Category Archives: Uncategorized

You do EVERYTHING wrong.

I’ve gotten to that happy stage where all/nearly all the jobs are done and I can go to bed. I woke up tired, I got through the day tired, and I’m tired now.  And you know how I know I’m tired? My other half is laughing at the computer and he is too BLOODY LOUD!

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My lack of love of humanity is growing. I always wanted to find myself on a desert island with the absolute assurance of never meeting anyone.

Right now he is laughing, and coughing, because he had a cough, and I am going to kill him.

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THIS REFERENCE IS 26 YEARS OLD

I did manage to exercise, and to stick to my diet. I’ve found some earnest thing on youtube who insists on maxing the envelope, and so forth. My cup runneth over.

Right. The daily endurance that is my life is over for another day. Good night to you all.

Into Action

So.

Day three.

One of the most difficult aspects of life is the conflict between reality and expectations.

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Speaking as someone who tries to avoid reality, who is surprised by it and who has no business in it, I remind myself that just because I expect things to go one way, does not necessitate that it actually will.

Meaning; I can plan this, but the actual experience is less than I expected.

I eat to reward, to placate and to provide succour, and the anticipation of that comfort will get me through the day. How else to keep the demons at bay and my rage on hold?

In brief; I kept to the near zero carb count, and am feeling less and less joyous about life, a sure sign that I’m on a diet. I carried out a thirty minute workout, and have a pleasant muscular ache on foot of it. The near constant rain today made everyone soporific, and the lack of high or low meant it appeared to be a Wes Anderson film.

Tomorrow I am back to work, with three separate and very competing agendas re-entering my life.  Wish me luck.

 

Enough.

So. Back to work and back to life. My Christmas was. That is all I am going to say about that.

However, I did manage to catch the flu, and it was the real flu. I had, at one point, a temperature of 41.1 C, which was enough for the window to be opened in our house, let me tell you. The curious thing about that level of fever is that your appetite dies, it just dies. I’m still looking at food as if it is an enemy. Every time I have a meal I have to fight the urge not to throw it up, my stomach hates it so much. And life has such a sad and unchanging routine these days.

When is too much too much? And when can I say stop?

Entitled to a Title.

Monday – Important meeting with boss to sort out the rest of the year. We’ve had a superb head of school for the last three years, and I would love to chain the woman to the post for the rest of her life. But she’s more than eager to go and do research, and so it really is time to start the process for searching for a new head of school. I’ve spoken to most of the staff members personally or in a meeting, and we’ve agreed an external search is what is needed. So I and an academic colleague go to meet with our boss’s boss to get the process started. I’m surprised by how nervous I am. But it’s all very straightforward, and in that way that can happen we all agree with each other and it’s all over before you know it.  I can only hope the rest of the week goes well…

 

Tuesday – We have a conferring! Our MSc and MLIS programmes take place in the O’Reilly hall, and I’m amazed at my attitude to them. Previously, I regarded them as the highlight of my year. I’d met these kids at orientation, and then would be lucky enough to see them, robed and ready, able to accept their parchment. But this year, with so much on my mind, it was just a task I needed to get through. That’s not right, I need to ensure that doesn’t happen again this year.

 

Wednesday – Staff meeting! Let’s all have a meeting! And there is a lot to discuss at this one. For one thing, there is a rather large change in our undergraduate programmes, not least the addition of a fourth year; we’ll need to add new modules, and new teachers. There’s a lot to discuss.  I wanted to go to the gym at lunchtime, but nothing doing.  I go home and prepare, prepare, and prepare some more.

 

Thursday – Right. Off we go. What’s happening today is I am giving a small talk on the Job Grading Scheme for admin staff in UCD you can see a lot of it under #Inclusiveucd. The important thing to note is the promotional prospects for any admin here, which are listed below:

Nothing.

If you are an academic or a technical member of staff, it is possible to apply for promotions. If you are an administrative member of staff, you do not have access to any promotions, or job regrading, or pay rise. And in case it wasn’t clear, inflation means that prices have gone up and up. So administrators in UCD are placed in the grossly unfair position of having their skills devalued and their pay reduced over and over again.

Unsurprisingly, most of them are women.

Poster

My poster from the event. Read it, please, it’s important. 

So when the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Report was being launched, I put my name forward to speak on the issue. I produced my poster on the gender bias that is recognised to exist and went along with my notes.

  • I spoke about the incorrect belief that managing staff is harder than front-facing roles; so teaching, support and admin work is believed without any proof to be easy, while being a manager is hard. But we do what managers tell us, even if they are rubbish.
  • I spoke about formal knowledge rather than institutional knowledge is lauded, which ignores the institutional knowledge that is crucial in a place like UCD.
  • I spoke about how ‘Freedom to Act’ criteria is false, and ignores the many crucial autonomous actions staff take, especially when time is a factor.
  • I spoke about how we used to devalue nurses, thinking that only doctors had wisdom and value.
  • I spoke about how skills that are believed to be ‘womenly’ such as food-preparation and child-care aren’t seen to be skills at all, but an inherent trait a woman has in the home, and so is lowly paid.
  • I spoke about how when a woman does a man’s job, she’s paid less, valued less, and judged more harshly.  But when a job is seen to be women’s work, it is devalued to the extent that it is not seen as skilled at all.
  • And that I wanted to present them with a radical idea; that the work of the administrative staff is of value, and should be paid accordingly.
  • But remember, that all this is academic. Because right now what was on offer to administrative staff was this.

Nothing.

I sat down, job done. The woman after me spoke kind words about my speech, saying how could she follow that?! And the administrative staff who attended were moved, and angered, and grateful that it was spoken about. I am not smart enough to speak about this, but I am the only to do so, and so I’m stuck with me.

Was I nervous? Yes. But I was also angry, and that was hopefully apparent. This is wrong. Fix it. Or I will.

The rest of the evening was spent trying to find my son and mother-in-law, who were trying to find me on campus. I had a mind full of terrible imaginings but after nearly two hours found them.  Then home. Then bed.

Friday – the rest of the session. A lot of people had kind words, but I would love to see it become something more concrete than that. And soon, there is a lot of salary I should be earning right now, thank you very much. But I was just glad to have a day that didn’t see me fret or bother. And then I answered emails, drank coffee, and went home on one of the coldest days of the year, facing into the coldest weekend.

And guess what? The boiler’s borked. Night night all.

 

Negative Space is Still Space, People.

Okay, children, while there isn’t much to be said, there’s a lot to be said. For every major event, there’s a lot of negative space, a lot of waiting, breathing and thinking about it. This week was all about the preparation, and how it happened. Here we go:

Monday: Seriously. How often can one woman look at the phone in fear? Each time there’s a ping notifying me, I’m double-checking that Mad Lady hasn’t released the hounds on me. Her case is nonsensical, but I know nonsensical lawyers, and there’s been nothing to stop them yet.

However, I am confirmed  to speak the next week at an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion workshop, about the Job Grading scheme set out for Administrative Staff*. It’s a big topic with a lot to cover, and there’s a lot riding on it. I find myself atrociously nervous about it, and spend the day trying not to throw up. I have to present my research in a five minute ‘lightening talk’ and the big concern is learning to cover everything in five minutes. People who research, you have my respect. This is difficult, and makes me very vulnerable. I put something together, delete it, put it together again, then remember I’m supposed to be doing real work.

 

Tuesday: I attend a Universal Design Workshop, and am reminded of this;

Equality Does Not Mean Justice

Justice – vs –  Equality. 

It’s about insuring equality of access, not just justice. It takes seconds to ensure items can be embedded with text, so a reader can have images confirmed by visual readers, etc. Myself and my colleagues are ready to make the small changes to our website to get this going.

I go to the gym at lunch, and actually really enjoy myself. I have to say, exercise puts me in a good mood, and I’m back at my desk all chipper and upbeat about what I’ve got left to do on the presentation. See, the skill is to be succinct, and to the point, and can I do that? Sure I can. Easy.

 

Wednesday: WHY DID I AGREE TO THIS?! I have arranged to speak to kind colleagues in a mock presentation and I wake up terrified. We all meet at 2pm and they are, well, they’re exactly as I would wish. They’re annoyed and flabbergasted and irritated, and I am delighted. I can feel a slight sense of hysteria creep into the uncatalogued mess that is my brain. Maybe I can might just be able to do this.

 

Thursday: I know I did other things today. I know I got up, got the beloved child to school, worked, ate a lunch, learnt a beloved colleague might be leaving soon (there’s a lot of it about these days), chatted to the other half, answered the phone and made calls, operated heavy machinery and gave appropriate social responses, but really all I am thinking about is the SURE-EXTRA-DRY-MOMENT-THAT-APPROACHES-ME-OH-GOD. Bins out, dinner, bed.

 

Friday: And the other shoe drops like a Christian Louboutin (I had to look them up, I had no idea what they were called, don’t judge me here). They don’t want a slide show. They want ONE SLIDE. One, to cover all the policy and history and impact, all of it. Well, if that’s what they want, then that’s what they’ll get.  I sigh, drink more coffee, pull up my sleeves and get on with it. One slide, done. And one poster, done, gone to the printer. I press ‘send’, triumphant.

Please god, no typos.

 

Saturday: I. Meet. A. Friend. I kid you not, I put the kid in the car and we go and see Sinead O’Hart. Yeah, seriously, that Sinead O’Hart,  and I hope you’re all jealous because she’s a bloody important person and fantastic. Sinead, going to take you to lunch over Christmas, girlie, promise. She reminds me that, excuse me, why am I not writing, and hell and all, she’s write, sorry, right.

Myself and the other half go out to dinner at a friend’s house that evening, and I stay awake until 11pm. See, I can be a big girl when I want to. I go to bed like a zombie, and sleep well until…

 

Sunday: I’m woken by beloved child at 5.50 am. The fubbing joy.

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We spend the day taking photos in the wood, he likes pictures. Then groceries, dinner, making lunches and freaking out. It’s half ten right now, and I’ve got to go ‘adult’ tomorrow. So night night all. And please wish me luck.

 

*I aim to give full details on this next week. Watch this negative space.

Not feelin’ It.

So it’s Sunday night. I still have to make the lunches, prep breakfasts, put myself to bed. It feels like I’ve reached the middle movement of the cantata, folks, and the second movement hasn’t gathered movement. We’re all just sitting in the audience pit, waiting for the conductor to get a move on. Is there going to be an intermission soon? Nervous cough. Nope. Not feelin’ it.

So, this week. I’ve spent most of it nervously looking at my phone each time it pings, wondering if crazy lady is fulfilling her threat. I’ll spare you the suspense, I’ve heard nothing. That is good news, but I think I won’t be able to relax until we get to Christmas day and I’ve heard nothing. Feel free to watch this space, I know I will.

Wednesday saw me finish my last session of Physio with the very patient folks in DBC, an I’m going to miss them all, if I’m honest. I’ve come up with some great one-liners while lying in pain, and I’ve seen myself honestly get better, with much less pain in my day to day life, because of the place. They were a pleasure to deal with. Le Sigh.

Thursday saw me freak out, because the big guy freaked out. I took away all screens from him for the evening, and frankly I enjoyed it enormously. I plan to do that again. Friday saw him behave himself, thankfully, so life was/is back to normal.  Of course, he woke me up at 4am both nights, but still.

Saturday was the Christmas bizarre at school. I managed to help out, in that I helped sell tickets on the day to Santa’s Grotto.

Christmas Photo

Xmas Spirit

While the other half managed to produce these;

Bandsaw boxes

These are bandsaw boxes, and they take forever, and you have to hear, sorry, learn about them a lot before they come out right.  We get through that, eat bratwurst, relax and enjoy ourselves, it’s a great day.

Sunday saw me take the big guy swimming. Maybe I was tired, but I found myself getting distracted by the people around me. There was a girl, really no more than ten years old, but she was so precociously poised and together, it was hard not to look at her. She sat in the pool thinking, every so often looking at her watch. I was wishing I had her unruffled mien now, never mind when I was ten. And then there was the Italian father, who brought his baby boy into the water and sat with him for well over an hour until the little guy was happily patting the water and giggling. Considering the calibre of some Italian fathers [towards their adult sons] I’m aware of, it was a charming scene.

Anyway. I’m going to get lunches done. I’ve Barack Obama speeches playing while I write here, trying to remind myself of … I don’t know what. Anyway. Night night.

Angry Woman Shouts at Cloud

So. It is Sunday night after the most delightful week. Let’s break it down slowly, shall we?

Monday – Week two of no sugar and no carb, along with no social media. I have a training course to get through, along with a lot to do at work. I discovered last week that there is a quick way to get to the school, which saves me a huge amount of stress and time. And of course it seems that I am the last one to figure it out, because there is a small troop of people who walk to the School each day this way. It involves woodland walks and gentle sloops and I should have discovered it years ago. Nevertheless, I’ve found it now, and it saves me meeting Crazy Lady.

We get through the day in the usual insane speed, and before I know it, it’s evening and I’m getting my gym bag ready. Only I can’t find my runners. They’re not in the bag, the bathroom, our room, the kid’s room. They aren’t upstairs. They aren’t downstairs. They aren’t in the car. They are simply not anywhere, and I NEVER lose anything. Seriously, it’s like a thing with me, I NEVER lose anything. But somehow my size seven monstrosities have disappeared.

Tuesday – I ring the gym at 6 am on the slim chance they might have them, and nothing doing. So I have pack for a swim instead on Wednesday. I was supposed to go for more training but learnt at the last minute that the course was full (hurrah!) So it was full steam ahead for a viva, and then lunch with a dear friend who has just been promoted after far too long, and after ructions at work.

Then I get a text from that lady who says I owe her a thousand euro; she’s going to the guards. If nothing told me she was a con artist this would be it. I feel myself get angry, then go right ahead and repress it. You’re not getting to me, lady.

Wednesday – I swim, and swim well, at lunchtime. I go ahead and cancel physio for Friday, though, I have no progress to report.  I drink the coffee and work through the list, which is just as well. Because the next day….

Thursday –  a staff meeting takes place, that runs from 9.30 am to well towards 2pm. For various reasons it doesn’t go very smoothly, and frankly it leaves me drained as if I give blood. I get the big guy in the car from school, and boy am I done. I get the bins out, I get the dinner prepared, but the words coming out of my mouth may as well be from a teleprompter. I am muted, I am withdrawn with all of it. I go to bed by 9.30 pm, just flabbergasted with all of it.

Friday – I wake up with a screamingly sore throat and nose, but I’ve no temperature. I get to work clad in woollens and self-pity, and drink about six cups of coffee. I get through work with at least some sense of completion. I go to pick up big man, and discover that my quick shortcut is closed on Fridays. Not to worry. I go the long way, and pick him up. We go for a wander around the school, as he is curious about the nooks and crannies of the place, then stroll out.

And that’s when it happens. Crazy lady pops up in front of me, with her kid behind her, while I’m holding my son’s hand. “You have to pay! You really do!” I try to speak to her about how nonsensical it all is, but she manages to talk over me insisting that I’ve done lots of damage, that I have to pay her, that her boss is going to sue me, and she’s going to the guards. I’m trying to speak, trying to breath, but I can’t even speak to her, I can’t even say a word to her, until the words burst out of me in the form of a yell-

“You clearly are a complete con artist and you stay away from me!”

This silences her. Whether with glee or denial she smiles at me. I take my son’s hand and move away from her, a dangerous blue-flame-fury carrying me.

From behind me, her voice carries high.

“Volkswagen are going to suuue!”

I walk faster, not looking back, and big guy complains I’m holding his hand too tight. We keep walking.

 

So, how was your week?

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The Sound of Silence

So, after my little trip away last week, I was able to rediscover the delight that is going on social media. As I clicked on and scrolled through Facebook and Twitter, I could feel as a physical thing my mood lower and drag. Really, being a party to the overblown GOOD NEWS of friends of friends, and the over-emphasised BAD NEWS of news corporations is to be dragged in two extreme directions.

So I stopped. As we were at the start of a new month, with lots to recommend the decision, I decided to stay off social media and to be sensible and wise. If I found myself with free time on my hands, then I would read a book or get away from my desk.

Since then I’ve read three books.

Yes, really, three. One was Elizabeth Smart’s By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept. One was a who-dun-it set in Regency England. One was by Carl Jung. None of them were very big, but that wasn’t the point. I’ve re-discovered the need to read, and to avoid the constantly shifting dopamine-hit of online life.

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And have I been missed? Not a bit of it, which would suggest that the ‘social contact’ is nothing of the sort. Instead, this last week has made it clear how users are in fact the cow eating the grass, the product itself, rather than the buyer.  I’m the captured audience for adverts, political views, manufactured debates and inaccurate reporting. Now, however,  I listen to the news on the radio and hunt out news websites if something comes up. I already subscribe with the other half to various newspapers of different perspectives, so bias is overcome as much as possible.

The trick, however, is to be up to date, to have a full knowledge of current events, but to avoid the massive tidal wave of subjective information wherever possible.

Right. Get off the internet, the lot of ye.

Catch up!

Apologies for the silence, all. I got busy, tired and unable to push myself, so that last Sunday when we were waiting for Ophelia, I went to bed without any blog. Last week saw my little guy get all upset at School, (probably because his mother was mean to him at home) and the crazy lady finally send a cost for damages to her car. This is the final figure:

Damages Invoice

€1063 in total. Yes, really. 

An invoice for this, might I remind you;

Car

There’s a crowd called Chipsaway.ie, who will do repairs in driveways for next to nothing. If I hear from her again I’m sending them over to her, the woman is in my opinion asking for a crazy amount.

Monday:

We were all focused on this.

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You can see my house from here…

For us, it was an appallingly sharp wind, with long queues at the local shop. For three families, their loved ones will never come home, and that’s something I’m aware of. But it had, for us, the sense of a snow day; an unexpected day off with no barrier to relaxation. That sense of the rules being relaxed seemed to be on my shoulders for the rest of the week, as you’ll see.

Tuesday:

Big guy’s school is closed, so I stay home to keep him busy and away from small fires. I can’t make myself do physio. We make a small kite, go for a long walk and muck about with the Goldie Blox set, and before you know it the day is done. I’m supposed to do physio and exercise and nothing is done. I answer emails before going to bed, and make lists.  A lot of lists. I go to bed content.

 

Wednesday:

I have no meetings! No meetings, no physio, merely the exciting prospect of actually getting things done. However! You forget dear reader, that I am in fact honey to the flies that are my colleagues. By my reckoning, over an hour and a half are given over to chatting on Wednesday, and seeing as I now have to leave early to pick up big guy, I stomp back to my car frustrated and annoyed. Bother! Damn! Blast!

 

Thursday:

The house is filthy, the child uneducated, the clothes unwashed, the body unexercised, the accountant still uninformed, and all is wrong. At least I did my physio, which is just as well as my hips were beginning to hurt again.  I call it an accomplishment to put the bins out, and just go to bed.

 

Friday: 

I get through the Physio session, and get through the day. I’m sleepy tired; nothing too worrying, but I just want to stop the day. We get told of another storm, Storm Brian (and we all know what a delight Brians can be), and we decide to head to the shop for extra supplies.

And then I hit a bollard.

Yeah, I know.

I am making a left turn into the shop, and one of the bollards surrounding the road is already twisted and bent outwards. I slow to avoid a car coming the other way, and we hear the most awful scraping sound. I think I’m about to start screaming, but we park the car and have a look. It’s actually not that bad; there is a white scrap mark, but otherwise it’s okay. The other half tells me he’s done worse on the other car and not to worry. Still, I feel the motivation go, and I dearly wish for more resilience. Wish I could go for a run, or a swim, or see a friend or something. Baaaah!

 

Saturday:

I get through the physio, and I plan a day of excellent and robust activities. Then the next door neighbour kid calls in and there are now two little creatures making noise and a mess in my sitting room. The other half comes back from shopping with a report that the car now veers to the right; thankfully not politically. I go to my bed silent with the guilt. Have I cost us more money?

 

Sunday:

We get up, we play, dress, and go to Dunnes for jumpers and the like. He plays up like a madman, and I am drinking buckets of coffee all day.

I am going to do myself a favour. I am going to wrap up this blog tonight, because now it is 10pm, and I need to sleep and reboot. Night night all.

What day is it again?

So, mah lovelies, how are you all? Limbs still in tact, major organs all still functioning? Good, good. Let’s all take a deep, cleansing breath, and begin.

Monday 11th September:  Getting ready to leave the house in the morning, I notice we have no coffee. This is bad news, especially considering the beloved child has not once slept through the night since he was born. I get through the day with a poorly contained sense of urgency, and rush to pick him up. As he gets tired his behaviour gets worse, leading to annoyed teachers, leading to me rushing over there as soon as humanly possible. I find myself almost frantic while doing this, and I’m put in mind of Shirley Maclain in Terms of Endearment. I try, and fail, to tone it the hell down.

TIME FOR US TO GO!

I pick him up. I’m told he has had a ‘fantastic day’. Really? I am ashamed of how surprised I am, but yes. He’s been polite, engaged, and learnt lots. We go to the shops, and then home, and he is exhausted with the effort of it all. Home. Bath. Bed.

Tuesday 12th September. Traffic. OH MY GOD TRAFFIC. We sit in traffic on the way to school like insane people, not moving for nearly an hour.

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Eventually I just start making random turns, and end up five minutes late for school. This is hell! I get in a swim at lunchtime and realise my clothes feel salty with the morning’s fear. There isn’t a word to declare it correctly.

Chatting to a colleague, I explain how my hip hurts, which it does. I feel it all the time now. She makes the radical suggestion of going to a physio. I call up the clinic on campus and find appointments are possible. I make an appointment, and am all set to get wrenched next Tuesday. But they want me to wear shorts. I don’t know who to feel more sorry for.

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I pick up big guy. Another fantastic day. He’s tired, though, I can see it. This culture change is hard for him, and I have a feeling that it’s hard to keep it up. Home. Bath. Bed.

Wednesday 13th September; I am up, ready, prepped, and we try a new route. We are there in good time, with little or no mental stress. I have a day of meetings and rushing around, no chance for a swim. I pick up big guy, and just as I feared, he had a bad day. The effort drained away from him, and he was resistant to any and all suggestions. I refuse to stress over it, but instead; we go home, I get in pizza, and at about 8pm I slip away to attend the New Parents Evening at his school. I hear all about the possible sports he can do, the high sights they set for him, and the sheer mountain he can look up to.  Grand. Can I sleep now? I go home in the dark, trying to move as quickly as I can to bed.

Thursday 14th September. Exhaustion is taking it’s toll. I’m in the car driving to the School when I realise I’ve a kind of mania going on. I’m driving without checking mirrors or worrying about other drivers’ inconvenience. I’m turning into that driver, the kind that would have anyone sane cure their lip at her entitlement.

Image result for gif what a bitch

I drive into the school nearly in tears, but that wouldn’t do any good. We get into school on time, and he promises to be a good boy for me. I head to work. I print out a version of the novel for a sister-in-law who should know better than inflict it upon herself and get it bound. I get the documents for our accountant ready, confirm the Physio, and start a memo for another super-duper important meeting next Thursday. At lunch, I have a swim with a friend so I can introduce her to the pool. She’s a gentle perfume of a woman, utterly lovely.

Kid has a bad day. We go home and have another long talk. I stump my little toe on the door on the way out of his room, and again, tears would be nice but wouldn’t help.

Friday 15th September; I’m so tired, there is no joy in it being Friday. I pick up big guy and guess what, he had a good day. I’m delighted, but again, I’m muted because of the tiredness. At bedtime I see his pjs are small on him all of a sudden. He’s grown nearly half an inch in the last two weeks, no wonder he was tired.

Saturday 16th September; Big Guy and I head to Airfield park with his Nanna and Aunty Aishling. There, I have a go at the zip line and leave a trench with mah butt.

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Worth it. 

After a lovely lunch, we meet, believe it or not, the Queen of Hearts.

Queen of Hearts

Told ya.

She tells me to grab each opportunity, to seize the day. We only get one life. We do. We really do.

 

I wish you sleep. Much, much sleep. Return the favour, will ya?