Friday, March 13, 2009

People from Porlock – and a recipe for lemonade

Current work: nonfic (is impossible to write fiction with constant interruptions)
Listening to: Bach French Suites (Joanna MacGregor)
Reading: India Grey, At the Argentinean Billionaire’s Bidding – enjoyed it thoroughly. (Not only is she a great writer, she’s a lovely woman. And stunningly beautiful. She must have a flaw... ah yes, she told me that Krispy Kremes are wonderful and I find them oversweet and sickly. Yes. That is India’s flaw: a dodgy taste in doughnuts.)

Definitely not the best of weeks – and as it’s Friday 13th I think maybe I should go and hide. Apart from the other stuff this week with sick husband, exploding car and dad (uhhh - that's elderly and poorly dad, not exploding), I am suffering with people from Porlock. (What is Kate on about? Coleridge. Trying to be too clever/showing off. Just humour her: she has run out of chocolate and is desperate.)

First up was son and DH, who wanted to access their Xbox live account. Except... a) they forgot the password, and b) son input the wrong email addy during setup - so we can’t reset the password in the usual way, because the new password will go to an invalid email addy (which we can’t access). Guess who they expected to sort this out?

The obvious way round this is for the guys at Xbox to access the account for us and correct the email addy so we can reset the password. Except Microsoft doesn’t do things the simple way – and responsive, these guys ain’t. Took me half an hour on the phone just to get the email support contact address. And then I got a standard response telling me how to reset the password. Sigh. If they had bothered to read the email properly, they would have understood the situation. So I explained. Again. In very simple terms. And am still awaiting a response.

Next person from Porlock was the bank, saying I had a lot of money in my account and could they invest it for me. (What, in a stock-based account in a bear market? Do they think I’m completely bananas?) Every time I pay in an advance cheque, we go through this in the branch; and now they’ve decided to ring me at home as well. So that was another ‘simple’ explanation. People who get paid by an employer get regular payments net of tax. Authors do not. They get royalties from their publisher once or twice a year, advance cheques when they sign a contract, and advance cheques when the publisher accepts the book – ie irregular payments which are gross of tax. And because they’re few and far between rather than a monthly salary, they tend to be bigger chunks of money. (Not THAT big. The average author, according to the Society of Authors, earns less than £5,000 a year. Note that this is skewed by authors who hit the headlines because of their sales, e.g. J. K. Rowling. Note that being an author is NOT a route to getting rich quick. Or even getting rich *g*, for most of us.) Anyway, the point is that a sensible author will wait for said advance/royalty cheque to clear, then move a chunk of it to an account where it will sit untouched, waiting to pay the tax liability in January or July, and the rest will go into account where it will earn interest and act as said author’s salary.

The bank has a better idea. (A bank that has been propped up with taxpayers' money. Righty. And I'm going to trust their judgement?) ‘We could give you more interest if you put all your money together...’ So I asked how they proposed to explain to the tax people that I couldn’t pay the bill because they’d made me put all my money together and I’d forgotten that some of it was my tax liability - and I’d spent it all on Radley handbags, Pandora bracelets and my entire bodyweight in goods from Hotel Chocolat because I have no willpower. To his credit, the guy laughed. And hopefully now there is a note on my file now explaining that if I want to invest money, I will call them – please don’t call me!

The next person from Porlock was a home improvements company. Thank you for the offer to change my windows and door, but a) nothing needs changing; b) there’s a recession, which also means that I don’t want to take out a big loan for said unnecessary improvements in case my husband gets made redundant, and c) when we do get to the point of changing, we’ll go to previous suppliers because we were happy with their work. (And no, they couldn’t just give me a quote anyway, because I don’t want to be bombarded with junk mail and calls etc. Am not being nasty. Am saving them postage and mailshot costs - because I will not be taking up any of their offers, so it would be a waste of money sending me said mailshots.)

Sigh. Author on deadline, anyone?

So I gave in. I had a guitar jam session with my daughter. And then we cooked dinner together while we sang songs from various musicals REALLY LOUDLY. (Son and DH didn’t appreciate it. But we had a *fabulous* time. She's asked me to get some Gene Kelly musicals, next. Yesss. Dat's ma gal.)

Today is Friday 13th – and Red Nose Day – so I guess today’s not going to be a good work day either.

Am clearly stuck with lemons this week, so am going to slice them up, stick them in the fridge with sparkling water and a couple of limes, and pretend to party while I’m secretly working in my head. (Yes, I know 'proper' lemonade involves sugar. This is the low-cal, additive-free version... and thank you to Donna and Jenna for nominating me for the lemonade award thingy. I would pass it on but everyone I can think of has already been nominated. If anyone out there hasn't already been nominated and you put a smile on people's faces and are feeling a bit left out, consider yourself nominated by me...)


rayannelutenerblog said...

Now that WAS a stinker. But what a delight that you had a sing song.
Calamity Jane? Snarf.
Cannot beat a whiff of Doris Day.

Hope today is better. LOL

Nell Dixon said...

Hugs, have just put a parcel in the post to you so hopefully it'll be with you soon.

Donna Alward said...

Hugs, and laughs, and all that stuff.

I woke up to no heat this morning.

And you know, I wish I DID have surplus cash to invest right now. Prices are so low....

Righty-o - I at least don't have to make dinner tonight. No, I have to run over half of god's green earth to pick up chinese and an ice cream cake for a birthday...

I love being "out" of town but it does make "Deliver to my door please" a tad bit difficult...or pricey. LOL

Shirley Wells said...

People from Porlock - oh, yes, I've seen a few of those this week. :o)

You need chocolate. Lots of it. Before they tax it. ;o)

Kate Hardy said...

Ray - it was great fun. Mm, must add Doris to my next lot. (Have just been bad - treated her to the special ed of Oliver as it has a dance-along bit as well, which she'll love; as well as Singing in the Rain and My Fair Lady.)

Kate Hardy said...

Nell - many thanks!

Kate Hardy said...

Donna, hugs on the heating. Enjoy the ice cream cake. (I want pictures, if you haven't already scoffed it!)

Kate Hardy said...

Shirley - what I need is for Hotel Chocolat to sponsor me... :o)