b3ta.com user SeasonTicketless
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My name is Dan and I live in Chelmsford.

If I knew how, I'd put a picture of me up here. *** update: Thanks to the delectable misskitty, I now have a picture up! :) Thanks misskitty - I look rough, which is why I only have one piccie up. You look fab, so get some more photos online please ;) ***

If I had the inclination I'd put a link up to the HotOrNot picture of me too.

If I wasn't feeling so self confident right now, I'd probably be too self conscious to even consider shoving my mug up online, but you're reading this on a good day, so there you go.

My good points: Nice bum, sexy voice (apparently. It sounds so much nicer in my head though), nice guy.

My bad points: I'm a sarcastic sod, which is fine when you KNOW that, but not fine when I'm in full-on sarky mode and I say something that offends. I try to make a joke about everything. Your nun's just had a mastectomy? At least she will save money on bras... And my worst point? The fact that I AM a nice guy.

I tend to post on here from my mobile when skiving from work, which often leads to spelling mistakes, such as writing "nun" instead of "mum", as above.

And I am addicted to coffee.

Aaaand I'm obviously over-reliant on spell checkers!

Recent front page messages:


Best answers to questions:

» Family codes and rituals

I was brought up well. It's often mis-construed in the media, more so when I was a lot younger than now, that single parent families are rarely taught good manners.

With me, it was the opposite. Being brought up by just my mum, as opposed to my mum and dad (who was kicked out of the family home when I was seven and hasn't seen or spoken to me since I was nine.) meant that I have been majorly influenced by my mum. Although this manifests by me being very different in a lot of ways (quiet, shy and reflective, compared to my overly brash mum), it gave me a great start in life, as mum hated those that lied, and those that treated others badly. To this day I find lying hard to do, and if someone does it to me it can be the end of a friendship immediately.

I also grew to be polite and respectful of others. That's not to say I don't have a horrible habit of overusing the word "cunt", or that road rage passes me by. What it does mean is that I expect a certain level of politeness around me. Cut me up on the road and cause me to almost crash and you'll learn some new swear words. Immediately put your hand up by way of an apology and you'll calm me down within seconds. Yes, you fucked up, but you are big enough to realise it and say sorry.

Anyone who knows me will know that almost every day I go to my local Costa and have a large skinny latte. It doesn't matter that I can never remember if it's pronounced lar-tay or lat-tay, or that the staff in there all know me well enough that they prepeat (no idea if that's a word, but if it's not then it should be) my order to me as I reach the till. It's my local coffee shop, it's a haven from work for an hour and everyone in there has a smile on their face and the manners you'd expect from a retail place.

But going in there today, not only is there a massive queue, but there's also a brash, loud and arrogant guy behind the counter who isn't normally there. This guy, who I'll call A, is serving the customers, just asking their order, enquiring if they want any extra cakes or whipped cream on their hot chocolate and generally being quite smarmy, before immediately turning to guy B, a yard to his left and taking payments on the till, and repeating the order and then shouting to guy C, about five yards away making all of the coffees, the same order.

This process normally runs quite smoothly without guy A involved, as guy B can take orders and process payments whilst retaining the ability to not make me want to jean over and give him a slap. I've no idea why it was changed today but guy A, I'm guessing, is higher up the food chain and seems to have a point to prove.

As I ponder this in the queue, having just given my order "large skinny latte to drink in please" to guy A, I hear guy C ask a customer if they wanted whipped cream on their hot chocolate. They said that they did, so that's what they got, but not before Guy A had shouted -louder than he shouted the orders - "I've already told you to put cream on them. Listen! Ok? I need you to listen to what I'm saying in future!". All delivered with an over the top look-at-me flourish. The noise in the shop dropped momentarily, guy C caught my eye for a split second, and I'm sure he rolled his eyes slightly before turning away in embarrasment,

Point made, knob jockey A, we know who's in charge, and it's just a shame that you haven't fucked up as I'd like to see you respond to embarrasment like that.

I reflected on what had just happened. Should I say anything? Should I just be short and curt? Or should I ignore it? My train of thought was interrupted by guy A.

"So that was a small skinny lat-"

"LARGE skinny latte." i interrupted.

No apology: "LARGE skinny latte," he repeated, "to go.". His voice was raised slightly again, as he was once more directing his orders to guy C. Guy B has already rung the correct product at the correct price for me, and seemed as though he was about to turn to guy C to tell him that it was actually to drink in, not to go.

Too late.

"To drink IN," I corrected, raising my voice as I did, hoping to God that I sounded authoritative rather than pissed off.

The shop's volume fell again, "Listen, ok," I started, and with a huge grin on my face - visible only to the three guys behind the counter, and not to any customers - I continued, slowing my words so that the pronunciation was clear: "I need you to listen to what I'm saying in future..."

And that has cheered me up no end today :)
(Tue 25th Nov 2008, 20:30, More)

» Debt pron

Bloody Hell
I've read about half of the first page of this QOTW and I'm depressed!

I work in a bank. Part of my job is to chase people who aren't paying. It's a shitty part of the job, and one that brings out the anger in me.

If you can't pay - Fine. Talk to me. Tell me you can't pay and the reason for it. If it's genuine, I can probably give you advice on how to save money.

If you're out of work and getting no income - Fine. Talk to me. Chances are you have insurance on your account and that will pay your loan repayments while you are out of work.

If you've gone to a Debt Management Company - Fine. I don't agree with a company charging you £50 per month to fuck up your credit rating for the next seven years, but it's your choice. Talk to me. I'll tell you how to get a company to do the same thing for you, free of charge.

DON'T lie to me. DON'T think that by ignoring my phone calls I'll go away. DON'T think I don't know every excuse in the book.

For anyone badly in debt and struggling, heed this advice - Talk to your creditors if they can't help you, or even worse, if they WON'T help you, at least you've tried.

And for anyone thinking of going to a Debt Management Company, ask yourself this - If you can't afford to pay the bills you already have, how the Hell can you justify paying a company who are basically going to NOT pay your bills?! Go to CCCS - Consumer Credit Counselling Service. They will do the same thing free of charge.

Sorry for the rant.
(Thu 23rd Nov 2006, 21:19, More)

» The nicest thing someone's ever done for me

Apologies in advance for such a long story. Even greater apologies for the fact that I still don't think I've told it very well, nor that I've expressed what a big thing this was for me.

The tale of Tasha.

Firsty, some background.

In Feb 2000 I met, fell in love with, and moved from South East London to the middle of Essex to be with Mrs SeasonTicketless. I’d never felt this way about anyone and clearly she felt the same about me. Despite being opposites in many ways (things we liked to do, fave tv programmes, musical tastes, film genres) we clicked. Never before have I felt so strongly about someone, and for the first time ever I suddenly understood why some couples could stay together forever – a concept I’d had trouble grasping before.

In June 2005, Mrs SeasontIcketless officially became a Mrs, marrying me just down the road from our Chelmsford home. Our three children were bridesmaids (luckily we had three girls, as I’m not so sure we wouldn’t have dressed a little boy in a bridesmaid outfit just so he matched!)

In July 2006, Mrs ST gave birth again, this time to our only son.

In January 2007 we moved about 200 yards down the road to a beautiful house. Enough bedrooms for each of the kids to have their own, and bang smack centre in the part of Chelmsford we wanted to be.

In July 2007, after a very honest and open talk, we made the decision to split. The decision was based on a few things, primarily the fact that we had grown apart, and that what had started as a lust-fuelled love had slowly ebbed away to just a mutual fondness. We spent very little time together, and the time we did have together was spent doing our own things. We’d grown apart, and despite still loving each other, it wasn’t enough. We agreed to split because as we saw it we were going down a rocky road that we’d been down (and back) before, and we could forsee us trying to stay together and ending up hating each other, whilst at that moment we were still friends and in the long term we’d be better off splitting and staying friends than staying together, running the risk of causing misery to each other and THEN splitting up. Mrs ST moved out of the marital bed that same night, and the two eldest were excited to be told that they’d be sharing a room. We also made the decision not to tell anyone about the split for the time being, as we had the Christening coming up of the three youngest which would be the first time we’d seen many friends and family in months (and in some cases years) and we didn’t want our split to overshadow the day.

At the end of August 2007 we had the Christening. Much fun was had, we caught up with old friends and things were fine.

In September 2007 we told everyone about the split. Until this time only a handful of people had been told, and they had been sworn to secrecy. From my point of view everyone I told seemed to be shocked. I’ve never had so many people tell me that they viewed my marriage as perfect, and one that they thought would last forever. Maybe it was the fact that we’d had 4 kids, maybe it was because people didn’t know us as well as they thought they did.

After answering the same questions over and over again (“Did either of you cheat?” No, not as far as I’m aware. “Whose decision was it?” Both of ours. “Will you get back together?” No…) people finally began to realise that this wasn’t a flash in the pan. Mrs ST and I made plans for the future: I would move out between Christmas and the New Year, which would give the kids ample time to get used to the idea of daddy living somewhere else, and also allowed them to understand a certain timeframe (ie., just after Christmas and just before you go back to school).

A few months go by and I am getting ready to leave. The whole of December seemed to be taken up with me talking to the kids about my leaving, and them being generally apathetic to it all. The eldest seemed to understand and was happy that she was “in the loop” and understood what was going on. My middle daughter, two years younger and aged 5, also seemed to understand but every now and then would pop up with a new question that she’d just thought of.
As 2007 turned into 2008 I found myself packing up the car and driving the 400 yards to my mum’s house, unpacking my stuff and settling in to the spare room. My possessions were few: clothes, PC, mobile phone. That was about it. I’d agreed that I’d keep paying the mortgage as a form of Child care payments, and as such wasn’t able to afford to rent anywhere else. Living rent-free at my mum’s was a blessing then as it still is now.

So what’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever done for me? Well, I suppose I could name my mum here. The woman who, from when I was 7 brought me up single-handedly. Who, with part of her spine missing and with heart troubles for the majority of her life that culminated in a quadruple bypass in 2002, taught me how to be an adult, who sheltered me from the harshness of life and who, despite times when I’ve acted like an arse, has been there with unconditional love and support every second of every day.

I could also put forward my 4 kids, who saw their mum and dad split, saw their dad move out and had their lives jumbled up at such a young age, yet who have remained fairly unperturbed by it all, and seem to have taken things in their stride when neither their mum or I had any reason to expect them to.

But no, instead I am going to nominate Tasha.

You see, as my world was crumbling around me, life carried on as usual. On Halloween 2007 I had to attend a sales conference for work at Stansted. Ten different branches of our company came together for the first time in years, and although it was not unusual to know a few faces and recognise a few more names, it was common to not know most of the people in your surrounding branches.

As I walked in to the reception lounge, I saw what I can only describe now as a vision of beauty. Long blonde hair, styled carefully into curls, a beautiful and welcoming smile, and an aura of goodness. Being the shy sort that I am, I nudged a friend and commented on the beautiful woman who’d I’d seen, dribbling slightly as I did.

Ben, despite being engaged, was quick to go and introduce himself. Ben is the type of person that could create conversation at a Mute Person’s convention, and within no time at all he and Tasha were chatting like old mates. I stood a few feet away, listening in, chiming in with the occasional remark all whilst being blown away by the charisma eminating from Tasha.

After the conference had begun, and we’d stopped again for a break, I jumped on the back of Ben’s conversation to tell Tasha that we were all going for a drink after the conference in Chelmsford (which was a blatant lie, but one that I knew Ben would back me up on), and would she like to come? It turned out she lived in Southend (another 20 miles away from Chelmsford), but that yes, she’d come out seeing as everyone was going. Result.

In the end about a dozen people came out for a drink. Tasha chatted politely with Ben and I, and I had a good time. I didn’t chat her up, for fear of rejection with her being so out of my league, but I had a good time anyway, and finished my drink before saying goodbye.

The next day at work I emailed Tasha to ask her out on a drinking session with some friends the next month. She replied saying that she’d try and come but that she was fairly skint, so no promises. We emailed back and forth a few times, generally having a chat, and seemed like we were getting on ok.

A few days later and I was out on the piss with some friends from work in Chelmsford. Tasha refused to come, claiming she was skint and more importantly, couldn’t be bothered. My boss at the time, Derren, called her at work and basically badgered her all day, convinced her to give him her mobile number and then when we were out called her to see if he could get her to come out. Eventually she caved in and came to meet us.

At the end of the night, after we’d all had far too much to drink, Tasha, who had remained sober, said that she’d drop us all off. One by one she dropped us all in and around Chelmsford as some Godforsaken time in the morning when she looked shattered and obviously just wanted to get home. Derren stayed round mine that night and I persuaded him to give me Tasha’s phone number so I could send a text saying thanks.

A couple of nights later and Tasha and I are texting back and forth like we’re best mates, and although the conversation steered clear of anything naughty (not for my want of trying it has to be said), we chatted via text until the early hours.

A few nights later and once again I was out with people from work in Chelmsford, and this time I offered to pick Tasha up and drive her home later that night so that she could have a drink, as a way of saying thank you for her doing the same previously. I’ve never been a great fan of going out and not drinking, as it normally means everyone finding things hilarious that, being sober, you know aren’t funny at all. I also despise karaoke with a passion. Yet this night we stayed in a bar with karaoke all night, myself, Tasha and about 4 others from work. No one else was in the bar except bar staff and to this day that night remains one of the best I’ve ever had. Tasha had fun (though was the first person to tell me I was crap at shoulder massages (see, I tried!)) and at about 3am we called it a day and I started dropping people home, getting in at about 5am, before getting up again 90 minutes later to go to work.

That night was the start of a true friendship between Tasha and I, and over the next 6 weeks leading up to Christmas I spoke to her every day via email or text, saw her every couple of weeks, got squarely told very early on that there was no way we would ever get together: Me: You know I like you in more ways that as a mate? Tasha: Yeah, I do, but you’re cool being just friends, aren’t you? Me: Yeah, course. The strange thing was that I meant it too.

So come New Year, I find myself sitting in my bedroom. My heart broken as I no longer live with my kids, no longer have the house of my dreams, no longer have the money to afford my own place, and generally hating everything around me. As we started back at work the day after New Years Day, I would talk to my kids on the phone as I drove to work each day, and for the best part of six weeks, each phone call would end with my telling them I loved them, putting the phone down and crying my heart out as I drove along for the best part of half an hour or so.

I realised very quickly that my life seemed to be falling apart. I needed a distraction. I needed to get out of that spare room and do something. Anything. What I needed was company.

I consider myself to have quite a few friends. None that I would ever want to be a burden on, but plenty that would help me out when I needed it. So when I looked around at the start of January to try and find someone – anyone – to reach out to me, I couldn’t find anyone. Friends that I worked with didn’t know what to do. Friends that I spoke to weekly started to keep out of my way. Long term friends offered their support but were generally too far away.

I never told anyone how down I was. How much everything was affecting me. I’d always been a private person, and perhaps with hindsight I was a little too private. Had I told anyone of my deep despair at the time, I’m sure I’d have had a whole support network around me. Instead, I put up barriers, pretended I was ok and tried to get on with life. All the time hoping beyond hope that someone would take me under their wing without me resorting to having to ask. Depression is a strange thing, and I honestly felt that asking for help would have tipped me over the edge.

So when I would text Tasha saying “I’m bored” at 9pm, she’d text back “come round if you want. I’m not doing anything.” And so, for just about every night for over a month I’d find myself sitting on Tasha’s sofa, doing nothing but watching tv. When it got late, she’d bring out a pillow and a blanket and tell me to kip the night rather than drive home tired.

What I learnt those few weeks was that Tasha and I were very similar. We had the same sense of humour, we seemed to like and dislike many of the same things. We had an empathy with each other.

Spending so much time at Tasha’s house helped me get through a very dark patch. It was a place - and a person – that had only just come in to my life, and therefore I didn’t associate it with my ex, my kids or anything to do with my life at that time. It was a hideaway, somewhere I could go and feel loved and wanted, and not have to worry about anything.

What started out as lust for Tasha turned into a deep respect for her. When we’d first started texting and I’d asked her why I didn’t see so much of her, she responded “With all due respect Dan, I don’t see my friends as often as I want or need to, let alone work colleagues.” Yet here she was, less than 2 months later, spending time with me when I’ve no doubt a lot of the time she had other stuff she could be doing.

People ask me now if Tasha and I will ever get together, They’ve seen as out as friends, and see the way that we laugh at the same things, bounce off each other and generally get on really well. “You look like a perfect match” I’ve been told, in sentiments that echo what was said about my marriage. The answer is no, we’ll never get together. There was a time when it was all that I wanted, but now it would be too strange. I wouldn’t risk having sex with Tasha for fear of losing her friendship, and I wouldn’t risk a relationship for fear of the same. On one level it makes perfect sense, and on another it makes no sense at all, but I trust my instincts on this one.

That’s not to say I don’t love her dearly, because I do. She was the only shining light in an otherwise extremely dark period, and I say that fully aware of the love that was a stones throw away from both my mum and my kids.

So the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me is when Tasha was a friend for me at the start of the year.

Sometimes the smallest things can make the biggest difference. And sometimes it’s almost impossible to put into words just how much that means.
(Sun 5th Oct 2008, 9:32, More)

» Bad Management

In June of last year I, along with 500 others in the bank (or should that be "Loan company owned by a bank" that we worked for, were told that 400 people were being laid off. My branch, based in North London, was one that was to be shut. We stopped seeing customers immediately, and within 3 days the branch was packed up and the contents were ready to be moved in their entirety to Head Office. As for the staff, we were all put on 3 months garden leave which, for those that aren't aware of the term, basically means that you are sent home and told that you're not required to attend work, but at the same time you couldn't start work at a new company.

Breaking this rule meant that the company would have grounds to dismiss you and you'd lose your redundancy entitlement, which was worth a few thousand to each person there.

So, the best part of 90 days doing nothing followed on full pay. I don't care what anyone says, the boredom that sometimes comes from doing nothing all do is outweighed by the fact that you are receiving your full salary for doing it.

I was in no rush to find a new job, preferring to wait for the right opportunity to come. I knew that after my 90 days had expired I had the best part of 3 or 4 months worth of salary being paid to me, which gave me time to look around.

On my 89th day of garden leave I received a phone call.

"SeasonTicketless," the call began, "this is the bank calling. We've got a vacancy in our East London / West Essex branch and wanted to know if you wanted it?"

It was closer to my home than my previous branch was, which appealed, but the downside, they revealed, was that it wasn't a managerial position as I had been in before. Instead it was a standard collections position, primarily field based, reporting to a manager who I happened to have worked with a couple of years previously, before we'd gotten promoted. Not only that, I would be covering Essex, which is where I live, rather than the ghettos of North London as I had done previously, with a caveat that I had to go to the East London branch every morning to collect a list of field calls that needed doing, and then go back every night to update the system.

"We would, of course, ringfence your existing salary and the likes."

In basic terms, I would be doing a far-less stressful job for the same money and benefits as before.

"Hmmm," I said, not believing my luck, but wanting to sound fairly apathetic about it all, "I suppose I could do, but in all honesty the area that you are asking me to cover is all around the area that I live, but that means driving 45 minutes out of my way to get back to the branch every day to update the systems so I don't really think it's worth me taking up your offer."

And I meant it. I wasn't overly fussed about going back, and was having interviews for other places, and was confident of getting a job.

A couple of hours later my soon-to-be ex-colleague called, the aforementioned manager of the East London branch.

To cut a long story short, she told me that she'd sort it so I could come in to the branch just once a week, and could self-manage myself.

Sorted. I started back in mid-September on exactly the same package as before having had 3 months off.

Two weeks into being back I got a call from HR.

"We can't find your old branch files. Have you taken any holiday this year?"

"I sent them files off to Head Office!" I exclaimed.

"Good, that's where they needed to go, but we have thousands of boxes here and can't find your holiday files. Have you got any leave left?"

"Yes," I lied, knowing full well I'd taken two or three weeks early in the year, "I had booked a couple of weeks away in the Summer but cancelled them when we were put on Garden leave as I couldn't afford it, so I still have all of my holiday entitlement left."

"That's not good." came the response.

Bugger, I'd been rumbled.

"Well," they continued, "that means you have to take 28 days of leave before the new year as you can't carry it forward."

I ended up working from mid September to mid November, and then having the rest of the year off, returning to the office in early January.

The day after going back in the New Year, we had heavy snow. Not bad enough to stop me from driving in it by any means, but once again HR were on the phone.

"Is it snowing there?"

"No," I told them, "it seems to have stopped, but there's snow that has settled everywhere."

"As we thought," they said, "for health and safety reasons you can't do any field calls until it clears as it's too dangerous. That also means you can't drive to the office."

Two weeks later, long after the snow had cleared, we were given the ok to go back to work.

I returned to the office on the first day back after the snow chaos, and within an hour of being there the manager held a team meeting.

"The company is laying off 80 of the 100 people that are left. As of now we're all on 90 days Garden Leave, full pay"

Eventually, in late April, I finally left the company with several thousand as a redundancy package, having worked apporximately four months in the past twelve, all at full pay.

And they wonder why banks get into so much trouble. Bad management that worked arm-in-arm with bad HR practice.
(Fri 11th Jun 2010, 16:02, More)

» I'm your biggest Fan

My eldest
When I was younger, I watched a film. I can't remember what it was now, but one of the characters was called Mercedes.

I loved unusual names, even as a kid, and naming your daughter after something so beautiful appealed even more.

When I was seventeen, I got my first car. They say you never quite get over your first love, and I spent many months honing her to perfection. Her paintwork shone in the sun as I applied another coat of wax, and her engine purred beautifully.

Unfortunately, she was an old model, and despite maturing like a fine wine, as time went on it became obvious that I'd have to let her go. I can honestly say that no car since has come close to being as great as she was.

Skip forward a few years and I've driven newer cars, faster cars and more expensive cars, but nothing emulated what I had felt before, and as time went on I realised that what I felt was a kind of love.

A few more years later and I'm in a relationship, with my first baby on the way. Money was tight and we'd generally spend our time chatting. Many a night was whiled away with me talking about that first car. So much so that my then partner fell in love by proxy.

Just a couple of weeks before our baby was born, we still hadn't settled on a name. Several baby name books were stacked in the corner, each one read and re-read without success.

Then This Morning came on tv, with a segment about baby names. We watched intently as they discussed our very problem, before they came up with the solution that we chose: Name your baby after someone you admire or love.

We'd been down the actress / singer / politician route without any luck, but it seemed as if we hit on the same idea at the same time. Name her after the car I had loved, and that my partner had grown to love.

That was ten years ago now, and time has flown by. We've had more kids since then, and naming them seems to have gotten easier.

You're not allowed to have favourites as a parent, but hearing my eldest's name always brings a smile to my face, and I dedicate this post to her.

JHK 331Y, I love you and you make me a very proud daddy. 
(Fri 17th Apr 2009, 9:23, More)
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