Tag Archives: crankypants

Being grown up is hard work

You’d think I would be completely and utterly used to being broke by this point in the month; seeing as how by this point in the month I am usually completely and utterly broke.

But this month has been different. Sure, sure… I spent some cash on some new clothes yesterday – it has been a long time since I’ve had anything new and I was looking pretty shabtastic at work. But I knew I had the funds for it before I spent it.

That’s the thing: I knew I had the funds. I was actually pretty chuffed, it was looking like I was going to make it to payday with at least a tenner left in my account.

And that’s why I was so absolutely devastated when my card was declined at M&S on the way home tonight.

Turns out all is well. I’ve checked my account and there *is* still money in there (not a lot, but at least I’m not at a negative number yet). I called the bank and there isn’t a block on my card – they think it was the store’s machine. I’ll try getting some cash out tomorrow to check that it isn’t the card. I hope it isn’t the card. I hate waiting for another card.

All the way home and until I got online and checked the situation out, I was nearly sick because I thought that I had overdrawn my account and was officially out of money until payday. Again. Here I was, feeling all harfy bunger about being broker than broke and hanging out in my overdraft… even though this has happened to me (running out of money, not breaking my card) nearly every single month of my life. Why was it so different this time?

I think it hit me hard because I have been better behaved (financially) recently. I was finally feeling like I had a wee handle on my finances. I’ve got my debt to a point where it will be paid off within the next three years and the monthly payment (note the singular “payment” instead of “numerous paymentS”) isn’t killing me. I’m being far, far more cautious about my purchases (as in: other than my clothes buying yesterday, I haven’t been buying anything but food). (And beer). It is only eight days to payday and I still have a bit of cash. This would have been unheard of even three months ago. Or last month.

So to go from feeling all like a GROWN UP to feeling like a penniless turd again tonight really threw me. GAH. I’m happy all is well, but I really could have done without feeling – even if just for a second – like my attempts to get my shit together lately were all for not.

click the picture for the funniest blog entry ever on why being an adult is hard

I’m feeling better about the situation. Now I just have to get over being angry because I had to deal with not one but two stupid people at the bank over the phone. I should have bought beer instead of groceries…

How’s my week been?

I’m going to tell a story to illustrate how my week has been going.

At work, the majority of us (read: everyone except the directors) have shit office chairs. You know the ones. Worth about £60 and the only thing you can adjust is the height (until the height adjuster thing breaks). But you can roll around. And you can swivel. Which are both good.

About a month ago someone stole my chair whilst I was off for the day. It even had my name on it. I haven’t bothered figuring out who the thieving bastard is. Hopefully they’ll get theirs one day. So I have been sitting on a shit meeting room chair (read: no adjustments, no swivelling, no rolling) for about a month.

Yesterday someone stole my even shitter chair after I left for the day. So when I came in, I had no shit chair, no shitter chair… no chair at all.

That’s a true story. And that’s how my week has been going. I hope your week (whoever you are) has been better.

Murf Mode

This was the first week of some pretty major changes as I try to improve on my quality of life. I’m not sure if it is going well or not.

I’m pretty sleepy bears.

Here are the biggest changes that I have made:

Food: No sugar, pasta, potatoes, bread. Much more water. No booze. Eating a good breakfast.

Exercise: I’m doing some. I’m trying for a quick Wiiworkout in the mornings and the gym at lunch. If I’m feeling extra good – I’ll do some sort of light activity in the evening (yoga, swim, walk).

Sleep: Going to bed before 11pm, taking melatonin, waking up at the same time each morning.

Other: Taking my vitamins, trying to just generally be more positive about things and stuffs.

How am I doing?

On the food front, I’m rocking it. And it hasn’t even been hard, although the amount of cooking that I’m doing is shocking. SHOCKING. And I’ve actually been seen eating beans this week. BEANS. (Fuller longer, eh?)

I’ve easily managed to steer clear of the booze (and so far, I don’t miss it) and avoiding the other bits hasn’t been too bad. I’m getting sick of breakfast. I’m not a breakfast eater. And although I am making yummy breakfasts, it is a huge change that I’m going to really have to work at sticking with.

I have managed two morning Wiiworkouts, but yesterday and today I crapped out (and slept in – part of my low energy issue). I have gone to the gym every day at lunch. I like going. I don’t like having to shower midday. I feel better after the activity. I hate carrying gym shit around. It’s another change I’m really going to have to work at sticking with.

I’ve done nothing active in the evenings. In the evenings, I have been a sloth. A slug. A lazy video-watching, drooling, half-awake pool of not-doing-anything. I hope that will change.

I am rocking going to bed before 11pm and taking the melatonin (I don’t know if it is really doing anything for me or not yet). I have been balls about getting up on time yesterday and today. TIRED.

This has been a helluva stressful week at work. But I think that I’m handling it better than I usually would have. This doesn’t change that I am suffering pretty bad headaches and that I was coughing up one of my lungs this morning. I think that with my old habits, this week would have hit me much harder. However, having a hard week is making it much harder to hit my new habits. If that makes sense.

And the sleepiness and headache have put me in murf mode. I was so slow moving this morning I was nearly going backwards and I actually yelled at the universe when I couldn’t find my umbrella. I’m feeling extremely overwhelmed by work. The weather is shit. I can’t even get started with what I need to do today.

On the plus side – it was (thank goodness!) a short week and tomorrow is the weekend. I just have to make it through to the other side of today in tact. Then, rest up  over the weekend and be ready to face another week Monday.

What are you trying to tell me, brain?

Did I get enough sleep last night?

Probably not.  But since when have I ever gotten enough sleep?

My moms says I’ve had insomnia since birth; I was an impossible baby to get to sleep right from birth. I liked to stay up. I wouldn’t nap.

I believe in the Arcade Fire lyric: “Sleeping is giving in… no matter what the time is.”

And there have been plenty of mornings where I’ve been in anguish because I haven’t slept the night before (whether thanks to my insomnia or thanks to my lifestyle).  But I think the pain this morning was something different. I am carrying a bit of a sleep debt right now, but not as badly as I have before.

This isn’t me not wanting to get up because I need more sleep: This is me not wanting to get up and go to work.

When my alarm went off I despairingly cried out, “No. Please no.”  And on the heels of that actually thought, “At least it’s Sunday, I can go back to sleep.”  Much as I wish that was true, my mind quickly realised that it wasn’t (my alarm doesn’t go off on Sundays) and then I thought, “At least it is nearly the end of the week.”

No. No it’s not. It is Wednesday.  Wednesday – smack dab in the middle of the week with the work-free weekend still three (counting today) painful days away.

And I have to wonder: Do I really want to wake up this way every weekday? And if it is only the weekdays that make me feel like this… is it time to change what I am doing during the week?

>Lament of the Loner (or Lonely)

>Alternative title:  One is the Loneliest (or most expensive) number

I need a break.  Not a holiday, per se, but a break. In other words: It doesn’t have to be additional time off work. It could be something I do in a weekend. And it definitely can’t be expensive… I’m watching every pence in anticipation of Moms and Harv coming over.  It doesn’t have to even be all that bloody interesting… just somewhere away for London for a day (or two) and then I can pretend that I “got away from it all” without breaking the bank, as they say.

So last night I went online and thought I would find myself a cheap weekend city break type deal. Of which there seem to be bajillions. Some of them looked awesome. Some of them I could afford. Some of the ones I could afford looked half-way interesting.  Some of them checked all the boxes on my must-have list of something to do this weekend (note: “all my boxes” = cheap, bug-free, out of London).

But alas, there was an issue with all the “deals” that I was most interested in (read: could afford). Sigh.

Don’t single people travel in this fucking country or what?

It really burns my potato that I had no issue at all getting transport and accommodation for one all throughout Asia but try to book one night for one person in fucking BRIGHTON and that shit won’t happen. What the eff, Britain?

The most infuriating were the “spa breaks” – almost all of them are for two people only. I mean, what’s the benefit to me? I get how you benefit, Mr. Hotel. But if I’m having a relaxing day of massages and shit I don’t want to hear anything but the sweet nothingness of solitude, you bastard.  I don’t want any gossip or other chitchat and I don’t want to spend the day in a bathrobe with a friend. And I don’t know how I would feel about dating a guy who was into going to spas. The jury is still out on that one.

The worst were the deals that were flexible enough to allow singles to partake in them… by tacking on a bloody £50 surcharge. WHAT. THE. EFF. It should be cheaper for one, a-holes. CHEAPER.

So, anyway. I ended up not booking anything. First, I don’t really know what part of England to go to. I thought it would be nice to go somewhere near the ocean (which I miss) even if it is raining. But I don’t which seaside towns are good and which ones are, in fact, abandoned movie sets for horror films that went straight to DVD.  Then, additionally, I depressed myself because apparently no one but me wants to (or has to) travel on their own.

Somehow I ended up needing a break from planning a break.  Maybe I’ll just get a bottle or two of wine and go get trashed in a park instead this weekend. I’d still get to indulge in some (semi) fresh air and forget all about the week. Right?


>I have the maternal instincts of… well… of a dude. Maybe worse. Maybe not as bad as Medea, but getting there. Somewhere between Medea and a crotchety* old male bachelor. The kind who yells at kids to stay off his lawn. Therein lies my level of maternal whatevers.

There is a parasite masquerading as a miniature human being in the office. As soon as it entered in the arms of its host (or parent, however you wish to look at it), people rushed over to it and started doing that… thing… people do with babies. Cooing and speaking in chopped up retarded sentences and waggling their fingers in its face and stuff.

What’s the attraction?

I really don’t understand it. All babies seem to do is eat, poop, cry and sleep. Granted, once in awhile one of the little buggers will charm you with a smile, but I’ve seen dirty drunken idiots with vomit down the front of their shirts in the street pull off a charming smile and I don’t see anyone going over and tickling them under the chin.

Babies. Sick.


Now it’s crying. Now it just needs to shit itself, eat something and sleep and it has finished everything on its to-do list.

*Heh heh. Crotch.

Thanks, Captain Tips

>Back home, I don’t even think about tipping. I seem to remember having to tip everyone who provided anything remotely resembling a service around 15%, regardless of how shitty the service was. This was a system I condoned but never supported. I understand that a lot of great folks in service industries aren’t paid all that well and they rely on tips to shore up their wages.  However, if you suck at your job, you should be fired… not rewarded an additional 15% on the bill for being a dick.

In Korea, you didn’t tip. Ever. On anything. Or at least, you weren’t expected to. Some places were “Westernising” and tipping was a bit more heard of. On the other hand, some Koreans seemed absolutely horrified that you were trying to leave them extra cash and would chase you down, tackle you and try to put the money back into your pocket.

That was a slight exaggeration. But only slight. I had a cabbie leave his car once and follow me down the street in Itaewon to give me my 500 won change. 500 won is about 50 cents. Or 30p. And he made sure I got it.

This is the part that kills me: so often the service in Korea was phenomenal. They deserved a tip. And, in my most humble opinion… they deserved it more precisely because tipping isn’t automatic there. They provided great service and you felt compelled, not obligated, to do something extra and nice for them because they had done a great job for you.

Now I live in London, where the service is similar to Canader in most cases. Tipping here is somewhere in between the two extremes – some places have the service charge added directly to the bill, other places it isn’t even thought about. However, I am sure that no person in London would chase you down and try to give you the cash you left on the table.

Because of this ambiguity, I’m not always sure when I should tip. So I’ve invented some rules in my head – if they have table service, I tip. If I have to go up to the bar and get a pint, I don’t. I tip the hairdresser and the lady who does my waxing (I have a vested interest in keeping that woman happy… she’s got power beyond all others to hurt me in my most sensitive areas if she ain’t happy).  I don’t really think about tipping cabbies because I don’t ever take them (I sure the hell can’t afford a cab in London).  Overall, my system works. Of course there are exceptions (read: hot bartenders) but for the most part, that’s the way I roll.

Today I went for lunch at Pizza Express. I’ve been craving the Express for sometime (yummy pizzas, my lovely North American friends not in the know) and I thought it would be groovy to actually take my allocated hour lunch (rarely does that happen).  The service was very good and the food was deeelish.

The bill came and I noticed that the service charge was not added. I put down a £20 note and waited for my change – I wasn’t leaving the full amount of the change but I was going to tip £2 (the service was good).  When she returned with my change and the bill…. I notice she had underlined where it said that the service charge was not added.  She also underlined thanks.  Didn’t write thanks. Found it on the bill and underlined it.

It really put me off, to be honest. I still tipped her… but I don’t feel good about it anymore. If she had left me a mint (I wanted a mint) and wrote “Thanks!” and her name on the bill… fine. It was the way that she had underlined “service not included”. She might as well have turned the damned thing over and wrote TIP ME.

Bah. I’m probably over-thinking the entire thing. I’m sure she makes nought an hour, poor thing, and the service was good. Still, there are more subtle ways of trying to squeeze a tip out of a cheap Canadian miser.

>Grinchy McScroogerson

>Oh good! A seasonal rant and it isn’t even bloody December yet. Awesome.

Secret Santa blows a bag of dicks at the bus stop. Fact.

Somehow I get roped into this crap every year and I don’t know how to abstain without looking like the total asshole I am.  I don’t even like having to buy presents for people I like, let alone some random wiener I’m forced to work with.


I didn’t say I don’t like buying presents for people I like. In fact, I lurve buying presents for people I like. I thoroughly enjoy it… but like so many things in life, I enjoy it on my own terms. Buying birthday/Christmas/Valentine’s/etc/etc gifts is NOT as much fun as just randomly buying and giving someone a gift simply because you came across something rad that you really, really wanted them to have. I just don’t think that Hallmark, Jesus or anyone else should tell me that I’m obligated to give someone a gift on a specific day. Eff that, man. Eff that.


I have enjoyed Secret Santa exactly once. ONCE.  It was in Korea and I gave Amelia a puffy toilet seat with a Christmas tree on it. It was filled with love. But I only enjoyed it because:  a. Amelia and I saw that toilet seat in the Lotte Mart in November and I hoped with my whole heart then that I would draw someone cool for Secret Santa that would understand why I bought them a toilet seat, b. I got to give Amelia a puffy toilet seat with a Christmas tree on it and c. Amelia is made of awesome and I like buying her presents.

Most years I end up drawing someone I don’t really know and am forced to buy the most generic £10 gift I can just to receive the most generic £10 gift someone else could find and give to me anonymously. I would have rather have just taken that £10 and gone for lunch. Seriously.

And don’t pretend like it’s fun. Because it isn’t. It isn’t fun to shop for someone you don’t know. It’s an obligation. And it isn’t fun to pretend to be excited about a gift you don’t want from someone who doesn’t understand that £10 would buy a lot of pirate ninja stickers.

Another December where I’m feeling all grumpy pants. I wish that someone could turn that £10 wienerlicious gift into a plane ticket to my moms house for Christmas. Now THAT would be awesome.

PS: If you have an idea for what to get a work mate for Christmas for £10 (it doesn’t matter that you don’t know them, I don’t really know them either) then leave it in the comments. Thanks.

PPS: My workmates aren’t actually wieners. I’m just full of anger.

Calling Dr. Freud

I rarely sleep well on Sunday nights.

I think it may be a throw-back to being a kid… you run around like an idiot all weekend and on Sunday night you didn’t want to go to sleep because you were staring down the long, dark tunnel of another school week. And I liked school.

I’ve always resisted going to bed. There’s a line in a song by Arcade Fire that sums it up for me: ‘Sleeping is giving in, no matter what the time is.’ It’s as though I’m worried I’ll miss something fun if I go to sleep. I felt that way when I was five, I feel that way now.

So I trick myself into go to bed. I know you are supposed to have a bedtime routine, but if I do that I end up throwing a tantrum and asking for glass after glass of water and yet another story so I don’t have to go to sleep (meaning that happens now, my moms wouldn’t let that happen when I was five). Instead, I very quickly turn off the lights, dump all my clothes on the floor and jump into bed before I even know what happened.

Yah, I fall for that. That I’m anywhere near intelligent is mostly a myth. I have to trick myself into going to bed by pretending I’m not going to bed until I’m in it. And it works most of the time. Freaking genius, I am.

So it was last night, but I at least had the good sense of doing my non-routine at about 10:00pm so I’d get a decent sleep. Or at least, that was the plan.

For some reason my sleep last night was plagued by horrible nightmares. And not just nightmares… it was like I was awake (I wasn’t, I was dreaming that I was awake) and thinking about these horrible things and getting progressively more upset with myself because I wasn’t sleeping. Even though I was.

But that’s not why the call for Dr. Freud to analyse my dreams last night. Most of them I don’t even remember this morning, despite being certain that I would last night. But there was one image that persisted – one that actually made me shudder this morning when I recalled it.

Not saying that dreams come true… but I do think what we dream about sometimes expose how we are feeling or what we can’t let go of subconsciously in a metaphorical or symbolic way. Like if you dream that you are being chased by Frankenstein but can’t move your legs, it may mean that you feel paralysed in your job and your boss communicates by grunting (or something like that).

So the most disturbing part of my dream last night? I had a lot (no, a LOT) of nails, needles, pins and other small, sharp things embedded in my skin all over my body. Or I assume they were all over – they were definitely in my arms, legs and face. I was pulling them out of my arms. And although it didn’t hurt to have them in there, it stung to pull them out. It was also kind of satisfying to pull them out (even though it was all stingy) – they came out easily but left small bumps where they had been.

So, that was my night. Dreams that I was awake and thinking about stuff like the above. Dreaming that I was awake and thinking these horrible thoughts and chiding myself for not being asleep. Asleep and dreaming that I was awake and reminding myself that I would be tired the next day because I wasn’t asleep.

Well, Freud? What the hell does that mean?

>And then breathe…

>Yesterday was not a good day.

It is sort of hard for me to put into words. I could rant and shout about a handful of things but at the end of the day I’m the one to blame for how I felt yesterday.

I don’t mean that in a touchy-feely, new-agey “I am in control of my own feelings” bullshit kind of way. I mean that in a “I have every right to be stressed and angry but I’m at fault for this situation” kind of way. That I have no one to blame except myself (mostly) doesn’t make me feel any better. In fact, I’d be willing to say that it makes me feel worse.

I wasn’t the only one having a stressful day yesterday. It was interesting to read a friend’s blog and realise I wasn’t the only one not enjoying their hump day. I’ve been thinking about the question he raised: How do you deal with (work) stress?

I assume we are talking about bad stress. There is a certain kind of stress that I actually find beneficial. It is the stress of being challenged. Stress caused by nerves because you have to do something new. Stress caused by excitement. Even certain anger or frustration is mostly beneficial – it can spur you to make improvements.

But bad stress… bad stress is bad. Bad stress eats at you and there isn’t much you can really do about it. The beyond-your-control stress. The no-way-out stress. The things-don’t-look-like-they’ll-ever-get-better stress.

I think I “deal” (I’m gonna use the term loosely here) with bad stress in the same way whether work causes it or I cause it or the dillhole at the front of the ticket line in the Southfields tube station causes it. Now, little stress (even little bad stress) can usually be dealt with by drinking a beer with a friend and having some laughs. But big bad stress takes a bit more to tame.

My first step is to isolate it. As the only stress I consider bad is usually caused by something beyond my control, I isolate it because I probably (especially at work) don’t have time to deal with it or to even react to it. So I put a fence around it and hope that it won’t escape.

The only problem I have with this first step is directly related to the size of my stress ball. If it is a big issue, it takes up more of my energy to contain it. Which doesn’t leave me much in the reserves to do what I need to do. So if I’m super-stressed, it puts a strain on the other things I need to get done.

The second step is to isolate me. I don’t work through things with other people; I resolve them within myself first. This usually involves going home, putting on jammy pants and curling up in front of a movie that I don’t really have to watch. Which leads to step three: not thinking about it.

Or at least, not directly. While I’m watching a movie that is the intellectual equivalent of eating white bread I don’t consciously think about what is actually bothering me. But it doesn’t mean that I’m not working through it somewhere in the bowels of my mind. Deep in the basement, the furniture is being moved around and some part of me is examining what has happened. A lot of the time during step three I end up dozing; neither watching the movie or really thinking about what happened that day.

Step four is to finally just give in and go to bed. Hopefully by that time I’ve been not thinking about… whatever… for long enough that it doesn’t keep me awake all night. If it does, I put the movie back on.

When I wake up, I usually feel better. I have a better focus on what has happened and a richer understanding of what the underlying issues really are. I often find that whatever has caused the stress (or anger, or frustration) is not really what the problem is. And it is during the not-thinking process and sleeping that I find what that underlying problem truly is.

This system works for me because I am, by nature, a “let fly without thinking” kind of person. By fencing off my stress and working it through, I’m less likely to say something stupid (or hurtful). It helps me focus who I should speak to and about what (assuming the problem isn’t actually me). If it was me that caused my current “beyond my control” situation (oh yah, I do that) then I have to start thinking of a plan that will help me out of that situation.

That’s what I did yesterday. And I realise today that the problem is really me and something I really ought to work on. Which isn’t really fun and I can’t claim to have the answer at my fingertips. It may require another jammy pants and cheesy movie night.

But the good thing is that by using this method I didn’t explode like I may have done in the past. I didn’t rant and scream and get my stress all over anyone else. Which is for the best… the kind of stress storm I would have unleashed yesterday would not have been pretty. At the very least, at least there weren’t any witnesses.