Daily Life, Work, Writer's Blog

The IT Manager

I am the girl who you hope not to see,

Life can be dull when you work in IT,

If I’m at your door, there’s surely been strife,

Something’s not working, you can bet on your life.

Girl Working on a Computer

If I’m hovering nearby, then a system has crashed,

A workstation’s broken, your hopes will be dashed,

All thoughts of a good day, where your work gets ahead,

Will fly from the window, your desk you may dread.

***

If I am there now and the technician’s been by,

And still nothing’s working, my face may belie,

May give you a hint of the depth of the bad,

When I return with a smile, then you’re sure to be glad.

Girl Working on a Computer

For if all is well, all is good behind the scenes,

The servers are serving, most definitely means,

You have nothing to fear, your work will surely get done,

If I’ve walked away you can be sure problems are none.

***

For I am the girl, in her office resides,

Answering issues, and keeping an eye,

Certain that errors we can mostly contain,

If my presence is needed, of your life I’m a bane.

Girl Working on a Computer

For most everyday, the technician’s you’ll see,

Out and about fixing issues, you’ll not see me,

But don’t think I’m not working as I’m holding the reins,

Hoping to prevent you from suffering IT pains.

***

 

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Daily Life, Work, Writer's Blog

Spinning

The last three days have been an almighty mess. I have been unable to go into work, which some may see as a bonus, instead opting to work from home, helping my technicians remotely, as much as I am able.

Monday was an ok day, an average working day. Nothing major to report except one of my technicians had clearly succumbed to the germs being spread by the other the previous week and was fighting a dreadful cold.

Tuesday morning began as most Tuesday mornings in winter, with me struggling to haul myself up and out from under the duvet, having been rudely awoken from a precious slumber by Greg James of Radio 1’s Breakfast Show. I stumbled with eyes semi-closed to the kitchen, popped the kettle on and headed to the bathroom. Dressed and ready to leave ten minutes later, I bent to pull on my boots and fell into the wall. Telling myself I am a daft bat, I sat down to continue with my outerwear application. Keeling to the side, I realised something was amiss, and dragged myself into the living room, slumped onto the sofa and dropped my spinning head into my hands. The room was turning around me and I started to feel nausea rising.

Clive found me and insisted I message work to let them know I would be working from home. I am glad he did as the dizziness has persisted for a third day snd shows no sign of abatement. I suspected an ear infection, the aching one one side of my head being a give away, but that has now disappeared and I am left unable to move my head one way or another.

Each time I move, the world starts moving faster and I become disoriented. So much so that on Wednesday I stood up, walked around my bed and fell over sideways. I couldn’t prevent it and the only reason I didn’t smack the floor was the wardrobe kindly catching me by the arm, leaving me bruised and quite sore.

I feel as dizzy today, although everything else seems to be in place and working as it should. My eyes ache a little but that’s more to do with staring at my laptop,  connected remotely to my work computer.  It feels a little lame to be stuck here but I have no intention of falling over my desk or up the stairs at work. I have been able to do lots of work from here and am keeping on top of things so it’s not too traumatic.

I am unlikely to go back to work tomorrow, I need this dizziness to subside and I will have to be careful when our granddaughter comes over to visit on Saturday. I don’t want to be dropping the four year old beauty.

I am lucky to have a fabulous husband who has been cooking in the evenings and checking in on me throughout the day.

I am very much looking forward to this spinning dizziness retreating me and taking me back to some semblance of normality. Until then, I will be sitting here, a dizzy blonde, in my living room, working, writing and resting.

 

Daily Life, Poem, Work, Writer's Blog

Published!

Imagine my surprise to come home today and find a poem I wrote for my four-month-old granddaughter, in print in a beautiful photobook.

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When Harper was first born, I wrote her a poem which I was so honoured to see displayed in a frame not only in her nursery but in one of her other Nanny’s kitchen last week.

Having spent two whole days with them last weekend, I felt I had enough content to write another one and the finished result was a ten verse, forty line poem, which I was reasonably pleased with.

I posted it on my blog and shared it on Facebook, little knowing that my daughter-in-law to be (let’s call her my daughter-in-law), enjoyed it enough to have it printed along with some relevant photos and made into a book.

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The front page, which I cannot resist sharing with you all, read as follows:

“Dear grandad Clive and nanny Julie. I loved the poem you wrote me that much I asked mummy to put it in a book for me.

Please will you bring this with you when you come visit me and read it to me and Winnie xx”

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I opened it and couldn’t read it straight away as my eyes were filled with tears. Such a thoughtful gift to come home to. Katie (to give my daughter-in-law a name) had chosen pictures to illustrate each verse of the poem which added to the personalisation perfectly.

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The whole situation was made even better when, as an actual ‘step-nanny’ I was immediately made to feel one of the grandparents when Harper arrived. There was no ‘step-nanny and step-grandad’ for anyone not blood related, only three sets of grandparents.

The image above shows my ‘stepson’ Kurt and his fiancee, Katie, with baby Harper. They live just under a two hour drive away and, so far, we have been able to visit them on a monthly basis. When we are not around, and almost every day, Katie sends us photos, videos and text updates, keeping us involved in Harper’s milestones. For example, yesterday brought us a video of Harper sucking happily on her first rusk. Beautiful.

If you want to re-read the poem, you can do so here:

Harper at almost four months

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Thank you, Katie (and, of course, Kurt and Harper). Xxx

Daily Life, Work, Writer's Blog

The pain that is a migraine

For anyone who has ever been asked, “but isn’t a migraine just a bad headache?” while questioning you clutching your head in agony, you have my every sympathy. For anybody who has never suffered with a migraine I am here to tell you it is so much more than a bad headache.

Up to a third of sufferers are able to predict the onset of a migraine, during a stage called the prodrome stage. The symptoms can begin with muscle weakness, irrational irritability, food cravings, depression and even an aura which can cause flashing lights and temporary blind spots in one or both eyes. At this stage, some medications can help  in the prevention of the onset or, at the least, reduce the pain of the migraine when it arrives.

While I am not denying that headaches can be debilitating, painful and disruptive, a migraine is a different pain altogether. The migraine attack brings a virtually indescribable, severe pain, on one or both sides of the head, accompanied by other symptoms which can include, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light , sound and smell as well as disturbances in vision.  The disabling pain can last for hours or, in the worst cases, up to four or five days, and I can personally only liken it to giving birth through the side of the head.

Often, along with medication, the only way to relieve a migraine is to rest, most sufferers reporting the need for a darkened room, and sleep. Sleep, however, can be difficult to achieve due to the extreme pain, but some medications bring welcome relief with the side effect of drowsiness.

When a migraine begins to subside, the sufferer can feel listless, moody, dizzy and weak and a state of confusion reigns, along with a bruised feeling on the side of the head which has experienced the worst of the pain. This is partly due to the swelling of the blood vessels during a migraine and their subsequent subsidence.

There are a number of factors which are triggers for migraine sufferers but the most commonly reported culprits are certain foods (including, but not exclusive to, processed foods and aged cheeses), food additives (including sweeteners such as aspartame), stress, lack of sleep, alcohol, sensory changes to light, noise and smell, and hormonal changes.

My own experience of migraine is a weekly, or sometimes more frequent , attack and I am working through possible triggers and sensitivities, although two highly likely factors at are stress at work and lack of sleep with my usual sleep routine being two hours asleep and one hour awake during the night of late. Not only do I wake up thinking about work and trying to formulate solutions to ongoing issues, but I also suffer from age-related hot flushes which leave me burning up inside and using a fan in an attempt to lower the temperature, while trying not to cool my husband. I am lucky if I am asleep more than four hours a night which means, as well as being cranky during the day, the lack of sleep is high on the list of possible triggers for my migraines.

Although it is often suggested, I am not keen on HRT, having been highly sensitive to Estrogen in my younger years, so I have headed for A. Vogel’s Menoforce Sage tablets for the self-heating warmer nights, and A. Vogel’s Stress Relief Daytime Valerian-Hops oral drops. Hopefully, managing these difficult triggers will result in fewer migraines, fewer headaches and normal service will resume. I might even get back to regular dancing soon, and for those who know me well, you know how much I miss that!

Poem, Work, Writer's Blog

When work takes over.

I wonder why I bother
I wonder why so hard I try
I wonder would they miss me
Would many a day go by?

Before they came to find me
When jobs weren’t being done
If tasks were often much ignored
Would they realise the missing one?

Would they know the tasks they’ve given
Might be too much, if just for me
And do they know how hard they’ve driven
My last, the upbeat part of me?

Most days when work is over
My energies are all but gone
My head, a migraine, yes another!
With the stress I can be put upon.

Not often I’m complaining
My job’s my pride, you see
But expectation’s vastly rising
There can be only one of me.

I fail to sleep the nighttime hours
Needed to make me whole
My mind a turmoil, in the smallest hours
I can’t switch off, my leading role.

Work, Writer's Blog

The first is always the worst…

You would be forgiven for believing that following a summer of mayhem, chaos, testing, installing,  moving, replacing, removing,  upgrading, sweat and (almost) tears, most of it meticulously planned, we would be ready to face the onslaught of the new term with bells on. We were ready, but never quite ready enough, for the split that is three energetic IT support staff across numerous areas of our multi-area site and even more numerous users, each one as important as the other.

That is not so say we weren’t ready, we are always ready. That is not to say we weren’t prepared, we are always prepared.

However ready and prepared we are in our department,  we can never foresee the next little niggle which can affect one or one hundred users,  we can never foresee just how many passwords can be forgotten over the course of eight weeks, we can never foresee how something tested to its limit could fall over when the returning masses of eager staff and pupils alike start to use it concurrently.

Computers,  software,  peripherals, let’s face it Information Technology in general, is unpredictable at the best of times but when coupled with users who have been absent from it for the majority of a gloriously hot eight week summer break, there will be issues.

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This week saw the return of the Lower and Senior School as well as the introduction of a shiny new Pre Prep building provisioning further new staff and pupils. We worked tirelessly over the summer; overseeing installations of shiny touchscreen TVs, upgrading and replacing out of date equipment, cleaning,  connecting, creating…We took final walkarounds to check, test and re-test and finally the list appeared deceptively complete.

Despite all of the above, the week has been a manic one. My Fitbit has recorded steps akin to a bustling worker ant but with a far greater stride length!

The staff and pupils were amazingly patient as we battled laptops which, at the crucial lesson stage decided they no longer wished to be a part of our friendly domain, instead opting for the preferred route of ‘go away, I am not complying today, thank you’.

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With fingerprints to scan for use with our new biometric registration and door access system, loan devices to deliver and general day to day queries and issues, I can report my full and extreme gratitide that I now manage a team (albeit small in number) of able and willing IT Technicians for whom no job is too small and courtesy is second nature. Without them, I would have been stranded and unable to have coped so marvellously. They are brilliant, we are a brilliant team.

I have survived twelve Septembers in this IT department and this has been no less busy than any previously experienced.

The fact remains, with IT there is no amount of planning,  testing or attention that can alleviate the unforeseen. Even the foreseen can revert if it chooses to, and usually at the most inopportune moment.

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I am happy to report that we three have survived, although we stumbled at the end of yesterday towards a much -needed weekend break with heavily bagged eyes. We still have much to do, virtual mountains to climb, such is the nature of the beast but we made it without trauma. The staff and pupils can be assured of our highest attention and Monday heralds the start of the first FULL week of teaching.

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Go on, IT, challenge us, but you won’t beat us!