Pregnancy Jitters

Today began, and continued, as a normal Friday would. We woke up, we had breakfast and coffee, got dressed went to work.

Things were going pretty well up to a certain point. I had just taken my Nth call of the day, chatting with a nice lady about a policy she had recently purchased, explained some of the terms she was confused by, as perfectly normal call.

Just out of the corner of my eye to my left I can see one of the managers trying to get my attention, I hadn’t realised she was talking to me as my headset is on my left ear so while I can hear her voice, I can’t actually make out what she is saying. While my customer is talking I quickly mute my mic and ask what the issue is, and point to my phone to indicate I am talking. This manager comes to my side and tells me she needs me urgently; so I apologise to my customer and explain that my attention is urgently needed for a moment and that I would need to place her on hold.

It is at this point that I am told there is a problem with Buttercup: she hasn’t felt Lentil move for a while. In fact, she hasn’t felt Lentil move in such a long time she is worried, and having called the maternity unit, they have advised her to go in and see them. Due to this, I am told to drop everything, someone will come over and take over the call.

So. Mad march up the hill (fortunately our flat is only a few minutes walk away from work), hop in the car and drive the 30 min drive to the hospital to get checked out.

On the way, I’m trying to remaining calm, and happy, and make lots of jokes and keep Buttercup talking, but I know that she’s worried, and I’m worried too. But I don’t want to show it, because if I show it, it will make her feel worse, which will make me feel worse, and then the whole thing spirals out of control.

Fortunately, once we got to the hospital, and they rigged Buttercup up to a monitor we discovered Lentil is absolutely fine. Good strong heartbeat, some movements. Not enough movements to not be a worry at all, but not so few that its some sort of crisis.

To be on the safe side, Buttercup is being kept in overnight to keep an eye on her and Lentil, and we’re potentially looking at being induced tomorrow. Personally I want to wait a little longer, but ultimately, if the midwives and doctors feel it is necessary to induce, we can’t really argue with this.

For now we can but watch this space.

My guide to determining the next prime minister

Personally I think that the leadership of this country should be determined by making all the candidates take part in a weird combination trial with elements from the following:

1) Gladiator
2) Total Wipe-out
3) Takeshis Castle

and just to make things interesting

4) Come Dine with Me
5) Strictly Come Dancing
6) X Factor

The parties new leader will be whoever finishes with the most points.

In the event of a tie there will be a bonus round of

7) Snakes and Ladders

Life Insurance

With Lentil due to be born any day, and after lengthy discussions, we decided life insurance might be a good idea.

What started out as a good idea has rapidly become a major headache. It turns out that life insurance comparison quotes are nothing like that of car insurance.

With cars you simple head over to whichever brand of comparison you prefer, tell them your details, what car you have, where you live, and what your use is, and out comes a quote and that’s the price you pay.

Which life insurance you tell them your name, where you live, and what payout you want for death and if required critical illness and they give you a “quick quote”. This is nice and easy. However this is based on various assumptions relating to your health. We both quote these quick quotes at about £13.00 per month based on our needs.

Once you head over to the site to actually buy this quote you are presented with a massive health questionnaire: Have you ever had this? Have you ever had that?

Most of it is fairly straight forward, for example: neither of us have ever had a stroke or a heart attack, neither of us are overweight, or drink excessively. Where is gets complicated is when I answer the questions relating to depression, self harm and suicide, and where the questions for Buttercup are answered in relation to both of her parents having had cancer.

The first 3 companies I tried flat out refused to insure me because I have had depression and have self-harmed and been suicidal at some unspecified point in my life. Rather than ask any follow up questions relating to this, they just declined me. The third company I tried, did ask a few follow up questions, and it appears that once they were told that actually all this stuff happened over 5 years ago, they were ok with it. My premium increased a little from the initial £13 to £15, but this is a small price to pay. I understand how insurance risks work given that I work in the insurance industry (albeit cars not life, but same overall principal).

Buttercups application was similar. The first 3 (same companies as me) have put her on a “pending” decision, so while we wait for that I went to that fourth company for me, they again asked a few extra questions and again decided they will accept Buttercup, but at an increased premium of £20.

It would appear that the aforementioned assumptions are that you are perfectly healthy, you have never had any health issues (physical or mental), and neither have your family. Which if this is the case you absolutely can get the cheapest premium they offer. Except, and not to be too blunt, or put too fine a point on this, who hasn’t had depression at some point, who hasn’t had cancer in their family somewhere.

On closer inspection the life policy itself is not too expensive, both are about £6 a month, its the critical illness cover which really does it.

Lets be honest, we all know insurance is a bit of a con at times. My 21 year policy at £15 a month will cost me a total of £3780 which assuming i don’t get any form of critical illness and  I don’t die in that time (which I really hope I don’t, naturally), will result in a lot of money spent for nothing. On the other hand putting that money in to savings over 21 years would not ever accrue enough interest to result in a quarter million pound payout upon my death. So I guess its worth it.

Ultimately we are protecting our child’s future more than anything else. Can you really put a price on that?

Oh Christmas do, Oh Christmas do

Office Holiday Party

November 30th

Everyone loves a works Christmas do. Well…everyone except me. They’re a tedious charade.

What do you mean I have to spend my free time with work people. People who the majority of I can’t stand, and those that I don’t actively despise, I barely tolerate within the work environment. Don’t get me wrong, there exists a handful of people who I actually quite like, and get on with very well, some of whom I even consider friends. But they are really only work friends. My work life doesn’t come home with me if I can help it.

So why would I want to give up my free time, to allow work to seep its way in to my personal life?! Oh right, because its “the done thing”.

Wait, hang on, I have to pay as well? Goddammit. Well I guess it’s not much to ask for food and booze and entertainment. Except the food doesn’t interest me, except the cheese board. And I won’t be drinking in case of needing to escape quickly (to the hospital).

I’m quite interested to see if my request of a cheeseboard for starter, main, and dessert, has been accepted. The actual starters and mains didn’t really speak to me.

December 1st

9.00am

God. An entire evening with a hundred people I don’t like. And this is just the small event. The main company event is in a few weeks and is about 300 people, though the Bury Lodge events are usually a lot better than the others. And again we will have the car so can make a quick getaway if we want or need to.

3.00pm

Further discussions are held regarding how much neither of us want to go. And yet we still will. Buttercup is uncomfortable all the time. So this evening will be worse than normal. Uncomfortable and surrounded be drunk colleagues. While sober.

5.42pm

We have to be in the office to start the night in about 15 minutes. I’m more or less ready (very little effort being put in to this). Buttercup is not dressed. She can’t find anything that fits without her feeling fat. Pointing out that she’s not fat she’s pregnant doesn’t help. Pointing out that I think she looks gorgeous in anything also does not help. Wish me luck.

5.48pm

Johnny Cash came to visit. No idea what I’ve eaten to cause that. Fun times ahead!

Inappropriate? I know…

6.30pm

I had forgotten about the drag show. Three managers dressed up. Not gonna lie, this was actually a good laugh. Did a better job than I would have. That’s being said I would have had to do it at gunpoint because there’s no way I would have done it willingly.

HIC Drag Show: SJW
“What have I done with my life”
HIC Drag Show: NW
“Absolutely loving having hair again”
HIC Drag Show: SA
“Morticia Addams meets Harley Quinn”

7.15pm

Begin the murder of Fairytale of New York by inebriated colleagues. The one beer I’m allowed tonight is not nearly enough to make this tolerable. Though that being said I’m pretty sure this particular festive jingle was already murdered many moons ago by The Pogues.

7.30pm – 10.30pm

Cometh the hour, cometh the food. Sort of. Tooks a while for each course to be delivered, but then with 30 people in the group plus the restaurants other customers I guess there was quite a lot to do. Did not enjoy the food, it was bland at best, cannot believe we paid £30 a head for this. The night just seem to go on and on, certain managers just seemed to get drunker and drunker. Once in particular broke 3 glasses (that I know of) and fell of her chair at least once. I feel sorry for the other guests. Actually I feel more sorry for Buttercup and I. As you may have guessed, we didn’t want to be here.

The Baby Bedroom Bonanza Pt 2

Well, that was fun. Two beds dismantled, one moved to another room and then re-assembled, the other disposed of (more or less), one cot built, and various bits of sorting out sorted out.

Ginger came round to help, for which I am so very grateful, there is no way I would have achieved it all without him, and there is only so much Buttercup can do, given that she can’t really do much lifting or heavy stuff; and flat-packing is not my forte!

Although a lot of boxes and files went up in the lost space there is still so much of dads stuff needing sorting out still.

One thing that was quite interesting was how many old photos we found of dad and his family. Some photos I had seen before, but some never! As well as this we found various letters of commendation from earlier in dads police career as a beat bobby. Two in particular stood out to me. The first commending dad on having broken in to a gentleman’s garage using a spade and providing first aid at this incident which according to the superintendent

may have stopped a fatal incident

The other noted that over the course of several hours, dad, along with a colleague, talked a man down from a bridge where he was threatening to jump.

How incredible that I may never have seen these letters if Buttercup and I hadn’t have fallen pregnant, moved in to the flat, and needed to sort out these files!

The Baby Bedroom Bonanza

Well this is it. With only a short while to go (33 days at the time of writing this post), it is time for Buttercup and I to get the room for Lentil sorted out.

Lentil is due to arrive on 29th December, and therefore won’t actually need their own room until about June, but we already have a lot of baby furniture so it needs to go somewhere. Cot Bed, changing table and various other bits, all take up a lot of room, especially in a two bedroom flat.

Our problem is that with dad having moved out to Paphos, and and us having moved in to his flat, there is a lot of his stuff still knocking about. Most of his things have already gone to Cyprus, but other non-essentials are still here. Some bits like paperwork obviously need to be retained so will go in the loft space (one of the perks of being on the top floor and having a hatch in to the roof void). Other bits need sorting out and either chucking, or getting stored elsewhere. This is where the fun begins.

Quite honestly I really don’t know what we are going to do with a lot of the stuff. I don’t know where to begin. What is important? What isn’t? What of the stuff I see as useless is sentimental to him? Or is there anything that I think he would want me to keep but actually is just junk?

I think every man has that weird dream of starting with an empty room and building a dream nursery from nothing. I have a nightmare instead. Knowing that I am starting with a full room, and ending with a full room. No blank canvas, no drawing board, no real plan. I know what I am starting with, and I know what I need to finish with, I just don’t know what the bit in the middle is.

Currently the task list is as follows:

  1. Assess room
  2. ????
  3. Admire achievement

I mean, seriously, I don’t think I could have a worse plan if I tried.

Buttercup tells me not to stress about it, and I know I really shouldn’t. I can’t help it though, it’s what I do, it’s the kind of person that I am. I could literally scream.

Who knows. We’re getting started on this monumental task tomorrow. So we’ll see what happens then….

Sick Days: A Call Center Agents Dilemma

As a general rule, most people don’t want to take time off work when they are ill. they’d rather just get one with it. Especially when their main symptom is a cough and sore throat.

sneezy

Around about this time every year office bugs do their rounds; making a large proportion of the office staff snotty, and cough and yucky. It gives people sore throats, and causes issues with speech as a result. In most jobs this wouldn’t be an issue; you just grab some lemsip, dose yourself up, and crack on. So what happens when you work in a call center?

In a call center your voice is your job, without it you cannot work.

Yesterday I took my third sick day in three years, which I personally think is an extremely good sick rate (3 in 1095, or 1 in 364, or 0.27%). However before I made the decision to call in sick, I had the cell center agents dilemma.

The more people that call in sick, the higher the pressure for the remaining staff. This whole week I have been in, but other staff have been off sick as well. On one of the days I was in we were 12 people down (not all sick, some were off as holiday) but it mean the pressure mounted for the rest of us to pick up the pace. As always we managed. But for me, taking a day off sick isn’t as simple as taking a day off to rest up and get better.

I know I am letting my team down, I know that the calls I am not there to take still exist, so someone else will have to do them. I know I am letting my team manager down. I know I am not getting paid as well.

This is why the dilemma. There is zero protection for call center agents. If we’re becoming ill, we just get on with it. Because there is no paid sick leave for the first three days. So nobody takes preventative measures to ensure that they don’t become more ill. Because they don’t want to lose money.

Our company recently sent an email round which can be summarised as

“if you call in sick, don’t forget, you’re letting your team down”

I assume the idea was more to get staff to only call in sick if they really truly need to. But there’s no denying, there was a lot of grumbling about that being borderline bullying.

Personally I think if a bigger effort was made to lookout for the welfare of staff before they get ill, less would be inclined to take time off sick. I also think if a better effort was made to sort out the offices mouse problem, there would be less germs. We all know how the plague happened….

Computer mouse