The accidental web-designer…

Wednesday 22nd June 2011

Hello again everyone!
Well, it’s been so long since I last wrote that I thought I had better get on with it and tell you all how my life is going!
Let’s see, so much to tell you!

Ok, well, most of you know I have recently hit a big milestone and turned 30. I saw many of you at my birthday party, which was great fun, and I saw tons of old friends and got showered with loads of fantastic presents too! For those of you who are interested, I have already developed fairly severe memory loss and crow’s feet, and I believe that my standard-issue hunchback is coming along nicely. I’m looking forward to receiving my free zimmerframe on the NHS, so I look forward to zimming around with all the other middle-aged 30-somethings soon.

Actually, I have settled into 30 quite well so far, with limited amounts of panic over my age, (although I may revert back to 29 next year – we’ll see how this year goes…). Of course I do still have the occasional panic, like when someone mentioned I was entering my 4th decade (Don’t worry, I had her shot). I also had a nice evening with a couple of colleagues the other day. B is a good friend of mine, who’s 23, and her flatmate E is also about to turn 30. E and I started reminiscing about bands we used to listen to when we were teenagers, and B hadn’t heard of any of them! Eventually she laughed and said “This is so funny. You sound just like my mum when she talks about the music she used to listen to”.
I like B, but I’m going to have to put her on the list.

Like that guy I was stuck on a bus with in Nepal who used the phrase “people my age” in a derogatory way. I mentally hurled him out of the bus window.

Sadly though, I have recently discovered that there is another, rather huge downside to turning thirty. I attended a friend’s wedding on Saturday (which was excellent) and naturally proceeded to get quite drunk, as you do. Except apparently, as soon as you turn thirty, you can no longer drink like a twenty-year-old. Not only did I miss the memo about this prior to turning thirty, but the message was subsequently delivered in hard copy, in triplicate, on Sunday morning with a vengeance. A lot of you will think I am exaggerating somewhat (me? never!), but I swear that was the worst hangover I have ever had in my entire life, bar none, and it has continued for most of the week! I actually think I may have poisoned myself a little bit, or at the very least caused my poor liver some very serious damage! I am literally sitting here at work on Wednesday feeling like death – it’s like I keep having sudden flashbacks to how I felt on Sunday. It truly is the hangover that wouldn’t die.

Frankly, what upsets me about this is that it was so unexpected. Had I been pre-warned that this was looming on the horizon, I would have flatly refused to turn 30 and stayed happily in my twenties, where beer and wine floweth merrily and consequences don’t exist….

Anyhoo, in my newly-mature state, which will apparently no longer involve nights out or drinking to excess, and will most likely herald a new era of cocoa and knitting, tucked up in bed by 10pm, I am still crawling at a snail’s pace towards owning my first house! I put in an offer on a house (a million years ago), hired a solicitor, and for the last three and a half months we have settled into a comfortable pattern where I call my solicitor up once or twice a week to ask what’s happening, and he says “well, not much really, I’m still waiting for the vendor’s/housing association to send me some paperwork…”. Once in a while I call up the estate agent or housing association to find out why we are still waiting for paperwork, and then usually discover it was “sent weeks ago” and has gotten “lost in the post”. I use Royal Mail all the time, and nothing has ever gotten lost, but somehow ALL of the contracts and key documents have mysteriously “gotten lost”, and so we sit around twiddling our thumbs and continue to wait….

Why, I hear you cry, can’t we simply scan and email things backwards and forwards? Or use registered post to ensure things arrive? Why indeed. It appears to be one of the world’s greatest mysteries, and one which shall remain unsolved. The closest I’ve got to an answer is “well, um, you see, we just don’t do that” and even more interestingly “actually we do use couriers for all our documents to make sure they don’t get lost”. One wonders if perhaps they ought to find a better courier, develop slightly more trust in Royal Mail as a service provider, or maybe just re-evaluate their internal filing systems.
But whatever.
Do I look bothered?

Thankfully, after weeks and weeks of frustration and essentially nothing at all happening, I have just received a large, fat envelope full of exciting and incredibly long documents to read and sign and send back (to inevitably “get lost” in the post, be re-sent to me, to be re-signed and re-sent back again…). So now all I have to do is read, understand and sign things, although my solicitor is currently on holiday, so it’ll have to wait until next week so I can call him up and ask him to explain it all in actual English!
So, with any luck, I’ll be moved within the few weeks… watch this space!

As for my job, well it is still going incredibly well – some days I literally walk home from work with a huge grin on my face, just because I love my job so much! It makes me feel so sad for all those people in the world who aren’t fulfilled and excited by their jobs. I’m still learning loads and loads, and finding it all fascinating and interesting and exciting.

My only concern is that I seem to be somehow becoming known as the person in the office “with computer expertise”, which given my epically tragic level of knowledge on the subject, is extremely worrying!

I currently do quite a lot on our intranet, updating pages and links etc, and have been trained on how to create and manage online conferences and training sessions (we are trying to cut down their carbon footprint etc, so there has recently been a big push to deliver all our training online and remotely instead of flying everyone halfway around the world every time there is a workshop).

I have also recently gotten involved with a project to create some online technical training modules, so I have attended training on loads of random computer/e-learning applications with exciting names like Elluminate, Articulate, and In-Design. As a result of all this, I am now attending meetings where people talk about html, java script, interactive PDF’s and e-learning platforms, while I mostly nod and smile and manically write all the strange words down so I can google them later!

So far I haven’t had to do much except think about the actual processes of how one goes about designing training courses (and my teaching background is coming in very useful here) but I have a slightly worrying suspicion that I might be accidentally turning into some sort of web designer or e-learning person, which is frankly a bit scary!

The real test will be whether or not I end up destroying the entire computer network one day by casually pressing “enter” on one of these applications…
I do really quite like all the funny names though, like the e-learning platform we work with, which is called Moodle! I have also been told there is a thing called Doodle and also a Poodle, but who knows that they are! My email system also keeps popping up an error message at me telling me that some of my emails have been “pruned”. I have no idea what that means, but it sounds awesome.

So, enough about all that, except to say that if I one day wake up and discover that I have unknowingly become a web designer I may have to pack a bag and move to Timbuktu in protest!

In other news, I finally managed to complete my 5km fun run in May, which so many of you kindly sponsored me for! I have attached a photo of me in my supergirl costume, and I am pleased to announce that I did it in 40 minutes, which is a very respectable time for someone as unfit as me, although anyone who actually does any real running would be able to do it in about 20mins!
The important thing to remember is that I WASN’T LAST!!!! YAY!!! Also I raised £230 for Environmental Justice Foundation, so that was good too!



That’s about all from me for now, so I’ll leave you with this hilarious anecdote:

At work our massive industrial-size photocopier/printer was out of order for about a week and has now had the automatic stapler removed. And now there are about 4 large stickers on it, explaining that a staff member was seriously injured last week when she tried to remove a jammed staple with her finger. Apparently she stuck her finger into the hole where you generally put paper, which has a sensor to detect the paper and automatically staple stuff. She ended up in A&E having a deeply-embedded staple surgically removed from her finger.
Now our organisation are trying to return the machines to the manufacturers, seeing as how they’re so unsafe, and get new ones with thinner gaps for the paper so that people can’t stick their fingers in it in future.

I have never before in my life been tempted to stick my finger into the “automatic staple” slot, but now that there are 4 stickers telling me not to, it’s getting very tempting. It’s like when people tell you not to touch a plate cos it’s too hot. You ALWAYS want to touch the plate!
I wonder how long it will be before I end up in A&E…

Hope you’re all well!
tons of love,
stapler-resistant Maya

ps – Just saw this on as friend’s facebook status and had to pass it on:
“It recently became apparent to me that the letters ‘T’ and ‘G’ are far too close together on a keyboard. This is why I’ll never be ending an e-mail with the phrase “Regards” ever again.”

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