Monday, 13 August 2007

Best laid plans and all that

Friday was just not a good day for me.

It all started so well: the sun was shinning and it felt like a beautiful day. I had a morning meeting in London which meant I didn’t have to take a train until nearer 10am and that – along with the fact that my little boy was away for the week with grandparents – let to a lovely lie-in. When I got to the station I found out that my colleague wouldn’t be able to come to London for the meeting so it was me on my own, which wasn’t a tragedy. The morning and the meeting went well and since I’d blocked the rest of the day as a ‘working from home’ day, there was no rush to return.

I decided to do a little shopping in London and then head home. The plan was to have some lunch on the train (or at the station), get home at about 2pm then drive to they gym. I would have a nice and relaxing run followed by a quick dip in the pool and a spot of sunbathing. I wasn’t expecting my husband to return home until about 6pm or so (he’d gone to get DS from grandparents, about 90 minutes’ drive away) so I could enjoy a very relaxing afternoon and make the most of the weather.

When I got back to Milton Keynes train station and got back to my car, however, all my plans were destroyed: the car went crazy on me: lights flashed on and off uncontrollably, locking mechanism wouldn’t work, remote locking wasn’t responding. I soon discovered that it was okay to drive though so I went home where I replaced the battery in my key, thinking this could be the problem.

Of course it wasn’t. So I spent the entire afternoon driving to the dealer, sitting and waiting and then getting a quote to fix the electrics that was about the same price as flying the family to Disneyworld in first class.

When I picked myself up from the floor and made a few desperate phone calls to my husband (who was by now in another nightmarish scenario stuck in horrible traffic outside London and getting nowhere) I then drove my car to another garage to get a second opinion. In the end they managed to tell me how to fix the problem temporarily by pulling out bits from the fuse box, but that I wouldn’t be able to lock it. Monday they could then have a better look and try to figure out what was wrong.

So I had no choice but to drive home, in a very grumpy mood, get my car in the locked garage and stay there. By then I knew the boys wouldn’t be back home before 9pm due to the horrible traffic so there I was – an afternoon of freedom and without the means to go anywhere! I tried going for a run but I was so grumpy I soon stopped that. I pottered around the house in a terrible mood, both dreading the cost of fixing the car and hating it for breaking down today, of all days.

When the boys finally made it home (after 10.30pm) I was in an awful mood but I must say I was very glad to see them. I felt like the whole day had been wasted as I had had such lovely plans and did none of that, but also I am now facing a rather large bill to get my car working.

Today (Monday) the car is in the garage but I haven’t yet heard what the cost of repairs will be. I’m dreading it but at least my mood is better… I really hate it when things don’t go according to plan and when that means I have to miss out on things that give me so much pleasure. Don’t you?

Monday, 6 August 2007

Who am I, anyway?

My name is Claudia, I’m 36 years old and live in the UK, in a lovely city called Milton Keynes. I’ve only been in the UK ten years though, because I was born and raised in Mexico and in fact most of my family and friends are still over there. I moved to the UK because I met a Brit while working in the USA about 12 years ago so as you can see it wasn’t the weather OR the food that brought me to these foggy shores!

I’ve been married for 10 years now and have a little boy who will be 4 in October. I also work full time as an Online Marketing Manager for a distance learning university here in Milton Keynes and although I haven’t been doing that for long, I do love my job. Previously I worked in marketing for a large retail bank headquartered here in Milton Keynes and although I made many great friends there, I really wasn’t enjoying the work I was doing, especially the last few years. So I’m glad I’ve changed jobs as I am happy again.

I am one of those very annoyingly organized people and although my house isn’t as tidy as I would like it to be, I think it probably looks very tidy to others. I just can’t live with stuff everywhere out of place and can’t relax until it’s all back in place – so sometimes I can’t sit down and scrap in peace knowing that there is a floor that needs to be swept, washing that needs folding or toys to be tidied.

I enjoy coming to work and actually found my maternity break difficult: the first few months of course I was very busy learning to be a mom and trying to function on a few hours’ sleep but after a while the mothering thing got easier and I got very bored. I felt the lack of mental stimulation depressing and literally started counting down the days when I could go back to work. This has meant of course that my little boy has been in full time nursery since he was 9 months old but he loves it and the experience has been great for both of us: I get a break from being a mom and he gets a break from being around only me all day!

When I’m not working or scrapbooking you can find me with my nose in a book (usually non-fiction but I do love Harry Potter), messing around on the Internet (mainly scrapping sites and Facebook these days) or what I call running but others would call waddling. I am still training for a marathon in January, even though I had a disastrous experience with a local half-marathon in late July. I can’t say I truly enjoy the running but it has sort of become a habit so I stick with it even though I am patently no good at it at all: I haven’t even lost weight from it.

I have been scrapbooking for far too long, can I say around 12 years? Of course what I did all those years ago isn’t much to do with the stuff I produce these days but the basics are there: photos, cardstock and journaling. As a result I don’t have a huge backlog of photos because I started when I didn’t actually own that many and have been able to keep up since. I am a strict chronological scrapper and although I occasionally break this rule, in general I find that this is my more efficient way to scrap. Also, because I started scrapping years ago when supplies were hard to find, I think I learned to make do with what I have and actually have a small stash considering I’ve been doing it for so long. It is also because of my tidy nature – if I had too much stash I would have nowhere to put it and that would drive me crazy.

Scrapbooking has helped me to meet lots of wonderful people both here in Milton Keynes and around the country and the world thanks to various online forums. I find scrappers are generous, talented and admirable and I am proud to count myself on that group. I think nearly everyone does much, much better work than I do but I like my pages so that’s all that matters, right? I also enjoy having a creative outlet and a way to keep my photos that is more interesting than simply placing them in an album – or box.

Thank you for reading this very indulgent piece. I hope it helps to understand more of who I am and why I do what I do.


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