Monday, 24 March 2014

In your own time

Down:

General question: how long do you wait before chasing people up on things they are supposed to be doing? Where is the optimum point along the continuum between 'being an officious, pushy arsehole' and 'letting your interlocutor forget you ever existed'? I err, I know, on the side of longer rather than shorter, unless I, in turn, am being chased. As a result, I am currently having intense chasing angst. I definitely made it clear that time was of the essence, but people's notions of what is expeditious vary wildly, I have learnt in 40 years and when I think I am being emphatic I am in fact making barely audible, fluting, conciliatory British noises that convey something like 'do whatever you feel is appropriate, far be it from me to impose my will upon you, how presumptuous'. Honestly, that's perfectly clear, isn't it? Once more, it is confirmed to me I should have lived in feudal Japan.


Weekend of way too much child activity, despite only having one child. Saturday: EXAMEN INTERNATIONAL day finally arrived, so an early morning trip to Ghent university (with all important doubling back for forgotten passport, for added adrenalin boost). Top tip: nothing is open in the Ghent student quarter at 9am on a Saturday and it is a sad, unsavoury place filled with discarded frite wrappers and vomit (at 9am on Saturday, doubtless charming at other times, such as AFTER DARK, DRUNK). Do not go there. EXAMEN INTERNATIONAL was apparently a success, though F has to wait 2 months for results, since papers are sent back to China to be marked by the Comintern. Saturday night: two additional children (very nice and well-behaved, but you know, still additional children). Sunday 9am - 3pm, child party logistics, stress, negotiating with highly rigid and unhelpful paintball man about latecomers (not admitted) and with late-running parents, etc etc etc. Gin is your friend in these circumstances, at least after you have delivered the remaining children back to their parents. On Sunday night, we ended up watching a Gaelic language programme of a woman making a treacle tart because none of us had the resources to find the remote and change the channel. There does not appear to be a word for "ginger" in Gaelic, I note (also, query: why are you putting ginger in your treacle tart, you silver tongued fiend?).


Peanut, the surviving rat, is having severe respiratory problems (v common in rats) and I am reduced to praying to/pleading with a high power I do not recognise that it does not expire before L returns from the school trip. F, who is sort of in charge of rat in L's absence, is beside himself about the horrors of pet mortality ("I should have got tortoises, not chickens", he just said sadly). I know this is how it goes with pets and we make their short lives as happy and comfortable as we can and it is a crucial apprenticeship for the losses and heartbreak of adult life, but we could all have done with a couple of months respite, not least the rat.


Tried to watch True Detective because everyone says it is amazing and it made me feel like I had had a stroke because I did not understand any of the dialogue, it was like a scene from Twin Peaks or something when the dwarf was speaking backwards. Apparently I am only fit for Poirot.


Up:

Basically this and this only: HERO RATS. (don't say rat - Ed). If you don't like pictures of enormous rats, (i) what the hell is wrong with you; and (ii) don't follow that link.

First ever 2 egg day (welcome to Farming Today, I'm your host, Boring McChickenbore).

Cheese-phobic L's expression on the photos of the school trip raclette night is quite, quite priceless. He is incandescent with disgust at the spectacle of so much melted cheese. I laughed.

High point of evening (low bar): a tin of pineapple chunks and some babies being born on telly. No one mistook head for genitals this week, but a woman called her child Evie Primrose, which is far too close to Evening Primrose. Was she conceived in Holland & Barrett? I suppose Evie is better than eg. Glucosamine. Or Whey.


Percentages:
20% woolly, incoherent philosophical thoughts on family life, subsiding rapidly into 2% terror and 18% confusion and a desire for shit telly
10% Euro elections rap-battle befuddlement (early April Fool, please?)
10% M&S chocolate ginger biscuits
20% self-inflicted bleeding chapped lips
20% pitch related self-loathing
10% bra rage
15% too tired for complicated percentage maths
0% willpower.

You?

18 comments:

Helen Strydom said...

Now I desperately want to name my child Whey, and or Curds, or possibly Whey Hey.

Patience_Crabstick said...

I have a terrible problem with getting people to follow up on things, and sometimes I do end up being a pushy arsehole, but only because I was forced into it from frustration. Example work project of great tedium in which I email all the people for feedback about progress so far. No response for weeks and then I get email asking, "WHERE ARE WE WITH THIS?" At that point, I have been known to send them back a copy of my original email that never got a response and say something like, "Waiting for a response to THIS." Assholes.

I need to quit my job and do something soothing like bake bread for a living.

Simon said...

Please please please post the disgusted-by-raclette photo.

Accidental Londoner said...

I am SO with L on the matters of raclette....*shudders*

Eurgh the chasing thing. I think we're just too damned English to do it properly. I always feel horribly pushy and rude, even when I spend an hour writing the perfect polite chaser email. (And when I'm told I should just do it by phone? GAH! Are you mad?!)

Blonde said...

PLEASE write a book. Your writing makes me HOOT. xx

aisling said...

Oh I've had the worst start to my week but this made me stop and laugh! Don't ever stop.
I also have trouble keeping up with True Detective at the end of a long day, but McConaghey makes it worth it, non?!
a
PS The text test to confirm that I'm not a robot when posting this comment reads "epitaph"........

Anonymous said...

If you need someone to do something right away tell them so and then follow up daily if you must in order to get them to actually do it. I hate that part but really, they will forget if allowed and might get on it when the nagging gets to them. :D

My condolences on the pending rat doom. Tortoises seem to require a lot of rather specific maintenance, just fyi.

Anonymous said...

I really sympathise with the angst of having to chase people up with things. Mostly I do stuff by myself instead of delegating precisely because I'm really not good at handling the stress involved in managing others and their deadline/ quality standards. This leads to overwork and strain, but at least I have only myself to blame. Small consolation, but I'll take it!
Going to have to confront the procrastinating accountant about a hefty refund for services not rendered soon, already hyperventilating in anticipation. It must be nice to be the kind of person that is able to manage this kind of thing with no anxiety, but it's definitely not my case. Truly a situation of being apologetic even when things are definitely not my fault. I suppose it's the legacy of the old Catholic guilt rearing its head despite my efforts to lay it to rest a long time ago.
Anyway, for what it's worth, in my experience sometimes a polite reminder e-mail followed by an attempted phone call is enough to motivate people to get the damn thing done already. The key is in hanging up before they answer your call with a lame excuse for why they haven't delivered already.

OK, time to get a headstart on Wednesday. May yours be an excellent one!

Anonymous said...

Um, I can't believe this niche info is going to come in handy even once in my life, but previous rodent experience (mouse pneumonia) taught me that wood chips are bad for their lungs and the corn cob stuff, or anything less fibrous that makes less dust, is better. You should also keep the little guy warm - I used an electric heating pad on a low setting - but ideally if he has a chest infection he needs antibiotics and probiotics.

Waffle said...

Hello Rat-anon (sorry, that sounds awful) - Thank you! He's at the vet's getting antibiotics at the moment. I do bed him on a sort of cotton based stuff that is meant to be good for feeble rat chests, but I suppose he's getting old and frail... Sigh.

I am reassured by all the chasing angst related here. Thank you all. I have chased again in a new and creative way and answer comes there none. The phone beckons. x

Accountant horror anon - I am following this tale with such sympathy and crossness on your behalf. He bloody well should be reimbursing you!

Dale said...

Ohhhh the heart-pounding anxiety of just contemplating formulating the 'polite reminder.' Add that to self-loathing for being such a pushover, a little squirt of self-pity, and resignation borne of the awareness that this isn't exactly on a par with real problems.

That's the basic recipe in my house. At least you can be amusing about it.

jennybegoode said...

On chasing up, "the squeaky wheel gets the oil" is our motto at home but I suspect this means I go too far the other way (e.g. re-forwarding the original email with a line of question marks. Is this unprofessional?)

Waffle said...

Jenny - ha! Feck professional, if it gets results.

Anonymous said...

After weeks of fobbing me off with polite meaningless words, what finally made the errant accountant 'fess up to his wrongdoing was an e-mail from me detailing the number of times I had asked for the proof of having submitted the forms and each of his pathetic replies, ending with a very pointed question in capital letters, followed by several question marks: WHAT IS GOING ON HERE EXACTLY?????
He called me within the hour.
Sometimes you have to raise your voice and use capital letters to get people to pay attention.
Still doesn't make it any easier though.

jennybegoode said...

Yes! Well it does sometimes :)

Provincial Lady said...

HERORATS?!!!!! Best thing I've seen on the Internet in years!!!! Now trying to get my husband to get them evaluated for use in the NHS - he works on the evaluation committee for emerging technologies! What ARE they?! They clearly aren't just regular lab rats!

Anonymous said...

Rat-anon here. :-) Sorry, in my very po-faced earlier comment I neglected to say that my mouse made a full recovery from pneumonia (I can't believe I'm writing this) and lived to befoul untold volumes of that corn cob cage liner, and I hope it is equally good news for your rat.

Waffle said...

Rat-anon (THIS IS A TERRIBLE NAME I AM SORRY), thank you for this reassurance. He's ok, I think. The vet is keeping him in over the weekend to give him more antibiotics, but doesn't seem unduly worried (despite two large wounds where they have been injecting him, ew ew)... UGH WE SHALL SEE.

Provincial Lady - I was similarly delighted. HOW AMAZING. Yes! Make him get them on the NHS. Apparently they are giant african pouched rats. I want a herd of them (actually, I don't).