15/365 – who’s a pretty girl

Had our 21 week scan last week and my god my little girls growing. Little concerned at how active she is. Arms and legs were going everywhere again and she seemed to be taking great interest in her hands and looking at her fingers
We could clearly see hows she’s changed since the last scan and i still think it’s an amazing thing to see, glad we got a dvd of it when we had the sexing scan.
In total we’ve seen our little girl 4 times and it’s weird to think now that we aren’t going to see her until she comes along in june (if she’s on time)

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14/365 – Top 5 of 2010 – Games – both highs and lows

Short and Simple one this. As we are a month into 2011 i thought i’d have a quick reflection on my top 5 of 2010 where games are concerned and cover both the games i enjoyed and the titles that missed the target

Highs – (in no particular order)
1) Dead Rising 2 – Liked the original although hated how it was so restricted and confined. This frees things up a little and overall i found it more enjoyable
2) Enslaved: Odyssey to the West – This one came out of the blue to me. Hadn’t read or seen anything on it before hand yet once i played it, i found i couldn’t put it down
3) Splinter Cell: Conviction – Being a big fan of the splinter cell games and after a long delay i did enjoy slipping back into Sam’s shoes.
4) Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Wanted a decent Castlevania game for a while now and in truth wasn’t holding out much hope of this being worth anything but found it enjoyable, if a little controller smashing difficult in places.
5) Red Dead Redemption – GTA on horseback – and more enjoyable. What with such a busy life at times i find it difficult to get into bigger/more open games as i just don’t have the time to dedicate to them yet i found red dead easy to play even with limited time. So easy to slip into the saddle for a 10 minute mosey

Lows – (in no particular order)

1) Halo Reach – Considering that this was supposed to be Bungies swansong for the Halo franchise it seemed to miss the mark in my opinion. I didn’t care much for the characters and no effort seemed to be made to make you feel towards them, even though they were then given dramatic deaths it felt like it was a case of “well thats another one gone” To me it felt like same old same old and didn’t feel like it should have for a finally. In truth, the only Halo game I’d say i’ve really thoroughly enjoyed in single player since Combat Evolved was ODST.
2) Kane and Lynch: Dog days – Should have been renamed dog shit. Fell in love with the original as it seemed to wear it’s flaws (of which there were many) openly on it’s sleeve for all to see so i had high hopes for the sequel and was let down………..very hard
3) Splinter Cell: Conviction Yes this made both my high and low lists. Despite it proving to be more enjoyable to me than the previous outing (double agent) I found it still didn’t live up to Chaos Theory
4) Crackdown 2 – Definitely my biggest letdown of 2010. The original stole my heart and a lot of my time and even know i fail to see how the followup could be such a monumental fuck up. To me, the original was perfect apart from it needed a larger play area and a strong story element. Simple things to fix for the sequel yet also it seems simple to screw up.
5) Call of Duty: Black Ops – Treyarch might find it easier to try to carve their own niche in the call of duty franchise rather than trying to follow and walk in Infinity wards over-sized shoes. To me this felt bloated, all over the place and ott. Got bored very quickly to the point where i couldn’t be arsed with it and thats the first time thats happened with a Call of Duty game.

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13/365 – I’m the customer and i’m right…………(sometimes)

Ah the joy of customer services and treating the customer well. It is amazing that this seems to be something that seems to elude a lot of companies.
I don’t expect the staff in stores to greet me at the door and ask straight away if i need help, as i like to browse but if i’m wandering around looking confused and looking like i need help, would be nice to get a bit of interest from the staff.
The same could be said for customer services. When you ring it would be nice to chat to someone who actually gives a shit to what you have to say rather than just trying to fob you off all the time. It seems strange that companies dont seem overly interested in keeping their customers happy and loyal, it’s only actually when you leave that they seem intersted.
Why do places offer special deals to new customers but treat reoccuring ones like crap. They could probably accept it back when they could have a bit of exclusivity on things but now a days so many companies offer the same thing you’d think they’d be fighting to keep you.
Take car insurance. Places will offer a discount for new customers but not old. Currently im with tesco as they were the best. Checked online with tesco for what my premium would be and again they proved to be one of the best. Was a little suprised when i recieved my renewal and it was around £60 more than the online quote so i gave them a ring. I was told the price online was solely for new customers.When i asked what where the benefits of keeping my insurance and more importantly my money with tesco i was met with silence. Basically they have no incentives to keep you, they just hope your lazy and will accept the what your sent and just pay it. I mentioned if that was the case then i wouldnt be intersted in staying with them. Low and behold upon mentioning those magical words i was put through to a supervisor who not only said that they would match the cheapest quote i got but knock a further 5% off. To have to go through that just to stay with a company is ridiculous when it is so easy to go elsewhere nowadays.
I hate phoning customer services for places and the most recent culprit has been virgin for their complete lack of customer care, all they do is try to fob you off and dont seem to want to help even to the point where they arent even listening to what your saying.
First run in was one my mum had when my dad passed away. The virgin media account had been in his name and when he died my mum of course had to swap it over to him. She phoned them up and expalined the whole situation and that they had to swap the account names over. The reply from the call center was they werent prepared to discuss the account with anyone else apart from the named account holder (my dad). My mum explained the situation again and that he had died and yet the reponse again was that they would only discuss it with him.
Obviously a little upset, angry and frustrated at this she asked to speak to a supervisor. After a little while she was put through. She again explained in detail explaining the situation and the response from the supervisor was even worse. He again said they could only do it if they spoke to the account holder. My mum again explained this wouldnt be possible to which the supervisor said that if they couldnt speak to the account holder they would accept a written letter signed by him (so it matched their records of his signature) and they would then change the account name. It beggers belief how someone like that becomes a supervisor it really does. The conversation ended with my mum having a rant and saying that the bank account that the money came out of was being closed and emptied so they can do what they wanted and she would go elsewhere and put the phone down. Low and behold she was contacted by someone from virgin who seemed to understand what my mum was saying and dealt with the problem easily. But again, why did it have to come to that in the first place. Did the first people she speak to have a complete lack of english to use and just purely didnt fully understand what was being said, where they just dealing with the customer situation by reading a flow chart or did they just not give a fuck?
More recent run ins with virgin have been over them collecting their equipment from where ive cancelled my service due to it not being available in my new area.
Twice now i have taken the day off work and sat at home ALL day waiting for them to come and collect it and both times they havent bothered showing up. Yet it was clearly pointed out that if i didnt return the equipment i would be charged for it. I’ll be damned if they think i’m taking anymore time off work for it and i’m not paying for it. When they didnt turn up upon phoning virgin i recieved the old fob off that they would be with us in 10 minutes. When questioned about that timeframe, considering it rolled off the tongue so quickly the line went quiet and then was told they had just checked and they would actually be with us in 20 minutes. Fair enough i thought and waited. and waited. and waited. No show by them to collect their stuff. Complained online to customer services and spoke to someone at thier complaints department who reassured me that it wouldnt happen again and we reorganised a new pick up date. Can anyone guess what happened. Yep your right, they didnt show so if virgin want thier stuff back it’ll be down the tip, and if they want money for it, we’ll just write it off as 2 days work that i lost waiting for them to turn up.
I fully understand that customer services must deal with some real asshole customers but if you have a genuine complaint or problem it’d be nice to know that it’s dealt with properly.

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12/365 – I ain’t afraid………………..much

Phobias and fears are weird things. Some of them seem quite normal and others are damn right strange. I understand phobias such as arachnophobia but i never understand the weird ones such as Pteronophobia (the fear of being tickled by feathers) i mean WTF? Obviously i have sympathy for anyone that has phobias. I have a few, do you?
Fear of heights – Yeah i know, being 6ft 4 and being afraid of heights can seem like a funny thing but believe me its not. I really really dont like heights and i dont just mean i suffer from vertigo and feel a little light headed. I can get very very panicy when confronted with dealing with a height.
Fear of enclosed spaces – I hate being enclosed or in an enclosed place with people. Dunno if its the feeling of being trapped or worrying about escape or what but i really dont like it. It isnt just to do with cupboards, boxes or elevators and such, i even get a little nervous when on things such as trains or buses. I always find i need to be near to the exit.
Fear of Growing old – By this i dont so much mean it in a vain way. I have and always have had a deep fear that i will grow old without really knowing it. Time flies by so quickly sometimes but i have always had the fear that one day i’ll go to sleep at the age i am but wake up and find myself being in my senior years. My life having passed by in a blink of an eye. I’ve had this since i was about 6 or 7 years old and at times the thought will creep into my head and it’ll niggle away to the point where i wont want to go to sleep
I also fear of being round groups of people. I dont know if this is a phobia or a social anxiety disorder. I always feel very uneasy around groups of people, even if its only a small group of people. I find it very difficult to fully relax and get comfortable and this has a horrible effect on me. I get all nervous, i get all hot which then results me breaking out in a sweat which then makes me even more uncomfortable which then starts it all of again.

What are you afraid of?

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11/365 – Raiding the Baby Fund

Well the stockpiling and buying of baby items has begun. I know some people might think we are a little eager (and in truth we are) as the bubs not due till beginning of june but i like to be a little organized with things. I also want to limit the amount of stress that will be around near the due date and don’t want to be running round like a headless chicken worrying that we have most of what we need. Get it done now so we know its done.

First on the list was a pram. After looking around and reading several hundred different reviews on different prams we decided to go with the iCandy Peach. Out of the majority of reviews and recommendations the iCandy items seemed to stand out quite high. The only downside is that there are limited stockists and you can’t order them online.
We chose this for many reasons. Firstly it feels very sturdy where other prams, even ones of similar price, felt a little rickety. Secondly is the height adjustment. With me being 6ft 4 and Stacey being 5ft 7 we needed something that would suit both our heights. Although all prams were suitable for Stacey, not all were good for me. On a few i felt very hunched over or that my arms had to constantly stretched to hold the handle bar.
It’s also very easy to swap between the different modes. 2 simple clicks to remove the carrycot and replace with the car seat and also very easy to fold up. We decided to go with the Blackjack colour as blankets and such can be added as we want to make this pram last for future babies (due to the cost). And no, the pram won’t be in the house until the baby comes along
The complete shopping list for the pram was as follows:

iCandy Peach Stroller
Maxi Cosi Cabriofix car seat
Cabrio easyfix base
Changing bag

Next up was furniture for the nursery. When looking around we saw many nice looking sets but one such stood out and it was this one

The furniture is nice and solid. We wanted to go with a cot bed rather than a plain cot so it can be adjusted and grow with the baby. The same can be said for the rest of the furniture and that we won’t have to worry about buying new furniture for a while. That was always the downside of looking at purely baby orientated furniture. Its fine while they are a babies but they would soon grow out of them.
One feature that i liked (and maybe down to my job aswell) was that seem quite safe for a child. The handles are cut into the furniture, so you don’t have to worry about any handles sticking out waiting for an accident.

We’ve ordered a few of the other little bits that we are going to need such as bottle sterilizer and such as we’ve taken advantage of Asdas baby sale. Some of the stuff we’ve bought we’ve saved nearly 50% off the rrp

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10/365 – Back In Saddle

Right, slowly things are starting to come together so things can start to return to normality.
Had a varied to do list to work through regarding phone calls and still things to unpack.
Phone virgin media to arrange pick up of old equipment – Done
Phone Southern Water and change address on my account – Done
Phone Veolia Water and cancel account – Done
Phone South East Water and set up account – Done
Phone Shepway council and cancel council tax – Done
Set up Sky broadband – Done
Phone up EDF and cancel account on old property – Done
Inform head office at work of change of address – Done
Phone Ashford council and set up council tax – To Do
Unpack boxes – To Do
Sort Garage – To Do
Sort out Study – To Do
Car Tax – To Do

Just gonna take my time with the unpacking, box at a time. Need to get the tax sorted today though

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9/365 – Road rage

On my journey too and from work yesterday I was cut up by no less than 7 cars. Amazingly they all had something in common. None of them seemed to have mirrors or indicators. Last time I checked these things came as standard on cars, regardless of how much you spend. They’re not added extras that you have to pay for and they’re not limited to variations or special editions. I was right, they come as standard so START FUCKING USING THEM YOU TWATS!………………….and breath

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