Sunday, 15 December 2013

What a day!

Well, things are calming down a little here (I'm pleased to say), though the exhaustion that went with all of the effort at work and home is still there.

On Friday I even managed to leave 3 hours early and take back some time that was owed.  Did the weekly shopping, came home and chilled for an hour and then went for a very cold run.

Yesterday on the other hand was not so superb...

I was woken up at 2am by someone drumming their finger nails on...  Something.

Mrs Stacy was woken by it two and asked what I was doing.

Strange.  Then I welt wet spots appear on my head.

Yup, the new dormer flat roof has sprung a leak somewhere.  Not serious, but serious enough to mean that the bed is now in the middle of the room instead of by the wall and there is a bucket just in case it rains enough to cause it to leak again. On Monday we have to call, and get them to come and fix it.  Gah!

Then we went to pick up the pushchair and car seat from the shop. A trip that should have been so much fun and really exciting, but we were exhausted (it took a while to get to sleep after I had moved the bed and I was expecting the drops of water to follow us across the room...) and so we get there not in the best moods.

And we needed sheets for the cot, and blankets and some other stuff. We got the blankets, no problem there, but can't find sheets.  At all. It seems that the cot we bought, that can turn into a junior bed, is a strange size - 10cm longer than most beds and 10cm shorter than those at Ikea.  So we have to do some searching for real sized sheets or get some longer ones shortend.  Great...

Then we went to get a stand for the baby bath that we bought a couple of months ago. Only to be told that they don't sell stands for the one we bought (even though when we bought it we were told that any standard stand would fit). So now we have to try and find the receipt to take it back and swap it for a more expensive one that does fit the stand.  And if we can't find the receipt then we just have to throw it away and buy a more expensive one.

So far this was not going to plan.

Then we got to the counter to pay for the things we could find, and collect the pushchair etc.  Someone went to fetch everything whilst someone else tried to do the bill.

And tried is the right word. There was no way to call up the bill that we had, even though there was a 400 euro deposit payment on it.

The manager came down and also struggled, so that in the end they gave us the deposit back as a credit voucher and then entered the whole order again.

Though here I have to admit they were very good.  Anything that had gone up in price they reduced to the price when we ordered it, and anything that had gone down in price they gave us at the new cheaper price (which saved about 50 euros I think - the cost of the new baby bath actually...)

We drove home a little under the weather, on the one hand it was so exciting to actually have the baby things in the car, but on the other it was such a worry about the bed sheets and bath (and the leaking new roof) that we could not be as smiling as we wanted to be.

In the afternoon we went to Ikea to get the remaining furniture for the new bedroom. Two bookshelves, a bed (very important now that our bedroom had developed a leak) and a chair for the baby room.

We walked around trying to find all of the things we needed, got to the magazine and started to load up the trolley. Ug.  I say we, obviously Mrs Stace can't load up the trolley, so I had to pick everything up and load the trolley.  And 2m long 50cm wide packages weighing in at about 60kg are not easy for one person to lift!

I managed to put everything into the car (thankfully the front seat also folds flat so that the 2+m long packages could go right to the front) loaded the other boxes and nearly collapsed.

Had an oliebol with raisons (so unhealthy, and so nice - it's a good job they are only available at this time of year!) - and yes that does translate to oil ball - whilst getting my breath back and went home.

Where I had to unload the car by myself. Loaded up the living room and managed to sit for 5 minutes whilst having a drink before starting on the bed (like I said after having the leak I wanted a place to go should our room get damp!).  I unpacked in the living room and just took the bits I needed to the attic for the instruction page I was on. A couple of hours later we had a very complex bed made, complete with 4 drawers to get some storage back in the room!

Then one billy cabinet (where I sliced my middle finger along the edge of one of the pieces) and then a very rushed dinner!

Another billy cabinet whilst regretting eating too quickly, a tidy up and I managed to make it downstairs in time for the first dance of Strictly!  Phew.

Apart from the fact that we are really starting to dislike the judges (we not mute the stereo when they are speaking), and their obvious favouritism for one contestant, and dislike for another, it's a bit of relaxation that we enjoy.

And then to bed, in our room, where I managed to kick the leg of the bed that was now in a strange position in the room so hard that it still hurts now, 10 hours later. Which means of course that I can't run today.  But then again the pain in my muscles from moving a couple of hundred Kg of furniture to the attic is also making that rather hard! I'm just glad I went on Friday!

But, today is a new day. Unpacking the pushchair will be fun, and this afternoon we a (probably) going to go into town and do our Christmas shopping for each other. That is always fun!

Right, time for another cappuccino now!


Saturday, 7 December 2013

Does it matter

Another week down, a week less to do the Christmas shopping (still not started :O ) and another week less till I get to meet Kleintje!

We had a plan to do nothing this week, and we almost managed to do it as well! Monday we had to do some clearing up after they had finished setting up the baby furniture - there were that many boxes in the hallway that it was that or not go to bed :)

But for the rest we have cooked, cleaned and relaxed.

And I have done another 4.5 miles (46 minutes, not good - but better than I was expecting after not running for so long!)

My project is not as over as I would have hoped in the office. There are always loose ends to tie up and glitches to investigate. And as it's getting busier and busier over the health insurance period there are becoming more and more time consuming to fix. But, with the exception of Friday when I just wanted to sleep, they are also interesting exercises.

And I was back at the hospital for my 6 monthly check up. A quick in and out visit. We had a quick chat about the blood test that I asked for recently. My values are all fine, and the T is still almost untraceable in my blood. There is an increase in one hormone (which I can never remember the name for) but whilst they want to keep a close eye on it to make sure it doesn't get much higher, is not anything to worry about yet.

With the symptoms I complained of (the reason for wanting the blood tests in the first place) they have increased my androcur back to the original dose to see if it helps. The T is not the problem, but it can also have other effects that cause the problem. If the symptoms have not gone in three months then I need to go back to the half dose - I'm just hoping that they all come good!

No new date yet for the next check up, because the expect me to be back for the operation before then! Woot (and scary!)

On Thursday the Sint came to Holland to deliver presents to the children, and we had a busy evening with my nieces and nephew watching them open their presents :) Next year we will have our own visit from the Sint - I can't wait!

And now that he is gone we are gearing up for Christmas! Today I start the cake (soaking the dried fruit in cognac overnight before backing it tomorrow), and this morning we are making way for the tree. And tomorrow we have to write the cards and get them sent - otherwise they won't reach the UK in time!

Lovely!

And before I bore you too much...  The title to this post.

This week I was reading an article about research done on the way that the brain communicates in men and women. And why (as a generalisation - something I don't mind as long as it is not reversed to make specific comments about a single person) women are better at some things and men at others.

The comment section to this post got my attention. Lots of sexist comments (something that I have unfortunately come to expect from the tech industry), but one very good question about how does this relate to transsexual people.

There was a comment from someone who told about her experiences - she lives up to some of the findings they have, but not all. And mentioned that it doesn't matter what brain structure she has, she is who she is.  Quite right too.

I also commented (albeit anonymously - yup I can be a coward when I want to be) about my experience with the medical research I did a couple of years ago and results that were given to me.

On the one hand, as I said above, it doesn't matter. I am who I am and that is that.

But on the other hand it was really good to see that there is a very good reason for feeling the way I do. Whilst it is not any kind of information on why this has happened, it is a good to know I feel this because of a solid reason.

It's a paradox in my head that I have been thinking about since I wrote it. It doesn't matter in general, and yet it did do something to see that there is a cause of how I feel.

Anyway, time for something lighter. I have a tradition of reading Hogfather each year in December and if I don't start soon I am not gong to be able to finish it before December 25th!

Look after yourselves!

Monday, 2 December 2013

A week off...

It's been a few weeks since last posting, and there is a very good reason for it.  I just have not had the time or energy to do it!

My life has basically been:

Wake up at 5:30
Shower, dress, cappuccino and breakfast, hair and make-up, more cappuccino :)
Go to work
Work through lunch
Get home, fire up the laptop and work some more
Spend an hour or two cleaning and moving belongings around to make space for the other rooms
Fire up the laptop and spend another 1/2 hour working
15 to 20 minutes relaxing (I spoil myself sometimes)
Go to bed at 9:30ish and fall asleep to Jonathan Creek, The Office, The Vicar of Dibley or Gavin and Stacey (both Mrs Stace and I are too tired / lazy to pick up a book at the moment, and we feel guilty because of it)

Start again the next day.

Weekends have been largely similar, only getting up one or two hours later and doing a little less work and little more around the house.

However... This week, rather this second - the guy is busy upstairs, we have reached a milestone!

We are not going to work on the house this week in the evening.
I am going to try not to work late, or work on the house this week

I am going to go running on Wednesday evening (you may notice that was missing from the list above)

You see, assuming evey thing goes to plan for the guy in the baby room we have reached the point of being ready for Kleintje to make an appearance. The baby room is painted, the lamp on the ceiling has little clouds on it (since an hour or two ago) and has three LED lightbulbs in it (they have improved so much in the last couple of years, and come down in price so much too!). The guy is busy putting together the furniture. We decided that we would pay for it to be done - I had heard that it is rather less well designed than Ikea for home building and takes an age, the guy has been busy for over an hour and he knows what he is doing. If it was Ikea furniture I would have had it done by now!

But it means that no matter how messy the house is the main room is finished.

The attic is almost finished as well (thanks to colleagues and family-in-law) The desk is up there, the bookshelves are full (even if out of order) and the mattress is ready for the new bed it is going to get.

It's untidy still, but it is there and the furniture is not in the baby room, which was the important part!

The garden is empty, the terrace furniture back in it's place (but needs cleaning) and the table in the middle looking classy, even if I say so myself.

I can get to my bike again.  Even if it is a little cold to do 80mph without a heater ;p

Oh, and after taking all of the rubbish to the tip I was politely told that we had taken as much as we could without paying this year.  So whatever is left has to go in January :)

Wednesday I go back to the VU for my check up, and to discuss with the endocrinologist about how to fine tune my medication. The normal one, who runs the gender clinic, is away on personal business unfortunately, but I have no doubt that the other person will be able to help as much.

As long as things can keep ticking over in the office, and as long as I can figure out a way of cutting down the laborious copy, paste between multiple applications to get the data we need when there is a problem then I think that work is calming down as well.

I have been overdoing it, my colleagues are zombied out as well (one of them has my routine but replace working on the house with solving work problems) and we are all on the verge of collapse.

This week however,  I am looking after myself and chilling.  Next week we can plan what is left, in a realistic schedule and in a way that means neither of us is overworking ourselves.

And on that note, I'm going to sign off for another week :)

PS: Apologies for the bad spelling in places - my cat decided that my time would be better spent fussing him rather than typing this and tried to sit on the keyboard! ;p


Sunday, 17 November 2013

Plastered

I don't really have that much to say this week... So I'll apologise for the ramble from the start :)

This week has been a real energy week. I've still been tired in the evening, and asleep by 9:30 most weekday evenings, but whilst working the energy has been really flowing.

The project I'm working on seems to be coming together, just one more company to get working and then I can move onto the 'luxury' part of it. Getting the base connections working for each company has been my priority until now.  However, now I have some more time I can work on the extra information that we want to include, the part of the project that has been on the back burner until now!

Home?  Well, aside from really, really wanting my house back, it's going well.

The bathroom ceiling has been re-plastered this week. It was starting to look very tatty, and also the existing plaster was starting to fall away from the concrete it was (supposed to be) attached to.

The outside of the house is now finished and looks superb. All shiny, no wood showing and all of the repairs have been done in such a way that I can't see where they were even made.  Very happy, I just hope that it's a few years before I have to pay that amount of money again to have it redone!

And the attic...

Well.  Wow.  Really, wow.

Our initial idea was to remove all of the kick panels between the ground and the sloping ceiling and replace them with sliding doors to make access easy.

That idea was pretty much killed last Sunday when I was emptying the space behind them. I removed the access panel and for the first time noticed a big red sticker on the framework behind.  A big red sticker that said (in Dutch): This is a load bearing construction, do not remove this or any other part of the construction.

OK....

No sliding doors then...  So they have been plaster boarded, plastered and will be painted the same as the rest of the room.

And it's *almost* done.

All surfaces that should be plastered are, and are drying out slowly. The wood has been sanded and yesterday the undercoat went on.  The access panels to the kick panel space have been prettied up and made more easy to remove and replace so that I don't need power tools to store our stuff (or get it back!).

And it looks amazing! Even without the paint.  When it was just the framework for the wall I was thinking how small it looked.  But once it was finished with plaster board it suddenly transformed into a room.  And now it is plastered it looks even better!

The builder comes back on Thursday to start painting, and I am hoping that by the end of the week I can put the laminate flooring in, and then get a load of friends and colleagues to move and build furniture and shift 570 books up one flight of stairs. Oh, and to load up a trailer with all of the roof tiles and other rubbish that is piling up in the garden!  And rebuild the garden furniture.

I'm going to do a winter BBQ as a thank you to them - lots of bratwurst sausages in the Weber BBQ and lots of Gluhwein to keep us warm!

I imagine that will be in two weeks time - meaning that if the builder does go over time everything can still be done.

And then the fun can start - painting the baby room!!!  And getting the furniture.  I really can't wait :)

Yes, there is still a lot of work left, but I can now see the end - and I can see what it's going to be like!

Monday, 11 November 2013

That's one done...

Still all go here, and still bloody sick too :(

Though that does at least seem to be getting better!  A bit...  I may even do a small run tomorrow.

Over the lest week my father in law spent 8 days in our house decorating the bedroom. So during the week whilst we were working he was busy with the room.

And we were living in two tiny spaces in the house as the attic was emptied and our bedroom was emptied. Into the spare room and the living room.  Lovely.

Saturday I was told off for working like a crazy woman (quote from my sister in law) with the steamer trying to remove the old wall paper. Stupid, but hey, it needed doing and not working like a crazy woman would have meant yet another day with the room not done...

We also had a full house both days on the weekend - father in law and sister in law in the bedroom with me stripping the walls and mother in law, brother in law, two nieces and my nephew downstairs.

I will admit that at one point I was on the verge of fainting, at the top of the steps trying to strip the sloping ceiling, scalding myself repeatedly with the steamer and swearing at the paper for not letting go from the wood!

Sunday was less physical, but maybe slightly more stressful. My father in law and sister in law stated the wall papering, and there was not that much for me to so (I can't hang wall paper!).  At the end of the day two and bit walls were done!

Monday and my father in law started in the 'feature wall', or to put it another way - the only wall that would have coloured wall paper on it :)

Only... There was a problem, the first roll showed how bad the paper was.  It tore, it didn't cut with a stanley knife and was basically a complete pain. The second roll was even worse, it was a good couple of shades lighter than the first (and yes, both rolls had the same batch number).

Crap, back to the shop to ask and their answer was basically: You're hanging it wrong.

As Mrs Stace said, would they have tried that with a guy?

Even with a picture of wall, showing exactly how much the colour was different we were told simply that a colour difference isn't technically possibly as they are from the same batch. I pointed out the picture again and said that apparently it was...

Long story short they refused to do anything about it, saying it's not their decision. They are waiting for an answer from the maker of the paper.  Only, not the maker as they have also said it's not their problem. We are waiting for the guy in between the shop that sold it and the maker.

Ridiculous!

We had to buy another roll, as we had a bit too short after the rips in the paper from the start, and we had to buy paint to cover the paper and make it all one colour.

And hide the pattern of the paper that we bought it for.  Not happy.

Anyway, the bedroom is done now - it looks amazing and I'm sure that when the stress of the building work is done it will be worth it (not wanting to sound unappreciative of all the work - I just could have done without the added stress :p).

On Friday they came and did the attic for us (time for the other one :p) another 7 hours and there was a dormer on the front of the house - and again the view! - and putting the Velux windows on the back. The room now has so much light it is unreal!

Mind you, moving more than 100 roof tiles from the attic, down two flights of stairs, and into the garden has not done me any favours. Dust and just OMG the physicali

And the painter has started to do the woodwork on the outside of the house (woot, it's protected for winter!), working away for two days so far with two people, and another day to come!

And Today he started making the room in the attic for us.

Please, please, let it be done soon!

Oh, and even with being sent home ill on Monday I managed about 45 to 50 hours last week, and this week is going to be similar.

Hopefully we will get to the end of the stress from the building soon.  And hopefully the stress of the health insurance season will get less soon - as soon as the last links are built and working I can concentrate on keeping them running.

It will all be worth it, I just wish it was done already.


Saturday, 2 November 2013

It's cold outside, there's no kind of atmosphere

Actually it's cold in here, or rather I have one again. And so it was that at 6am this morning I was sitting in the living room watching the Agatha Christie episode of Dr Who so that Mrs Stace could get some more sleep. I can't imagine it was pleasant lying next to someone constantly bunged up, hacking up stuff and not able to lie still, so I gave her some respite!

I'm typing this wishing that I had stopped yesterday on the way home. I knew exactly what I wanted to write about, had a whole post in my head. And knew that it would never get written as there is no way I would remember it in the morning!  And so it was...

So just an ramble I'm afraid :)

This week there was a really strong storm in Holland. It started on Sunday (and so I didn't run) and gradually built up through out the day.  By the time Monday came it was getting to the point where some gusts of winds were reaching hurricane speeds. Something not seen very often on this side of the Atlantic!

Oh, and that was the day scheduled for having the dormer window fitted to our bedroom!

Obviously they didn't do it! It was far to risky to be climbing about on a roof. And so a wonderful week started. Mrs Stace and I have been a bit down in the dumps with it - we have a tight schedule for all of the work in the house and this has made it all the more tight. They were here for two days to do both dormers, and of course now they have only done one. The other will come next week, one day before the builder comes to make the bedrooms! Hopefully the weather will not be so inclement then...

But at the same time it could have been much worse. One of the management team had a tree fall and brush the back of his car outside the office, another car around the corner was not so lucky and had a tree fall across its roof. And of course there were the people who had it even worse.

All things considered, having the inconvenience of the building work being delayed is minor, and we have to keep it in perspective.

Tuesday they came back and did the dormer, and it's amazing how long it took! At 7:30 they arrived, by 8:30 there was a 10m2 hole in the roof (which they made with a chainsaw!). Another hour of tidying the hole and making sure that everything was the right size and they started on building the dormer itself. Three hours later it was done and they left.  5 hours from start to finish and now the room is *huge*. There is no extra floor space, but it seems massive now that we don't have to walk with our heads tilted in half the room :)

My father in law is making it look nice (actually he has made it look nice, really nice) on the inside and suggested that while most of the furniture was out of the room it would be ideal redecorate, something that has been needed since we moved in, and really make the most out of it.  Great.  Except that I have a stinking cold, and am out of the house for about 10 to 12 hours a day for work. And with everything else going on I didn't want to spend more weekends (and nights) doing the decorating. So he offered to help and has spent as much time in our house in the last week as we have. He's coming back today and tomorrow to help us put up wall paper and move the furniture back in.  Along with my sister and brother in law. It is gong to be a stunning room when done!

We are going to make a gift of some of the nice wine we have as a thank you, obviously!

For the rest? Well I have been busy in the office, trying to work through the cold and get things done.  My first milestone of my big project is done (the first company connection is live) and more should come next week. Even with a think head I was able to work through those.

Today, I have to go and refit the lights in the bedroom, now that the ceiling has been painted, and rewire the light switch - the previous owners wired it backwards to the left hand switch turns on the right hand light. I always wanted to fix it (it riles the OCD in me) and I'm turning off the power to refit the lights themselves it's the perfect time!

Then I can fire up the steam machine and help clear the room - about the only thing I am good for in redecorating, if I had done the painting in the bedroom it would have been a mess!

And try not to fall asleep from the cold!

Right, coffee and time to get on with it!

(Bonus points for knowing where the title is from)

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Informaton evening

It's been quite around here, and there is a good reason for it. I'm still getting over the stress caused by the new machines in the office and when I get in I just don't have the will power or energy to write a post.

And so this may be a little short :)

It's annoying me because as well as this blog I also have my photo blog which has not been updated in far too long, my Scrum blog (oh dear, one post... I have another 4 or 5 in my head, but haven't got around to finishing them) and I really want to make a small library MVC application using Visual Studio 2013 (because I want and need to catch up with the latest technology!)

And they have not been done.

The only thing that I have done is kept my running routine going, even in the lousy weather that we have had this week in Holland I have done another 21.75km - and at an better pace than I have managed before. Sunday was a little stupid though. The wind was that bad that branches a few meters long and the size of my wrist were being thrown off of trees. Not only did I have to hurdle them when they were lying on the pavement (and with my accident history...), I was also quite worried about how much it would hurt (or seriously injure me) should one fly off of a tree and hit me.

On the bright side, when the wind was behind me I was running quicker than I ever have, and not using much energy.  In fact I was using more to stop myself from running than making myself run :)

So...  The information evening. It was at the hospital and aimed at those on the waiting list for surgery. It was difficult to get there  in time, the start time was very early due to the need to be finished in time for the last trains and busses) and I had to eat in the way there (quite nice chicken and mushroom hot pot and chips) and meet Mrs Stace at the door.

We took our seats at the end of a row and waited for it to start.

And it was very, very good. The introduction to how the Gender Team at the VU works and some of the things that you have to do (and not do) to get surgery.  Don't smoke (they will do a test on the day, and if you have smoked they will send you home) and do keep fit (BMI 19-30 is OK, 30 to 35 is after a consult and 35+ is immediately turned down).

Then we had information over the operation itself.  What they will do, what they will not do, and the different operations depending on your condition.

And what can go wrong, and what they will do if that happens (if you come in with stitches that have come undone this includes saying: "Oh great, it's an easy fix" as this is the most common and easiest to fix).

Then we had a physiotherapist with information about the pelvic floor, and what you can do to help yourself before and after the operation by exercising it and learning how to relax it. I'm going to ask for some physio sessions from the gender team.

After a break, where I got chatting to another couple of people who were there (all three of us were checking Facebook and I commented how that was a sign of the times!), we had a talk about sexuality after the operation (what to expect and what not to expect - and how to keep your expectations real).  I don't think it really connected to the evening, but the speaker was very good and it was very interesting.

And finally a bit about hygiene and sexual health.

With some Very. Scary. Pictures.

I must admit that it was not what I was hoping for, I was looking more for how to look after yourself whilst recovering from the operation and learning to dilate, but again interesting and well given.

And was as applicable for anyone, not just transsexuals!

As I said it was a very good evening, and did contain some of the information that I thought I had been missing until now. A night well spent.

Yesterday I was back in the hospital again. In a couple of months I go back or my hormone check-up, which will be 6 months after having my androcur halved.  And I am not happy. I fell less in balance, but it's the physical side effects that are bothering me most.  From body hair growing quicker again to others that I won't go into. They have taken a lot of blood for tests and I have a phone consult in a couple of weeks.

I am hoping that the tests show the simplest problem of too much testosterone, which is easily treated. If the blood levels come back normal then I don't know what else there is for them to do...

Fingers crossed!

Sunday, 29 September 2013

A weeks rest

Damn, it's Sunday evening and in about 13 hours I'll be back at work.  That sucks :)

What doesn't suck is the rest we have had over the last week.

I managed to do the 4 runs I wanted, totalling 29km - and in a reasonable condition too. Monday I ended up running without my watch - something that I hate doing as I pace myself with the watch.  But the battery was dead and I had no choice.

I did end up running quicker than normal, but boy did I feel back for it at the end! And then I thought about how to pace myself for the remainder of the week.  So I now watch my pace during the first kilometre - something I don't normally do, and so I end up running way too quickly. And then struggle at the end.

So...  I have a new training schedule. Sundays I run at 6:30 per km, Tuesdays 6:15 and on Thursdays go for 6:00. And then every few weeks try to take 10s per KM off the time.  So far, so good. Let's see if I can keep it up :)

The only other thing that we did was go to a little place called Monnickendam in Noord-Holland. Just a couple of hours to get out of the house and to play with my camera again.  Here are some results :)














It's a wonderful small town, with lots of canals (well, it is Holland...) and all old houses.  Some of which may need a little work!

And with some surprises! You walk down some streets and in between the 100+ year old houses you find...

A ship yard with a boat bigger than a row of houses with the bow resting almost against the street doors (which were open!).

I would have taken a shot of it, but I am not sure it would have been appreciated :)

Monday, 23 September 2013

Busy doing nothing

Now I come to think about it, I may have used this title before.

But it's fitting for this post, in fact it's fitting twice!

So... What has been going on in the time from my last post?  Not much.

We have a date for the dormer windows (end of October, keep you fingers crossed for dry weather :S) and after that someone will come in and make a couple of rooms out of the attic, and then I paint all of the walls and put down a nice floor (OK, an Ikea floor- but they look nice ;p).

Then we just have to move everything from the current study / spare room to the two rooms upstairs and start to decorate the nursery.

And we have about a month to do everything. No problem then. :)

Other than that it has been work and sleep. The VDI machines that I was complaining about before are now our everyday machines.  And we have issues everyday. At present I am working at about 50% productivity as the machine just doesn't let me do more than that. After three weeks I had had enough. I was not sleeping well, stressing every hour of the day about the fact that work was piling up and not being done because the machine just didn't let me.  Issues appear, stop, and come back. And no one knows what the causes of the issues are and so they are not getting solved.

At one point I was in the car and just wanted to turn around and go home rather than fight the machine again.  I have the agreement with my boss about being able to take a days vacation when I just can't cope.  The problem is this wasn't a personal problem where I just needed to reset, this was a problem caused by my work machine and so I don't want to use vacation day for it.  After all, the next day the problem is not going to go away...

In the end, and after a talk with my boss, I just tried to stop caring. The machines don't work and if you accept that, and accept that you can do 4 or 5 hours of normal work a day then the stress does go away a little. Click, wait 30 seconds and then try the next click (or type or whatever).

And I am not the only one. Even a colleague who always just said it's fine with a shrug is getting as down as I am. He has the same issue. What should take 15 minutes can take 1/2 hour or more and it is affecting him outside of work as well.

Friday was actually fun though. After 4 hours, 4 reboots (each of which take 15 minutes minimum) and the machine just not working when it was booted I was waiting for the machine to start again reading my ebook (you have to do something rather than watch a screen) and one of the IT Services guys walked in and asked how my machine was.  The response of "I'm reading a book" did make everyone in the room laugh (except the guy who asked the question).  He offered a possible solution to my problem (and was surprised when I said what he was offering had been tried 4 or 5 times previously).

And screwed up my computer even more. I spent the next couple of hours trying to get the settings back to to what they were. The most interesting was that Friday was my handover day for a weeks vacation.  That didn't happen. And I didn't stay late to do it. If I had judged the time poorly then I would have stayed.  However, after spending 4 hours reading because the machine isn't working I am not going to put in overtime to make up for it.

All in all it sucks.  I still love my job, I just don't want to do it on those machines.  We'll see what the status is when I get back in a weeks time.

So yes.  Stress in the office, and an evil 7 weeks of too much work, and no machine to do it on.  I needed a break even if it has only been 7 weeks since my last vacation.

We had a choice of taking last week off, or this week. As the company weekend away was last weekend I thought that this week was better.  Get very tired, and then take the week off to recover, rather than take a week relaxing and then do a tiring weekend and go back to work :)

So doing nothing at work, and this week doing just as much at home.  Maybe a trip to a zoo to make some more photos of the animals, but other than that we have no plans.  And we hope to keep it that way!

Right, time to drink a coffee, watch the British Superbikes who were at Assen this weekend, and then a run I think!

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Too damn hot!

It's 5th September, the last days of summer are falling away and autumn is on the horizon. I've even seen some leaves starting to turn!

And yet...  Today I have decided to cancel my run as doing it in mid 30's (centigrade obviously!) just seems like asking for trouble.  Standing in the shade the humidity is killing me.  When you get under the sun (there are no clouds) you just start leaking water immediately.

Seeing as I get hot when I run I'm going to guess that it wouldn't be too healthy to do that for an hour...

Bah...

Mrs Stace calls me Goldilocks, as I really can't take temperature differences. I like it about 20 to 22 degrees (maybe up to 30 in low humidity).  Much colder and I am, well, cold.  Much warmer and I just stop functioning.  Everything starts to become too much hassle, I get irritated by the slightest thing and generally don't have a good time. It really needs to be just right for me to enjoy it.

Still, at least when it's cold I can wrap up. Or go for a run to warm up. Or climb under a lovely warm blanket with a hot cup of tea / coffee / hot chocolate / mulled wine.

I can't do that when it's this hot!

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Budgeting

As of last month we are in let's learn to budget mode.

When Kleintje arrives in 5.5 months we are going to have more expenses and as we both want to drop to 4 days a week we are going to have less to spend!

So... Over the last month we have started to note down all of the expenses that we make day to day (this doesn't cover the automatic payments though, one step at a time!). And what has amazed me is that just doing that works. We have seen our weekly outgoings drop as we are both more aware of what we spend.

On top of that we have also started to live on the budget of next year, putting the remainder into a savings account - we thought better to learn now, whilst we can get some money back should we make a mistake than next year when it's all for real!

We were even thinking of switching supermarkets, as we know ours sin't cheap and we had seen the price of the weekly shop sky rocket recently. But we broke that trend that last weeks, and whilst it's reasonable we want to stay with the quality that we know!

So... Let's see how this goes over the next 9 months - after that it's all for real!

So what else?

Well, we are busy trying to ensure that everything is ready when we need it. We had the builders here this week for an estimate for the dormer windows, painting the existing windows, replacing the bathroom ceiling (just the plaster on the concrete, nothing major!) and to see what it will cost to turn the attic into 2 rooms.  Phew.

On Monday we find out whether we have been way to optimistic in that budget! I hope not!

Then...

Yesterday was spent car shopping for Mrs Stace. She has decided on a 207 SW (small Peugoet estate) and we found three within budget (well two in, and one just over). First test drive went well, for a small car it has a lot of options! The most important being dual zone climate control :) The last two Volvo's have *so* spoilt us there!

So, without boring the non-petrol heads with the stories...  After a day testing the cars, and testing whether or not it will fit the stroller / pram that we have bought we had some options.

One fell away within 30 seconds of starting to drive it - it sounded rough and had no power compared to the other two. When the salesman said that he didn't think it was anything to fix I said we were not interested in it then! I've been around cars long enough to know that if you three identical cars (type and engine wise) and one sounds rougher than the other two, and has less power, then something, somewhere is not right and that we would never had trust in the car!

The other two we are really interested in. I managed to do some decent haggling for a change and got both cars down to a reasonable price (most of the time I am very bad at haggling, this time I just decided to be over the top and asked for a 1/6 discount on the car - and got a good proportion of it!)

So today it's relax day (after I've been running) and think about which dealer we are going to call on Monday to say we want their car. It's a choice out of a bit newer, and a lot more luxurious vs a bit of a saving and no climate control....  Tough choice!

Right, time get ready for that run!

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Uitgesteld

Let's start with a positive. I'm not in a great deal of pain any more - woot! Just slightly nervous about how it will go next time!

Now, for those of you who have not yet been to Google Translate (or know Dutch) the title means delayed. As in today I decided to delay something important.

My op.

You see I was called yesterday by the hospital about how the hair removal was going and did I know when I could be ready to go in.  OMG! Should be about three weeks, but I need to check with the clinic.

Called the clinic who said that based on Tuesdays visit it would be between 3 and 9 weeks. So I started to look at things from a planning point of view and it's just not going to happen!

Best scenario I would be lying in bed with quite a wound that I am trying to keep clean whilst builders rip the roof off of the house to fit a dormer window. Or builders would be inside building walls. Either way, not the most hygienic environments with the dust and stuff...

Worst case scenario Mrs Stace would need too much help day to day and we would be getting ready for Kleintje to make an appearance.

Now... I can delay the operation without a problem (more or less). Mrs Stace has a bit more difficulty in not getting any more pregnant for a month or two.

Damn... March or April next year it is!

On the bright side (yes there are a few!)
  1. This was my choice.  Being a control freak that is very important to me! :)
  2. This is being done for such a right reason - getting the house ready for a baby, and supporting Mrs Stace during the last few weeks is far more important!
  3. As my therapist pointed out to me last week. Don't see it as a major op with a painful recovery. Once you are a couple of weeks into recovery I've been told I should be able to do some things. Just not lifting from the ground! That means my recovery will be spent with Kleintje and getting to know him or her in a way that woud not otherwise have been possible!
So.  Jammer. (More Dutch). But not as jammer as making this decision would have been a while ago!

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

I don't do this often but...

OMG, I'm in pain...

I've just had electrolysis again and this time it hurts like hell.
I'm lying on the sofa about to go to bed before 9pm just because it's getting to me...

I've even written this on my phone as I can't sit at the computer.

Sorry, felling sorry for myself a little...

Ow :(

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Busy weekend!

After a week of 'meh' as far as things to say - I've been busy but do you really want to hear about the fun of testing out new VDI environments, and keeping people on track for testing and using an environment that no one wants, and is going to make our life more difficult. Or my attempts at making our Scrum process better? Or working with other insurance companies to make our insurance request process that much nicer for customers?

No, I didn't think so! And so yesterdays post was not an easy one to write :)

But the last two days have been non-stop!

A trip to Ikea to buy some shoe drawers for the wall, making space for the stroller when it gets here. We found what we wanted, but the other things we were looking for were not really what we wanted. So of course we left with a trolley full of stuff (how does Ikea do it?) and enjoyed a Swedish meatball lunch - now with no horse!

After that we needed to go to a shop and check out the nursery furniture, then go to a second and check that one out (both of which are second or third visits...), pick one and order it.

Hahahahaha

The first bit went fine - saw the first bit of furniture and we were happy, the guy in the shop spoke to us about how to order, and what terms and conditions they have, and that was all fine too.  In fact it was very good.

And then, seeing as we were there, we started to look at strollers again. We had limited it to two - one with amazing off road experience, and one with a seat that faces both ways - so when Kleintje (see, I used the temporary name!) is small he or she can look at us when in the stroller and when older he or she can look forward.

After uming and arhing we decided that the backwards seat was going to be used more than the off road use and we had a decision!

Until we walked out of the shop, and for completeness decided to try the Bugaboo. Now... I'm against these mainly because I have heard of too many people who buy them because Gwyneth or Kate use them. Those comments always put me off!

But, we tried and it wasn't bad. The steering was really light - good for turns, bad for trying to walk in a straight line. It folded easily and was not heavy.

Back to two then...

Onto the second shop to look at their furniture. We love the set they have. It's solid oak and made in the same style, and by the same company, as the oak furniture in our living room.

The problem is that it has the same drawback. It has to be sanded smooth - and do you want to risk missing a bit and then putting the baby in the cot? The other drawback is that with it being unfinished you have to constantly wax it in order to stop it staining (even the demo room had stains where someone had split some water). In the living room that isn't a problem - you just wipe and then re-wax. I don't really want the nursery full of was fumes though...

OK - that made the decision for us. We preferred the oak, but went for the other melamine one for usability.  (Still have to order it though!)

OK - pick up a steam cleaner for the garden on the way home and call it a night!

This morning started with a run, wet and a little windy, but still warm and humid so no worse for it, and then start with the chores!

Sweep, weed, tidy and then look at how big the garden looks when all the furniture is at one end the edges of the path are visible!

That took me 90 minutes and filled out compost bin! Then plug in the jet washer.  Damn! When we picked it up we forgot to being the adapter for the taps. The person we borrowed it from has clip on and off taps and we needed the screw on type! 

Oh well - at least the garden looks 10 times better than it did this morning!

Lunch and then start with the shoe cupboards! Lined them up, water-levelled them and put quite few of our shoes in them. Moved the picture we had on the wall 30cm higher so we can still fit it and then moved the old shoe rack around making the space we need for the stroller. And I saw that there were 3 cables there that just weren't needed any more, and one that could be routed far better if the others were removed.

So, unplug the speaker cable that needed re-routing and carefully remove the old telephone wire that went to the ADSL cable that we no longer need (these days it's either a cable model (150/15Mbps) or fibre (>100/100Mpbs) that we will use - and that all has to go into the meter cupboard. Going back to a 6/0.7Mbps ADSL connection is just not going to happen so the cable can go!

Got rid of it all, re-fitted the speaker and then looked at the result.  A really neat hallway, space for a stroller (OK, then it won't be so neat ;p), and looking like a grown ups house for almost the first time.

I'm typing this with a pint of cider, and then I'm going to take the tools back to the attic, take a long, hot shower to unwind and start cooking the salmon and cod creamy strew we are going to eat this evening.

Yum!

See, nothing all week and then BOOM! A weekend full :) And best of all - I feel great for it (scratches, cuts and blisters aside!)

(PS Sorry for boring you with baby stuff! I imagine it's going to take a priority in life for a while here!)

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Bad Wine

I felt so bad last night. Lying on the sofa watching Midsomer Murders with a glass of wine after a long week of work was fine, I had a glass of very nice wine - but something was amiss. I don't know what it was, but there was an edge to the wine.

Then later that evening when I got up to go to bed I had such severe indigestion that I could barely lie down. It only lasted 1/2 hour - but I don't think I will be finishing the bottle!

So what else is new after the news from last week?  Well, actually not that much..

We've started the process of adoption so that I can be the legal parent of our child.

We have taken all of the documents to the lawyer for the adoption.  Copies of everything that is needed, and a copy of everything that might be needed (better to much than not enough...) have been made and now it is up to her to get everything organised.

We have piked the easiest route, just trying for a straight adoption. I have enough stress in life without trying to make this a test case. The only thing we can do now is wait!

And we are trying to ensure that we are ready for when it gets here.

We are busy trying to work out what building work we want on the house, and busy trying to figure out what bills we are going to have in the coming months and budgeting for them.

Hopefully we are going to be able to afford a couple of dormer windows on the house and make some new rooms in the attic, and we are busy trying to figure out how to arrange everything :) If our calculations are correct we are going to be able to double the storage that we have for books as well...

And of course, we are busy trying to figure out how to decorate the nursery - are we going to go for a mural or just keep it solid colours... And which furniture we are going to buy (useful to know which colours ;p).

Oh, and maybe paint the kitchen so that Becca can see the photos of when it's done...

And of course... And we want to start this all ASAP so that we know it's done!

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Big News

OK, I've been busy, and cagey recently - but today I let everyone in the office know what is going on.  As such I can now pass it along here...

So what was I doing last weekend that meant I could not write the post I wanted, or indeed work out or do anything except what we did.

And it was a lot of fun as well, actually I was in 7th heaven! :)

And no, it is not to do with my operation. There is still no word on that (boo), but this is just beyond that in terms of importance to me right now.

I'm going to be a mum. And I cannot tell you how much I smile every time I see that written down or tell someone.

There are some interesting bits that go with becoming a parent and being transsexual in Holland. And they are beyond not good. There was a law written in 1985 basically banning transsexuals from becoming parents. Ergo, I have to adopt my own child to become it's legal parent (and there will be no mention of the biological link on the birth certificate, I will be down as co-mother).

Sucks, but it's not like the child will not know where it came from. I do not want any legal test case here, I know the situation sucks, but I have more important things on my mind. I want to be the legal parent, full stop.

But..  I can't stop smiling! This is a pain, and it's not going to go away before February next year - so there is no point worrying more than I need to!

No, what we are worrying about at the moment is making sure that the house is ready for it's new occupant. Making sure it has a room, making sure it has safe transport and making sure that it has more cuddly toys than it can ever, ever, ever play with :)

Which brings up back to last Saturday. Test driving 'kinderwagens' (I have no idea what it is in English - it's not a push chair and it's not a pram - but it will do both...) and trying to figure out what disadvantages we want to put up with (we have three, and if you put them together you get the perfect one! :p).

And looking for nursery furniture for the new room.

And clothes for the every lovely Mrs Stace.

And buying cuddly turtles.. :)

Serious, it's huge!


And it's the first of many turtles that will make their way here :) I fell in love (honestly it's not for me) and had to get it. I was a bit unhappy when the sales assistant offered to put it behind the counter whilst we kept on looking!

So... yes... that's my big news for now!


Saturday, 10 August 2013

If he walked in now...

A really quick posts today :)

A colleague came to me to the other when I was walking down the corridor and came came out with this:

Stace, I just saw you walking down the corridor then and though to myself, "How weird would it be if <he> walked into the office?" Because even though I've only known you for 18 months [we've worked together now a little more than 7 years], this is really you isn't - it's just so obvious that you were not him! I hope you don't take this badly...

I told him I definitely would not take that kind of statement badly :)

Friday, 9 August 2013

OMG - I am actually doing this!

This week has been a stressed out, pandemonium filled, never ending to-do list nightmare as I try to catch up at work and find that an extra few projects have found their way to my desk over the last three weeks.

There would have been another, except I told my boss I could only take if he told which of the others I could drop. He decided that they were more important and passed the project to someone else, I'm pleased to say!

Home has also been hectic, but only because of the evil beasties that we are still fighting!

A few weeks before we left we noticed a lot of these creatures:

At about 2mm big they are not scary - just bloody annoying! When we called the council about how to get rid of them we were told that you can't really. What you have to do is get rid of their food source - and that is always a leak in the sewer. That was fixed before we went away, but now that their food source is gone they are migrating into the house and we spend a lot of time hovering the evil blighters from all the walls and surfaces.

On Tuesday I had to miss running due to working overtime and getting home and having that many crawling in the hall way that I had to do something about it - it couldn't wait until after my run. And, by the time I was done it was too late to run.  Grrr...

But... The title!

When I had 5 minutes to myself last night it suddenly hit me (as it does occasionally) that I am actually living my life now.

I still find it a little surreal to think that I am doing this. I still have it in my head that other people do this, not me. There is no way I could cope with the stress of telling everyone. Of venturing outside for the first time. Of coming to work as Stacy and living with the consequences.

And yet I did, and yet I am.

Like I said, occasionally this hits me. This is not a documentary where I am thinking "I wish I could do that", this is me doing it.

:)

Sunday, 4 August 2013

This should have had a title when I wrote it :)

Right, a day off! The first of the since getting back to Holland we have no plans for the day J

So, this time three weeks ago we had woken up in an overly warm hotel after being kept awake for some of the night by guests of a wedding in the hotel the day before. After a good breakfast we were on our way up to Scotland, to a little place called Dunkeld just north of Perth.

With wonderful weather, and simply stunning scenery, we took a walk around the village before the going back to the hotel for food. The river Tay (I think) was looking amazing in the evening sunshine and I manager to get a few nice shots whilst we were there J

Back to the hotel for food, which was amazing, and then time for bed. The hotel was a building a couple of hundred years old and, as opposed to all of the others that we stayed in, a private hotel ran by people who really wanted to run a hotel. The service was amazing, the food wonderful and they could not do enough to help us.

Unfortunately there was no air conditioning, and yes even Scotland it was just too uncomfortably warm to sleep well without that luxury! But, we did the best that we could, and got some sleep during the night.

After an invigorating shower (much better than in the first hotel!) we set off for the last run of 2 hours to get to my parent’s house. Not before a stop in Avimore for a coffee though - and not a bad coffee either J

And so we spent 9 days with my parents doing not much, there were a couple of day trips out seeing the local sights (I even went into the sea) and dolphin spotting (twice – the first time there was no one there to play!). There was the obligatory trip to Waterstones in Inverness (we’re now up to 550 books and trying to figure out where the hell we are going to keep them!)

And… For the first time in a long time I celebrated my birthday with my parents J But I’ll come to that later, right now it’s time to relax again!

Finally, for today, here are the shots from Dunkeld J







Thursday, 1 August 2013

Delaying tactic...

I was hoping to write a post this afternoon about the vacation we just had, and the good news that went with it.

But... So far this week we have been in appointment after appointment and out heads are spinning a little, and this morning I got some annoying news (as far as I can see so far not bad, just annoying and a little costly!)

So I'm gong to hold off writing for a while and try to chill (something that has not been possible up until now!)

Sigh...

Stace

Monday, 29 July 2013

To Scotland and Back

It's been quiet here recently, as you may have noticed...

We've made our annual trip to see my parents in Scotland, and a few people in England.

More to follow, but after getting back yesterday afternoon we have not had a chance to relax today. I was having more laser / electrolysis this morning, followed by shopping for food, a medical appointment, taking the shopping back as some of it was out of date and then collecting the cat from the cattery. There should be at lease one day I think between getting home and having an alarm going off early in the morning to announce a full day!

But...  A good trip, and some good news.

Be back soon, promise!

Stace

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Long hair is dangerous!

Really short post!

Firstly, well done Cass!  I'm really proud of you!

Secondly, I am in so much pain right now :) The smiley face is for the way I injured myself...

Whilst conditioning my hair this afternoon I reached behind my head to rinse the hair and... OW!!!

My right shoulder froze and I spent the rest of the time rinsing my hair going, 'ow, ow, ow, ow, ow'

Yup... I pulled my back out rinsing conditioner out of my hair. That's a new one, even for me!

That was about 8 hours ago and it still hurts now :(

Hopefully I am going to be able to run in the morning...  We'll see!

Stace

Achoo!

Actually, that's a lie - I've rarely  sneezed with this cold. It's much more of a blocked nose, sore throat type of cold.

Oh, and in the last week a hacking cough to go with it (it's lovely, I'm having a great time!).

And I've not worked out for two weeks. And it's driving me insane! Partly because I am far too obsessed with my weight, even though I know I shouldn't be, and partly because leaving the routing for two weeks makes it all the harder to get back into it.

So, what I have I been doing to fill my time instead of spending 175 minutes working out?

Well... Thinking about what to put into this post, and then not writing it down and forgetting it. (At the moment this may be a very short post :p )

After the migration of our Team Foundation Server last week I had a lot of loose ends to tie up. The rights issues have been ongoing all week. Nothing bad about them, just enough of them :) Actually, one of them was really hard. It was a buried role somewhere in the server and took me some searching and trial and error, but it was solved and people could work.

That left me time for the future. We use the TFS server for billing hours, source control, release management and (for one of the teams) grooming the product backlog.

New server, new ideas. Everything that we had done in the past was based on ideas that I have 6 years ago, and even those ideas were based on the mess left behind by previous people who didn't  know what TFS was and just did, well I don't know what.  I took me 6 months to get the machine into a usable state :)

So...  Lets start by seeing what we can keep standard (no point in customising something if there is no need!)  and what we have to make ourselves. So, we are going to use the Scrum 2.2 template for everything except the hours and release management. Those are specialised to our process and so are just additions to a standard template.  It keeps most things simple!

It was still a job of about 2 days to make sure I had everything as I needed it to be, but at the moment it seems worth it.

Of course in a month when we start to use it for real, e'll see if the new ideas are correct!  We're in the middle of the holiday period and I want to introduce it to as many people as possible at the same time. Except the hours - there are other pressure there so they had to be used as of this week.  That's right, the week before I made them :) So this week it's manual logging, and then everyone is going to have to manually enter there hours when the system is up and running again. Not great planning, but needs must, as the saying goes.

So what else?

Scrum Day!  Well, Scrum Day Europe! That's right, the day that caused me to breakdown just over a month ago was this week. And it was worth the wait.

In a nutshell:

  • We are doing good Scrum
  • We still have improvements
  • It doesn't matter about the size of the company - the theme was Scrum for the enterprise and the speakers spoke of the same issues we had with a company with 10 times the amount of people
And. Drum roll please!

I spoke to people. I know, that is a stupid thing to be proud of - but for me it is! On the train on the way there I was feeling nauseated about the thought of being at this conference by myself and knowing no one.

But, someone came and stood next to me whilst drinking my coffee when I arrived and I managed to strike up a conversation with her. We had a good chat about Scrum, project management and less work related things and then she asked if I minded her sitting with me during the keynotes. After that we got another coffee, discussed the keynotes and then went out separate ways for the 1st sessions.

I spoke during the first session - the speaker was trying to translate dakkappel into English and couldn't. So I helped her. Dormer window. Now, this is something else that I don't do. A room full of people and I bought myself to the rooms attention by speaking up.  Thank god for foundation, blusher and powder to hide blushing :)

Then a games session. The delegation game. What level of delegation do you give various tasks. I joined in the discussions and stated my case for the level of delegation I was suggesting. And then struck up a conversation with one of the other people taking part on the way to lunch.

Where I also struck up a conversation with a freelance consultant about our experiences of Implementing Scrum versus his. (And again, it seems that we are doing better than average in the time that we have had!)

A bathroom break, some water and I was listening to the edge of a conversation. It was an interesting conversation, but there was nothing that I could add so I stayed on the outside listening in. Until I one of their colleagues came up and struck up a conversation with me (he was also part of the delegation game). It seems that I now speak English with a Dutch twang (only the British notice this, the Dutch still think I speak in a very posh English accent). And we got chatting about various things (Scrum, Scotland and the weather there, general life things).

A few more talks and a CXO QA session and the day was over, except for drinks. I stayed with the people I was chatting with at the end of Lunch and we had a good laugh, I would have done for dinner with them in Amsterdam, but it was not going to be an early night, and my alarm was still going to go off at 5:45 the next day so I had to pass.  Unfortunately.


But, a nice end to a good day. Considering how I felt at the start, I came away really quite happy :)

Right, I think that I have bored you enough for today ;p And I have to load the car with the final load from the attic with a back that has just frozen up whilst rinsing my hair in the shower!

Oh, and after what I said at the start of the post - in between then and now I have actually started to work out again. 15 minutes cardio to start with and it was exhausting! But I'm glad I made a start. 7km tomorrow! Albeit very slow :)


Monday, 1 July 2013

Let's get moving

Where the hell does the time go these days? Just a couple of days ago, 2 weeks tops, it was the start of the year.  Now, not than a month later, it's suddenly July!

Did I sleep through all of those months (or do I just wish I did ;p)...

But. I'm another 6 months on. 6 months of seriously painful laser, and 1 session of more than painful electrolysis and a visit to a plastic surgeon. Whilst I've not been in a great place for the last 6 months I can see that things have been moving.

As for the hospital. Honestly I am not stressing any more about the lack of information. I'm tired from it all, and trying to recover from the stress, but the stress is not really there right now.

I am royally narked off though (Cass: there was almost another bad word there). My job is to plan things, it's to make sure that the processes we have are efficient, lack as much bureaucracy as possible whilst still providing the information that you need. And as much as I have been happy with what the gender clinic had done this far, this part of the process doesn't even seem to have a process. Hap hazard is an understatement. And it is for something that needs more than that.

So yes. The stress has made way for being royally pissed off... (There you go Cass)

And with the stress draining away a wonder virus seems to have taken it's place. There is a cold going around at the moment, and I guess that the stress has lowered my resistance to the point where the virus decided to take up residence.

So, exhaustion backed up by a bit of a head cold.

Well at least I didn't need to do anything and could just chill.

Ha!

This week we moved our TFS server to our new environment, changing operating systems, SQL version and upgrading the TFS and SharePoint version at the same time. There have been enough practice runs for me to know it inside out, and we had some amazing help from an external consultancy (yes, we managed to find one that solved our problems, not added to them! Though out of all of the ones we looked for it was the only one that could!) and so I was as ready as I was ever going to be.

But, fuzzy head, blocked nose, tiredness and a throat full of razor blades was not going to help :)

So Friday I spent the day stressing about the migration, and trying to get as much organised as possible before actually starting.  But it worked! I had allowed myself time to do some cleanup before starting, but it was not needed - everyone had done it before I started.

And then... The second shift of the day - by the time I started I had already worked 9 hours - and after a bumpy start (the first DB backup did not work as I had hoped!) everything started to run.

By 23:00 I had got to the point where I could leave it to run overnight. Sleep!

The next morning I woke up really early, with the cold really going strong. A check on the migration (and again, a small hiccup, but nothing that caused lasting damage - I hope!) and then finish of the last steps. By 10:30 people were testing and by midday I was done for the weekend.

Now I'm just trying to get over the stress, cold and tiredness from the weekend.

Whilst finishing everything that I have to do in the next two weeks.

Oh well, no rest for the...

:) 

Sunday, 23 June 2013

We have our own TARDIS

Yes, I am a Dr Who fan :) David Tennant is my favorite, though Matt Smith grew on me, and the best companion by far was Catherine Tate (thought I was skeptical when I first heard that she was going to take over...) And, yes, I am busy trying to see who I would like to see as the next Doctor. I love one suggestion that I saw on-line - Sue Perkins, I just think that she is so quirky and witty that she could easily slip into the role.  My own choice at the moment would be Shawn Evans, who recently played the title in Endeavour, the series about Morse's early years as a Detective Constable. OK, possibly too close to David Tennant or Matt Smith in terms of quirkiness, but I think with the social awkwardness that he can portray it would be a good change from the over the top in your face doctors of recent years.

OK, geekiness behind me, why the title?

We'll get to it :)

The last week has been, err, painful!

Work has been going, I have managed to get our new server working to the point where I hope the real migration that will take place next week should go without a problem.  Phew.  The pre-work has taken a lot of time, and the migration will take most of my next weekend.

I had a sort of pre-review with my boss during my one to one this week. Something happened that made me bring it up (he was apologetic that I had to be the one to bring it to the table, as he meant to give me some information before hand). Nothing bad, I just noticed that my salary was different so I had to ask whether or not my rise was due. I can't complain as I have had the same with the people in my team over the last year.  Oops :)

But, everything is good. The improvement point is my forgetfulness, there is a pattern of the less important things on my plate being forgotten until he mentions it again, and it's something he would like me to work on in the next year.  Me too, so I am not going to complain there. There may be a reason for it - but I need to ensure that if I am too full that I tell him to remove things.  If they can be removed then I have to do the remaining well, and if they can't then I am not going to take responsibility for it if I have already said it's too much. Something I can work with I think.

Outside of work I am starting to accept the situation with the operation. It is what it is, and nothing I can do will change that. I'm still shattered, and struggling with energy, but hopefully I'll get over that soon! I'm still really annoyed at the way everything was communicated, but that shouldn't have an impact on my view of the op itself.

And...  I found a folder on the VUMC website that goes into detail about the operation. Before you go to hospital, arriving at the hospital, the day of the operation (and lots of details about it), and recovery split into days (day after the operation, days 2 and 3, day 4 and day 5 - hopefully the day you are discharged).

And then a pile of information about what to do at home.

I've read it about 4 times now, and I am going to read it more times still. The first time I scanned it and it terrified me (the pictures, whilst drawings rather than photos, are still OMG!), the second time I read it quickly. Each time I am reading it slower and taking in more information. And whilst the complications are still scary, it is actually calming me down.

And so...  I'm actually starting to get excited about the result, rather than terrified of the op itself. I'm still not feeling particularly spiritual about it (something I asked my therapist about, as most other people who's experiences I have read seem to have a really spiritual vibe to them, and even my mum talks about it being a rebirth), but then I am not that spiritual a person, and maybe that makes the difference. It's something I need to be complete, from a mental point of view as well as a practical point of view.  It is a *HUGE* thing, but I just can't see it as a rebirth. It's a major operation that I need to continue my life.

And I'm continuing the preparation! This week electrolysis for the first time.  And due to a mix up at the place the anesthetic cream had worn off before they began.  OW!!!! That was without a doubt the singularly most painful thing I have done! Depending on where she was working it felt like either I was being kicked in the nuts when the current went on, or that someone was holding a match to me. And the laser that followed had me shaking in pain by the end.

She told me that if it all got too much that we would stop for the day, but you can't do that can you?  It has to be done, and if it hurts then it hurts. It will still hurt in the future so why stop? But, wow, was I glad when she said, "OK, last line now."  Ow.  I'm glad I had already gone running for the day, as it was not going to happen afterwards!

I am so glad I never had to have electrolysis on my face! (OK, I could do with it a little now, but plucking every two or three days for 2 minutes or less seems like a less painful option!)

And the weekend?  Well...  Yesterday I started a new routine on the Xbox, supposedly less extreme that my normal one, but I burnt the same amount of energy doing it! It was however a lot more enjoyable and had more legwork than general cardio so I am going to keep to it.  It also works out the muscles that you need in good condition for the op, and for afterwards so bonus :)

And then the TARDIS...

I cleaned the small cupboard under the stairs yesterday.  We had bought some new drawer units to replace one of the shelves to try and organise everything. I thought that it's a meter * 2 meters (at most) and as you can only stand up in the first meter how hard can it be?

And there it is.  1 * 2 meter cupboard, and what came over covered the floor of a 5 * 6 meter room.  HOW????  5 hours later the last of the things went back, and we have enough stuff that is not going back to half fill the V70 next week to take it to the tip!

And I ache like hell today! Sneezing from the dust, aching from the new exercise, and the strange positions that you need to empty the cupboard, and to remove the lower shelf being replaced with the drawers and still needing to run this afternoon as it was just not going to happen this morning!

What did happen this morning was I made another focaccia, the first time in a while, and so we are going to really enjoy lunch!

Speaking of which it's nearly ready, so I had better get going!

------

UPDATE! I just reread this and realised that it could come across wrong :) I am not saying that feeling spiritual about the operation is wrong.  I was just saying that I don't feel that way. And actually I was concerned by not feeling that way enough to actually bring it up with my therapist on Friday (who said not to worry about it).

Stace

  


Sunday, 16 June 2013

Keep on running

OK, third time lucky hopefully.  I've started this a couple of times in the past few hours and got stuck. Let's see if it flows a third time.

I'll start with the bad.  Thursday sucked.  In fact it went beyond sucking.  Or at least the afternoon sucked.  The morning was actually quite a lot of fun...

I was working from home, and then I had a kick off meeting with the partner company for my major project this year. We had a good chat about how we want to do the communication for the project and what the plans are for the various companies that I will be working with.

Seeing as I am supposed to be the central contact point I decided to tell them that I would be having a heavy operation that would mean I was not available for a number of months, and how we are planning to handle the project at that point.

"Ah, would the be the last operation"
[tilt of head and wry smile]"Ah... You know my history then?"
[smile] "Well, one of our developers worked for your company about 5 years ago and you have a very rare last name. We thought maybe you had a brother, but the chances of that happening in the same company and with that name have got to be so very rare."

I have to smile at the conversation, and their reaction :)

But then I went to the hospital, and that sucked. Firstly I had to get the paperwork from the plastic surgery clinic and take it to the anesthetist pre check. There was a misunderstanding with the rest of my file thought that meant I had to go running around the hospital.  Hohum, it can happen...

So, I was told to wait for the pre operative check.  This was at 11:50.  No problem I thought. Followed by an hours wait, watching the waiting room fill up and empty. At 1pm I checked to see when my appointment was going to be. There is one person in front of you, and we have three doctors working so not long.

OK.  Waiting room fills and empties. At just gone 2pm I was actually seen.  That appointment went really well, no issues and apparently I run a lot (I must admit I didn't class 3 * 7KM per week that much...) and as a result am in perfect condition for the operation.

They needed to take some blood for the transfusion service, so after eating (it was by now 8 hours since breakfast, and I thought that maybe getting food before going to have the blood taken was a good idea) I went there. No delay, but also not the best person doing it - it was on Thursday and I still have the bruise!

And then to the gender clinic to ask a couple of questions that could not be answered by the two other departments this week. I was seen within 10 minutes by someone who was either one of the plastic surgeons, or worked for them.  And that is when it went totally to pot.

I will not be getting a phone call over the next week for an appointment, as I was told on Tuesday.  I have not been on their waiting list for the last 6 months. I have only just *joined* the list (contrary to what I have been told until now).  They do not know when they will be calling me for an appointment.

WTF? So far the clinic has been so good, I don't get why this bit should be so disjointed and full of unknowns. It has really taken the wind from me and left me completely in limbo. I could be operated on  in 4 weeks, 8 weeks or 6 months.  Maybe a year. Basically there is nothing known.  Except for who my surgeon is going to be (that was in the system by the anesthetists).  And no one can understand how that can be in the system (which of the three it is going to be) and yet there is no planning for anything else yet.

And why the hell have I just done the pre-operative check for the anesthetists when they don't know when I will be operated on.  Worst case scenario that it is another year before the operation - anything can happen.  I can lose 10kg, I can gan 10kg - I don't want either, but it could happen! I could get a blood desease, or anything else that the people there need to know about. I just don't get it.

But, everyone has also said that I have to just accept this, that the operation will happen and whilst, yes, it would have been good to have more information, there isn't and I have to try and get on with life now.

So I have tried to.

Exercise. Actually, here I have decided to take a step back.  Monday evening I came in and was exhausted. I got changed and tried to do my workout, but 1/6 of the way through I could barely lift my feet anymore and had to stop. So I was working it out.  I do 45 minutes of running, three times per week and on Saturday morning I do my cardio workout (40 minutes). That is enough really.

So I am going to stop working out on Mondays and give myself a rest.

Lets see if that helps my energy levels, rather than pushing myself to collapse.

Work is "going"... I would like to have more time, but I have managed to say no to two new projects in the last week (after getting rid of two projects in the same timeframe I'm pleased with myself for not forcing new ones on myself!).  I also felt bad for saying no to people, but their response has been very good. When I sent an apology email I got an immediate response asking why I was apologizing, and saying that there was absolutely no reason to.

My other blog (picturesinpassing.wordpress.com) has been so much fun to do, and I spent last night digging through pictures to set up a theme for the coming two weeks.  That gives me some time to try and make myself find something new to take shots of and put on the site.

And, as long as the weather improves a little, I'm starting to relax in the garden. In the sun, reading a book for a couple of hours is just so relaxing.

So...  Crappy Thursday, really crappy Thursday in fact, but I am starting to try and do something to take my mind off of it.

Oh, and I have a new look as of Wednesday. I got my hair dyed again, and because it has been bleached by the sun recently we went two shades lighter than normal.  Wow, is it red!  I love it, but it is taking some getting used to (and has cost me 53 euros in eyebrow makeup - the set that I had was for brunettes and was completely wrong for the shade I have now...  Oops ;p)

Right, time to see if my dad will answer the phone for his Fathers day call!


Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Short update

Really short - seeing as it's the start of the working day!

Firstly, those people I was going to email at the weekend...  There were a few things I didn't get around to doing this weekend (getting my pictures organised for pictures in passing, getting things in the house organised, calling my parents etc) and, yes, sending emails was amongst them.

Monday I was that tired when I got in that I got 1/3 of the way into my first routine on the xbox and had to stop, and so spent the evening just about asleep.  And since then I have not been home...

So... I expect it will be this weekend before I send them, sorry!

Secondly! I had my first appointment with the plastic surgeon yesterday. Still no date, I should get that in the coming week hopefully, so it was a bit of an anti climax, but looking back it was a very goof appointment.  We discussed what they are going to do, and how, what the complications can be - most I knew, but one I didn't and whilst it may be very rare, it also has lifelong implications.  Should they hit the wrong bit when doing the operation you can end up with a colostomy bag for life. A new worry.

They checked me out to make sure everything was OK. And I had to laugh afterwards. Most of my life I never cared about size, but in the last 3 years it's become important ;p Thankfully he said that it should be OK.

We talked about what I can do before hand (keep being a non smoker, and keep to my weight).  And keep being an active participant in the process, and not a passive one - he said all of those are important to a better recovery.

We talked about time of recovery. I'll be in for about a week, and for the next two weeks I'll have to go back once a week for a check-up and then a few times over the following 6 months. I should expect +/- 6 weeks to be working - if all goes well - and shouldn't think about getting back to running for 2 months at the earliest.

And that's about it. I have to go back on Thursday for an appointment with the anaesthetist and then it's just a waiting game again.

The other thing I have to do is contact the clinic for what I need to recover. This seems to be a bit of non joined up thinking. The surgeon doesn't tell you what you need to look after yourself afterwards. That has to come from the clinic, and I have had nothing there.  So there is another call today!

Not what I really wanted (not having a date and all) but I do feel better for having the appointment.

Right, time to start the day!