Category Archives: Madness

Welcome to the house of work!

Yes, I know, tomorrow is the big day, and thats why I wanted to write something here tonight, in advance. For those of you that have only got here in the last 15 months, you’re in for a shock. Recently, I’ve been blogging every 2, or 3 days, pretty much without fail, but this is where that comes to an end. I’m not planning to stop the blog, but in truth, when I’m getting a weekend as my days off, as I will be for a while, most likely its going to go down to 1 blog a week. Maybe a longer one, but in truth, as I’m likely to present the news and views in one go, that will probably be it. There might be some weeks when there is enough material for 2, and certainly if I’m doing 5 from 7 again, then you may well get a couple a week, but that will be it!

In truth, I’d hate to think I’d have to give up on the blog, after all this time, so I doubt it will happen, but as to the regularity of them, sorry, no more. Well, until I can afford a holiday or something, but otherwise…Yes, I’ll miss you, readers, but it comes to a matter of time.

When I started the job hunt, I was hoping to find something for about 25-30 hours a week, doing something fresh, closer to home, and getting some writing done in the extra time. So yes, I’ve ended up going into a call centre, for 37.5 hours a week, in Leeds. Fine, I know, but in the end I’ve got beaten down, and everything.

OK, I’d love to think the training methods are going to be something, err, interesting, but I’m pretty sure that dream wont be fulfilled either. If I knew how to save, and post a rather delightful gif, I would, but as I dont have a clue…sorry. But yes, 4 lucky people, wearing helmets, with lots of sparking electricity, and a wire clearly downloading something into their minds, yes, you get my drift, would love that to be me!

I’ll be honest, I have mixed emotions over this. I’m delighted to finally be back in a job, and I know its something I can do, and at least its a different medium (broadband company), but even so, there’s so much there, that 15 months ago, I was eagerly looking to get away from, ah well…And yes, thats what I regret, obviously, but money talks, and all that!

The one nice thing, my first job where all my paperwork says I’m a woman, from the start, thats going to be special! Feel free to wish me luck, by the way.

The video. Well, I did think of ‘The Carnival Is Over’, but decided to go with this instead, as the blog title gives away


Waiting for the train that never comes!

Honestly, if I never travel with Trans Pennine Express again, after 3 weeks time, it will still be too soon. Though to be fair to them, it would be right to say that today they were only 50% to blame, the other half falling firmly on the shoulders of National Rail.

But, if TPE had been honest on the situation a little earlier, instead of 30 minutes after the train was due, I might have been able to rescue matters. Of course, if I had, you wouldnt be getting this bonus blog rant, so…

So, the story of my morning was as follows…

I left here at 8.30 this morning, to walk across (just under 10 minutes) to where I have to get the bus, when I make an early start on a Sunday morning, as the first bus from the estate is 9.08. As it happens, I could have got the 9.38, but more on that shortly.

The train was due at 9.18. At 9.12, it was showing as on time, quite a rare sight with TPE. But then, it started showing as later, and later, until…at 9.42 an announcement was made. Seemingly, there was a ‘slight’ over run on the engineering works between Manchester and Huddersfield, and to quote the announcer, they had no idea when a train might turn up, but they would let us know later, if, and when one would.

So, I did a rapid dash to a nearby Hills shop, rang work to let them know I wasnt going to be in by 10.00, funnily enough. I went back to the station, nothing had changed. So I gave up the fight, got a bus home, and gave up on the day, and a days wages. I might, even then have got to work very late, with a lift, but blamelessly (not knowing what a joke TPE was today) Nicole had made other plans, so that was that!

I know, I cant blame TPE for over running engineering works, and I dont. But what I can blame them for, is the lack of useful information. All they were doing on the departure board, was every minute, adding another minute to the expected arrival time. In the end, seemingly, the train arrived 61 minutes late! I expect it was ‘slightly crowded’ by then, rolls eyes!

So, TPE, please, just let us passengers, who you rip off so regularly know whats really happening with their trains.

No, given their utter incompetence, its not going to happen!

Yes, the video is dedicated to what I was doing today, waiting for the train that never came!

Apartment hunting

No, not for me recently, but had fun helping someone else find somewhere, not that I’m ever likely to visit it, seeing its in Alabama! Maybe that made it easier, knowing that all I had to do was make suggestions, and let him do the hard work. Glad to say he did find somewhere, indirectly at least guided by my suggestions, if nothing more. But yes, it was fun, perhaps surprisingly so, and alright, I started looking at a few other places in the US that I’d love to live in, but arent really likely to, unless they have a major change on immigration rules, or I win the lottery lol!

To be honest, its over a decade since I last looked for somewhere to live for myself, but like riding a bike, it soon came back to me. Even more so when I got guidelines on the area I was searching in, never having been to that area of the US, let alone that locality. But being honest, I suspect if I’d had to do the footwork, it might not have been as much fun. The main thing that surprised me about complexes over there, as opposed to here, are the facilities provided. But then again, I should know the differences, because its more or less the same as comparing hotels between the 2 countries. Free wi-fi internet in hotels over there is the norm, not the exception, and to only a slightly lesser degree its the same with rented apartments, judging by the ones I looked at, at least. I checked, for curiousity sake over here, and beyond the luxury stuff (and even then…) it doesnt happen over here!

Where did I look, for those who are curious? Well, its a pretty obvious list if you know me, either literally, or through reading this. Seattle, Wichita, Rochester and Albany are all on the list, cant think why. San Francisco would have been, but I know there wiuld be out of my budget, or so I’m told! Didnt look at New England, though that was tempting. Again, Alaska was tempting, but didnt take a peek. And no, for those who know me, there was nothing in Cherryvale, Kansas lol! Judging by house prices around there, renting isnt really a likely option in that area, you’d be more likely to buy.

But yes, apartment hunting would I think be fun again, even more so doing it as a woman for the first time. I’m tempted to try and look at a few places in Seattle next month if I have the time, but suspect that might be tricky without any proof of being able to live and work in the US.

The music, a very tenuous link! But given that I found apartment hunting fun, and they were a great group, we have…

My name is…

No, its not Michael Caine, though that may serve as a hint to the video at the end lol!

But yes, it is Stevie Lou, but its not Nicks, I leave that surname to a certain pop star, its officially Nicholls. As most will realise, thats not the name I was baptised with of course, that might have been more, err, a mans name, and I changed the surname as well when I changed gender.

And yes, that is what it says on the passport too, I must admit the name choice was a bit of a ‘flag of convenience’ thing when I changed it. Stevie Lou is nicely gender ambiuguous for the bigots that are out there, whereas Stephanie Louise might just prove a bit too in the face for some? I suspect if I was being formally introduced to someone important, I might go with Stephanie Louise though, but the odds on me going  to Royal Ascot, or a Buckingham Palace garden party must rank as very slim lol!

To be honest, Stevie Lou probably suits the new female me better than the formal name would anyway, its kind of cute, I’d love to say like me, but…Its fresh, and fun, a bit like me since the change was made.

And I’ll be honest, 90 odd per cent of people at work are fine with it, there are one or two that still use Steve, but even they are being worn down by inevitability, so it seems. The he/she thing is a bit more of an issue with some, but I can see their point in a very slight way, but yes, it still grates at times, but I certainly dont get militant, or stroppy about it, and it seems to work in time, as one of the ‘old school’ changed hastily from he to she on Sunday when talking about me, so hey…!

The funny thing is, its 2 pieces of bad news in the past that really pushed me on with it. The first was when Farnell made me redundant back in 2009(I think?) for several reasons. One, I was tired of the job, wanting to get out, but just couldnt give myself the needed kick up the backside to do so. They gave me it, and a nice pay off to boot. I was out there as transgender, but it was made clear that I was ‘expected’ to act, and dress as a guy, even if all the office knew, and all my reps too, and no complaints from anyone. But now, if I could get a new job, I could take things further, and so…I did! Yes, thats when I did the first hypnotherapy session for confidence, and I sailed through the interview. And yes, as history knows, got the job!

I wasnt outrageous, but yes, the clothes certainly started to cross the gender barrier, and the use of a handbag certainly did. No, I didnt come out there at first, just let them think what they wanted. Did come out after a while though… But then, about 20 months or so ago, they cut back on telebetting in Leeds, calamity loomed. No, they were setting up a new team I discovered, and soon found out they wanted me as part of it. But, wait for it, there would be a new contract to sign. So that was when I got the kick up the backside to get my name changed, as yes, I could have my contract in my new name if I got the papers cleared in time, and did.

So thats the thoroughly boring tale of how I became Stevie Lou Nicholls, but it wasnt enough for Madness to make a record for me lol! So you’ll have to settle for this gem instead. It was a very minor hit by their standards, just no idea why that was the case.

Punches air to  celebrate century lol!