le Weekend

So, despite the persistent sore throat (which has lead me to be worried about whether I got something icky in the small cut I found on my finger during one night shift (and hence whether I should have done an incident form and gone to occupational health); I have to remind myself that I had the sore throat *before* the cut, and therefore my paranoia should shut the f*ck up) we held a pretty darn spiffy Thanksgiving.

Nikki and Kate supplied turkey, James some truly delicious wine, and us the veg, the cooking space and the, uh, space. Our house isn’t huge – but we managed to squeeze 5 around the table without too much difficulty – and thanks to Kathryn’s careful scheduling the food all landed up being cooked and ready to eat at the right time. We had a traditional US dinner consisting of Turkey (one of the rare occasions we’ve cooked meat, although I let Nikki do all the prep ;) ), Sweet potato casserole, Sage Cornmeal biscuits (anyone know where you can get Cornmeal in the UK? We brought back an entire kg of it from the States – in our case), Home made stuffing spicy sausage and sage stuffing, Cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, Gravy, Wine, Schloer & Root Beer… and for desert, made with fresh pumpkin – Pumpkin pie with whipped cream / pseudocream.

It was a vast amount of food. We have, as is traditional, a fridge half-full of turkey. Yesterday Kathryn made one of our pet meals, Artichoke and Cheese Tart – but replaced some of the onion with… Turkey. Today I’m going to have a second slice of tart for lunch and some… Turkey :)

We attempted to fob off much Turkey on Nikki and Kate, and later on James, as well as some of the remaining produce from the Fried breakfast for the day following (Pancakes, Sausages/Beans/Hash Browns etc, which Nikki very generously cooked).

So much food!

It was a delight, though, to see everyone and have everyone here. I have new admiration for dog owners though. Pepper and Eddie occupied our house for one day – and very well behaved dogs they both are too – but the amount of hair and dirt they left behind is truly astonishing. Our venerable and aged Dyson DC01 wept tears of frustration as it attempted to suck and beat the hairs off the carpet*; and the sheer quantities of hair that we swept up in the kitchen – well – I am much impressed by those who keep dogs and keep their houses clean. I’ve no idea how you do it. I do, vaguely** recall that when living with Daisy there was an amazing amount of fur-deposits around the house, and that vacuuming was often a multi-bag-emptying job (with the then quite shiny DC02).

Anyhow, we spent the evening engaged in a War on Terror which – amazingly – we (the coalition of Nikki, James, Kathryn and I) beat down the terrorists (Kate – who managed to at one point have Terrorist cells in virtually every country). James wishes it to be known that while the Coalition won, he won the most*** ;)

Sunday, Kathryn and I had a fairly lazy day (apart from the hoovering, sweeping and laundry) leading in to a week of work in which my shifts are ‘not great’. Two long days**** and two late shifts. This weekend just gone was the last and final weekend I get off until after Xmas – the only reason I have a weekend off then is to prepare for nights. And to ice the cake of awful shifts – Kathryn is off for two weeks over Christmas – Christmas week – which I’m working (except the weekend after) and New Year’s week – which I’m on nights. The day she goes back to work is my first day off after nights.

Bloody fantastic that is :(

The only compensation is that while December is a 3 week month pay-wise and January a convenient 6 week month (urk!) then the pay I get in January should be less painful for it because I should get a bucketload of enhancements. Making it through the December / January months is always somewhat difficult. I am faintly tempted to move my pay straight into my savings account when it comes in, and give it back to myself just before Xmas (an idea which only just popped into my head).

And, can we all have our ‘make it a nice day and Kate-be-well’ heads on for Friday – ‘cos ‘beccamog really needs a service, and however much I try and put it off it’s time and I should do it. Even if it’s bloody freezing (like today :( ).

As a side point – changing your name is complicated as a Registered nurse – especially when people randomly say things like ‘hey; your civil cermony certificate isn’t signed’ and you go ‘oh, no it isn’t, arse’. Virtually everyone’s accepted it except NHS Professsionals, which makes it doubly complicated because my name on the Register has now changed. Anyhow, jobs to do today include faxing my statement of entry (from the Nursing and Midwifery Council) to all and sundry and also ringing Cumbria’s Registrars and saying ‘oi, should our Civil Partnership Certificate be signed’?

* although I think its filters probably need changing again – what with us having had builders in and much dust being sucked through the poor benighted object.

** all too well, actually

*** Having all of North and South America under his control

**** Sort of my choice.

ERR: Empty List

So I think I’ve reached the end of my list of people to inform I’ve changed name. I need to make a trip to the bank, and one to the post office (to buy 17 million stamps); I’ve made an appointment with the doctor to go and discuss what to do now they’ve discontinued a medication I’m on, and why I’ve not heard from the allergy people, and could they please put my nose-spray that stops me spending each day sneezing on my repeat, please, please. Oh, and did they get my blood test results back?

I’ve sorted out getting the final handles done in the kitchen. I’ve filled in a form to reclaim tax because apparently nurses can get something towards the cost of laundering uniforms and buying inordinate numbers of socks, which I didn’t realise, and which is handy. I’ve washed down the bin and put it back in the kitchen. I’ve eaten lunch, made myself a very tasty cup of earl grey tea, transferred a chunk of debt from one credit card to another (with a much lower rate of interest).

I’ve ordered the form to change my driving licence (but not the one for my passport), I’ve requested prices on the DAF parts needed to service the DAF (which is now making a noise – to coin a phrase – “I don’t think it should make that noise”) – in fact, it’s making a worse noise than when we parked it a few days ago. I’ve e-mailed another person about a gearbox for the minor (the first person I asked ‘d got rid of theirs ‘weeks ago’) – and am becoming increasingly convinced that it’s making more unpleasant noises than it was when it first started making unpleasant noises.

The shower, at the moment, looks more like it’s sealed than it has before. I don’t wish to test my faith, but I’m a little hopeful.

I’ve popped an envelope around the corrected timesheet that got sent back to me for a night shift I did a few months back, and all my cars/motorbikes will soon be registered to me in my shiny new name.

I’ve *even* washed the ‘working on the house and car’ clothes, so that I can do some ‘working on the house’ and ‘working on the car’. This includes my very fetching boiler suit, which, well… fits attroicously. If anyone, anywhere, knows of a company that does boiler suits / jump suits for women, that’d be handy. Ideally cheap ones, because they get covered in oil and gick. (Shock: I’ve found one company that lists a women’s coverall / overall / boiler suit / jumpsuit: http://www.gbrworkwear.com/dickies-ladies-redhawk-front-coverall-wd4839w-p-822.html). The annoying thing is that going to a car show you can pick up loads of second hand and not too shabby overalls – for men – which is what I did last time. But having breasts meant that I ended up with a huge size tent like coverall (although it does say something like Singapore Aviation on it, which is quite cool).

However, while it sounds like a roll call of accomplishment, and my list is slightly marred by the fact that I *meant* to do the DAF service today, but excused myself from even looking at it (despite the fact it’s been more or less dry all day) because I didn’t have any workwear to wear under the car. Which is, to be fair, a not unreasonable reason for avoiding getting down-and-dirty-with-the-DAF; but at the same time, had I have thought about it, and been a little more prepared I could have put the stuff in to wash before hand. I’d also feel less like I wasted much of the day browsing the interwebs. Which I did. But hey. Sometimes you need a rest.

It ain’t cheap

Getting married isn’t cheap, not by any means. We, thankfully, have had wonderful family around us who’ve paid for ‘most everything; for which I am awesomely grateful. But I’ve just discovered that there are some things you only discover afterwards. We spent a lot of time discussing it, and decided to change our names to match. Kathryn has an extra degree of complexity in that civil partnerships aren’t recognised by the US (they are by 26 other countries though! :) ), and so I’m not quite sure how her change of name works.

In the UK, you can actually change your name just by using the new one. The Civil Partnership document grants a degree more legal proof to it, and makes it easy to get things like passports and driving licences.But while it’s required that you update your passport (it must match your legal name) it’s not *free*.

I actually have to get a new passport – they can’t just re-issue me with a replacement for my current one. Very generously they’ll give me an extension to the run of the new passport of ‘up to nine months’. Well, woot. Only my passport has 7 years left to run. And for this generous service they bill you a mere 72 quid. Interestingly, the driving licence is free (although I might get my expired 25kw restriction removed, thanks very much, and that costs 17.50).

So far I’ve come up with 22 companies, groups, societies, agencies, workplaces that I need to inform. Make that 24. No, 25. Each time I think I’m nearing the end of my list I come up with another… :-/

Augh. The photocopier at work will be getting much use to copy the Civil Partnership document for mailing out to…everyone. :)

Unadulterated warbling

So, more from the delayed update fairy.

Today Kathryn awoke me with a kiss and the information that Obama had won the US election. I was hopeful but wary, considering that I’d spent some of yesterday watching the video / reading the Rolling Stone article on Republican maneuvering to remove nearly 20% of voters  in some areas. And listening to NPR yesterday the discussion of malfunctioning machines, and then reading the news last night and finding that optical scanners were causing problems… well… it all boiled down to me not being utterly convinced that the election would go the way the voters intended.

But all that’s in the past – although I think some true electoral reform may be needed – in regards of making sure those who are registered to vote can vote, and maybe kicking Diebolt’s arse for manufacturing such attrocious voting machines :)

At any rate, it’s pleasing news. Maybe the world can get on with moving forward into a nice, sensible future, rather than attempting to bring back the inquisition.

So, on the topic of local news; Kathryn and I have been making use of wedding gifts – we tried out the new teapot a while ago and it was excellent – the cool thing about it is you can stop the brewing process; so once the tea’s ready, it stays in the pot ready, rather than going yicky. That, and it looks cool too. It is the Bodum teapot – much in the line of the cafetiers, but for tea. In fact, you probably could use the cafetier to make tea, should you wish. I may indeed try that at some point, for a one cup pot of tea.

We’ve also used the new mixer; it’s very, very nice. It does really quite yummy dough – and the metal bowl can stand near the fire being as we have no ‘warm place’ (i.e. there’s no airing cupboard) to put the dough in to rise. In it we made Calzones, which are yummy, and enabled us to christen our new baking tray (well, cookie tray, technically). And yesterday we had our first pasta experiment – which also seemed to go fairly well. I didn’t quite get the mix right in terms of consistency, and have realised I don’t need to bother with the hand mixing bit; I can just dump it all in with the dough hooks and it can do all the faffing. But, once cooked it tasted like pasta (pasta is just egg and really, really fine flour. Who knew!); and I suspect that given this (mixer related) information we may be able to produce pasta somewhat quicker.

The pasta maker got christened yesterday too – although we need something to clamp it to; so I suspect in future I’ll make pasta on the dining table because yesterday it was a two person job to make pasta (‘cos it kept sliding around).

I was going to post a picture of the pasta, because I was quite proud (a million italians are weeping right now), but unfortunately I’ve no idea what I did with the batteries from my camera. Not that they’re really working now – it’s on it’s third set and they’re nearly dead – I ought to take a whole bunch for recycling because it slaughters them. I’m not quite sure how or why, but they end up lying in the gutter after about 6 months of use; they still take an age to charge, but the camera only works for about 30 shots or 8 flash shots before they give up and start crying.

But I still can’t afford a shiny new SLR, so another set of batteries will have to be sought.

In other, other, news; I appear to have sourced a 3.9 ratio Diff for the minor. This will mean (a) she’ll go faster for less revs (the original diff is 4.22:1); (b) she’ll have a diff which isn’t producing little shards of metal as we go along (which is, I think we can all agree, a bad thing); and that (c) I need to get off my arse and sort a gearbox. The diff in question needs reconditioning, but honestly? 3.9 Diffs don’t come up *that* often, (3.7 Diffs even less so); so one that needs some new bearings is quite honestly a good find.

I’ve stuck a post on the MMOC to see if someone will pallet me a slightly knackered old gearbox – and if they will I may have to take over a spot of floor and strip and rebuild it. It’s a little scary, but me and my trusty Morris Manual (and a selection of tools) should be able to manage it. No, forget that; we will be able to manage it.

Sadly, the DAF has developed a new noise; although the DAF owners club reckon it might not be such a disasterous noise as I first thought – so the Minor’s due a service, and the DAF is due a service, and I need to run the Minor up to Leamington again to get the leaky oil-breather changed. It’s at this point that I could do with access to a garage.

And in the final piece of news; I’ve re-sealed the shower, again. What I pulled out was, to put not too finer point on it, manky. I cleaned within an inch of it’s life, and sealed it with fresh silicone sealant. What happens now is up to the gods. And now? Now it’s time for me to go dunk myself in a bath – ‘cos I’m giving the sealant lots of time to dry out.

I have a good excuse this time :)

So, as I often say to start posts; um, it’s been a while…

I can’t actually remember when I last posted. It was probably a rant about builders. But this time I have a good excuse. We’ve been busy *grins*.

So, I did my ATNC course, which I think I also whined about; this is the Advanced Trauma Nursing Course. It includes the Doctor’s ATLS (Advanced Trauma Life Support) but with some more info for nurses, ‘cos on the whole we’re not taught to read x-rays or auscultate chests (unless you’re up in the lofty position of ENP or Consultant Nurse, by which time it’s kind of expected). Hell, I’m learning to auscultate chests by picking on patients who’ve got wheezes or crackles and asking them if they mind me listening. Hopefully, eventually I’ll get to the stage where I can actually identify noises :)

At any rate, as the builders continued their month long assault on our kitchen Kathryn questioned me each evening on the identification of tension pneumothorax, massive haemothorax, cardiac tamponade, identifying different levels of shock, and so on, and eventually on the Friday I took the exam (which is, thankfully, different to the doctor’s exam. We have the same moulage scenarios but different test papers, ours being short answer and theirs being multiple choice). I’d got myself fairly worked up about the 40 question 45 minute paper (I think that’s right) – but in the end I finished in about 30 minutes, giving me time to go through and vascilate about answers for some items and remember random things I’d read online. The only really frustrating thing is that they don’t give you the paper back, so you never know what you got wrong…

At any rate, I passed* and headed home, unfortunately somewhat late. I say ‘unfortunately’ because my plan had been to get home, clean a bit (the builders having ‘finished’ at 1400, alledgedly), and then collect Kathryn’s Mom (Sherry) and Partner (Terry). So I was somewhat shocked to arrive home a full hour and a half late to find 2 white vans outside; which lead to me thanking them for finally getting the gas engineer in (because I through a complete hissy fit about them suggesting that after a month of work (that was meant to take a week and a bit) they couldn’t get a gas engineer in to finish the job until Saturday. A discussion ensued around the fact that yes I was pleased, but they also needed to be out of the house by the time I got back with Kathryn’s parents. Then I found out that their plane was landing early and lept into the mog for a swift drive to the airport.

Thankfully, Kathryn’s mom was not one to panic, because I’d (at this point) lost my mobile, Kathryn her charger and so they had no way to reach either of us to find out why I wasn’t at the airport at the officially sanctioned time. They settled down, had some coffee and I flew in sometime around half way through their drinks. And, thankfully, when we got home Kathryn’d had a chance to do the bits I was planning to do (changing the sheets, tidying and cleaning) and the builders had indeed left. Less fortunately, later that day the main fuse for the whole house blew. It appears to have been dishwasher related, but we’ve not been able to locate the specific fault. What we did find is that the numptie who last put the replacement fuse in didn’t replace the ceramic fuse container which has the rather important job of stopping the rest of the fusebox melting. I’ve now got a replacement fuse and fuse whatsit, and thus need to turn the power off to change it over, because currently the house is running on the semi-melted fuse (with a new fuse wire).

Unfortunately I had to to work all but two of the days they were here before the wedding, but they very kindly took us to see Avenue Q. I’ve wanted to see Avenue Q for years, always intended to go, but never quite made it. We got excellent seats for what turned out to be the 1000th performance, and I think everyone enjoyed it. I did have a few minutes of going “Oh god, third time we meet and we’re watching simulated puppet sex**….”; but the show was excellent, the tunes catchy and the puppetry*** phenominal. I do now want the soundtrack, and I also want a little Kate Monster to sit on top of my monitor. Not that I ever use my monitor…. But still.

Sadly they don’t do little puppets, which I think is a real shame, a mini Kate Monster would be awesomely cute.

Lots of people seemed a little concerned that Sherry and Terry were coming to stay the week before the wedding, and that it might be stressful for me/us. For me at least, I didn’t mind a bit. I really like Sherry and Terry, and enjoy their company – while a bigger lounge with more chairs, and perhaps, in general, a bigger house would have been nice (so that we had a real size spare bedroom); although thinking back I wish I’d done more when changing the bathroom over, because I could have made the bathroom smaller at the expense of the bedroom (albeit a slightly L shaped bedroom). Having them stay was really (apologies to English teachers the world over), well, it was nice. It was good to talk to them, and to see them again, and it was really wonderful to have them come to…

So, on Friday we collected our things together and piled into Rebecca for the four eight and a half hour drive to the Lake District. I felt pretty bad that we were in the Minor, for while big enough for 2 and 2 kids (as designed), four fully grown adults in the minor on a long journey should ideally have lots of breaks and lots of switching around (so everyone gets a turn up front where it’s a bit more spacey). The traffic was awful, really the worst I’ve seen, and the four hours to go from just south of Manchester to the Lakes was done at about 10 miles an hour. We were meant to have dinner together, my mum and her hubbie, Sherry and Terry, my sister and her husband and kids. We said they should go ahead and eat; and finally rolled up at the hotel (having dropped Sherry and Terry off just down the road) at around 2230.

The hotel (Miller Howe) was amazing. They  sat down with us to run through our wedding ceremony, and when we needed to be around to see the registrar, and asked about centrepieces, and arrangements of the room, and a few little details we’d not thought of. Despite being the kind of league of hotel our incomes don’t usually enable us to frequent, it didn’t feel like they were looking down on us at all (even in my coffee stained teeshirt and jeans, having spilt coffee on me somewhere on the M6). They arranged a hairdresser for Kathryn in the morning, and fed us the freshest salmon / cheese platter. We finally rolled in to bed in our suite**** around 2330, and then crawled out of bed in time for a gorgeous breakfast – the only sad thing being that Kathryn’s mom wasn’t there to share with us). We then headed in to town to get the few things we needed to complete the wedding preparations. Sparklies for my hair, foil to wrap the plants (for favours and table decorations) in, general bits and bobs; and the heavens opened.

Apparently it means the Gods are pleased if it rains on your wedding day. Well, I’ll say this, they were clearly ecstatic about Kathryn and I’s ceremony. Proper lake district weather was produced, horizontal rain, floods, high winds. The hair dresser doing Kathryn’s hair and make up made Kathryn (already beautiful) look breathtaking. She looked simply stunning. I felt so warm and fuzzy as I ran to get the car nearer to the hairdresser that the weather didn’t matter at all… We shot into the hotel and organised a last minute use of Ali and Kris’s room to get changed (because we weren’t walking up from the cottage where our suite was, no way, no how, not in that weather) and I greeted a few people somewhat swiftly, handed the reading (indirectly) to Lauren (who very sweetly read it, despite having not seen it until about 20 minutes before the ceremony).

Kathryn and I got changed with Sherry and Terry helping – and – after trying not to see each other too much all dressed – we headed down to meet with the Registrar. It turned out that she was really the most lovely Registrar and then we waited for our cue to walk down the aisle.

I don’t think I can put into words how fantastic it was to walk down the aisle, with friends and family around. I can’t say how lucky we are to have such good friends, both in the states and here. In a way, going through the marriage ceremony once is stressful, and doing it twice certainly is more stressful, but it’s also a blessing to get to pledge your love for someone in front of friends and family.

Kathryn’s vows were gorgeous, the music played by both Nikki (oboe) and Sarah (violin) was something that just made the day incredibly special. As soon as they played it felt like a *ceremony*. And when they surprised us with an impropmtu improvised duet***** – I wanted to cry and hug them both for being such awesome people.

Lauren read out our carefully selected poem, and…well… looking back on it makes me feel so incredibly lucky, to have my mum get us the hotel, to have kathryn’s mom get us the dresses, to have all the help from everyone on the day, that everyone dragged themselves hundreds of miles to watch us get married in the Lake District, because I happen to think it’s pretty (and have a somewhat sentimental attachment to it).

After the ceremony we did photos with James, who has produced some awesome photos. John also snuck around producing awesome photos too, and having decimated their arrangements of furniture we went in to lunch. The food was just amazing. It…well, you see why they get the stars in their rating, let’s put it that way.

…and then my mum and Sherry gave speeches, and I think other people said a few things. It’s a little hazy, there may have been two glasses of champagne. I was so touched by my mum’s speech, and the fact that Sherry’s welcomed the little british lesbian in to her family so generously.

…and *then* we got to do cake. My mum had agreed to do the wedding cake and I have to say it was gorgeous. (Have I used that word enough?). She’d made the most fantastic cake and decorated it with acer and purple sugar. It was so much more that what I’d envisaged, and frankly tasted delicious.

After coffee, chocolate, more photos and getting very overheated we headed to the pub where we had our ‘party’ booked. Music was played, dancing was done, the rain poured, we shook our booties, and it seems a good time was had by all. Thankfully people mingled, and chatted and I have nothing but happy memories (and a shiny shiny video thanks to John).

The rest of the honeymoon we spent in the company of friends, family and each other. We had a B&B booked for our last two days, up in Keswick, from which we had an excellent view of the mountains. We explored book and antique shops, we wandered up a snowey/hail-y/wet mountain to look at pretty waterfalls, we ate in the Lakeland Peddlar (which is an excellent cafe)…and generally had a very nice, somewhat indulgent time.

And finally we headed home to spend a very nice rest of the week with Sarah (Kathryn’s friend), before settling into married life. It is scary to commit to someone, but with Kathryn it feels so right and I love her so much. We spent 3 weeks together 24/7 in the States and weren’t sick of each other, and I have to say that seems like a good sign. That I want to stay home and be with her, rather than go to work (and I enjoy my job, although perhaps less so yesterday), that seems like the kind of sign that’s good. I am so very happy to be with her, and I love her so very much. She is the light of my life and I am the luckiest girl on Earth. :)

As a side point, we got recognised as married when we were in Sainsbury’s by the cashier (who noticed our matching, and may I say, awesome) rings. That was supercool :)

And now I’m off to see how the bathroom’s doing in it’s wait for dryness so I can go get sealant and reseal the shower, which leaks like a sieve where the tiles meet the showerbase.

* 92.5%. They seemed quite impressed. Woot.
** is there any other kind?
*** is that what you call the work of the puppeteers?
**** Yes, really, a suite. I’ve never stayed in a suite in my life. It was lush, open (gas, admittedly) fire; antique furniture, jacuzzi bath, heated tiles…
***** Because Kathryn wasn’t certain of the spelling of her mom’s name, and I…uh…forgot that my mum’s name has changed now she’s remarried.

Grey Hairs All Round

So, it’s been a bit of a week, really. Well, couple of weeks.

What started as a one week kitchen renovation ended up taking 4 weeks and a day; and still isn’t actually finished; we’re missing two drawer/cupboard handles and there’s some filler that needs sanding, the walls, sadly, still need painting and the outside render also needs painting. I’m thinking spray gun for that :)

But, for all my complaints about their atrocious scheduling, having to almost shout at them to get the gas connected – a day late – rather than as they wanted to – two days late (and the day after Kathryn’s mom and her partner arrived). The experience as a whole was incredibly draining – but, and I have to keep saying but – the kitchen is great. For all the fact it’s cheap units and formica worktop, for all the fact the handles are plastic and the doors are veneered in plastic, not real wood; and for all the absence of silent closers and such. It’s pretty. It’s big. It’s a good space to cook in.  And after 2  years without a kitchen at all? It’s bloody awesome. The new doors add so much light, the new lights (while hideously energy inefficient – plan is that as they blow we’ll replace some of them with LED Faux-Halogens – although apparently they’re more decorative than ‘bright’) add so much more light to the previously dingey kitchen. There’s still lots to do in there. Painting, boxing in the pipework around the boiler (can’t afford to box in the whole boiler!); etc, etc. But. It’s come together and the room’s going to be gorgeous when it’s painted.

Despite us cutting costs on tiles (grey natural slate, not the nicer multicoloured stuff; ceramic tiles not stone on the walls) they still look the part. I am very pleased.

Also: Very nice people gave us very nice presents. We have a stand mixer, a pasta maker, a salad spinner, kitchen utensils, a gorgeous teapot (and a cookie sheet of awesome cookie proportions) ; and as I think I said before many other non-kitchen items. But our kitchen looks the part. In fact, our kitchen is a really damn nice place to be at the moment.

What was slightly unfortunate is that for reasons which I’m not quite clear on, the dishwasher blew the 30A fuse on which the entire house runs the first time we used it. Kathryn’s mom and partner were here, we were desperately clearing up to try and make the place habitable and suddenly it became aparent that there was no power… anywhere in the house (apart from the lights).

Unfortunately I’d not noticed that the previous owner had lost an important (ceramic) bit of the 30A fuse (why would I?!) and thus it toasted the fusebox a bit when it went. I’ve now got a replacement fuse, and surround but at the moment it’s currently back ‘together’ as best I can. I still don’t entirely know why it blew the fuse. I took the dishwasher out, and in a paranoid moment at B&Q ended up checking each and every socket in the kitchen (with a cheap and cheerful socket tester); I’m wondering if they managed to do what they did with the washer, and catch the cable somehow on the casing, which appeared to make the case live – but I couldn’t find any damage on it. I’ve now run the dishwasher twice without incident (with me going a little mad running around touching the fuse casing every five minutes).

So, the kitchen is more or less finished. I’m keeping a little money back for reparing the washing machine door they broke and to encourage them to turn up with the two missing handles… it’s also finally made me sort out networking on Ubuntu. The music (and actually, the video) is all shared out from the file-server in the lounge. This is fine, except that the laptop didn’t know about it. Now it does. I’ve spent the morning going “I don’t know what to listen to, there’s so much”… *grins happily*.

In other news I did the ATNC course. For once in my life I get to be quite smug. The pass mark in the exam (we no longer sit the same exam as the doctors, ours is short-answer and theirs is multiple choice) is 80%. I got 92.5%. Pleased? You betcha. I got to play at putting in chest drains, needle decompression (which I am actually allowed to do, in an emergency, apparently); intubation (which I’m not allowed to do ;) ), surgical airways (you guess), jet insufflation…. It’s useful to know what’s needed and what landmarks there are to do these things because sometimes you do get the new baby doctor who’s mind goes blank when faced with blood everywhere, and needs a little guidance (“it goes there… ideally now…”).

It was incredibly stressful, and not aided by me not having any annual leave so I essentially worked 5 long days (4 of which had 4 hours travel time) and 4 short shifts in 9 days. Knackered? Definately. Pleased? Very much. Of course it helps that I’ve something huge and fantastic to look forward to *grins*. Despite all the stress of the course I have to say I thoroughly recommend it; looking back I am incredibly pleased that I did it, and I can say I enjoyed it hugely. Really and truly it is a great course (at least, if you look after trauma patients).

And so we come on to the truly massive event of the weeks… Kathryn and I are to be wed. Well, civilised. Again, I’m mixed – there’s an awful lot of excitement and wanting to bounce around the place but it’s tempered with nerves. It’s a simple ceremony and a simple event, we’re not expecting launches of 1000s of balloons, or 50 doves to descend at the appropriate moment. We’re going to basically walk in, say vows, walk out. Then we do photos, then we eat. That’s the day. But we’ve put a lot of effort into getting the day sorted – well, more into asking our friends to do things. We’ve got a poem we want Lauren or Chrissy to read, we’ve not typed it up; hell I’ve no idea where it is apart from I think I know which book it’s in. We’ve not printed out our vows yet. We’ve got our wedding favours to make.

But lots has been done. It’s all more or less ready. Although I’m confused as to what we have left to do – apart from packing and so on. Anyhow, I’ve got a few Wedding related tasks to do now; so I shall be off to see if I can organise such things. For example, it turns out we’re entitled to free dinner at the hotel every night we’re there; and my mum was hoping that we could all eat together tomorrow – at the hotel – because she’s staying there with her hubbie too. So, plan of action is to ring them and see how late they serve food and whether Kathryn’s Mom and Partner can eat there with us (which they should be able to!). Anyhow. I shall be offski.

Because I am weak (last night at 4:11am)

Okay, so I shouldn’t be looking at e-bay. I can’t afford anything anyhow, and I’ve no space for one, but sometimes it’s nice just to windowshop. In this case, I was
looking at DKW Junior’s (I just wondered how much they sell for, and how common they are). Being as it’s a german car I stuck it into ebay.de and lo, I found 2.

The 61’s cuter than the 62. But it being ebay.de the text was all in german – and so translate.google.com was hit upon, and lo the following text did spue forth:

"Small crack in the sky. The cars in front of potential purchase should be viewed! No guarantee / warranty. The stain on the passenger is only a shadow. Fun bidders will be prosecuted!"

I suspect it’s not accurate. Either that or the description’s certainly odder than most of the ones on Ebay uk.

I am, I conclude, sick. Not hideously so, but enough that I’m off sick again tonight. My throat feels awful and I suspect I’ve been spiking temps on and off. I’ve sucked my way though a bunch of USian throat sweets, drunk a surprising amount of water for a night shift and still feel fairly awful. Since I’ve got ATNC on Monday, I think it’s best to take the night (and the weekend which I have off) off and be better by monday.

It also means that enduring the builder* working on the kitchen (there better be plural builders present today, and it better be fitted today, otherwise words shall be had) shouldn’t be too bad, ‘cos I can doze and look at ATNC. I’ve not managed to do the pre-test test yet, because, well, I feel underprepared.

Although, really I ought to just sit down and do it. Nor have I made flash cards, which I wanted to do, and was hoping to do… So I might try and do them this morning…

On the bad front, I managed to unintentionally cancel our booking for dancing after the wedding.

The conversation (a couple of weeks ago) went thus:
"Hi, this is the Whatever** hotel; you enquired about booking a room for a venue
after a wedding"
"Oh, ah, we’ve already booked a place, but thank you for ringing"
"Okay, bye!"

Now, we – as I understood it – had booked a place and were waiting for a confirmation letter from them to say it was booked. At no point did they mention that we’d booked it, that they might be known by more than one name… Oh no.

It’s only when we rang to confirm today that we found out that the Lamp-Lighter Bar has an alter ego, a pseudonym it uses to evade detection. And thus it was that we discovered we’d cancelled our own booking. You’d think that she might have mentioned that we’d actually *booked* it, not just enquired… but apparently not.

* Distressingly back to singular yesterday – and only present for 2 hours.
** This is, apparently, the other name of the dual identitied bar which we’d book.
It’s their secret identity.

A marginally more informative update

Today I have:
– Found out that Nurse Vancouver are at the Practice Nurse doojit in London. I shall go.
– Sorted out the Nursing Agency problem which meant that I was no longer registered. I shall be registered again as of later today.
– Read lots of the ATNC course.
– Checked and found out how Kathryn gets more time here after we’re civilised. Another £395 quid! This gets us 2 years residence, which is more than we need, but means that Kathryn doesn’t get permanent residence (which only comes after 2 years). I’m not sure why she’d want it here, but hey, it’s useful to know these things.
– Put out the recycling
– Worked out from where the water that’s taken to appearing on the floor by the shower is coming from. It is, as I suspected the silicone sealant which has failed at that end of the shower, which is good in that I know where it’s coming from, but ups the need for me to fix that. I still don’t know why it won’t stick to the shower base.
– Confirmed that UK Civil Partnerships are recognised by Canada.
– Moved my motorbike so as to allow Kathryn to get her bike in the shed.
– Uploaded an enormous number of photos to Flickr
– Listened to the ‘new’ Radiohead album, and a few other new albums we acquired in the USA.
– Put my somewhat more mangled suitcase away, thus saving me debating it’s future anymore.

I’ve not rung builders yet.
I’ve not decided whether to switch the Denon amp which does work (but with a knackered and awful CD changer and no phono input) for the amp in the lounge which needs it’s volume control slider switched.
I’ve not done anything on the house.

I don’t mind tho’, ‘cos frankly, we spend 18 hours travelling yesterday and I’ve swung my body clock through 8 hours, so I think I’m doing pretty well to not be feeling like death microwaved.


Plus content entry

This week has been incredibly hard work – mostly due to short staffedness; well, that and doing 1.7 extra shifts. I know it’s bad when work call me at home and invite me to come in early,  because I’m about an hour away from work, and if they’ve reached the stage of calling someone who’s going to take an hour to get in, it’s going to be bad.

We’ve actually been short, I think, every day I’ve been on. Our new method of work requires one extra nurse, and the shifts quite simply aren’t being filled. No one wants to do either of the new shifts – the early one is not different enough from an ordinary early, and in fact makes you leave at a worse time. The late shift goes on waaaay too late; meaning that, well, no one wants to do that either.

Which has lead to us really, really struggling. Now I’m qualified to not-triage (we do something simpler and quicker than triage), this has also lead me into a minefield of being annoyed and frustrated. It is the most unrewarding job of all time. One of the most amusing things is that we pick people up who we think are likely to need an xray (mechanism of injury, obvious deformity, etc) and then will inform the doctor that we suspect they’ll need an Xray. Quite often they’ll listen to the mechanism of injury or the description from us and just order it without seeing the patient. In fact, I think I’ve only every had one turned down – who was later Xrayed anyway. That certainly doesn’t mean I’ve caught all the people who need X-rays, but means I generally catch the ones who are likely to. But much to my amusement, a poster has appeared at work reminding nurses that we’re not allowed to independently order Xrays for patients without our knowledge being assessed. I presume someone has been doing that; but the fact is, the Xrays that get ordered by me, following discussions with the Dr and them writing the card? Well, it’s essentially the same thing…

I do, however, want to get a lot more knowledge on proper triage assessment, because I’d like to be better able to assess injuries.

One other thing I’be picked up from a much more experienced nurse is to not say that I’m a nurse. We have a variety of protocols for ‘nurse led referrals’ – where we can see, assess and refer the patient without involving a doctor. Ear, Nose and Throat; pregnancy and gynae problems can quite often be sent straight to the specialists without wasting the patient’s time on two examinations and telling the story several times.

This is a great idea – except that when you say it’s a nurse led referal, some docs have a strop and say that they have to be seen by an A&E doc; this is often all the more frustrating as you’ve spent 10 minutes bleeping them and trying the wards they’re on to try and find them. But my new method – which is really the only method I’ve known, is to say “Hi, this is [my first name] in A&E, I’ve got a referral for you…”. This seems to work much better, although they do still get a little stroppy sometimes…

I’ve actually though, looked after a lot of really charming and lovely people. People who you feel real full-on good about looking after. You shouldn’t have favourites, and I have certain masochistic enjoyment when I’m looking after the stroppy indepentent sort, or the mad-as-a-badger-with-UTI-or-other-infection sort, or indeed the dementia-pissed-off sort. But looking after nice people who are just nice, is really a bit pleasant.

Anyhow, all this work has got in the way of quality snuggling time with Kathryn; which has been quite distressing. We have however made some progress on the wedding and the ceremony in the states. Although they’ve both ended up being lots bigger than we originally planned. It’s funny how these things expand and expand :)

It’s also led to slow progress on the DAF. Well, that and the hub puller’s frustrating absence from my life. All that’s left to do to make it road-worthy (not, you note, finished or anything. But roadworthy) is to reattach the end of the bumper and to unseize the brakes (well, I say ‘all’, it may be that the brake cylinders are shot). These are potentially trivial jobs, but I can’t actually *do* the latter because the hub-puller ordered from e-bay more than a week ago hasn’t turned up. The seller’s not answered an email yet, either, which is also frustrating.

I’ve busied myself with prepping (in a very limited sense) and painting the new metalwork. One side’s got a coat of Nissan Arctic White on the sills and a bit of the back quarter (which looks a little whiter than the rest of the car, but never mind). It’s a gash job, I should, really have spent time with filler and carefully prepped things. But I didn’t have time for niceties and I’d rather get paint on there to protect the new metal than worry about getting it looking pretty. It also turns out my wire-wheel has vaporised, which is frustrating. I’ll have to go and pick up a new one. because the area by the rear window needs cleaning up before I fill it.

And the side I sprayed (with one coat) and had left all the masking on so I could spray today? Well, it’s rained overnight…

….which is terribly annoying. I’m hoping the sun (which has come out now) will dry it out and then later in the day I’ll be able to throw another coat of paint on. I’ve had to take off all the newspaper though, which is quite bothersome.