Friday, 23 May 2008


If you don't feel like reading a panicky rant, feel free to skip this. I need to write it, but I don't necessarily need people to read it.


I'm starting to realise that I just can't work in any proper sense in the lounge, with the TV that's permanently on in my peripheral vision. Even when what's on is stuff that I hate, that I wouldn't let people pay me to watch, I take it as evidence that this isn't work time, this isn't time when I should be concentrating, this is faff on the internet time. This isn't important. And the fact that this is also where I do all my paperwork, that bills and letters and magazines are between me and the monitor? Doesn't help at all.

Right now I am listening to a CD quite loud, and I still just had to get D to turn the TV down, because even though it's actually on quieter than we usually watch, I just couldn't tune the stupid thing out.

And no, turning the TV off isn't an option when your darling husband is addicted. And the times when he's reading never coincide with the times I'm working.

Honestly, I could scream right now. I have left work every night this week with the express intention of writing a first draft of my End of Course Assessment (ECA), so I can post it online for feedback by tonight's deadline. So I can sit on it for a few days before I start working on it, polish the living daylights out of it by 3rd June, when I need to send the damned thing off. And have I done it? No. Monday I was ill (and missed the Poppy Shakespeare event I'd mentioned, which I am *so frustrated* about). Tuesday went to the hospital to visit a friend of mine who is now out and better. Wednesday went food shopping and then couldn't concentrate. Last night went to see parents in law. Tonight went for quick drink after work (was home by 7pm or thereabouts; was a friend's leaving do so couldn't miss it entirely) then instead of working I read every new post through google reader. Played bejewelled (I wish I'd never rediscovered that damned game) and tetris (ditto, ditto, a majillion times ditto). And it's half stupid fricking ten and I have done NOTHING beyond half a half-hearted cluster diagram on one of the main characters.

I keep saying I need a laptop, but I can't afford one. First the car, then our bedroom (... have I mentioned that we bought a car and started to decorate our bedroom?). They've left fairly large holes, between them, where before we had a small, tiny, amount of savings. For the first time ever. I was so proud of getting out of debt, so adamant that we were not going to go back there. We wouldn't have started to decorate if we'd realised D's new job would involve car ownership and all the expense that goes with it. But we'd started, and we couldn't leave the room in the state it was in once we'd taken the wallpaper and ceiling tiles off. It had a red and white ceiling for chrissakes. I could barely sleep in it.

I can't even bear to add up how much debt we are in now. It's nothing terribly awful compared to some people, nothing compared to the £12k debt I was in before.... maybe £1.5k on 0% credit cards, which will not take us long to pay off... but.


That puts other plans off, plans I've been desperate to put into being for so, so long.

So what to do? Or, as I posted on facebook earlier, B is wondering if it'd be totally frickin insane to buy a laptop that she totally can't afford or just an investment in her future, a sign she takes it seriously?

I don't know what to do first. To go to bed and get a good night's sleep, wake up early and work then. To just push on and get that stupid torturous first draft out onto the computer? To do all the stuff that needs doing round and about so there are not piles of stuff everywhere to distract me? To write a list of all the works in progress (about five) that are currently coming out of my ears so I can stop thinking about them until I've got the ECA out of the way?

I suspect that sleep is the most sensible option, right now.

Music: The Killers, Sawdust.


B said...

This isn't any of the various posts I have half written in my brain. They will come soon; maybe over the weekend, to clear my brain out of them, too, so I can have a clear head once I have drafted my ECA to be able to see it more clearly. In the meantime, if anyone wants to weigh in on the 'should I or should I not buy a laptop' issue, please feel free. Right now I am on the verge of asking my dad in the morning if he will buy me one. Or sticking it on one of the 0% ccs. Insane, I know, but if it helps me work... if that helps me get a short story published...

It's the what-ifs that I tell other people not to torture themselves with, but when I do it to myself, I don't do it halfheartedly.

I didn't intend this to be so long.

Imperatrix said...

Don't worry!

First, 1,500 pounds is no big deal. having some debt is nothing like having lots of debt. in fact, it might keep you more careful if you have a bit to keep track of (you know what I mean?)

Second, I would argue that yes, a laptop may be necessary. For your mental health, which is incredibly important. And it's not like it would be a luxury, you need it to get things done!

Third, until you get a laptop, have you tried wearing headphones and listening to music while you are at the computer and D is watching TV? That might block out the sound better than just listening to music (although maybe that's what you meant by "turning the music up")

Fourth, how about writing in hardcopy, somewhere else, and then, when you are happy with the result, typing it in. Straight typing doesn't take the same amount of focus, if you are distracted by the TV

Fifth. TV is a terrible addiction. Maybe D should try one TV-free week. See if he survives. Because, really, that would be the best solution ;-)

loria said...

I understand the TV addiction thing. M is addicted like mad, especially watching horrible shows and american sports. Of course, I'm the one watching Coupling reruns on BBCAmerica though so who am I to talk.

As for a laptop... I agree with the above that a little debt isn't like big debt and might actually motivate you to try to make a living with the work you'll generate. I'd look at all your options though, including your current budget on how to pay things off. You've been so successful with paying off a lot of debt so far that I think this wouldnt be difficult to meet either.


B said...

Thanks imperatrix and loria. It's good to get some input into this.

I know it's not much debt, imperatrix, but I really did work to get debt-free. Once we did, we paid for our boiler with money we actually had. It was a good feeling. Buying the car, too, although that wiped us out. But all the expense that goes with the car... it's just depressing. Anyway, there is talk of a pay rise for D, and that should help too (he's only just started there! i am so impressed!)

laptop... well if you put it like that... it becomes more realistic. I'm terrible for thinking everyone is more important than me, and maybe I do need to look after me right now.

yes that was what i was doing to type this post last night, listen to music through headphones. unfortunately not through my computer though... the lead isn't long enough to use for the PC so i have to bring a CD player over. it's a faff, so i only do it when i'm desperate.

i do write onto paper, the old fashioned way (hee!), too, but last night i wanted something i could post straight onto the online forum so i didn't want to create work for myself.

and i quite, quite agree about the tv, but D could not survive a week without it. no way. i knew this when i married him, which is why i ranted on here last night rather than took it out on him. only problem? i didn't realise he read the post over my shoulder.
he hasn't watched anything all day, bless him. i feel awful. it's not his fault i sometimes have trouble concentrating, and he shouldn't be punished for it. i do love him. he is fab.

loria, i am still hoping you make it over in september. i would so, so love to see you again.... and thanks, i will let you know how the budgeting goes :)

feeling much more positive tonight as you may be able to tell. i have my first draft done and posted on the forum and it's not great, yet, but it will get there. thanks both for being so lovely!

Mike said...

It's not your husband's or your fault. He's being reasonable and your being resonable!

If you are thinking of getting a laptop, then you were thinking of working in a different area or room? Why not create the same effect, and just move the PC?

I used to have a second PC in the lounge area, and found it too noisy and with far too many distractions all around to do any work. I just moved the PC into the dining room in an alcove area, and I can shut the door too!

Also, you may need a study room. Can one of the bedrooms be converted into a study or be doubled-up as a bedroom/study? It may be the catalyst to get the creative juices flowing with no distractions!


B said...

Mike, I wish we could move the PC, but there's just nowhere else to put it. Drives me mad, it's really antisocial having it in the lounge, but there's just nowhere else for it to go. With the laptop though I will be able to sit on the floor whereever and just work. I'm spending today setting it up and from tomorrow I'll be able to work. Although we're going to the cinema tomorrow night. Yay!

Imperatrix said...

I didn't mean to demean your debt-free state! In fact, I think it's something on your "About Me" page, isn't it, how you got out of debt? I just think that there are different types of debt. And perhaps a laptop is on the Responsible Debt list. Fancy stereo systems, eating out every week on credit -- those are on the Irresponsible Debt list.

...But, do I read that last comment right? You got a laptop? hurray!

B said...

that's fine imperatrix, i knew what you meant :) it's just frustrating after spending so much on car+decorating and then a laptop on top...... but yes, I've got me a compaq something or other and am loving it very much - see most recent post :)