Friday, 30 April 2010

Would I hear a burglar?

Today is Thankful Friday and I am extremely thankful that Tigger is coming to stay. I haven't seen him for absolutely ages so it'll be good to catch up. Plus we have our run on Sunday!

What I am not thankful for is Sunday's weather forecast! Rain and wind! Gah, not exactly optimum conditions for my first running race ever.

But it'll be an experience no matter what, I'm sure!

Anyway, isn’t it lovely that we’ve got a nice long weekend coming up, and that it’s payday today. This month has been expensive – I spent £300 on broken things in my flat, which is half the price of a Mulberry handbag. Although now I am a house owner, I should probably stop pricing things against Mulberry handbags, seeing as I will never be able to buy one ever again.

Next on my expenditure list is sorting out my windows. In typical London fashion, I have single-glazed sash windows, which while beautiful, are somewhat on their last legs. Several have broken panes and all of them could do with bits replacing. Ideally I would like wooden ones with double-glazing in, so they’d be energy efficient and safe, too. But I think that’d be several dozen Mulberry handbags, so I might just have to make do with face-lifting the existing ones.

Part of me wanting better windows is a safety thing – you see, sash windows just don’t seem very burglar proof, and after spending vast amounts turning my door into the equivalent of Fort Knox, it seems bizarre that the rest of my house is protected by single glazing and rotting wood.

This all hit home this week when my neighbour emailed me to say she had caught some men with a ladder in our garden. I freaked out, partly because I worry whether, if someone broke into my flat, I would hear them? And once they were in, would they ever be able to get out my Fort Knox of a front door?

I had one sleepless night over it. And then I pulled myself together and reminded myself that I keep my toolbox under my bed – the obvious place for such a thing don’t you think? – and in that toolbox is a very large wooden mallet.

I slept well last night.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Running with music

So the countdown is almost at an end – my run is almost here!

*eek

Actually, in a weird way, I'm looking forward to seeing if all this training has paid off. This morning's run would imply that it has, as I didn't get tired until right at the end of my 30 minute jaunt, and before I started this running lark, I couldn't even run for a bus without getting uncontrollably out of breath.

It really is amazing, and quite satisfying, too.

Anyway, today I tried something new and different on my run. I tried running with my iPhone playing music. Now, it was quite good, except that I didn’t have a playlist and so hitting shuffle meant that any old song could pop up at any time and these were not always best suited to pounding the pavements.

What I also struggled with was actually hearing it, above the sound of the traffic and general rush-hour din. I never listen to my iPod in public places for this exact reason – for instance, on the bus, I would have to have it on full volume just to get the bass, and I’d be one of those people on the posters being inconsiderate about my music. Except I wouldn’t be being deliberately inconsiderate, I’d just be trying to hear the bloomin’ thing.

So where, was I, erm… yes I didn’t really hear much of it. I’d miss the first minute of the song and then finally get the bass line and realise what I was listening to, and then my head would make up the rest. And because my head was so busy making up music it forgot that it was running and the whole thing flew by.

Not quite the point of running with music, but if it works, I’m not complaining. I do however, need to source some bass-heavy music to run to so that I can actually hear it all the way.

Time to get Pa to dig out his Napalm Death album I think.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Happy 2nd Birthday to MEEEEEEEEEE (DG)

Guess what?

I forgot my own birthday!

Deafinitely Girly's second birthday to be precise!

It was on Friday, but I was so flustered from sleeping in, I forgot and nattered on about Thankful Friday instead. But then, I had a lovely comment from a reader who reminded me it was my birthday and also said great things about my blog!

*big grin

Looking back, it's hard to believe this of started two years ago, and that I've more or less blogged every week day since 23 April 2008 – give or take hospital visits, hangovers and holidays.

What on earth have I had to say?

Let's have a review shall we!

Well, in the beginning I addressed my past. From going deaf to boy struggles – I recounted the stories that had shaped me, blown my embarrassment factor out of the water and given me something to say in the first place.

Then where was my Down-On-The-BBC era, which lasted a long time and to be fair, was quite justified as the subtitles are often rubbish during important things like the news and Top Gear.

In these two years I've had over 18,000 hits and more if you count the ones through Deaf Read that don't register on my hit counter.

I've also got a column in Hearing Times, which I love writing, and my Superdrugloves.com blog, which has caused my make-up bag to double in size since last summer when I won the competition to be the Ultimate Summer Insider, and has seen me jet of to Barcelona on an amazing 5-star weekend away with London Aunt.

But perhaps the biggest change is me. I feel older and wiser, more proactive about my deafness – ready to fight the battles worth fighting and quietly ignore the ones I’ll never win. I've come to learn over the last two years that some people are not worth the hassle and some people are more than worth the hassle. I now know that some people will never learn about my deafness and some people will actually know more than me, teaching me in their own unique way how to do more than just ‘get by’ and instead get out there and grab every opportunity that arises.

Deafinitely Girly has put me in touch with amazing people from all over the world and reconnected me with people from my past.

But most importantly, she's helped me be me. To get it all out, and put fingers to keyboard about what I'm really thinking. It’s amazingly therapeutic, and when I have sad, bad or mad days, the support that comes flooding in really is overwhelming.

Just last night, I was watching a recording of Young Musician of the Year. It was the strings final and as a kid, I always used to watch this with The Rents. But this time around, I couldn’t hear anything. Nada – not a pip, squeak or scrape for most of the performances, with the exception of some low bits from the harpists.

Now pre-DG, I wouldn’t have known how to deal with this and would have probably felt rather sad for the remainder of the evening. But last night, I simply fast-forwarded the bits I couldn’t hear and enjoyed the interviews with the performers instead.

I dealt with it in a positive manner, and not only got on with it, but enjoyed it, too, rather than dwelling on what I couldn’t have.

And that’s what I’ve learnt from DG in the last two years – she’s made me happy to be me.

Which, really, can only be a good thing.

Now, it’s time to bake that birthday cake I think!

Friday, 23 April 2010

Sleeping through my vibrating alarm clock

Today is Thankful Friday and I'm extremely thankful that I woke up at 8.15, just 10 minutes before the latest time I can leave the house for work. Any later and I would have been stuffed, but 10 minutes was enough time to throw on clothes, eat toothpaste and even watch a cat fall out of a tree, but that's a whole other story…

I am quite amazed though, that I managed to sleep through two vibrating alarms without even stirring.0

I must be shattered!

Anyway, today I am also thankful that my toilet is fixed – unfortunately however, my boiler is not.

You see, my foolproof plan of photos and arrows that I sent to the plumbing company, was not so foolproof! The lady who I emailed, ordered the wrong part, in spite of the fact that I checked with her that she had all the information she needed from me.

Gah!

But I'm getting there gradually with this home-fixing lark, and next time I'll just make sure I send detailed descriptions as well as photos, so that people know what I'm talking about.

The plumbing company, to be fair, were lovely about it. They texted me about things instead of calling and were very apologetic. But all that doesn't fix my heating.

*Sniff

But that's quite enough about that.

I'm off to enjoy my Friday. Hope you do, too.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Deafinitely Girly's political musings

I'm having a weird week for lots of reasons.

It's hard to describe why. I've laughed and cried in equal measures – possible more than any other week this year.

I'm exhausted and exhilarated.

Anyway, I saw Gingerbread Man this week and he commented on the fact that I never talk about politics and the forthcoming General Election on my blog. I pondered as to why this was, and realised, shockingly, that it's because I don't know enough about it to comment in depth.

So yesterday, I sat through a Lib Dem party political broadcast – the one where Nick Clegg is walking in various locations surrounded by hundreds of sheets of paper.

‘Must pay attention,’ I thought to myself, and then I began to wonder whether they cleaned all the paper up afterwards or if they'd done a fancy camera trick to get it there.

‘Focus!’ I chided myself, and began to read the subtitles.

It has to be said that Nick Clegg gave a lovely speech. He uttered inspiring things about tax, education and the banks having to pay for the mess they make.

But then I remembered something Gingerbread Man said about how even if the Lib Dems come 2nd in the election and beat Labour, Labour will still have more seats than the Lib Dems because of way our system works.

And that naturally makes you think, what's the point? And I don’t think I'm alone in having this thought process.

When I read about the political parties' aims if they got into power, I don't believe them anymore. I don't believe that once they'd got in, the stuff that made people vote them in, would get done. And I believe that of all the parties.

Which once again begs the question, what's the point?

But then, even in my political ignorance, I’ve concluded that there is a point, and I will vote for someone and encourage my discouraged friends to put crosses in boxes, too. Because if we don't vote, then there's a chance that other parties, with even less honourable intentions than the three main ones, will gain more say in how this country is run, and that really might not be a good thing.

So that's it. That's my one and only, and quite frankly not very informative political musing.

Now I'm going to go back to wondering just how Nick Clegg cleaned up all that paper in his party political broadcast.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Cold showers aren't fun

Phew, boy do I feel invigorated this morning after a cold shower and hair wash! At one point I thought my brain was going to shut down, the water was that cold!

Luckily however, I have a boiler man booked on Thursday to hopefully fix the problem – at great expense...

Plumbers it seems are like supermodels – they don’t get out of bed for less than a set amount.

Oh the joys of flat owning.

Recently however, I've noticed how much better I've been sleeping in my little flat. And I think part of this is to do with lack of worrying when I settle down at night – largely due to my fire alarm system. You see, by having the vibrating pad under my pillow and flashing light by my bed, I am totally prevented from lying awake for a few minutes thinking about whether or not there’ll be a fire and if I'll wake up and if anyone will rescue me before I drown in smoke – like the gruesome TV advert.

Now, I know that this is no longer an issue, so I have one less pre-slumber worry!

Amazing!

So anyway, this week, apart from the cold showers, is going well. This morning I ran 3 ½ miles, just half a mile shy of my race length, and apart from a wavering moment two thirds of the way around, I really enjoyed it.

And the best thing is how I feel afterwards.

Invigorated!

Positive!

Alive!

All great ways to start the day.

Indeed, I was feeling great until that cold shower…

Roll on Thursday!

Monday, 19 April 2010

The problem with being deaf when things break...

Boiler broken: check

No hot water or heating: check and check

Toilet broken: check

Just as well I’m old enough to own a Mastercard isn’t it!

Seriously though, things breaking in my flat are a nightmare for me, as I can’t just pick up the phone and get it sorted. However, when I first moved in, I found a local plumbing company to service my boiler and was able to arrange the whole thing by email. So this morning, as I was having my cold shower, I resolved to email them as soon as I’d warmed up and sort the whole thing out.

The problem with email is that there’s lots of too-ing and fro-ing with questions that could be answered quickly if I was on the phone. So this time, I thought I would email them with everything I could possibly think of concerning the boiler/toilet issues. So I took pictures of the offending boiler and toilet and photoshopped in arrows and text to illustrate what the problem seems to be.

But on reflection, this probably means that right now, there’s a gaggle of west London plumbers rolling around the floor laughing at the email they’ve received with pictures of a toilet and broken boiler and blonde-girl speak written all over it trying to explain what the problem is.

Maybe I should go to plumber night school so I no longer have these communication problems. And while I’m at it, I’d better go to electrician night school, too. And maybe car mechanics night school. And if I can’t learn how to fix it, perhaps I’ll just have to make lots of plumber/electrician/car mechanic friends who I can text when it all goes wrong!

A fool-proof plan… no?

Friday, 16 April 2010

A visit from the Godson

Whoop! Today is Thankful Friday and I'm thankful for so many things it's not possible to list them all here.

Firstly though, I'm thankful for my gorgeous godson, and to his mum, Best Friend And Head Girl, for asking me to be godmother.

They live Oop Norf, but yesterday all popped in for dinner along with Friend Who Knows Big Words, as they’re down here on holiday. It was so lovely to see everyone again. Northern Boy is 3 years old now and growing fast. He simply adores Friend Who Knows Big Words, and stuck to her like glue all evening.

My godson is gorgeous – quite gorgeous! At 7 months old, he's smiling, giggling and gurgling and even managed to miss throwing up on my carpet, projecting it onto the kitchen tiles instead! So considerate, don't you think?

Now they’re all gone again, I’m missing them lots.

Anyway, I am also thankful that my running is getting easier. This morning I did 25 minutes without stopping, quite an achievement in my scheme of things. Even better, I wasn't overtaken by anyone, which reassured me that I must have speeded up in the last 8 weeks, too!

The run is drawing nearer.

But I’m feeling ready. And I am also thankful I am not running the Brighton Marathon this weekend. Lots of luck to those who are.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

The 'What can I hear?' game

So, no blog yesterday... sorry!

But I have been rather busy lately with the running, my column in Hearing Times – due in Friday – and a few secret projects.

Don't get me wrong, I like it that way, but I do find, if I don't get my sacred bus journey to work for some reason or other, then the blog doesn't get done.

It's Wednesday already, which is great news. Wednesday is my favourite day of the week as by the end of it, the weekend is almost here.

This weekend, I am headed to Pompey to see Penfold and DangerMouse. DangerMouse is in a bike race on Sunday so we're gonna cheer him on, and I may take my running gear and take advantage of the endless sea front.

Anyway, this morning I woke up early. Stupidly early – 5am – knowing that in order to fit in my now 40-minute session on my walk-to-run program, I only had another hour in bed.

Unable to go back to sleep, I played a game that I used to play in my old flat when lying awake at night. It's called 'What can I hear?'. Since moving to the new place, I haven't played it, and it transpires that this was in fact for good reason. I can't hear anything. I mean it's not completely silent, but in the 15 minutes that I lay there listening, I heard maybe two cars... and that was it! In my last flat, I heard two cars a second, and I couldn't hear my TV if the window was open.

It gave me some understanding of just why my new housemates in the last place used to look so traumatised after their first week of living there. To hearing peeps, it must have been dreadful!

I do like the silence in my new place... but now I need a new game for when I'm lying in bed at night unable to sleep...

Perhaps I should just count sheep!

Monday, 12 April 2010

Lipreading Mamma Mia... kinda

This morning, I wrote my blog on the bus and emailed it to myself, as I do every morning. Except this morning, it didn’t arrive. Which means that someone somewhere in my iPhone address book got my unedited blog for Monday… and I got absolutely nothing.

My bleary-eyed state on the bus also means that I can’t actually remember what I wrote, either! Most annoying.

I do know that I wrote about having a marvellous time with Whiskey Cousin. We shopping, ate a lot of food in China Town at a place called Wonky – or Wong Kei as it was actually spelt, and then went to Mamma Mia. Thanks to the lovely box office peeps, we had premium tickets near the front for a fraction of the price, so I was able to follow a little of what was going on, and could even lipread some bits. It was a totally brilliant evening – especially the bit at the end when everyone jumped up from their seats and sang along with the cast.

I think at this point Whiskey Cousin wanted to crawl under her seat with embarrassment as I sang my heart out!

Teehee!

Anyway, yesterday a French man saved my life – OK, alright, he didn’t actually save my life, but he certainly saved my sanity after the tube I was travelling in stopped in a tunnel, for what seemed like an eternity (probably about 2 minutes!).

You see, I had just dropped Whiskey Cousin at the station and it was the fastest, and only route home, given the weekend tube closures. Hating the tube, I was not feeling overly enthusiastic when I got on the train, but I consoled myself that it was only a few stops – pah! A few stops and a long wait (2 minutes) in a tunnel.

So, the train stopped.

I took a deep breath and sat down.

The train didn’t move.

I got out my iPhone and tried to play Scrabble to distract myself.

Still the train stayed put.

I looked up wildly, and asked the man opposite me if there had been any announcements. He looked totally freaked out that someone had actually spoken to him and ignored me.

And that was when the lovely French man stepped in. Seeing my wide-eyed stare, he asked if I was OK and I admitted I hated the underground and asked if he could chat to me until the train started moving again.

And so he did…

In fact, the first thing he did was tell me he had a girlfriend – I’m guessing he must have wondered if I was actually running an elaborate pick-up plan – and then we chatted. I found out he was a PHD student working at a company over here and he was from the Loire Valley but studied in Lyon. He totally cheered me up and distracted me for the eternity (2 minutes) that we were stuck in the tunnel for.

As he walked with me from our station, I marvelled at how nice he had been in my time of need – and at how good looking he was.

Perhaps it should have been an elaborate pick-up plan after all… but then pitching myself as a neurotic, wide-eyed blonde is not perhaps the best idea.

Hmmm… back to the drawing board!

Friday, 9 April 2010

A not very Thankful Friday

Today has not been a very thankful Friday so far. I overslept, had hideous dreams, smashed Friend Who Knows Big Words' favourite glass, cut my finger and shut another one in a door.

*sniff

Not even the sun is cheering me up. I just want to crawl back into bed and pretend today isn't happening.

On a positive note Whiskey Cousin is coming to stay. She's 13 so I've got us tickets to see Mamma Mia – half price on account of my deafness, and premium seats, too. I don’t know if I'll be able to follow much, but the guys in the box office reassured me its very similar to the movie script, so I will watch and memorise that in advance! They also announced that they are looking at doing a captioned production soon. Yay!

I'm also planning to take Whiskey Cousin to Portobello or Camden and maybe the Tate Modern for some cultcha.

Should be fun!

Finally, I do have one more thing to be thankful for... that I managed my jawlk home yesterday. The Runkeeper application on my iPhone said it was 6 miles and I reckon I ran for two thirds of it at least. Running down Oxford Street was not an option, so I walked that bit. I'm still not fabulous at it though, and always seem to get this moment about 1 minute in where I want to give up, but the more I ran, the more I got into it. And without my rucksack, I reckon it would have been a whole lot easier.

Running is getting easier.

And if that's not something to be thankful for, I don't know what is.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Running or chocolate

Hurrah! More sun!

It's amazing how that big burning ball of fire has the ability to put a spring in my step, even during the most challenging of weeks.

It's fabulous, I love it!

But while I am still in tights and knee-high boots, and at least 4 layers, there is someone on my bus this morning in a floaty skirt and gladiator sandals...

In April!!!!

All I can say is, she must have pretty warm blood because, while it may be sunny, I'd struggle to use any warmer adjectives when waxing lyrical about the weather.

Anyway, today is another planned jawlk home from work as I really need to pull my socks up with this running lark. Tigger runs 10 miles on a bi-daily basis, so our run will be a walk in the park for him, quite literally!!

Most importantly, I have decided to give up chocolate until this run is over because I am totally addicted and it can’t be healthy.

Hmmm, I have a feeling this will be more challenging than the run!

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

An unexpected trial of my deaf fire alarm

Last night I nearly got the chance to try out my new vibrating/flashing all-singing-all-dancing fire alarm – except I was out at the pub.

On returning from the pub – where we came second in the quiz and won some lovely cider glasses, the acrid smell I had smelt the time my neighbours actually did burn their flat down, greeted me. It had me in a flap. My heart was racing and my eyes were imagining the strobe light of my alarm before I’d even got through the door.

There, Friend Who Knows Big Words was able to find out from French Boy, who had passed on the pub quiz in favour of watching football, that there had indeed been a fire – a very little one, in the form of a smoking tubigrip bandage.

You see, since he fell down a waterfall in Vietnam and trashed his ankle, poor old French Boy has been limping. To alleviate the pain, he’s been wearing a support and last night, in an attempt to get rid of a loose thread, he burnt the said loose thread and rested the tubigrip bandage on the suitcase in my spare room.

But the tubigrip bandage had other ideas and continued to smolder – burning a hole in itself in the process and melting the suitcase.

‘My carpet?’ I gasped on returning.

‘Unscathed!’ was Friend Who Knows Big Words reassuring reply.

*Phew

‘French Boy?’ I enquired.

‘Thankfully not wearing the bandage at the time of the fire…’ she added.

It was scary though – and made me all the more thankful for my flashing, vibrating fire alarm.

Three cheers for London Fire Brigade I say!

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

As good as new

Well, another Easter is over, chocolate has been consumed and fun has been had, and now it's back to normality.

What's nice about this morning's normality is that the sun is shining and the birds are most very likely to be singing. It's also Tuesday, so we're one step closer to the weekend already.

Anyway as you know, this weekend, my Ma was visiting and she brought her hearing aids with her as they've recently been turned up. She complained that everything was too loud, but looking back, I think she did a lot better than normal, and it was back to me saying pardon most of the time instead of her.

However, it reminded me that while they can help, they're still don't make everything perfect in the same way that glasses do.

I mean, without my glasses, there quite frankly is no world. In some ways, I can't wait for the day that hearing aids are as good at glasses. Then all I'd have to do was sort out my Crohn's and then I'd be as good as new.

Here's hoping eh? Here's hoping.

Deaf Girly: Finding the good in my deafness

Most regular readers of this blog will know that I'm pretty comfortable with my deafness in the workplace these days. I've got a...