Buyer’s remorse.

August 30, 2007

Buying the laptop the other day got me thinking about something that happened years ago and which I hadn’t thought about for years.

These days I guess I take it for granted that I can pretty much have anything (within reason of course) I want. When I was younger things weren’t so easy, I mean to say that we weren’t totally poor but neither were we affluent.

I’d been given a Commodore VIC-20 for Christmas of 1982 by my Mum and step-Dad and I loved it. You could “make” your own games by typing in code published in magazines. You could borrow games from friends and even Video Libraries and copy them using 2 cassette recorders connected together. The possibilities seemed endless and from then until now, I’ve been hooked on computers.

A year or 2 later I was hoping for something new and had decided I wanted a Spectrum Plus, this was basically just a Spectrum with a new case including a “proper” keyboard.

My Dad took me to the Woolworths store in Rotherham, where they had some good deals on offer, to get my Christmas Gift.

So far so good, I’m a very happy boy and in great spirits, looking forward to having my new computer for Christmas. However, it wasn’t to stay that way, in fact this day was to change me forever ( please excuse the drama.)

We spent some time in the store looking at the deals and I chose the one I wanted, then had a couple of rounds of Dad confirming if I was sure, it would have to last me, I wouldn’t get any other gifts etc etc.

So Dad found an available salesman and to my surprise we were led to an office at the back of the store. this felt a bit odd, a bit like something I’d seen on TV about a shoplifter taken to the Managers office! Of course it wasn’t that at all, it was because there was paperwork to be done. The paperwork
was for a credit agreement or maybe it was called a hire purchase agreement back then.

Whatever you want to call it, I didn’t like it. Back then, credit wasn’t as free and easily available as it is now, only the rich had credit cards and most ordinary people could only access credit at expensive rates or even worse through some other dodgy means. At my Mums house I was trained in the
“save up for it, if you want it” school of thought. At Dads house it was more common to order things from the catalogue and pay it off at 32p a week for 48 weeks. I think that because I spent most time living with Mum, that’s the side that had most dominance for me.

So back to the store. The man is going through the paperwork, speaking to Dad about Interest rates and repayments and I realised that this was not a good thing. This was the time of the Miners strike (Dad was a coal miner) and things were hard money-wise.

The thing that changed in me was that I realised two things, on a concious level, for the first time.

Sometimes the things we are given come at an unseen price.

People will make sacrifices for those they love.

The trouble was that as soon as I realised this, I also realised that I didn’t want him to make this sacrifice. The hard part is how does a 14 year old boy tell his proud working-class Dad that he doesn’t want him to get in debt for the sake of a Christmas present that he cant afford.

I couldn’t think of a way to do it like that without wounding Dads pride. The only thing I could come up with was, to say that I wasn’t sure it was what I really wanted after all, maybe there was something better. It came across as petulant and spoiled, in short I was an ungrateful boy.

It is only now, looking back, that I realise that I made a sacrifice of my own on that day, I remained an ungrateful boy because I never told my Dad why I’d rejected the gift. I thought I’d tell him later but it never came up again. Its too late now of course.

I still think I did the right thing.


Everybody cut loose

August 30, 2007

Click on this picture, figure out whats wrong, then come back.

loose.jpg

Did you see it?

I’m totally not qualified to be in the spelling Police but come on! I’m pretty sure Microsoft can employ at least one member of the Grammar Gestapo.

Now, for all I know it is ok in the USA to use “Loose” as an alternative spelling of “Lose” but here in AndyLand its not allowed!


Staring at the blank page before me

August 28, 2007

I’m feeling a bit blocked as far as blogging is concerned, lots has been happening but I havent felt inclined to sit and type about any of it.

I’m hoping that this little non-post will kick-start me, if only due to the novelty of where I’m posting from. On Friday I treated us to a laptop, a great deal came up and since we’ve been thinking about one for a while we decided to take the plunge and buy it. So, I’m currently laid on the bed, tapping out this entry by the magic of wireless networking πŸ™‚

BTW, setting up a wireless modem router was not the breeze it promised on the box!

The main idea is that we can take it away on holiday with us, loaded with music and movies, thus saving us from local TV if we want to stay in of an evening. On our last trip we had a choice of Sky news or FX. The news consisted of hourly updates on the Iran boat crew crisis and FX gave us its daily Nash Bridges & NCIS marathon!

Thats the plan anyway, I’ll let you know how it works out


Partition

August 22, 2007

No, not that one!
Though, I have been following the celebrations and have enjoyed learing more of the history behind Partition and the mess that Britain made of it. If you get a chance to catch “The Last Raj” that was shown on Channel 4 recently, I’d recommend it.

Anyway, I’m about to delete and resize some hard drive partitions on the computer.

I could be some time. Fingers crossed!


CSI Sheffield

August 19, 2007

Visiting the Allotment today, I came across* this disturbing scene.

Something has torn the fingers off my gloves. Its all the more disturbing because these are pretty heavy-duty-rubber-over-cloth jobbies. I tried to rip them myself to see if its easy, and it isnt!

I cant imagine what could have done this, though I’ve seen foxes up there before so thats a possiblility.

Perhaps the biggest question is “why”

Allotment 120

*Ok, I admit I rearranged the scene slightly for the photo, I mean come on, its not really CSI!


Fave Foto Friday # 13

August 17, 2007

Here is a little something for those of you addicted to the 24 hour Big Brother feeds.

Though I must warn you that it does promise to be only “virtually” undetectable under clothing.

Enjoy πŸ™‚

Invisible Sheath Urinal


Word association

August 16, 2007

Studio 60 is on the TV.

A song is playing, like this “Hey, I put my new shoes on and…”

I say to Paul “oooh its….”

Paul looks at me.

I try again “You know, the…”

My mind has gone blank and so has Paul’s face.

“You know, the gravy boy, eerrm…….” I trail off.

Paul loses interest and goes back to the show.

I worry at my brain, just like I worry a piece of Lamb caught in a molar, until the connection happens.

Gravy. Bovril. Comes in a jar. Brown stuff in a jar, Nuttella!

Paolo Nutini πŸ™‚

The thanks for this odd word association being in my brain must surely go to Ms.Mac & Antipo

Damn you!


Another fear conquered***

August 15, 2007

I went to the Dentist today for a check up.

I needed a small filling.

I was very brave!

No, its not an excerpt from my diary when aged 9 & 3/4’s, this was me yesterday πŸ™‚

You see, I’m not very good with the whole Dentist putting things in my mouth thing. I had a few bad experiences as a youngster and it put me right off. I’d go as far as to say I was dentist-a-phobic.

In my life BP (Before Paul) I avoided going to the Dentist as much as possible. Now, dont get me wrong, I look after my teeth, being scared of going to the Dentist means that I do all I can to look after myself, just so I didnt have to visit my mentalist dentist. I brush twice a day religiously, even remembering before going to bed when I’m drunk πŸ™‚ So its not like I’ve got a mouth full of black stumps or anything. In fact, with the exception of my “dark” front tooth* they are pretty normal teeth, for British teeth** anyway.

I’ve only got 3 adult teeth missing so I dont think I’ve done too badly. The last extraction being sometime around 1997 and then I didnt go to the evil teeth doctor again for years! In the mean time, I grew up, met Paul and lived happily ever after.

Each year since we’ve been together, when making his own appointments, Paul has said “We’ll have to get you to the dentist.” I would nod or grunt or something and then, bless him, he’d leave me alone and not nag about it. That’s usually the best way to handle me and do you know? It worked, so after only 4 years of that, I finally said “OK, make me an appointment too.”

I agreed to go on condition that it was to the same Dentist as Paul, on account of how gentle he was. The National Health Service is currently very short of Dentists, some people having to travel 100’s of miles to visit theirs, so I earned a couple of more years reprieve by this gambit.

Eventually, our Dentist took on some new patients and that was that, no more excuses. So about this time last year I went to see my new Dentist. I dont think he had to look too hard to see the terror in my eyes as I sat in his chair πŸ™‚ We had a little chat and he did his best to put me at ease. He asked if there was anything he should look out for, I thought I might have a crack in the top of a molar, it turned out that was ok but I needed a filling in the tooth in front of it.

So he says to me, “I’ll just clean up the cavity and smooth it out, just to get a better look at it.” That sounded ok to me, not too much trauma there. Except, half way through this “clean up” I started thinking that it felt a bit like a drill. Mr Dentist told me the tool was a “burr” and nothing to worry about. Next thing I knew he had packed some filling in the tooth and I was spitting bits of metal into a cup.

He tricked me!

“It’s usually better that way” says he. “You’re probably right” says I.

Now this year, I felt a little less apprehensive about going for my check up. On a scale of 1 to 10, somewhere around a 6. I mentioned that the tooth he filled last year was still a bit sharp and he smoothed it off for me so thats all good. Then he did that thing they do, you know the Dentist Bingo calling thing? 1,2,3 ok, missing 4, 5 ok, 6 occlusion etc… I think no.6 being that molar that I thought needed work last year. He sticks his little hooked spear thing into it and starts tugging, I just about manage to refrain from screaming and aiming a blind punch up behind me! Mercifully, he stops and asks if I can feel the pain spear catching in the tooth! I try to stay calm and nod that yes I can. So he says to me, “I’ll just need to give that a clean and smooth it out a bit.”

Can you see it coming? I didn’t, until halfway through the “cleaning” when it slowly dawned on me. Thats what he said last time! Once again, he’d done the filling and i’m spitting bits into the suction cup thing while he advises not to eat anything heavy for a few hours.

He tricked me again! Subconsciously, I may even have been slightly complicit in the deception πŸ™‚

The phobia I thought I had is now officially downgraded to a strong dislike.

So tell me, did you ever have a phobia or fear that just went away?

PS. What time do you go to the Dentist? At two thirty!!!

* another tale in its own right

** We know what you Americans say about us!

*** Thats Dentists and Wasps whipped, so its 2 down and just another 30 or so to go πŸ˜‰


Fave Foto Friday # 12

August 10, 2007

I love this shot of the Opera House, even though technically its not perfect and is a little blurred. Its taken from one of the Ferries that operate sightseeing tours of Sydney Harbour.

OZSyd2k6 273

An interesting factiod for Australian Idol fans is that the bright blue light, bottom right, is the stage being set up and tested for the 2006 finale which was happening the following evening πŸ™‚


Weight and see

August 6, 2007

Over the last couple of months I been trying to lose some weight. After my last holiday, I had reached an all time high of 12st 6lb (80kg) and was starting to get a bit down about it. I think I’m doing doing pretty well, and am currently about 11st 12lb (76kg)

You might think that 8lbs over 4 months isnt a lot, but I have to do this slowly, without resorting to any drastic measures.

You see, I’ve been here before and it wasnt that pretty.

Around 1995 I was back living in my hometown, totally closetted both at work and in my social circle. I was also desperately unhappy and so for 2 years I just existed. That is to say I got up in the morning, went to work, came home, ate a meal, went to the Pub with friends, came home, went to bed and repeat. I started putting on weight, not surprising really, I was an unhappy lazy slob.

This is when it started. I used to tell myself it began with an unkind word, that seemed to justify things better. In fact, I realise now that it actually began with a kind word. I’d had a few days off the beer for some reason and at work I was complimented. “Oh, you look well, have you lost some weight?” The sort of throw-away compliment that we’ve all made at some time or other. This cheered me up a little, after all, who doesnt like to receive a compliment?

So the wiring in the brain starts to take shape, like an equation.

Lose weight + Compliment = Feel a bit less miserable inside

I began cutting down on my food intake and more weight came off. More compliments followed and the message, “thin is good”, was reinforced further. I reached a point where my lunch at work was a sandwich of cottage cheese on 1 slice of Hovis Wholemeal. My Evening meal a microwave baked potato, eaten dry usually but sometimes with a little chopped tomato to moisten it. I was still going the Pub almost every evening and having a couple of pints of beer, that didnt count though πŸ˜‰

I think I hit a plateau around 9st 7lbs (60kg) and stayed at that weight for a few months. I thought I looked great at the time, people wanted to know my dieting secrets, how well I’d done. In fact, My brother told me years later that he had been worried I was seriously ill, Cancer or possibly even Aids, that sort of thing.

Here is the family friendly version of how I looked then

pme2a.jpg

This is the not so nice version, click if you dare! Dont worry, I’m not totally nude or anything!

Things took a turn for the worse at this point. Having plateaued, I felt I was no longer getting the attention that I had enjoyed and so my brain came up with a new plan. I began to ask myself “why shouldnt I eat what I liked?” I wasnt losing any weight anyway so fuck it! I began to eat and eat and eat. Then , you guessed it, I immeadiately regretted eating and forced myself to be sick. (That’s still quite hard to say out loud)

A new cycle emerged, where previously I’d eat very little, for example taking a single sandwich to work, now I’d eat a full meal in the canteen. Shortly afterwards I ‘d be in the toilets being sick. this went on for some time and the weight started coming off again. Along with some damage to back teeth enamel and gums, I should add.

In mid 1998 I met Paul and I was at my lowest adult weight, 8st 9lb (55kg) looking back at photos, I cant believe how thin I was.

During our first few months together I was still doing it. I’m sure that Paul had no idea, I’d eat a meal and then go off and be quietly sick. You get good at that. It sounds impossible doesnt it, being quietly sick. I cant do it now, I’m as noisy as anyone else, I guess I’ve lost that “skill.”

We had a blip, me and Paul, I finished our relationship because he was getting too close, I was falling for him big time and I could’nt cope with that. Luckily for me he didnt give up and after a few awful lonely weeks, we were back together. Shortly afterwards I moved in with Paul and that changed things totally.

I was now away from my hometown, new friends (Paul’s) and a new job where I was out and proud! I was happy, happier than I’d been in years, possibly happier then ever before. I stopped being sick and started eating normally, I even put weight on and it didnt worry me.

I still have an “odd” relationship with food at times. For example, Fish must have its batter removed and Pies, Sausage rolls and Quiche must all have their pastry stripped off or left on the plate. If I have planned what I will eat or have chosen from the the menu and its not available or the plan changes for some reason it throws me into blind panic. Similarly, if I’m put on the spot like “What do you want to eat?” usually I cant just answer right away, I have to think about it. Then I feel that all eyes are on me and it panics me a bit. I’m still working on that!

You’ll notice I’ve avoided labelling my “condition”. You might be thinking Anorexia or Bulimia. You might be right. I would’nt want to label myself with those names,but only because I’d feel a fraud. My sudden cure through falling in love seems too easy and somehow unfair to all those people who suffer with eating disorders all their lives.

So, its took 9 years of not caring too much about my weight to get from 8st 9lb up to 12st 6lbs.

andyface3.jpg

Not too bad going, but some of it now has to come off. I just need to go slow and not get obsessive or silly about it. So I’m playing it cool, If I lose 1-2lbs a week that will be plenty and I know when to stop this time, 10st will be just fine thanks.

I was going to turn off the comments for this post but, what the heck, I’ve had my say, you have yours πŸ™‚