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Thursday, 20 December, 2001, 17:57 GMT
The Stress-o-meter returns
Oh blimey, she canna take no more o' this, cap'n
Christmas is the time of peace on earth and goodwill to all. But everyone knows that along with it there goes a couple of gigabytes of stress. Share your pain with the Stress-o-meter's group therapy.

You may remember that last year, on its first outing, the Stress-o-meter broke under the pressure of unanticipated levels of stress among BBC News Online readers.

STRESS-O-METER STATISTICS
Launched: 1015GMT
Early on: Low level stress, average 3-4
By 1300: Cranking up to 5-6
By 1600: Reaches the top
Main causes: Rail, shops, family, divorce, goldfish
Back then, the causes of stress were a variety of rail delays, overcrowding in shops, bad weather, and the prospect of Christmas with the family. Plus ça change!

So now we've upgraded to Stress-o-meter version 2.0, we say: "Anxiety do your worst. Break us this time, if you dare."

If you're stressed, fill in your details using the form below. (Click here for the form) Come back to this page during the day to see how it's going.


Your tales of woe so far...

"OH...IT'S JUST MY SIZE"
Donna: Last year I got a black balaclava from my mother-in-law. What could it possibly be this year?

SINGLE MEN?
Kevin Spencer: Our 24-year-old daughter, whom we also love dearly, is living on the cheap in the 4-star Spencer hotel, with endless 24 hour laundry cover, cup and glass from bedroom recovery service and permanent space in the hall to deposit her junk. Just one request at help with washing up per week avails us of a murderous glance...someone marry her for Christmas please and do us both a favour!

THE EMPLOYEE NOW ARRIVING...
Blue: I work for a company that, well let's say it has very big interest in running trains... I just got a warning about my time keeping!!! Are they taking the mickey or what?

CLOSE SHAVE
Margaret: My sister just gave my husband a haircut from hell. He normally gets a No.5 cut with the clippers but that of course was broken! "I'll just use this other one" Turns out to be a No. 0.5. He now looks like a Christmas release from Barlinie Prison.

WIRED
Phil: We recently discovered that the wiring in our house is not safe, so we are having the house rewired. Hopefully it will be finished on the 23rd.

SO SHUE ME
Tony Dillon: I have just liquidated my company, I am being sued by my ex-business partner for £80,000, I have just left my girlfriend of four years and have developed a drinking problem.

PAIN, NO GAIN
Patricia: Our 25-year-old son (whom we love dearly) is a pain, without steady work and he thinks his parents have a cash tree in the garden.

THANKS FOR JOINING US
Robin:... sorry, no time ...

GOOD WORK, TONY
Peter: Having just read Tony Dillon's comments I'm reducing my stress level to 1. It just goes to show. Merry Christmas all.

NO COMMENT
Richard: I live in Zimbabwe!

GOLDFISH FINGER
Tony Finger: I'm afraid the cat got Lady Jackie (the goldfish) and I need to replace her with equally aristocratic goldfish before the girlfriend gets back. Any ideas?

MOVING STORY
Wilko: Just moved house which should be a happy moment after 9 months of legal talk but there's no gas and it's freezing cold. Arguing with my girlfriend because she took our last money out of our account to buy presents and lost her handbag with all £400 in it! No money for gifts now and work isn't going well because I'm in a high pressured sales job and the market is at rock bottom!! Merry Christmas!

CHEER UP EDDIE
Eddie: If anyone else pops into my office and says "Cheer up Eddie ... it'll be Christmas soon" I AM GOING TO EXPLODE

SYSADMIN ARE PEOPLE TOO
Steve: System is down and they've all gone for Christmas lunch.

HOPEFULLY A JOKE
Wilky: No stress - just found a handbag with £400 in it!

FIGHTING TALK
Danni: Helen Jenkins, I'll see your "Mother in law,on boxing day" story and raise you my Inlaws on Christmas day! who for the rest of the year are the most funny and lovely people you could hope to meet, but for some reason turn into wasps ready too sting each other at the first whiff of Turkey.

QUITTER
David: Quit a boring job for what turned out to be an even worse job, which I've now quit as well.

GIVE IT SOME HERBAL
Jacqueline: I'm 8 months pregnant. Shops too crowded. Queues too long and feet too puffy. Everyone in my family has invited themselves here for Christmas "to give me a rest" - but I am lumbered with all the organising. Worse still, I have to watch husband and mother sink endless beers, wines, sherries and liqueurs "to relax" while I moodily sip my herbal tea. Midwife says my glucose level is too high so I can't even indulge in mince pies, Xmas pud or chocs. oh, and the worry of labour is just around the corner.

YOU WERE YOUNG ONCE
Jackie: Fed up with people moaning about young children getting in the way, what are we supposed to do with them? Not everyone has babysitters available at this time of year! They're all too busy getting stressed out!

EUROSIS
Peter H: Last day tomorrow - transferring from Italy to Holland - have to think about extracting myself from Italian Tax system, negotiating with moving companies, cancelling telephone - Euro starts 1 Jan and have to sort our last months rent, banks wont accept checks in Lire after 1 Jan, have to close bank account, clear office and I'm playing with the BBC web site.

WHAT A GRITTER
Tony Foran: It's been a bad year. First my wife writes off my sports car, then I go on holiday and have ALL my families luggage stolen by thieves in the South of France, I order a new sports car, only to find out its a heap of junk, my employer has gone into receivership, I lose a hideous amount of money because I bought shares in my employers company, then the heap of junk sports car I bought got wiped out 2 days ago by a gritter.

HOT AIR
Nigel: Was just going out Saturday when I noticed steam pouring out washing machine. £200 of clothes excessively steam cleaned (not covered by insurance!) - and a nice bill for repairing washing machine. Next day 2 slow punctures in car, then discover all 4 tyres illegal. Discover that I need 4 tyres = £300. Ok that's £600 spent a week before Xmas

GOOD OLD TRAFFORD
Mark Ormiston: I live near the Trafford Centre in Manchester and the local motorway and road layout which was adjusted to cater for 50,000 cars descending on the centre simply does not work! I need to use the motorways near the Trafford Centre and feel like a prisoner in my own town! We can't get out.....help......please....(I think I'm having a nervous breakdown).

CRACKED UP?
Peter: Everything happens to me. My girlfriend has broken her leg so our Christmas in the Caribbean is off.

STRESS ALREADY TAKEN TOLL?
Andrew: Come to West Wales! Sun is out, targets met, shopping done. Stress gone.

DATES FOR CHRISTMAS
Gemma: Lots of deadlines looming... deals need to be done by Christmas.... BUT stress effects reduced by prospect of first date with new man tonight so stress score 4 not 9... Arrgh now stressing about what to wear...

MOVING STORY (2)
Josh: Daily commute along the M4 corridor and hour each way not taking into account road works and ignorant drivers. Business slow due to economics and 11 Sept, behind on targets, no bonus. Moving at the weekend after 2 month delay, way behind on Christmas shopping, no decorations up due to move, might find time on Christmas Eve. On top of the above suffering a compacting wisdom tooth.

POST MAN
David Lewis: The shops are packed, the roads are at a standstill, the trains are unreliable, postal service is a contradiction in terms. Still, it could be worse - thank God I'm not in Argentina.

GOOD ELF
Brian Boag: First day of having stopped smoking. Got delayed on Tube. Had to stand in a huge queue for a grilling machine. And an elf then wished me Happy Christmas.

YORK TALK
Martin: Roadworks on the A64 blocking off most of East Yorkshire. Roadworks on the A19, roadworks in Leeds. A 40-minute journey now taking upwards of an hour. Slow drivers in York. Slow walkers in York. Crowded women's clothes shops that you're forced to walk through after looking at the men's section. Staring at a screen for eight hours a day. Think I'm off to join the Army.

BIENVENUE!
Max: Too much work to get completed before the Christmas break. Train journey from hell, tourists with outsized back packs who stop in the middle of the pavement and read their maps without warning. Crowded shops, bad weather, stupid work colleagues.

THE WISDOM OF VINCE
Vince Warrington: I had two teeth extracted yesterday and have only had water and ice cream for the last 21 hours. I am hungry and in pain. I have to get a database finished by 5pm Friday, and whenever I try to get going on it someone comes my way with a minor IT problem - for example "My computer is making a funny noise". Well, switch it off and go do something else instead...I'm BUSY!!!

IT'S COLD INSIDE
Lee Dumbarton: My shower just broke - needs a new motor which costs £60 plus VAT - delivery sometime in the New Year (well it is Christmas).

FISHY
Helen Jenkins: Having to spend Boxing Day with my mother in law AKA the Old Trout. Anyone want to swap for a dinner date with Osama Bin Laden?


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See also:

20 Dec 00 | UK
Stress-o-meter, day two
21 Dec 00 | UK
Stress-o-meter, day three
22 Dec 00 | UK
Stress-o-meter, final day
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