Monday, 14 October 2013

Double Edged Sword.

Smart phones are a double edged sword. That's my thought for the week. On the one hand they provide you with invaluable up-to-the-minute info, on the other they catapult breaking news straight into your hand, and nanoseconds later into your brain, that you sometimes really don't want to know, at least not that fast. Two cases in point...

Monday morning, before 9 am, I check my email before setting out to the edit...

I'm off to edit the two rap videos shot at my kids' primary school on Saturday and incidentally, a word to the wise, maybe don't try shooting two videos in one day with seven kids and a rapper in an old Victorian school when you only have the key for the main door and have to haul all the equipment up four flights of stairs and one of the children is an hour late so you have to re-jiggle your entire schedule and the client is coming to watch. 

It all went well in the end but we were really up against it. I only had one drink in seven hours and by the time I got home was so frazzled that I went straight to bed. But I digress...

So, the email is from the teacher whose classroom we used and she is not happy. She says she just had to spend ages putting it back as it was, which is mortifying because we really tried to leave it as we found it, we even took a photo at the beginning so we could match it. 

It was certainly clean and tidy but maybe not in precisely in the configuration it was meant to be. So, one grovelling email in return, and one also from the production company because I forward her email to them, and a mental note to take in flowers and chocolates later in the week, and I'm hopeful the situation will be ameliorated. But still, it preys on my mind the whole hour I'm driving to the edit: Damn it. Damn it. Damn it. Not a good start to the day/week.

The second is about the kitchen build and arrives on Friday afternoon. Two emails that top and tail the week, you might say...

I'm walking home with a jaunt in my step thinking how lovely the Common looks, even if it is raining, after a nice lunch with a friend...

and I check my phone as I do because, well, I don't know why, because you do, don't you? If you have a smart phone you check it all the time, constantly, it becomes a nervous tick: texts - check, email - check, Facebook - check, Twitter - check, and if I'm at home often the blog too - check. It's mad. I'm sure I find it harder to concentrate when reading a book or the paper now because I'm always reverting to my phone.

So, the email is from the structural engineer who did the drawings for the extension and he has been sent a letter from building control to say that, after a recent site inspection, it has been noted that the beams (steels) are wrong. In fact, to quote exactly, they are "at serious variations with the deposited and conditionally approved details." As one of the kids in my rap video says, as per my genius script, "OMG."

So why didn't the guy from building control raise this with me or the builder at the time? We both met him. Weird.

Much hyper-ventilating and many phone calls later and it turns out it's not half as bad as it sounds. I learn that the beams have been welded rather than bolted as the plans specify and that this in itself is not necessarily a problem so long as our builder can provide a welder's certificate and proof that the work is good - and safe. Worst case is that bolts might have to be added (by the builder, at his cost) but that's fine, it can be done from below without disturbing the new roof. 

Phew. I had visions of the whole structure being ripped down and rebuilt there. It was only an hour of phoning and panicking, all told, but I could have done without it. 

So why did I check my phone right then in the park on the way home when I was all happy-go-lucky-it's-Friday? 

I guess we all need to know this stuff eventually but there's just no let-up is there? We're bombarded. This has happened! And then this has happened! Oy! This has happened! It's exhausting. 

I resolve NOT to constantly check my emails and texts all the time from now on. It can all WAIT. In fact, I'm going to hide my phone right now and go and read the paper from cover to cover, just like in the old days...

just after I've checked what's happening on Facebook.

Love E x




  1. I came across your blog as I was searching the internet for "Giving Up Career For Kids". I was expecting a self help book but found you! I write a blog myself and I think my next posting will be: "Off-Ramping..Akin To Falling Off The Planet" ;)

  2. Hi there, I see you have three boys as well and you live in the country and yet yearn for the city, whereas I am often feeling the other way around. Yes, it is a akin to falling off the planet isn't it, but I'm getting my life back bit by bit and all in all don't regret a thing. I'm quite proud of the fact that I've never had anyone else to look after my children and now that I have some creative life back, for decent money, I'm very close to having it all. Or at least a bit of everything. Count your blessings, I say. Hope to see you here on the blog again. E x