How to ruin your Christmas / New Year

Want to ruin your festive season, well maybe this will give you an idea how to do it next time. This is how I ruined mine this year ...

It was Christmas Day night. And I was spending it on my own. Not unreasonable I thought, it's a family occasion. But I hadn't seen my girlfriend for a few days - she had been busy visiting "people" (ex's included I believe - in my eyes she is too friendly with her ex's, but I suppose that is not my place to say) on Christmas Eve and didn't have time to see me.
Fair enough I thought. We had plans to go out on Boxing Day night, so I thought nothing too much of it. Yes, it did niggle me, but still.

Boxing Day rolls round. I'm dotting about the place sorting out (what felt like) an endless list of things that needed to be sorted. It's about 2pm. I get a phone call from my beloved. Now, she and her family were supposed to be having lunch out on Boxing Day - hence me running my errands in the morning. Turns out they didn't go. And I was greeted with a "I've been trying to get hold of you all day" opening. Kind of shocked - my phone showed no missed calls, no voicemail. Neither did my home phone come to that. Anyway, I explain what I was doing, and think it must have been a glitch with O2 to explain away the lack of calls. She drops into the conversation that we would no longer be going out (fair enough, her back was giving her gype), but even if she had been that I would (pretty much) not be welcome. I was stunned. This, unfortunately, was not the first time plans were changed at short notice.
Even more unfortunately, I saw red. I finished the errands, and called her - telling her that I wanted to talk and would be with her in 10 minutes. I was actually there in 6, but never mind - close enough.
What results is effectively a totally once sided conversation (no shouting mind - I think I was that furious!). I just wanted to know what was going on - nothing wrong with that or so I thought! Things over the last few months had been heading in a downward spiral it had seemed, with things like this happening more and more often, time being spent together becoming less and less frequent. It culminated in a parting remark on her part that annoyed me even further - which really did not help the situation. As she was going away (that is another story that added to the situation, but I'm not going into it here!) for a few days, I told her that we would talk when she got back - and that I wanted her to phone me on Friday when she returned if she wanted to reconcile and try and sort things out.

So off I go, yes, driving like an idiot.

Friday comes along. I'm working onsite (at least it kept me busy), and I get a few text messages from her. Now, these are the FIRST messages (read contact) that I've had since our "disagreement". Basically plans at that end of the trip had changed, and she stayed somewhere different to where I thought (don't ask). Anyway, she was ok, and she gave me the impression that we would talk.

So I waited.

Come 10.30 / 11.00 pm, still no call. I'd had it. As far as I was concerned, I was being played. I still think I was. I packed her things up, and made an agreement to myself that I'd drop them off at her friends the Saturday morning. But give her time to call me in the morning - just in case.

Saturday arrives. 11am arrives. I give up. Obviously nothing happening here, so I drop her stuff off and send her a text. And hell breaks loose.
After many rounds of "you didn't give us time to talk" (how much more time could I have allowed??), "I got back very late" (oh, so it's a problem to pickup the phone and say "i'm home, it's late, we'll talk tomorrow"?), "I tried to call you but you didnt answer" (this one again ... no missed calls again... hmmm) etc things kind of ended up in limbo.

And they have stayed there it seems for the last couple of days. We've exchanged the odd text and ONE phone call, but I really don't see this working out. She certainly doesn't know what she wants (and to be honest, I don't think she ever has!), and I'm reaching the point where I just want closure and escape.

I think I'm overly sensitive / mistrusting... Ah well, get to spend New Year on my tod too.

But then again, New Year, New Start. Maybe time to change job and move again.

Yeah, I know - maybe it is something to do with this time of year - I seem to always spout some sort of sentimental bull ;)

The Great Information Age

I'm just trying to work out if a national chain store is open tomorrow, and if so what time. You think this information would be easily available, considering most national stores have websites, with store finders and opening hours. This is true, but hardly any actually publish Christmas / New Year opening hours. Insane. Oh well, looks like I'll be trying the pot luck approach tomorrow.

Local Illuminations

At this time of year it seems people go over board and string up hundreds of multi-coloured lights all over their house and switch them on - all flashing merrily away.

Personally, I find most of the them exceptionally tacky, but maybe that's because I am a major bah humbug - so I'm told.

BUT, my girlfriend told me of a place near her that was REALLY lit up, so we just had to go and have a look - and this what we found. All nicely lit with PLAIN white lights. Very nice. Very bright.

Unfortunately I don't think my photo does it justice (unfortunately only a camera phone job).

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Back from Arkansas

Well, that's me back for Christmas - got back from Arkansas today. Plane landed at just before 10, and I was home just before 3. Not too bad. Until your realise I'd just spent nearly 24hrs working / in transit! No wonder I'm exhausted.

Anyway, what was I doing in Arkansas ... working with a client (Compact Engineering), who make Infra-Red drying lamp solutions. Blueberry Consultants (the people I work for in case you had forgotten!) designed and wrote the new generate of control software for the lamp rigs - and the installation in Arkansas was not only the first deployment  but included modifications to tie it into their existing DCS system. Lots of work in other words, and lots of potential for it to go (horribly) wrong. Obviously, it didn't work on the first day there, but by the day before we left, it was tied in, running happily and doing it's job.

In case those that read this have never seen inside a paper mill (and probably never will), it's nothing like you would imagine - the scale of its awesome.

Obviously I can't post any pictures, but I can of the outside of the mill :)

Potlatch

Oh, and while I was out there I picked up a 4Gb Zune :)

The Long Haul

Well, I'm in Arkansas (Little Rock to be precise) now - it's 2am local time, and it would be 8am UK time ... no wonder I'm wide awake! Plane landed here just after 9pm local time ... a LONG day traveling you could say!

Connecting flight at Atlanta - now that's a big / busy airport ... even has it's own under ground "metro" style railway to get you from end to end - over 1200km - in a straight line it seems.

Ho hum - not much to report, except I'm working onsite with a client - hence being out here. Back Wednesday / Thursday though - looking forward to getting back home ...

Met another lone traveler on the Manchester > Atlanta leg called Mac; nice guy - on his way to Birmingham Alabama to stay with friends over Christmas - something he has done since his wife died in 2003. Has a passion for classic American cars it seems - and to be honest, who can blame him! Hope he got his connecting flight ok; he had a four hour wait whereas mine was a more comfortable two! (Or would have been if it hadn't been delayed!).

Oh, I still hate flying. Although I've just done 5500 miles roughly. Another 5500 miles later this week. I wonder if I can claim that on my mileage allowance!

D.A.B Radio comes to the Borders

About time; three years or so I moved up here - and brought my trusty Bug DAB radio with me (only a few months old at the time) - to find there was no DAB here - argh!

Anyway, they have now turned on the Selkirk DAB transmitter - and it works :)  The only good thing about DAB is I can set multiple alarms on my radio for different days - at last I don't have to remember to turn if off at weekends!