Beware the Ides of, um, April?

So, I’ve spent March, and the first part of April, working jobs 1 through 3. This was Fine, honestly. I met new people in job 2, who were all very lovely, and learned just how much a different office in the same department can have massively different ways of implementing the same admin systems. Whereas in job 3 I, erm, learned about being a self-employed person (read, pieceworker) and also, the underrated art of not throwing everything out of the window in despair. All told, I put in about 100 hours of extra work, most of which will not be paid until next month’s pay-cheque, alas.

Last week, however, the overtime at job 2 dried up (thus teaching a valuable lesson about pacing myself, which I will not learn because I apparently like to give value for money more than I like earning the stuff). The shifts at job 3 dried up as well, leaving me looking at an empty typing-queue at six every morning like a chump, but such are the vagaries of zero-hours contracts, as the G Monster said.

All was not lost, however! For instance, we had a trio of variously-sized border collie crosses to take in for half a week! A bittersweet opportunity to reminisce about Dogface, you might wonder? Even better, they’re his old pack!

My, three dogs sure are more work than one dog. I wasn’t strong enough to walk them all on the lead together, so they had to go in shifts, both before and after job 1. They had to be fed one at a time. Not only that, the evening the G Monster went out and left me alone with them, I was feeding them all (in ascending order of size), and while the biggest one was wolfing down his dinner in the porch, the other two had some sort of ruckus against the kitchen door, shoved the doormat up against it and basically barricaded the pair of us out. I honestly did not see that coming.

I eventually managed to wangle a gap no wider than my hand. I then discovered my arse and doorhandles, both of which occupy much horizontal space within such a gap, are at the same height.

Desperation can, however, achieve miracles.

With that excitement mercifully over, I could get down to making the most of my unexpected most-of-a-week off. With bonus unexpected good weather thanks to the east wind! Instead, I spent a good half of it asleep, because it turns out three jobs all spent sat on one’s arse, in addition to making it more difficult to sneak past door-handles, play merry hell with the physical tone and fitness and what-have-you. Either that or I’m getting old. Surely, just gutting the house, putting up 36 metres of chicken-wire (small dogs may now neither enter nor leave along the front of the house without permission; they can still go all the way along to the drive, but I have a better chance of catching them at it), replacing the raised beds and putting up a trellis would not have been that strenuous a mere ten years ago?

Of art and writing, there has unfortunately been none. Well, not quite none. I managed a short story for a “Grumpy Old Gods” prompt (there is a Grumpy Old Gods 1 anthology, turns out, and this is volume 2). I plan to purchase both, if funds finally arrive before the black hole in my bank balance starts expanding its domain uncontrollably, but may as well publicise them even if nothing comes of my submission; karma and a’ that. If it sounds like your bag, it might be worth a look. I also wrote a wee story ‘The City and the Dragon’ which, well, nobody who requested a swatch has commented, which could mean any one of a dozen things. Let us pretend it is a good one!

It hasn’t really been all work and no play, however. One weekend, I was deputised to attend a beer festival and bring back many beers; there was also steak and Prosecco and cocktails in the evening. I am amazed I can remember any of that day. And this weekend, fresh from a day of hauling logs, I got taken out to dinner and the Love from Stourbridge tour, which was most excellent. The Poppies were at their best, I think, of all the times I’ve seen them, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin played a blinder as well, and the G Monster not only endured Miles Hunt’s acoustic set at the start but admitted afterwards that he had very much enjoyed it.

Ooh, and I also had a job interview at the tail-end of last week, which… yeah. Funny story, it was for a job a whole lot closer to home, and with more hours, which is the reason I’m attempting to jump ship, but not until the morning of the interview did I read the letter properly and discover I was supposed to turn up… at my actual place of work! A lot further away and oh jeebus would you look at the time.

I made it, to my vast surprise. Unfortunately, I was thrown into something of a tailspin by (re)discovering my own idiocy; that and having spent the whole week talking to nobody other than the G Monster and the canine crew, and as soon as the first difficult question was asked (hint, it was the first question) I just turned into a stumbling, stammering mess. So that was… special.

Also, my colleagues don’t recognise me when I turn up unexpectedly in a suit with makeup on and so forth. That was quite nice, actually. Well, apart from the screaming.

So imagine my surprise when I got a phone-call yesterday and they offered me the job. The G Monster is all delighted. Me, I’m suspicious, being of the opinion that It’s A Trap! Because it usually is, I’ve discovered. Sometimes, life just decides your wagon needs fixing, whether as punishment for hubris, a test of personal growth, bit of both, who knows, and you can tell because a) a Challenge arises! and b) you start sucking. But you try anyway, goddammit, only the more staggering and stumbling you do, the more pitfalls you oh-so-narrowly avoid, the higher the stakes rise and the greater the thump when you finally do fall over.

On the other hand, if it isn’t A Trap!, that would be very nice.

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