Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Back to being in control

She's in control, originally uploaded by Rune T.

In the last week I seem to be finally making progress in the great 'Lets Get On Top Of Things Again After Cancer' effort.

Whatever else I went through last year, it took a great chunk of time out of my life. Time I would normally have spent doing the little stuff that you need to keep things going.

Hoovering under the bed; defrosting the freezer; keeping track of my finances; making sure I wasn't being diddled on insurance deals or interest rates; filing my post; sorting cupboards and clearing out unwanted clothes and other items for the charity shop or selling them on ebay.

So, towards the end of last year things had got really bad. Eight months or so of ignoring all the little stuff meant it had suddenly grown into mounting columns of stuff that needed dealing with urgently.

I had to remortgage my property, and that had it's own problems with dodgy surveyors and incompetent lenders. But the deal finally came good last Friday and I'm now back on a slightly less criminal interest rate.

I had to spring clean my house. My house mouse had long since scarpered but I was sure I had dust mites hiding in the corners. I was not far from infestation. And if you think I'm exaggerating, I'd like to point out that I was too embarrassed to let anyone other than the closest (or most insistent) friends or family visit between June and December. I spent two December weekends in a row cleaning. Now I'm inviting people over to eat off my floors.

I sent off for a replacement tax disc for my bike's tax disc. Rich or I would hand the previous disc back and forth to eachother when riding the bike and neither of us claims to have it so who knows where it got to. It probably got eaten by the mouse. But now a new one should be winging it's way to me.

I dug out my letters of referral from my dermatologist and my doctor and booked both a scoop excision of my dodgy mole and a physio session for my ankle - which is almost better but still problematic (it's been over FIVE months since that fall!).

I even had Rich spend a morning looking at my credit cards and bank details. The fact that he did not scarper to Brazil with the contents is proof I could be managing my money better. So on his advice I'm getting a no-fee 0% balance transfer deal with one bank to take on one card's balance and the other smaller balance was paid in full yesterday (why oh why did I take eight months to do that?). And once my mortgage payments settle down, I'll be clearing the overdraft so I can switch to some jazzy new online account where I don't have to pay £30 a month for some daft account fee.

I'm even going to start on the decorating again. Before I was diagnosed, we were frantically preparing our properties to rent them out and I was about to paint my bedroom and had all sorts of other jobs on the go. Similarly, Rich had started to sand down his staircase and woodwork before starting to paint the downstairs rooms in his house. On the day of diagnosis, both of us laid down our tools and they haven't been picked up since.

But when I phoned R this morning he was halfway up a ladder with a paint roller in one hand, and I've got the whole weekend to myself this weekend. So I'm going to sand the window and skirtings in the bedroom, prime the new shelves and maybe have time to do the ceiling as well.

I feel like I'm finally getting on top of things, for the first time in a very long time. Hoorah for me.


Amanda Castleman said...

Congrats on the progress, m'dear. But pray tell, is the tax disc for a pedal bike? I rode one in Oxford for years and was always vaguely aware I needed some paperwork I couldn't be arsed to acquire on the canal towpath.

But narrowboats are all about REBELLION. Yes! Stand back now, I'm going to DRINK SOME REAL ALE.

Anne-Marie Weeden said...

Nope, tax disc is for a motorbike. Admittedly a small one but it goes broom broom nicely enough and got me through our flooded streets this morning (tho I wrang at least a half litre of water out of my gloves upon arrival and had to mop up the puddle that appeared on the floor where I had stood in my gear for only five minutes).

Anyhoo, you don't need paperwork for a pedal bike. You sometimes need paperwork for an electric bike though it depends on the size of the battery. And you definitely need tax for anything with an engine, however small....

We invented bureaucracy. I can't imagine why we would have allowed anything as rebellious as a narrowboat dwelling, real ale swilling, hive coiffuring writer into our fine upstanding country....