Saturday, 7 April 2012

There's good weeks and then there's the other kind

When I was younger, it seemed less complicated to be happy.  Somehow as you move through middle age, even the good times have an undercurrent of bittersweet - because you know that what goes up will inevitably come down and the you-know-what will hit the fan for a while.  We just have to grit our teeth and keep going and wait for the needle to edge back into the black.

My week:

SUNDAY - so we were kindly invited to a family pub lunch in honour of a visiting couple from abroad. I barely know said couple as they are DH's relations but we show willing because it's family and there will be ten guests, and I take my knitting (Twice Doomed Tee) with me in case of emergencies. After almost two hours, the food is all finished, I'm getting a little bored, so I get my knitting out - it's stockinette so I can knit without looking at it.  Female visitor soon moves closer and starts speaking somewhat accusingly through my m-i-l but at me, and says she's not used to seeing people get their knitting out in a restaurant.  I smile and say that it's more and more common now that knitting is so popular. She says that they don't do that in her country. I mention a large city in her country famous for its knitting shops and an upcoming fibre festival, and also drop in that Ravelry now has two million members, many of them from her country.  She retorts that they don't knit in restaurants in her part of the country at least.  M-i-L, watching the tennis match from between us, somewhat desperately asks what I am knitting.  I say it's a t-shirt and speak briefly about the silk/cotton yarn and how drapey it is.  Female visitor watches for a minute, sniffs, and says to my m-i-l that if she wants a t-shirt, she would just go and buy one, she wouldn't try to knit it.  And this woman IS a knitter.  By now I am feeling slightly savage and as it has been 2.5 hours of the visit, we decide it's time to go home and that we won't go back to the in-laws for coffees.  Female visitor complains peevishly as we say goodbye in the parking lot that she's hardly had a chance to speak to us.

MONDAY - so today the re-organisation that has been percolating at work for over a year finally is announced officially to staff, in a series of group briefings.  A bizarre state of affairs as many people are basically told they are redundant or at risk of redundancy during the group briefing, rather than in the privacy of a one-to-one meeting.  I find out that not only are they moving my job out of my department into a completely different department, but that they intend once again that I will report to the manager who so stressed me out a few years ago.  Afterwards I put in requests for meetings with HR and with my acting head of department so that I can communicate my decision that I would rather leave the organisation than report to that person again.

TUESDAY - despite yesterday's news, life goes on and I have far too many meetings today, where I am given much work that I now don't know if I will still be in the organisation to actually do.

WEDNESDAY - today was actually a good day, as we were on holiday and chauffeured DS to an Oxford University Sciences open day where we were given a very entertaining admissions talk and got to see inside two of the colleges that he is considering.  Trying not to think about how I am going to afford his university if I have to quit my job. Puzzled in evening to see email from my acting head of department that he is trying to reach me, because he knew I was on leave. Also see an email from HR declining to meet with me as I am not actually at risk of redundancy.

THURSDAY - Turns out that my acting head of department wanted to see me because he had a formal letter from HR terminating the extra money I have been getting over the last year to cover the additional responsibilities formerly done by the ex-boss who has been on secondment.  Terminating it as of 31 March, which was last week.  Disregarding the total lack of notice which almost halves my salary, I enquire who will now be doing those acting up responsibilities, which constitute at least 60% of my current role and are in some cases fairly important and are on tight schedules.  He looks confused as that obviously hadn't occurred to him, and the department being short-staffed, there probably isn't anyone else.  He asks me to put in writing what all the additional responsibilities are, so that he can consider what to do.  He also requests me to put in writing my decision not to work for ex-boss again and my reasons and send it back to HR.  This takes me a while as it is difficult to find appropriate professional words that are about me and not about the manager - it would have been a much shorter note if I could have included words like 'nightmare' and 'lacks people management skills'.  Have to work right through lunch to catch up on the work that piled up when I was on leave and the work from Tuesday's meetings.  Exhausted by the time I get home.  Break into Easter chocolate early for a pick-me-up.

FRIDAY - Today we realise that the refrigerator is starting to make the whumping noise again, indicating that it has iced up inside the fan for the third time since January.  The oven stopped working on Tuesday, and we've had to stop using the dishwasher since DH heard a weird noise at 4am on Monday night and came down to find the dishwasher still cycling noisily even though it should have finished hours before, and then next time we tried to use it, it smelled like burning plastic.  Come to the realisation that all of our appliances are committing suicide simultaneously.  Every time we now press a button on an appliance, we hold our breath a little to see if it actually turns on.  And as it is a bank holiday in the UK for Good Friday, no engineers or appliance firms are going to be answering their phones.  Try to relax and get on with all the jobs I don't normally have time for when I am at work.


I will stop there, before I bring you all down with me.  And I am feeling better as we have a four-day weekend for Easter.  And I've done a little sewing and knitting in the evenings to take my mind off things.

I finished my McCall's Quilting mystery quilt top.  I like this pattern because it uses big 11" squares of focus fabric, so it's good for prints that would suffer if cut into small pieces.  I've started cutting out fabric to make a second one using a busy fabric print of a fantasy American quilting town that I've had in my stash for ages.

I ran out of the red fabric for the first one and not only had to substitute two other similar fabrics, but actually had to piece a few segments out of smaller scraps.  So I don't think I can try selling this quilt, it will likely be a charity donation or a gift.  The focus fabric is of lots of pretty birds and flowers, so it might be good for someone who gardens. It's about 71" square so it's a small double or a very wide single size.

I finished Day 8 of the Advent Calendar 2010 lace scarf.  When I pinned it out for the photo, I didn't stretch out Day 6 enough, so that looks a bit odd.

And I took the never-ending knitted lace edging of my Fan Stitch Half Circle Shawl with me on the car drive to and from Oxford, and am now almost at the end!!  Obviously it looks like a crumpled rag at the moment until it gets blocked.

A nice squidgey arrived in the post this week which was the final instalment of sock yarn from the I-Knit London Sock Club - a lovely Royal Blue Malabrigo sock yarn.  It's much darker in reality than it looks in the photo.  I think I am safe posting a picture as everyone should have received theirs by now. This would make a nice shawl.

I had a nice comment from Teresa feeding back that the 'prove you are a human' squiggly words in the Comments box are a bit tiresome.  I tried turning them off as an experiment, and all week I have been receiving long spam comments selling various products including a very long email full of links and all in Spanish.  Blogger's Spam filter is catching them but they made me nervous so I have tried to turn back on the squiggly words but I don't know if it worked or not.  I'm sorry about the nuisance. I hope you will all persevere as I do enjoy getting feedback.

I'm hoping to do some more work on my Georgian room box this weekend and glue on the scrapbooking papers that I bought in Holland.


Mad about Craft said...

I'm so sorry you are having such a hard time but I had to laugh about your dying appliances, our microwave has died, the shower is dying, we have a drain smell I can't seem to get rid of, the gas fire is dead and the knob keeps coming off the kitchen light switch! We will have to share the engineers!

Linda W said...

Oh my--so sorry you had such a bad week. I would have headed to my wine stash! Sure hope next week is better. Love your Advent scarf. It's one that I've been meaning to tackle, so I'm looking forward to seeing yours.

Sue Schoch said...

I too have been having issues at work, so reading about yours actually made me feel better! I hope your's improves soon. I'm seriously considering moving on from mine. Good luck to you and keep the projects going! You are the most productive person I "know".

Daisy said...

OMG, that sounds horrendous. Hope you're OK. Let me know if you want to meet up for a cup of tea and some knitting!

Nic said...

Holy crap, what a week!
As for that female relative, i think I would have poked her in the eye with a knitting needle...

So sorry to hear about the appliances, but surely these things happen only in threes?

Quilter Kathy said...

I had one of those kind of weeks too...everything that can possibly go wrong, goes terribly wrong.
Sounds like you need a new job for sure! I admire your patience.

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