Sunday, 15 October 2017

School photo taken at home

Quick, hold him still while I take a photo!

Still better than the school photo.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

School photo scam pt2

About three years ago I posted my thoughts about The Great School Photo Scam here, well it's come around again this year.

This time the photo isn't too bad really. The poor quality sample on the order form probably hides the full quality of the image however it's still not great. The lighting is very flat and my sons expression is more bored than happy.

As I said last time, I have a camera and I take some great photos of my son, I have no need for the school photo and I'm certainly not paying £16.50 to download it. In the last year or so I have been developing myself as a photographer. Is it time for me to step up and do some sort of pop up portrait session? Not because I want to make some money out of it but because I think people deserve something a bit better than what the school photo offers.

School photo:

Random photo I took while we were out one day:

I know which one I prefer and if I took the time to set up lighting and a backdrop then I'm confident I could get a much better photo than the one from school.

Adventures in plumbing

A few weeks ago we noticed the sink in the bathroom was leaking. Instead of doing anything about it at the time we declared the sink out of use. It wasn't until a few days ago I decided to have a look to see where it was leaking from.

I though the trap was full of sink goo and water was leaking somewhere because it wasn't flowing away properly. I cleaned out the trap and a nut (I later learned that this is called a flanged back nut) that holds the pipe to the sink fell apart while I was poking at it so it seemed pretty obvious this was causing the problem. Replace the nut, fix the sink. Simple right.

I went to to a local DIY shop and bought what I thought was what I needed. it was a piece of pipe with two nuts on. It was size converter thing with two nuts as I didn't know what size to get. Got it home and quickly realised that my bright idea to get both size nuts didn't work. They were the wrong type of nut.

What I bought

So back to the shop for the correct nut. This time I took a bit of the broken nut and one of the assistants knew straightaway what it was and helped my find one.

What I needed

I got home and fitted the new nut. This was pretty straightforward and it was beginning to seem a bit too easy. I ran the tap for a bit whilst admiring my handiwork and as I sat there watching it water started dripping again.

I tried tightening up the nut a bit more before trying to trace the water back to where it was coming from. Nothing other than where it was dripping from seemed to be wet. I took the trap off again, and like the idiot I am, I emptied it straight back into the sink.

The trap has a chrome finish and the bottom is corroded. I put this down as external initially as a result of the water dripping from it but on poked at the corroded bit and it crumbled to a hole.

There's a hole in my trap

So another trip to the DIY shop was called for. All I wanted was a new trap. Turns out you can't just buy a new trap, I needed to get a whole new trap with the pipes thing. I'm sure there are proper terms for all this but I'm not a plumber so I don't know what they are. So I bought a new trap with all the trimmings. Fitting it should be easy enough, however, this new one is bigger (fatter, not longer) than the old one and the waste pipe needs trimming. It's a metal pipe and takes some getting through with my wood saw but I manage it. Finally I have fixed the sink. For the first time in ages I feel like I have achieved something. And here it is in all it's new, non leaky glory:

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

The Benefits Journey - pt 1

So now that I'm not working it's time to claim some benefits. I've been paying into this system for long enough, it's time to get something back.

Housing benefit was easy enough, I was able to do that online and while it seemed like quite a lot of questions I got there in the end. The payments for this have gone up and down and every time you give them some new information it's re-assessed. However, I think I've finally got my head around it and now it's time to apply for income support, or whatever it's called.

I figured this would also be pretty straight forward, a quick search online and it seems I can apply over the phone, saving me a trip to the job centre. I phoned up. I was on the phone for about an hour going through a long list of questions. I was quite happy with this and at the end of the call I was given an appointment to speak to someone at the job centre. Not ideal but there are hoops you have to jump through and this was the first. I was offered an appointment the same day so I took it knowing that I needed to go shopping in the same area anyway.

I got there and they had no record of my appointment, this didn't really surprise me as I'd just got off the phone about half an hour before I arrived there. They figured out that I did have an appointment and after a short wait I heard my name called by a very stern sounding male voice. I went over and the bloke surprisingly pleasant. However, he didn't really know why I was there. After a short conversation it became clear that I needed to fill in a form. Not surprising really. This form is a long one though, and I need to do my shopping and get home for the kids getting home after school. I made my excuses and left clutching a 62 page form that we were just about to go through.

From this I am presuming the phone call didn't really achieve anything as after a quick flick through the form a lot of the questions are looking very familiar. I thought I was there to present some ID but it seems I'm there to repeat my life story. Anyway, I've got an appointment to go back next week with the form filled in. So that's something to look forward to.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Quick Update

Just a quick update following on from the previous post.

I crashed pretty hard. I took some time out from work and eventually returned in February. I managed four weeks before getting signed off again. It's now August and I haven't been back. Soon myself and my employer will be parting ways. They've been great, I haven't got a bad word to say about how well they have treated me over this time. But enough is enough. They're going to stop paying me eventually.

The harsh truth of the matter is that no matter how hard I tried it just wasn't possible to maintain a full time job while being a full time carer for my son. He's grow and his care needs have grown with him.

These days anything I do for myself needs to be planned in advance and can be, and often is, cancelled at the last minute.