Friday, 10 January 2014

Stuff that DID let me down in 2013

Back to what I do best: the low mumble of complaint into the ether.

1. BPost
This is a blog post not an episode of consumer snore-fest 'You and Yours' so I will keep this brief. The Belgian postal service is utter, utter shite. The end.

2. Boots
Boots should be one of the simple, reliable pleasures of life, no? Toasty warm sturdy foot containers, with a touch of style? Yes, well, this year they were a tedious nightmare. I waited 6 weeks for a Topshop pair (choice of model copied from M, yes, I am the friend that copies your boots, albeit in a different colour, I am that kind of scum) to be delivered (see also (1) BPost and (4) online shopping). They were perfect but disintegrated in 4 months and have proved impossible to replace (M and I have spent hours of aimless gchat comparing cheap boots online to absolutely no avail). Walked around with a large stone wedged in broken heel of Topshop pair whilst I ordered another (probably crap) pair that got lost in the post. Got another pair for birthday. Zip broke within a month. Ordered yet another pair: turn out me a disturbingly pale beige colour, make me look like Billy Ray Cyrus and smell alarmingly of rubber. Wearing them anyway because I no longer care. Footwear has broken me. Maybe I can style out the beige suede cowboy boots somehow! (I can't).

3. Roomba
I fell dramatically out of love with the Roomba this year, like the fickle, shallow bastard I am. I know he's only doing his best, bustling around disposing of household mank, but I am heartily sick of him circling menacingly around my chair as I try and work, bashing into the legs and whirring with an insistent note of martyrdom. Other things I am sick of: retrieving my phone charger cable from his intestines. Untangling him from the rug tassels. Chasing him around the corridor as he chews up a shoelace, simultaneously banging himself in the face with the attached shoe. Roomba is an idiot. I am sticking to dust in 2014.

4. Online shopping
Too small grass flipflops, lost boots, meteorite necklace Christmas present that broke on the 27th, missing plush stomach ache and sonic screwdriver, replacement promised "by urgent courier"on 24th and sent by normal post on 27th. Worst than all of these, that ghastly phenomenon, whereby you look at something in all innocence - some vile Whistles leather dungarees, perhaps, via a link sent to you AS A JOKE - and the garment then stalks you round the Internet, appearing like a hideous apparition in the corner of any piece of research or therapeutic baby animal staring you may be engaged in. Last year online shopping lost its lustre for me. In 2014 I am saying goodbye to being stalked around the Internet by Marks & Spencer control tights: I am going back to actual shops. Or better still, I am going nowhere and buying nothing, because:

5. The economy
Papa Waffle is right, writing articles for €50 is a mug's game. Sadly, it is the only game I seem to be half competent at.

6. Eye cream
I love all manner of cosmetic snake oils, but holy shit, this stuff is pointless. I have been doing a comparative test of a very dear and a very cheap one for about two months. THEY ARE BOTH AWFUL. Actually, your eyes are like mine, they are an actual health hazard. I'd rather have sagging, grey-purpleish eyelids than these spotty, bright red, puffy, itchy ones, thanks. Say no to eye cream.

7. Confidence
If I started to list the dickish things I have done and not done due to a total failure of confidence this year, you would be first pitying, then disdainful, and you would be right. Why can't you just buy confidence (in a real shop, not online, obviously)? Latterly as I tried to rewrite my book proposal over the last couple of weeks I had to keep saying to myself 'shitter books than this have been published in the history of the written word' over and over again to stop myself just burning it all. This is as close to a positive affirmation as I get. I sent the fucking thing off today. Whoop!

8. Verruca treatments
The glamour. These are all shit, including the dermatologist administered ones, and we tried the gaffer tape thing and the gaffer tape just fell off. We start this year with the same quotient of medieval peasant skin diseases as last year, just many euros poorer. Marvellous. Maybe I'll apply a toad to the affected area. Then bury myself in the woods at midnight.

What inanimate object/good or service or abstract concept fell over and broke, annoyed the hell out of you or otherwise cruelly let you down this year? 


Iota said...


You have to get your body to realise that the verruca is a virus and must go. So you have to rub it with a nail file or emery board every night, and them your body will do the rest.

I am something of a verruca expert. Sad but true.

Ellie said...

Does "myself" count as an abstract concept? If so, that's what I submit for my 2013 let-down.

Anonymous said...

Did I ever think I'd be commenting about things warty on a Friday night?

Whatever. For warts (and veruccas are of the same ilk non?) my Yorkshire mother would recommend rubbing said thingy with a piece of steak and burying it in the garden, probably at midnight. It may have worked in Mirfield prior to 1930. Or not.

Waffle said...

Anon - HA. Would a mushroom work? We don't have much steak hanging around. Or some chorizo pizza?

Ellie - I was trying to avoid that for myself, since it is tempting but probably unhelpful, so NO. IT IS NOT ALLOWED. You are not inanimate.

Waffle said...

Iota - THis is interesting. I have a pumice stone, but it makes me all nails-on-a-blackboard shivery and revolted. Maybe I could make the child rub his own verucca?

Anonymous said...

I read the Roomba description while nursing my sleeping child and had to suppress my laughter - that should be at least 1€ per word worth. Verrucas: As a Child I had a persistent one, and spent a lot of time at the doctor where they'd try to cut it out until it did not grow back, no success. Eventually I removed it myself with a medical scalpel I had gotten from some probably irresponsible source (who hands out free one- use scalpels to a young teen?). Apparently the little black dots inside the verruca have to be removed for it to grow back. It worked for me, and I did avoid tetanus or similar.... if you don't trust your offspring with a scalpel, the pumice stone might do. Good luck! I hope your book will be published so I can buy it - I am sure it will be good. Much better than my irrelevant, unfinished scientific article that pretty much keeps me from having any sort of career, but that I disdain too much to deal with it, for years now. - Simone

MargotLeadbetter said...

I tell my students* that you have to pretend to be confident, then people will assume you know what you're doing and have confidence in you, and in some vague, ill-defined way this will lead to you developing actual confidence. If they ask me to enlarge on this I say 'that's enough for today, the assignments due next week' or something.

(* = Picture earnest young men and women gathered round my feet as I sit on a rocking chair smoking a pipe, or something)

Z said...

I rely on the inanimate not to let me down, actually, compared to some people. Verrucas - oh blimey, even removing the little black bits didn't deal with my husband's - it took about 3 years.

Anonymous said...

If you're being stalked by your browsed items (train tickets are particularly annoying for this), may I recommend AdBlock? It's a tiny programme that will install in most browsers, and gets rid of pretty much all of the irritating banner ads.

Dee said...

My eyes. For 30 something years I have happily gone along, getting the lenses on my glasses changed slightly every decade or so.No big deal. Suddenly in 2013 my eyesight degenerated to the point where I can only see things 2.23 metres away from me, and everything else requires either telescopes or microscopes. A very cheery optometrist told me "well, this sort of change often happens quite quickly at your age'. It was all I could do not to headbutt him.

My feet: despite not wearing heels since 1989, there is apparently no shoe left on this earth that does not make my feet ache. Sorry- correction. That should be, not shoe that does not cost the same price as a car and look like a mafia punishment.

Morelle said...

The IT help desk at work was certainly a letdown. I called them about an urgent problem, the incompetent first line of help could not solve it and said they would get an expert from second line to contact me. And he did, the following day: He called me on my company mobile ten times. While I was on a flight to Brussels (mobile switched off). With about 5 seconds between each call. Each time he left the message that he had tried in vain to contact me, and would I please call him back. With the tenth call he left the message that the ticket would be closed because it was not possible to contact me nor would I call back.
I filed a complaint when I was back in office. I went to get some coffee. When I returned to my desk three minutes later I found a mail from the complaints desk, saying they had tried three times to contact me (in the three minutes it took to get the coffee) and that the complaint would be closed as I could not be reached.
The IT help desk has been outsourced a year ago, and the company prides itself on the speed with which they manage to close tickets and handle complaints.

Re verrucas: have you tried smearing them with the sap of chelidonium (aka greater celandine)? It works wonders on normal warts. Just break off a piece of stem and apply the orange sap to the wart. It will disappear within a few days. Not sure if it also works on verrucas, but surely worth a try. Added bonus: cost free. I'm sure the plant can be found in Brussels, it's a common weed all over Europe. You'll have to wait until April or May though, until the plants have reached a decent size.

cruella said...

CHINESE INTERNET!!! Sorry for shouting, really no need since all too wellknown beforehand. But. Experiencing the early 90's telephone modem speed all over again, only completely unreliable and with repeted cutoffs and denied ie censored access, is more frustrating than I could ever imagine. When occasionally in Hong Kong, Japan and even Vietnam, poor peasant socialist country as it still is, I SWIM in unrestricted internet. I LIVE on Facebook! From my mobile! Without VPN!

You really should shut up and be happy just about every annoyance, you westerners.

frau antje said...

Into the éther sans oiseaux:

Just watched a Billy-Ray-Cyrus-led documentary on hillbillies (you do not look like him, nor smell of NASCAR, regardless of footwear). Uh, why yes, I do have some Scottish blood in me (can't remember which side of the family it came from...Hatfields or McCoys? Thank god this was diluted with some Portuguese convict, for good measure). Don't style the boots out, go native.

Apparently nothing has let me down, that's what a lack of faith will ultimately get you.

Anonymous said...


This is the same anonymous who cited your unfailingness in 2103 a couple of posts back.

I'd like to address your book proposal situation.

I think you need a new agent.

I don't know how we exchange emails exactly, but I'm the person who works for The Observer.

food luidael

Patience_Crabstick said...

Just a few minutes ago, I was standing at my kitchen counter, and I felt wetness beneath my feet. There was water welling up from between the "boards" of our Pergo floor and I realized that the dishwasher must have a clog and has been draining into the space between the kitchen floor and the subfloor. This is a disaster because to fix it properly we will probably have to tear out the kitchen floor, and if we ignore it, the wetness will turn to rot and my house will smell like a dead animal. There's a lot to be said for just renting so crap of this kind is the landlord's responsibility.

Sonya said...

AHHH. Online shopping and Canada Post. Badly let me down by Shutterfly. My nephew's Christmas present (a Photobook, which had to be ordered from the States, 'cause we are all last century here), finally arrived yesterday. Only took 25 days from ordering!

My two had verrucas constantly on their feet from years of walking about bare foot after swim team practice. Best effect was twice daily application of pure oregano oil for about 2-3 weeks. Quite expensive, tends to sting, but only need a few drops each time, and this was the only thing that worked.

Blonde said...

6. So I can stop feeling guilty about not using one?! FANTASTIC.

Betty M said...

Nits. Child fail of 2013. Will no doubt be the same for 2014.

AH said...

I can't believe after reading for so long I am breaking my comment silence to say something about warts (at least I think that's what a varucca is). I have used the gaffer (we call it duct) tape successfully after having it recommended by my physician, but it took a while to get the technique correct. I found that you have to put enough of a piece on that it surrounds the entire wart with an airtight seal. Then you leave it on. Eventually, after some showers, it will start to peel off. Immediately put another piece on, again with an airtight seal. Repeat many times. Eventually you will see the skin starting to slough away and then the wart itself. It was the only thing that worked for me as dry ice treatments and injections had already failed.

On another note, I just got a roomba and am in love with it. I'm sad to see that the bloom may one day come off the rose.

Waffle said...

Book proposal anon commenter - did we once exchange emails about Grayson Perry? Are you that Observer person? If so I still have your email...

Waffle said...

I love how this is a mine of verruca/wart advice. ONE DAY WE WILL BEAT IT. Oh, the glamour.

AH - Maybe you will remain true to the Roomba. Mine has busied itself in my absence this weekend ingurgitating a gigantic length of rope. Where did it even FIND rope? I didn't know we had any. The warts in question are on a finger and side of palm and tape seems to get instantly sweated off...

Blonde - Consider yourself absolved. M and I both found all of ours totally pointless.

Patience - Oh god. This is the kind of horror that can really drive one to (more) drink. Sympathies.

Morelle - Aha! I am off foraging.

Margaret said...

My joints continue to let me down. Also: my terrible vision. Me adored cat let me down by dying at age 17. Good effing riddance, 2013.

H said...

Blogger let me down by eating my comment!

At least the verrucas are on hands and not feet so there is no need for the SOCK OF SHAME for swimming classes. That was social death when I was young.

Belgium has let me down. Or rather, my ability to cope with it. I do not want to fail at living in THE FOREIGN but it's been four months now and I'm still not doing very well. Ho hum.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Im also a sort of lurker to your blog. I live in Ixelles, so sort of a neighbour. Anyway, my 5-year old also has recurring warts (courtesy of swimming pools, I think). Last time the dermatologist had to cut it out with a scalpel (it was not a nice moment, I tell you). A pharmacist recommended the "Diable Vert" ointment. It's a green liquid you apply to the wart every night and it should be gone in a fortnight. It dries the skin a lot, so try to only apply it to the wart.

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