Posted by: bluefoxy | January 29, 2016

A Bit Of Luck And Judgement

Oh, man…so much has happened this past month…I think the best way to tell you all of what happened is to go through each important event I wrote down on my diary chronologically, each under the date I wrote it in, and hope it all makes sense.

Wednesday 6th January 2016;
I looked up how to inform my standing orders of a change in banks to Barclays.
Photobucket pretty much said to cancel my subscription with them and start a fresh one once I have my new bank account.
I decided to have a look at the space I used and realized I was still only using the free storage space and none of the paid for space…I was only paying for the unlimited bandwidth for some pictures that were being viewed a lot…I deleted the stuff I didn’t need anymore, and just cancelled the payment. Should be okay.

As for Knowhow…well, for security reasons, I can only inform them of a change in banks via phone call if I want to keep the Care Plan payments going.

Urgh…I hate making phone calls. I don’t know what it is…maybe it’s because I haven’t used them very much in my life anyway combined with my general social awkwardness when it comes to talking with strangers.

Tuesday 12th January 2016;
Lav + I went to Hilltop care home to ask if they had contacted her nursing school for references yet.

Turns out they don’t have an opening for a job yet, and they’ll contact the school for references when something opens up.

We’ve decided there’s no point in waiting around for this one care home to have an opening…at first we thought of going straight to Jobwise…but then we realized we, ourselves, can look around for jobs in other care homes in the Stockport area.

Wednesday 13th January 2016;
I went for my jobcenter sign-on today.
Somehow my file on their system now says I have a girlfriend living with me.
Not sure how that got on there…MAYBE because of the fiasco with the Rusholme jobcenter as we were looking into joint claims? I dunno.
It started a conversation with the adviser anyway, them asking about what my GF was doing pretty much, and me explaining we decided it wasn’t really worth her getting JSA because it’ll only go for 3 months.

Anyway, I asked them about if I can tell them in person of a change in banks and the adviser said yeah, just bring the new bank card in. Perfect.

Also got my haircut + sent the driving license renewal form off in the post. (got the updated license in the post a couple of days later..that’s fast!)

Thursday 14th January 2016;
Lav + I felt scared + depressed about our situation last night.
I decided to be honest with her about a couple of things, like me having a part of me that feels bringing her into my real life the way we did was a bad idea.
Also the fact that I’m not really all that interested in going with her back to Romania to visit her parents in the summer.

She was understandably upset at what I said…she reminded me that if I gave up on her, on us, she would likely start hurting herself again and probably even kill herself, because she really does love me and has never felt love like this for anyone else and she doesn’t want her life to go back to what it was before because life sucked for her in Romania and it would suck way worse if she went back.

We talked it out a bit and honestly I think we both feel a lot better about everything because of it.

I’ll be honest, though, that part of me that thinks bringing her into my real life was a bad idea?
That’s not going to go away until she finds a job, is able to keep that job, earns her own money and is not dependent on me anymore.

Friday 15th January 2016;
Lav + I tried to visit Russel Fox Court care home just a little ways north of us in Reddish and another care home a little further up the road but it looks like they don’t take random visitors.

We learned they are both run by a company called Anchor.
Looked on the Anchor website but they don’t seem to be recruiting right now.

Lav searched for other care homes and came across a company called Borough Care, who apparently specialize in care homes in the Stockport area.
AND THEY’RE RECRUITING!

The website says you gotta ring a number for an application pack. Lav’s gonna ring them on Monday.
Fingers crossed for a good answer!

Saturday 16th January 2016;
It snowed today! And the snow is actually covering the ground! Awesome!

Sunday 17th January 2016;
Lav + I managed to build a snowman family.
I’ve never been able to build a proper snowman before, but now I have!

Monday 18th January 2016;
Well, now I’ve seen everything.

BACKSTORY;
A little while ago (I’m not exactly sure when, but it’s at least a week) my love tried to wash some clothes in the washing machine, but it broke down, possibly because she put too much in at once. Honest mistake, she didn’t know, I guess.

Turns out the warranty on the machine had JUST run out recently, too. Typical.
Whether Lav broke the machine by overloading it or whether it was doomed to fail anyway because of the lack of warranty is up for debate. Point is, our washing machine’s busted.

So my parents have to go buy a new one…being short on funds as they are, they find a pretty decent-looking cheap one in a local shop…just a little something to cover clothes washing duty until we can afford a better one.

PRESENT STORY;
We’ve only had this washing machine, what? A couple of weeks?

Well, today, it caught fire.

IT CAUGHT. FRICKING. FIRE.

I thought I smelled something burning coming from the vicinity of the washing machine a few days ago, and Lav agreed…we went to tell my parents but, strangely enough, the smell was gone when we came back to the kitchen with them.

First I knew of the fire was the smell of something burning that both Lav and I caught at about the same time as we were lounging in my bedroom…just then my mom called me down to help my dad.

I entered the kitchen and saw the washing machine smoking. Like, billowing tonnes of smoke out the front…but I thought it was JUST smoking and my dad wanted to get it out to find out why.

So as I was helping him get it out the back door, it suddenly dawned on me…

Me: “Hey dad, is it just smoking or is it actually on fire?”
Dad: “It’s actually on fire”

We rolled it upside-down on the back garden patio…sure enough, flames were billowing out the open bottom of the machine.

My parents dumped buckets of water over it and the fire was eventually snuffed out.

Have you ever seen a washing machine on fire? Well, now I have!!

In all the years I’ve lived in this house with my parents, which is like my whole life thus far, never, ever, EVER has ANYTHING caught fire (Not counting the fireplace and the gas cooker because those are controlled fires for warming things up)

Of all things to be the first thing to catch fire.

OF ALL THINGS

The fricking washing machine.

By design, it SHOULD NOT be able to catch fire…cos it’s full of water when in use, right?

I could only laugh.

It’s a good job we were all home or that would have been the whole place up in smoke and maybe the whole block of houses with it.

And just to prove Murphy’s Law was in full effect, my dad then says “what else can go wrong?” and IMMEDIATELY his watch strap came loose from its hinges so the whole thing fell off!

My dad made a phone call, and managed to get a free replacement this same day.
Yup, a replacement for the replacement. *INCEPTION HORN*

As the delivery guy was installing the new machine for us, I overheard him talking to my dad about product recalls and said “This is a first for me”

Lav then rang the Borough Care phone number…and the person on the other end directed her to an online application on the website!!

Why the EFF would you have the website saying call a number for an application pack if you take online applications from the website?!?!?

Tuesday 19th January 2016;
We keep noticing the number 69, or a number featuring 69 in its digits, pop up in random places and various contexts in our lives.

House numbers, the price of an object such as a mattress or a car, website links, video game scores / in-game money amounts, the potential weekly salary of one of the jobs Lav applied for on the Borough Care website…the list goes on!

We got a phone call from Borough Care…Lav had been shortlisted for an interview at their Brinnington branch on her birthday, of all days!
How’s that for a birthday present? Your very own job!

I went to Barclays to ask about how to switch to them from another bank.

They want three things;
1) A form of identification such as a passport or driving license. Got a driving license, so that’s sorted.
2) The details of the account you have with the other bank. I got my bank card in my wallet, sorted.
3) A proof of address that’s 3 months old or younger. Don’t have that on me right now.

I was SURE I had a letter from the jobcenter or something back at home…so they booked me an appointment to sort everything out in on Friday.
I searched my paperwork…nothing 3 months old or younger.
Dang…maybe a full bank statement from Santander?

Wednesday 20th January 2016;
Lav + I went to Santander to ask about full statements.
Turns out they don’t print them out in branch like Barclays can, they have to request one to be sent in the post.
Had to go to Barclays and cancel that Friday appointment and wait till I get that full statement in the mail.

Friday 22nd January 2016;
At some point between Tuesday and today, Lav got another phone call from Borough Care saying she got another interview in Offerton on the day BEFORE her birthday.
We both had the same idea. We were going to use the Offerton Interview to give Lav an idea of what to expect so she’s more mentally prepared and confident for the Brinnington Interview.

Monday 25th January 2016;
So we went to Offerton for Lav’s interview there.
I’d never properly been in Offerton town before. I’ve been past it, but not in it.
First time for everything, eh?
It took a while for us to find the place because Lav’s phone maps couldn’t quite locate the EXACT position of the care home itself, and after asking directions from a postman, we discovered it was RIGHT THERE on the roundabout slap-bang in the middle of the town.
Turns out there was a mix-up. The person that sent the e-mails gave out the wrong date.
The interviews were actually on the 26th…my love’s birthday…well, we can’t come to the Offerton one because we got the Brinnington one to go to!
So much for using Offerton to prepare for Brinnington!

Tuesday 26th January 2016;
So I took Lav along the shortcut through Reddish Vale to Brinnington…the really muddy one round the back of where my grandma used to live…at the time, I forgot about the other, less muddy way through the main entrance and round by the Trans Pennine Trail and up a road on the other side.
I only remembered that other route after we had already long committed to this first shortcut.

Anyway, after using a puddle to clean the mud off her shoes, Lav and I soon found the place we were looking for and she was taken in to a private room while I sat and waited by the entrance.

Turns out they have a couple of cats living at this care home. A black one that I saw wandering around the place, and I found out from my love that the other one was a fat, lazy one that was there sleeping in the room she was being interviewed in.

Anyway, the folks that interviewed her seemed to think Lav did quite well in her Interview, but they need her to contact her nursing school to get them to send the Care Home two references.

They also need her to pay for a DBS criminal record check…£44

We put me down as a character reference since we didn’t really have anyone else, and it seems they accept that. They seem to want us to start with sending that first.

Anyway, we got back home, had a rest, and before we really had a chance to do anything, we got a phone call from the care home again.

I’m pretty sure I remember hearing them say “We’d like to offer you another position in the same care home, congratulations!”
Lav tells me she’s pretty sure she heard them say it was the SAME temporary position we applied for but then moving on to a permanent position.

At any rate, they invited her over to have a look around on Thursday afternoon.
We THOUGHT this meant they decided not to bother with references and the DBS check and just gave her a job anyway.

She’s worried it’ll be weird for me to accompany her in the care home again so we agreed I would show her the main entrance way through Reddish Vale and drop her off at the home.

Wednesday 27th January 2016;
I haven’t gotten that full statement from Santander yet.
I think the fact that I got my online account with them set up with “paper-free” ticked so I don’t get paper statements in the mail might have overridden my request in branch.

I had to go signing on today and I was thinking the whole time to ask my adviser if they can give me a letter of some kind for a proof of address but the adviser didn’t really open up the opportunity for a conversation, and my social awkwardness did the rest.

Thursday 28th January 2016;
Holy cow! I got a letter from the jobcenter this morning asking about any changes in my circumstances to make sure I was being paid the right amount for my claim, and I’m to send it back in time to arrive on or before the date it’s due on 19th of February.

This is perfect!

It works as a proof of address for Barclays, and then once I got the details of my new account, I can use this letter to send those details to the jobcenter!
The phrase “Kill two birds with one stone” comes to mind.

The only problem is the Knowhow Care plan going out on the 7th. If I can make the switch and get my details before that, great. If not, it may have to wait until afterwards.

So Lav and I agreed I would take her to the Brinnington Care Home for her guided tour, and while she was doing that, I would head over to Barclays in Stockport, find out how long the bank switching process takes, see if it requires an appointment, and have her ring me when she was done so we can see if we have to meet up in Stockport and head home together, or if I’m home already so she can head home by herself using the route we took to the care home.

So we took the shortcut to Brinnington through Reddish Vale using the main entrance, round by the Trans Pennine Trail and up the road the other side, and I dropped her off.

We determine the route takes over an hour, plus it’s really exhausting, and it’s not a good idea to turn up to work exhausted and unable to start work right away.

I should mention also there’s a chance Lav may end up working late until at night, and my parents have voiced concerns that Reddish Vale at night could be dangerous, so they’ve been suggesting just take the bus down from Reddish to Stockport and then the other bus from Stockport to Brinnington, and/or back the return journey.

So with those two facts together, we’ve agreed that taking the bus is best, we just gotta find out how long the bus takes to get there. I think it might just be about half an hour or so.

Anyway, I dropped her off at the care home and I headed to Stockport to talk to Barclays.

Turns out the whole process to change banks can take 7 days, however I’ll likely be getting my Barclays bank card in the mail within 2 or 3 days, so I’d have my bank details pretty quickly.

However, with my next JSA going in this coming Monday, and my Knowhow Care plan going out on the 7th, there’s no guarantee I can be ready to phone Knowhow in time for the 7th and be able to actually pay it with my new account.
So how about starting the switch on the 8th?

The process would take through the 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, and hopefully end on the 15th, leaving just 4 days until the 19th…and normally it takes anywhere from 1 to 3 days for a letter to be sent through the mail in England.

Sorted, right? Well…

I got a sign-on on the 10th and the allowance pay-in for that would go in on the 14th.

There’s no telling if the payment go through or if it’ll get lost in the mire of the bank switch, and starting the switch afterwards would make it too late to send the letter with the new details in time for the 19th.

And the JSA might be notified it didn’t go through, and then I might land in hot water.

Then again, Barclays did say I’d get my bank card in just 2 or 3 days, so I could just send my new details in the letter once I get them and hope it works.

So I have three choices;

1) Go ahead with the bank switch on the 8th and hope the new details will get to the jobcenter before the 14th so they can pay my new account without any issues.

2) Wait until after the March 7th payment of the Care Plan, when all this blows over but it’s still within the 3-month time frame for proof of address, and hand in my new card to the jobcenter in person, though they may think it’s weird that I changed banks so soon after they sent this letter.

3) Cancel my Knowhow Care Plan, and restart it under the new bank account. This, I believe, can all be done online. This would avoid me having to ring them on the phone to inform them of the switch, but it’ll likely delay my computer’s annual health check, that I got as part of the care plan, till February 2017…and that’s the only thing I’m really worried about with that, coz my love and I think my computer might already be pretty unhealthy and have a few things wrong with it after my derping things up with trying to get Microsoft Works off the internet and getting all that adware and giving Kaspersky an impromptu test of virus busting skills.

Personally, because of my awkwardness with phones, I’m very tempted to go with option 3…

I mean, my computer still works okay, with only a few minor cosmetic issues, as far as I can tell.
There’s no real need for a health check right now, I suppose…and if I restart the care plan and my computer goes on the fritz for whatever reason, I can still get a free repair or replacement.

I’ll have to double-check if I can start a new care plan online and see how it works…and if it’s just a simple case of giving them my new bank details along with the details of my computer, it shouldn’t be too difficult.

Plus it would allow me to start the bank switch THIS COMING TUESDAY, get it all done before my next sign-on on the 10th, which would allow me to have the letter out in plenty of time before the 19th, and I can re-start the care plan online pretty much any time I like.

Seems like the least complicated and quickest route to take.
I’ll definitely look into it and see what I have to do to get option 3 in motion.

Anyway, as I was talking with Barclays, Lav tried to ring me to tell me she was done…
I couldn’t answer right then. When I was done, I texted her back and she rang me again to say she was done with her tour of the care home in Brinnington.
So meet up in Stockport it is.

I told her to follow the main road that the care home is on downhill…she would come to a big roundabout…I would meet her there.

She asked “Do I follow the bus route?”
Assuming she meant the bus route heading down the main road towards Stockport, I said “yes”.

I get to where we were to meet, she wasn’t there…I waited a while, then I texted her to find out where she was.

SOMEHOW, SOMEWAY, she was on one of the side streets round the back of the care home.

I was so confused as to how she got there I didn’t know how to direct her back, so we agreed for me to head back up into Brinnington and meet her back at the care home, and then I show her the way I meant for her to go.

She reckons she was lost in her thoughts, latched onto my “follow the bus route” instruction, and she followed it the wrong way, round the corner where it turns into the residential area of Brinnington, loops round, and eventually heads back to Stockport…but that was obviously the long way around to get back to meeting with me…

Why was she lost in her thoughts?
Because the Brinnington care home STILL wants her to get those references from her nursing school, get the character reference from me, and do a £44 DBS criminal record check.

Yep, we wrongly assumed they wanted to skip that process and just give her the job.

Well, the character reference from me will be very straightforward, the care home seems insistent on Lav getting that done first for some reason…

…we gotta figure out how to get the £44 DBS check done…we looked it up online but can only find the standard £25 one available to do online…the £44 one is a more advanced check, according to Gov.uk, and we can’t find an online application for that.
It’s highly likely the check won’t turn up anything…Lav’s only been here in England a few months, and I don’t know if they’ll bother checking with Romania…the only thing that MIGHT pop up is that fiasco with the rental in Rusholme…MAYBE the Police will object to us finding that replacement tenant after only a couple of months living there when we had a full year’s contract but the landlord seemed to think it’s okay so I don’t know.
Anyway, I mentioned it to my dad, and he says our best bet is probably to do it direct at a police station.

The BIG worry is the nursing school…we’re worried that if we ask THEM to send a couple of references for Lav, they’ll just go “WTF?” and not help us…or, if they do agree to send them, the references they send might contradict something said in the interview or my character reference, so the care come goes “WTF?” and doesn’t accept her.
What I don’t really get is why they’re asking us to get the references rather than go contact the references themselves. Oh well, no big deal. Lav can explain to her school what’s going on and we’d have a better chance of them giving a reference, I guess.

I guess we’ll just have to try our best to sort everything out and hope it all works okay.

-END OF DIARY ENTRIES-

Over the course of the month, I’ve been making a little bit of progress on writing my scripts for YouTube…but Lav and I ended up finding a site called Putlocker and have developed a bit of an addiction to watching movies and full episodes of Naruto on there for free…because why not?

I’ll most likely make a lot more progress on my scripts once we deal with the priorities of trying to get Lav her job at Brinnington and me switching banks to Barclays.

With Lav at her job, I’ll be by myself, passing the time each day on my computer, and I know I’ll devote at least some of that time with my YouTube scripts.

Another thing we’re working on through my father is seeing if we can get a metal bed frame before we end up breaking this wooden one. He knows a friend in a local bed shop that might be able to get us a good, cheap deal.

My dad’s been looking at 4-foot-wide beds for us because that would be more room for 2 people, though we feel we’ve got just about enough room with the 3 foot wide provided by the wooden bed.

4-Foot wide would require a 4-foot wide mattress to go with it.
We have a quote for £75 for a 4-foot frame…not too bad…but a £90 mattress to go with it. £165 total. Eeee…

I asked my dad to find cheaper quotes and get quotes on just a 3-foot-wide frame as well so Lav and I can weigh up our options.
I’ll let you know how all this turns out at the end of February.

Until then,
Ciao for now,
Cordially, The Blue Fox.

LATER IN THE DAY EDIT: I just had a look at the Knowhow Care Plan online page to see how I go about cancelling. Turns out you gotta cancel over the phone as well, possibly because, again, of security reasons.
So either way I have no choice but to make a EFFing phone call to Knowhow.
Crap. So much for option 3.

Okay so it’s either try on the 8th and hope for the best or wait until March.

Eeeeee…

…I think I best play it as safe as possible and wait until March and hope the jobcenter doesn’t mind the sudden bank change so soon after they sent the letter.

Posted by: bluefoxy | January 1, 2016

Happy 2016

Posted by: bluefoxy | November 28, 2015

We’re Foxing it

Man, so much has happened since my last blog post, and I learned so much about all sorts of stuff…I don’t even know where to begin!

I guess we’ll start with Jobseeker’s allowance for my girlfriend, Lav
So during our research into getting her claim started, we discovered a thing called joint allowance for couples.

Individually, I get 70-odd pounds a week, and she would get 50-odd pounds a week since she’s under 25 or whatever the age was.

Joint claims would pay one of us the sum of those allowances combined, so we tried to apply for that.

When we got the interview, it was still before November 21st…we thought we could get the ball rolling a little early, but the Jobcenter weren’t having it.

Not only that, turns out for us to claim joint allowance, we’d need to be living together.

And one more thing, since she’s still classified and an EU national, not a British citizen, she would only be allowed to claim JSA for 3 months, then they’d take her right off it again, and at that point, to quote the adviser we spoke to, they “expect” her to go back to Romania. Nothing and nobody mentioned that limitation up until that point.

We were a bit worried about what the adviser meant by that last part, so we looked it up, and EU nationals have a right to live and work in the UK as long as they like since the UK is technically still part of the EU, even though a good percentage of UK folk ain’t too happy about it.

We’re still concerned the proper authorities won’t know that, though. We’re worried that if Lav starts claiming JSA, they’ll use it to track how long she’s been in the UK, and soon as it’s over, they’ll refer her to border security or something, and BOOM! UK taxpayer money in action all they way back to Romania, where she’ll be facing her parents, who will bombard her with questions and berate her for lying to them, since she’s got them thinking she’s already in a school doing an apprenticeship or something and doing fine.

What’s more, EU nationals can’t claim housing benefit, period. Only British citizens can do that.

To become a British citizen, you have to take some kind of citizenship test. To qualify to take the citizenship test, you have to have lived in the UK for 5 years unmarried, or if you are married to a UK citizen it’s reduced to 3 years.

Clearly our only real hope now is for either her or I or both of us to get a job.

Lav has realized that the graduation diploma from her nursing school in Romania would have pretty much made her equivalent to a qualified nurse, AND it is recognized here in England…but since we were planning on her getting into university or into an apprenticeship when we were planning on her coming here, she decided, in her infinite wisdom, to not bring said diploma, because she felt an English diploma would be better.

So she contacted the school and asked them about the diploma, and basically they want to send it to her legally…fair enough, can’t be too careful about important documents like that.

So we discovered what we need is something that gives her mom “power of attorney”, we believe the English translation is from the Romanian wording.

To get this, we would have to go to a Romanian consulate and ask a Romanian lawyer to sign some Romanian paperwork for us to send to Romania.

The two nearest Romanian consulates were in Leeds and Liverpool…we originally thought of going to Leeds, but then we changed our minds to Liverpool since it was slightly closer and seemed easier to find.

Guess what happened when we found the place? The Liverpool consulate we spoke to did NOT have the legal power to sign the paperwork we needed…and revealed we MIGHT have had better luck with the Leeds one we originally wanted to go to since she was an actually lawyer, while he was more of a humble representative or something, but REALLY our only SURE FIRE method of getting what we need was to go to a full Romanian EMBASSY…and there’s only TWO of those in the UK…one in London, one in Edinburgh. Much too expensive to travel all that way, and there was no guarantee of the Leeds consulate being any help.

So we returned to Manchester and, after a bit more research, we discovered a simple notary was sufficient…and there was one in Manchester that would do the trick.

So, with the help of her mom speaking to some lawyers in Romania, Lav managed to write up a letter for our notary to sign and put his rubber seal to, making it an official legal document.

Then it was a simple case of going to the post office and paying for special postage and tracking for a legal document.

Much cheaper than going all the way to London or Edinburgh. Hopefully it works…as I speak, the tracking says the notary letter is circulating somewhere in the Romanian postage network, so it SHOULD be delivered to her mom’s on Monday.

Moving on…

It was very clear the rental I had Lav in was way too expensive to stay in any longer…we had to get her out, so my parents (who understood our situation since they got their first house as a rental while they had pretty much nothing) agreed she could move and stay with me for just £150 a month out of my pocket for as long as she needs to, so long as she does her fair share of the chores, of course.

They only objected at first because there wasn’t really any room for all of her stuff, HOWEVER, we simply needed to re-arrange my room a bit and add a cupboard…and besides, my room needed an upgrade anyway, as it’s been the same way since pretty much my childhood and I had somewhat outgrown it.

So we agreed my parents would focus on upgrading my room a bit while my girlfriend and I figured out a way to get out of the rental…

There was just one problem…

We informed the landlord we wanted out…and he immediately pointed out that we had signed a contract for a year, and if we left early, we’d have to pay the rest of the year’s outstanding rent THEN and THERE.

We worked that out to be over £2,000.

£2,000 we clearly did not have.

And there was no guarantee my funds could hold out for a full year even with JSA topping up every couple of weeks.

And there was no guarantee either of us could get a job in time to rescue the situation.

Crud.

Then the landlord offered a solution…find a replacement tenant. Hallelujah!
We had seen a fair few people visit the property quite frequently…it was obviously a very sought-after location…we definitely had a good chance of finding somebody…

We put up ads on rental ad sites…and literally within just a few hours of putting the ads up, we started getting phone calls and messages of interest.

So while my girlfriend arranged viewings, my parents rearranged and upgraded my room as I helped both parties as much as I could between visits to my Jobcenter-sanctioned training course and whatever else I had to do.

Boy, it was a heck of a job getting the new cupboard my parents found up into my room. It wasn’t really heavy, but it was big and awkward…it was quite the battle just to get it round a corner and position it to go up the stairs! We had to remove stuff off the wall and the doors off the cupboard itself to do it, but we eventually managed it!

We also erected a storage shed in the garden to store a load of stuff I don’t use out of the way. I’m also gonna sell a couple of things I definitely am NOT going to use ever again.

After a handful of viewings, we finally managed to palm the rental off to some Italian guy who was “only interested in our room” and was moving straight in since he was flying in to Manchester Airport THAT EVENING.

His name sounded totally made up, though so we were a bit concerned he wasn’t real…we actually stayed at the rental that evening to make sure he showed up…and show up he did! He signed everything, paid the landlord the deposit and the first month’s rent and all is hunky-dory.

All before we had to pay that landlord a single penny more out of our pockets. Pretty sweet.

Moving on…

We also found out at some point that, apparently, Lav can’t actually become a full Nurse in the UK unless she signs up to some online database, which would cost her £50 a month, but ALL the full nursing jobs say they’ll perform a check on that database, so yeah.
However, she CAN get a job as a Care assistant, which does not require this check, plus will give her some much-needed UK work experience in that sector.

Fortunately, my dad has an aunt in a local care home…he used her as an excuse to bring Lav there…turns out they already have a Romanian nurse there, whom Lav spoke to a bit…this Romanian nurse revealed the care assistant job there, quote “only paid £800 – £900 a month, is that okay?”

HECK YEAH, THAT’S OKAY!!!

Then they somehow managed to convince the care home to give Lav an interview.

At the interview, the guy in charge told Lav that they want to give her a fair chance, BUT they need two references…they suggested a jobcenter adviser, and a local GP…

…given the nature of those suggestions, I rather think they’re just a formality.

The jobcenter’s not interested in giving a reference since they don’t know my girlfriend…as for the GP, we’ve been meaning to get her registered to the English health service anyway…so we registered to have my GP as her named GP just yesterday, and on this coming Monday we’ll ask about how to use that GP as a reference.

Then we reckon we can use the nursing school we’re getting the diploma from as a reference as well.

It’s unlikely anyone’s gonna ring Romania, and I think the GP’s just to say to the care home that Lav doesn’t have any diseases that could threaten the health of the people in their care.

Bad-a-bing, bad-a-boom, the perfect start to a prominent nursing career, IF she can get this job at the care home where my dad’s aunt is.

I think we’ll do a few months of her as a humble care assistant at this care home first, so she has some experience and we’ll build up some money, get ourselves a couples rental, get ourselves settled, then we’ll look into where we need to go from there.

Moving on…

It was on Monday 23rd, Lav and I were downtown doing…something, I forget what. We were exiting Stockport Town Center and were taking the shortcut to Penny Lane that takes us past where the River Goyt and the River Tame join to become the River Mersey.

Lav thought the rivers looked nice (despite all the 20-foot-high concrete walls and stuff lining their banks) and was taking pictures…we then walked through under the bridge that supported the motorway…coming out behind Tesco Extra, and that’s when we saw it…

It trotted out from the pedestrian footbridge over the Tame, cool as a cucumber…I just could NOT believe my eyes…

…it just wandered around, marking its territory, wasn’t even phased by our presence, it seems…and we were, like, 20 feet away.

Lav took pictures, but it came out so small on them, you can hardly make it out.

TWO fox sightings in just over ONE month?!?

I’ve NEVER seen them anywhere NEAR this frequently!

And Lav and I were talking about how amazing it would be for us to see a fox together earlier that morning and she LITERALLY said “We’ll see one when we least expect it.”

We both reckon she’s bloody puh-sy-kik or something.

So here’s Lav and I’s to-do list now, in order of importance.

  • get that damn diploma here to us in England
    1a) We’ll most likely need to get it translated to English once it’s here…hopefully that won’t be too expensive.
  • Get the local GP to agree to do a reference.
  • Get a second interview at the care home with the two references in hand.

With any luck, Lav will at least get a trial run to prove what she can do.
She’ll be awesome at the job, and voilá, we have one HECK of an income to play with.

Then we’ll look into some half-decent couples rentals in the area.

I don’t know what my realistic chances are of finding a real life job myself…at any rate, I’ll see if I can use whatever spare time I can get to start work on getting the components I need to, in turn, start work on editing together some YouTube videos. I’ll need at least a fair few fully complete and ready to upload to start off with.

Sacrifices may have to be made…I’m considering sacrificing my ponysona Typhoon’s Tumblr page, possibly to resurrect in the distant future if I find the time.

Foxy business has obviously been long dead, but again, I can probably resurrect it in the distant future if I find the time.

I may do bits of art here and there between sessions of video editing. I haven’t been too active on the artistic front anyway.

All other ideas for things I want to do will also have to lay buried deep within my mind for at least quite some time.

So there you have it. That’s my life now.

Hopefully I will be able to FINALLY realize my life dream of becoming famous. I’ll accept YouTube famous quite happily. A lot of YouTube famous people are actually a lot more famous than a fair few other celebrities from other walks of life.

Ciao for now,

Cordially,
The Blue Fox.

Posted by: bluefoxy | October 27, 2015

Miscalculations

In the time between my last blog post and this blog post, at some point I realized I have made a slight miscalculation regarding the rental I’m paying for Lavander to live in at the moment.

You see, when we searched for a place, I calculated that my maximum budget for renting a place is a little over 70 pounds a week, because jobseeker’s allowance pays me a little over 140 pounds a fortnight, right? right.

So we agreed to look at rentals for sale for under that price…preferably 10 or 20 pounds under so i still have some spending money each week.

So the rental Lavander is currently in charges 325 pounds per calendar month.

For some reason, we believed the original ad when it said it was charging 55 pounds per week, which was well within my budget.

But had I actually stopped and thought and took a moment to do a bit of SIMPLE MATH I’d have realized that 70 pounds a week, or 140 pounds per week…adds up to something very much shy of 300 pounds a week, let alone 325, and I’d have been able to set the maximum budget at £300 per month during our searches for a place.

Which means, yup, I’m very much losing money paying for this rental alone…and of course I’m giving Lavander money on top of that to spend on food and drink and bus tickets and stuff.

That’s the bad news…the good news is, the bad news is not all that bad.

According to my calculations, I’m only losing a whisker over £25 per month on the rental, not counting extra money I’m giving Lavander, and since I have plenty of money saved up, we SHOULD be able to AT LEAST get Lavander on jobseeker’s allowance LONG before I run out of money.

She’ll have officially been in this country for 3 months come November 21st, then we’ll see if we can get the JSA and the Housing Benefit balls rolling for her.

They might not be able to make it through all the red tape in December but, with any luck, she SHOULD start getting paid by January 2016.

With any luck the jobcenter will be paying her just as much as they pay me…though I might only be getting what I get because I’ve been on it for so long.

And there’s still the distinct, slight, whisker of a chance she’ll get herself employed or on an apprenticeship before that.

Once she’s got herself some form of income of her own, We’ll start looking for a couples place again…it would be more beneficial for the both of us…we simply can’t keep having to travel between the rental and my house.

My parents are suggesting I should look for somewhere in Stockport, coz it’ll be cheaper…more people will want places close to the city center so it’ll be more expensive. Lav and I will definitely focus on results in Stockport when we look for a place together.

It’s only money anyway. it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things, and it’ll all be worth it when we start our life together.

To help lessen my monetary outgoings, I’ve discontinued going to Weight watchers…it’s a waste of money anyway…over 6 pound per week, and all I do there is get myself weighed, when I got a perfectly good set of bathroom scales at home…I feel they’ve helped me change my eating habits enough for me to sustain them on my own. I just gotta remember to keep an eye on my weight. Maybe I should bring back that weekly weight monitoring thing I did with my blog a little while back to make sure I remember.

Speaking of my jobseeker’s, the jobcenter are interfering with my life again…they want me to do SOMETHING looking-for-work-related with my free time, so they’ve enrolled me on a course with Grove training in Hazel Grove…I’ll be headed over there pretty much the second i post this very blog post.
I’ve been meaning to post this blog post sooner but my tendency to get sidetracked has struck again.
Anyway, I guess I’ll be seeing what this Grove Training is all about when I get there.

I saw my 10th real life fox this last Wednesday!
I’d just got off the 203 from Manchester after visiting Lavander, and just as I arrived at the top of the road round the corner from the road I live on, it darted out from a side street to my left, and dived into an alleyway across the road to my right!
Totally wasn’t expecting that!

Well, I think that’s everything.

Ciao for now,
Cordially,
The Blue Fox.

Posted by: bluefoxy | September 30, 2015

The Verdict.

Okay. My jury service is now over as of the 29th of September.

So at first I was told I was only going to be doing it for two weeks…but then I ended up on a three-week-long case which is now over.

I’m still not allowed to reveal any details whatsoever, about ANYTHING to do with the case, to the public, in case there’s a re-trial or they pursue other convictions based on what was revealed in court.

All I can say is, the defendants were found Not Guilty of the specific charge the jury I was in was interested in.

Oh how I WISH I COULD tell all, but I’d get in BIG trouble if I did, and I’d rather keep my criminal record intact at nothing beyond a couple of possible formal warnings, a definite informal warning, and a brief case of mistaken identity.

So I’ll just move on to what me and Lavander are up to.
We decided to wait until she has actually secured an apprenticeship, or at least SOME form of monetary income, before we try and find a couples rental together.
She can’t get Job-seeker’s Allowance or Housing Benefit until she’s lived in the country for at least 3 months. We’re hoping she can get an apprenticeship or a job before then.
We crafted a crude, bare-bones, beginnings of a CV to give to some experts to flesh out but they haven’t sent it her back yet.
Meanwhile, she’s applying to apprenticeships left, right and center in the hopes of securing SOMETHING.
And she only got her National Insurance Number THE OTHER DAY, like, a MONTH after she applied for it.
So I guess the next step is to have her open and bank account. The sooner the better.
And the sooner she starts earning her own money, the better as well. I am able to afford Dave’s rental, but it leaves me with just around £20 a week coming from my Job-seeker’s allowance, which doesn’t last long…but if i manage my spending habits a bit, I should stay afloat long enough to afford it until at least the end of the year…by then, she’ll at least have housing benefit and Job-seeker’s allowance to pay for her rental and food…so for now, we’ll stay focused on getting her that apprenticeship.
Easier said than done…though perhaps the fact she’s an immigrant will work in her favor.

I’ve long since given up hope that I’ll ever find a normal job for myself. But maybe if I use my free time to become YouTube famous, I could possibly eventually make money from that.
Pewdiepie makes millions from it, why shouldn’t I?
I’ll be like “time to go home to my mansion and eat my lobster”

Hey look at that I’m making YouTuber-esque references already.

I’ll get started on that as soon as I can. I just gotta do it my way because OCD.

Ciao For Now,
Cordially, The Blue Fox.

Posted by: bluefoxy | August 30, 2015

Tech-knowledge-y

Posted by: bluefoxy | August 26, 2015

The Crazy, Hectic, Whirlwind Of Life Doth Spin.

Holy moly. So much has happened since my last blog post.

Where do I even begin?

Alrighty, then. I’ll start with the work placement.

So I finally got a letter from Learn Direct telling me to turn up at Longsight Park School on Tuesday the 28th of July to start my 4-week work placement.

It said I was going to do Admin, Catering and Regeneration there. I know Admin is computers and Catering is food. I had no idea what Regeneration was.

Admin and Catering at Longsight Park School?

I was imagining myself serving kids food at lunchtime and probably using the computer to order more food.

Then Lavander pointed out it was the summer holidays. No kids. Duh! Silly me!

Anyway, obviously the placement duration was going to overlap with my intercepting Lavander on the 21st of August. Also I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to still show up for my joke shop sign-on on Wednesday the 29th of July and all subsequent sign-ons during the placement.

Luckily the letter provided a phone number to ring for any inquiries. When I rang it the first time, it took me to voicemail, so I left a rather confused mess of a message while trying to explain what I wanted.

A few days passed and obviously I got no reply that first time so I decided to write down a script for a message to leave on this voicemail and also use as a template in case the guy answers.

I rang again and left a much clearer message and he rang me back later that same day.

He explained that yes, I should go to my joke shop sign-ons during the placement duration and also any days off I have to take are perfectly fine.

So I went to the place on Tuesday…and whoever put down the place-name obviously didn’t do their research. It wasn’t Longsight Park School, it was Richmond Park School. The different name would have confused me had a fellow job seeker not appeared before me. He was searching for the same place and already tried a separate school kinda down the road.

Turns out It was actually the community hut right there on the corner we were looking for, so we went in. There was a whole bunch of other guys and apparently we all had to sit round a table and wait for the Learn Direct guy to show up.

He didn’t show up till after lunchtime. Apparently he was very busy. He explained about what everyone was there to do…he also explained he understood how the job center can be on our backs and very unreasonable about this sort of thing, so basically what he’s doing is providing a friendlier, more flexible working environment for us.

He provided a list of different jobs we could do to pick from. Turns out regeneration meant gardening or building work to improve the area.

I decided I didn’t fancy being stuck in stuffy indoors doing boring admin work all day, and I didn’t fancy cooking food either, so I said I wanted to do something outdoors-y.

I ended up on a team responsible for the maintenance of gardens in the area. Clearing rubbish, cutting grass, weeding, etc.

It was something different to do, I guess…kinda fun, but I very quickly knew I didn’t fancy doing it as a permanent job. Too much hard work.

Some strange things happened while I was on the placement though.

Okay so first of all, there’s the guy in charge of the whole operation who I’ll refer to as “Big Boss Man”
He has a female kinda assistant boss, who I’ll refer to as “Big Boss Lady”

The team I’m put on has this guy who’s kinda the leader. Apparently he’s been working there a while. I believe he was there on a placement at first and decided he liked it so stayed on and achieved something akin to supervisor level.
I will henceforth refer to him as “Crazy Boss” for reasons that will become apparent as I tell the stories.

My fellow job seeker who I ran into on day 1 also kinda features in the stories in some capacity. I’ll refer to him as “F.J.S.”

One of the stories features a kinda tall guy with long hair who I’ll refer to as “Corners Guy” for reasons that will become clear as I tell that story.

And finally one more character who will feature in the story I will refer to as “Hermes” because he kinda reminds me of Hermes from Futurama…same hair style, black skinned…only he’s not as fat, and he wears shades.

Speaking of being black skinned…at least half of the people at the location were black. Big Boss Guy was black, Crazy Boss was black, Learn Direct Guy was black…there was a whole bunch of other black dudes as well…

Big Boss Lady, F.J.S and Corners Guy were white though.

Okay so the first story happens pretty early on in the duration of the placement, during lunch time in the community hut…it was me, Big Boss Man, F.J.S and a couple of other guys.

So Big Boss Man, F.J.S and the other guys were joking about how Crazy Boss doesn’t really do any work. And yeah, having worked with him a good few days already at this point, I couldn’t agree more.

So I tried to join in on the joke. I said something along the lines of “He just sits there and tells you to pick up this weed, pick up that weed”…and they immediately all look at me and their faces go all deadpan serious.

And Big Boss Guy says something on the lines off “Are you complaining? If you’re complaining you should talk about it with me”

So I was sat there like “wtf?”

But that wasn’t the end of it. I went to the toilet and, when I came back out, Crazy Guy was there and he says something like “Are you saying I work you too hard, Thom?”

So I says something along the lines of “I was only trying to join in on the joke!” and Big Boss Guy says something along the lines of “We was only turning the joke around on you, but you took it serious.”

W…T…F….how was i supposed to take it anything other than serious with you looking at me with deadpan serious faces like that? So I says “Right that’s the last time I try to joke with you guys.”

So then about halfway through the duration of my placement, Big Boss Guy gathered pretty much everyone together and led us to a small HQ of what I believe is the company that owns the estate to collect some random woman who I believe is HIS boss or something, and then he took the whole lot of us on a random tour of the entire estate.

I get that you want to show her what you’ve been doing, but, what was the point of bringing us? Was it to help us know our way around better and know where all the streets are? Because at this point, I, for one, knew my way around pretty well.

And then immediately after our little tour-de-estate, he sends the team I’m part of to a little front garden that needed some work, only for the woman who lives there to complain she was told we would be there at 10 but we actually arrived at pretty much lunchtime and she had to go take care of a prior engagement, like, NOW. Crazy Boss had to explain Big Boss Man didn’t tell him about her garden until now.

Then one day around-about week 3…Crazy Boss was absent in the morning, so I was put in a team with F.J.S and Hermes.

We work on a small front garden of some old guy and pretty much complete it in one morning. Easy as pie.
Just as we were finishing up for lunch, Crazy Boss shows up and kinda just watches us finish off some last few bits and then we head off to do our meal.

Now because I finished that front garden, I think Corners Guy found out I was finished and he asked me if I fancied helping him out with his job.

Here’s why he’s called Corners Guy; He and a couple of other guys are clearing weeds off some triangle-shaped patches of dirt that sit on the curb corners of a crossroads that’re kinda in the middle of the estate. These patches of green had been given the nickname “The Corners”. If you saw it, you’d know the nickname kinda makes sense.

So I decide “Cool, yeah, I can help corners guy, that front garden’s done. I won’t have anything to do there”

So I help him rake over one of the dirt patches that has already been cleared of weeds, trying to make it smooth…trouble is it’s full of roots and rocks…and our rakes aren’t having much effect.

So Crazy Boss comes over and tells me to go back to the garden I worked on this morning. Says I’m not supposed to work with Corners Guy because he’s my boss.

So, me , being in kinda “Yes, boss” drone mode, march over to the garden, where F.J.S and Hermes are.

F.J.S is like “What’re you doing here? I thought you were working on the corners with [Corners Guy’s name]”
I say something along the lines of “[Crazy boss’s name] told me to come here and help”
F.J.S is like “Help with what? This job is done! There’s nothing for you to do here. Thom. Go back to the corners and help [Corners Guy’s name], don’t listen to [Crazy boss’s name]”

So I head back to the corners and Crazy Boss is talking to this random chick.
He spots me and is like “What you doing, Thom? I told you to go help on that garden!”
And I’m like “There’s nothing for me to do there, there’s something for me to do here”
He’s not having any and keeps insisting I go back and help on the garden.
So I say, word for word, “Shut up, I’m not listening to you anymore.” and get back to raking the patch of dirt.

Now I kinda meant to say it as a kind of joke, but it didn’t really come out that way…and well…here’s why he’s called Crazy Boss…

Next thing I know he’s all hostile with me, threatening to punch me out and make it so nobody finds me, all while effing and blinding every other word.
So in me mind I’m like “Wtf? this guy’s crazy” And I’m trying to calm him down and the other workers on “the corners” are trying to calm him down but he doesn’t seem to want to listen
He gets in me face looking ready to swing a punch at any second. I have a rake in me hands so I kinda try to use it as a shield to keep his hands busy so he doesn’t swing.
And he’s all spitting in me face as he’s talking and I think some of his spit got in my mouth. Yuk.
Anyway eventually we get him to leave and carry on with our job, but I’m looking over me shoulder every couple of minutes because I half-expect him to be charging round the corner looking to uppercut me to the moon
Eventually it gets to home time and I get back to the community center and Big Boss Man tells me he has spies everywhere and says one of them told him there was an altercation.
So I kinda explain Crazy Boss wanted me to work on a job that was already finished while another guy wanted me to help with a job where there was actually something for me to do.
And he just said something like “You’re a valuable worker, Thom, everyone wants you to work for them, but stick with Crazy Boss, he’s in charge of you”
And inside I’m like “wtf? I don’t wanna work with him if he gets enraged so easily”

The day after our altercation, it rained heavily. Rain stops play and work, it seems, so we were there stuck in the community hut and Big Boss Man gives this whole speech basically about how people of different race, gender, culture, etc… are coming here and we have to respect each other and do the job and then dismissed us all for the day.

The altercation was on a Thursday and the speech was on a Friday so we had a whole weekend to cool our jets. When we came back on a Monday, Crazy Boss pulled me to one side and apologized for his actions.

I do realize I kind of said the wrong thing, but he did kind of overreact to it a bit. I’d understand just saying something like “Oi, don’t tell me to shut up, Thom” or something, but getting all violent like that? Yeah, I wasn’t sure I felt comfortable about working with him, even after the apology.

Anyway Big Boss Man decided Crazy Guy had enough workers already for the job he was doing and put me with F.J.S and Hermes on another job because they seemed a man down.

So F.J.S, Hermes and I do a back garden together and pretty much complete the job in that one day, and we get back for home time.
Big Boss Man’s out talking to everybody and he turns to me and says “Who were you with? These two?” Pointing to F.J.S and Hermes.
Me: Yup.
Big Boss Man: Did you like working with these two?”
Me: Yup.
Big Boss Man: Do you want to keep working with these two?
Me (without missing a beat): Yup.

Sorted.

So on my last week I tried to get a spare minute with Big Boss Man to tell him I needed the 21st off to get Lavander, but he was too busy with other people. Eventually at home time on Wednesday the 19th I managed to talk with Big Boss Lady and she gave it the OK and made a note in her diary, saying she would sign me in.

On the last day (Monday 24th August) The Learn Direct Guy was telling me he would word my CV to say my work placement was a retail one rather than gardening by bending the truth a little bit. He says that’s kind of what you have to do to get ahead in the job market. He also warned me they might put me straight onto another 6 month work placement or work program unless I say something like I’m doing voluntary work.
Well I think my Jury Summons might keep ’em from doing that, at least for a while. I’ll get back to that later.

Also on my last day, the Big Boss Lady took me to one side and basically said “You’re really good at talking, Thom. Have you considered a job as a hospital porter? They’re all about talking to patients as well as carting them around the hospital”
How freaky is that? Lavander is studying to become a nurse and she asks me if I fancy being a hospital porter? Maybe I should look into it.

So yeah…what a performance getting Lavander here into the UK was!
So I get to the airport and right to the arrivals lounge, no problem. But then that’s when things go a little pear-shaped.
First I had the place Lav was coming from confused, and thought it was Budapest when it was Bucharest.
As it turns out, the arrival time on plane tickets means the time it would be AT THE DESTINATION, and not the time it would be from where one departed like we, being the silly butts we are, thought.
So as her plane tickets said 2:25, it meant 2:25 here in England, and not 2:25 in Romania, which would be 12:25 here in England…so the fact that I per-ordered my train tickets to and from Milton Keynes Central based on the 12:25 England time, catching a 13:50 train up to Manchester. So obviously that was blown for a start.

Then when Lav’s plane finally DID arrive, she spent another couple of hours in baggage claim waiting for her big suitcase to show up, before airport staff helped her find it.

So obviously I was concerned my train tickets weren’t valid anymore…but lo and behold, they still let us through into the station. Turns out the 13:50 was just referring to a seat reservation on the 13:50 train. No big deal.

So then we make it to Manchester, find our way to the rental…and luckily the rent guy was there waiting for us.

But he was not too happy that we didn’t show up at the time we said we would, which was 4 o clock, and showed up at, like, 8 o clock instead, and didn’t contact him about it…yeah, I don’t blame him, really.

We had no excuse other than we misunderstood the arrival time and getting mixed up in baggage claim.

He told us to go stay somewhere else for a night and come back in the morning, so we had to grab an emergency hotel room in Manchester City Center

Fortunately, he was a lot more reasonable in the morning. He understood we made an honest mistake and sorted everything out with us.

If nothing else, this has been a learning experience. I now know the arrival time of any flight means the time it would be at your arrival destination, and I learned to get the mobile phone number of anybody providing a rental in case things don’t go to plan so you can get in contact with them.

Unfortunately that’s not the end of our rental woes…today, as I type this, apparently one of the other tenants has complained because I keep coming over and spending hours with Lavander and using the kitchen when I’m not paying for it. It’s okay for me to pay short visits, but I can’t stay at their place and use their stuff.

Lavander is very upset about the whole thing.

We just need to get her a National Insurance Number from the Job center, then a bank account, then get her in an apprenticeship so she can start her studies to become a nurse and start earning her own money at the same time, then soon as that’s all done, we’re looking into cheap rentals SPECIFICALLY for couples and we’re getting her the heck out of there.

Yeah, we made a right pig’s ear of things, haven’t we?

Hopefully we’ll get lucky and get all that sorted before the next rent is due.

As for my Jury Summons…I took it to the job center today and they’ve simply excused me from my next signing in the middle of September. They reckon I’ll be done with my jury duty by the time of the sign-on after that at the end of the month.

I’ll keep you all posted with what happens. Fingers crossed all goes well!

Ciao for now,

Cordially,
The Blue Fox Thom.

Posted by: bluefoxy | July 16, 2015

I Have Been Summoned

A few hours ago now, I spotted a letter sitting in our letterbox. It was addressed to me. When I opened it, I found a Jury summons inside. They want me to appear as a member of jury in a court of law! Holy Moley!

Might be something interesting and different to do. Why the heck not. Imma do it.

The date of the trial is September 7th. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Oh man I haven’t updated this blog in half a year. Guess I’ve been kinda busy, and I guess I didn’t feel there was much worth updating you on.

Well one good thing is the only barrier separating me from getting a new computer at this point is I want to wait for Windows 10 to come out at the end of this month. Then, I gotta go for good value for money, and according to my more computer-savvy friends, it must have;

Nvidia graphics card because apparently that’s the best for gaming.
Decent amount of RAM obviously.
Intel I odd number processor coz apparently odd numbers are better than even numbers.

Other than that, it’s up to my personal preference.

But obviously imma wanna get a decent sized hard drive. At least 2 terabytes. Though I think all standard commercial ones are up to 3 or 4 terabytes at this point.
Preferably I want a computer from the PC brand HP.
Imma get Kaspersky anti-virus/anti-spyware/firewall software coz I’m fed up of Norton.
Definitely Microsoft office too.

And definitely NCH Software Suite if they got it. I’m loving Videopad Video Editor so far.

I’ve been using Videopad to edit together a whole bunch of videos that I now have on YouTube.
It’s a perfect step up from Windows Movie Maker. Very similar interface with a lot more bells and whistles…
AND…you can create multiple layers and layer images over the video.
I got a couple of examples of that in action in my finished videos.
That’s gonna come very much in handy with some YouTube videos I wanna make in future.

Speaking of my finished YouTube videos…they’re of some model railway exhibitions I visited this year. There were a good handful, and there’s two more that I know of and can attend. One later on in September, and another in December.

Anyway lemme link y’all to the playlists of the model rail vids I recorded.
Chapel En Le Frith Model Rail Exhibition 2015

Astley Sports College Model Rail + Transport Show 2015
Hazel Grove Model Rail Exhibition 2015

Plenty of pr0n for you model rail nerds out there LOL

Let’s see…what else?…
…oh yeah. I best update you on what’s going on with my SL love Lavander.
She’s coming to England! Yaaaay!
I helped her out a bit. We tried to get her into a nursing university course but it turns out her Romanian education isn’t good enough. Looks like she needs to spend some time in England earning some better grades through college or something.
So we’re gonna try to get her an apprenticeship so she can earn some money at the same time.
In the meantime, I found her a reasonably cheap rental place to stay in while we get her sorted out. Once we know how much income we got, maybe we can upgrade to someplace better that we can both live in.
Oooh I can’t wait. I’m FINALLY gonna have someone to care about and who cares about me in real life!!

At least, she SEEMS to care about me. Though she could very easily be lying. If that’s the case, she’s on her own. I can screw her over pretty hardcore if I find out she’s lying. Coz technically I own the rental coz I paid and will be paying for it unless she can get an income the instant she gets here. So she’d be out on her ass homeless in the street with nowhere to go. So she BETTER be telling the truth when she says she loves me. I don’t screw around when it comes to matters of the heart.

I dunno for sure if what I feel for her is true love. But I definitely like her a lot. She’s funny, she’s cute, she’s smexy…I’ve even seen what she looks like in real life and she doesn’t look too bad from what I can tell. Certainly well within my league. Besides, looks aren’t everything. She’s got an amazing personality and we’re just so alike it is mind-boggling.

Speaking of the mind, we can practically read each other’s mind we’re so in sync! Often one of us says what the other is thinking, or we say the same thing at the same time. It’s kinda awesome.

So even on a mutual level, we’re a good match. I’ll be more than happy to have her in my life.

In the meantime, at the sign-on before yesterday’s, the joke shop (jobcenter) decided I was getting nowhere fast with my jobsearch. (Gee, you THINK?)
So they put me forward to Learn Direct to get me yet another work experience placement.
Now, Learn Direct is supposed to contact me regarding meeting them for this placement, but beyond a letter confirming they’re gonna contact me, I got nothing.
I told my jobcenter advisor of this, and she simply said “They WILL contact you”
So I dunno what’s going on.

Lavander will be coming over to England on the 21st of August. If my work placement overlaps that, I will have to tell Learn Direct and the joke shop that I require that day off to attend to a “personal matter”…they don’t need to know what that personal matter is and hopefully it won’t be a problem.

Also I should probably let the joke shop know about this Jury summons at me next sign-on. I’ll take the letter down with me in a couple of weeks.

So yeah looks like I’ll be kept very busy for the next 2 to 3 months. Good grief!

So until next time.

Ciao for now,
Cordially, The Blue Fox.

Posted by: bluefoxy | January 26, 2015

Getting Things Done

2015 really feels like the kinda year to get things done!

And hey, I am indeed getting some things done. So are my parents by the looks of things.

Right at the beginning of the year, My mom got us a new washing machine. The old one was all dirty and falling apart. The new one is just so clean and quiet you wouldn’t even realise it’s running until you saw it running.
She also had some new gutters installed a couple of week or so after that. Normally that woulda cost a few thousand pounds but she found a good deal and had it done for just six hundred and odd quid. Not too bad. Adds a bit of value to the house too.
About a week after that, I contributed 200 quid towards her funds and she used it to help her buy two separate single beds because;
1) She was sick of how uncomfortable the old double bed made her feel and
2) She was sick of being woken up by mah dad staggering in absolutely plastered and collapsing into bed.

I helped her get some new pillows and quilt covers from Tesco. I got a couple of new pillow cases and a new quilt cover for myself seen as we were at it. I also found a throw-pillow with a rather cute greyscale picture of a fox on it to pad the footrest in my bedroom with.

So what did I, myself get up to?
Well the first thing that happened was on Saturday the 3rd. I was heading downtown into Stockport. I forget why. But I had barely left my neighbourhood when I came across a dead cat by the side of the main road.
Poor little thing musta been hit by a car.
I decided to leave it and continue with my errands and if it was still there on me way back I’d ring the police non-emergency hotline and report it. (I dunno the number for the RSPCA)
It wasn’t there on me way back so I guess someone else picked it up.
I’ve never seen a dead cat before. When I first saw it from a distance I was like “The heck is that?” and then when I could finally see what it was, I was like “OMG”.

On Thursday the 8th I attended my first Weightwatchers meeting. I’d gotten my hands on a free voucher off one of their magazines so I decided to use that first followed by my Healthy Stockport vouchers.
So I learned that Weightwatchers has this thing called Propoints. They’re a measure of how healthy and unhealthy food is. The lower the points, the healthier the food.
You have a weekly propoints “budget” and each time you eat something worth propoints you take it outta your budget. This weekly budget is 49 points. You exceed that budget, you’re likely to gain weight, you keep to that budget, you’re guaranteed lose weight no mater what. Simple as that.

They have a little propoints calculator you can use to calculate how many propoints something is worth, so I bought one.
I’ve had some surprising results from some of the staples of my regular diet before joining Weightwatchers. Turns out my diet is not as healthy as I thought it was.
You know I’ve been having vegetable soup for lunch pretty much every day? Turns out it’s worth 5 propoints, which is quite a lot. To be fair, it’s a supermarket’s own brand soup so I imagine it’s really processed and full of all sorts of nastiness. So my mom got me a couple of cans of Weightwatchers veg soup, which is only 3 points. Tried some. It’s alright. I’ll tell her to get more on the next shop.
Also, not all cereals who claim they’re healthy are actually healthy. Cheerios is another 5 points. Incredibly enough, Weetos is only 3 points, which is actually not bad considering it’s a cereal with chocolate in it.
Anyway, Porridge is a good healthy alternative. I like porridge so that’s alright. But not all porridges are healthy either. First I had Quaker Oats, which turned out to be 6 points per sachet. Then my mom switched me to something called Mornflake Oats which is 4 points…which is better than 6 I suppose, though Weightwatchers has an own brand porridge available at meetings, worth 3 points per sachet. So I might buy some at me next meet.
At any rate I’m keeping track of me food intake using an indexed diary I accidentally bought from a shop. I prefer non-indexed page-a-day diaries. So I went back and bought a non-indexed diary to keep track of interesting stuff I get up to and the indexed diary I’ll use purely to monitor my food intake and of any excersize I do so I know where I need to make changes.
I’ve already made quite a few changes. Right from the start I knew I needed to stop putting sugar in me cups of tea, so I switched to sweetener. Normal sugar is pretty nasty and probably makes something worth, like, a million points. Sweetener brings it down to just 1 point per cup, which is great news for someone like me who runs on cups of tea.
Well I’m definitely doing something right at any rate. From my starting weight of a whopping 18 stone 5 pounds on my first meet, on my second meet I’d dropped 3 pounds to 18 stone 2, then on my third meet I dropped another consistent 3 pounds to 17 stone 11…and I’m barely even trying! Imagine if I really tried hard at this!

It might be all the walking I’ve been doing. Half an hour pretty much every day. And what I’ve been doing is taking my camera down the local nature reserves. My bonus reward is snapping a rare member of the feathered variety. And I’ve already been getting some pretty special birds in the form of a Woodpecker at Vernon Park…
Woody woodpecker
Oh, you beauty!
…and a Treecreeper down Reddish Vale…
Treecreeper!
Extra special, this!
…oh and this one down Chadkirk Chapel…
Looks like a big dark patch of the tree trunk
Oh and one of my more recent walks yielded this;
I can see a rainbow...
So yeah. Rewards like that for an avid shutterbug like me plus the fact I’m excersizing off the pounds equals one happy blue fox.

On Friday the 9th my mum and I went on a day out to Macclesfield. As we were waiting for the train back home again, I noticed a poster on a wall.
Someone at Macclesfield train station obviously has a sense of humour.
The poster sed “No running, No skateboarding or cycling, No smoking…
No sumo wrestling, No teleporting, No flying while on the platform.

Obviously meant in good fun as a joke.
OR IS IT?!?
Dashie-Jawdrop
#Illuminati #Project Pegasus

I think that just about covers everything for this update.

So until next time,
Ciao for now,
Cordially, The Blue Fox.

Posted by: bluefoxy | January 1, 2015

Happy 2015!

Happy New Year, everybody!

So what kinda year was 2014? Well, it was an interesting one to say the least. But we’ll get to that in a minute.
I think it passed by at a sort of steady pace…not particularly fast, nor particularly slow…though I kinda feel November, specifically, came and gone in a flash.

Alright, let’s go through the list;

1) Lose weight by eating more healthily and excersizing daily. Keep a food and excersize diary to help you with this.
Begin as soon as you ditch this bout of the sniffles you’ve acquired. May be a good idea to go fetch some diluteable OJ to help fight it.

Status – Fail

This is an obvious fail. I don’t even need to explain it. I gave up on monitoring my weight weekly to keep an eye on my progress because it was still ballooning despite the fact that I was being at least somewhat mindful of what I eat, trying to keep to healthy choices, I’m pretty sure I eat at least two portions of fruit and/or veg a day. I have vegetable soup for lunch literally daily, which I feel in itself should count for two. My real problem is excersize, I just can’t keep myself motivated to stick to a regular regime of excersize because it feels like a lot of work for little reward, and even still gaining weight on top of what I’m trying to lose, and the laziness in me kicks in and says “Why even bother if it’s not gonna work?”
But I think 2015 is the year I’m finally gonna get a handle on my weight and make some real progress. I’ll get to that in a bit.

2) Buy a new computer. The HP Pavillion you saw for £570.
Better get some good software too…Microsoft Office, and a decent anti-virus/internet security other than Norton…
Norton’s okay at eradicating viruses that get in, but apparently not so good at keeping them out in the first place…you need something that’s good at both.

Status – Fail

Okay I can explain this one. This, together with this next one;

3) Buy the PS4. Hopefully the price will have dropped a bit later on in the year.
Start your PS4 game collection at the same time too, with Watchdogs and Infamous Second Son or Tom Clancy’s The Division.

Status – Fail

…were actually shelved in favour of focusing my efforts on fulfilling this;

4) Finish the animation you’re throwing together for your Scotland trip videos.
Pretty much all the hard work is out of the way…this shouldn’t be too hard to complete pretty quickly.

Status – Succeed

I decided to prioritize finishing my Scotland Trip Video over everything else because I thought I’d be able to get it done quickly…however, I underestimated my tendency to procrastinate, and I didn’t actually 100% complete this until September. The animation I wanted to do for the intro took a lot more work than I expected. But I finally did it. However, I think I’ll have to forget about adding custom animated intros to my videos for now, until I have gained some experience on how to get them done quickly and with some level of good quality, coz the animated intro for my Scotland vids didn’t quite turn out how I envisioned. It’s pretty close, but I imagined it to be a bit smoother. Still, it’s very good considering I have very little prior animation experience.

5) Figure out how to create multiple YouTube channels.
I’ll need one for my fursona for animated furry related shenanigans and arty speed-draws, one for MLP-related stuff with Typhoon, one for gaming videos so I can do lets plays and whatnot, and I’ll keep my current one for my real life videos.

Status – Fail

I don’t really need to do this just yet. This was more for after I got my new computer. Then I could get the multiple accounts set up ready as I try to go for becoming a famous Youtuber delving into everything that interests me.
I’ve decided to reduce the number of accounts by one, Typhoon is gonna have is shenanigans mixed in with my fursona’s semi-animated furry shenanigansns on the same channel, and still have real life and gaming on separate channels.

6) Visit The Blue Planet Aquarium.
I know this is on a low light right now…but who knows? Maybe we’ll get a chance to go sometime during summer.

Status – Fail

You know what? I think I’ll just stop including this. It’ll happen when it happens. No need to say I’m gonna do it and not do it. I might as well not mention it at all and then, if I do end up doing it, I’ll definitely post about it.

7) See if you can tick off some of the other items in your “to buy” list.

Status – Fail

I didn’t get any of the items I listed on last year’s new year post. But I did get a new digital camcorder, which we kinda needed. So I guess that’s something.

Okay now that that’s done, let’s go over what actually happened this last year.

The first thing that happened was that whole mix-up with Seetec and B + M’s…
Dang, that was this year? That feels like it was at least two years ago now! I pretty much completely forgot about both B + M’s and Seetec!

Man, I still say that whole business with that random manager was fishy to say the least. And yeah, my time at B + M’s is just not even worth mentioning on my CV. Let’s just forget about that whole sorry chapter and move on.

Let’s see…what else we got? A whole lot of stuff about Assassin’s Creed…
That hilariously surreal upside-down car incident on the A6…
Still complaining that I keep seeing too many funeral hearses…

Learning something new about Graphite…and learning how to clean the contacts on my PS3 controllers…
That trip to Higher Poynton. Heh, that was fun.
Oh yes, those pictures from my local nature reserve. Those are some pretty sweet pics if I do say so myself.
Ahh, my friend Luna…why do you hide away so much? I really must try to get her to hang out with me in real life again.
Heh, our Minecraft escapade sure was fun, even if I did die a lot. LOL! Just wait till I get my own copy.

Oh yeah! That new Second Life club that I instantly got a job in!
It’s shut down now. Apparently the main owner wants to go pursue a career in real life as a DJ.
But man, oh, man, was he a bad club boss. He outright cockblocked something that was so OBVIOUSLY a good idea.
Two of the staff managers pretty much had the same idea at the same time…to have a schedule for the staff so everybody knows what everybody is doing.
At the time, I was doing a trail period to see if I would make a good euro head host, so I saw these two doing this and I thought it would be a good idea to have them talk to each other and merge all the staff schedules into one schedule for everybody, so we all know who’s available when, and so it would improve communications.
But nope, he just wouldn’t have it. No idea why not. Urgh. I’m so stealing the idea for my own club if I get the chance to make my own again.
Speaking of my trial period…yeah, I got a chance to experience being a Euro Head Host. First I was asked coz the previous one wasn’t doing their job…and I was like heck yeah…but then they started doing their job for a bit and everybody kinda forgot about me until I asked if I was still in the running…and they were like “well, it’s open now…if you wanna have a go, we’ll hook ya up!” and so they did.
Now from what I can remember from the initial explanation of my duties, I was to spend at least one hour per day physically in the club and I was to do everything in my power to fill those early morning shifts with hosts. Seemed simple enough.
And I felt I was doing okay, and for a good couple of weeks everybody was happy, UNTIL…they arranged some kinda re-opening event for a new club build they came up with…
And the GM poked me in IMs and was like “Why aren’t you here? You’re supposed to be here all afternoon until 4 PM Second Life Time!” (Midnight my time)
And I’m like “Wait a sec, you didn’t tell me that, you told me I only needed to do one hour!”
And she was like “No, we specifically, clearly told you your duties, I clearly remember telling you ‘you have to commit a full afternoon until 4PM SLT!'”
…well I knew I just couldn’t do that. Luckily as I was still in a trial period, I was free to leave and there would be no hard feelings. But the GM did admit they were “Disappointed”.
I’m a bit disappointed myself. The club had a lot of potential but it was just squandered. It didn’t pull the crowds I thought it would. It just bombed pretty much right from the word go.
I’m gonna have to try to get re-hired in the club I was in before that. I lost my job there because I kinda lost my drive to be an epic host there. They were asking me if I needed a break…I shoulda taken that as a sign that yes, yes I did.
But I was too stubborn to see it. I feel should tell ’em, “Hey, next time you feel the need to ask me if I want a break, just TELL me I need a break, okay?”

Oh yeah, and finding SL love in the form of the lovely Lavander. Heh, we’re just so right for each other. We’ve picked out our song. It’s Kiss’s “I Was Made For Loving You”. Probably a popular choice but when it comes to how this relationship feels, nothing fits quite as perfectly as that song. Plus you really can’t go wrong with such a classic, can you?

Moving on…Oh that whole escapade with the switch and the router. Hey, at least I know now! And hey, it got me some extra ports for all my technical doo-dads that require internet!
And the 2014 MCM expo, that was a lot of fun.
And yes, the final completion of my Scotland Trip videos in September. Oh, the relief.
Oh, the fox sighting. Yeah, that was something special. You know, one of these days, I’m gonna see a fox and I’m gonna have a camera on me and that’ll be the best day of my life.
Oh yes our trip to Rochdale. That was interesting.
Oh I already explained my short-term as a trial Euro head host in that post. Oh, well.
And then I talk about wanting to do a video tour of where I live.
And then I have that trouble with Videopad and accidentally deleting it without checking to see if it did it properly.
And finally we get on to my GP recommending I get in touch with Healthy Stockport. Okay.

So first thing I need to let you guys know about, is I got to re-finish editing together the tour of my house, and this time make sure it publishes the whole thing. There must be a publish whole video button somewhere.
Then I just have one quick artistic endeavour to finish up and a story to finish writing, and THEN, FINALLY, I’ll be able to get a new computer.

Second thing I need to let you guys know about is what happened when I got in touch with Healthy Stockport on the advice of my GP.
So what happened was, I filled out the application online, because I kinda mucked it up on the leaflet, as you do.
Then about a couple of days later I got a phone call from a lady, pretty much asking all the questions that the online application asked, probably just to verify I was the one that filled it in. She then said she’d send me some Weightwachers vouchers, which I received…I think it was either a Wednesday or a Friday, a couple of weeks before Christmas Eve/Day.
Anyway, she then explained that an advisor would contact me and arrange an appointment to see me and arrange a plan of action to help me get into shape.
And that’s exactly what happened, a woman called Michelle rang me and set up a meeting on Wednesday at midday at the local library, which was perfect.

So me and Michelle talked and I explained I tried doing things on my own and I didn’t get anywhere coz it’s hard to keep motivated on your own. She and I basically set up an action plan that I would do a walk, 30 minutes, 5 days out of the week, and then come back to see her the following Wednesday.
Well the day after I talked to Michelle was miserable and rainy. I didn’t fancy going out in that.
Then Friday started out fine, so I set out for a walk that day to head down to Vernon Park, which was easily a half hour walk away in itself, but then about halfway to Vernon Park, it started to rain, and when I was four fifths of the way there, it got to the point where it was bucketing it down…so I was like “bunk this” and just went home.
Then on Saturday my mom was like “Do you want to go to Lyme Park?” and so we went to Lyme Park. We did around about 3 hours of walking in one day, give or take 30 minutes.
I skipped Sunday, then on Monday I went down Reddish Vale and had a walk round there with my camera, snapping some birds.
I don’t remember what I did on Tuesday.
Then on Wednesday I had to walk down to the jobcenter, and then walk to the library to see Michelle again to tell her what I did. I didn’t exactly follow her plan, but hey, Lime Park was in itself a whole week’s worth of excersize in one day!
So then we agreed we would meet again in the new year, keep up the good work.
It rained all day on Thursday again,
Then on Friday it was nice so I took my camera down Vernon Park and got this;
Woodpecker
A Greater Spotted Woodpecker. That’s pretty special. There were actually a couple of them flitting around…one of them flitted off, but this one was obviously very obligatory. I got five very decent pictures of it.

Then before we knew it, Christmas Day rolled around. Now normally my parents and I don’t really bother doing anything special for Christmas, so I was honestly very surprised when my mom gave me a bag containing a long t-shirt (because both she and I are sick of short t-shirts and low-slung pants exposing my arse all the time. [she got it from Topman, who it turns out were doing a sale on them, so I got a few myself the other day]) and a pillow with a picture of a fluffy fox in snow on it. Brilliant!

We then had a Christmas Day walk down Reddish Vale, and I took my camera again…and not only did we see a Kestrel perching on the viaduct…
Kestrel!
…but we also saw an honest-to-god Kingfisher!
Now, I did attempt to take a picture of the Kingfisher, but it was way on the other side of the pond from us, and despite using all the zoom my digital camera had, the blighter still looked like a little blue and orange dot on the view screen. I was literally seething under my breath “My kingdom for more zoom!!” at the time.
I was hoping maybe I could get it up better on my computer, but no luck, it’s all pixellated. I’ll have to remember to ask my dad to see if he can do anything with it.

Really, these appointments with Michelle are just a bit of a failsafe to make sure I commit to daily excersize. Walking is just a starting point coz it’s fairly easy, and some experts say it’s the best excersize you can undertake.
I’ve also decided that I’ll take my camera on each walk I go someplace with some greenery, and each time I get something rare is a reward for getting out there…and it is a reward, I wouldn’t be getting shots like those if I hadn’t taken time to experience real honest-to-goodness life!

I really must remember to look up local Weightwatchers meets in my area to see when and where the next one is so I can join up and use those vouchers. Maybe my diet isn’t as healthy as I think, and they can point me in the right direction.

One last thing. At some point between my last blog post and this one, I paid a visit to PC world to see if the HP Pavillion I has my eye on is still there…but I couldn’t find it…however I did see much better HPs…ones with 3 terrabyte hard drive, a 8 gig memory and various numbers of core processors.
Price? Higher than ONE. THOUSAND. POUNDS.
Jumping jehosaphat…I don’t think I wanna pay that much. Not unless they can put me on some kinda payment plan to spread the cost over a period of time, rather than sink that whole load in one go. 500 or so quid is one thing, but over a thousand? Dang.

Maybe I can find something going for a much more decent price when it finally comes time to buy it. We’ll see.

So here we go, my list of things I’d like to do during 2015;

1) Go for a walk at least 5 days a week. Don’t get so nitpicky about going the same places over and over in rapid succession. You never know, you might see something rare.

2) Join Weightwatchers. Pretty self-explanatory.

3) Buy a new desktop computer. Whatever they got that you can afford without too much hassle that’s still decent. And yeah, decent software to go with it.

4) Buy a PS4 and some games to go with it, such as Watchdogs, Tom Clancy’s The Division, Infamous Second Son, Destiny, and Minecraft PS4 version.

5) Look into how to create multiple YouTube Channels. You already got one for real life. You also need one for general internet shenanigans with your fursona and pony shenanigans with Typhoon, and one for gaming, doing lets plays and whatnot.

I reckon that’ll do it.
I got a feeling 2015 is gonna be a good year…the year I finally get my life in order. Then I’ll really be motoring, just so long as nothing catastrophic happens to prevent it.

So until next time,

Ciao for now,
Cordially, The Blue Fox Thom

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