Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Proud of the kiddies - long post, sorry

Of course I'm always proud of my two, but once in a while I'm just that little extra proud of them, enough for me to tell everyone else!

Today was one of those days when annoyingly domestic problems just have to take priority over work. We did manage to get maths and some verbal reasoning done before the postman arrived - then it when downhill from there.

A month after we moved into our home we decided to change electricity supplier and at the time had a bit of a do about final readings and final bill. Basically, we're on economy 7 and the supplier kept mixing up the two readings! Anyway, this was back in July and I thought we'd come to a agreement that the company owed us a very tiny amount and because of this I didn't bother to chase them when I didn't receive their final statement. Today a final statement plopped onto the carpet and I got just a tiny bit hot and bothered! They're taking out of my bank account (direct debit) £160 odd for a month and one week's worth of electricity (the electricity was actually for £181 but I'd already paid one month's direct debit in June so that had been taken off). When I telephoned them, the lady took a while to grasp that according to their statement I'd used no day time electricity at all, but a whopping 8252 kwh at night time only (excuse me, I don't think I'd actually use that amount of electrical juice in one month, would I?). As luck would have it, as I was negotiating and trying to get my point across, I came across the piece of scrap paper with opening and final meter readings - hopefully that'll set the record straight. It'll take around 35 days to sort out another bill (what??) and in the mean time I have to keep checking my bank account to catch the £160 coming out so I can arrange for my bank to send it back again! From the readings I've given her I've worked out they should still owe us - be interesting to see if we hear anymore! So, that little situation kept me on the phone for quite some time and then I had to talk to the bank about returning the money (I'd never heard of this before).

Problem number two started with water from a shower seeping away down the plug hole very slowly about a week ago. As we have a good old fashioned septic tank I was able to get out the ancient chimney sweep sticks and have a good rummage around the drain to move a blockage out of the way (yep, the joys of owning an old house in the sticks). All was fine after that until late this morning when, after using the wash basin, the water in the toilet started to bubble furiously, leaving a rather murky colour in the pan! After the electricity saga, I went out to try and locate the blockage again, but no joy, no blockage, just a backlog of ... bits and bobs, to put it politely! OK, so you're saying "fine, it just needs emptying". Yep, you're right of course, although the previous owners had apparently never needed to empty it, and they didn't think the owners before them had either. With this in mind, the previous owners, when digging out their swimming pool, used the excess earth to raise the garden several inches which buried the covers for the inspection tanks. They'd placed slabs of concrete over the covers, so I knew where they were, but it took me 3 hours to uncover them (one was under a double layer of slabs) and the covers were so rusty I had to hammer and chisel them out! The garden now looks like the resident mole has gone into a frenzy, but at least I have all three chambers uncovered. Interesting looking inside them (yeh OK I'm a bit weird). I won't go into it any further, but yes, they certainly do need emptying. I'm hoping the chap and his tank will come tomorrow, otherwise things will start to get smelly. Talking of smelly, strangely enough the chambers don't smell. Reading up on this it means the bacteria is doing it's job. Only one little niggle, the poo man completely cleans out all the chambers which apparently means the breaking down of solids has to build up again (and this is when it may smell), it's best if he leaves some solids behind, but he won't do this. In the days of old, they used to throw a dead rabbit or chicken into the chamber to kick start the process. Mm, think we'll pass on that one!

So, the reason I'm so proud of the children. As soon as I told them I was going on the phone to the electric company, Katie and Ben headed for the kitchen and started making models following instructions from a model making book we'd got from the library. Katie had used the blender to cut sponge so tiny it resembled, when painted, bushes. She was making some kind of jumping course using this and other bits. Ben has started making a fantasy dungeon scene following the instructions with Katie's help (and she didn't get annoyed with him at all) to cut some of the cardboard into correct shapes. What gems, they worked so quietly in the room next to me and cleared up afterwards and they kept themselves amused during the afternoon too as I dug, hammed and tugged at the drain covers.

Love 'em. cat


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