17 January 2010 – the Big Push for Turkey continues

Designed to drive me nuts?

Designed to drive me nuts?

The weekend goes way too fast, even with three days of it. Still, I’ve managed a whole week of the big push for Turkey without a single slip up, unless you count the fence breaking on the ice the other day. Every single day I’ve done Wi Fit and Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I did the Pump it Up warm up too. Actually, I think I’m improving on that slightly. Occasionally I manage to move in the same direction as all the skinny girls on the DVD and, on Thursday, I didn’t feel like I was about to have a heart attack at the end of the ten minutes although my thighs felt like they were going to spontaneously combust during the squat pumps. I still can’t get through all those squat pumps without stopping either but even the dancers look like they’re struggling, one of the ones at the back almost gives up and they’re professional dancers. Maybe if I can actually master it I might move on to the twenty-minute dance workout. They call it an easy work out but, seeing as the warm up nearly kills me, I’m not so sure about that. Goodness knows what the high-energy section will be like, I’m too scared to even watch it. It is fun though, in a twisted kind of way. Continue reading

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4 January 2010 – temptation and festive fatty prejudice

Incriminating pile of wrappers

Incriminating pile of wrappers

Thankfully all the sweets in the office have disappeared. This means there is less chance to eat rubbish during the ten hours of the day I’m chained to my headset. Unfortunately the sweets at home seem to be hanging about a little longer, not to mention biscuits, mince pies and assorted other bits of Christmas leftover junk. Considering I bought so much less this year I don’t understand why it seems to be lasting so long. Maybe Commando had another tin stashed away and he’s secretly refilling this one when I’m at the office. Continue reading

5 October 2009 – the new girl again

The ugly brown building

The ugly brown building

Monday 5

My first day at the Mad House started with a weigh in. The slow march into new territory continues and I have lost another pound, I am officially in the lower half of the elevens now at eleven six. I don’t mind admitting I did a little happy dance.

In my usual fashion I’d been steadfastly refusing to think about my first day at my new job until I absolutely had to but, being as I was actually getting ready to go there, I couldn’t avoid thinking about it any longer. The general feeling was dread. For a start there was all the stuff about being the oldest and fattest going round and round in my head, then the stuff about not being able to do the job, not understanding the training, not retaining the information I needed to learn. In short, fear of failure and humiliation. On top of that was the horror of being back in a call centre, a job I swore I would never, ever do again.

So I found myself standing outside the big, ugly building looking up at all those floors of hideous brown bricks and glass. As usual, I was early, I’m pathologically ridiculously early for everything, so I stood for a while contemplating my fate. There was a huge temptation to turn and run but how would I explain that to Commando? In the end I went through the automatic doors into the foyer and gave my name to the man sitting looking bored at reception. Why couldn’t I have got a job sitting in reception? I could do that, no headsets there.

After a short while a young, incredibly beautiful Asian woman came out of the lift, through the turnstiles that stop unauthorised, possibly homicidal, members of the public getting in and shook my hand. She had a wide, wide smile on her face. Her name was Jas and she was one of my trainers. Actually it was slightly embarrassing because no one else had arrived, what with me being so early, and I’m not sure she knew quite what to do with me. Luckily, another early bird arrived about then. All my worries about being the oldest and the fattest melted away as soon as I saw her, she was, as far as I could tell by looking, older than me by a good few years and about the same size I’d been back in January, although way taller than me so she looked much better than I had back then. Her name was Kim.

There were six of us in my training group, myself, Kim, a dark haired girl call Emma (also bigger than me), Louise, a pretty blonde, Leo a bit of a joker in his early twenties and Clive, late twenties and a little too serious for my liking. There was also another trainer, Dev, an oriental looking guy who seemed a bit full of himself to me. We spent the morning doing ‘getting to know each’ other exercises, filling out forms and having our photos taken for pass cards so we could get into the building.

Jas took us on a bit of a tour, starting with the cafeteria on the first floor. There was an amazing coffee machine but, sadly, we couldn’t actually get one because you need to put money on your pass card for everything you buy and we didn’t have our pass cards yet. Still, that was probably for the best because there was also a lot of rather tempting food around. Good job I bought a packed lunch.

Then we visited one of the floors of the call centre. This was pretty much as I expected, rows and rows of desks, people talking into headsets, notices everywhere, motivational posters, big screens showing call waiting times and sales, a hive of activity. Unless you’ve worked in a call centre it’s hard to explain the sheer level of noise, all those people talking at once. I can’t imagine sitting at one of those desks or maybe I just don’t want to imagine. Thinking about it makes me shudder.

At lunchtime I went across the road to East Park and sat on a bench to eat my lunch. That’ll probably get me a bad name with the trainers because everyone else ate their lunch in the training room. To be honest I don’t care if they think I’m not a team player, I had to get out of that building. This does not bode well for the rest of my working life at the Mad House, half a day and I’m desperate to escape.

Then it was back to the training room on the second from top floor where we had a long presentation about the history of the company, followed by another about data protection laws. Having such boring lectures straight after lunch was probably not the best planning. I don’t think I was the only one who could hardly keep their eyes open. After that we needed our wits about us because we had our first look at the system. Jas showed us how to find an account, which seemed fairly simple, understanding all the information less so. There are actually two systems running side by side and you have to flick between the two. This was the point when I wondered if I was actually up to the job. When I stole a glance at Kim she looked absolutely terrified. At least I wasn’t alone in that.

When I got home tonight my head was buzzing with stuff. All that information just kept going round and round leaving me feeling confused and more scared than I did at the beginning of the day. All that and I haven’t even answered a phone yet!

20 September 2009 – Barcelona, what a city!

Casa Batlló, my favourite of all Gaudi's creations

Casa Batlló, my favourite of all Gaudi’s creations

As this is just a weekend break we wanted to make the most of the time we had but today was Sunday so we weren’t sure what would be open, especially as Spain is a predominantly Catholic country. We decided to head towards the centre of Barcelona and see what we could find. After all, the Gaudi buildings could be looked at from the street, even if everything was shut. If the worst came to the worst we could head for the beach. Continue reading

11 June 2009 – emotional eating and back in the twelves

Oh dear!

Oh dear!

I’ve been doing a bit of emotional eating since I got the reply from the driving instructor. It’s not big and it’s not clever and it’s certainly not doing me much good on the scales. When I weighed in on Monday I was back to twelve stone. Two pounds back on in one week. The problem is, now I’ve gone back to eating carbs I just can’t resist the lure of the bread and the potatoes and all the things I deprived myself of last month. I haven’t been too out of control but, when I stopped the Atkins, I promised myself I was going to eat sensibly. I didn’t. I have my morning muesli then a sandwich for lunch and a sensible dinner with potatoes or rice or pasta but none of it seems to fill me up. An hour after I’ve eaten I’m hungry again and before I know it I’m eating a bag of crisps or a chocolate biscuit. It could be worse I suppose, it could be a family sized bag of crisps or a whole packet of biscuits but it’s enough to get the weight climbing again. I have to find a way to break this cycle. Continue reading

22 May 2009 – swine flu and forty days of grapes

I may have to cut grapes in half

I may have to cut grapes in half

Mac has been insufferable today. The first case of swine flu has been reported in Southampton and he’s convinced he’s got it. He sneezed, once, and of course that was positive proof. The fact that he’s constipated is also a swine flu symptom as far as he’s concerned. Never mind that we’ve both been like that all week because of the bloody Atkins diet. He keeps making me go over to his desk to feel his forehead because he’s positive he has a temperature and he’s popping head ache pills like they’re smarties. Continue reading

19 May – bunged up

Bunged up

Bunged up

Mac and I are both a bit bunged up and I don’t mean in the nasal department. It seems all the protein and not much fibre is having a rather unfortunate effect. I’m not sure what we can do about it really because we can’t have fruit, nice granary bread or muesli to get things moving. I think I may have to get some laxatives from the chemist and share them with Mac. He’s insufferable. He keeps clutching his stomach groaning and whining. If he won’t take them I may have to force feed then to him. All I can say is it’s a good job gay men don’t have babies. If Mac was pregnant it would be a major drama every second and labour doesn’t even bear thinking about. Continue reading