing that my breathing is starting to labour again and have a call with my doctor on Tuesday to hopefully get things arranged for a new blood test and some iron supplements. My anaemia is rearing its head again! 

Outside of that, the temperatures are on the cool side here (snow in the north!) but haven't been too bad. The walks have been pleasant and refreshing (I don't go out in the rain), and I'm feeling good doing them. Half an hour seems to be a nice balance in the middle of the day, as that still allows me lots of time to eat afterwards.

Hope you're all having a lovely weekend!

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Update time! A few random bits & pieces...

7yearstodiagnosis.com


I'm back again, feeling like I need to update a little. I imposed a three-month social media ban on myself from Jan 1, but don't really consider this social media (as such) so want to continue my as-and-when postings. 

The holidays were okay. Not as relaxing as I would have liked (partly my own fault for taking on a little bit of work, partly not), but it was a nice long break at least.

Car

Did I say that I love my new car? If not, I do. I really, really do! I'm still getting used to it, but what a difference it's making to my driving confidence. It's wider and more solid than the Clio - to the point I had to get out of the passenger side when I'd got it squeezed into the garage last week - ha ha ha! I've since figured out the secret to giving myself an extra inch, so I haven't repeated that, but it is tight. Hadn't occurred to me it would be a problem, but there we are. She fits - snugly - and I can now get in & out with relative ease.

The engine is fabulous - so much bigger than the Clio's! I'm less nervous about pulling into traffic, but at the same time, I can't get over-confident about it. I'm being quite precious about her at the moment - parking in the widest parking spaces I can find so she doesn't get dinged, and once even in a row all by herself at the far end of the lot. My friend laughed but didn't complain about the 'long walk' to the restaurant.


Still haven't settled on a name, though...



Money


I mentioned I purchased her by cashing out an RSP. The after-tax funds totalled just over $8,000. I left $2,000 in my Canadian bank account, which is going towards paying down my LOC. My LOC was down to around $7,000, but sometime in December, I happened to notice that they had increased my limit around Christmas (I'm not clear why). So, after a bit of a think, I used some of that to clear my last Canadian CC. Not actually getting myself further ahead, but condensing everything into one (slightly lower) payment. That, of course, brought me back up over $10,000. While I'm okay for about six or seven months at the moment, I'm checking regularly to make sure nothing drastically changes. I set aside £50 a month to go towards this. My goal is to eventually only have this debt (and then, obviously, none).

I've put away my MC and am no longer using it. The interest rate is stupid and there's no reason for me to use it. Right now, it's eating up £50 a month that could go towards other things. I'm determined to get this one paid off this year, somehow. I'm going to let it sit and have the payments accumulate for about six months (bringing the balance down to about £1000). Depending on how things look in May - the month before our flat lease is up - my plan (at the moment, at least) is to borrow again from the LOC and clear the remaining balance. The £50 can then be redistributed accordingly. This is currently the solution that feels best to me, but things can and do change.

So, the remainder of the RSP was converted (at an utterly DIRE exchange rate) and I received just over £3600. £2300 went to the car (which, as I think I said, was the top of my budget), £360 to my travel account, and I put £800 into my flat account. I'm happy with the distribution. I now have a deposit + first month's rent on a (very cheap!) flat as/when I need to move. Roomie E and I will obviously each get deposits back for this place when we leave it, but that can take up to six weeks and I genuinely don't have enough resources to finance a move otherwise. I'm really pleased - and so much less stressed! - with this in place.

The £360 towards travel is ostensibly for a trip to Bruges in May with a friend. We've made a little bit of noise about it, but haven't moved forward much beyond provisionally reserving some hotels. We don't even really have confirmed dates yet. But we're both keen and it would be a nice break, so I'm keeping that in place. IF something should happen before May and I need to take funds from somewhere, then it's available to me.

Part of me is anxious that the travel money goes towards a CC payment instead. But along with paying off the debt, I also need to have something to look forward to and Bruges is it!

I've bought and returned some Amazon items (books), and once a final credit is applied to my card will remove the details from the site. The last item I bought was a book that I thought might be useful, but I'm not a Millenial so made the 'executive decision' to just return it. I have MORE than enough books to read already.


Health

Is okay. I've actually lost almost a stone since last summer (14 lbs) and am now hovering around 11st. I'm not exactly sure how this happened, but although I'm feeling pretty good overall, I still need to work on a couple of things.

I'm on a new prescription for my stupid menopause issues. But there we are. The results from the last procedure were the same as from the procedure(s) before, so the doctor suggested this particular pill might resolve the issue at last. I'm not sure, but we'll see. Anyway, it's this or a coil and...eeyew! I've said I don't want anything in me on a permanent basis, but it may come down to no longer not being an option. I appreciate they're just doing due diligence, but surely I get some say as to when it's all over? Maybe not.

I've signed up for a food delivery service to see if that will help me with my cooking & eating. My first delivery is tomorrow and it's mostly vegetarian/vegan. I'm going to try to eat less meat and see how that makes me feel. Certainly, more veggies in my diet are never going to be a bad thing, so at the moment I've got one delivery (three meals) a week coming for three weeks. I can suspend at any time and it's currently £30 per week. I'm going to see how I'm feeling at the end of the month and if I want to continue or perhaps amend the deliveries to twice monthly, etc. It's all pre-portioned and planned out for you and everything is either returnable to the company, recyclable or reusable; they buy produce and meat from small farmers around the UK; and, they also donate one meal for schools for every box you order. So their food & business ethics are definitely something I can get behind. I'm just not sure if it's good value for money for just one person.

I will report back.

I've made a dentist appointment for the end of the month. I'm long overdue for a checkup and this particular clinic is at the local grocery superstore (!), just five minutes down the road (three in the new car). I know my bite has changed - I clench my jaw so I'm sure that's the reason why. I discovered this in December, so it's only been fairly recently. I also have a sneaking suspicion I may need some fillings replaced (bye bye travel funds??). The problem is that I'm now a nervous patient, not helped by not having anyone to get referrals from. I'm taking a stab in the dark and trusting that I'm picking a good practice!

I've also started taking a walk during my lunch hour. Even a half hour helps. I'm keeping in mind the phrase, 'start as you mean to finish' and apart from our half-hour lunch breaks on Friday, I'm doing well so far. Once the evenings get lighter later, I'll be taking myself down to the beach and the water after dinner. I'm aiming for an hour total a day, to start.


Home

Overall, the flat is lovely. On the cold side, but lovely (but it is winter in England, after all). I'm still keen to be closer to work, but I feel committed to seeing out at least our year-long lease, which I think is fair. Things always have a way of changing, though, as Roomie E has the opportunity of a fabulous job at a 2-Michelin star hotel and would have to move counties if she got it. She's off to Italy tomorrow for a few days (to rest and have some health concerns investigated), but I think will be visiting the hotel the following week for a trial shift. No guarantees but I think if she's offered the position, she needs to take it. She's beyond miserable where she currently is and I'm sure that's part of the reason she's unwell at the moment.

There is also some (fairly serious) mould in her room. I'm not sure how far back this issue goes, but it pre-dates us and is supposed to have been resolved. The issue is also in the kitchen. Our property manager will, I'm certain, be contacting us early next week once she has spoken with the owner, after discussing it with the building managers. We can't really do/say anything until we know what exactly is going on and how it's going to be resolved. 

There was some fairly minor mould in several places which was, apparently, the result of not enough ventilation in the flat, but I'm not entirely sold on that explanation based on where it was along the top of baseboards. Regardless, I removed it this morning and it hopefully won't come back.

I suggested that perhaps the mould is part of the cause of Roomie E's health concerns, but I'm not sure it's got that established or bad yet. Regardless, it definitely could become an issue if not taken care of.

I feel quite bad for the owner. This not only causes a problem for us as her current tenants but also potential problems in respect of the sale or further rental if not resolved. At any rate, as I say, nothing we can do until we know what has been discussed.


Work

We started back slowly this year, which is great. Got a few outstanding little bits & pieces cleared up at the office last week as none of the surveyors was at work until this week. They more or less hit the ground running, but the work hasn't trickled in fully yet.

The boss is back on Monday and I will be asking at some point if our annual reviews are going to happen at the end of the month. I'm still bored, but have decided that I need to focus on work at work and make sure that I'm spending my free time doing more stuff that I enjoy, regardless of what it is: reading, writing, driving my new car (have I said how much I love it?), etc.

Outside of Brexit (tick, tock), I can't really see anything affecting my job so that's a bit of a comfort. And also a big motivator regarding getting out of debt faster.


Miscellany

My sister, brother and I have started a discussion about our mother and her long-term health and care. We're all non-residents of Canada now, he in South Africa, and my sister and I here, so the distance makes things more difficult. My sister and I are wondering why my brother didn't start this conversation two years ago when he visited her and noticed that she's not as strong as she was...

Anyhoo. The convo is now started and we're tossing around potential ideas and thoughts for discussion before broaching the subject with Mum. What is the best solution for someone who wants one of her daughters (specifically my sister) to return to Canada to care for her, neither of whom wants to? This is the least happy and healthy solution for all concerned. Plan 'A' - in my mind - is that Mum puts herself on a wait list for semi-independent living at a residence where a number of her friends already are. Staying in the same town, with her friends, familiar places to go, etc., would be the best. And the wait list is unlikely to move quickly. In the meantime, we think of a Plan 'B' (a perm move to SA for brother and SIL to care for her? An enormous, expensive and difficult undertaking at the best of health. For an 86-year old...? But they have both said they'd be happy to care for her permanently. But she has to ask. Which won't happen in a million years.). Care in the UK is expensive, varies in quality and with the utterly dire (current) exchange rate, any money made from the sale of the house, etc., would be quickly eaten up and then what? Neither my sister nor I have the means to care for her.

There is a lot to talk about, not least that if someone does return to Canada, even temporarily, we'd be unable to work legally (as non-residents) and would have no way to earn any kind of income to support the needs and care of self and Mum. She has small pensions which go some small way of paying for the basics, but anything over and above that is going to need more substantial income.

Anyway, the discussion has started and all we can do at the moment is to continue and try to figure out a reasonable solution that we can at least start a conversation with (although I suppose the next discussion is who's going to start THAT conversation...).

US & UK politics continue to be complete shitshows. Brexit vote in Parliament on Tuesday. Will we leave with or without an agreement in place? WHO KNOWS? Certainly no one in Parliament. Everyone keeps saying that the PMs plan is awful, but no one seems to be able to suggest anything better, soooo...? Shut up, boys. You BAILED. B.A.I.L.E.D. Your opinions are no longer relevant in this farce. I'm no conservative, but I'm feeling resentful on Mrs May's behalf because of all the shit she's getting for taking this on when no-one could be bothered.

Anyhoo. Roll on 29/05/2019. Let's just get it over with.

And on that note, have a good weekend everyone! xx