Categories
Life

Unused Holiday, Rain, and Fake Followers

It’s been a strange sort of day – and it isn’t over yet.

After a very strange dream that I can’t remember a lot about any more I slid out of bed at about 8am, had a shower, shave, brushed my teeth, got dressed, and wandered into the junk room to begin work. On Tuesday mornings we have an “all hands that can make it” video call – just to say hi to each other – to combat sitting alone at home for hours on end.

I made a comment about perhaps taking a few days off this week (it’s half term), and spending time with my daughters. Within a couple of hours of the call a holiday request had gone in – and by this afternoon had been approved. It kind of makes sense – there are projects afoot at work, and when they begin the chance for time off will vanish – much as it did for the last year, leading to the mountain of untaken holiday still sitting there.

It’s still raining. By my reckoning, apart from a brief bit of sunshine on Saturday morning, it’s rained pretty consistently for the last twenty years. I should really see about building a boat out of what’s left of the shed. I checked the weather forecast earlier – there’s a 60% chance of rain all-day every-day throughout the week.

It’s “pancake day” in the UK today. I’m not sure if the kids have found out yet. If they do, one or other of us will find themselves standing in the kitchen for an hour later, pouring batter into a frying pan, trying to look like we know what we’re doing.

I wonder who invented pancake day? I wonder if it has something to do with an overrun of milk somewhere, and a crafty scheme to get lots of people to use theirs up ?

In other news, a lot of people have started following my blog at WordPress just recently – 99% of them marketers and business owners. They follow, never read, and never comment. I wonder what they think they achieve when they follow blogs? According to the stats, across Tumblr and WordPress I have several thousand followers. In reality, I have about twenty regular readers, and of those, only two or three interact in any meaningful way.

It’s lies, damn lies, and statistics.

I read a post by somebody I know fairly well on Tumblr recently about being dropped and blocked by friends online. I used to really take it to heart when people either unfollowed or blocked me, but have slowly hardened up over the years. I suppose I came to realise that somebody falling off the radar is rarely about those they follow. I miss a lot of people who don’t post any more – more than they know. I sometimes wonder about reaching out, but then talk myself out of doing so just as quickly.

Anyway.

I think I might need to go and find the packet of cheap chocolate biscuits, and put the kettle on. For reasons.

Categories
Life

An Unexpected Staycation

I have the rest of the week off work!

Because I’ve worked at the same company for years, I’ve pretty much maxed out the holiday allocation – accruing 25 days per calendar year. We have to take Christmas, Easter and so on from the allocation, but still – it amounts to about 4 weeks during the year. On top of that, we are allowed to carry over up to 5 unused days – or up to 10 under extraordinary circumstances.

Long story short – after working on big projects two years running, I arrived at the start of this year with over 30 days in my back pocket.

I’m almost giddy with excitement – it’s still only 9:40am – I’ve tidied the lounge up, cleared the dishes in the kitchen, emptied the dishwasher, and put two loads of clothes through the washing machine already.

I have no plans for the week, short of spending time helping our youngest with home-school work when she needs it, and (apparently) recording a work-out for her PE coursework later. I imagine she’s going to turn into the coach from Glee this afternoon, and laugh at my pathetic attempts to follow instruction.

I’m sitting at the dining room table, surrounded by piles of folded laundry. It seems stunning to me that even though we have gone nowhere and done nothing for months, the washing machine is till being run into the ground every day. I’m starting to wonder if the bottom of the laundry basket is entirely mythical.

Categories
Life

Surviving the Day

I started the day with an empty page in my bullet journal, and filled it with tasks as the day went on – the kinds of things you would expect after being out of the loop for a couple of weeks – timesheets to fill out, documents to read, emails to reply to, calls to make.

I admitted to somebody towards the end of the day that I really hadn’t been looking forward to returning, and couldn’t really explain why. I suppose I had grown used to the slower pace of life – it turns out sitting on your arse all day and getting nothing much done is strangely addictive.

I talked to my other half this evening about feeling trapped – stuck in a job that I don’t always like as much as I once did, but having no exit route. I pay the majority of the bills. I keep a roof over our head. I can’t take chances.

Anyway.

I’ve already promised myself to go for a run before work in the morning. Another step back towards normality. I’ll have to get back on the bike again soon too – perhaps alternate running and cycling each day.

I survived the day. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be. I got over myself. Go me. I’m now sitting in the dark of the study, wondering about heading to bed soon, listening to Cutting Crew on Spotify. Every time I hear it now, I think of the scene in LEGO Batman when Bruce Wayne meets Barbara Gordon for the first time.

Categories
Life

The Loneliness of the Short Distance Runner

I woke the first time with a start at 5am. I know this, because I looked at the clock before falling back asleep. I woke the second time at 8am, remembered I am on holiday, but also remembered about going running. One little voice said “but the bed is so comfy!”, while another little voice said “you’ll get enormously fat”. I’m turning into Gollum.

After scraping myself out of bed, I knocked on my teenage daughters bedroom doors, and enquired if they might be running with me.

Five minutes later, I left the house. Alone.

I didn’t really have a plan, and set off in the general direction of town – listening to my breathing, and not really feeling like running at all, but I was already out, and running, so thought it a bit stupid to stop. I would only have myself to answer to anyway.

While running along one of the suburban roads down by the river, a woman in her fifties (I’m guessing) ran past on the opposite footpath. She was hunched over, and running seemed like an enormous struggle for her, but she was doing it. She reminded me that I really have no excuses.

After looping back through town, I passed several people completely ignoring the one-way signs on the pavements (a very low effort way of safeguarding people from the virus). I’m not quite sure what level of stupidity and/or laziness is needed to ignore social distancing signage.

By the time I got home my other half had already left for work, and none of my daughters had yet surfaced. I busied myself with hanging washing out, filling the washing machine with the first of many loads, and clearing the kitchen and lounge of wreckage from the night before.

I’m not entirely sure I’ll ever know how our house so reliably destroys itself every evening. I’m pretty sure the missing mass in the universe is directly linked to pens people have “borrowed” from me, and unwashed tea spoons.

My eldest daughter surprised me mid-morning with a number of questions about bullet journaling. I’ve been writing in a bullet journal for the last two or three years – keeping a record of the things I do each day. I think she’s finally coming around to the whole “rapid logging” thing – where you DON’T make each page into a ridiculous faux arts and crafts production, and you just write down the things you have done, or the things you want to do.

I pointed her at the Ryder Carroll book on the bookshelf, which she studiously ignored.

Late this afternoon I let my middle daughter attempt to “air traffic control” me in the simulator. With her at one end of the house, and me at the other, she watched a radar screen, and barked instructions to direct me through a number of circuits of an airfield in southern England. I realised we might have a problem after the second time she told me to turn in the opposite direction than she meant. Somehow I don’t think air traffic controllers are ever heard saying “left, no, the other left”, “my bad”, or “you can do if you want”.

Anyway. One day of holiday used up. Very little achieved. Must try harder to do something of consequence tomorrow. Maybe a long walk. We’ll see.

Categories
Life

Fourteen Days

I have the next two weeks off work. Ten working days. Fourteen days in all. It all seems a bit giddy at the moment, although I’m mindful of a conversation with my brother-in-law earlier today, who has just had two weeks off – “I looked forward to it for ages, and then before you know it, it’s gone, and you realise you have to go back to work in the morning”.

I’m going running first thing tomorrow. I was supposed to go today, and woke up in time – but then fell asleep, and then the bed seemed warm, and comfy, and… well I just didn’t get up. It’s funny – while laying there, gazing at the ceiling, I quietly became annoyed with myself. I could have been up, out, running, doing chores, clearing the decks, and whatever else – instead I daydreamed, and did nothing – for nearly an hour.

Maybe I should give myself a pass from time to time. It’s incredibly rare that I sit and do nothing. I’m starting to realise that this whole slow-down on the blog can mostly be explained by the world slowing down during lockdown. Suddenly there was no reason to be running here, there and everywhere to get this done, that done, and the other done. Slowing down made me realise that I didn’t HAVE to do all the things I had been doing – and that included emptying my head into the blog each day.

Of course I substituted blogging for something else. Something tremendously useless in the grand scheme of things – I learned to fly a Boeing 737, and an Airbus A320 in a study-level simulator. If I’m ever sat near the flight deck of a commercial airliner in the future, and a member of the cabin crew runs down the cabin looking panic stricken, I can put my hand up. “Yes, I can fly a pretend one of these – I’ve logged several tens of hours, and not crashed one yet – but there was that time I nearly froze all the pretend passengers to death after forgetting to route warm air into the cabin…”

I can even re-programme the damn route into the flight computer. Yes, I’m THAT guy.

Anyway.

Tomorrow morning I’m getting up bright and early, and going for a run around town. My eldest daughter has indicated she would like to come too. I’m not banking on it. I told her I will knock on the door in the morning, but if she doesn’t emerge in her running kit by 8am, tough luck. Yes, I’ve become THAT Dad too.

Maybe I should blog my way through the fourteen day staycation. It will give me something to do – to distract me – to occupy my mind.

Categories
Life

Not Much of Anything

You find me sitting in the dark of the junk room, trying to switch off at the end of the day. I’m listening to a Carly Simon album, and typing into a minimalist online editor. I sometimes find it difficult to switch off – it’s difficult to stop thinking.

It doesn’t help that with a few days of work left until my vacation, I’m buried in thousands of lines of source code for a new project at work. I need to get it to a “good place” before downing tools on Friday – and I’m not entirely sure how that’s going to happen at the moment.

Of course I’m not really going on a vacation – I’m not going anywhere – it’s more a “staycation”. I’ll promise to read books, watch movies, and lots of other things – and I’ll do none of it. I will go running though, and I will go for long walks. Long walks help with the thoughts.

I must remember to take a notebook on the long walks. I often think of things to write about while out on my own, but almost always misplace the idea before reaching a keyboard.

I often solve computer programming problems while in the bathroom. How does that even work ?

In other news, I made it out for another run this morning. I went on my own, and just ran around town – a couple of miles. I’m still worried about the broken toe and don’t want to push it too much. I tell myself that, but in reality I’ve lost quite a bit of fitness while sitting on my arse for the last month. To be honest I’m stunned I can still run any sort of distance.

Anyway.

It’s getting late. Time to go brush my teeth, and sit in bed scrolling rubbish on a tablet instead of reading the book I purposely took upstairs to read.