Friday, September 29, 2006

Fleet of Foot

After a period of some recovery, my ankle irritation returned several weeks ago. This caused me to reconsider my assumptions about the cause. I had long thought that the shock of spraining my ankle, then by overcompensating while walking strained and weakened the internal sides of my feet. I decided to go back to the podiatrist, and it was wise. My insoles had been compressed and the soles of my shoes were munted. It was likely that the damage to both had caused constant stress to my ankles as I walked.

Now, I have my upgraded insoles and am on the verge of investing in another pair of sturdy shoes to wander around in.

Friday, September 22, 2006


My working relationship with my second client has not been developing well due to a seemingly incompetent manager at the other end. To date, I have missed four days of work due to apparent incompetence and this person has inconvenienced many due to her lack of consideration.

The missed days were all a case of the manager not scheduling that which had to be scheduled. For better or worse, she is the only person who can schedule the lessons at the company for me. If she should neglect to do them, I have no work and the students lose any regularity of lessons. On one day she cancelled the lessons with me on the pretext that none of the students were available, but she didn't notify the students that the lessons were available. Obviously she hadn't talked to all the students as one called me in the afternoon asking me why I wasn't there for his lesson...

I received quite an amusing e-mail from her on Monday, when upon receiving an invoice from me, she asked about several details. She said that one particular lesson I charged for was not on her records and asked me to provide the reason why it was taught. I sent to her the e-mail she had originally sent me, outlining the schedule for that week (stating clearly the lesson). She read my comment on the invoice: “Lessons unscheduled”, referring to the days where no lessons were scheduled, as “Unscheduled lessons” and asked to whom I was giving unscheduled lessons. Not that these lessons were charged... I explained that I would refrain from ambiguous language in the future (her reading of Lessons Unscheduled is vaguely possible to a rational person, so I should either put more words to put the matter beyond all doubt in future).

On Tuesday, that manager called me this morning wanting to change an afternoon lesson time, which, though slightly annoying, I agreed to. However, upon arriving at the company I found that my 12 o'clock appointment believed his time to be on Thursday (which may be an innocent misreading by him). He was at an external company but could come in for the meeting later in the afternoon. The receptionist tried to reschedule with awkward results. She had not been informed of the lesson change that was agreed to in the morning, nor had there been a room allocated for that lesson change. Due to a lack of communication from that manager she had to do multiple calls just to set the story straight and then organise an alternative plan. She then talked to me with a somewhat embarrassed expression saying that she should have been told about these changes, while trying to remain professional. She proposed a very practical rescheduling which worked well with me.

However, when I met with the student for his needs analysis, he told me he was leaving next week for a three month trip. Right... now why was I giving him a needs analysis now?

The whole situation, though potentially aggravating, no longer causes more than a sigh from me. She has improved her communication, e-mailing me today about the schedule - although it was a schedule of nothing, saying all rooms were booked out (in the whole AXA building)! Well, at least it was cancelled on an actual reason, rather than laziness. I'll e-mail all the students to make sure this clear to the students.

This week was meant to be my heaviest week of work - but cancellations reduced it somewhat.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Cruising Altitude

It has been a rather frenetic last seven days. We have hosted 3 people for dinner (out of 5 possible nights of dinners at home), one over for a cuppa, gone on a road trip and had our first person stay the night over. I really like the idea of the open door to friends who come and go.

In A Vigil to a Nation (which I'm reading piece by piece), the author incessantly chatters in tangents about all and sundry while describing his journey's through the landscape of WW2 China. One point that did strike a chord with me was how he said that in the US the 'open door' that people used to have for random guests, had become the 'open porch'. This was back in the mid-1940s, so it is interesting to see the change began then. When I was young, even though we were living in the country, we only ever had people over with a lot of forewarning, preparation and with a self-evident reason.

So let this be an open invitation to anyone reading this to drop by sometime. Just give a text or call and I'll open the door.

Small Print: Naturally should we be occupied with other pressing matters, your visit may be politely declined, or reduced to a cuppa or walk around the block.