It’s just over 5 weeks since the Sipphound family moved house and I’m feeling the urge to look back, survey the muddle, poke some fun at myself and draw a serious lesson out.
Plenty of people have told me how brave we were to move so close to Christmas. They’re not wrong! How on earth did we manage moving, working, Christmas and much more with two young pups (i.e. children) to boot? Well, it’s amazing what you can do when you have to. And, just as significantly, it’s amazing what you can (and do) put off doing when you have to!
It is quite extraordinary how complicated life has become: it seems nothing is straight-forward anymore and feelings of being overloaded or overwhelmed (choices, features, settings, decisions …) are just part of life as usual. Worse, despite the reputed “24-7” society, there’s an awful lot that insists it must have your attention between the hours of 9.00 and 5.30, Monday to Friday. Most days, my employer wants those hours – and they get them (with a family and mortgage, I need the money). So some things get stuffed under the carpet.
To the damning evidence! What have I been putting off?
Better late than never:
We finally got TV, 5 weeks and a day after we moved in! In my defence, the terrestrial aerial wasn’t working so I had to work through my options: new aerial, use the old satellite dish (if it worked), Sky, Virgin, Freesat, Freeview, what about HD, set-top box, with or without blu-ray … And it’s so much easier to dither when you’ve already got proper fast broadband up and running.
I still haven’t been back to the dentist. I had quite a bit of work done before Christmas and it hasn’t all gone 100%. It happens. I don’t really fancy more dental work. And he was closed over Christmas / New Year. And – the stroke of genius bit – I found a really neat solution to my dental pain anyway: eat on the other side of my mouth. Problem solved!
New home phones. The previous one was one of those really old ones where, when it rang, you picked it up and you could speak to the person at the other end. I know: absolute rubbish, hey? No wonder the I.T. squad gave these things a complete make-over. So, the new ones. I call these hideous monsters “Franken-phones”: each time, they rang for 2 seconds and went to answer-phone … and wouldn’t let you get the call back. Mrs Sipphound missed calls from her Mum. “Stupid thing”, I fumed. (Surely it was obvious I meant the phone?) We could have read the instruction book but I don’t like instructions and Mrs S doesn’t like reading. Sipphound Junior sensed that the Franken-phone was a menace, read the instructions and got it to work properly, like the old phone. Phew!
We managed to celebrate Christmas! And the Christmas decorations have been taken down.
Still to go:
Our old landlord still hasn’t returned a penny of our (huge) deposit, despite the fact that we left his property in better condition that we received it. (Mrs S keeps things clean, no mistake.) He’s the kind of delusional, hysterical, compulsive liar normally found acting as president of Iran or North Korea. There’s a lot of money at stake but we’re only now putting together all the evidence for dispute resolution. Money, deadlines, last minute: check, check and check.
There’s so much more but I’ll leave it there. Are you appalled? If my dentist reads this, I’m sure he’ll be appalled. But what have I learnt?
“it’s amazing what you can (and do) put off doing when you have to!”
Us pension people think pensions are important – and they are. But we too easily forget all the other things going on in people’s lives, not to mention the funny things we do (and don’t do) ourselves. We want to educate people in pensions: to most people, that’s yet another instruction manual they don’t really want to read. We want them to take responsibility. But they are tired at the end of a long week and would rather watch something entertaining on TV. Is that so surprising or bad?
At the last Pensions Play Pen meeting before Christmas, we asked ourselves “Is the future of pensions personal”. For the first time ever, we were unanimous: no! No one thought that personal pensions were bad, just that something that puts more responsibility on individuals and makes more demands of them is not going to get the un-pensioned into pensions en masse. In fact one participant in the debate said “what we’re really saying is we want DB back”.
That’s not going to happen in a month of Sundays, but the more a pension works like my old home phone used to work, the more people there’ll be who answer the pension call rather than tuck it under the carpet.