So on Monday 30th we had a different engineer come in than the guy that visited us before, and he just straight up replaced our heater’s timer with a brand new one…that got everything working as it should be!
He ran a few tests to make sure there wasn’t anything else wrong with the boiler and was on his merry way.
That first engineer must not have known what he was doing.
We rang the letting agency to let them know the heating problem was fixed and then explained our money woes, and just like the housing advisor I spoke to said, they were fine with us paying what we can until the housing benefit came in.
Then on Tuesday 31st we remembered that we still had to pay one more exam fee to that dental nurse course Lav had to leave…with our funds drained as they are, we decided to ring and ask them if we can spread out the payment and lessen the blow while we build up our funds again.
Turns out she wasn’t supposed to pay all those exam fees in the first place! It was just the course fee that was non-refundable, the exam fees were a completely separate matter!
So she’s due a refund of what she already paid, and they said they were going to cancel the third payment.
Of course, a couple of days later we check our bank accounts and find they took the third exam fee anyway, taking Lav’s account into overdraft. Fortunately it seemed to happen on the day we checked so I just gave her some money to put her back into the black and hopefully the bank shouldn’t charge her for being overdraft for, like, a couple of hours.
We called the nurse course again to complain and they said they’d chase it up for us.
It’s all good now. She got an e-mail yesterday saying they were processing the refund and she should get her money back sometime on the day I type this.
In the meantime, we got some letters in the mail…from Salford City Council!
Our Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction claim went through! YES!!!
Now we only have to pay 10% what we would’ve paid for council tax, and the housing benefit covers most of our rent…we barely have to scratch our jobseeker’s allowance to cover the rest. Pretty sweet. We don’t have to worry about money as much now, but it would still be good to watch what we spend from now on.
We still got gas, electric, water and internet bills to pay, our mouths to feed, cleaning products to keep our place clean and bathroom toiletries to keep ourselves clean.
Anything other than all that can wait until we’re more financially comfortable for it.
On Friday 3rd, I went out to go get something from the local corner shop…only to realise after I closed the door behind me that I failed to bring my keys with me, and our door had a deadlock that locks itself when you close the door, so I was locked out!
No big deal, Lav was still inside, she can let me back in, so I knock on the window.
But when she went to rescue me, she let our flat door close behind her and she didn’t grab the keys either!
Oh, bugger, now we were both stuck outside our flat…our phones were inside, too, so we couldn’t ring for help.
The landlords weren’t in their office…they’re off on Fridays for some reason…
I asked around the corner shops if they knew of any locksmiths in the area I could ring to unlock our door for us…first place I asked didn’t know any, the second place came up with a couple of numbers, though.
So then I went to a payphone to ring the numbers…but then the payphone ate my coins and didn’t give me any credit to call with!
I was out of options…so I called the police.
I thought the police had some kind of skeleton key they could use to unlock any door.
Turns out that’s not the case…not in England, anyway.
The operator said all the police could do was break in for us, or we could break in ourselves…either way we’d be liable for the damages.
We were our of ideas…fortunately a guy from one of the other flats came along, and I asked him if he had any ideas. He went and grabbed a crowbar and levered the door open with that…and it worked!
So yeah, the deadlock’s broken off…which is fine, because obviously we were bound to accidentally lock ourselves out with that thing sooner or later.
We’ll keep it off and use the normal door lock and lock ourselves both from the outside when leaving the flat and on the inside when we’re in for security reasons…can’t have someone just barging in at any time.
That way, we’d HAVE to bring our keys to let ourselves out, and even if we do manage to go out the door without our keys, it’d be impossible to lock the door from the outside and we’d have to go back in and get them then.
We’ll have a guy come fix the deadlock when we wanna leave our flat for someplace better.
Oh, and from now on, no more frigging deadlocks for us!
If a place has one, we’re removing that straight away!
We’re NOT making the same mistake twice!
On Monday 6th, we realised Lav was lagging like crazy whenever we tried to play together on the same Minecraft world. We reckon the cheap internet from Sky is to blame.
The next level up on internet speed with Sky is quite a bit more expensive.
Virgin Media has a much better internet speed than Sky’s next level up for a much cheaper price than what Sky’s next level up would cost us.
So, it was agreed we should upgrade to Virgin Media.
The engineer will even put a new line in our front room for free, which is brill coz the existing lines are in the bedroom and our computers are in the front room…we can still connect via wi-fi but it’s not as reliable or as strong as being connected via ethernet.
Don’t get us wrong, getting Sky first wasn’t a waste of money…it was good for when we were starting our here and sorting out our finances, but now that we got Housing Benefit coming in we can definitely afford something much better.
So Virgin Media will be coming on the 21st…coincidentally the same day Sky will be cancelling our subscription to them, so there should be no signal conflicts.
On Wednesday 8th, my new jobcentre advisor was reviewing the changes to my CV she suggested I make, and she asked me why I’ve been out of paid work for over 10 years.
I explained I’ve applied to countless vacancies, but been getting little to no reply, and the few replies I do get are either the auto-replies from bigger companies thanking me for my application, or replies telling me they won’t be taking my application any further.
Then she asked me what happened with my last paid job, why did I leave?
I told her I was fired, and the reason the manager gave me was “I was too loud to the customers”
She asked me if I agreed with that, and I said no, that I felt my voice was normal.
She then revealed that actually she felt I had a very loud kind of voice and that I naturally project my voice very well. Not ideal in a close, one-on-one situation like our interview, but it wouldn’t be out of place in, like, a theater or something.
Nobody’s ever told me that before!
I mean, Lav’s sometimes pointed out I need to use a more whispery voice sometimes when we’re cuddling in the evening and we don’t want to disturb anybody, but other than that…
She then suggested I make a cover letter explaining both my reason for being out of work so long and my tendency to have a loud voice and send it to her to review.
I tought that sounded like a good idea…no more awkward explanations at interviews about my lack of paid work history, employers will know up front what they’re dealing with, and they have a fair warning of my loud voice!
My advisor then asked me how the job’s fair went, and I told her about how I lost that leaflet for that Asda product promotion job I was interested in. She made a phone call, and got the e-mail for me. Sweet!
She then asked me to take screenshots of some of the applications I make to show her what I do to apply to jobs. No problemo, I’ll save up a folder of a few to send to her before my next sign-on with her.
In all the years I’ve been at the jobcentre, I’ve never encountered anyone helping me as much as this new advisor is trying to!
That really brings up questions about what a lot of advisors are even doing to help jobseekers…
That’s their job, they’re supposed to help us…but while at Stockport the most they’ve done to help me is lump me off to some skills course agency or a work experience placement…that’s SOMETHING but…I mean…why did nobody tell me until now I had a loud kind of voice? I coulda probably used knowing something like that a LOT sooner.
Jobs that required you to have a loud voice coulda used a natural like me.
With the dental nurse course exam fee refund around the corner and another JSA payment looming, too, Lav and I agreed to order a nice coffee table we found from Argos…we needed one to put in front of the couch so Lav had somewhere to put her cups of tea and plates of food while on her laptop and somewhere to put her laptop away when she was done with it.
So we’re in a lot more comfortable position now than we were before, and things are definitely looking more promising for my employment prospects.
Ciao for now,
Cordially, The Blue Fox.