Posted by: bluefoxy | January 8, 2017

RKO (Really Kickass Opportunity) From Outta Nowhere!

Wow…what a week. What. A. Week.

We had to buy a dayrider on the bus pretty much for every day this past week…mind you we didn’t know when the week began that we’d be going out on the bus pretty much every day, and I didn’t realise what was happening until the week was almost over and there wasn’t much point to buying megariders for the rest of the week, so we ended up spending around £50 – £60 on bus tickets.

Mostly it was because each evening, Lav would find a rental and book a veiwing for the very next day.

So the first rental we viewed was the one in Rusholme we were viewing on New Year’s Day I mentioned in my last blog post…we met with the two current tenants…a couple of black dudes.
Turns out they’re renting from an agency which wasn’t gonna be open until the 4th.
They seemed to like us, though…we made them laugh a bit.
They said if they want us to live with them they’ll ring us back and then we can arrange to pay the deposit and a month’s rent.
They didn’t ring us back.

We were then going to view a place in Moss Side but then we realised it may not be a good idea to go for non-DSS rentals before she starts work in this picker packer job she got lined up in Clayton thanks to that Temps agency. She’s starting that this coming Tuesday.

So then, on the 3rd, on the advice of Shelter, we went to Stockport Homes to officially declare ourselves homeless because our living situation was so bad.
They asked us if my parents had said we need to leave and I said yes and went on to say they’re gonna kick us out on August.
That immediately had the Stockport Homes agent tell us we’re not an emergency as we’re not gonna be kicked out in 28 days.
Furthermore, WHY DID I SAY AUGUST?!? That’s not 6 months away, it’s 8 months away!
I know why…because my mind still thinks August is the middle of the year because I had school summer holidays in August when I was younger. Goddammit.

A lot of private landlords and agencies are asking for a reference and a history of having rented from a landlord in the last 12 months…
See, if we had known all this stuff about how Housing Benefit works and how some rentals require a recent renting history when we left Dave’s place we most likely would have had our own place for a long time by now.

Our problem is we just assume we know what’s what and not ask any questions about anything and just give up and make incorrect assumptions that we have no chance for anything and get punished by karma for it. So we gotta stop doing that.

So on the 4th we went to view a property in Salford…turns out they just want the deposit and 1 month’s rent…after that we can just apply for housing benefit from Salford Council.

Then we went to Manchester Council about our situation but they forced us to reveal we had until May to find something, which meant to them that we didn’t have emergency need for a place, just like Stockport Homes.

Then, when we had arrived home, from out of nowhere I got a couple of phone calls.

Both of them from companies inviting me for a job interview.

One was a company called Prestige Promotions,
The other was a company called RSJ Global.

Both liked my CV.

Yeah, this is the result of me applying to a bunch of places like crazy, as suggested by Lav, via CV library the previous evening.

So on the 5th I went to my interviews…though both were not quite what I was expecting.

I was expecting a one-on-one thing where I’m asked all the usual questions…I had even prepared a script of some questions to expect and answers to give to those questions and practised it like crazy to make sure I remember what to say.

When I arrived at my first interview with Prestige Promotions, what ended up happening was first they had a group of us sitting in a reception filling in some form, then they invited us into a seperate room for the actual interview two at a time.

The interviewer asked us questions based off what we put on the form to get more details, and also asked about our work history and experiences and who we are as a person.

All was going quite well…the interviewer even said both I and the girl she invited into the room with me were “blank canvasses” who would be easy to train and wouldn’t likely fall back into the usual routines of retail and sales, as that’s not what they want in their line of work.

They promoted a fun workspace…the receptionist had music playing and was singing along to some of the songs. This lines up quite well with my belief that people of any age work well when the work is made fun.

But then the interviewer asked me when my last paid job was…I wasn’t ready for this and answered with the truth…that I’d wasted over 10 years of my life as far as paid employment is concerned.

She immediately told me that this was a huge concern…and at the end, because of this exact concern, she trold me I wouldn’t be invited back for the second round of interviews…

Bummer.

So I went home for lunch and relayed this information to Lav face-to-face and to Caroline from Work Solutions via e-mail.
Lav suggested I pretend I had some personal problems I’d rather not talk about if I have to specifically say I’d been out of paid work for 10 years, but I still worked to keep my skills as fresh as possible. I felt that sounded believeable.
Caroline suggested that when asked about my work history to talk about the voluntary work I’d done for over a year of my life as well as the skills courses I’d been on.

Armed with these suggestions, I headed to my second interview with RSJ Global.

Again, I had to sit in a room with a group of other people and fill in a form…then, pretty much once  was done I was invited to speak with the interviewer.

One of the things he asked about was indeed my work history, but he didn’t specifically ask about when I last had a paid job, so I was able to use Caroline’s advice to talk about my voluntary work and courses to improve my skills. That seemed to impress him.

So much so that later in the afternoon I got a phone call inviting me back for the second round of interviews the next day!

The second round of interviews was quite fun and interesting. first they started out with an icebreaker where they asked our names, an interesting fact about ourselves and if we could be any animal in the world, what would we be?

Well, for an interesting fact I went with my birthday being on rememberence day…as for animal…well we all already know what I picked, don’t we?

They then explained about what the company does. Sales and Marketing. Helping other companies sell their product to new customers either via going to events, going company to company or by going door-to-door and speaking to people directly.

Afterwards, the interviewers saw people from the group two at a time like Prestige did.

This time I got paired with a rather timid and quiet female applicant, who, I’ll be honest, only served to make me seem even more confident than I already was.

Yeah, I pretty much knew I got the job even before I got the call later that afternoon.

Lav and I went to view a place in Bramhall.

The place itself was amazing. The room was quite big, there was an awesome glass desk just waiting for my computer to sit on it, the home owners were quite pleasent, and there were a couple of kitty-cats there! they also had a big ol’ fish tank and informed us they had three dogs in the back somewhere…we didn’t see the dogs but were told they can be quite…boisterous.

Unfortunately it was a bit further away from the main road to Manchester than I thought, and the buses there proved quite unreliable as the bus back to Stockport was 20 minutes late. Good thing my weirdness had kicked in and stopped us from saying yes right at the place and gave us time to think and see these issues, or we’d have been stuck with the inconvinient location and unrelaible buses and liable to arrive to work late.

My mom had gone to Primark to get me some smart shirts to try because I didn’t have any proper smart shirts for work…with her help, we discovered I was a collar 17…but just 1 smart shirt is not enough, obviously. Luckily Primark has them at only a fiver each, which is pretty cheap.

So yesterday Lav and I went to the Primark in Manchester to get more cheap smart shirts for my work.
We also got a couple of pairs of smart pants and some new belts to go with them.

We chose the Manchester Primark for two reasons…one, they were likely to have more of a choice of clothes than the one in Stockport…and two, we had yet another rental to view close to Manchester in an area called Moston.

But then the en suite room we were interested in was poached right from under our noses literally minutes before the lady showed up to show us the place. Like, she had JUST got the phone call from the landlord before she turned up on the street as we were waiting.

Bummer. That place would’ve been so perfect, not just because the room was quite spacious, had a table I can use for a computer desk and everything else we needed, but also because it was just an amazingly convinient location…just a short walk from Clayton where Lav is working, and frequent buses that could get me to Manchester quickly.

Oh well, there’s always more properties to view…and now that I have a sales and marketing job after some training starting Monday and Lavander could well have a packer job after an induction that’s starting on Tuesday, we can pretty much just go for any rental we like and not worry about Housing Benefit anymore!

Yep, we’re off to one heck of a start to 2017!

Yay!

Ciao for now,
Cordially, The Blue Fox.

Posted by: bluefoxy | January 1, 2017

Happy 2017

Ok, wow…what a year 2016 was. What. A. Year. Holy frijoles, it was a long one.
Feels more like two years, at least!

Eh…screw the list of things I’d like to do over the year I made last New Year’s Day. I failed all but one of them and that was to switch to Barclays bank.

I think the whole set myself up for a YouTube career thing needs to be put on indefinite hold until we’re nicely set up with our own place and our own lives and everything is settled down again.

I suppose I can work on it a little here and there if I have time to kill and don’t feel like doing anything else, but other than that…yeah, there’s more important things to take care of first.

So what actually did happen this past year?

Well, among other things, as I mentioned, I’m with Barclays now. Couldn’t be happier with that.

We went to Romania for a week back in June. That was quite the trip.

And then the UK had that big ol’ referendum vote. Oh my sweet omnipotent deity, if I could go back in time and undo something, it would be to go back and warn everybody I could that Brexit was and is not such a good idea.
I’m holding on to hope that this supposed UK supreme court ruling that the referendum was done illegally converts into a ruling that Theresa May can’t go ahead with it.

We found Lav a job for half a year but she was struggling to cope with it so we got her out.

We then found a course to have her become a dental nurse but we realised right now is not the best time for her to take it. She needs an actual, proper, full time job, not a traineeship.
Even though she told them she wants out, they’re not doing refunds and they still want her to pay the extra fees for the exams she’s not going to take. Urgh.

A Jobs Fair at Stockport Town Hall got me in touch with Work Solutions to work me towards getting a paid job. I need all the help I can get, I suppose. They’ve already helped me with some fresh retail course certificates from Job Gym and some improvements to my CV.
They’ve now set me up with some work at a charity shop in Stockport starting with an interview on the 6th of January. They’re gonna have me do an interview prep on the 5th so I’m ready for it.

I don’t know if I should go through with that arrangement, though…

You see, Lav and I realise we really, REALLY need to find our own place to live A.S.A.NOW!!!

We just can’t continue living in my parent’s house any longer than we have to.

It’s just way too inconvenient, especially for Lav.

EVERY time she tries to use the bathroom for anything, my dad needs to use it and complains that she’s hogging it. And he doesn’t seem to need it ANY other time. I swear it’s deliberate.
Even when he’s out of the house, if she pops in the bathroom, he suddenly arrives home and immediately needs the toilet.
We’ve even tried asking him beforehand if he needs to use the toilet at all before Lav uses it, and he’s said no, he’s fine, but then 5 minutes later when she’s in there, he’s pacing outside sighing angrily and cussing to himself that it’s occupied.
It’s fricking ridiculous!
It seems to be only affecting her, though.
Other than that, there hasn’t really been any toilet-related clashes.
Also, my dad gets so drunk every night that when he uses the bathroom he leaves his …well… ”leavings” all over the place…on the toilet seat, on the sink…sometimes even on the floor and walls. He should be classified as a toxic hazard and we should have men in hazmat suits coming to decontaminate everything.
Lav is very upset by it. She’s even saying we’re gonna have to go out on the streets just to get out of this situation because of the problems with my dad. But then, what’s she supposed to do for a bathroom and a place to change for work?
Yeah, she has another job lined up in January thanks to one of the job agencies she signed up to.
We don’t have all the details yet, but regardless, she needs the bathroom so she can get cleaned up and ready for work each day when that job starts, which she can’t do when we’re stuck with my parents like this.
Originally we were hoping she’d just have to wake up early in the morning just to have some time free in the bathroom, but nope, just this morning my dad had to wake up for the bathroom early in the morning too, so we can’t even rely on that anymore!
Also, my dad seems to get angry quite easily, especially when drunk, and his anger scares poor Lav.
We’ve raised these concerns about my dad with my mum, but she just laughed and said to just ignore him…um…exactly how does she propose we do that?

Places that accept housing benefit near Stockport are just very hard to find, it seems.
However, there appears to be a whole bunch up in Oldham! At first, I was a bit unwilling to go all the way to Oldham for a place to live, but…well…when you’re desperate as we are…I guess I may have to step out of my comfort zone of living in the Stockport area all my life…and besides, it may only be for a little while until Lav’s been at her job for a bit and maybe I find some work too and then we can grab whatever rental we damn well please.

We asked on Reddit for some advice about our situation as well, and they suggested we contact Shelter for some advice too.

We did that, and they told us we can speak directly to the council for help with our situation.
They said our situation can be classified as straight up homeless since it’s so bad.

Regardless, we gotta wait at least a few more days yet. Everywhere that can help us with housing is shut for the Christmas and New Year Period and won’t be open until the 3rd.

Yeah, it doesn’t help that we only found out off Luna about getting Housing Benefit to pay the whole rent for a fairly decent place in the run-up to Christmas. Not a good period of time to be trying to deal with this sort of thing.

If only either of us had thought of asking her how she got her place sooner. Granted, she got it because she happened to be friends with the landlord (HOW?!?!?) but maybe she would’ve given us some tips on how we can find our own place sooner, and we may have had something by now!

Eh…no matter…we just didn’t know. Learn from your mistakes.

We just gotta survive until the 3rd…then hopefully we can quickly find a solution to our housing problem.

…so yeah…we may end up living in Oldham…which doesn’t make it too convenient for that Work Solutions work experience placement in a charity shop in Stockport, now, does it? Hopefully we can find something in or near Stockport first.

In the meantime, later today as I type this, we’re gonna go view a place in Rusholme. It doesn’t accept DSS but Lav is hoping we could pay the deposit and one month’s rent for it and then pay subsequent months with the salary she’ll be getting at this job she has lined up in January.

It looks quite the bargain actually. Very modern and nice looking for only £410 a month for couples.
We’re getting a little over £450 a month from Jobseeker’s so we should be able to afford it long enough for Lav’s salary to take over at least. We just gotta not tell them we’re technically on Jobseeker’s now and will be getting the job later. I don’t think the landlord would like that.

So yeah. That’s our plan for 2017.

  1. Get our own place as soon as we possibly can.
  2. Since Lav already has a job lined up, get me into paid work somehow.

Anything we can do beyond that is a bonus.

Ciao For Now,

Cordially, The Blue Fox.

Posted by: bluefoxy | December 11, 2016

Dream Ultimatum Solution

Sunday 13th November 2016

Lav and I had a walk around Etherow Country Park with my parents. Just a nice jaunt for some exercise and fresh air.

Tuesday 15th November 2016

Finally got some warm-ish clothes for Lav plus some new slippers for us both coz she didn’t have any and my old ones were wasted. Our feet will be much more comfortable indoors now.

Wednesday 16th November 2016

So I had a dream last night.

In the dream there were these anthropomorphic pigs…they were kind of cartoony, I guess.

Anyway, these pigs were at this fun fair / carnival kind of deal.

Now, at first the dream was about this one pig trying to ask a girl pig, who works at one of the booths, out on a date…I don’t remember if I dreamt any outcome of that.

Then the dream changes to about how all the stalls or booths have signs on them. Well, they were not really signs, they more like sheets of A4 paper stuck to the window with words printed on them.

And it was always two sheets of paper, one stuck above another, and the paper that was below told you what the ride or booth was, for example, the ticket booth, or the shooting gallery, the ghost train, the hall of mirrors, the rollercoaster, etc…

…then the piece of paper above it would instruct the pigs what to do there…only it wasn’t something like “get your tickets at” above the sign saying “the ticket booth” or “shoot the ducks at” above the sign saying “the shooting gallery”…

…it was weird instructions like “whisper at” or “shout at” or “both at”…

…and the pigs would actually be obeying these instructions, too!

The really weird part is the instruction signs kept getting swapped around the different booths somehow.

I remember the ticket booth starting out with one sign, I don’t remember what it said, and then it switched to “Whisper at” so this pig was there whispering at the pig in the ticket booth that he would like some tickets or something…

…then the sign changed to “both at” and I remember this because I remember there suddenly being two pigs side by side at the ticket booth, and then it switched to “shout at”, at which point the two pigs were screaming for the attention of the pig in the ticket booth because he wasn’t hearing them up until now or something. I think he was reading a newspaper on the job.

That’s about all I remember of the dream.

Friday 18th November 2016

Work Solutions has started doing these coffee mornings and they invited me to join.

Looks like this was actually the first one at Stockport…one of the advisors running it had done them at another Work Solutions elsewhere and had decided to bring them here.

Anyway, me and a small group of other people that’re getting help from Work Solutions just had a talk about random stuff.

Stuff like hospitals reducing in number and size cause of lack of funding in the health industry.

We also discussed the idea of going on group walks out to various places and we all suggested a few places the group could go, like parks and museums and other attractions…something to do in the New Year and when they wrangle in more people to the coffee morning.

The coffee morning is gonna be happening every Friday morning. I guess it’ll be one way to get out more and hopefully even make some new friends.

Friday 25th November 2016

2nd coffee morning…we just came up with a few more places the group could go in the New Year.

Sunday 27th November 2016

I had another dream last night.

I dreamt I was looking out what I believe to be my bedroom window, only the world outside the bedroom window in my dream is a whole lot different to how it looks in the real world. I’ll get to how it looked different in a minute.

Anyway, I get this sort of bird’s eye view of this guy…he had, like, a grey goatee, and I think he was wearing some kinda baseball hat and a green, tatty trench coat…I think he might’ve been a dream-hobo or something, come to think of it.

Anyway, this guy has this toy with him…this toy looked like a penguin centaur…seriously, from the front it probably would look like a normal penguin toy, but from the side you could see it’s body extended back to an extra pair of foot flippers.

And it was like a wind-up walking toy, and this guy was winding it up and had it walking along the top of the brick wall at the back of the garden.

Side note: My garden in real life has fences, not walls…also, the back of it is a lot further away in real life than it seemed in my dream. There, that’s my explanation as to how the world outside was different.

Now, the thing is, along the top of the brick wall was like this long stone brick that was carved into a triangle shape pointing up…so, as you might imagine, this caused the toy to fall off the wall with every attempt to make it walk along it.

I remember each time the toy fell off, the guy would vault over the wall to retrieve it, wind it up and set it walking again, only for it to fall again, so he’d have to vault over the wall again to retrieve it…rinse and repeat.

That’s about all I can remember.

Tuesday 29th November 2016

So it turns out Work Solutions had changed their rules to be able to help people that’ve been out of work for 3 months instead of 6, so now they can help Lav with finding a dental practice! We could use all the help we can get!

She’s got her first appointment with them this Friday.

Wednesday 30th November 2016

Had the hep B blood test at Stepping Hill today.

Hopefully the Hep B vaccines worked. We’ll see what they say in 10 days.

The jobcentre has booked me into an initial assessment with Working Well.

Looks like Working Well are pretty much doing everything Work solutions is doing with me.

After this initial assessment, I don’t have to go to Working Well anymore if I don’t want to.

The appointment is on the 23rd of December. I didn’t think they’d do one so close to Christmas.

Thursday 1st December 2016

I got some new pillows and pillowcases from Asda, since they were very cheap. Only 3 quid for the pillows and 2 pound for each pack of cases. Got a couple of packs of cases so we have plenty to change to when we change our sheets.

Friday 2nd December 2016

Lav’s now signed up to Work Solutions.

Hopefully they can help her find a Dental Nurse Trainee vacancy.

Saturday 3rd December 2016

So this happened;

Wednesday 7th December 2016

So my mum has given us an ultimatum.

Either we both find ourselves a job…be it voluntary, paid or whatever…or she’s kicking us out of the house in 6 months’ time.

She doesn’t even care if we end up in a homeless shelter…she wants us gone.

To be honest, we needed this kick up the backside to get into gear and do the things we’ve been meaning to do.

Things like me signing up to CV Library and Linked In.

That’s good for a start.

I got some CVs to hand into stores down Stockport, too.

I also gotta go to Jobwise and Adecco and see how they can help.

And there’s still Work Solutions doing what they can to help as well.

Thursday 8th December 2016

O…M…G

So Lav had been telling me to try texting Luna so see what’s going on…and I managed to strike up a conversation with Luna in texts…and I wound up telling Luna about our situation…and SHE revealed that Housing Benefit should be able to cover the ENTIRE cost of a rental, not just a small portion of it like we were told before.

Had we asked in STOCKPORT for help rather than in MANCHESTER, we probably would’ve already had our own place by now.

Heck, had we asked LUNA how she got her place sooner, again, we would’ve probably had our own place by now.

She told us to ask Fred Perry House behind the town hall for some advice.

Well, we’re going down Stockport for the Work solutions Coffee Morning tomorrow anyway.
Might as well head up to Fred Perry House afterwards.

Friday 9th December 2016

Fred Perry House said get a place that accepts benefits first, then show them the rent agreement, and sent us to Stockport Homes office back down the hill a bit.

Stockport Homes told us to sign up on their website.

So that’s what we did once we got home. We should hear from them within 10 days if our application was successful, then we can bid for some places.

Sunday 11th December

After much discussion on the subject, Lav and I have agreed that she should leave her dental nurse course. She needs to get a proper job right away…a traineeship doesn’t really count as a proper job.

She needs to be able to apply for anything she wants, rather than be restricted to struggling with finding a dental nurse trainee vacancy.

There’s no point in remaining stuck in this course for a year when we can just go apply for any job and be paid pretty much the same salary.

It’s only money, anyway…we’ll make up what we spent on the course in just one month!

That’s about all I have to update you on so far.

My next post will be the New Year’s Day post I do every year. That’s coming up thick and fast!

So, until then,

Ciao for now,
Cordially, The Blue Fox.

Posted by: bluefoxy | November 11, 2016

Anniversary Of Birth Number 28

Monday 17th October 2016

Day 1 of the call centre course started off with an ice breaker, of course, where we told each other a bit about ourselves…and it turned out the guy teaching us used to work for WWE and TNA and even The Jeremy Kyle Show!
We got a bit of insider knowledge that some of the Jeremy Kyle staff were actually hired to wind guests up with whatever the other people were saying…they didn’t completely make up stories, per say, but they probably did some embellishing on a lot of them.

Then the day consisted of the group trying to figure out how to balance 12 nails on top on one single nail embedded in a block of wood.

One guy on the course had done it before, apparently, and produced an interlocking technique that worked perfectly.

Then we has to pretend we were terrorists planning to blow up a road.

Guess we just wanted to annoy the council with a new pothole.

The point was that even terrorism requires careful planning with a team of people in different areas of expertise, demolitions expert, electrical experts, communications experts, etcetera, with proper organisation.

Tuesday 18th October 2016

Group did some practice calls to each other, all of us pretending to be a company that sources hot dogs and anything to do with hot dogs.

Some of the group had a laugh with it.

I think I had one of the better scripts prepared.

I managed to get the third longest total talk and average time of the group on the tracker the tutor set up tracking how long our calls took, how many calls we did, etcetera.

Wednesday 19th October 2016

Did some more fake calls within the group pretending to be customers complaining to John Lewis agents about some missing PS4s or ordering some luggage from the website.

Then a maths tutor came in and did some maths with us to illustrate how employers may track employee performance.

The day ended with a bit on data protection and being careful about who you give the info to.

Thursday 20th October 2016

Did some live calls to some actual people on behalf of Job Gym.

We called some local garages to see if they’ll accept some e-mails from the marketing department about some government-funded initiatives where they send students for some practical work at those garages.

I didn’t think there were all that many garages around, but actually there were a few smaller, hidden, unknown one-man businesses hidden around Greater Manchester.

Friday 21st October 2016

Listened back to some of our calls from yesterday, finding out what needs to be improved.

Then we tried some more live calls today, but got a lot of folks we called responding with not interested or too busy. Must have been that Friday end-of-the-week feeling, I guess.

Tuesday 25th October 2016

Went to Work Solutions to work on my CV using the tips from Job Gym as a guide, refined with Work Solutions guidance.

Because my CV mentions some experience with radio, I mentioned the leaflet I took from the Jobs Fair advertising a radio course.

My advisor wants to see it at the next appointment on 10th November.

I also voiced my concerns that my CV looks kind of random and unfocused, but my advisor assured me most of my skills actually complement each other quite nicely, and any out of place ones just show I’m willing to branch out and try new things.

Monday 31st October 2016

Lav + I took a trip to Manchester to see how long it would take to get to the dental nurse course location.

Looks like it takes a little over an hour.

We then did some shopping and bought some new foods to try.

Today we tried pasta with pasta sauce and cheese with a chicken slice sandwich on the side.

It was interesting, something different, rather than having chips or potato waffles all the time.

Tuesday 1st November 2016

Had such a chicken meal today. Chicken soup and a sandwich with chicken slices and some kind of chicken “jam I guess you can call it. It had apricots in it, apparently. Not the kind of thi9ng you’d expect to see coupled with chicken, I wouldn’t think.

Thursday 3rd November 2016

Phone call from my Work Solutions advisor.

Apparently I’d been booked on another retail course.

Gotta get a mega rider voucher off them tomorrow.

Saturday 5th November 2016

Lav had her first day on her dental nurse course.

Bit of an icebreaker followed by some explanations as to what the job requires her to do.

Judging by the explanations, it sounds like she’ll have a lot to do and she has to work fast.

But hopefully Lav should be able to handle it all. They should give her time to learn the role a bit when she’s starting out with any job she gets, at least.

Monday 7th November 2016

Turns out this retail course Work Solutions put me on might be working towards a certificate I already have.

I gotta bring in my certificate to show them tomorrow and see if it’s the right one.

If it is…well, I don’t need this course…not much point working for a qualification I already got, eh?

Tuesday 8th November 2016

Yep. It’s the right certificate. That’s me off the course, then.

Thursday 10th November 2016

So my Work Solutions advisor pulled some wellbeing exercises for me to do at home.

First off, I need to try drinking more liquids coz I don’t think I’m drinking enough.

She showed me a sort of drinks bottle, which she said is a good measure of half a litre or something like that. She said it’s recommended you drink 2 litres of liquid a day. So four juice bottles full, pretty much.

I just so happen to have a couple of tango juice bottles at home so I can use those and put some still orange juice in them. Three of those, combined with my normal tea drinking habits, because tea is mostly water, should do the trick.

She also told me I need to exercise more, get more active. Plus I should look up some social groups in my area to join. And try and make some new friends.

Then Lav and I went to the three store and got me a nice, shiny, new smart phone. A Samsung Galaxy J3. It’s not the latest phone, but apparently the latest Samsung Galaxy is all over the news as being prone to EXPLODE IN YOUR FACE, so yeah.

Plus this was going fairly cheap…only £120 plus they added another £10 top up. I also got a flip wallet for it to keep it relatively protected in my pocket. I’ve seen lots of people using their phones in flip-wallets, so I thought I’d hop on that bandwagon. Might as well splash out the extra £15. Why not?

So yeah…finally got an upgrade from my wasted ZTE F390, I think it’s called, to a proper android smartphone! Yay!

Then Lav and I went food shopping and got me a chocolate cake and some custard to pour onto it for my birthday tomorrow. That’s gonna be delicious.

Friday 11th November 2016

Urgh…I’ve just completely lost all manner of excitement for birthdays since quite a while now. I think everybody loses that the second they become a teenager…and then it’s just all downhill from there…it gets worse every year, according to my parents. Not looking forward to that. Nope.

I wish I had the power to just stop ageing and live forever young.

I guess that’s all I have for this blog post.

Till next time,

Ciao for now,

Cordially, The Blue Fox.

Posted by: bluefoxy | October 16, 2016

Claims, Courses and Call Centres

Dangit, I completely forgot to update my blog at the end of September.

Oh, well…It’s not like I necessarily HAVE to update at the end of every month.

Let’s get started…

Wednesday 7th September 2016

Jobcentre says Lav was actually taken right off my claim for some reason. That’s weird, they said they would only put things on hold while she was in work.

Anyway, we have to start a new claim from scratch. <Sarcasm> Joy. </sarcasm>

We had a look at laptops in PC world. We found an Asus that would be perfect if only it had a quad-core processor instead of just a dual-core, but it’d do fine for tiding Lav over until we got a job and more money. Definitely be better than the old wasted laptop I gave her.

Monday 12th September 2016

Lav’s 2nd Hep B vaccine. One more to go. Then it’s the blood test. Then the year-long wait for the booster the accelerated dosage requires.

Tuesday 13th September 2016

Lav found a smexy-looking green gaming laptop from Argos for a reasonable price, except it appears to be out of stock everywhere, so she sent them an e-mail to try and find out why.

Wednesday 14th September 2016

Lav and I had our jobcentre interview to re-start our claim.

They booked her in to a group meeting to discuss useless stuff we kind of already know.

Friday 16th September 2016

Yep, the group session was about as useless as expected. On the bright side, we found some leaflets advertising a jobs fair next Tuesday. We can go to that see if there’s anything we can go for.

Monday 19th September 2016

Lav and I went shopping for some smart clothes and shoes for me to wear to the jobs fair and any other employment-related stuff I go to.

We saw a crane driving down the street. There’s something you don’t see every day.

We both thought the boom arm was gonna knock our heads clean off!

We also saw a kingfisher flying down the river from the bridge across to the Peel Centre.

Tuesday 20th September 2016

Lav and I went to the jobs fair. I guess it was fairly productive.

Applied to TK Maxx there.

Got some info on some websites and other stuff to check out.

I was also approached by a lady who recognised me from my time at Seetec.

She’s now working for a place called Work Solutions…she reckons they can help me get a job.

They’re gonna help me with stuff like Interview techniques and freshening up my CV and hopefully find me some fresh work experience, too. Well, I could do with all the help I can get, so I signed up.

Thursday 22nd September 2016

Well, this Work Solutions gaffe certainly seem to know what they’re doing.

They had me do some English and Maths tests, of course, but they also did a kind of personality test and a test to see what kind of teaching method I respond to best.

Maybe I can finally get some proper help to get a proper job!

Monday 26th September 2016

Went to Work Solutions again to review the results of my tests and make a plan of action.

Their personality test revealed I had silver stars in everything…even a gold star in one aspect! The only aspect I didn’t have a gold star in is something they think is a result of me being out of work so much, so really I just need a job!

I’m to e-mail my advisor my CV and cover letter template to see if they need improving at all and to also speak with someone from the National Careers Service to see if they got any retail or Customer Service courses I can go to in order to boost my CV a little bit.

Wednesday 28th September 2016

Today I got a very unusual phone call…

Let me try to explain it as best I can from what I understand…

So the woman on the other end was talking about how folks who have travelled with an airline on an all-inclusive holiday (all-inclusive meaning hotel and food) within the past couple of years or so are eligible for a refund of at least £1,500 per passenger.

This is due to, as I understand it, some kind of investigation that found that some European airlines were not up to modern standards of health and safety and other such legislation.

So she started asking me if I’d been on an all-inclusive holiday.

Well, as a matter of fact, I had. My girlfriend and I took a trip to Romania last June to visit her family as she’s originally from there.

We booked it through Wizzair and were able to add a hotel booking and a taxi ride to the hotel through their website for over half the price of what it would cost booking the three separately. Set us back a little over five hundred quid in total if memory serves me correctly.

So once I informed her of this, she simply asked me for my e-mail address so she can send me an e-mail with some information.

She then explained that, at no point, will they ask for any of my personal bank details or anything, simply the booking confirmation details and ATOL certificate of my flight, and my National Insurance Number. (NINO is a red flag right there…preeeetty sure I’m not supposed to give THAT out to pretty much ANYONE outside of the jobcentre and the bank)

Then her manager is supposed to ring me and forward me to their legal department to finalise everything and get a cheque sent off in the mail to my home address.

This all seems very fishy to my girlfriend (who was listening in on the call) and I for a few reasons.

One, It’s completely out of the blue random.

Two, that trip to Romania? Yeah, we booked it through an account my GF had already set up on the Wizzair website (from when she first came to England from Romania) with HER e-mail, HER details, HER phone number…I was just her plus one, pretty much. No real details, just my name. That’s it. Oh, and they didn’t really mention ANYTHING about my girlfriend being on their system. Oh and wouldn’t it make more sense to try calling her in the first place?

Three…I’ve been getting a few random phone calls recently telling me they had me on their database that I had a credit card, and I could be eligible for something they call “funds due” on that. Insert Family Fortunes wrong buzzer here I’ve never had a credit card in my life for fear it’ll open me up for a big shove into a pit of debt.

It’s likely I’ve been getting these calls lately because my mum put up an ad on Gumtree on my behalf to sell some stuff I don’t use and/or need and included my mobile number to contact me.

Huh…would you look at that…I checked my e-mail inbox for the e-mail they’re supposed to send me, and here it is!

I have made no edits beyond minor formatting alterations and censorship of sensitive info to protect the innocent and/or guilty.

I’m probably not the only one that’s hearing a robot voice as I read this;

– Good Afternoon

– Following our recent telephone conversation, I would just like to give you the following information.

– The Travel Advisory Line works along ATOL protected tour operators throughout the UK. We have a list of over 10,000 hotels and resorts, which in the last 3 years, at one time or another, have failed in food and hygiene checks. As a result there has been refunds set up for anyone who has travelled to the affected resorts and hotels.

– We have all the relevant details necessary to proceed with your application.

– Holiday: Romania All Inclusive

– Date: 2015 (Note: I accidentally told her 2015 because the trip feels so long ago now)

– Tour Operator: Wizz Air

– Please reply to this email with a copy of your booking confirmation and ATOL certificate and preferable contact time for my manager to contact yourself.

  • Full Booking Confirmation – This will be in your email inbox and should have been sent to you at the time or around the time you booked the holiday. If the holiday was booked in-store you would receive paper copes of the documents.
  • ATOL Certificate – Once again this is emailed to you around the date you booked the holiday. If you booked it through either Thomas Cook, Thomson or First Choice, then you will not have been issued an ATOL Certificate, as all holidays with these tour operators are ATOL protected and will have been full package holidays.

– Wizz Air Customer Services: -[number redacted]-

– Once we have received your booking confirmation and ATOL certificate, my manger will call you to process your refund. If you have any problems or queries regarding the process, please do not hesitate to call us on -[number redacted]- and ask for myself -[name of lady who called me]- or my manager -[manager name]-, and we will be more than happy to assist you in completing your application. If the line is busy for any reason please do not hesitate to email myself and ask for a call back.

– Thank you for your time and we look forward to speaking with you very soon.

– Kind Regards,

-[name of lady who called me]- (Travel Advisor)

– TRAVEL ADVISORY LINE Tel: -[number redacted]-

www.traveladvisoryline.co.uk

…yeah, after we thought about things a little bit, we realised this is a very obvious scam…

But yeah…plane holidays, that’s a new one.

Usually it’s PPI or something like that.

Her manager rang back the next day asking for our booking confirmation, and I told him I felt things were a bit fishy and got him to get me off their records.

Monday 3rd October 2016

So I had my meeting with the NCS agent and she differed me to Job Gym for a Customer Service course they got starting next Monday.

Lav + I ended up ordering an MSI gaming laptop we found for her. According to the specs, it should be just as powerful as my desktop. Pretty amazing considering the very reasonable price tag it had.

Should arrive tomorrow.

Tuesday 4th October 2016

Yay! Lav got her smexy new gaming laptop! No more being frustrated at the old wasted one!

Wednesday 5th October 2016

Got new computer mice (one for me, too) a laptop tray and an Ethernet cable for Lav’s new laptop.

Saturday 8th October 2016

We both got Team Fortress 2 and played a few practice rounds to learn the controls.

We need to get good before we enter multiplayer.

Sunday 9th October 2016

We both got Minecraft, now, too. Though we had to buy it twice to we both could have the full, non-demo version that we could play on separate accounts. Now we just gotta figure out how to get both of us playing the same world.

Monday 10th October 2016

Job Gym had me do English, Maths and IT assessments, then had me fill in my details on a form for their system.

Then there was a presentation explaining what Job Gym do to help me and the other people there get in work.

The course is gonna be 9 – 4 over the next 4 days. Kind of simulating a work shift, I guess.

Tuesday 11th October 2016

The teacher at Job Gym taught me some interesting things about CVs and cover letters.

Apparently you got to constantly update your CV, keep it fresh and tailor it to whatever job you’re applying for…I don’t know how, exactly, you tailor your CV to each job, but I’m sure I’ll find out as we go along.

Here’s a funny thing…we also got to view the CVs of 8 applicants for the position of President of the United States, and pick one to take the job in our group of four.

My group pretty quickly figured out which CVs were Trump and Clinton so they were out.

In the end they seemed to pick one candidate purely because they had some pet dogs. That’s nice an’ all, but not exactly the basis for who makes a good president.

I didn’t really get a good enough look at all the CVs to make an informed choice…I was gonna pick someone based on them having a lot of political experience…it didn’t dawn on me that it was a sign they may be advanced in years until it was revealed at the end which CV belonged to who…

…I was gonna pick Bernie Sanders!

Wednesday 12th October 2016

I don’t really remember what we were taught today.

Thursday 13th October 2016

I was interviewed by a work coach today. He mostly spoke to me about my CV and what he thought should be done to improve it…bearing in mind the CV he was reviewing was ALREADY altered by the teacher of the course I was on!

He pretty much wanted it reverted it back to the way I had it originally, only with a bit more bulk to my personal profile, a few suggestions for what to include in my key skills, and to add Hobbies and Interests.

Oh, and I learned I’ll be doing a call centre / telephone manner course next week. <Sarcasm> Joy </sarcasm>

I suppose I’m gonna have to look into call centre work if I’m ever gonna have a hope of getting a job.

Then my group of 4 had to design a board game.

We came up with something kind of similar to Trivial Pursuit, only for young kids. Easy Maths and English questions for the kids to answer. Get it right, advance a space, get it wrong, go back a space.

There were also some random cards which were just instructions to go back spaces, move forward spaces and miss a turn, stuff like that.

Friday 14th October 2016

Today we learned about what workers are entitled to by law in the workplace, such as a contract clearly stating their responsibilities in the job, their salary, breaks, holidays, sick pay, stuff like that, and the responsibilities of the worker to do their job and do it well.

As part of that, we covered bits about Health and Safety, as well as equality and diversity.

I think that just about covers everything that’s happened so far.

So, until next time,

Ciao for now,

Cordially, The Blue Fox.

Posted by: bluefoxy | August 31, 2016

Jabs, Jobs and Jaunts

Tuesday 2nd August 2016

So Lav had the first of 3 Hepatitis B vaccines…turns out it’s in the arm like any other vaccine…I guess that stuff about it being in the thigh is for babies or something.

Apparently it wasn’t too bad either…it helped that I kept her distracted, I guess.

The next one is on September 12th.

Sunday 7th August 2016

My parents decided we should all go for a walk up Werneth Low.

We didn’t really see anything interesting like a bird of prey or a skylark but it’s still a nice walk up there.

Wednesday 10th August 2016

I managed to get back in contact with Luna again…and among the things we talked about she told me that, employment-wise, her boyfriend was in a similar situation I was, but had signed up to a course with a guaranteed interview at the end…she suggested I ask the jobcentre about that and see if they can hook me up with something.

So today I asked my advisor…unfortunately all the ones they had available at the moment were either fully booked, the start date had already passed, or not in a realm of employment I’m interested in.

However, they DO have a jobs fair next Wednesday, so she signed me up to that.

Can take some of me CVs down see if I find anybody worth handing them in to.

Another thing we talked about was when we can hang out in real life so she can meet Lav.

We arranged something for next week Thursday.

Gonna be soooo awesome!

Wednesday 17th August 2016

So I went to the jobs fair, but…it was pretty naff.

It was mostly call centre stuff and care home stuff…nothing for me.

Oh…I finished another arty endeavour.

blurple20heart20snuggles_zpsqbna9oll

Thursday 18th August 2016

Lav had a bit of anxiety about meeting Luna for the first time at first…she got all panicky and scared and stayed quiet, but eventually she calmed down and opened up enough to get some words in before we all had to part ways again.

It was awesome to hang out with Luna again, and we’re hoping to do so more in the future soon as they know what’s going on with this warehouse job her boyfriend’s got.

Tuesday 30th August 2016

Managed to ring jobcentre and tell them of the change of circumstance, specifically Lav resigning work. They said we need to fill in a form and get a P45 from the care home.

Guess we need to sort out the P45 first coz we don’t have that yet…

So I guess that’s pretty much all that happened up until this point in time.

Ciao for now,

Cordially, The Blue Fox.

Posted by: bluefoxy | July 30, 2016

Injecting Some Fun

Thursday 30th June 2016

Had a couple of dreams last night.

In the first dream, I was a passenger in a car with my mom and Lavander and my dad was driving.

I dunno where we came from but we were driving into Stockport Town Centre from the west entrance.

My mom wanted something from Stockport market so my dad parked up at the new traffic light junction that’s been recently built, just…on the corner…blocking other traffic.

We were sat there while my dad was trying to figure out how to drive up to where Stockport Market is so he can drop my mom off right there.

This wouldn’t happen in real life…my dad is perfectly capable of getting us up to the St. Mary’s end of the marketplace.

Anyway, I remember in the dream saying I had a day rider and I could just go home on the bus, and I remember pulling out the day rider and showing everyone.

I have no idea why I had a day rider in the dream.

That’s pretty much where the 1st dream ends.

In the 2nd dream, I was riding my bike from home, down Lancashire hill, into Stockport Town Centre.

I arrived where Stockport Barclays is, and noticed someone there trying to get my attention…

For some reason, I couldn’t get my bike to stop. In my attempts to do so, I ran front wheel-first into a metal pole, but somehow that didn’t work…then I ran into the wall next to where the person trying to grab my attention was.

Their physical appearance was that of a skinny farm girl with white freckles.

But to my mind, she registered as someone I knew in secondary school but lost contact with pretty much after I left there.

That’s about all I remember.

Wednesday 6th July 2016

Lavander is still not happy with her job at the care home…so she decided to start hunting round for something better…and found a dental nurse course that’s starting in November.

Normally, this course would cost close to £3,000 but they seemed to have some kind of special offer on coz we only needed to pay a little over £1,000.

So, Lav signed herself up.

She’s supposed to do practical work in an actual dental surgery alongside the course itself.

They’re supposed to help her find a participating surgery to work in.

This would be a great step up from care home work…Lavander would be receiving more money for simply cleaning dental tools, handing them to the dentist, and a bit of reception work.

Much easier than everything she has to keep up with at the care home, at least.

She can just do a one-year course to begin with, then build up some experience at that level for a few years…then, if she wants, she can do a second year course, and become a full dental hygienist with an even bigger salary!

I suppose I can live with having a dentist for a girlfriend. Heh.

Thursday 7th July 2016

Apparently before Lav can work at a dental practise she needs to check to see if she needs a Hepatitis B vaccine.

We looked it up…it’s a course of 3 injections over a 6 month period. Arrrgh!

Monday 11th July 2016

So we checked with the local GP about getting a Hepatitis B vaccine.

We kind of realised the 6 month period will over-run the start of the dental nurse course.

So the GP looked in some kinda huge magazine o’ vaccines, and found that Hep B has an accelerated dosage…3 shots, 3 months…however, you have to come back and do it again next year.

So either way there’s no getting around it being 3 vaccines and a blood test.

Also, since the nurse course seems to be a private one and not on the NHS, we have to pay for the vaccines, apparently.

The GP suggested we ask the course provider about them paying for it, so we e-mailed them, but all we got was them suggesting we use a pharmacy for the vaccines instead.

So we contacted Stepping Hill Hospital and, as I type this, have an appointment on the 2nd of August for the first shot. Oh, boy, what fun. End Sarcasm.

Tuesday 12th July 2016

I completed a reference sheet for my ponysona, Typhoon, and managed to give him a pretty epic backstory, I reckon.

Wednesday 13th July 2016

My jobcentre advisor asked how my girlfriend was doing and I kind of explained about our plan with the dental nurse course, and they thought it sounded like a terrific idea.

They confirmed what I already knew, to ring the change of circumstances number when she leaves the care home so I can claim benefits again until she secures a dental nurse job.

Thursday 14th July 2016

So there’s this messaging service similar to Skype called Telegram. Only Telegram has these things called “stickers” which are like the custom emoticons of MSN Messenger.

This is like a pseudo Skype-MSN messenger merged chat program. Love it.

Anyway, Reddit was advertising a chat group on there for anybody interested in paganism…since I was interested in the Pagan Wiccan faith thanks to Luna, I decided to see if I can get some info and help from there.

A guy I spoke to on there kind of helped me realise that, since Norse mythology seems to feature quite a bit in various avenues of my life’s interests, it could be a good sign to follow the heathen branch of the pagan faith, at least as a starting point to get me going.

The heathens praise the earth mother, which is perfect for me since I’m into nature and animals and all that jazz.

I’m picking up some other stuff from the group too…like there is such a thing as fox magic…

Apparently there’s some fox deity that has a history of kind of jumping around the different pagan religions and can’t seem to settle on a particular path…sounds like she’s just investigating them all like a curious foxy to see what she likes…there are special shrines to her dotted about the planet… though, of course, none in the UK.

That could be something for later in life…me, erecting the first British shrine to the fox deity Inari and introducing her to the Norse/heathen pantheon, since it seems she hasn’t investigated them like a curious foxy yet.

Sunday 17th July 2016

Last night I dreamt I was in some kinda church courtyard, and there were birds EVERYWHERE.

All kinds of birds, too. There was a family of owls on top of some kind of pole-mounted birdhouse, and a second owl family nestled on some kinda platform on the side of the church.

There was a kestrel flying around, as well as a bunch of blue tits, great tits, sparrows, starlings, and all sorts of other birds…way too many to count.

Tuesday 26th July 2016

Another dream…this time of what seemed like an animé about some students who were having some kind of party in one of the rooms in their school.

It seemed to be quite a big school too…or at least very tall, because I remember at one point there being a shot of one of the characters falling out a 3rd or 4th story window and cartwheeling to the ground, and there were definitely more floors to the building above that one.

That’s about all I remember. The details of the party itself are kind of fuzzy.

Friday 29th July 2016

So there’s this new avatar-based site kinda similar to Ernya called Furvilla.

I found out about it earlier this month via Reddit and decided to sign up to the beta.

It looks pretty good so far…it’s not perfect but they’re still working on it…that’s what betas are for!

It’ll admit, it was kind of boring at first…though I may have myself to blame for that since I tried to pick animal husbandry as my career and didn’t get very far.

Things really picked up once they opened the forums. I quickly assumed my role as a social butterfly and talked to some people.

Well, today the forums were down for a bit because the mods wanted to clear some spam, but they also had a chatroom, so I decided to check that out.

I started talking to a guy called electro-cat…

…he started asking me stuff about what it’s like to be a fox and what a blue fox looked like…

…I showed him my fursona reference sheet…

He says “can I draw him?”

I says “Sure, you can have a go if you want”…I’ll admit, I wasn’t expecting anything too special anytime soon.

In pretty much no time at all he whipped up a lineart…

I was like “that was fast”

He was like “fastest paw in the west”

I believe it.

Then, about another amount of no time later, he pumped out this.

electrocat-giftart_zpsck2qw7zd

Ah…buh…whu…guh…*dies from awesomeness*

He also gifted me 100 FurDollars (the premium monies) so I can upload a paintie of my fursona to use for my villager.

That guy’s generosity knows no limits.

I finished the ponysona reference sheet for Lavander’s ponysona! Yay! And I managed to come up with quite a good backstory for her, too.

My parents had a new stove delivered to our house to replace the old one we had that was wasted.

And that’s pretty much everything that’s happened this past month.

Ciao for now.

Cordially,

The Blue Fox.

Posted by: bluefoxy | June 28, 2016

Referendum Ro-Mania

Wednesday 1st June 2016

Still no sign of the luggage at Pound stretcher. Apparently they were supposed to be delivered today but no sign.

Lav’s mom offered to give us Lei to spend rather than us using our own monies. Lav thinks this is a good idea. I guess I think so too.

However, Lav’s parents also revealed they want us to spend the first few days of our trip with them. They’d booked a hotel in the mountains for themselves and us.

Lav’s parents seem to be the kind of people who’re like it’s their way, or no way. Absolute control freaks who don’t seem to understand that other people need to do their own thing, even if they are related by blood.

However, when Lav protested, Lav’s mom pointed out Lav is there to visit them, not go sightseeing in Romania. I suppose they have a point there.

So I guess we gotta put up with it. It’s only a few days, after all.

Thursday 2nd June 2016

Lav is already much happier at the new care home. It’s so un-busy there that she actually ended up spending a couple of hours sitting watching TV or playing on her phone!

Saturday 4th June 2016

Lav and I had a bit of a discussion. Seems before we met each other, we had both pretty much buried our lives in the internet and Second Life to the point where we knew practically nothing else.

Now we want to build a real life together. Though it’s not going to be easy.

I need a job. We need our own place together. And that’s just for starters!

While all my life I’ve dreamt of being famous somehow, Lavander doesn’t think she’s ever really had a dream like that.

Tuesday 7th June 2016

So I’d been working on a new reference sheet for my fursona for a few days now, only I’d failed to inform Lavander of this fact until now, when a I kind of revealed it during a conversation, and Lav got upset because she felt I was keeping things from her.

I Posted on Reddit to see if I can get an explanation for why I’m keeping things secret for no reason but Reddit got the idea that I was acting normally because I wasn’t really doing it intentionally.

Really Lav was just upset because she was worried I was keeping bigger secrets from her but right now I don’t think there are any.

Wednesday 8th June 2016

Lav + I decided to meet up in Stockport to see if we can get a luggage case from Argos because we saw one we liked on their website…but then we couldn’t find the one we saw on the website in their catalogue, so we decided to just go home and order it online, something we should have done in the first place.

We should be getting it on Friday.

Thursday 9th June 2016

I pretty much 100% completed the reference sheet for my fursona I was working on.

Making it an animated gif was a stroke of genius on my part. More information can be included in a limited space, like with Furaffinity’s max image size dimensions.

Now to start work on the reference sheet for Lav’s awesome kitty fursona.

Friday 10th June 2016

We got out luggage case, now to start packing.

Monday 13th June 2016

Arrrgh, it’s only two more days till the Romania trip, and we still have quite a bit to do to get ready.

Lav still needs summer clothes, She also needs a shower and to wash her hair.

We also got to decide what to take for food, and get some pounds to take to exchange at a bank in Romania because we don’t want to rely entirely on Lav’s mom.

This is so new and scary.

Run away.

Tuesday 14th June 2016

So this happened.

Thursday 16th June 2016 – Romania Trip Day 1

It was such an unusual experience flying in a plane for the first time.
I got used to it after a while, though.

It was an uneventful flight, not much turbulence. Textbook landing.

We were expecting our transfer to the hotel to be a bus or a van or something for multiple people but actually we got a guy taking us in his car.

I was kinda half expecting him to be not our driver but some shady kidnapper taking us to some Romanian mafia gang to harvest our organs but nope, he got us to our hotel just fine.

We spoke to the hotel receptionist and apparently they didn’t have our booking in their list.
So something went wrong somewhere. Lav was telling me they were ringing other hotels finding a room to transfer us to, but in the end it turned out someone cancelled, and we could stay at a room for tonight and then switch to another room for the rest of our time here.

Lav’s parents came and brought us pizza with chicken and mushrooms…I guess I can say I tried mushrooms for the first time but I didn’t really pick up any mushroom flavour. I think it’d be better if I tried mushrooms on their own from a packet rather than off a pizza.

Friday 17th June 2016 – Romania Trip Day 2

We spoke to reception asking what our do is, turns out we get to keep the room they put us in. Cool.

So we went to see what we can have for breakfast, and they had a very weird selection.

Hot dogs and sweet buns and cheese and tomatoes and cereals among other things.

I tried the cheese but it wasn’t very nice. Tried tomatoes to see if I like them but I don’t.

Then Lav’s parents came to pick us up and they took us to a cable car in the mountains. Pretty fun.

It could only take us about half way up, apparently it was too windy for the full trip to the summit.

We tried to walk uphill a bit to a restaurant, but turns out that it had been closed for a few years now. Bummer.

So we just went back down and had food at a barbeque place at the halfway point.

I got to try Romanian sausages and mustard for the first time. The sausages were good, but I didn’t like the mustard.

Then we tried to find the hotel in the mountains Lav’s parents booked. It was very well hidden.

Ended up having a local Romanian kid running along chasing our car till we found the place!

Saturday 18th June 2016 – Romania Trip Day 3

Long car ride to Lav’s grandma. I kind of thought the whole point of being out so far from Bucharest was that the grandma was way out there, but actually she was just a few miles out from Bucharest.

Still, I thought the back yard looked rather stereotypically Romanian…not that I know what a stereotypical Romanian garden looks like, I just kind of got that vibe.

Tried some traditional Romanian dish that was like meat and rice wrapped in a cabbage leaf called sarmale. It’s…edible. Much nicer if you eat it with bread.

Anyway, after the grandma, we were taken back to our hotel. Seems we’ll have most of the rest of our Romania visit to ourselves.

Anyway, we decided we wanted to try order something from the hotel menu to be delivered to our room.

So we decided on breaded chicken and boneless chicken legs with mashed potatoes and pancakes with ice cream for dessert.

But then the phone wouldn’t work, so we had to go to the front desk, who informed us that the restaurant that served the meals on the menu was discontinued for some reason.

Which is weird, because if you’ve discontinued your room-delivered meals, why do you still have a menu in the rooms?

So we ended up ordering a pizza from pizza hut with profiteroles and some Fanta.

While we waited for that to be delivered, we were really thirsty.
First we had some peach drink from the minibar, but it was tiny and did not satisfy, so we looked into having some tea since we now have milk to put in it, but one of the cups was chipped, and the plug cable for the kettle doesn’t reach the socket.

We got really stuffed from the pizza. We seem to be getting stuffed from Romanian food a lot.
Guess we’re used to smaller portions thanks to what I picked up from weight watchers.

Tomorrow we’re checking out a market and a local park…I need a hat and some sun tan cream. Romania has some seriously sunny weather!

Sunday 19th June 2016 – Romania Trip Day 4

Lav and I went to see if we could find a ticket booth so we could ride a tram to the market and then the park.

We ended up finding the market on foot first, so we went around and bought sun tan cream for me and some other stuff for lav. Sun tan cream was very expensive though.

We ended up with not a whole lot of money left from the 250 Lav’s mom gave us on day 1.

We continued walking down the road and spotted some recycling bins. Lav informed me that Romania doesn’t have much of a culture with regards to recycling…at least, not as much as England does.

However, it is then I noticed there wasn’t much litter blowing about the streets. Definitely not as much as there is in England.

Lav informed me that there are sometimes people of foot sweeping the streets, keeping them clean.

So, despite the lack of recycling, Romania is suprsingly cleaner than England.

Anyway, we finally found a ticket booth.

Lav was able to pay for 6 travels…she has to pay twice for the two of us on each travel though so really we had 3 travels.

Anyway we got a tram to the park and found a big lake there with boat rides.

One of the boat rides was 10 monies per person, and we only had 17 monies on us.

Then we found another trip going for 5 monies per person. We debated going on it for a while but we agreed we’d need more monies for drinks and snacks.

So we just walked some more. Saw a couple of black swans and some unusual brownish duck I’ve never seen before.

Lav took some pictures with her phone so we can look it up later.

Then we found some peacocks. I had no idea there were other species of peacocks, until I saw normal ones with harlequin ones and a gorgeous imperial white.

We spent what was left of our monies on ice creams and juice.

Then we had to go visit Lav’s parents at her former home.

Had steak and mash there and got some money from the country grandma from yesterday and a bit more from Lav’s mom.

We’re gonna use it to pay for more travels so we can go see the train station and then ride that boat on the park lake tomorrow.

We want to have a cup of tea, but the kettle in our hotel room has what appears to be a tiny bit of rust at the bottom and some weird black stuff on the filter. Lav thinks it’s wasted.

We asked to see if we can get a replacement but the hotel checked and it seems they not only don’t have any better kettles, but they also have some even worse ones.

Lav got upset because she feels she finds too many little problems and she’s worried I find that weird in a bad way.

She gets weird about being weird. Weird-ception, but I’m always able to help her feel better.

Also it appears we picked up some fleas from being around unclean animals in the mountains and Lav’s grandma’s house.

Monday 20th June 2016 – Romania Trip Day 5

We figured out which trams to take to get to the big train station…so then we hopped on the tram to get us to that ticket office and get more travels…but then we realised the tram we were on also stopped at the train station anyway.

At the train station we got to see a few interesting trains, going to various places such as the mountains we went to, plus the beach and other cities far away.

When one train pulled in to the platform we were watching from, we decided to be random and go inside, walk through and come out the other end.

I tell you what, those carriages may look dirty and banged up on the outside but it looks very nice on the inside.

Talk about don’t judge a book by its cover!

Then we got on a bus that supposedly went to the park we went to yesterday but then it passed our hotel and Lav got confused and we got off and walked a bit and then took the tram we took to it yesterday.

Only this time we paid for a trip around the lake on one of the boats. It was pretty fun.

After the boat trip, we had some bubblegum ice cream from one of the stalls, then we tried some lemonade but it tasted weird. Lav says it was too sweet.

On our way out of the park we passed a street vendor selling those bubble pots, and Lav bought one coz she wanted to play with one since yesterday, apparently.

We took turns blowing bubbles, coz we’re both kids at heart.

We then made our way back towards the hotel on the tram but then stopped at a restaurant to have dinner because we were fed up of having pizza every night.

Romanian chips and sausages. Not bad.

Also they had their own lemonade…and I think it’s the best lemonade I ever had!

Such a strong taste…all the other lemonades I’ve had must have been watered down or something.

We then got a whole load of dessert stuff from a shop in the market and then returned to the hotel to relax.

Tomorrow we pretty much got nothing to look forward to but the plane journey back to England.

Not as nervous now that I know what to expect.

Tuesday 21st June 2016 – Romania Trip Day 6

I actually think I’m gonna miss being in Romania…I don’t know, maybe because we were able to do so many fun things, and there aren’t many fun things to do around where I live in England.

I’ve definitely picked up on the language a little bit, especially since some of the words are very similar to English words, like ambulanta for ambulance, poliţia for police, florarie for florists, I guess magazine for general shops since those shops do sell magazines and newspapers, scoala for school, aeroportul for airport.

Yes is da (bit of Russian there), no is nu (I keep thinking of the “nuuuu!” gesture in SL)

Then there are words that’re not so close to English.

Thank you is mulţumesc, fine or good is bine or bun (pronounced boon).

Strangely enough, Romanian for room is camera…and photo camera is camera too!

Anyway, we got our cab to the airport, got through customs, got a Romanian flag fridge magnet souvenir from the duty free shop, and then had to take an airport bus to our plane.

Flight was pretty standard again. Lav and I were able to buy a model of the plane as another souvenir.

Bus from airport to Milton Keynes, train from Milton Keynes to Stockport, bus home.

And it looks like we’re doing it all again next year. Sheesh!

Friday 24th June 2016

So yesterday the UK had a vote on a referendum to decide whether to remain in the EU or leave the EU.

Originally when the debate over our EU membership started, I was all for us leaving.

But then I met Lavander…and my love for her made me question my reasoning.

Then I joined debates on the subject on Reddit…and discovered many of the reasons the government is telling us we’re having our vote aren’t very good reasons at all…they’re issues that’ll still affect us whether we stay or we go.

Reasons like immigration…just because we’re leaving the EU, you think that’s gonna stop people coming across our borders if they really want to? No. Sure, we can try to impliment more controls but ultimately people will still come…and it’s not necessarily a bad thing, so long as those people contribute to our economy like with a job or something. if they have a skill England can use, it’s all good. The real problem is people who come here and sponge off our admittedly way-too-generous benefits system, or those who are here with malicious intentions.

Reasons like the NHS…If I understand that situation correctly, the NHS has one paw in the grave and three paws on a banana peel as it is even if we had stayed in the EU. Lack of funding, lack of workers, lack of equipment, lack of everything.

Reasons like the economy…there’s no guarantee the UK’s economy will boom or bust after leaving…(sure, bank shares are plummiting now, that’s to be expected, the market is in panic mode)…nobody knows for sure what the economy’s gonna do…you COULD make the argument that it’d be stronger as part of the EU economy as a whole, but I’ve come across some rumors that the EU superstate is doomed to fail as well. Though it also has greater ability to bounce right back with all the countries working together.

Reasons like the nation’s security…to this day terrorists are still getting into major cities all over Europe and causing havoc. No matter how tight you make the net, they’ll find a way through. Need I remind you of the 7/7 bombings? In our out, There’s still a chance something like that could happen again at any moment.

Ultimately it all boiled down to where you wanted the UK’s political powers to be, home in Westminster, or abroad in Brussels.

But here’s the thing…you know all the seats the UK had in Brussels? Apparently, somehow, they’re all held by members of the UKIP party, and guess what? They refused to attend any negotiations with the EU out of pure spite.

So we don’t even have a voice in Brussels anyway!
They had the power to override any UK political decision we make, and we couldn’t object!

And now, 52% of the population has shown the UK as a selfish, self-centered, entitled whatever of a country who believes it deserves better than any other.

Uh, no. No country deserves better than any other. that’s not how it works.

Sure the EU is looking shaky and you may not like it, but relatively speaking, it’s still in it’s infancy, and still trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

The UK should have just been patient with it all.

Why were the general public even tasked with making such an important decision without even knowing all the correct facts?

I was even kind of expecting this to go to an even 50-50 split down the middle. The first honest tie in voting history.

Though it is pretty close to an even tie. Heck, the fact that it’s so close might even trigger a do-over. At least, I hope it does, and this time I hope the UK public can make a more informed decision.

Even Nigel Farage admits the result being so close means, to put it in his words, “unfinished business”

Either that or the governments will probably just go “nah” and ignore their decision and keep the UK in the EU anyway.

The only reason I still voted leave is because I honestly felt it’s actually better for the EU. They hate the UK’s guts for various reasons, they just refuse to admit it.

We’re much friendlier with America, anyway.

We shall have to wait and see what the future holds.

Lav still has another week or so off from work, so we decided to spend that time trying to find a couples rental for ourselves, and today we went to a viewing we had booked.

I tripped on a pet gate at the bottom of the stairs before climbing up. Didn’t realise there was still a metal bar at the bottom when you open it.

The room was very small, and the landlord looked very young. I think she was a teenager.

So I think we’ll pass.

When we arrived home, Lav ordered a computer monitor for me online. She’s really concerned about my eyes still occasionally getting wasted from the TV screen I’m using.

Saturday 25th June 2016

Today we were going to view another property.

We had walked but a meter or two from the front door of my parent’s house, and in an instant it was absolutely throwing it down.

Fortunately we decided to grab my umbrella before leaving because we had actually heard thunder a few minutes before.

Then as we were crossing the main road, lightning struck, and it must’ve been somewhere very close by because Lav actually felt a tiny electric shock hit her ear from the metal pole of my umbrella.

Then we got confused finding the place because we thought the address was 108a, and we had walked, like, halfway down the long road it was on before we double-checked and found it was 180a and we had walked right past it…we even SAW the correct number on one of the doors!

We and a bunch of people showed up because it was a group viewing, and the place was a full flat with plenty of room.

But then we found out that bills weren’t included in the rent. Rent was £430 a month, electric bill was estimated at another £50, gas is yet another £50, there’s council tax, and a whole bunch of other stuff. Yeah, no, not in our budget unless I get a job.

Speaking of me getting a job, we then went on to Davenport with some copies of me CV, because I heard from my mom there’s a SPAR and a pharmacy there looking for staff.

After handing one of my CVs into the SPAR, we decided to buy a couple of bottles of strawberry milkshakes from it coz we were thirsty. I had Lav go to buy them because I thought it’s be weird for me to buy something right after applying for a job there.

Anyway, after handing my CV into the pharmacy, I managed to get a papercut from the packaging of the milkshake bottle I had, and then Lav did right after from hers.

It was not our lucky day today at all.

Anyway, we’re thinking we need to save up a bit more money first before we try again. We’d need to pay a deposit on any rental we get, and deposits are usually the value of 2 or 3 months’ worth of rent, we find.

Monday 27th June 2016

The new monitor arrived in the mail. It’s a VGA connection.

We discovered my PC tower’s VGA socket is covered by some hard plastic thing marked “do not remove”, which is kind of strange, and it’s screwed in with screws that have star-shaped heads.

Managed to find a star-shaped screwdriver in my dad’s toolbox. Lav wants to find out what’s going on with my PC’s VGA.

We opened up my PC and found the VGA is connected direct to the motherboard along with everything else, so it should work.

We tried it to see what happens, but the monitor showed no input signal.

So we tried plugging in the VGA from the ancient-as-the-Egyptian-pyramids Packard Bell desktop to see if that works, and it does.

We tried the Packard Bell VGA cable with my PC, but no dice.

I guess my PC’s VGA socket just doesn’t work for some reason.

Lav found an article on the internet that it might just be disabled through the BIOS or something.

She was thinking to ask Reddit to see what they say about it.

My dad then pointed out that my eye strain what we’re trying to fix with this new monitor might just be from me spending hours staring at a computer screen indoors every day rather than getting some natural light every once in a while. He has a good point, I suppose.

That, plus me not really liking how small the new monitor is, made us decide to go back to the digital TV I’ve been using before, and let my dad use the new monitor with the Packard Bell since he’s been thinking of replacing the Packard Bell monitor anyway because it has some kind of chip on it, and he’ll try and pay us the 60-odd quid we spent on it.

Lav looked up the issue again, and found the graphics card is on a separate circuit board from the motherboard, so even if we did find a way to make the VGA work, it still wouldn’t work very well if at all.

So yeah, I don’t think we would ever have known this beforehand.

At least the new monitor will find a use with the Packard Bell.

I made the finished reference sheet for Lav’s fursona into an animated gif and uploaded it.

It looks pretty awesome if I do say so myself. She definitely loves it.

Tuesday 28th June 2016

Huh. We thought the care home would only pay Lav a couple of hundred quid since she only worked a handful of days this whole month, but nope, they gave her the full monthly amount.

Anyway, she’s back in work today. Not too happy about it, but she gotta do what she gotta do.

Well, I think that’s about all I have to update you on so far.

So until next time,

Ciao for now,

Cordially, The Blue Fox.

Posted by: bluefoxy | May 29, 2016

Care To Pass With Luggage

Sunday 30th April 2016

Did a dry run to find the passport centre where I’m having my interview.
It was actually very easy to find, just opposite that future skills place Lav and I went to when we were looking into apprenticeships for her, down the road a bit and in a side street.

Went shopping with Lav and got a digital clock from Tesco to help us keep track of time.

Monday 2nd May 2016

Whelp, we’re officially going to Romania!

Lav and I decided to look again at prices for booking and we decided to book it all up before the price starts to rise from getting closer to the departure date.

We got it all set up and ready, we’re heading off on the 16th of June, and then returning to England on the 21st.

We even added the minibus to take us straight to our hotel after we land in Bucharest.

We also ordered some train tickets to get us down to Milton Keynes, and then it’ll be a bus from Milton Keynes to the airport…we made sure to get a train that’ll arrive in Milton Keynes a good two or three hours before the plane’s due to depart…the bus takes about an hour to get to the airport, if I remember rightly…hopefully we’ll have enough time to catch our flight.

By the time I get my passport we’ll be within the month’s window for the free online check-in.

So the next thing to do is get a luggage bag for some luggage we’ll need to take with us.

Seems they’ll allow a small one on for free, max dimensions 45 long, 25 wide, 20 deep, I believe.

We shall see if we can locate one that fits the bill.

Wednesday 4th May 2016

So a manager at Bryn Haven Care Home where Lav is working has noticed Lav is struggling to keep up with the fast pace and many demands of the patients there.

Rather than send her back to the unemployment lines, they’ve decided to give her a transfer to a slower, easier job at another branch of Borough care, a place called Bamford Close in Cale Green, next to Edgeley on the other side of Stockport.

She’s getting a 21 hour shift there.

Weird thing is she was talking to a co-worker who does a 21 hour shift at Bryn haven and she was thinking it would be nice to get a 21 hour shift herself, and boom, instantly this manager appeared and offered her this transfer!

This is not the first time Lav has predicted something coming true.

If you look back to my entry for last November, you’ll see that we kind of predicted our getting a fox sighting that one day!

She’s got some kind of psychic powers, I just know it.

Anyway, we had to ring the new care home and arrange a bit of a meet-and-greet…and they actually arranged for us to come round tomorrow!

Thursday 5th May 2016

We went to find the new care home. It wasn’t too hard…they weren’t kidding when they said the 313 bus went right by the entrance.

Nothing too eventful about the meeting there. They showed us around a bit, explained what’s what.

We had to ring Bryn Haven to find out when the transfer was going through…turns out Lav has to suffer through another month at Bryn Haven before she can move over! That sucks.

Tuesday 10th May 2016

I reckon the Interview at the passport centre went quite well.

They just asked me a bunch of security questions to make sure I am who I say I am.

Should get my passport in a few days.

Thursday 12th May 2016

Got a letter in the mail from Knowhow telling me my care plan payment failed.

Well, obviously.

I’m not even sure I want to keep it anymore.

On the one hand, it keeps me from having to pay for any expensive repairs if my computer goes wonky, on the other hand, I don’t have an income, and I’m not sure I want Lav paying for it.

I mean, as long as I’m careful, my computer’s not likely to go belly-up again.

Why pay for something I’m not likely to use?

Then again, who knows what might happen? Better safe than wasted.

This day also had a surprise for me.

My passport arrived in the mail!

I wasn’t expecting it quite so soon. Only 2 days after the interview? Wow.

And especially considering the postman had already been to deliver my Knowhow letter.

Saturday 14th 2016

I’d decided to not keep my care plan, so I rang Knowhow to inform them of my decision.

Advisor on the other end told me it had already been cancelled. Huh. Fair enough.

Monday 16th May 2016

Had an awesome chocolate cake and custard to celebrate the anniversary of Lav and I officially getting together in SL.

Friday 20th May 2016

After much humming and hawing, I decided to download Avast antivirus. Might as well give it a try and see how good it is, since it’s free. Should be sufficient since I’m usually quite careful about my browsing on the internetz.

Lav is worried the upcoming referendum of the UK’s membership in the EU would mean she’d have to leave the UK if the UK voted to leave the EU.

But after posting our concerns on Reddit, and looking it up with Google, and then thinking about it calmly, we reckon, since she’s already here legally, it should be fine.

Heck, there are probably a whole bunch of people who are EU migrants who’ve established a whole life here with family and whatnot, if the UK government started trying to kick them out, there’ll be riots and whatnot.

Not to mention, the EU might consider the oppression of its citizens an act of war…and it could easily escalate to world war 3, prompting mutually assured destruction nuclear armageddon, with the mushroom clouds and the radiation and the zombie apocalypse, guh-haven.

I don’t think the UK’s government is THAT stupid.

Tuesday 24th May 2016

Managers at Bryn haven are asking Lav if she’s sure she wants to go ahead with the move to the other care home, as co-workers have been giving positive feedback on her work.

Lav still feels she’s being worked too hard and finds the patients difficult, she wants an easier job, so she’s still moving.

Saturday 28th May 2016

Went shopping and bought some tiny toiletries to being to Romania, among other things.

At some point this past month, we discovered Pound stretcher do luggage bags of various sizes.

But after consulting the max size of the free small luggage for the plane, we discovered that Pound stretcher’s smallest luggage bag size is just one centimetre too long lengthwise.

We decided we might need a bigger bag anyway, because we need to take a bunch of clothes, some toiletries, and a few other things, and a bag that’s 45 X 25 X 20 might be too small for it all.

We’ll have to pay a small fee for the larger baggage…and we’ve decided to get our money’s worth. Pound stretcher’s next luggage size up is 1 cm shorter lengthwise than the max limit of the medium luggage size for the plane, and I don’t think our stuff’s gonna make the bag bulge beyond that.
Heck, we’ll most likely have more than enough room for everything!

We were planning to eventually get that medium bag from Pound stretcher, however…

Today (28/05) as we were getting some more shopping from Pound stretcher, we discovered their luggage shelves were looking decidedly bare aside from two luggage bags, and a worker was putting barbeque stuff on them…I hope they didn’t discontinue selling the luggage, we’re not sure where else we’d get it!

Lav is going to ask them about it on her way back from work tomorrow (29/05).

We also need to get some Romanian Lei to spend for food and drink and stuff in Romania.

We figure £100 worth (which converts to over 500 lei) should be more than enough…but it seems no banks covert to Lei, and the places that do it either have a minimum of, like, £300 or more, or have to charge a fee.

The cheapest fee we’ve found is Debenhams, so we want to go to the one in Manchester and ask them how we do it.

We also wanna get some euros for the plane flight so we can buy food from the food trolley they’ll have on there, coz we’re not allowed to bring our own food for security reasons.

Bloody terrorists.

So that’s our situation so far.

When next I post, I’ll have been to Romania!

I’ve never been on a plane before…it’s gonna be such a wild, new experience!

To be honest, I’m a little bit nervous about something going wrong

But it’s only a quick 3-hour hop…Lav got over here fine enough.

I’m sure there’s nothing to worry about.

Still, wish me luck, internet!

Ciao for now,

Cordially, The Blue Fox.

Posted by: bluefoxy | April 28, 2016

Summon, Switch, Counter, Weather.

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