Wednesday, 3 February 2021

Are you ok?

Not words I ever hear; I think because of the type of person I am people just assume I'm good and never bother to ask, which is fine. If I had something worrying me I'd talk to someone about it, so it was really weird when this morning someone said "ooh, are you ok? Should we be worried?" This was only because at 4am I had my first ever proper nose bleed - not a nice experience. I've had my nose bleed before but usually because I've scratched inside (you know how you often get an itch inside you can't get to) or because I've caught my nose stud and pushed it into the skin but this was a proper "oh my goodness, there's blood pouring from my nose" bleed. Added to the fact I've been struggling the past couple of days with a tummy issue (down to a very hot chilli I had, that I also decided to add extra chilli sauce to - it was so hot it made my nose run) and I've been getting some pretty painful headaches, only ever in the middle of the night though. they are weird, because they wake me up, the pain is splitting and feels as though my eyes are being pushed from behind with red hot needles. I wake up, think "bloody hell, another one" roll over and go back to sleep. When I wake next (I usually wake 3/4/5 times a night) the headache has gone, however, when I finally get up to start the day I do feel very foggy headed and it takes me a couple of hours to be able to function. Not good when I am running a business. 

So, this mornings nose bleed I think was to do with a combination of a lot of things, hasn't worried me but it worried someone else enough to ask if I was ok, which I am. Like everyone right now I'm dealing with living in the weirdest of times. It's hard enough to run a small business at the best of times, but during a lock down, in the midst of a pandemic, it's a little different to what I have spent 30 plus years getting used to. I'm extremely grateful that my business is surviving, however, I don't mind admitting I am struggling working in such a different way. Because we can only take orders via the phone or online, I'm spending more time doing paperwork. When a customer can come in they tell me what they want, wait for me to make it, and take it away. Not being able to do that they call ahead of time, or place their order online. I then have to copy those orders onto the ordering system we use. Not a biggy, but it takes time. In between doing that the phone may ring, or a customer will turn up to collect their order and will be banging on the door for me to hurry because it's raining; in 'normal' times they would be in the dry and wait patiently. This kind of adds to my stress levels a little, especially if it's early and I'm still not fully awake. Then my driver will start asking questions, questions he could answer himself but it's just easier to ask. My business partner will call/email and ask me to do something and it usually has to be done yesterday - if he's going to turn up he'll always do so just as I sit down to eat my lunch!! They will phone me with the most ridiculous questions when they are out delivering and expect me to answer their query and fix it for them straight away, when I'm in a shop and not out on the road with them, and often I'm in the middle of dealing with a customer, or another query. I have no problem helping anyone, or answering a question if I know the answer, but I don't know them all, and most are things they can look at (look up) for themselves beforehand. Then there is social media. A great tool for businesses but more fannying around on a computer sorting posts out. I'm a florist; if I wanted a job working with computers, or doing accounts, I would have chosen that profession. Customers will no longer pick up the phone to ask a question they'll use social media to send a message and 99% of the time they expect an immediate reply. I have better things to be doing with my day than being logged onto a computer all day just waiting around. Don't get me wrong; I'm not complaining that they may be wanting to place an order with me, but again they will ask me questions that the answers can be found to by popping onto the shops website. Just this morning I've had a query from someone who was actually on the website looking at one page, asking me questions about something that was there, plain for her to see, on another page, or they will message and say "I really like so-and-so on your site, can you tell me how much?" The price for every single item on there is with the picture, highlighted in bright pink. You cannot miss it, and because they are on the website looking and messaging me whilst there, they are expecting an immediate response. We live in a world where everything has to be instant. I also do all the ordering of the flowers, and because of the world now the way I order has changed. It's really hard to get my head around doing it a completely different way when I've done it the same way for 35 years. 

At this time of year my shop is often colder inside than it it outside because it get's cold during the freezing temps overnight and where there is so much water in the place and I don't get any light in the building now as they have built flats opposite the shop, it stays cool. I can't open the door to draw any air through as the law states I have to keep the door locked, so I'm working in cold, damp conditions all day - which I have no problem with. I enjoy the cold, and love this time of year. On days like today where I will be doing mostly paperwork and social media stuff I can shut the office door and pop a little fan heater on just to take the chill off. I don't leave it on for long though. 

Then I go home, to the house I live in with my aging Mum, who is always cold so has the heating cranked up to 100 degrees. I love her dearly, would not swap her for the world but she can be hard work (and she will admit to it too). She's a very independant woman who has worked bloody hard in her life, a life that has not treated her well. My Dad worked long hours and spent a lot of time working away from home so she pretty much raised my brother and I single handedly. She had no problems climbing up onto roofs to fix a leak. She laid all the carpet in the house and pretty much did all the decorating when I was growing up. Now though her body is older so she has to think about things a little more. Her eyesight is not good, and has been made even worse by some bad surgery she had this time last year - she's just had her 3rd op because of the cock-up and she's stuck indoors because of lock down, so she's finding it a struggle. Eery day she would go into town and have a wander round, just to get out of the house. She hates being stuck indoors. We go for walks on occasions but there are so many other  people also out walking you spend most of your time stepping into the road to avoid them so it's really not a pleasant experience so she stays home. Because of her eyesight she can't see to do anything; she loved making cards and painting, so she spends most of her days pottering about indoors or listening to an audio book; other than her regular calls with my Grandad (who winds her up) and chatting with her bestie who calls a couple of times each week and spends most of the call complaining, she can go all day without seeing/speaking to anyone so when I get home she will jabber to me - if she's in a good mood, when I really need 5 mins to unwind from dealing with everything at work. She also relies on me to do more and more indoors and for her, and she seems to think I am an all-knowing oracle because she will ask me questions, a lot of questions, about things I have no answer to and she can find out herself. Her best is when she picks up the remote for the TV and without pressing any buttons asks me what is on that evening. Bless her; I think that's an old person thing but after being questioned all day by people who can find the answers themselves when Mum does it to me once I get home it winds me up a little bit more than it should. To be around someone who has spent their whole life being so independant suddenly relying on me for the smallest of things is hard to deal with. 

I beat myself up, daily, for not being a better friend, sister, niece, cousin and aunt, because I am not touching base with people as often as I should, however, by the time I get chance to sit down for 5 minutes all I really want to do is sit quietly, catch up on my own thoughts. I think it's better for me to not speak to someone than for them to see in my face (if we're face timing) of hear in my voice that I'm really only doing so because I feel I should. I can't give 100% when I'm exhausted from the rest of the day, and the life I'm currently leading. Plus, I'm not doing anything, or going anywhere, that I could chat to them about. If I can't keep them interested then I am going to see in their face, hear in their voice, how they wish they could end the conversation, yet don't want to make me feel bad by doing so. It's like a really weird vicious circle. I don't like it, just right now I am not sure how to get out of it. 

This is why I think I am getting headaches; it's the combination of going from cold/damp to hot/dry and soooooooooooo many questions. My brain finally relaxes for an hour and that's when the pain creeps in. It's been locked away all day because there has been so much else for it to concentrate on. I think the nose bleed was just a by product of it all. 

I have to say, for all it's faults, I am quite glad I have facebook at this moment in my life - not often you'll hear me say that. I came across a page of happy people, who share happy/funny things and who all take jokes as jokes. So far (although I'm sure at one point it will happen) there are 7000 members and not one person has started an argument, taken offence, or brought politics/religion in. I head there first thing each day to scroll through some of the posts, and I always walk away with a smile on my face. 

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