The working day got off to a really good start* when I somehow managed not to notice that I hadn’t put the top on the blender properly before I hit autoclean. ARRRRGH. Well that’s one way to get the utility room back wall sluiced down. It’s probably not going to happen any other way. I do most of the food prep in the utility room** which contains certain disasters by being small & mostly either tiled or stainless steel.*** The big kitchen-dining space has a lot more scope for open-ended catastrophe, including the overhead airer where clean laundry is hanging, & there would absolutely be language if the soapy, food-residue-rich contents of a blender on autoclean went all over it. The irony of the situation is that this incontestably advantageous use of available accommodation has meant that my beautiful deep double ceramic sink in the kitchen has turned into the place I repot house plants & tends to have dead leaves & shreds of house-plant compost decorating its sides. Oops. The stainless steel workhorse in the utility room† sees all the daily life action.
I am always even-more-seriously-than-usual a space cadet when I’m trying to finish a book. I mean, let me reiterate for anyone whose memory of the previous blog may have faded a bit, I am a space cadet ALL THE TIME. But it does get worse toward the end of a book, & it’s worse than usual this time for a variety of reasons, including that I’m out of practise. But May I Say in My Defence that all the ::LANGUAGE LANGUAGE LANGUAGE:: . . . ahem. You’ve already heard about the ongoing clusterfrell that is the new Microsoft Office package. Lately there is the Tale of the Toner.
I was already drifting toward buying on line rather than on the ground†† the last years in Hampshire & since I moved up here this partiality has intensified. Covid finished the job. &, of course, stuff I buy through Young Beowulf has to be sent up here somehow. There was a brief heyday when most of your deliveries just arrived, with the possible exception of anything sent by Royal Mail, which appears to be hell-bent on self-destruction. But one of the big delivery companies has recently lost its mind. I have a LARGE note taped to the front door that says IF I’M NOT IN, PLEASE LEAVE ALL PARCELS.††† But the delivery company in question has apparently decided that the only delivery acceptable is one that includes a PHOTO of the parcel being PASSED THROUGH THE FRONT DOOR. The angels wept. Oh, & while the delivery people are vouchsafed some kind of photo-taking gremlin, they don’t have phones. So they can’t ring or text you & say ‘delivery at xx time & if you believe that HA HA HA HA you chump’. I only know that these dingalings have so much as driven past my door because Young Beowulf keeps getting aggrieved confirmations.
After this nonsense had been grinding on for more than a week I eventually found a card saying, Hi! We tried to deliver your desperately important parcel today! But we didn’t! Tough cookies!, floating around the front garden. I don’t even know for sure that it was my delivery because it had no frelling identifying frelling features. It was just a generic Delivery Company from the Nether Worlds card. Now here’s the thing. I live on the top of a hill. It’s pretty windy here most of the time. I don’t have a mail slot.‡ I do have a table outside slap next to the front door, tucked into the crevasse between the sunroom wall & the house wall, & which is covered in pot PLANTS during the summer. But it’s, you know, a table. Both on & next to it there are a lot of ROCKS.‡‡ Wouldn’t you think the obvious thing to do with a POSTCARD would be to put it on the TABLE & place a ROCK on it? This has never happened yet. The toner has been the worst casualty in this war of idiocy, but there have been others. I now quite regularly find failed-delivery postcards in the front garden—when I’m not receiving something I now go look through the borders. I fear that my neighbours probably find failed-delivery cards regularly in their borders too. Possibly some of these are theirs.
While Young Beowulf & I were waiting for my urgent delivery, I was running out of toner. Why was I running out of toner? Because the Microevilratbag situation that involves a document disappearing every time I re-open it is giving me white hair & palsy, & I have for some reason taken to printing out every time I change a preposition. So, thanks to the jolly, client-supportive evolution of computer technology I’m killing more trees. As well as running out of toner. I had asked Young Beowulf to order more in plenty of time for it to get here, despite my increased tree-assassination activities, before my last cartridge expired.
No. Wrong. I ran out of toner.
I despaired. Young Beowulf has assured me that book-in-progress is safely backed up, but I SHOULD BELIEVE THAT TECHNOLOGY IS DOING WHAT IT’S SUPPOSED TO DO???? So I’ve been emailing myself every day’s work.
Well, that’s reliant on technology too. & some of you may have noticed that Microsoft Outlook crashed a day or two ago? & MS blithely said that a few tens of thousands customers were affected? Well, it may be only a few tens of thousands out of the double-gazillion victims that use Outlook, or maybe MS can’t count§, but yes, I was one of those customers who had no email for a day.
Meanwhile Young Beowulf had ordered the frelling toner from another source, which promised to send it Royal Mail. Royal Mail is its own debacle, but the local guys are pretty good§§—supposing the parcel gets that far.
It took a week when it was supposed to take forty-eight hours.§§§ But it ARRIVED.
&, even better, the cartridge actually fitted my printer & produced printed pages. Kind of a lot of them.
I asked Young Beowulf to order another pair of toner cartridges immediately. A few hours later he told me that they’re out of stock at this supplier, who is now also refusing to promise what delivery company they’re going to use. When the cartridges are back in stock. . .
* * *
* or middle. Since I have to have used the blender before it needed cleaning.^
^ I Don’t Do Housework.+ But I’m fairly pathological about stuff that comes in contact with food. I’m even a little bit pathological about Genghis’ food dish. Which is pretty hilarious since he licks the floor.++ Which is REALLY not a good idea in this house.
+ I can’t remember how much I’ve started telling you of the Saga of the House. It’s long & complex#. But I’ll just mention here as a way of edging in the general direction of reality without, perhaps, scaring you-my-readers to death, that this is the first time I’ve had bare floors since Maine. Ah the broom. Yes, I remember the broom. Meanwhile I have a friend who hasn’t seen this house yet coming tomorrow to stay overnight, & I’m feeling a little touchy about both my level of non-house-work doing & my interesting approach to interior decorating, which is basically books & tchotchkes. Lots & LOTS of both books & tchotchkes. & I like the, ahem, as one might say, noisier end of tchotchkes. I had another, local, friend here recently, a friend who is moving away & might conceivably want somewhere to stay if she wants to come back & see the people she used to live down the street from, or possibly the harbour view, which is pretty spectacular.## We have previously mostly sat in the kitchen, but this time I was showing her over the rest of the house & she was apparently going into shock, &, as we were standing in the main guest room—which I consider to be one of more harmless rooms, at least if you can withstand 1,000,000 volumes of the English lit collection taking up all of one wall & some of the floor—she uttered a few broken words that seemed to indicate that she didn’t think she could stay here.
I know I’m eccentric. I didn’t think I was, you know, dangerous. I do try to restack any tottering heaps before the arrival of anyone they might fall on. I hope tomorrow’s overnight visitor is made of sterner stuff.###
Oh, & I swept the floor today. With the result that I don’t want to walk on it. WHAT ARE YOU DOING WALKING ON THAT FLOOR? DON’T YOU KNOW I JUST SWEPT IT?
Also, well, there are things to say about rediscovering original Victorian wood floors. But not tonight.
# & includes a disturbing amount of screaming
## not that I’m biased
### I told a friend who knows me well that I had to meet an 11:20 train tomorrow morning & she said, Wow! I’m impressed! That’s the crack of dawn for you! HA HA FRELLING HA.~
~ Well. Yes.
++ & the pavement. & his butt. & your face, if you don’t get out of the way fast enough.=
= I haven’t died yet. I wonder if there has been any close scientific research on the prophylactic qualities of having your face licked by your dog at regular intervals. They’ve noticed that kids that grow up with hairy, unhygienic pets tend to have stronger immune systems than kids who grow up in houses that smell of Clorox. The constant presence of dogs in my life may be why the ME doesn’t knock me down any harder than it does. We will not pursue the observation that I already had dogs in my life in close personal face-licking relationship when I frelling went down with frelling ME in the first place.
** ::sings a little aria of joyful hallelujah:: I have a kitchen & A UTILITY ROOM. I have never had a utility room before. TWO SINKS! TWO! SINKS! I have a PANTRY!!! I’ve never had a PANTRY!^
^ & at this point I fell down a very deep rabbit hole, which has been excised toward another blog post some day. I apparently really needed the outlet of a blog during the long, long months of house renovation. Which indeed are not over!!!!!!!!
STOPPING NOW. STOPPING. NOW.
*** The utility room floor is one of the things about the Saga of the House that did not go well. I had brand-new expensive vinyl—I think it’s vinyl, they keep changing the terminology, it was upscale & did I say expensive!?!—laid which after a few months started turning funny colours in splotches. . . .
Okay, wait, that’s another chapter of the house saga, & I need to go back to work on the book tonight, as well as get some sleep. The point is that I don’t CARE what happens to the utility room floor. Whatever it is won’t make it look any WORSE.
† which is the size of a small swimming pool, & very convenient it was too when Pav^ managed to stand in the working painter-decorator’s paint tray & briefly became pale pink.^^ Some modern developments are true progress, & one of those is water-based permanent paint, which meant all I had to do is put her in the utility room sink & add water. Lots of water. Lots & lots of water. There was a good deal of language too, which I believe amused the painter-decorator.
^ previous dog generation
^^ It was quite becoming
†† some of this was my shift to organic food. Suddenly there were good organic grocers—on line. On the ground you could find the occasional bag of organic apples or carrots. Woman does not live by apples & carrots alone.
††† I’ll tell you the Doorbell Chapter of the House Saga some other blog.
‡ I’ll tell you the Mail Slot Chapter of the House Saga some other blog.
‡‡ I like rocks. But after Pav died & before Genghis barged into my life I spent a lot of time on the shore here. Picking up rocks. I brought rather too many of them home.
§ It will not amaze you that I tend toward the latter theory
§§ our local postal workers are themselves seriously unhappy with what the national admin is doing to their lives & futures. I’ve had some mutual-hair-tearing conversations with a few of them about this. For all I know the people working for Delivery Company from the Nether Worlds feel the same way, as I would know if I ever talked to one of them, but I probably would have killed them with my bare hands before they got the words out. Administrative distress still doesn’t explain the postcard + table + rock thing.
§§§ This produced interesting confirmation emails, declaring that the package had been delivered several days ago . . . but was still in transit. I think those quantum physics seminars for upper level Royal Mail admin were a mistake.