Friday, August 19, 2005

Pissed Off

The phone's been cut off. Its still taking incoming calls but today any attempt to dial out gets a call diverted message. I am avoiding hanging on for it to connect until Gary and I can discuss whether to blow off the phone bill, or the council tax.

I hate British Telecom. We would have switched the line rental and broadband to Telecom Plus by now, but theres a catch - they will only accept transference of a bill under a certain value.

BT keep promising to stop charging us for rental of a handset they had back almost immediately, to cancel all the added extras we dont want or need any more like call barring, have twice sent out bills that never got here, then charged us money for the privelige of a duplicate. Worst of all they have decided to change their terms and conditions - instead of red reminders or ability to pay in installments or within a few weeks, they now apparently slap late payment charges straight onto the account, without having told us a blind bloody thing about it, so you think you have freedom to juggle, then Bam, things snowball.

Oh, there is a booklet of info that comes out with every bill - if you use BT, please always scan it for small print. The lady (in INDIA!) at one of their callcentres said it would have been explained in one of them. Probably in with one of the two bills I never got. Thats what you get when departments arent even in the same bloody country. At least T+ is all UK, all in one place. Did you know, apparently even British Gas is French these days?

Money is tight at the moment, I admit - the other half earns a pittance in any case. I wouldn't change him for the world, just the system. Humiliatingly, for starters, he earns something like £6,000 less than the guy he works beside in the same job, because of the difference between being an Officer Instructor and an Instructor Officer. As it's vocational work both of them are in any case paid like manual labourers - tutors and workshop supervisors are on the same payscale, it doesnt make any financial difference whether you are teaching CCNA or supervising the gluing of rubber grommets. It sucks. I want him to get his teaching degree and get out of there - he has enough credits to get through it in double quick time, but he just loves helping the bottom rungs of society - he prefers people who value their opportunities to, say, gum chewing teenagers who want to nick all the metal mouse balls and drop paperclips and chains into the computer housings. He's done the school thing. He lives to teach, to enthuse.

There are a couple of creditors wanting our blood at the moment and I seriously have to go get paid employment out of the home - not easy in a hick backwater town for anyone, harder when one child has Aspergers. Its a hidden difficulty - what they call an educational need, so theres no DLA or extra cash, Lewis, our ten year old, just needs the world translated to him 24/7 or he freaks out. Even registered childminders are not prepared to cope straight off the bat (heck I have yet to meet a teacher who can relate to him inside the first three to six months) - not that I could earn enough to afford one. I need one of those gold-dust school-time jobs.

Lewis is the capper on all of this. Everyone has squeaky times, financially, if they have kids, and we'll get through, but cuts have to be made. So far he has completely failed to grasp this, and the 'can I have's have been flying thick and fast as usual. Until today.

Gary is on two weeks leave and has now taken to his bed. He's not just sulking, but actually asleep - coping with the kids is harder work (obviously) than with a room full of students. Thanks guy, nothing like teamwork.

I made the mistake of telling Lewis that, for a couple of months, we really might have to cancel the subscription to Sky TV. This has set him off on one and now his sister is in tears, on her birthday.

Why? Because he is going round the house almost hyperventilating and obsessing about saving his TV - calculating what every item is worth (from a ten year old's perspective) and trying to take charge, even interrogating me about whether we get child benefit and why its not £100 a week when his mate Hayden says it is, what I'm doing wrong to get less and what I think I could do about it. All he needs is a clipboard and a Hitler moustache.


He has just turned to Imogen and told her in a very authoritative voice to brace herself, but the first thing to go will have to be her guinea pigs and the cat.

Nice one, Lewis.

Excuse me, I am just going to find a corner, sit facing it, and rock, humming 'I'm a little teapot' until the fairies come and take me.


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