Friday, 30 November 2012

I Need Bigger Ranty Pants!

Seriously, I can feel them expanding to the point where they are about to give up the unequal struggle and just explode!

So, what's my problem?

Well, it's just a few things that are really niggling me at the moment.

One is Blogger.  It's playing silly buggers with me.  It wont let me insert images, anything I've posted in the last couple of weeks has been cut and pasted into it.  Not a biggie really but irritating but, much worse than that is the fact that my spam filter seems to have stopped working!

At the beginning of the week I logged in to find I had 499 comments awaiting moderation!

I turned comment moderation on several months ago for post older than 3 days so that I didn't miss anything and it worked really well for me, but it seemed that one of my posts had become a target for everything from Viagra to designer handbags.

A bit of a pain in the arse but I just put the post into draft and thought that would sort it.  It didn't and now the spam seems to have bypassed the filter completely and I'm getting between 30 and 50 messages a day.

I refuse to go down the word verification route - I can understand why so many people do but it drives me mad so I'm not doing it.  I decided (and you may have noticed this in my last post) that I'd just turn comment moderation on for all posts and weed out the spam myself for now.

Obviously I have accidentally deleted 4 comments on my last post along with the spam (and huge apologies if you left one and now it's just gone) so I am pissed off with blogger!

Want to know what else is pissing me off?

I'm going to tell you anyway ;).

In the last few weeks I've been inundated with letters from the school about school trips ect.  It's great that the kids get to do stuff and I'm all in favour of getting them out of the classroom from time to time and doing something different.

BUT, it is SOOOO fucking expensive!!

I'm a single parent and, at times, it's a struggle.  My children don't go without the things that they need and they have some of the things that they want and, like any parent, I will happily go without from time to time to give them these things.

It's been an expensive few weeks.  I've replaced my washing machine (you can't keep hoicking your smalls round to others forever y'know).  Miss Mac has had a growth spurt which has meant virtually a whole new school uniform and some new home clothes and money only goes so far and there have been a few other little things to shell out for.

I've always found the money for trips, I don't want my kids to miss out and why should they but the last few weeks have been ridiculous! 

Miss Mac has brought home 3 letters with trips ranging from £5 to £25 all of which are to places that require them to have spending money too (and you can't not give them some money to spend).

The biggy was to the Harry Potter Exhibition at the Warner Bros studios - a fantastic trip. Miss Mac is a huge Harry P fan and it was a great opportunity BUT - I just didn't have the cash to spare!

Most of the school trip require a 'voluntary contribution' - as it says on the forms, unless enough children pay then they may be unable to go ahead with the trip.

Now I understand that and, like I said, I've always found the money.

However, THIS time I just couldn't justify it, it came at the wrong time.

So I thought ok, a voluntary contribution should mean that as long as I make a contribution then it should be fine.  I crossed out the bit that said £25 pounds and wrote £10 above it and ticked the box to say that money was enclosed and thought no more about it.

Until, Miss Mac said that she (and several others) had been called in and asked where the money was for the trip.  Now I don't know if the others had made any contribution at all.  After all, school trips are supposed to be inclusive and It clearly says this is a voluntary contribution. I know that there are many families who struggle more than I do and possibly were unable to make any kind of payment at all.

Miss Mac was mortified and I was seriously pissed off!

I called the school the next day.  I explained that I had made a contribution but it wasn't for the full amount which I had made clear on the form.  I explained that this was the first time I hadn't paid the full amount and that it was probably a one off.  I pointed out that it was a little out of order to be calling the children in rather than contacting parents direct if there were any queries.

I received an apology and an assurance that it was a mistake.  That they were just supposed to have followed up those forms that hadn't indicated that payment (full or otherwise) wasn't included as they had to account for all money taken by the school.

Fair enough.

Until I received a phone call the day before the trip asking why Miss Mac hadn't paid the full amount!

I went through the same explanation pointing out that I'd already had this conversation feeling like a completely crap mother who would obviously prefer to spend her money on crack cocaine and whiskey than a school trip for her daughter.

I ended up apologising to this bloody woman and promising to send in the remainder of the money next week.  I felt completely fucking humiliated!

I don't want something for nothing.  I've always been involved with my children's schools and fund raising.  I don't think that makes me any better than anyone else, it's just been important to me.

There may be a few that play the system to avoid paying for school trips, I don't know but I do know that's not ME!

So yes, I will find the money but the damage is done.  Miss Mac has been embarrassed and I feel ...

Well, never mind.

Anyway.  The Harry Potter Trip was yesterday and a HUGE success.

Seriously, if you are in a position to take your kids then DO.  Miss Mac didn't draw breath for several hours telling me all about it!

One final rant.

Well, not really a rant but something that's causing me a little concern.

I've been getting some 'odd' phone calls in the last few weeks.

At first I didn't think anything of it.

The first one was from a woman.  It was a terrible line and I couldn't be sure but I thought she sounded upset.  I couldn't get what she was saying at all it was so muffled so I asked her to call me back and try again.

She didn't.

I didn't give it much thought assuming it was just a sales call or something.  It wasn't until I'd had a couple more calls that it clicked, she had asked if I was Sarah, not Mrs Mac or even Sarah Mac, just Sarah.  Hmmm, probably NOT a sales call then.

Over the next week or so I had 3 more calls, 2 with withheld numbers and 1 a number didn't recognise.  When I answered them there was a pause (but I'm pretty sure someone was there) and then they hung up.

A few days ago I had another call, this time the number wasn't withheld and it wasn't someone in my phone book either.  Again there was a pause with me saying 'hello' several times and then I heard someone mutter 'bitch' but under their breath, not like they were actually saying it to ME or that I was meant to hear it but just saying it as they hung up.

To be honest I wasn't sure what to do.  I did think about calling them back and asking who the fuck it was.  To my knowledge I don't have any enemies and if I did then they wouldn't have my number ...

I thought about leaving it a few days and ringing while withholding my number so they wouldn't know it was me and would answer it but then what would I say?  Chances are they would either hang up on me or deny calling me and I probably wouldn't recognise the voice so I still wouldn't know.  A friend offered to ring the number for me.  But again, and say WHAT?

Doing something (if there really is someone with a problem out there) might just give it credence and escalate things anyway.

I did briefly wonder if it was an ex girlfriend of SD's or something.  I can't think of anyone else who might have a problem with me (and I'm not sure that any of them would either so I'm clutching at straws a bit here) but it's unlikely, how would they get my number?  It's not like SD has a mobile that anyone could somehow have got the number from.

I did wonder if it was anything to do with Ex Lax - who knows.  One of his girlfriends since we split did turn out to be barking mad but I don't have any direct contact with him any more so I can't see that there would have been anything to trigger it.

I don't know.  Maybe there is no connection between the calls.  Maybe that call was a wrong number.  Maybe I'm letting it bother me too much ...

It's a horrible feeling that there may be someone out there who, for whatever reason, has a problem with me but just doesn't have the guts to come out and say so but I'm not going to dwell on it too much if I can help it.  Hopefully that's the last of it and writing it out makes it seem not so much of a big deal anyway.

It just leave a nasty taste in my mouth ...

Ok, ranty pants slightly deflated now.  I'll be back soon with more of the ridiculous soon :).


joeh said...

I started getting spam through to my comments several days ago. NOt bad enough to turn on verification yet.

The school was definatly wrong and 25 english stuff sounds like a lot! More than $25 US I think and that would be a lot.

Kelloggs Ville said...

You should have stuck to your guns with school. Don't send the difference in. You have reasons and a good history. Go back to the school and tell them you feel they have forced your hand, and you just havnt got it.

You probably shouldn't but I would have friend call number on a withhold. There's plenty of help online about the correct way to deal with it though.

Carmen said...

For the record, that school should be ashamed of themselves for embarassing your poor daughter!

Also? Maybe you are being stalked by a lesbian?

Sarah said...

Glad it's not just me Joe - seems to have slakened off a lot since I put a couple more posts into draft but it's still getting through.

£25 is enough (don't know what the conversion rate is). To put it into perspective,it's about the same amount as a new school blazer or a pair of decent school shoes.

I should have K, guess I was just caught on the hop, I wasn't expecting it and I'd felt bad enough anyway - think I'll take the cowards way out and email them otherwise I'll probably end up offering to pay the outstanding amount for anyone who didn't/couldn't pay ;)

I was tempted to let my friend ring it but once we'd got past the part where she called the number we didn't really know what she would do :)

I totally agree Carmen, i think that's what upset me more than anything. It wasn't fair to ask her (added to which, she didn't know as I'd sent it in a sealed envelope and not mentioned it to her because I didn't think she needed to know!).

Lol, the thought that I may have a lesbian admirer cheered me up NO end - so much better than the ideas that had been going through my head ;)