Hello People. I am here with you courtesy of the Inland Revenue.
I'm trying to do my annual tax return before they put in me in prison with hungry crocodiles or whatever they do these days but guess what? ONCE AGAIN I CAN'T LOG INTO THE BLOODY SYSTEM. Last year, such was the farce that ensued over my 'Unique Tax Reference Number' that I swore I would get it actually tattooed on my inner thigh. I'd never be separated from it (well unless I was the victim of even more horrible misfortune and lost the limb) and it would provide a unique and endlessly fun discussion point during foreplay. 'These numbers on your thigh, what is the story?'. I would smile mysteriously and hint at secret codes and passwords that could never be told. Obviously I'd leave out the bit about it being for Tax Returns as that's not generally known to excite men. Apart from perhaps Accountants. I don't really want to seduce an Accountant. Actually maybe I do. Maybe that's what I actually NEED to do? Anyway basically I never got the tattoo but I did write down all the relevant information and lock it in a filing cabinet under the heading TAX.
So this year I was conned into believing I could simply put in this information and be done in minutes.
It does not recognise my password. The computer says no. I've reset the password and guess what? It does not recognise the new password that it sent. Great. It tells me to call the helpline. The helpline that is shut on a Sunday.
So I'm blogging.
Last time I was here I was preparing for the Inspector to call and study my ways. Well she came, she saw and she ticked all the boxes and basically said 'you're awesome'. Well she didn't quite say that but she smiled a lot and was really nice and said it in a roundabout kind of way which frankly I'm quite deeply moved by. I don't like make a big thing about myself - thus all this on-line self deprecation - but doing a good enough job matter hugely to me and I'm very proud at what I've managed. Despite everything I've made a difference to people's lives. In a good way. And given them a good time along the way.
However - great big shining my halo aside - it's quite frankly a good job she came to that session and not the previous one.
Let me summarise the farce of the first session:
I raced to the hall after finishing my other job only to find...... it is FREEZING and I mean freezing. Call caretaker (the one in the stetson). He turns up, shrugs his shoulders and tells me the boiler pilot light is out and is being fixed at 10am tomorrow. I say something about that not really helping me now you mofo (but I say it really nicely as he wields the power in that place). He offers me the somehow warm skittle alley. Yes - a skittle alley.
It's about 6 foot wide and 60 foot long and quite dark and echoey. It's basically, erm, an alley after all. I decline. I mean how is that meant to work? Everyone sits in a big long row like they're on the bus and I stand at the front conducting!? ALL ABOARD, TICKETS PLEASE, HAS ANYONE SEEN MY CERVIX? No.
So he offers me the 'reading room' (I don't know why it is called this, nobody ever reads in it). It's also freezing cold but it's very small so if we get a plug in heater we can make it slightly warm. So I accept and cram a large number of people in a small space round a heater. On the plus side it's all very conducive to group bonding. On the negative side it's quite hard to find the reading room as it's hidden and while I'm helping a couple find the toilets a couple of the new clients go astray and walk into the main hall where some kind of a Killer Self Defence for Big Hard Men with Shiny Heads and Steely Eyes is taking place. This causes them fleeting panic as they wonder how the hell kicking the shit out of a guy in a dressing gown is conducive to getting a baby out of your body....... I have a lot of calming down to do.
So problem one solved. On to the next one....
The next one being I've forgotten my pelvis. Not MY actual pelvis - even I would have noticed the absence of my entire lower torso. No the model one that is absolutely key to explaining how things work and why x y and z may help things along. Shit. No pelvis no demo. I look around for things I could craft a substitute from but although I can do a lot with several dozen pint glasses, a pack of bendy straws, 24 custard creams and some tea bags - making a woman's pelvis isn't one of them. This leaves me the option of drawing one. Drawing. What what I thinking? I end up with a flipchart sheet with two oval slit on it and the words:
This is the way in
This is the way out
I give the clients a marker pen and ask them how they think they could get it through the slits. The answer is rotate it (the pen is the baby's shoulders - obviously) but you can imagine the result.....
In hindsight this was not the most well thought out teaching activity.
Once again though it was great for group bonding and there are worse ways to spend a Wednesday night than huddled round a heater with a group of strangers poking flip chart marker pens through slits whilst laughing hysterically.
So problem two kind of solved (I eventually found my lost pelvis in the airing cupboard and did the proper demo on the next session - thus hopefully undoing any kind of emotional scaring caused by the 'Game of Slits').
On to the third and final problem. And oh god this is cringeworthy - even for me.
OK - so I do this thing where you get loads of random props and you have to work out how they could be used to during early to labour to help you cope.
One of the items is a hot water bottle.
Whilst setting up I pulled out the hot water bottle and turned it over. In the next 2 seconds time slowed down to almost stand still and the following thought pattern went through my head.....
ARRRGHHHHHHHHHHHHH there's a dead fish stuck on the back of my hot water bottle oh god but it can't possibly be a dead fish because where would a fish have come from and anyway it would stink ARGGGHHHHH but it's all grey and furry and flat ARRRRGGGHHHHHH oh my god it's a dead rat, a deceased and suppurating rodent is squashed flat against my hot water bottle dead and rotting and in my box ARRRGHHHH but why doesn't it stink and where the hell did it come from ARRRGGHHHHH I think I'm actually going to cry and be sick SOB.......WHAT THE F'CK?
The last time I taught this activity was October. Someone told me to add a banana to my box and that it was a good prompt to talk about eating small amounts to keep your body working at it's best. So I added a banana to my box....... I clearly put the banana back in the box..... I put the box back in the shed at the bottom of my garden......And for 3 long months the banana went through every stage of decomposition until it resembled a sheet of grey fur actually embedded in the rubber of the hot water bottle.
So, errr, obviously that little activity had to go by the wayside and the whole shebang had to go in the bin. I mean nowhere in the self help skills for childbirth manual would it mention scaring yourself witless with decomposed fruit that resemble a dead rodent.
As I said, it's a damn good job the Inspector called at the next session where there were no problems whatsoever and the group were so well bonded they were laughing their heads off and chatting like old mates.
Silver linings folks, silver linings.....