Saturday, 26 November 2011

A Jolly Difficult Week

It's been a long week. The past 168 hours have included sick children, alterations to the usual childcare arrangements, a particularly poorly timed course and, joy of joys, parent's evenings.

I didn't even make it to church on Sunday. Don't get me wrong, I've missed mass more time's than I should and without fair excuse. This week it was the impending parent's evenings that saw me handing my children over to their grandma at 0715 on a Sunday morning and headed to work. There's just no other way to get everything done and when parent's evening is coming up and everything has to look good, it has to be done on time.

After 6 hours at work I headed for home. The fog was thick, not unusual at this time of year. It was nice that for once I was riding in daylight. The 35w/35w headlight on the YBR250 just isn't up to the job anywhere other than the urban jungle. All too often, thanks to my 11 hour day at work (usually 7am - 6pm), I find myself riding each way in the dark and wishing Yamaha had fitted something significantly more effective. On this occasion I was fortunate that the dense fog coincided with me coming home in daylight and the only price I had to pay was to work on Sunday.

At least when I got home I was able to take time to walk to Mum and Dads from ours (5 or 6 miles and the most exercise I've managed to fit in in weeks). Then there was time to eat and play with the kids for an hour or so before bed at which point my (doubtless one day sainted) mother helped me with yet more work.

Anyway, this is dragging on now so I'll whine in brief. The week went on with me working to more like 8pm three nights. I did manage to leave at the slightly earlier time of 5pm on Friday. The late finishes were thanks to parents evening (seems many of them work as well so it's fair enough that they run till late) and staff training in between the two parents evening nights (which is anything but fair enough though apparently unavoidable).

Today I finally got to spend time with my two children. My 1 year old son seems to be largely over whatever was up with him earlier in the week (which I saw little of because my long suffering wife has gotten them up, looked after them and put them to bed in my absence all week). My 3 year old daughter was her usual loving and mischievous self. We went to the coffee shop where she shied away from Stefano as she always does. He gave her several biscuits as he always does and looked slightly hurt by her fear of him as he always does. Then we went swimming as we always do.

Life is returning to normal. Back to 60 hour weeks and the same old at home. Next week I do something I've never done before. I'm going to strike. I know we all need to do our bit (and by 'we all' I take it we are talking about public sector workers) but making me me pay more into my pension for less pension amounts to a pay cut. My pay and pension is what I signed up for and it's what I work like a dog for. I can't let the government cut my earnings without a fight. However, in 32 parent interviews, only one parent asked me about the strike and in response I asked this question. "Would you want a 69 year old me teaching your child?"

The parent looked at me and after a short pause said, "No."

Actually, I cynically think it's worst than that. I'm in my mid 30s now and have many of the aches I associate with getting older. I have little or no time to do the physical exercise that my doctor assures me is vital to my continued existence. I suspect if I try to do what they want and work all the way to my 70th birthday, they won't have to worry about me drawing the damn pension. I'll be dead long before I qualify.

So, if you want to know why I'm going to strike, it's just because I don't want to die.

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