Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Ssssh! I's huntin' wabbits!

So not only have I not written anything us recently, but I haven't even put up a good ramble! :)

I've had a few "rambly" generic posts in my mind, but I don't seem to have got around to writing them yet. Sorry about that :)

I think I've also been doing a poor job of actually leaving comments on the other blogs I read. I'm still reading them all, and often think of things to comment upon as I'm reading them, but then think "Ahh, I'll just write a comment later". And "later" has a nasty habit of never quite arriving ;)

I was off work Friday & Monday (had a little more holiday left than I realised and thought "Sod it, I'll take some then!" :), but I didn't really do anything of interest over that time. But, at the same time, it was quite nice to not do anything of any real interest :)

In terms of writing "relationship"-related posts, I think the "edge" got taken off of that by my now talking to my wife about most things as they occur. Nothing of any significance has really changed yet.
I'm feeling less emotionally "tangled" by it all at the moment. I think these things come and go. Of course, at the same time, I am still aware that I tend to end up thinking about it when I shouldn't, avoid thinking about it when I could ;)
Some of my biggest concerns seem to have settled down a little at the moment, and I'm back to feeling a bit more positive about things.

We had no Relate session this week, and the next one isn't until a week today. Honestly, what gives these people the right to think that they can have a day or two off ;) I demand that they be available to my every beck and call, 24/7! ;)

Actually though, perhaps in some ways that is indeed a good thing. I suppose it does help to have the indirect result of what some people suggested (Thank you Roses, Jen, Northern Monkey and Dianne for your comments and sorry I didn't get around to writing a proper reply to them - I'm glad someone else remembers Plop, Northern Monkey! :), in terms of giving us a little time to relax for a week and not be forced to think about it all.
Yes yes, ok, being forced to think about it all may to some extent be a necessity, but it is indeed good to have just a short break from time-to-time ;)

That's all (for now) folks ;)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Plop was a Barn Owl

And Plop was afraid of the dark.

And do you know what Plop used to ask more than anything else?

"That was nice. What's next?"

And, as "What's next?" seemed like it might be a pertinent question following my last post, I was reminded of young Plop :)
It is certainly not my intention to muddy the name of an innocent young barn owl (and especially not one who is afraid of the dark) by associating him with this story, but I felt it made a change from leaping straight in. It makes a change for me to ramble, doesn't it? ;) Well... Ish. ;) I have to say though, "Plop" is a fantastic name for a barn owl :) Well, actually, it's a pretty fantastic name for almost anything :) Although I don't think I'd consider naming my own child "Plop"... Hmmm, then again... ;)

Ooh, I's proper cultured, in't I. Talking about children's books ;) Does anyone else remember Plop? :)

But, as for what happened next... (Hello, gone a bit "Question of Sport" or something now)

We had a brief follow-up conversation later that night in bed. "You do make me happy," she said. But still, she's not happy in general. There's always at least one thing wrong, one thing worrying her, and a hundred things she wants that might make her happy. I think that's kind of the "point" of depression. But still... It doesn't really make it any easier.

Little was said on the subject after that until I brought it up again on the Sunday morning. She said that she had started trying to make more of a specific effort to try to think about things positively. I said that I had been wondering whether perhaps we had some individual problems we should try to look at solving ourselves, and that perhaps "our" issues couldn't really fall into place until we had made progress with them. I told her that I had been almost wondering whether I should move out for a bit to give us some space to look at those issues alone.
(See also: The irony of this compared to some of my earlier comments)

The next day, we talked about this, and all the thoughts and feelings over the last week, with Relate. Now, at this point, the Relate sessions had still been about trying to establish where we were, and how Relate could help us to move forwards, before seriously attempting to help get us there.
So, three options seemed to present themselves:
1. Continue with Relate into psycho-sexual therapy, as was our original intention
2. Continue with Relate into couple counselling
3. Get some space

1. Whilst this was our original intention when we first went decided to get some help and go to Relate, enough has changed that I (and RT) am no longer sure this is the most sensible action at the moment. I believe I have too much else on my mind to really concentrate on this at the moment.
(There we are again with the irony)

2. Now, something I learnt that I felt was interesting about couple counselling is that it seems you wouldn't "just" go to couple counselling. You go (or at least start) with a specific issue in mind to work on tackling. See, I'd always just assumed that you'd just "sort of go", but I can see it makes sense if you have a specific thing to focus on too. Examples of "things" you could "take into" couple counselling are the sexual issues ('though this would be less to do with the "physical" side, as with psycho-sexual therapy), or the fact that I think I want some space. I guess it's about equipping you with the tools to help communicate in general, as well as to do with a specific issue.

3. Not much more to be said, other than that we would get some space apart from each other for a while. I have a number of "reasons" to help "justify" this step. I'm not certain how many are actually reasons and how many are more... excuses... but that's my business ;) The main one is that I feel it would do us both some good. It would help give Mrs Monkfish some space to tackle her issues (i.e. depression), and I think would help her to be more aware of how she's doing than being together. For example, I think (hope) that it would largely solve the comfort eating. At the moment, simply my presence around her can stop her from over-eating. But I'm obviously not around her 24/7 (what with, y'know, working or, say, showering - little things like that), and its the times I'm not there that she'll eat somewhat more than she needs (it was this sort of thing that meant I did know I couldn't solve her food problems for her).
At the same time, I'm not sure that if she were to actually change her personality at the moment, whether I would actually see it, because I have got too caught up in how things have been for the last seven years (as of a few days ago we have officially lived together in this house for seven years, and there was a month or two before that of living together but with her parents) to see when they change. On top of that, I'm also concious of a number of issues I have with myself.
There's a lot of stuff that I do (or, more often, don't do), that I feel I want to challenge myself over. For some reason, I don't feel I can challenge myself with it together. I mean we're both terrible at cleaning the home for example, and I'm also absolutely terrible at just tidying my own desk and stuff. I want to take my excuses away and force myself to do some of these things, or accept that it's my own fault and that I can't blame it on anything else.
Blimey, it's a bloody good job there was "not much more to be said", or I could really have rambled on there ;) I could keep going, but for now, I'll leave that there.

So anyway, of those three options, we had to work out which one to pursue. RT and I were against 1. That was slightly surprising to Mrs M, as she had thought for so long that it was the only problem. As I pointed out, for a long time, it was pretty much the only one. It was only recently that things seemed to (d)evolve into more.

And what option did we decide on? We didn't. We ran out of time ;) So we were set the task of considering it amongst ourselves to work it out for next week.

I'd been hoping to get a bit more covered than this, but I think that'll have to do for now. There's always more than you think to these things! :)

Wait, what's that I hear you say? "That was nice... What's next?" ;)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Only the Crumbliest...

So, just now as I ate a Flake, which was being all crumbly and flakey (which was interesting, because the last one I had wasn't especially crumbly or flakey), I found my mind wandering back to the infamous "Flake Girl" advert in the bath.
Under usual circumstances, I'd provide some sort of linkage to the advert here, but unfortunately I have failed miserably to find a copy of the advert online at the moment. Although I can tell you it's from 1991 :)

Anyway. So. Right. Ladies, I'd like your imaginations here, please :) Imagine this... You're in the bath. Relaxing. Forgetting about everything else going on in the world, and just enjoying the moment. You close your eyes, just enjoying doing nothing for a minute. You open your eyes... And there it is. A Cadbury's Flake, just sitting there. Begging to be delicately unwrapped, to be slowly eaten and savoured.

"This," you might think to yourself, "is going to be delicious. For it is the crumbliest, flakiest of chocolate!"

And then... "Bugger that!" would you not think? "I'd get chocolate all over me tits!"

I mean there you are enjoying a bath, do you really want bits of chocolate floating about in the water? :) I mean how are you going to get clean if every time you move you find a lump of chocolate trying to attach itself to you? :) And well, let's face it, if you've another half about the house, you couldn't possibly let them know that not only are you having a nice bath, but you're also getting covered in chocolate. I mean that's just asking for trouble isn't it ;)

So, am I wrong, or have I just shattered the illusion? ;)

Monday, October 16, 2006

A Long Thursday

Gosh, has it really been a week since I last posted a summary of recent events? I'm not sure why I've got so bad at this recently. I could try to guess, but that's all it would be, and I don't think it really matters.

So, Mrs Monkfish discovered she had depression, and a week later got signed off work for two weeks due to stress.

In terms of how I felt at that point... Well, it was kind of odd, y'know. Depression is one of those things I have never really understood. I suspect it's one of those things you can't REALLY understand unless you've suffered with it.
I remember when I was about 16, soon after I first started using Internet chat, one of the regulars in a place I visited was always talking about suffering from depression. I remember thinking, "Well stop harping on about it and you probably wouldn't feel so bad!"
So, perhaps a slight lack of understanding, but overall, pleased that it had been identified. I mean that's obviously a positive step on the road to doing something about it. Things are looking good now, y'see? We're going to Relate to sort our issues out, and she can start doing things to help sort her issues out. Sure, it's still difficult, but I'm still managing to feel positive...

The next day (Thursday 28th September) was a fairly long day. It was just one of those busy days at work, with a lot of short tempers all round. Fortunately, I didn't get anything directed at me, but it still makes for a stressful day - especially if you have a lot on your mind anyway. Driving home, I remember feeling tense, too much energy. I thought I might go for a short walk or even a run when I got home.
When I got home, I decided I was too hungry to bother doing that sort of thing immediately, so I just got changed, got some food, and watched some TV.
By the time my food had settled and the TV programme was over, I felt less tense, but still irritable. Random thoughts were still pounding my mind from all directions. I decided to go for a walk anyway.
Despite it being dark by then, I decided to walk up the hill, past what I'm told is one of the roughest pubs in the area. I couldn't really be bothered to worry about that, and it was a fairly clear night, and I just figured there'd be a nice view from up the top of the hill.
Sure enough, I leaned against a broken street light and gazed out at it all. You can forget what a place is actually like when all you can see are twinkly lights gazing back at you :) And the moon was looking pretty cool too. I always used to enjoy walking at night. I have happy memories of going to/from friends' houses from when I was younger :)

But it was out while I was having that walk that a few things really properly sunk in and hit me at a concious level.

I did know that I couldn't really solve her problems for her (although perhaps that didn't stop me trying), but I always tried to provide whatever help I could to help her solve them. And in general, I'd just try to make her happy. Or provide her with encouragement to try to get over the things that made her unhappy.
But at this point, I properly realised... There will always be something that she is unhappy about. I can't make her happy.

Certainly, one thing I used to think about all the sex was that at least it would give me one thing to be happy about, to help give me the energy to continue trying to make her happy with all the other things she feels are wrong with her life.

When I got home, I pretty much told her all of that.

"I'm like a pizza," I said, "I can only give you short-term happiness."
"I am happy with you," she said.
"Yes," I said, "But you're not happy."

Obviously, this conversation went on for some time, but I don't remember every detail, and you can gather the gist of most of it yourselves. She said that she'd need a couple of days to absorb what I had said.

It was at this point, that things suddenly started feeling a whoooole lot more difficult.

Oh, and that was on top of the fact that it was today that the ADSL died ;)

Thursday, October 12, 2006


After more conversations with BT yesterday trying to figure out why they had closed the fault when the ADSL still wasn't working (when I had been previously told that the ADSL not working would definitely be fixed by BT, as it was them what "broke" it, and that I definitely did not need to contact my ISP).

Call Centre Monkey #1 (who put me on hold some five times during the conversation) kept telling me to contact my ISP about it. Every time I asked "So what's changed for the fault to be closed today when the phoneline has been working for the last five days?" he seemed to put me on hold, come back, then answer a different question, before each time telling me I had to get my ISP to fix the problem.
He eventually agreed that he'd get his supervisor to call me back, as she was supposed to have been dealing with the problem anyway (I spoke to her on Saturday).

Just as I had given up hope of her phoning back, she phoned back. She explained that the ADSL fault had indeed been reported to BT Wholesale (who provide ADSL to other ISPs who then resell it as their own), so I did not need to contact my ISP to report the fault.
However, because it was no longer a line fault, the existing BT fault had been closed, and if I wanted to track the ADSL status, I had to contact my ISP to find out what was happening, and BT Wholesale could provide them with updates (BT Wholesale obviously isn't allowed to speak to normal BT).

Well, that seemed to make sense, so I accepted that they closed the fault, and that they could close the new one. (I had to report a new fault to be able to talk to the call centre, as if it didn't think I had a fault on the line the automated system just kept telling me to sod off :)

So, I immediately contact my ISP to let them know. "Well," said the bloke at the other end of the line, "I've never heard of BT being able to report a fault to BT Wholesale before. ... Wait, have you ever actually connected using us? It says here your ADSL is due to be activated on the 17th."
"Ummm, ye-eees..."
"One moment..." [on hold for 30seconds]
"Ok, it looks like what happened is that BT had to replace the line, so they had to issue a cease & reprovide order on the ADSL, and you'll have to wait for it to activated again on the 17th."
"I see. BT suggested it would be fixed Friday...?"
"Well, depending on how busy they are, they are often able to activate the line ahead of schedule."
"Ok, thanks for your help!"

See now if someone at BT could simply have said, "we've had to replace your line and order a new ADSL activation on it", I'd have been (relatively) happy, but they never gave me an answer as straight forward as that! They have to send you 'round the houses with all sorts of meaningless gibberish that they make up as they go along.


It's working now! :)

At bloody last ;)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


If I can believe what BT told me on Saturday, we should have our ADSL fixed around a week from today. If I can be bothered trying to speak to them, I might ring them this afternoon to check they haven't changed their minds on that ;)

Got around to checking my regular e-mail account yesterday. Just the odd 4,094 e-mails in the nearly two weeks since we lost the 'net. I'm almost pleasantly surprised to be honest - I was almost expecting more!
Still, I'm slowly wading through the spam (normally a whole bunch of filters set up to waft it out) and pulling out the genuine stuff. So, I'm sorry "Minnows G. Outflanked", "Boss C. Reasonably", "Exterminated E. Vortices", "Foulness D. Perversity", and by no means forgetting "Lushness R. Breaststroke", and the many other crazy names in my Inbox, but you're all getting deleted. ;)

Bah. I just finished reading all the short bits I was interested in. No exciting big new articles. And then someone goes and asks me a bunch of random questions while proceeding to tell me the story of how he got to asking me those questions in a random sequence and missing out random bits, and giving way more information than I need at the rest. Oh well. Back to weeding out spam for now, I think.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Catch Up Continued

So. So far, I've caught y'all up as far as... The 18th September, which was my last solo Relate session. Hmm. If I was at school, I'm sure someone should remark, "Could do better." ;)
Part of this is because I just haven't absorbed all the information myself yet, and part of it is because I either don't have the time, and/or just haven't put the effort in ;) Focussed rambling clearly requires more effort than my usual type ;)

The next day, my wife had a long and stressful day at work. But it didn't stop there, oh no. I decided to leap in and get telling her about my blog over and done with. She could understand why I had started it and its purpose and didn't mind that. She was a bit upset that I had a new community & friends to talk to that she didn't know about. She was most upset when I said that I couldn't really remember what it was I like about her anymore.

So, that was a fairly long day.

But the long days didn't end there, oh no (again). The next day (Wednesday) she had a doctor's appointment. Indirectly, this was as a result of her yearly check with regards to her throxin levels, however her basic attitude towards that was that "if there were anything wrong, they would tell her".
However, I had been telling her for some time that she should talk to the doctor about how she felt in general, and then the Relate lady strongly suggested this to at our first meeting.
At some point before this, after Mrs Monkfish had been wondering why she needed to talk to the doctor and what he could possibly do for her, and I had at some point snapped that she could have depression or something.
Just prior to her going to the doctor, I found out that she had been onto the NHS Direct site and looked up the symptoms of depression. Of the say ten symptoms, I think she said the only ones she didn't tick were something like "Suicidal tendencies", "Constipation", and "loss of appetite" (she had a chuckle over that one).
The doctor had a similar list of symptoms that she also ticked off one-by-one. She came out of the doctor's with a set of anti-depressants and an appointment for the next Wednesday.
The anti-depressants will take a few weeks to kick in, and have a "fun" looking list of side-effects as long as your arm. Touch wood, she seems to be ok so far, and has seemed a little cheerier recently. I'm not sure how much of that is due to a concerted effort from her, and how much is a result of the anti-depressants. I guess it's probably a bit of both.

She continued to feel stressed at work, but overall, not much happened until the following Monday (25th September) at her second solo Relate session (her first one had been during a cancellation spot on a weekday morning).
She spoke to RT about what the doctor had told her, and RT gave her a lot of helpful information - in fact, I think she was more helpful than the doctor! (She felt the doctor was sympathetic and understanding, but I don't get the feeling he really gave her much advice as to a long-term solution)

The bit that hit my wife most during this solo Relate session (my wife & I talked about it afterwards, in case you were wondering) was that RT asked her, "what do you think other people think of you?"
My wife couldn't really answer this, and said "Well. I don't know what other people think of me."
So RT then asked, "What do you think of yourself?"

Now, my wife knows that physically she doesn't have a high opinion of herself. She doesn't like her body, which is why she's always flip-flopping into/out of diets. I have said many times that I don't care what she looks like so long as she's happy.

But in answering this question, my wife suddenly realised that it wasn't just physically she didn't have anything positive to say about herself... She didn't have anything positive to say about herself, at all.
"And that," I pointed out afterwards, "is a symptom of depression, if ever I heard of one."
This realisation was somewhat upsetting to her, though (As I'm sure you can imagine).

I don't remember what my wife said that she said about her parents exactly. In summary though, her Mum is an optimist and her Dad is a pessimist. I wouldn't be surprised if he suffered from depression too, to be honest. Her Dad is fairly negative, and often puts both Mrs Monkfish and her mother down. I don't believe he really means to hurt them, it's just the way he is. You can see he misses "his little girl" being around, because sometimes for example, as we are leaving after having been there for a weekend (it's a 2.5-3hour drive), he will have to run away quickly.
Sometimes, even although he and they half-know he's joking about some stuff, I will tend to throw it back at him when he says stuff about other people. For example, if he says something about his weight, he might blame it on "these big dinners she keeps cooking me".
"Oh yes," I will say, "I'm sure it has nothing to do with the large pork pie, sandwich and packet of crisps you had in-between meals."
Oh dear, I appear to have just soaked my keyboard in a hearty dose of sarcasm, please bear with me while I mop up ;)
Psychologically, I can certainly see my wife will have inherited some issues from her Dad. I mean, one that I really can't understand is one I mentioned at the end of my last session to RT.
I mentioned it because I wasn't sure my wife would remember (in general, I have a better memory than her, particularly for conversations, although this was obviously no normal conversation), and also because I just wasn't sure she'd mention it.

Some years ago, while my wife's parents were still "over here", her Dad was walking my wife back to the car (I wasn't there), when he told her, "years ago, [before my wife was either born, or was at least younger than two years] you know your mum had an affair with so-and-so."

Now, I can't imagine what would possess someone to say that for any reason in that manner. It's something my wife has never talked to her mum (or dad) about since then, and she didn't really have anything to say at the time. Her opinion is that he was just in a bad mood and wanted to lash out, and that it wasn't even true.
I personally cannot even comprehend someone saying something like that for reasons so petty.
I said to RT that I almost wondered if it was true. With her mum being an optimist, and her dad being a pessimist, I can obviously see a reflection of us there. I wonder... Could you keep going easier, if it was based on guilt as well as love?

This was apparently something my wife didn't mention. She said she thought of it at some point, but because she believes her Dad only said it to hurt her, she didn't think it relevant. She said that in general, she answered RT's questions. I think that's a subtle point when being "truthful", and I imagine it's what is meant by "the whole truth". You can truthfully answer someone's questions, but that doesn't mean you are giving them "the whole truth".

So anyway. That was (yet another) long day. But did it end there? Ohhh no ;)

Two days later (Wednesday), my wife was still feeling stressed by work when she went for her doctor's appointment. She talked about some longer-term solutions to the depression (i.e. talking to someone) with the doctor, and she intends at some point (i.e. when we have Internet access back again) to look up psychologists/therapists/whoever it is that you speak to about such things in our area.
She also told the doctor how stressed she had been feeling at work. This is mostly because there's a major project that she's supposed to be managing, but she keeps on not managing. She wanted the "Manager" title in her current position, but she's decided she doesn't actually want or like the responsibility. The doctor gave her some anti-anxiety pills (there were often times she was feeling stressed and tearful about it all), and he asked whether she had much holiday available. She said that she did not (ooh, that was cunning, she's got like most of it still available!), and he signed her off work for two weeks. So, she went in for the rest of that day, and used two days of holiday as well. So she had that Thursday & Friday off, all of last week, and now she'll still be off all of this week.
All that time and no ADSL! What a tragedy of circumstances!

lol, as an aside, I had to laugh on Saturday. My wife had asked me to speak to our neighbour to see whether we could latch onto his wireless connection. She asked me to ask him because I know him marginally better, because when our neighbours moved in, I set up our Internet connection so that they could use it wirelessly for a few weeks until they got theirs installed.
So I was probably going to speak to him about this on the Saturday... When all of a sudden, he was at the door... "Alright there mate, I was wondering, would you mind if I used your wireless connection again? See my mate's got this new Dell PC, and it needs all the WindowsUpdates, but we cancelled our Internet connection a few weeks ago due to the move, so don't have it at the moment, but thought it might be easier to do using ADSL. So would you mind if we used yours again?"
"Ah," I said, "I don't mind in theory, but there is ooone smallll proooblem..." ;)
(He broke up with his partner a little while back, so is now in the process of selling the house to move back in with his parents for a while, as it's a bit expensive to keep going on his own).

Right then. Overall, I think I've put in a lot of information there, and I think I'll leave it there for now (so that's left umm 12 days ago, taking us up to 27th September).

Sorry for standard rambling in-between, but there was a lot to get out there and it was difficult to concentrate on the main bits ;) (You know how it is, you start saying one thing, then you remember something else, then all of a sudden another bit hits you, etc. etc.)

Thanks for reading. Now, go rest your eyes for a bit ;)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Oh for #!?$'s Sake!

So, having been speaking to BT some more today....

Indian 1: "Can't do anything, there's already an open fault."
Me: "Yes, but nothing has happened for several days and I wanted an update."
Indian 1: "Well, the fault is still open so they are still doing something."
Me: "Yes, but I phoned twice yesterday, and I was told that you need to speak to the fault centre to find out more."
Indian 1: "Yes, but the fault is still open."
Me: "Can you tell me the date that something last happened?"
Indian 1: "I said, 'the fault is still open'."
Me: "Erm, yes, but can you tell me the date that something last happened?"
Indian 1: "The date?"
Me: "Yes, the date"
Indian 1: "I don't have the date."
Me: "Right, well we first reported this fault on the 8th September, and we lost ADSL on the 28th September, to have our phoneline restored on the 2nd October. I haven't heard anything from BT since the 19th, when we had to re-report the fault. I was told twice yesterday that you needed to speak to someone else, but the first time I got cut off while on hold, and the second time I was told the other department wasn't open."
Indian 1: "I see. I'll have to speak to someone else."
Me: "Ok."
[lalalalala, silly on hold music, lalalalala]
Indian 1: "I've spoken to the engineer. It will be at least two weeks until the fault is fixed."
Me: "Two weeks!? So that will be three weeks with no ADSL, and a month and a half since we first reported the fault"
Indian 1: "Well, I'm very sorry..."
[I ask some technical-ish questions, such as whether this affects just us, or other people at the exchange too. I eventually get fed up with a lack of answers, and ask to speak to someone who actually can answer my questions]
[lalalalala, on hold music again]
Indian 2: "Hello, I'm the fault report manager."
Me: "Hello, [summarises history of fault]."
Indian 2: "Well, it says here that on the 28th they had to disable your ADSL because that caused the fault on the phoneline. You need to contact your ISP to get the fault fixed."
Me: "Excuse me?"
Indian 2: "Well, it says here that on the 28th they had to disable your ADSL because that caused the fault on the phoneline. You need to contact your ISP to get the fault fixed."
Me: "Why has nobody told me this before!? I've phoned three times and not been told this, and last week my wife phoned and was simply told, 'we can't do anything while there's an open fault'. You're now telling me the fault won't get fixed until I contact my ISP?"
Indian 2: "Well, I don't know why you weren't told, it's in big letters on your file."
Me: "So, let me get this straight. There was a problem with the phone, which BT solved by turning off the ADSL - but you didn't actually get the ADSL people to investigate the fault!?"
Indian 2: "Oh no, we're not authorised to ask BT Wholesale to investigate an ADSL fault."
Me: "But.. the ADSL was fine until you turned it off on the 28th!"
Indian 2: "Yes, because the ADSL was causing the telephone fault."
Me: "So you couldn't report the fault to yourselves!?"
Indian 2: "Oh no, we're not authorised to speak to BT Wholesale."
[This conversation lasted a few minutes]
Me: "Right then. So, before the fault can get fixed, I need to contact my ISP to get them to ask BT Wholesale to investigate."
Indian 2: "Yes."
Me: "So will we still receive compensation for this? We were told we'd receive £1/day." (Doesn't sound much, but by now we're talking about almost £30!)
Indian 2: "Well, the fault is still active, so you'll still be receiving compensation, yes. You'll have to claim that at the end."
Me: "Right. I see. So even although the phoneline is now working, because the ADSL isn't working, we'll still receive compensation?"
Indian 2: "Yes, we'll leave the fault open until then. I imagine those engineers will still need to do something anyway."
[blah blah blah, more questions, including asking why nobody had told me I needed to contact my ISP, and I assume they will ensure this doesn't happen to other people in the future]

[I contact my ISP]

My ISP (whom I actually trust): "Well, I don't know why BT told you that. Phone faults take precedence over ADSL faults, and BT Wholesale refuse to investigate a problem while there is an open fault on the line."

Oh God :)


Grrrrrrrr :)

On the plus side, I finally got around to fixing our tap last night.

I had previously bought a large selection of washers, but still didn't have one to fit the existing tap innards/pipe. So, it was time for... INSPECTOR MONKFISH'S FABULOUS TOOL INVENTION NUMBER TWO! Whoo! :)
(Number one was a device consisting of: A washing up brush, two cable ties, a squidgy sponge thing, some kitchen towel - used for cleaning the outside of our upstairs windows, which cannot be reached from outside)

And what was it? Well, it was a work of art, I tell you ;)

Two files
One hand drill
Several toolboxes
One washer (slightly too large)
One wrench

The problem:
The hole in the middle of the washer is slightly too small. The overall diameter of the washer is slightly too large.

The solution:
1. Enlarge hole (easy to achieve through use of drill bits, or anything else that fits inside hole but is slightly larger than the existing hole)
2. Consider: How to make a round thing smaller using a straight file.
The answer?

  • In order to make a round object evenly smaller, we'll want to evenly shrink all "sides", or we'll end up with something which doesn't fit.
  • To do this, we'll want to rotate it.
  • Using a drill? Seems most practical.
  • How to attach it?
  • Well, the handle of the small file fits securely through the middle of the washer.
  • The other end ('business end') of the small file can fit into the hand drill! (Cunning, I thought ;)
  • We then have a device for quickly rotating the washer which must be shrunk!
  • Using the larger file, secure it in a position which is able to be used in conjunction with the infernal contraption (drill+file+washer, probably a good 50-60cms in total length)
  • This is achieved using a combination of the wrench and the toolboxes.
  • Using drill, rotate washer against the larger secured file.
  • Eventually, the hole in the middle grew too large, and some manual filing was required (still, I'm sure you'll agree, it was a great idea in theory ;)
  • After quite a bit of work, I eventually had a replacement washer to fit the non-standard cold tap! (The hot tap is perfectly fine, and I had already placed its innards - for some reason the cold tap and hot tap are actually COMPLETELY different taps!?)
  • Finally... Success! Bwaahahahahahahahahahahaha! Take that you bloody tap! ;)

See, that's what happens when you have no Internet and the wife has gone to her parents' for a long weekend ;)

Tomorrow... THE WORLD!

(Preferably using some sort of innovative "world conquering" device, which I shall attempt to fashion from two junk mail envelopes, a short length of network cable, and an out-of-date bottle of barbecue sauce)

Failing that, I could just make do with providing snacks to my parents who are dropping my sister off for the weekend. (She apparently needs a new steering rack in)

(Well, I say "she", I actually mean "her car")

(Anyone who thought my sister was in need of a new steering rack should probably consult your GP to obtain further information on the difference between people and cars)

(Nor was it slang. I am not going to start talking about my sister's rack, thank you very much!)

(Yes, I am feeling better for all these bracketed sentences and extra-strong rambling ;)

Have a good weekend, people. Looks like I'll still be without the 'net for a while yet.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

My Parents (& Sister)

"What," asked RT, "is your mother like?"

I grinned. "Daft," I said.

I then made my apologies on her behalf, but really, she did fall for the old "Did you know they've taken the word 'gullible' out of the dictionary?" ;) And don't get me started on the story about "Oh, that must be the electrician's phone number..." :)
Anyway, having been done with being rude about her, I moved on to the rest.

Caring... But I used to feel she was too caring. Perhaps over-protective. Optimistic. Trying to describe how someone is, it's all of a sudden quite difficult to do :)
A basic example I gave was how when I was younger, I had some friends a year younger than me, but they would have watched films that I wasn't allowed to watch, etc.

"And what is your dad like?"

"Ermmm. Errrmmmmm. Hmm. He's... just... sort of like my dad" :) I eventually managed to say.

I mean it's not something I'd thought about before! :) I'm not sure what made it easier for me to pick some words out of the air about my Mum that I couldn't do for my Dad, but clearly there must be something.
I mean my Dad's always been around and everything, it's not like I didn't/don't know him, it's just that I felt at a loss to DESCRIBE him.

In the end, the best I managed to say really was that in recent times, I've noticed I seem to take after my Dad a fair bit in terms of different bits of my personality :) We have a similar sense of humour (i.e. terrible ;), and there are other things he's said that strike me about myself.
For example, he was recently saying about how when he used to work at a factory, he would sometimes wander around the floor and look at other people doing their jobs. And sometimes he would realise someone was getting something wrong, or could help someone, or that two people doing similar things could work better together and that sort of thing :) But he wasn't like 'important' in terms of 'rank' at the factory. Just another person doing another job. :)
And my Mum and sister were laughing at this, because rather than concentrating on his own job, he was 'buggering about' getting in other peoples' way ;)

But I'm like, "I do that!!" :) At my company, I am sometimes known as "The Wandering Man" ;) ... Normally just as I have wandered into or past a room, and someone has then started a sentence with, "Although, while you're there..." :)
This is only a small company, but after my two bosses, I tend to have a better idea of what everyone else is working on than anyone else does. And there are often times I'll wander along to someone (especially if I can hear them swearing ;) and ask what they're working on, and be able to help point them in a new direction (if they want it, that is... I don't just stick my nose in... well... sometimes, perhaps... ;)
My Mum and sister had a good laugh at all of this, as they both thought we were quite clearly completely loopy ;)

ANYWAY :) (I didn't go into that much detail at Relate ;)

I have believed in general that I come from a fairly average and normal background. Recently, disappointingly, I have begun to wonder exactly how "normal" that is these days.

See, I have never had any doubt that my parents don't love each other. I'm not saying everything has always been perfect, they'd have perfectly normal disagreements sometimes, but I don't ever recall having observed any serious problems between them.
I realised in recent years that my birthday is some seven months after they got married (ooh, the shame! The shame! ;), but I don't think for a moment that that was why they got married.

In terms of Relate, RT asked whether I knew how they "dealt" with problems. No idea :)

RT asked whether I would have talked to them growing up, about sex or anything. Not really; it would have been embarressing. Little odd talking to your parents about that sort of thing - I'm sure they wouldn't have MINDED, but, they're like, your parents ;)
In general, if I had anything going on in my life, particularly with regards to those girl thingmies, I would have wanted my mum to be the last to know. Because she'd have taken (gah! ;) an interest. Of course, I'm sure we've all been there ;)
My parents had talked to me about sex though, and the day before I first met my wife with a view to staying overnight with her, my Mum tried to give me some condoms (Oh, the embaressment! ;), which I said I would not need as it really wasn't that sort of thing (and I had already bought some anyway ;)

In terms of growing up in general, RT asked whether they ever smacked me or anything. They did, probably particularly as I was actually a bit older (teens) (that seems slightly odd now in some ways, thinking about it), and I would be particularly frustrating by never doing homework. Of course, being a teenager, whenever my Mum shouted at me, I would just shout back, which obviously did not help matters calm down. My Dad was ok mostly, but it would all really annoy my mum - I guess she knew I was clever, but didn't bother putting the effort in. I am not however conciously aware that I carry any particular issues as a result of this. Was just part of growing up, and I was never seriously hurt at all.

Oh, I think there was a bit on my sister, too. She seemed to get everything easier, although I mostly ascribe this to the fact that me, being two-and-a-half years older, had already fought most of the battles that she then fought herself.

My sister and I could also get very shouty at each other before I left home, and this wasn't usually helped by the fact that usually my Mum and sister would be on the same "side", leaving me in a corner of my own.
Despite this, my sister is the only person I would have considered talking to about any every-day or "life" problems, I think. Even now, of people I know in real life, she's the only one I'm seriously considering talking to about everything, although it would be a little strange what with her being my sister ;)
Today, she at least has the advantage of knowing both Mr & Mrs Monkfish ;) On that side of things, if I spoke to her, at least I'd feel she had a balanced view, but on the other hand I might feel a bit guilty about telling her everything about my wife.
Anyway, I'm not asking for opinions or advice here really, I just mentioned it as it was related ;) It's something I'm still thinking through a little.

When I was still living at home, I definitely always felt I wanted to move out when I could. I love them all, but we did drive each other up the wall ;) I think I've said before we definitely get on much better not having to permanently put up with each other ;)

Right, well, there we go. That's... pretty much everything, I think ;) I think I've at least mentioned the questions RT asked, and how I answered them, as well as having given a whole bunch of additional information as well ;) See, aren't you all lucky :) (or bored. One of those two ;)

The most important part of this post to me (that necessitated this one being written before some others) was that, to the best of my knowledge, my parents love each other, and are happy together. And I think that that has perhaps an enormous effect on how I think a relationship should be (unsurprisingly, I should think).

Where Am I?

In short: Catching up. ;) There's been quite a lot to absorb over the last couple of weeks, which is part of the reason why I haven't got around to blogging about it yet... Can't very easily write about it if I don't know what I'm thinking ;) Well, ok, that doesn't usually stop me ;)

With regards to Relate, these first few sessions have been more about "learning" about us than anything else, so nothing too directly helpful yet, as the "meat" of the therapy is yet to come. Some of the questions asked (such as those I mentioned here) have made me think a bit about the answers.
I guess it helped push me a little into telling my wife about my blog and everything. RT hadn't directly suggested I do that, but I had wanted to say something about it for some time.

I think the thing I've learnt so far more than anything else I had already learnt from what people had said to my blog here (thanks people :). Communication. With telling my wife all about my blog, it opened up the floor for me to be honest about everything else again.

Years ago, I started telling my wife I wasn't happy about how things were, because I knew it was the right thing to do. To talk about the problem and try to find a way to solve it together - if there was anything she thought would help, or that she thought she wanted from me, I would get/give it. And then a few weeks would pass, and we'd have the same conversation again.
It was only recently, as I started getting seriously worried, that I began more of "not saying things".

But anyway. Communication is key, even (or especially) when difficult. Well, and preferably doing something with the information learnt during such communication ;)

Where we are with Relate now... Well, you'll just need to wait for me to try to get caught up in my writings :) But I'm working on it! ;)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

My Relate Session, 18th September

Gosh, this is getting confusing. I think about things to say on one subject, then I realise they're related to another subject, so I think "Well, I might as well just summarise it rather than detail" then I think "Yeah, but I had been intending on writing a post about that, and it seems silly to go to the trouble of summarising it only to go into detail the next day - surely more sensible to start on the detail, and refer back to it."

Well, I defeated myself with that logic ;) See, I had been planning on writing this post at some point anyway anyway (one of three days from last week that I thought people would like to hear more about), but then I thought I'd spend my time talking about wedding and marriage, following Northern Monkey's lead. Well, until I realised that some of what I was going to write there was related to this.

Now look at that, I've ended up saying the same thing twice... The summary the first time and the detail the second... What a stupid thing to do ;) I should have simply written the detail first and then referred back to it ;)

Anyway. This was my second (and a half) solo Relate session and, having spent enough time rambling about all things current (such as my blog), RT was finally able to get around to asking more "historical" and general questions.

I'm blogging this for a few reasons:
1. It might be interesting
2. There were a few questions that I wasn't really "prepared" for, not big things, just things I couldn't think of an answer to on the spot. Now, perhaps that's the idea ;) But, well, I thought they were mildly interesting things to muse over anyway :)

From memory (I didn't take notes ;), the conversation went something like this:

  • Briefly: A spot on my blog (a blog spot, if you will ;)
  • Dealing with stress
  • My parents
  • My wife
  • Anything else to say or ask

Well, you all know by now what my decision was already with regards to my blog :) I checked with RT that she had no preference as to whether I told Mrs Monkfish at home, or at a Relate session together. My preference was to do it at home (hah!), and she agreed that sounded best. So I decided I'd tell my wife some time between then and my wife's solo session the following Monday.

The next question I got asked was about how did I deal with stress.

Well that was one I hadn't really thought about before :) So the best I could come up with was "Umm... I guess I don't really think about it". I then 'clarified' with, "But in a different way to my wife. She probably thinks about not thinking about it, whilst I just don't."

Pretty poor answer, huh? ;) In the time since then, several more bits and bobs plopped into mind of their own accord. I don't think I'm a "stressed" person by nature (whilst I don't think of myself as being so specifically, I'm probably too laid back most of the time ;), so I think that's why I hadn't considered specifically what de-stressed me.
Of course, thinking about THAT some more since then, I realised that people who aren't stressed by nature are probably the type who most likely need a way of dealing with it when it hits them. People who are stressed all of the time probably have their own ways of dealing with it already well defined.

I think overall, doing almost anything which doesn't cause me to feel more stressed helps me to relax and unwind a bit. So whether it's watching a film, playing a game (on a loosely related note, I finished single-player Halo for the first time last night :), working, walking, wa..just kidding ;) But I even quite enjoy doing the boring old weekly shop in general :)

I'd like to say that in general, if something stresses me out, that I attempt to fix the problem (the cause of the stress) rather than the symptom (the relief of the stress). In reality though, I'm just not aware that I'm stressed by stuff that often, and in this case, it's not exactly a problem I can easily do something about.

My parents... I'll "deal" with that post separately, I think :)

My wife... Now here a question hit me. One that had occurred to me before, but I had eventually managed to realise that it was a fruitless exercise simply trying to remember. The question exactly was, "What do you like about your wife?"
I thought about it for a bit. I thought about it for a bit more. I answered, "I... don't know. That's part of the problem. But I recognise that I'm not exactly in the best of 'places' to attempt an answer right now."

When we later had the conversation about my blog and everything, this was roughly one of the things I told my wife. It was the thing she took away from that conversation as being most painful.

Anything else... I thought of one thing not directly related to me. I may mention that in the post about My Parents.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Waiting Game

Rumour has it that as of today, our phoneline now appears to have been fixed (and actually fixed this time, as opposed to the "no bloody difference" last time they told us it was fixed - they even left the divert in place, clearly showing to my mind that they knew it wasn't fixed at all!), but ADSL is still dead.

BT engineers do worry me sometimes. I mean the first time I got a phoneline installed, not only did they have to replace the telegraph pole outside (taking out the phones for the entire road for a day), but when they then installed the line, there were FIVE major faults with the thing... Ranging from the socket having been wired up incorrectly, to problems at the exchange!

And when we got ADSL installed originally (some years ago before it was really popular - you had to have an engineer come to your house, rather than the "wires only" approach today), the night before installation, they managed to knock out the phoneline completely for some thirteen days. Cue three engineers turning up the next morning (each with their own van), each looking rather clueless.

So come on BT, pull your fingers out and sort it out :)

Meanwhile, I'm afraid I didn't get anything written this weekend. It's been a busy few weeks, and there's still quite a lot that I'd like to write about, if only for the sake of keeping my faithful followers fully.. formulated. Sorry, decided to take a run on the alliteration there ;)

I may try to get some more written today, but but but I notice I have missed a lot of IDF happenings (that's the Intel Developer Forum, but I bet you all already knew that ;) recently, so there's probably tons of exciting stuff to read about there ;)

No, really, there is! :) ... If you like that sort of thing. ;)

On a different (key?)note, we have our first joint Relate session tonight following on from the solo ones that we had. It's been a busy few weeks. We have a lot to talk about.

PS. I mean when you hear about silicon photonic interconnects doesn't it just sound like something made up for Star Trek? :) I mean, what does it mean!? :) Lasers built into computer chips!? Crazy stuff. What's next? Communicating with people all around the world without even leaving my desk? Oh... :)