Monday, August 20, 2007

Planet Steve

I feel a little bit calmer after the histrionics of the weekend though the whole thing has left a bad taste in my mouth. I’m not sure why it got to me so much. Usually I snarl back and then let it go; move on... but I felt quite poisoned by ‘Saturday’s event’.

I’m sure a lot of it is due to high stress levels at the moment – Karen’s pregnancy is totally exhausting her, I’m under extra pressure at work due to the extended clean-up operation after the flood, I’m still receiving hassles but no money from my horrible web site clients, a shedload of money/mortgage worries, broken sleep... gah! All of it has conspired to make me hyper sensitive and all too easily knocked off my feet by the slightest motion. Planet Steve feels in danger of shattering like a cut glass goblet at any moment. One high C and crash tinkle tinkle smash.

I guess I need to focus on the positive though. Karen is beginning her maternity leave at the end of August – so barely 2 weeks to go and she can rest properly. Her bosses have also been very understanding and supportive which has been a great help. I’ll be a lot happier knowing that she’s resting at home next month I must admit rather than flogging herself at work to the point of collapse. Work and pregnancy are plainly not a great combination for her!

As for my horrible client. Well... it’s been a steep upward curve. It’s taught me a lot about what not to do and who not to work for. Most of all it’s taught me to never ever doubt my gut instincts. Most of all it’s taught me that money should never be the deciding factor in anything. There’s very little I can do now to the site – the last hurdle is just getting the money out of the client and then I can shut my doors on the whole situation for good. I can’t effing wait.

The comments of Mr Anonymous have had one positive effect: they’ve made me review the work I produce and made me decide to be a lot more careful about how I pitch it and who I pitch it to in future. I can’t compete with the big boys and I think it’s important I acknowledge that to myself and to future clients. The people I want to deal with want something modest and affordable – not huge, corporate looking, data collecting web site behemoths. There’s a niche in the market for what I can offer and as long as my clients are happy with what I produce I don’t see that anybody else need throw their opinion into the mix.

Mortgage worries.... Geez. Don’t we all have them? After a good discussion about it all with Karen over the weekend I’m going to shop around and speak to a few banks. See if I can reschedule some loan repayments to free up some income – enough to ensure we have a decent safety margin should interest rates leap up another notch (which seems likely). Where to start is beyond me though. I find the world of finance and banking something of a turn-off and as a consequence my knowledge of such things is minimal.

So, things might still be a bit overcast on Planet Steve but I’m going to do my damnedest to encourage clear, blue skies and green horizons... if I can’t do that then I shall at the very least invest in some decent wellies.


The Sagittarian said...

Sounds like you're on the right path. Has been my experience that The Bank (yes, capitals for those b*stards!!)always prefer to see you sooner rather than later. They like to have that money coming in (let's hope The Old Cheeser ain't reading this one eh?, let him keep his financial virginity a tad longer).
Do hope all goes well with the baby, I got seriously ill with my youngest (who shares your birthday) and ended up in t'ospital too soon for too long. Take time out, seriously the only really important things in life can boil down to good health and family. You have earnt it. Bets wishes to you and Karen.
cheers ears,
The Sagitarian (but you can call me Amanda if you like since my name is out there now). :-) Oh, and thanks for the nice words about ze pome.

Steve said...

Hi Amanda - a pleasure as always to hear from you. You're right of course: health and family are the only real priorities... and if you have something ahead of them then something is seriously wrong! :-)

Old Cheeser said...

Ha ha - well I just have read this one, Amanda/Steve! On the subject of mortgages, whilst I'm v glad to be getting my own place, I am aware that is a financial millstone and I too am going to have to tighten my purse strings even more! So I sympathise with how you're feeling Steve. My advice is, find yourself a good mortgage broker who can find you a good deal (maybe obvious I know) - that's what we did. Like you my knowledge of financial stuff ain't so hot but when you're in the business of buying houses you've got to be clued up about these things. That's when these people come in really handy. Or as you say, do some shopping around and try different banks.

It's no wonder you feel stressed with so much going on! But I'm sure you're going to come through it all. As Amanda says, try and focus on your health and family, they're what matter most..

And btw sorry about the hassle with the nasty anonymous blogger! F*ck em, that's what I say (not literally you understand).

The OC x

PS What we gonna do without Timewarden eh?

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Glad you survived the weekend Steve. Re web-design stuff, I'm no expert, but seems to me you never pretended to be anything you weren't or to promise more than you could deliver, so why worry? You surely have your valid niche and market out there for what you do (plus someone conscientious with good communication skills is also a boon for any client).

As for the cost of the rest of life, it's always worth asking oneself is my money in the best bank account for max interest? is my credit card the lowest? is my mobile phone the cheapest tariff, etc etc?

I never get fewer than ten on-line quotes for car insurance alone. Have sometimes saved myself over £100 when current insurance company decide to be great one year and bastards the next! All a load of hassle, but better in *our* pockets than theirs at the end of the day!

Then there's how much *stuff* does a new baby really need? Prams are invariably discarded in favour of pushchairs within weeks of the little tyke's arrival and clothingwise, babygrows are all they need until at least 12 months! As for shoes, not until they're walking surely! Though yes, I do bear a grudge against little kiddies in designer togs that I can't afford in *my* size as an adult! They should all bear their share of hand-knitted pom pom mitten shame! Survival of the fittest and all that (ie if you can survive some of the home knitting disasters I was forced to wear, you can survive anything!)

On a more serious note you sound like the sort of person who probably already leads a green and conscientious lifestyle (thus reducing your household bills to the max!)

Steve said...

Hi OC,

Yes TimeWarden is going to leave quite a gap. I'm still checking into his blog out of sheer habit in the vain hope he's updated... but I can see that sometimes you just need to take a break from things. Hopefully he'll returned refreshed and enthused soon.

Thank you for the supportive comments - I do feel better about it all now: I guess Mr Anon caught me in a weak moment on Saturday. It was not nice but not important!

Shopping around in the financial sector is definitely on the cards for moi one lunchtime this week!

Hi Laura,

Sage advice indeed! And I really admire your attention to detail and your quest to get the best deal possible. I do sometimes think I end up paying more for stuff through sheer laziness - not shopping around enough, etc. I think I need to review how I operate and analyse more closely where precisely my money is going... I know Karen hates bringin her work home with her but I think we may need to use her superlative accountancy skills!

-eve- said...

Just hang on in there... time passes, and in 2 months, when you see your new baby, all these worries will, hopefully, be far in the past! :-)

Steve said...

Thank you, Eve - that's a nice thought! :-)