Friday, 28 May 2010

Warning: You Should Not Vex a Bean

So a real mixed bag of pantsness and awesomeness this week. It all evens out to happy smiling bean, because the good stuff is just too good. Last weekend I was due to see mr in Salisbury. His present still didn’t arrive, so I cycled to town (I’m trying to be fitter see?) and bought him a Turnbull and Asser collar stay set which he was very pleased with. The hotel was nice enough, in the middle of town this time and the meal was as delicious as ever - of course we went back to Charter 1227, how could we not? We watched Iron Man 2, which was good, but I didn’t think it was as good as the first one, though it had some good action sequences. The cinema itself was weird, it was a proper period building with the black wooden beams and white walls, and the lights were on wrought iron chandeliers. There were only about 6-7 rows in our screen, and the seats were really squeaky, so I felt like a naughty school kid every time I leant into mr to hide from the scary bits. Sunday was spent wandering around the cathedral and sitting dipping our toes in the river whilst watching the ducks. It was perfect :)

When I came back I found an email from a member of my rowing crew saying they had gotten together on Thursday after our outing and had decided there should be no talking in the boat except cox and we should elect a boat captain who can direct the outing, and to make it fair we should have a rota so everyone gets to be boat captain. Basically, they are saying bean, shut up. A bit of background info – I can row both sides, I can stroke the boat and I can cox. Our cox is a 12 year old boy who hasn’t had a lot of practice, doesn’t know the calls to make, can’t feel when we’re doing something wrong, and when he does, he’s too shy to tell us to change it. So since I’ve been at stroke, I’ve been giving him some ideas of things to say, because otherwise our outings are silent from him and we don’t get much out of it. Our coach isn’t that useful either, he doesn’t really speak much or give any critical comments – I haven’t been picked up on anything since our last coach left last year (left because he was fed up of the rest of our crew not doing what he said). Now my aim for the year was to lose my novice status, so I have to win one more race, as was the aim of other members of our boat. This isn’t going to happen unless we get better as a crew, which isn’t going to happen if no one ever picks us up on anything. They’ve already told me I’m a good cox – I coxed them to a three boat length victory at Bideford last year in a higher level than we’re at. So I’m pretty annoyed really. Alright, I know I’m not perfect and I can see how they might not like someone keep picking them up on what they aren’t doing right, but cox has asked me to do it to help him get better. One of the girls can’t take Saturdays off work, doesn’t think we’re good enough to enter races and the only sub we have is a senior C so can’t race with us at novice level. No races for beans then. I volunteered to cox a novice men’s four because I want to win something, even if I can’t get any points from it, and they’re a really good squad with great chances this year. I had my first outing with them Tuesday and it went really well, though I didn’t have a microphone so had to keep yelling and consequently swallowed a lot of flies. Protein anyone? They seemed to really like me, we have a laugh and I’m down to cox two races with them.

At work I’m super busy and have to keep dropping things to deal with silly queries from another office about a data validation exercise they’re running – checking that we hold all the data we should for schemes, as dictated by the pensions regulator. The project’s a good idea, but it’s not ready yet. It works by running a series of rules against the data we have, eg. Member has service pre 06/04/1988 and the scheme is contracted out so they should have Pre 88 GMP recorded on the system. If they don’t that’s a major fail point, so they lose 4 marks. At the end they tot up the fails and I get a final score, a rating a bit like the washing machine energy rating and list of errors. I make an error log and tell the scheme owner what to fix.

The project got put on hold because I flooded them with parameter forms for schemes to put through it and they couldn’t keep up. Then the administrators weren’t fixing the problems it found so the schemes couldn’t have their second run and be cleared off and the whole thing seized up. Admin manager is trying to get a rush job through to please the Scheme and so the Validator team have been sending me little pernickety questions which I have to ask scheme owner about. Then it turns out every thing scheme owner told me when I did the original form in March was wrong and I have to drop everything to do new forms >_< The nice guy I deal with from the validations team was on holiday and I got his boss asking me questions instead. He sent an email attaching one of my forms, asking me to remove some of the details form it. In the form, he’d struck through what he wanted removing. So it would have been less clicks for him to remove himself. He then went on to ask me to change the pension data splits so they fit in with the standard splits they can accommodate. Pension splits work on dates. Between these dates your pension will escalate by this much, then until this date it goes up by a different amount and so on. Pensions is silly. If the dates aren’t the same, there’s nothing I can do, the scheme has its own rules. I snapped. I sent him a very carefully worded, venomous, shouty email back telling him to amend the functionality of his tests as this was the way the scheme works, it’s correct and it differs from his and since the Trustees of the scheme are paying for this, and it’s not the first time this problem had come up it would be better in the long run to change his test. He’s four pay grades above me. Oops. I got a meek email back from him saying he’ll change it, and a nice phonecall talking about what changes would be best. Oh, and a high five from my boss :D Bean wins! Aww yeah, that felt good.

Yesterday I had another cracking outing coxing the guys in the sun and called the student finance people because I hadn’t heard anything and my online account said I wasn’t entitled to a fee loan (PANIC!!!!). They checked and said that as I am a med student I will definitely be getting the fee loan, they just haven’t calculated that bit yet (and breathe...). I also got a letter from the uni saying I'll be getting the full £1,500 bursary for being from a low income family.  Financing thins degree is def becoming more doable.  This weekend will see more rowing, coaching, cycling, maybe some sailing and making a Christening present for my God daughter. Should be good, if the weather’s nice. Good luck with the last of your exams people!

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