Aug. 15th, 2017 07:03 pm
sareini: Image of the Bursar from the Discworld universe (Bursar)
If I ever needed any proof that the UK economy is in bad shape right now, it came with this morning's mail.

Some extremely optimistic person at Barclaycard decided I was a good candidate for a credit card. With a £1200 limit.

Yeah, I know. I'm bewildered too. Most days I can barely be trusted with bus fare.

I applied out of boredom last week, when they sent me a letter telling me that as I have a bank account with Barclays, I was of course pre-approved for one of their Platinum cards. Yeah, right, I thought, but as I said I was bored and so I did the online application anyway. And now here we are.

I'm being responsible though. Much as I would like to race out of the house and buy a PS4 and a copy of Bloodborne, I'm restricting my use of the card to emergency purchases only, or purchases that I could afford in a few days' time but need at that very moment. And I've got to pay it off every month without fail, or as close as.

...okay, I did buy a mouse mat with it today, but that was just to make sure it had activated properly and it cost £4.


Mar. 20th, 2016 05:04 pm
sareini: (doctor)
I'm sitting here this afternoon, inbetween lifting Cracker off the laptop keyboard every few minutes because she's gotten way too overexcited over some food I'm trying to eat, and panicking over the idea of leaving the house tomorrow.

I've suffered from panic attacks for several years now, but they really hit the fan after Nick's death, of course. They'd be easier to deal with if I could predict them in any way, but really just about anything can set them off. A few weeks ago I was having regular attacks over the idea that Lily might have some sort of hideous fatal mouth or jaw or tooth cancer because she was doing strange things with one side of her mouth and occasionally pawing at it. Turns out she was just losing a tooth, and she's now fine and it doesn't slow her down in the slightest (then again, Cracker has absolutely no teeth and I'm still not sure she's even noticed). So generally they tend to focus on worrying about the cats (Nick used to be included in that too...), my own health or doing regula everyday things that now terrify me.

A couple of weeks ago, my brother suggested to me that, if/when my PIP is finally sorted out, I should consider getting the card from the new local cinema that allows me to go see as many films as I want for only £16.90 a month. He figured it would be a good thing for me, as I like films, of course, it would get me out of the house and it's a pretty low-effort social activity. I could just sit in a dark corner of the cinema with my over-priced bottle of water and pack of Malteasers and enjoy films without having to resort to torrenting if I wanted to see them when they actually came out. I have to admit, he's probably right.

Anyway, this week I got my Hardship Fund cheque from the university, which was £300, and my brother informed me last night that he's managed to secure another £300 for me by selling my mother's old jewellry that he found in the attic recently (I don't wear jewellry very often, apart from sometimes earrings and very occasionally necklaces/pendents. Most of my mother's stuff was rings and stuff with coffee beans on that I used to buy her when I was young, because she was a coffee fiend and I figured she'd appreciate the connection). So I'm currently in a place where I can pay several upcoming bills and have some money left over, which is something of a rarity for me over the last few months. So, flush with success over yesterday's trip to Tesco's during the daytime, last night I had the idea of going to the cinema on Monday.

And then my brain started to think about that idea, and then everything went straight to hell.

Outside is scary. Talking to strangers is scary. Being around other people is scary, even if you might be going at a time when no-one else would likely be going to see the film you want to see. People will stare at me, laugh at me, talk about me behind my back. What if someone sees me and reports me to the DWP for daring to do something outside the house instead of sitting inside and being a penniless miserable crazy person? What if something goes wrong? What if the house catches fire while I'm out, or someone tries to break in, or something else happens to one of the cats? Too many variables, all of them out of my control, and they sink into my stomach and churn and churn until I'm practically frozen with fear over something that's still theoretical.

I have no-one to talk me down any more. Well, no-one close enough to do it immediately. Nick used to have that job, obviously. When they can the cats try to help too - well, Lily does, nuzzling and licking me (and occasionally nipping my nose) to try to take my mind off things. Cracker tries too, but her attention span isn't the best. Beyond that, the only people I talk to on a semi-regular basis are my brother who calls every evening, and a couple of people who I talk to sometimes over IMs. The social isolation makes the panic worse, and then makes it worse again by making it difficult to deal with it. Most of the people who said they would stay in touch with me after Nick's death have moved on, much as I feared, so that's out as well.

One of my hopes when I started writing here again was that putting all of this down would help me somehow. Putting my feelings down into words does help me to see things a little clearer, but not with the actual calming down from panic attacks. I've got no idea of how I'm going to deal with that.

So I'm just going to sit here on the sofa, watching YouTube and avoiding doing anything productive.
sareini: default (lovely-scream)
Over here in the UK this week we had a Budget, which is basically when a politician who has somehow been given control of the nation's money sets out his plans to waste that money for the next year or so. It's all very thrilling and fun for all the family, provided you're rich. This year's Budget has had a couple of extra fun things - a "Sugar Tax" on soft drinks (joke's on them; I'm perfectly happy drinking water) and the inevitable cuts to disability benefits, which sadly do affect me.

My own ongoing experiences with the DWP )

Currently, the fucking bastard Tory government (that's their full name, don't believe the people who claim they're just called "Conservatives") are trying to make things even worse for disabled people claiming these benefits as well. One thing they want to do is cut the basic ESA benefit for all new claiments, regardless of marital status or anything else, to £73.10 a week - which as I've already said, is all but impossible to live on. The other thing they want to do is reduce the "scoring" for whether you can dress yourself unaided or use the toilet unaided in the PIP assessment "because those people will already have aids to help them at home and so don't need any extra money", thus reducing the amount of money people can get from PIP by anything from £30 to £50 a week.

Imagine that. You've already had to go through the humiliation and probable soul-crushing acceptance that you can't use the toilet by youself, which is then added to when you have to admit it to an uncaring government official. The government then turns around and tells you that you just aren't disabled enough for them, now kindly piss off and die in a gutter somewhere away from the rich people. For all my problems (and there are a lot of them) I am regularly thankful that incontinence isn't one of them (except maybe for when I drink too much orange juice and then get up and suddenly realise that I really should have gone to the bathroom 15 minutes previously and now have to get up the stairs with my legs crossed, or when I have a sneezing fit because apparently I'm older than I used to be, or at the very least my bladder muscles are), because short of being completely confined to a bed or wheelchair I can't think of a bigger indication of "needs assistance to live the same life as everyone else". And yet the government have decided that it's not good enough any more. "Disgusting" is too mild a word for it.

(I do score points on the "needs reminders/prodding to dress self" scale; not because of any physical problems but because I just don't see the point of doing so. Depression has made it so that I just don't care what I look like most days, especially since I don't leave the house and my makeshift bed/sofa most of the time anyway, but I admit that I find it easier to explain the stupidity of the "toilet needs" cut better.)

Right now, a rare thing is happening though. The government is actually facing opposition to these plans, and not just from the other political parties. Even other Tories are standing up and going, "Actually, this is going too far," So there's talk of possible u-turns on one hand, while others in the government are attempting to hunker down and insist that these changes are going through regardless of what anyone else thinks, and they're good for people, honest, and we're totally spending more on disabled people every year...

Inevitably, these news stories bring out comments from the Peanut Gallery as well. For the most part, it's actually been quite surprising - the majority of people I've seen have been agreeing that disabled people are being treated abysmally and that it needs to be stopped. Of course, there's still the occasional neanderthal who has to come out with the usual lines of, "But I pay my taxes and no-one helps me!" or "But there's benefit scrougers out there and they need to be stopped!" Firstly, I've paid my taxes as well, and the difference between you and I is that you aren't currently classed as a suicide risk, so shut the fuck up right now. Secondly, yes, there are a minority of people who game the system. There's also a minority of people in the country who break the law, but we don't put the entire British population in prison because of them, do we? You wouldn't think you'd see people actually jealous of the disabled, but wonders never cease.

Welcome to life in Cameron's Britain, where the rich get richer, the poor get poorer and the disabled get shived in the stomach and left to bleed out in the gutters.
sareini: default ("bad century")
Six years. It's been a while. Stuff's happened, obviously, since I was last here.

Nick died. November 17 2015 - so exactly 4 months ago. I got woken up at 4am by the cats biting my elbow (well, Lily was biting as Cracker has no teeth), heard the silence of the house and realised it was not a good silence, went to his room and found him dead in bed. Bronchopneumonia and sepsis, it turned out to be. He'd had a cough for several weeks but we'd thought nothing of it, mainly because of an advert that had been on TV a couple of years previously that went, "Had a cough for more than a few weeks? It could be CANCER!" and so whenever I mentioned the cough we'd laugh about that and he'd tell me it was nothing serious. All the other symptoms were masked by the ridiculous amount of painkillers Nick needed to take on a daily basis to do things like get out of bed and move about - he was on 40mg of morphine at the end because of the state of his knees and back. So neither of us knew anything until it was way too late for anything to be done.

It was very odd, telling his friends and family that he had died and then immediately following it up with, "He didn't kill himself." Because for the last few years, Nick's mental problems had been getting the better of him as well. I'd been his full-time carer for several years at that point, and it's pretty safe to say that looking after him was really the only thing that was keeping me going day-to-day. Because after his death I more or less had a complete mental breakdown myself and am now quite nearly as crazy as he was, albeit with my own spin on things. I don't leave the house very much any more, talk to anyone or do very much, because the outside world is really just too big and scary and overwhelming to deal with now. And it has far too many people.

So it's just me and the cats now. And it's two new cats too. Sandy sadly died in 2011 of stomach cancer, and Suki followed him 3 months later of old age and just being lonely. So now I have Lily, who's a ginger flump who barely makes a sound except when she's playing, but who loves to climb up onto the sofa or bed with me and snuggle and lick my nose (and occasionally nip it as a game). She's 12 now, but she neither looks it nor acts like it, which is a good thing as I don't think I could cope with losing anyone else for a good while. The other cat is Cracker, who we got about 6 months after Lily because she was getting a little bit too flump-y and we hoped that a playmate might help her lose some weight. Cracker is a skinny black cat with no teeth and inflammatory bowel disease, which means she uses the litter box a lot- hence her full title sometimes being Cracker the Amazing Pooping Cat. She came from a house with 21 other cats after being rescued from the streets, which made her the friendliest cat in the world, albeit with a lack of understanding about personal space that's remarkable, even for cats, and also one of the most anxious. She doesn't like being on her own - even more so now that it's just the three of us, and howls her displeasure if she finds herself alone in a room for more than 1o minutes.

I'm at university again, this time studying Creative Writing part-time. Well, that's the theory anyway, as I'm currently more or less on extenuating circumstances leave while I try to get myself back on my feet. My tutors are all very understanding, actually, as apparently I'm quite good at my course and they want to keep me on, but it's still difficult to get into classes when I can't face going out and I've got no money to do so anyway. Because of course, with being completely snooker loopy comes the fun of being unable to work and having to claim disability benefits... but we'll go into the fun and games of that in another post. Just rest assured that it's not really possible to live on £73 a week when £50 of that goes on heating and electricity, and that if it wasn't for the help of others I wouldn't have lasted this long.

I decided to start posting here again because I need somewhere to put my thoughts down, and because this is, in theory at least, a way in which I can reach out to other people in some semblance of socialisation. Because most days, other than the cats and my brother who calls every day, I don't talk to anyone at all, and that's probably not helping my mental state. I'm going to try to post something every day, even if it comes down to, "Still here, still not doing much but watching on the sofa." because at least I'm trying then.

Also, I can play with all my icons.
sareini: default (chaos...)
Today I started getting my taxes sorted. If you know me at all, you'll be able to guess that this was an adventure all itself.

Being "self-employed" as I am (actually an "independant contractor" according to the contract, but the meaning is the same), I have to be responsible for sorting out all my National Insurance contributions and the like. Well, I'd been avoiding getting this sorted because I knew it wouldn't be easy for me, but yesterday I saw someone on the work forum reminding everyone to make sure their self-assessment was in before the end of the month. Cue panicking from me, and a trip to the taxes website to see what I needed to do.

Cue even more panicking from me when I read the site and couldn't make heads nor tails of it. I ask Nick, but he doesn't have any idea either. The only things I see that I can understand is a part that says that, if you don't register yourself with them as self-employed within three months of starting work, you get a fine.

So this morning I rang the tax people, hoping that they would be able to help me out with some of the stuff I needed to do (such as telling me what I needed to do, for starters). Thankfully, the woman I spoke to was very helpful, and walked me through things with a minimum of fuss:

- First off, it turns out I don't need to do a self-assessment until I've been working for about a year. Since I've only been working (properly) for about two months, I don't have to worry about that till around October (I think). So that's not a problem.

- She also took my details for getting registered as self-employed, and explained how the whole NI contributions thing works. You pay £2.30 a week in NI, and that covers you for pensions, Incapacity Benefit and the like, and you can pick how to pay. However, if you're earning under a certain amount a year (about £4800) you don't have to pay the contributions - but you also don't get your pension and benefits covered. It's something of a trade-off, and one I have to think on before deciding.

- I'm apparently getting a form to fill in through the post in a few days, which I know I'll need Nick to help with (because the chances are it'll be full of numbers), and then I'll see where I can go from there. I still need to investigate things like rebates and claiming costs back though...
sareini: default (B5 - Zog)
Good news: the money Nick's mother sent Special Delivery on Monday finally arrived today.

Bad news: it arrived five minutes after our doctors' surgery closed for the day (half day on Thursday), so we can't pick up the perscription till tomorrow.

At least I have chocolate (and Nick can haz pizza tonight).

On the other hand, I can't sleep right now despite having been up all night (I settle down to play City of for a couple of hours, and the next thing I know my friends are joking about what time it is over in the UK and the milk floats are driving through the streets. At least I got two levels on my Warshade and had some good fun teaming). So I'm wandering round the net and doing random things. I may try doing some writing even, or perhaps even some NaNo prep (I have that Snowflake Method thing somewhere in my bookmarks...).

Although knowing me, I'll just end up reading random stuff on the web for a couple of hours till I'm ready to drop...
sareini: default (Good Omens - Armageddon)
So, the buses don't run that early. Since it's too far to walk, that would mean a taxi. So out of the £11 I would theoretically have if I took the three-day Ireland job, that's £4 gone already.

Another problem is the fact that whoever compiled this worksheet doesn't seem to have looked at what people might have been doing on the previous week and how that might affect their getting to work the next day. For example, myself and a couple of others who've been scheduled for the Ireland jobs need to be at the pick-up point at 5:30 on Monday morning. However, on Sunday we're also supposed to be down in Portsmouth, for a job which would theoretically end at around 0030 or 0100. It takes four-five hours to drive to or from Portsmouth from Stoke-on-Trent. It therefore shouldn't take a genius to work out that we actually wouldn't be getting back in time to make the pickup for the Ireland jobs in the first place.

And just to put a cherry on top of all this, I got a text yesterday and a call today asking if I was available for other jobs tomorrow! Which I'd like to be, but the money situation is such that I simply can't afford to right now (my choices are limited to "Work on Sunday and cancel the Ireland jobs" or "Cancel the Sunday job, work the Ireland jobs and be prepared to starve while you're over there"). But the person who phoned me didn't sound very impressed when I explained my situation in brief to him. Am I the only person trying to work on a budget?



Mar. 31st, 2007 12:20 pm
sareini: default (reality connection)
Well, I can now safely say that I do indeed pay my taxes.

In fact, after seeing the wageslip that came through today for the two days' work I did last week, I think I might be paying someone else's taxes as well. Like maybe the Queen's. £16.74? Out of £77?
sareini: default (American gods - riding the lightning)
Yesterday it looked like it was going to be one of those days.

Today it was looking more like one of those weeks.

Then I got a new job.

Details, details... )

Vet Visit

Mar. 8th, 2007 05:59 pm
sareini: default (000 cats)
Took Mac to the vet's this afternoon. He's had this recurring problem for months of scabs in various places on his body and the top of his head, which were bothering him and worrying us. He had scabs when we first got him, but at first we thought he'd been burned by something. Becuase he's a long-haired cat we thought he might have had excema or something.

So, first we had the fun and games of getting him in the carrier, because Mac might not be the brightest cat out there but he generally knows what the carrier means. Also, as the carrier is old the front has to be help in place with things like tie-twists, surgical tape and wool. So we get Mac in the carrier and Nick goes off to call a taxi.

It takes Mac, who still sometimes falls off windowsills, four minutes to figure out where the weak spots are in the front of the carrier and get out. Nick gets back a minute later to find Mac sitting there, proud as anything that he got out, while I'm on the floor in hysterics and Jelli sits there looking at him incredulously.

We manage to get him back in the carrier, and it's off to the vet's. Thankfully Mac likes car journeys so that's not a problem. Don't have to wait long before I see the vet either (Nick having gone on to do the shopping).

Now, Mac is a timid cat, but he also doesn't have a mean bone in his body so he's no problem for the vet. He just tries to ooze his way out of the hands of whoever's holding him while he's being checked over, in true ragdoll cat style. Still, it wasn't a problem, and the vet quickly diagnosed his problem.

He has fleas. Again. We have no idea where he's got them, either, as he was treated for them when we first got him, as was Jelli when he gave them to her, the house has been thoroughly bug-bombed to get rid of any in the carpets, and both of them are indoor-only cats so they couldn't have caught them from any other cats. But there you have it. He has fleas - admittedly not as bad as when we first got him - and he's allergic to them. So we've been given some Frontline for him and Jelli, some spray for the carpets (which I have to pick up tomorrow) and an anti-inflammatory to stop things from itching too much. The last part was fun - it was an injection, and Mac recognised what was coming, so when the vet went to get the medicines, he leapt out of my hands and tried to hide behind the fridge in the exam room. Thankfully the vet wasn't bothered and got him out with ease (like I said, Mac just doesn't know how to fight, so he just became a pool of black fur in the vet's arms), but then I had to close my eyes for the injection.

Then it was time to pay. £49.80.

I only had £30 on me. I've got to pay the rest tomorrow. Insurance won't cover it as we have to pay the first £60 anyway (although I'm now so glad we got them insured!) and you have to pay in full and then claim back anyway. No credit or payment plans here. So I'm just bloody glad it wasn't more serious.

We're back home now, and Mac has been fed copious amounts of treats for being a good boy and had a big fuss made over him. Later on, when Nick's back, we've got to put the Frontline on him and Jelli (and take Mac's collar off for 24 hours, which he won't be happy about), which will be a whole other load of fun.

I guess I should just be glad it was 'just' fleas, but at the same time I now need a job again even more, as it's going to cost a small fortune whenever we have to take one of these to the vet's. And Jelli will go in fighting, which will only add to the fun...
sareini: default (Discworld - Exclamation marks)
So, as the title says, it was an interesting day today.

First off, we roleplayed today. Perry brought round his SLA Industries books yesterday and we created characters, and today we actually got to play them in a brief little 'start-up' adventure.

Brief background for SLA Industries: It's the future, and you're on a planet called Mort. Just about everything is run by this megacorp called... you guessed it, SLA Industries, and its owned and run by the mysterious Mr Slayer. There are humans and several other races - Ebons and Brain Wasters, who are kind of like elves if they were really, really Emo, Stormers, who are bioengineered and kind of like trolls, Wraith Raiders, who are lionine humanoids, and another race whose name I can never remember. The furure is also filled with violence, and so a lot of people working for SLA have to go chacing down gangs, serial killers and the like.

The details of play are here... )

Also this afternoon we had a knock on the door. Yeah, I know, exciting. It turned out to be a man from Provident Personal Credit, because I called them yesterday trying to find out why we got declined last time (I figured it was becuase we weren't on the electoral roll at the time. Turns out it was because they thought the house was empty becuase Nick has black bin-bags on the front room windows in place of curtains.) Despite being slightly scary, the man was impressed by Nick's job and the fact that he had a letter from the owner thanking him for being brilliant, and in the end was willing to give us £300. He's (apparently) coming round on Friday to give us the money, and we then have to pay back £15 a week. Nick's a bit concerned about the weekly doorstep collection and wants to try to pay it off as quick as he can, but it (a) means that we can finally get some more basic furniture like a table and chair for my computer(!) and (b) means that I can get Nick some Christmas presents other than the Mint Chocolate Orange I was scared would be all I could afford.

So like I said, an interesting day.
sareini: default (B5 - socks)
So, let's try this again, shall we?

About an hour after I posted last week, the net went down. Bloody NTL. Turns out that they hadn't transferred our account to our new address, so their system wouldn't give us net access. Add to this the problems of Nick having lost my phone charger, Nick's own phone having just about the worst reception ever in this new place which ment that I kept losing the connecton halfway through phone calls, the fqact that we had no spare money to use a payphone (and, incidentally, that there are none anywhere around... very strange) and the fact that NTL's customer support are, of course, even less competent to be advising and fixing problems than my kitten who hasn't figured out how to stop running down the stairs yet and keeps bouncing off walls, and you'll understand why we didn't actually get the net back till yesterday evening. What fun.

So, what's been happening in the past week?

Insert flashback effect here )

Despite everything, I still started NaNo yesterday (my lovely new duvet is wonderful to be under when writing). After one day's writing (interrupted by frequent bouts of cat management, one shopping trip, an anniversary meal and sleep) I'm on 1,822. Which doesn't seem as much as some people's (I get paranoid), but is at least ahead of the 1,667 that the NaNo spreadsheet says you should aim for each day. With any luck I'll get Nick to set my computer up leter today and then I'll see about typing out some of what I've done so far (I don't like Nick's keyboard; the keys tend to stick or not register with me because I have a lighter touch than him). Now, however, I am offf to feed the cats and myself. And put the fire on, because it's bloody freezing and we haven't figured out how the radiators work yet.

Back later (unless NTL mess up again), with the tales of my birthday and our fifth anniversary...

I'm Back!

Oct. 27th, 2006 10:00 am
sareini: Image of the Bursar from the Discworld universe (Bursar)
...well, more or less. We haven't gotten the net connected up to my computer yet, so right now I'm on Nick's computer in his office (yes, we/he has an office now, not just the box room where we store all the stuff that we don't have room for anywhere else and Mac).

Read on... )

Off to try to get the SS office now. I'll be back when I remember more stuff that I wanted to say.
sareini: default (Discworld - Curse)

Spent most of the past few hours either filling in forms, hanging on hold to speak to people who could tell me how to fill in a particular part of a form, or travelling to places so that I could fill in forms.

What fun.

Part of this involved trying to get a 'responsible person' to sign a copy of my passport for my OU financial form, so that I could prove I wasn't an illegal immigrant trying to cadge some free education - unfortunately the instructions on the form didn't originally say where to sign, which led to a lot of the being-on-hold. Also had to go all the way down to the SAC as they're the only responsible people I know who don't charge a small fortune for signing stuff now (unlike the doctors', hiss boo).

This evening and tomorrow: financial statements and breakdowns. What fun.
sareini: default (Number 127)
Now that the situation with Macavity has been (more or less) sorted, we can now finally get back to our normal operating proceedures. Which for the most part involve playing on the computer, writing and dealing with demands for money.

Or the other way round, as the case may be. Remember back in August, when we decided we weren't going to take the bank draining Nick's account like a bloody vampire any more and wrote them a letter telling them they owed us £700? (here)

Well yesterday we got a reply from them.

"Dear sir, yadda yadda, looked at your letter, sulk sulk, we don't like this new law so we're not going to abide by it, yah boo what are you going to do about it, thank you for writing."

So we're sending them a second letter, telling them in so many words that it doesn't matter if they don't like the law, it's still a law (imagine what would happen if we all gave that excuse to the police if we were caught doing anything illegal? "Sorry officer, but I just don't like having to stick to a speed limit...") and if they don't get back to us within seven days with the money, we're taking them to court. So there.

(Actually, it's going to be more like a month because we'd need to find the money to lodge the claim, and it might be a bit tight this month now, but they don't know that...)

I did try to post it today, but apparently there's been a run on stamps in the area, because all our local shops (ie. within a ten-minute walk) are completely out of them. I'm not quite sure what's going on there - did everyone decide to write to their Aunt Margaret at once or something?

Other than that things have been quiet, which is good. After the last few days we needed a day to unwind.
sareini: default (chaos...)
I got an interesting letter from the university this morning. It begins:

I hope you do not mind me contacting you but I am aware of your decision to withdraw from your award...

Huh? I know my memory isn't always the best, but I think I'd remember if I'd withdrawn. I think the university is making decisions for me here.

But then again, this might just have saved some time in the long run. Turns out the people who said they could offer me a loan were in fact loan brokers, and so Nick won't allow me to send the £40 administration fee to them (not that we have it anyway). So if I can't get a loan, then I can't pay off the fees I owe, and I can't go back anyway. So if the university think I'm withdrawing it'll probably save me the trouble of having to tell them.

I was all stressed out when the loan fell through and all, because I'm in no way ready to finish my education yet - I was prepared to go out and get a job, regardless of what it might do to me, but Nick said he doesn't want me to, partly because of my condition and partly because he's apparently old-fashioned enough to believe that a household should only need one person earning all the money, which is sweet but rather impractical in 21st-century Britain under the idiot Blair - but Nick came through for me. He suggested the OU, and even said that he would pay the fees for any course(s) I did.

So now I'm pencilled into study Introduction to Humanities in October.

And it turns out that Nick might not have to pay anything after all, as we could very well fall into the category for Fee Support. All I have to do is work out how to get proof of Nick's earnings, find a 'responsible person' to sign a form saying they've seen my passport (and how many 'responsible people' do we know, huh?), get a letter from the SS saying I'm on Incapacity Benefit, and possibly apply for Income Support, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit, and I'll have all the proof I need.

...I'm doomed. Why are there so many damned hoops? I feel like a trained poodle.
sareini: default (B5 - Zog)
Apparently I have been approved "in principal" for a loan of £3,000. If I get this (they're sending me the paperwork tomorrow, which I have to send back and then they call me again within 5 working days to finalise it), then I can pay off me student fees to go back to university, as well as both Nick and I's credit cards, Nick's OU debts and my old River Island store card> Paying off those as well would be very useful. Of course, "in principal" probably means "we'll string you along until the last minute, then shoot you down", so we'll see about that.

But right now, Nick and I are hoping for the money because we found out this morning that American Gothic (the TV series with Gary Cole) is coming out on DVD, and this afternoon Nick found out that there are going to be new Babylon 5 DVD movies.

We are shallow, shallow geeks who aren't very good at keeping things in persepective, I know.
sareini: default (Sandman - 1)
A little while ago there was this piece of legislation or something which meant that it was illegal for banks to charge more than £12 for unpaid items and the like. Now, this didn't stop the banks from charging their ridiculous amounts, but it did mean that people could start to claim back the charges.

As you might be able to guess, Nick's been hit with one or two of these charges while he's been with his bank. So I decided that we were going to try to claim some of them back.

Last night I sat down with a bunch of Nick's statements and made a note of all the charges for unpaid items and the 'maintenence charges' that they would slap on him whenever he ended a month over his overdraft limit (they'd even gotten Nick convinced that they needed to charge him £28 every month for his overdraft, until I pointed out that they only made the charge when he w3as over his limit). My shaky maths and Nick's slightly less shaky calculator skills showed us that they owed him nearly £700. That's not everything they owe us, in fact, but as it's all we have documentation for, that's all we're trying for at the moment.

Today, I'm going to be dashing off a letter to the bank - actually, I'm using a template letter found here, a truly wonderful site - listing the charges and asking them to pay us back, please. We'll see where that takes us from there, although there'll more than likely be the need for the second letter in the series, and maybe even the initial steps into small claims court before they finally give in and just pay us.

I have to admit, it's more than a bit amusing to be the ones writing the letters demanding money and threatening court action for once...

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