baratron: (angry)
Our plumbing is being evil, for the fifth or sixth time since we moved into this house in 2004. When our house was built, it didn't have an internal bathroom. There are remains of an outhouse in our back garden. So the bathroom was, at some point, retrofitted and its plumbing has never worked quite right.

It's been showing signs of distress for a few days now, doing that thing it does of not draining properly. We flush the toilet or run water in the sink, and the bath goes GLUG GLUG GLUG. Not good. However, yesterday when I flushed the toilet, some of the er, effluent ended up in the bath. Which is about as delightful as it sounds.

Richard did a full day at work then stayed up quite literally all night clearing the downpipe with a high pressure hose, and only went to bed at 7.30 am. He is my hero! The poor bugger couldn't eat anything until 6.30 am because he was too nauseated, and I have left Emergency Laundry running overnight else he wouldn't have any trousers to wear to work (and it's too cold to go in shorts).

The problem is not completely fixed since although the downpipe is now cleared, water running through it is not reaching the sewer. As the problem occurs on our property, Thames Water won't help, so we will have to find a professional and (probably) claim on our insurance. Does anyone have the faintest idea how to do this? I mean, regarding claiming on the insurance, we probably just have to find the policy document and ring the insurers with the policy number and details of the work which needs to be done. But where on earth do we find a good professional plumber who handles drains and sewers? Do we ask the insurance company to recommend someone?

To add further complication, our back garden will probably have to be dug up, and it is currently a jungle. I'm hoping my parents might be available in the next few days to get it cleared, although that involves Dealing With My Parents.
baratron: (poly)
I haven't been posting more than comments because it's been too hot to switch my computer on. My laptop is "built for extreme gaming" and therefore has two heavy-duty fans, one for the CPU and the other for the GPU. Unsurprisingly, it belches out A LOT of heat. Given that it's been over 30 degrees C during the day and even over 25 at night, I haven't had much desire to add to the house temperature. I've been playing Dragon Quest VII on my 3DS instead of Elder Scrolls Online on my computer, and just checking in with my Guild for 30-60 minutes at 3 am when it's as cool as it's going to get.

Tomorrow is my birthday. I shall be 41, which is quite shocking. I don't FEEL like I should be middle-aged yet - even if extended life expectancy means we now have "early" middle-age from 40 to 55 and "late" middle-age from 56 to 70 or 75, and you don't become "elderly" until you're properly decrepit. One of my birthday presents will be a visiting Grant, which means I am now attempting to do battle with entropy such that there will be enough space in the house for him to stay.

To do... )
baratron: (sleepy)
So tired. It's been a long week.
  • Wednesday - Stayed up way too late to run a new dungeon on the public test server of Elder Scrolls Online on Wednesday.

  • Thursday - Meeting with ZOS devs to talk about the new dungeons. So much talking. I still haven't written up my notes from the meeting for my Guild, and I hope I can mostly remember what was said.

  • Friday - Went to see Ginger Wildheart and Hey! Hello at a funny little venue called the Brooklyn Bowl. It's a bowling alley (?) inside the big o2 tent (formerly the Millennium Dome) which also has bands. Kinda weird but it was very accessible, since the entire o2 was built post-Disability Discrimination Act. They were playing along with another band called Ryan Hamilton & The Traitors who were so good we wanted to get their CD, but it was sold-out!

  • Saturday - Work for my mother, and a huge row because she was being unreasonable (at least in part due to a headache).

  • Sunday - The joys of a new washing machine! We bought our washer-dryer, fridge-freezer and dishwasher when we moved into this house in June 2004, and they've lasted well. The fridge and dishwasher have never needed any work, but the washing machine needed to be repaired five times, with issues ranging from worn motor brushes to a broken wire in the motor controller to a sheared bolt holding the drum in place. A couple of months ago, it stopped drying clothes, and Richard determined it needed a new condensing unit. This wasn't a huge problem considering it's summer and we can dry clothes overnight on the rack. However, then the drum stopped spinning altogether. Richard checked the brushes and the motor controller, and determined it would need a whole new motor.

    Thing is, although he could fix it, there reaches a point in an appliance's lifetime where it seems like throwing good money after bad. Putting a new condenser and a new motor into a 12 year old washer-dryer that seems to be gaining a new issue every couple of weeks? Yeeaah. Also, the sheets for our new bed are enormous, and heavier than our machine was supposed to be capable of taking.

    We've been very happy with Bosch, most of all the fact that you can order parts to work on the appliances yourself without needing to be a registered dealer (very useful when you have your own in-house engineer), so we just went out and bought another of the same without any shopping around.

    However, I am currently struggling with the fact that this new washer-dryer is trying to be more intelligent than I am. The old one had three knobs on the front: water temperature, drying time, and programme. This new one has one big knob and a load of buttons. It has fewer temperatures available for washing, and far less control over drying time (with the options being 15 minutes blow around, 60 minutes with heat, 120 minutes with heat, or "auto"). I'm kinda annoyed that we won't be able to wash our socks on 50 degrees C any more, and that we won't be able to dry the clothes for 25 minutes before putting them on the rack. At least, not without some effort.

    Then on Sunday night, I had a huge argument with Shifty, which continued into Monday and only got sorted out on Monday night. We're okay now, but it was really difficult - there was a lot of him not understanding nuances of emotional stuff because of his autism, and me not being able to find a way to explain it better because it's "just obvious" to a neurotypical person. (Maybe even to autistic people with a bit more experience in relationships.)

  • Tuesday - Woke up too early with a sore throat. Hoping it's just from crying too much. More work for my mother. Photoshop. Argh.

  • Today - woke up too early again, still have a sore throat, sincerely hoping it is allergies and not an infection. Wrote a rant about Funding for special education. Now have to email Shifty's crush to tell her some things which he doesn't seem capable of conveying, as well as confirming that yes, we really are poly. Argh.

So yeah, it's just been exhausting all round and I am ready for a break. Which I don't think I'm going to get anytime soon.
baratron: (aibo)
Last night I dreamt that I was a werewolf and that my father was the Alpha of our pack, that he got kidnapped and I had to invoke the magic of the pack to rescue him. So far, not very surprising - I've been reading my way through Patricia Briggs' modern urban fantasy series again. But why was my father Nick Clegg?

I did not win NaNoWriMo. Actually, I barely wrote anything. Actually, I've barely been writing anything, anywhere. My new friend from Elder Scrolls Online was sad that I hadn't added her to my livejournal friends list yet and I said "I haven't written anything friends-only recently!". Not enough coherent brain to finish all the half-written stuff flapping around the place. Literally all I've written recently is a description of all my ESO characters and a writeup of an ESO Guild event.

I am sad about Lemmy and David Bowie's deaths, and very sad about Alan Rickman. With Lemmy and Bowie, I'm sad for my friends who were fans of them and for all the musicians I know who were influenced by them. Whereas I was actually a big fan of Alan Rickman myself. We watched Galaxy Quest at the weekend, mostly because we couldn't find the Dogma DVD in the mess that is our house. Fuck cancer all round, anyway.

My mattress is completely knackered, so I am waking up most days with extreme back pain and sometimes back and hip pain together. Woo. We have ordered a new one but it's going to take 8-10 weeks to arrive, since apparently companies don't keep "super kingsize" (6 foot/180 cm) mattresses in stock. Don't even ask how much it's costing. Dunlopillo latex beds for people who are allergic to dust mites are Not Cheap. We tried lying on Tempur mattresses (which are even more expensive) but found them very weird and far too soft. I thought I might like them if I had a pain issue where it hurt for me to be in contact with the mattress, but as it is I roll over far too many times to be on a mattress which completely contours to me, and fighting the mattress would simply make my back hurt more.

In related news, I have been back to the Pain Management Clinic. There is nothing wrong with my hip (which I suspected anyway) and they are going to do some more facet joint injections into my evil sacro-illiac joint. I look forward to being in less pain soon.

Shifty is coming to visit me on 8th February for two weeks! Yay!
baratron: (endurance)
I just did something I promised to do last week… tidy up the massive pile of mail in the hall. Half an hour of non-stop sorting and I’ve done about a third of it.

You know your house is a mess when the junk mail piled up in the hallway contains a “Win a Trip to the London 2012 Olympic Games” flyer, and it's August 2015. I am not even joking.
baratron: (perky)
Presented without comment:

Oh yes. Although it's a metal song, it should be accessible to the hearing impaired because the lyrics are on the screen.

In other news, I have three workmen in my house right now restoring our gas supply via a number of ugly external pipes. The people who restored this house two owners ago did a horrible botch job involving "repairing" the downstairs wooden floor with poured concrete, and digging it up will require a pneumatic drill and all sorts of additional risk assessments. So they're piping the gas in along the wall. They arrived just after 9 am and will apparently be here "all day".

I am still sick and would really require more sleep, except that Richard has had to go into work because his colleagues are busy breaking everything. Wasn't he too stressed out by overwork only last week? Hmm.


Jul. 16th, 2015 12:12 pm
baratron: (Warning: Sick!)
Today I am not at my best. Been fighting off bad asthma for a couple of days, along with a raging sore throat, and a few hours ago developed a pretty bad fever. I haven't been to sleep yet. (Mostly because I was too hot to sleep).

And then just as I was trying to get to bed, I had a loud man knock on my door and declare himself to be an Emergency Gas Engineer visiting the house because the postman and a passerby had called to report a gas leak.

It transpires that the most likely source of this leak is the pipe which brings gas into our house. That explains why people randomly think they can smell gas when they visit us, but why we've never been able to smell it inside the house. However, accessing said pipe may be problematic due to the fact that when renovating some 30 years ago, the previous owner replaced the rotten downstairs wooden floor with poured concrete. Which isn't even properly flat.

I am drenched in sweat because of being ill and I don't believe that I am likely to get any sleep anytime soon, but nor is my house likely to be exploding anytime soon since appropriate professionals are working on it. So I suppose I should count that as a plus. It's just that if I have to deal with emergencies, I'd much rather do so on days when I have ability to cope - rather than on a day when I've started with negative spoons :/
baratron: (corrosive)
Joy! Our kitchen ring main has died. I was heating up hot chocolate and heard a fizzling sound, and the microwave stopped working. So did everything else that runs off that ring main.

Like a Sensible Person Who Understands Electricity, I went to the fuse box. Where I found that the kitchen ring main fuse had not tripped. I flicked it to off anyway, waited a few seconds and back to on, but there is still no electricity to the kitchen. Richard reckons it might need a new circuit breaker.

Even better: the fridge/freezer is plugged in somewhere behind itself, and it's too damned heavy for me to move. So I can't actually unplug it and move it onto the downstairs ring main until Richard gets home from work.

Also, I am having TMI )
baratron: (boots)
Oh, bloody hell. Apparently our toilet has been leaking (clean!) water for long enough that our kitchen ceiling is now damp. Those of you who have visited recently will be aware of the "hippo" in our plumbing that "sings" every time you flush the toilet. Yes. Well, it turns out that the tap that refills the toilet has been leaking, and that's been the source of the hippo noise. OH JOY. Thank deities it is the clean water filling it that's been leaking rather than the waste leaving! :O

Also the kitchen ceiling is leaking. We're going to need a new bathroom carpet (no loss, the existing one has needed replacing for as long as we've lived here), and floor (bah), and kitchen ceiling (quadruple bah). Richard just ran off to make a hole in our ceiling in an attempt to drain the pooled water quickly.

We Do Not Need Extra Work.

Edit: Richard has just drained 2 litres of water out of the ceiling! :O
baratron: (blue)
I am still very tired. I'm trying to pull my sleep patterns back to normal the way that "never works", i.e. by getting up earlier and going to bed earlier. On Tuesday I woke up at 11.30pm, yesterday I woke up at 9pm, and today I woke up at 4 and got up about 5.30pm. So it's an improvement.

Today I have:
* brushed the carpet in three rooms to remove the hair
* vacuumed the three rooms
* semi-vacuumed the stairs (I'm not very good at it due to gravity - it's technically Richard's job)
* emptied the vacuum cleaner
* cleaned the bathroom sink
* had a shower and washed my hair
* made myself something "proper" for breakfast
* taught a student
* phoned the mother of a prospective student to arrange lessons
* put away clean laundry
* and put the washing machine on.

And now I want to fall over and die with tiredness! I think that's a pretty good couple of hours for a person in a chronic fatigue flare, though. I need to start getting academic work done again, but it's hard to do that when you're not even "up" to managing normal life activities.

Also I broke the vacuum cleaner in the process of using it. I think I force it along the floor too hard. It's usually the brushbar that breaks, and we have spares, but today I broke the small wheels underneath the main part of it (it's an upright cleaner). The plastic has sheared right off, so we'll have to buy a new whatever that bit's called.
baratron: (boooooks)
Also, every time I get a book off my new bookshelf, all the other books on the shelf fall over. And it's GETTING ON MY NERVES! It's happening despite the presence of a heavy object which should stop the books being able to move. Obviously someone has turned off friction or inertia in this house, that's the only conclusion I can come to.

I know my entries lately have been scattered as hell. I'm sure people not on my trusted people list must be thinking there are tons of locked entries they can't see which would make the public ones make sense, but there really aren't. It's simply that I haven't had time to write all the inbetween posts that would fill in the gaps.

The short story is that I have a new study, in the back room which was previously our spare & junk room. Some of you have stayed there, sleeping in a loft bed. We don't have it any more. When things are more settled, I'll get a futon chair bed, but that won't be until all the other work in this room has been done - plaster and paint and floor (and getting the rest of Richard's junk out of here and into his workshop). And that won't be until I'm at least past this crisis.

The old study downstairs is going to be the new junk room, for now. Though we are actively working to reduce the amount of junk in this house (you would not believe how much has gone out, if you came here and saw how much still exists). And later my Mum will use it to sort out all her junk. She's flapping about the loss of a dining room, though I pointed out that we've only ever used the old downstairs study as a dining room at Christmas (one day a year), and I think we can cope with eating in the kitchen or going out for Christmas dinner.

Right. Really going to do some work now. Hello, Textbook of Structural Biology!
baratron: (black)
Black jeans & black t-shirt = Non-ideal clothing for crawling around a dusty floor.
baratron: (goggles)
I have five or six livejournal entries in my mental queue to post here at some point. This is not one of them. As often happens, I'm buried in mostly-offline life, and A Thing has happened that's stressed me enough to need to post about it NOW.

Has anyone ever tried the concept of a safeword with their mother?

I'm asking this because I've spent the past 3 days in very close proximity with mine, working incredibly hard to clear out the back room in my house so I can use it as a study. This has been going really well (thanks also to [ profile] hatter & [ profile] bfo) and it is now usable and quite comfortable.

But about midnight tonight my mother got to the state of tiredness/stress where she started misinterpreting everything I said, and I kept telling her that she wasn't listening properly and it was too late at night and she should go home, and she kept on trying to argue with me despite acknowledging tiredness, and we ended up having an absolutely blazing row which wouldn't have happened if she'd have just gone home an hour and a half earlier like I'd suggested. So now I feel guilty and sad because it seems very, um, ungrateful to have a massive row with someone after they've been helping you sort out junk for three days, but still frustrated because I'd said I needed to be left alone.

So I'm wondering about the concept of a safeword to use with one's mother, with the implication of "No, I really mean no, you are pushing my buttons and we need to end this conversation now!". Of course, it would only work if your mother is reasonably sane, or else her response to the safeword would simply be to ratchet up the levels of emotional blackmail.

In other news (actually, completely related to the above, this being most of the source of the stress), IKEA don't make the sort of units I want, and I don't know who does. They did 21 years ago (when I was 13), but don't any more. This is highly annoying. I have a picture in my head of what I want this room to look like (basically my teenage bedroom, only without the bed), and I don't know how to go about getting it to happen.

It's probably mostly-pointless trying to buy more furniture for this room in any case, because it needs to be completely redone properly - at least one wall has such bad damp in it that paint is actively peeling off, and the floor has a crappy carpet and fails to be flat to such an extent that furniture leans in a multitude of directions. I think we're back to Richard and his legendary Gantt chart of house renovational d00m actually coming into existence before I can get any further. (I'm thinking it'll look something like this, only with far more dependencies. Have to clear the furniture out of the room before we can get the walls replastered, and have to do that before we can think about fixing the floor. But probably have to get the kitchen sorted out first because it's all the same wall - argh!).
baratron: (Default)
Something cool I discovered today: Waitrose have walking stick holders on their shopping trolleys! How awesome is that? I'm used to having to balance my stick over the handle and hoping it doesn't fall off as I go round the shop (because I really don't want the end that touches the ground lying in the trolley alongside my food). I expect they also work for umbrellas - some shapes of umbrella, anyway.

Richard and I had an "argument" last night about the number of Brussels sprouts that a person would consume at Christmas, given all the other vegetables we are preparing. I thought that 4-6 would be the right sort of number, my mum thought it would be more like 6-8. Richard won by pointing out that the number that a "normal" person would consume is zero.

[Poll #1503127]

If I was feeling more brain-full I could extend the questions to ask about other cabbagey things (I personally love white cabbage in raw or cooked form, and red cabbage raw, but don't care for cooked red cabbage or any kind of green cabbage), but that would take Effort which I should probably be spending on tidying up the house before our visitors tomorrow. We have decided not to make it TIDY (because that is impossible with the time available), but there needs to be enough chair and table space for everyone, and currently all conceivable surfaces are covered with books, tv and video game controllers, plushie toys, cameras, bits of circuit board, screwdrivers...
baratron: (gaming)
Wondering why I said to Richard, with all wild optimism, "If I'm better this weekend we should tidy the house" when LEGO Rock Band is out tomorrow. We'll be wanting to spend the whole weekend in front of the Xbox. Hmm.
baratron: (me & alexa)
We have hot water! Yay!!

Apparently what was wrong with the boiler was exactly what we'd thought - the device that determines that both gas and water are present was all blocked up with dirt, so it kept on thinking that one or both of those were missing, and activating the safety cutout. It was quick and easy to get fixed. However, our boiler is still 12 years old, and a cheap, nasty model from a cheap, nasty brand. So we still need to get it changed as soon as possible, because it's going to die completely, soon. Been given a quote for replacing it with a lovely, shiny, good-quality energy efficient new boiler, which seems reasonable - except they'll need physical access to all of our radiators. The house is a fecking tip right now, so this is going to require that spoons are spent in tidying up. Eurgh.

One of the things I didn't mention in my last post was that not only was it taking me 40 minutes to get enough hot water for a bath, but I was having to carry the water upstairs in buckets. Couldn't get hot water out of the upstairs taps at all, and I had to be downstairs so that I could keep hitting & resetting the boiler. Ewww. Now [ profile] otterylexa & I have both had showers and feel a lot happier about the situation.

I am very grateful to Alexa for having been here helping to keep me sane, because I don't think I'd have managed to get things sorted without the support.
baratron: (goggles)
Not having much fun right now. Seasonal affective disorder is kicking my butt and I have about as much energy as an insomniac sloth. I need to get a lightbox to help, but there are too many different types for me to be happy just ordering one from the net. And I'm TOO TIRED to do research to find out which one would be best for me :/

I also need to get our boiler fixed because it doesn't work. Took me 40 minutes today and a lot of swearing and hitting the thing to get enough hot water for a bath. Richard was supposed to have sorted it out while I was away a month or so ago, but when I got back he insisted it was better. Now he's away in Florida and it's almost completely dead. Getting boilers fixed requires a) finding someone who's heard of our apparently strange and esoteric boiler and b) getting up early enough in the day to phone them. This isn't happening because I need to sleep for 12 hours a day or more.

Some interesting and fun stuff has been happening but I haven't had enough energy to enjoy it properly, let alone write about it.

Please send spoons.
baratron: (Buttercup)
My neighbour, at business address 242A, is trying to change energy supplier from EDF to Scottish Power.
I, at residential address 242, am not trying to change energy supplier.
EDF think that I am and that they're not. And I have to get this sorted out a.s.a.p. before we get cut off (and they get billed twice).

How difficult is it to understand the difference between 242 and 242A?
baratron: (richard again)
Richard tidied his workshop today, and it now has visible floor!

If only the rest of the house could get to this stage, I'd be delighted. Unfortunately, that would require us having spare time and energy, neither of which are in abundance. Richard is bogged down with his other job, and I'm bogged down with coursework and paperwork, as well as being fatigued to the point of needing 12-14 hours in bed and 10-12 hours sleep per night. Haven't been terribly communicative with several people who are important to me lately. It's nothing personal so much as sheer exhaustion.

How much more winter do we have? I want my daylight back!


Jul. 4th, 2008 01:34 am
baratron: (what's this?)
The garden is progressing. The skip reappeared on Saturday morning, not quite so hideously early (9.30 am). We had already assured a parking space for it via the car of a random friend of one of the next-door neighbours (!). [ profile] otterylexa came round with big shears and spent a couple of hours attacking the monstrous triffid (which is possibly a buddleia davidii, according to the pictures on Wikipedia). My mum & I chopped the chopped-off triffid into smaller pieces to put in the skip while Richard and Lexa went to obtain a wheelbarrow and skip ramp from HSS, but the skip ramp turned out to be far too large to fit into a normal car.

On Sunday, the skip ramp arrived but the wheelbarrow didn't. Much growling ensued, followed by more chopping up of triffid. Eventually the wheelbarrow turned up at 5 pm. Stupid HSS. I've left a small piece of triffid for the snails to live on, because I didn't want to completely destroy their habitat, but it no longer fills the garden. This means that we have been able to see the vast quantity of rubble all over the ground. My mum & I have been loading this into the wheelbarrow and taking it to the skip. I spent a fun hour yesterday inside the skip, rearranging stuff so the small bits of rubble dropped down into the holes between larger bits rather than taking up more room on top. I think my dad thought I was nuts. Mind you, he also thought I was nuts for carefully removing all living invertebrates from every piece of debris before putting it in the skip, so nothing new.

As of tonight all of the loose rubble has gone and the wuzzie & I have a relatively flat garden that consists of approximately-level concrete. But what is the concrete poured onto? You guessed it. Yet more rubble. Our garden seems to be like Ankh-Morpork, and has been built mostly on our garden. When we first bought the house, we had decking on top of rubble on top of a modern patio on top of an older patio on top of concrete on top of rubble. Now it's just the concrete and lower layers left. Hooray. Breaking that up will require a pneumatic drill and/or pickaxe, and is for The Professionals. The main thing is there's enough space and safe flat ground for workmen to bring in scaffolding to do the building work that needs doing.

I am somewhat alarmed to discover just how much work needs doing, though. We've known for four years that the entire back wall needs to be replastered and have a damp-proof course put in. (The idiots who "did up" this house on the cheap some years ago managed to use hygroscopic plaster, so it's absorbed water from the air and the wall is saturated to the point where it's covered in snails.) If we have any common sense, this has to be done before we get a new kitchen put in, and I'm at the point where I can't stand our (£100 bodged together from Wickes and repainted several times) kitchen any longer. However, I discovered on Monday that the opposite wall is also damp to the point where paint is coming off in flakes, and there's no reason for it to be. I'm thinking we may need to get every wall in the house tested again, which may mean me having to live somewhere else for a while because plaster dust makes me hideously ill. Argh.


baratron: (Default)

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