Monday, 30 November 2009

noises in the new flat

Hurrah, I'm in my new flat!

Not so hurrah, is that at 6am, New Neighbour emailed me to tell me my heating makes too much noise.

So did my Blackberry when it vibrated and woke me up!

It's frustrating, because although I can hear it, I have no idea how loud it is for hearing peeps. To me, it's a quiet tap tapping sound, as though I accidentally shut an tiny man with a hammer in my radiator.

For New Neighbour, however, it's allegedly unbearable.

I must admit, this morning I felt kind of desperate as I looked from my beautifully laid, brand-new carpet to the results of my Google search and back again.

Common causes of this noise, are according to the results of me typing 'tapping radiators' pipes expanding and hitting the floor joists, or faulty TRV thingymajigs - 8am and I've already had a DIY lesson!!!! - and if it's the former, then the floor needs to be ripped up and the pipes need to be clad with felt!

Argh!

This would be OK, if I had floor boards, because the offending pipes could be located easily, but I have weird, huge boards instead...

Am panicking, probably unnecessarily, I know, but all I can see is a day of either delegating or attempting to make phone calls to see if someone can rectify the tiny man trapped in my radiator with a small hammer, without me having to save ALL my money and give everyone pound shop gifts for Christmas.

On the bright side, at least New Neighbour likes it quiet, which makes a change from Old Neighbour, who was far more at home playing music until all hours and burning the place down.

Phew...

I need a nice cup of tea and a sit down.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Deaf girl fights with mattress, deaf girl wins!

Phew, they say moving house is one of the most stressful things you can do, but they forgot to say it's also the most physical!

I swear to you, it no longer matters that my gym membership has expired – I'm getting a full-body workout just changing addresses.

Take last night for example, I was at my new place as the kitchen floor was being laid, and I must have done the equivalent of a Body Pump class.

You see, the council are coming to take away some of the junk that doing up a house produces and so I booked them for today. But I didn't think about how I was going to get it from my upstairs flat downstairs… alone!

First, I tackled the simple things...

A kitchen cupboard and a bed frame, and then I remembered that next on my list was a double mattress!

And so I began!

I heaved and hoed it out of my flat into the communal hall and pushed it towards the stairs. As it gathered momentum it pinged around and pinned me into a corner.

Wondering if I'd bitten off more than I could chew, I sent an SOS text out to GBman, as he lives just up the road, and waited, held hostage by a mattress, but alas, he was busy, and so the battle began.

I tugged, the mattress resisted, before finally giving in and pinging me in a random direction – thank goodness for banister rails.

Eventually, with a groan and a bang it threw itself over the banister onto the bikes below in an enviable wrestling move, making a noise that will surely alienate me from my neighbours forever!

Then all I had to do was clamber over it and drag it up the garden path.

*simples

All while hoping the six-week surgical recovery rate advice just isn't true.

But on reflection, it's not the physical side of the move that's the most stressful, it's the aural!

There are so many things that need phone calls and my day is fast becoming a car crash of cringesome phone calls where I say pardon and they say, well that's just the point, I have no clue what they say.

Luckily, I have some fabulous friends, SB-boy and Lovely Freelancer who help me out when the going gets tough, but if I asked them to do all of it, I'd have to start paying them a salary.

I understand why, in an age where fraud is rife, many companies won't communicate by email, but there has to be a wizard invention for hard of hearing people who don't use text phones. Or a complete way around the whole phone call business.

Out of office working hours maybe? So I could visit in person...

Some sort of instant messenger with a special log in so it could only be me?

I'm off to have a think, and ask Lovely Freelancer to make a few calls!

Monday, 23 November 2009

I think I'm going deafer

Something is happening to my hearing.

I think I am going deafer!

It's been bugging me for about a week, so let's look at the evidence?

Every day in the office last week my colleagues laughed and joked. Normally when they do this, I can turn around and begin to lipread what's going on. But last week, I turned around to lip read, lips moved, I heard noise, but I understood nothing. There didn't seem to be any aural back up at all.

It was most odd, it was as though they were speaking in tongues!

Then, there's my TV – it's up 10 volume markers on its usual placement. Is that loud? I have no idea!

Then yesterday, when I saw my friend Salsa Dancer, she was talking, and I understood nothing! OK, so she's from Romania and she speaks with an accent at the speed of light, but normally I can catch enough of a conversation to piece together the rest.

*sniff

Positive takes on this situation are: That I'm just tired at the moment, which always makes me deafer, I'm stressed with moving house, work deadlines and getting better, which could make me deafer, and erm...

So anyway, I looked at my life over the past week to see if there has been anything I've been doing differently.

There has been one thing – I've been listening to an MP3 player that I got free from work.

I don't listen to it in public as I'm worried my need to have the volume high will make me one of those inconsiderate public transport users and everyone will scowl at me, but I have been listening to it.

Maybe that's affected my hearing? You read about it all the time in the papers about the dangers of prolonged headphone usage...

Could this have made me deafer? My love of music? And my inquisitiveness as to what is all the fuss about mp3 players is?

Pah, that'd be annoying. But just in case, I'm retiring my headphones. Instead I'm going to invest in some speakers and my free mp3 player is going to become my free stereo.

And if I keep going deafer, well, I'll have to come back to you about what I'm gonna blame it on next...

Friday, 20 November 2009

Blogging from my new pad

Today, I am sat in my new flat and it’s freezing.

It’s also a hive of activity, though. The lovely painter is here, making everything shiny and white, and there’s a man called Fraser cleaning my oven.

It sounds very princessy that I have someone cleaning my oven – but it’s a state, and I really am not that great at things that involve excessive physical exertion in the light of my operation.

I was up with the crack of dawn, literally today, as I’d booked a 7am to 12pm slot for some things to be delivered from Argos. And they rang me at 6.30am to let me know they were half an hour away.

But eek, I was 40 minutes away, by public transport, so I jumped in my car and legged it over there pronto – just in time to let them in with my shiny white goods.

This flat doing-up business is great, but hard work and expensive. Of course I knew all that, but I am rather impatient, and things like paint drying, floor laying, carpet ordering and door fitting, take time.

But if I close my eyes, I can already imagine it, my little flat, all sorted, cosy, shiny and bright.

I have 10 days to achieve this… as my move out date on my other flat has been brought forward.

EEK!

*DG buries her head in the sand

Cross your fingers please

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Blaming my ditziness on my deafness

Recently I’ve noticed I’ve been doing more ditzy things than deaf things…

It’s been quite funny as it’s making me forget that it’s usually my deafness that gets me into cringeworthy situation.

Take last week, when I was trying to be ├╝ber-organised before work and take the kitchen rubbish down to our HUGE communal bins.

Late for work and in a hurry, I hurled the black sacks into an empty bin and

*twang

off pinged my spare flat keys, into the bottom of the bin!

I stood there forlornly, on tiptoes peeking into the bin – there at the bottom lay my flat keys, but as it’s nearly as tall as me, and I’m still recovering from stomach surgery, I didn’t think it was wise to clamber in and get them…

So now they’re on a landfill somewhere…

And I am out of pocket after having to get yet more keys cut!

*sniff

Then, the other night I settled down to get my weekly fix of One Tree Hill – Yes, I know I have the TV viewing habits of a teenager – except it wasn’t subtitled. Shouting and swearing at how rubbish E4 was, I turned off the TV and went to sleep, and it was only the next morning when yet again, there were no subtitles on anything, that I remembered I’d turned off the subtitles on my TV the day before to look something up on teletext…

*blush

There are more ditzy things that have happened this week, too – but I am being so ditzy I can’t remember any of them. Heck, I am so ditzy that I took completely the wrong route to work this morning from London Aunt’s place, and a 40 minute commute took 90 minutes.

When I have ‘deaf’ moments I usually blame them on my ditziness, but now I’m having ditzy moments with more frequency, what do I blame them on?

My deafness?

Monday, 16 November 2009

Hurrah! I heard the fire alarm

Ahhh despite it raining and being generally apocalyptic weather, I'm in a warm and fuzzy mood today.

The reason for this is because Niknak and Country Boy 1's wedding was so, so wonderful!

They looked so excited and happy to be getting married – it was impossible not to shed a tear as they said their vows. Country Boy 1's grin was so big that it covered most of his face and Niknak really did look like a princess.

And the cake? Well, it was a HUGE success...

*phew!



Everyone seemed to love it and I felt insanely proud that I was able to do this for my fabulous friends.

The weekend was going wonderfully, and then...

Well, did I mention I have particularly annoying neighbours at the moment?

Well, the woke me up twice last week, partying until the early hours and on Saturday night, exhausted from the wedding, I prayed they wouldn't wake me up again.

So at 4am, when I was woken up by a fire alarm, I was less than impressed.

Actually, I don't think I was anything except terrified, as I've never been woken up by a fire alarm before. Heck, except for one time nearly a year ago, I've never even heard a fire alarm before!

I met French Cousin 2 in my hallway bleary eyed just in time for someone to knock on my door.

It was the ground floor neighbour – she was pissed off as she thought we'd set the alarm off.

And that was when I smelt it...

Smoke!

Running downstairs we opened the letterbox of the middle, noisy, annoying, partying, stoopid neighbours and out came acrid smoke.

Panicking, we banged on their door.

Nothing!

So the other neighbour called the fire brigade while we all ran and put clothes on and grabbed essentials just in case the entire block burnt down.

The fire brigade were there in minutes and after banging on the door a few times, they bashed it in!

There in the kitchen was the fire, a result of a pan that had boiled dry.

Out came the hose and breathing apparatus, and in they went.

Then came the most amazing thing! After all that commotion, the firemen had to wake my neighbour up. She was so drunk, she had slept through the whole thing!

*squeaks with rage

I was livid!

So mad that I actually wanted to scream at her, dishevelled and swaying in the doorway, while getting a talking to from the firemen.

But then I hoped that when she sobered up, the severity of what she'd done might actually sink in.

And in the meantime I'm looking for the good in the situation, which has to be hearing the fire alarm!!!!

Mental note to self, must fit giant red bell in new flat!

Friday, 13 November 2009

Deaf girl woken again! argh!

Hurrah! Today is thankful Friday and I need to get a non-thankful off my chest first.

Starting with my neighbours, who can't see the problem with coming in at 2am and having a party in the room below my bedroom.

They woke a deaf girl for goodness sake!!!!

I couldn't quite believe it as I lay in bed listening to the thudding bass – the melody didn't reach me through the ceiling, so I felt like I was at some kind of 80s acid house party.

For 20 minutes this continued until eventually someone else complained.

Don't get me wrong, I did contemplate complaining, but me and conflict are not the best of friends, and I was so mad by that point I was worried that once I started ranting I might not stop. Plus, I have no idea what they're really like and it's not a great idea to start a war without first checking out your enemies.

That's not to say I didn't stomp around and slam doors this morning though. Revenge at a distance seems a more sensible option after all.

Anyway, today I am rather tired on account of the baking extravaganza that took place yesterday! But the result?

Beautiful wedding cupcakes! And breaking my usual blog protocol, here's a picture of them...



Tonight, with the company of French Cousin 2, I am making the top tier, and then all I have to do is get everything to the venue in one piece!

*eek

So, what I am thankful for on this rainy rainy Friday?

I am thankful to Niknak for taking a chance on my cupcake-baking skills and letting me loose with a piping nozzle. For staying so incredibly calm as clouds of icing sugar wafted through her house like mist on a winter's day, and for only paying me compliments, even when some of the cakes came out less than fabulous.

It's lovely when someone has complete faith in you. Well, it's lovely for me. This morning, as I peeked at the leftover cakes, I couldn't help grinning at the fact that I'd made them. I'd made the sugar paste flowers, learnt – via YouTube – to pipe the icing, and perfected my secret recipe of buttercream icing.

It's been an amazing experience, and the best part, the eating, is still yet to come…

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Let the baking begin!

OK, so this weekend something very exciting is happening.

NikNak is getting married!

Hurrah!!!!

As you can tell I am more than a little happy about this. It's going to be amazing, she's going to look fabulous, we're gonna party the night away in celebration of the perfect match.

But first…

…comes the cupcake making, for I, together with the blushing bride herself, am making the wedding cake!

Tomorrow there will be no blog post because I will be elbow deep in cake mix, wearing an icing sugar face mask and flexing my muscles ready to pipe icing onto all 150 cupcakes.

I'm focused and I'm dedicated to making my first ever wedding cake work. I think about these cakes all the time, in the shower, on the bus, in bed. They're the last thing I think of when I close my eyes at night and the first thing I think of when I open them in the morning.

They're all consuming, mainly because it's so important to me that they're perfect for NikNak and Country Boy 1.

It's been a steep learning curve in the world of baking. I've learnt how to pipe buttercream – less is more when it comes to a successful smooth finish, I've learnt how to make sugarpaste flowers – cake release smothered over your hands keeps the icing supple and stops it sticking. It also seems to be quite good for the cuticles, too.

And finally I've learnt that Niknak's oven has a grill at the top, which must not be accidentally switched on at any time or we'll end up with 150 charcoal biscuits - excellent for the digestion apparently but not really the dream!

I'm nervous, I'm excited, I'm running on adrenaline, which I am hoping will speed up my recovery process and give me the energy I need for the intensive baking I've got ahead of me.

Wish me luck please!

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Deaf girl woken, deaf girl mad!

Last night, I got woken up no less than five times, by a noise!!!!!

This is not normal!

I am usually able to sleep through most things, including, rather embarrassingly, lectures, dinner parties, hen nights and evenings at Bungalow 8.

Anyway, being woken up really shocked me, so much so that my heart was beating like a big bass drum as I lay awake in the dark, listening for the noise again.

But each time, it proved to be a singular outburst, so I was unable to decipher just what it was.

I think, however, that it was my noisy neighbours, as their living room is below mine and they're prone to all night parties where the smell of martini wafts through my letterbox and at 3am they all spill out into the street to moon at taxis.

Last night wasn't one of them, but they were definitely not getting their beauty sleep at 3, 4 and 5am. Which, on reflection is a shame as they could definitely do with it.

It's not that I hate my neighbours, that's too strong a word, it's just that when they wake me up constantly during the night, it makes me want to get up and stamp up and down on their ceiling, turn the washing machine onto a high spin and leave the cold tap running so it emits a shrill screaming sound just to get revenge.

Now, revenge is not a pretty thing, so last night I did nothing. I lay in bed awake and waited for my heartbeat to subside while reassuring myself that the noise was outside not inside my flat.

Aren't I a nice person?

And tonight, what am I doing? Well, I'm leaving the tap running so it emits a high pitched scream all night, putting a load of washing in just before bed and hoping that I sonambulate throughout the night with big thudding steps.

Ha!

Monday, 9 November 2009

Putting my deaf reminder back on

Today, normal life resumes. I am sat on my bus on the way to work for the first time in almost four weeks.

I've got that back-to-school feeling I used to get at the start of a new term. Yesterday evening, I got my bag ready in advance and picked out my clothes, which naturally I'm not wearing having picked out something else instead, and all last night I dreamt the usual dreams of turning up for work and everything being different, turning up naked and the rest.

It was almost a relief to wake up!

Returning to work means I must now go cold turkey on my daytime TV addiction. No more Homes Under The Hammer or reruns of Murder She Wrote and Diagnosis Murder. My TV viewing will go back to BBC breakfast news and it's creative subtitles, snatched episodes of things here and there, and of course my daily and totally shameless dose of Neighbours and Home & Away.

Spending all this time recovering, has meant spending a lot of time on my own. This is something I actually enjoy. I have no issue with being alone, and I rarely get bored - there's always something to do, make, read, watch, or even tidy!

But something else happens when I'm alone - I usually forget I am deaf. With no one to talk to, I don't mishear things, daytime TV is normally always repeats so the subtitles are usually impeccable, and over time, I've tailored my own world of words, books, art and baking to not need my hearing.

So, today my worries about work are not that. I won't have any friends or that no one will sit with me at lunch, it's that I'll be reminded just how deaf I am all over again after almost four weeks of forgetting and fall to earth with a big emotional bump of reality!

Silly huh? But entirely feasible.

So my plan for this is to remind myself on this bus journey about my deafness.

So far, I've tried and failed to eavesdrop the conversation of the couple in front, strained to hear the announcements of the bus driver and played the aural equivalent of I Spy.

It's been erm... fun? No, that's not the word I'm looking for, but it's been what I needed. I needed to unforget I was deaf, not because it's a big deal but because that way it won't upset me when it barges into my day unannounced. I want to be prepared so I can greet it like an old friend, not run away from it like it's a predator.

Welcome back deafness.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Meeting butchers in A&E

Wow! Today is Thankful Friday and hopefully the last one in my recovery period.

Yesterday, I was thankful that it was almost Friday and looking forward to getting back to my normal life and work. I went to see my doctor to check that everything was OK and all of a sudden I was back in A&E.

*sigh

Never have I worked so hard to get myself out of that place. Something was on my side too, as the scanner they wanted to use was broken.

When I found out I had to go back into hospital I was in the worst mood. I stomped and moaned at Snowboarding Boy and Tigger via Pinkberry, and grumbled my whole way there.

Once there, I ended up sat next to two guys who were looking pretty annoyed, too. They were butchers and had been there four hours after one of them sliced his wrist open. They were both going a little crazy with the waiting but were definitely not as crazy as the lady sat on the other side of me. She kept gabbling on and was upset that a chest infection may prevent her from having surgery.

Together with the butchers, the crazy lady and I had a hilarious conversation about goose and haggis, that I didn’t follow that well as they were all Scottish and had accents.

While we shared the same stresses of being stuck in hospital, as we kept chatting it was as though we all relaxed and stopped feeling so annoyed.

And do you know what? Before long other people joined in with our conversation. A lady gave me a sweetie after a nurse made me drink something vile, and as each one of us got called in to be fixed, we all cheered them on with our best wishes.

It was like being in a surreal episode of Casualty, only without any of the angst or human tragedy angle they usually have going on, and try as I might, I couldn’t work out which doctor was dating which and if any of them were hiding the dark secrets that the BBC portray all NHS workers to have.

I never thought a visit to hospital, particularly one that involved taking blood off me could be enjoyable, but it really was. And now I know of a great butcher’s shop not far from my new flat, and I know that according to the crazy lady, they sell the cheapest goose in London. I also know that sometimes it’s fun to just go with the flow, accept that it’s OK not to be in control.

It’s weird that hospital was the place I got to try this out, but now I’m going to try it out in real life, too.

Bring it on…

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Deaf and missing out

Brrrrrr anyone else wake up FREEZING this morning?

There’s deafinitely no doubting that the colder weather is here…

*sniff

But, on a plus side, at least it’s sunny and bright. In the twenty five layers that I am wearing, I almost feel warm enough to feel summery as I look at the sun streaming through the window.

If I could just get my hands warm, it would be so much better though.

This is hopefully my last week off before returning to work. I really hope it is as I miss my job.

I’m one of those people who actually got the job they wanted, the job they daydreamed about at university and hoped they’d one day have… I got mine. And every day, I try to remember to count my lucky stars.

So being away from it is hard. I miss the words.

Anyway, very excitingly, this week London Aunt was on TV, on the BBC no less. I was so looking forward to seeing it as I’ve never had a relative on TV before, except for Nottnum Uncle who often pops up in commercials, so I settled down on the sofa, with my duvet and a cup of tea to get watching.

And guess what? The subtitles were rubbish. So rubbish in fact that I actually had no idea what the piece London Aunt was in was about. The bit where she spoke directly to the interviewer was fine as I have been lipreading London Aunt my whole life so was able to do that OK. But the fluffy bits in between when the presenter was talking off screen and where there were holding shots of the river, houses and other such things, I really had no clue what was going on.

ARGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGH

*Sigh

Now, I can handle rubbish subtitles most of the time. I can handle the utter drivel that seems to scroll across my screen during BBC Breakfast News, but this was important. I actually wanted to follow this programme. I wanted to know what was going on, and still there were no decent subtitles.

I know I should look at it from both angles, as I am sure that subtitling live TV programmes where no one’s sure what the presenters are going to say next is tricky. But this was a pre-recorded piece, so what is the excuse for this?

Can someone tell me please, because it’s doing my head in.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Now I'm 29...

Do you know this is my first blog since I turned 29?

Saturday was my birthday and while the celebrations were calmer than they have been in the past, I still had a brilliant day, hanging out with The Rents, London Aunt, London Cousins 1 and 2, French Aunt and French Cousin 3.

Birthdays for me are always a time for reminiscing. It’s the easiest day to sit for a moment and say, ‘This time last year...’ or even ‘This time 10 years ago...’

One of the great things about having a birthday on Halloween, apart from the fact that it’s easy for people to remember, is that there are usually great parties to crash.

Ten years ago on my birthday, I was in my first year at university. I had the typical Freshers’ Halloween party to go to. It was fake-blood fueled and included the usually customary pints of snakebite & black, followed by chips and pitta from MegaBite.

Twenty-two years ago I had an amazing Halloween party with a home-made Gingerbread House birthday cake and party games and fake cobwebs that made my Ma cough for months after she accidentally inhaled them.

Even further back, when I was 5, I had a party with a puppet show and a cake shaped like Postman Pat’s van. Then on my 21st birthday, I behaved in a similar way to when I was at my Grandma’s 80th birthday.

*blush

Do you remember the years when the night before your birthday was always one of insane anticipation? I always had butterflies in my stomach and usually woke up at 5am, counting down the minutes until I could sneak into The Rents’ room and open my presents.

When does that feeling disappear? It’s not that I don’t enjoy my birthday, because I do, but I guess I’m not overwhelmed by an uncontainable excitement any more.

I miss that!

As I begin my year of being 29, it’s amazing how different my life has become. I have my own flat now, bricks and mortar and a wayward wisteria to call my own.

I feel almost erm... grown up!

Twenty nine and finally feeling like an adult...

Guess I had to get there eventually, didn’t I?