(don't say I didn't warn you):
First, the money thing. Namely, I don't have any. The Bristol U finance office fucked up (read: LOST) the paperwork for my federal student loan. I should have had the money weeks ago. I was expecting it any second. Here's the timeline:
August somthing: I took my Student Aid Report to the Bristol Finance Office, whose job it is to apply for the loan on my behalf.
September: The FO informed me thy needed something called a Master Promissory Note. They were unable to tell me how to get this, I had to figure it out. I got the MPN, signed it, and took it in to them. They thanked me, and told me they needed my SAR (the thing I gave to them in August). I heaved a sigh, went and got another copy of my SAR and gave it to the FO. They assured me they would get my my $18,500 as soon as possible.
October: I wait nervously for my $$$ to arrive.
Last saturday: I call home to find out when my parents are due back from holiday. The dogsitter informs me that there was a message on the answering machine from SallieMae (the lender) stating that my loan application is incomplete and cannot be processed.
Monday: I send an email to the woman in the FO who handles my case. (I would have gone personally but scheduling didn't permit.) I told her about the message. She replied to the email and said I should find out what exactly the problem is. How? I thought. The application was filed from your office! I don't have any contact information at all. So in the afternoon I walk up to the office and ask in person, expaining that I have no means of investigating the trouble. The woman in the FO (let's call her Troll, shall we?) is one of those people who can't be bothered to do her job. Whenever you ask her to do something that is the thing she is paid to do, she heaves a great sigh and makes likes she's doing you a huge personal favor out of the goodness of her heart. The only way to get her to do anything is to appeal to her sense of charity and let her believe she's some kind of fucking saint for bending over backwards to help you. This is why she is a Troll.* Troll phones SallieMae, they tell her everything is fine, they will cut the cheque on Wednesday, and I will have it by Friday. Too bad my rent is due on Thursday, and will be deducted from my account automatically by direct debit.
Tuesday: I get an email from SallieMae telling me my loan app is incomplete. Remember, this is after Troll called them and supposedly sorted everything out. I pray that the email was sent automatically, and that everything is still fine. There was a toll free number, so I rang it. They told me they never received my MPN. You remember the MPN, right? The one I took the FO back in September? Yeah, that one.
Wed: I download another MPN from the web, sign it, and take it up to the FO. The whole office is in a meething, there is no one there to help, and I will be gone the rest of the day. Bugger.
Thursday (yesterday): I took the MPN to the FO, Troll gets all huffy about how she sent the last one, I ask her sweetly to just send this by the fastest means possible as otherwise I won't get any money. She agrees. (How good of her.)
Friday (today): I receive a phone call from HSBC. My account is overdrawn, but as an international student I'm not allowed to have an overdraft. I had told my landlord on Monday about the difficulty, but it seems he wasn't able to halt the direct debit. SO, HSBC informs me that I'm 400 quid overdrawn, and i'm going to incur all kinds of penalties and feeces and interest. The woman from HSBC (who called me, remember), told me that I had to call another number. I rang the number, but because I was calling from Skype I wasn't able to navigate their number menu thingy, and I couldn't get a person to pick up the line. So I walked around the corner to my local branch (wearing a tight, low-cut blouse. Don't look at me like that - most bankers are men and I'll use every weapon in my arsenal, damnit.). After I waited in a queue for 45 minutes, I was helped by a lovely hormonal chap named J. J's eyes darted back and forth between the computer screen and my cleavage for 20 minutes. Good, pawn, good. After i 'splained the situation, J said that he would speak to his manger and see what could be arranged. A few minutes later he returned and informed me that the transaction would be reversed and as a good will gesture they'd get rid of the fees. (I have a new favorite blouse.)
And that's just the money issue. There was also the teaching thing.
I'm teaching a 2nd year literature class. This was the first week of class, which of course involved all kinds of logistical nitty gritty like contracts, room assignements, email lists, attendance forms, photocopies, etc. This wouldn't have been a problem, except that the University just restructured everything. The English department no longer has its own office; we're lumped into a central office with several other departments in the newly created School of Humanities. So I'm bugging the new office with all kinds of questions about aforementioned nitty gritty issues, and finally the woman says to me "you know, I put all this information in your pigeonhole. didn't you get it?"
"Your staff pigeonhole. You're teaching staff now. You have a staff pigeonhole."
"I do? Where is it?"
"G9? Isn't that the photocopy room?"
"Isn't it locked?"
"Yes. Don't you have a key?"
"No I don't have a key! Where would I have gotten a key?! If you didn't give me one, then I clearly don't have one. May I have a key, please?"
"Sorry, I'm all out."
"Let me get this straight. You put a bunch of information in a pigeonhole that no one told me existed, that is in a locked room to which neither of us has keys. How exactly was I supposed to retrieve this information?"
I'm not kidding, it was like the opening sequence to Hitchiker's Guide.
In addition to all this hoo-ha, I was of course prepping for tutorials and doing actual teaching things.
Then we had the pain thing. The pain thing was because on Monday I began boxing again. My body was in agony. Following monday boxing which left me hobbling all over uni, i had to do a 2K erg test on tuesday morning. Naturally I overslept and didn't have time to warm up, so I did it cold. Needless to say, by tuesday evening I was in teeth-shattering agony. Every muscle in my body stiff and store. I couldn't move. I couldn't sit, stand, bend over, type, or take a piss. So that helped my mood.
Somewhere in there I'm supposed to be doing research. Whatever.
There were a few other more minor things, but that's the big stuff. And it all happened in the first part of this week. I'm better now. Mostly. The pain is better, anyway. My bank account is still a bit sore, but my quads are ok, and that's the important part.
Ooh, would you like some good news? Here are the good things that happened, all in the last 24 hours:
- I bought plane tix yesterday for Christmas. That's tickets, plural. Two of 'em. One for me, and one for the Pirate, who is coming home with me for Christmas!!!!! YAY!!!! I can't wait for him to meet my family, and vice versa. I havn't been this excited about Christmas since I was about 10.
- For my birthday presents, mom bought tickets to see Spamalot while the Pirate and I are home for the holiday. Whoo-hoo!
- I took a bicycle ride this morning, and saw 3 deer. It was cool and grey and misty, a lovely autumn morning, and these three deer were lying in the grass of a field, having a bit of a lie-in.
- I picked 3 pounds of sloe berries along the way, which will make me 3 pints of sloe gin. Mmmmm.
- The Pirate's business excursion is half over, and he should be home in 6 more weeks, if all goes according to plan. Half way is good. This is the downhill stretch.
Are you still reading this? Good god. Get a life.
*I humbly apologize to any trolls reading this that may take offense at the comparison.