Tuesday, 7 August 2012

The Waitressing Years cont.

Hold on readers, we are about to embark on a whirlwind tour.  With my new found waitressing skills I went back to university and started looking for a part time job to help support my education/drinking fund.  First I worked at a little place in downtown Hamilton where I encountered extreme racism, a horrible chef/owner, and when I called for my schedule the girl who was supposed to be making the schedule told me that she had never heard of me and wasn't sure why I thought I worked there....  So I brought my then boyfriend, now husband, with me for moral support to pick up my pay cheque and never went back.

Next I worked for Yuk Yuks comedy club for two nights.  It was fun and funny and I thought I could really get into that job.  Except they also wouldn't give me a schedule, but instead of being honest about it they avoided my calls.  Finally, I left a message for my 'boss' and ended it with, "If I no longer have a job with you just let me know and I will stop calling."  He called back to insist that of course I still worked for him.  Then refused to pay me for the time I had worked.  Finally I also had to go down there to pick up my cheque which they tried to withhold. 

So ended my working career while in university.  But what followed was an unimaginable and hideous list of waitressing jobs that I can only give you in bullet form. 

*Tony Roma's in the Falls, by far the best waitressing experience of my life.  Lesson: always work for reputable chains not sketchy, dirty places where you fear for your life.

*Denny's - ignore my previous lesson.  New Lesson: Do not work for chain restaurants where you get yelled at for polishing the silverware and are told to just stand and do nothing instead.

*Biscotti's - a little place in Toronto.

* The Fiery Grill - a fun place on the water in Muskoka where I spent a few summers serving and swimming and tanning which no longer exists.

*__________ - another place in Toronto that will not be named because it does exist still and was mostly a front for drugs, but also a big supporter of the underage drinking community.  Once I asked two young girls for ID and got in trouble from my boss because they didn't have any.  Also we had to climb a small winding staircase to get to the upper portion of the restaurant and the owner used to stand underneath and grab our ankles and then fire you if you dropped your tray or spilled a drink.  Please note - I quit this job and was not fired because I have impeccable balance skills.  Although I did once shout, "You are not an alligator.  Don't touch me." because he was obviously pretending to be an alligator under there.  I did mention copious amounts of drugs were being dealt and used in this place, right? 


Stay tuned, up next is a much anticipated chapter called, "Marching With Horses".  It is also the current working title of my life story - special thanks to my friends Jen and Carlie for their continuous support and laughter at the failure that is my life.

Friday, 27 July 2012

The Waitressing Years

I believe we all have a blog post with this title in our lives.  For some of you it might be the McDonald years, or the pole dancing years, or the I have an actual job as a real grown up and don't waste my time blogging years.  Whatever you fancy.  These are the years when you feel like you have really made it in life.  You set a goal and you achieved it, you make lots of money and have piles of cash lying around your bedroom to spend however you see fit (side note - I don't know if real grown ups keep piles of cash, but when I am a real grown up I will.  In fact, I plan on having a little cash bowl, much like a candy bowl, on my coffee table for people who are poor and need a few extra dollars so they can just grab some cash.  Also, I might have a candy bowl too, and a fancy hand sanitizer in between the two because I don't want your grubby little money fingers touching my jelly beans.). 

After my summer of barrel picture taking, I decided the next summer I would waitress and make fantastic tips and (hopefully) no longer be mistaken for a young boy.  I started out working for the Parks Commission in the Falls.  I am not going to name my current employers or give you too many details about that, but I feel it is rather safe to let you in on the long list of places I have previously worked.  The Parks are a huge organization in the Falls and hire the majority of students looking for waitressing jobs in the summer.  Because I had never waitressed before I wasn't allowed to waitress there, but I was given a hostessing position and was told the next summer maybe I could work up to waitressing.  Fine.  I took it.  I hated hostessing.  It was awful and terrible.  The servers hated me because I cleaned up their tables and re-sat them.  They preferred to take long smoke breaks and ignore the customers.  The restaurant was right near the brink of the Falls and dirty, sticky, stinky Niagara River water would soak me as I walked around with customers.  It would also soak their food, but not their appetite for over priced crappy food with a view that you could walk down and get for free!

The woman who trained me told me how much she loved this job because she put in her hours in the summer and then collected unemployment in Florida for the winter.  She wasn't in her mid to late 70's and so this didn't really make sense to me, but I pushed on.  For about a week.  Then I had an interview at the Keg.  They hired me and I quit my Parks job (being blacklisted forever from their empire) and moved on.  The Keg was more organized in their training, my supervisor had me fill out a written test which I'm pretty sure I failed because I hadn't memorized the postal code of the building and an alternative phone number for the restaurant.  You might think that is a joke, but I promise you that one is 100% true. 

I was still hostessing but I felt like it was a step up.  I wore a tie every day to work.  Actually, in hilarious news, I just realized that this is the most formal dress code I have ever had for a job!  O dear... 

Then one fateful day I was searching the internet for a new job.  Always searching.  I saw a resturant hiring servers with no experience who could start immediately.  I called and then went in that very afternoon to a place that no longer exists on the top of Clifton Hill.  It was not the Keg.  It was sketchy.  Nobody in their right mind would eat there.  It wasn't busy at all.  But it got me in to my dream job.  I quit the Keg.  I called in early in the morning before the July 1st long weekend, because I'm super responsible like that.  I told my new job I couldn't start until after the long weekend because I had to stay at the Keg.  Then I went to the cottage for the weekend. 

And that is the story of how I became a waitress.  This chapter is to be continued because it is a very very very long one.  Almost unimaginably long in the amount of places I have worked.  I hope you have started counting already because they are about to add up very very quickly.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Barreling Right Along....

My path of employment, for the most part, continues along the expected path of most students.  Part-time, low paying, cashier type jobs.  Long, late, drunken serving jobs.  Those sorts of things.  What is most impressive/horrifying, is the vast number of positions I have held in my life time, and of course, my inability to find a job I am good at and love.  But every once in a while, a job comes along that fits into none of these categories.  A job that is strange and unbelievable, that offers me a special sort of skill set.  Something people who have grown up in cities whose main source of income is tourism will understand because we are willing to gouge the tourists for every cent they are willing to throw at us.  Ready for this?  I was once employed by Niagara Daredevil.  This is a company where people paid $16 for a polaroid picture of themselves and sometimes their loved ones, pretending to go over the Falls in a barrel.  (Side note - I was looking for some pictures to entertain you and for the sake of my own integrity, I have to inform you, if you were to go there you could also get a picture in a canoe pretending to go down the rapids.  This was not nearly as popular because, obviously, it is kind of stupid).

Every day, I would head off to work in these little booths at the base of the Skylon Tower.  The only way I can describe the set up is, pretend for Christmas as a small child you really really wanted to go over the falls in a barrel.  Your grandfather, loving you a whole lot, decided to build you a Falls and also a barrel so you could take pictures and pretend you had been.  The whole thing was a rickety construction.  The locks were ancient, the till was a drawer with a pad lock, you had to count the number of polaroid sheets you used and if you made too many mistakes you would be in trouble.  The problem with the picture taking process was you had to pull the picture sheet straight out of the monstrous camera contraption or else it would leave blotchy marks.  Then you would have to let it wait the appropriate amount of time until the ink had dried, all while having tourists impatiently waiting for the photo.  Then, once the paper was off and the picture quality was fine, it had to dry!  Can you ever imagine how many over eager customers grabbed the picture as soon as I set it down, forever leaving a thumb mark smushed into the middle of their picture??  No you probably cannot imagine.  Just as you can't imagine this was actually my real summer job, and I went here at least five days a week and sat by myself trying to pressure sell people into getting these photos.  But it is all true.  I could not make this stuff up if I tried.

I have two very clear memories of that job.  First, across the hall from me was a HUGE television that played the Marineland commercial constantly.  You know how much you hate that song when you hear it twice in a row on the radio?  Imagine EIGHT HOURS NONSTOP!!!!  I shudder every time I hear it, or see the little girl wiping the screen clear to watch the beluga whales because I know there is a triangle spot of frost on the lower left hand corner she is always going to miss.  Every time.  Until you think you will lose your mind hoping she would just pay attention to what she is doing and clear the whole screen.  You'll see....  o you'll see....

Can you find the frost she missed?

Sorry...  where was I?  O yes.  The other thing I learned was about myself.  In my head I picture myself as rather adorable.  I know I'm short and have stubby legs.  I can't help that.  But I have a cute little smile and twinkley eyes, and, I had always assumed, at least a little bit of innate sex appeal.  This job taught me otherwise.  I had to wear a baseball cap, as well as an oversized t-shirt with a picture of the owner in the barrel going over his fake falls on the back.  I was mistaken for a boy multiple times.  The other girl I worked with had long curly blonde hair and somehow made the shirt fit in ways I couldn't.  I would tie it up, wear extra make up, push up bras.  It didn't matter.  Inevitably, I would hear someone say, "Go ask the boy how much a picture costs."  I am not too proud to admit this, sometimes I would turn around to answer their question and people would say, "O dear I'm so sorry sweetheart."  but sometimes, they would not say anything and they would leave believing they had gotten directions to the elevator from a pre-pubescent boy. 

In conclusion, the rediculously useful skill of being able to successfully operate a polaroid camera from 1953 has not actually gotten me any great number of job offers.  Instead, I seem to be suffering from the fact that I spent my university summers not working towards a career but trying to avoid huge amounts of student debt and filling my resume with hilarious, but not so employable skills.  Stay tuned, I wish I could say it was all uphill from here....  but it is decidedly not.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

My Career Path Continues....

On to grade twelve.  I was forced to quit my most favourite job at the IGA because I wanted to be a camp counsellor for the summer.  I loved camp and so gave up the hours I spent scanning food.  On a side note, one of the negatives of that job was the week there was an extreme sale on pig legs.  If you have never seen an entire pig leg, they are gigantic.  About the size of me.  Apparently the people of Niagara Falls have a secret love of them because when they were on sale people were buying in bulk.  No lie.  I would have have to try and scan five or six of them in an order.  They do not fit neatly in little styrofoam deli trays.  O no.  Instead they were wrapped up in clear plastic garbage bags.  Think Dexter, but just giant legs, with bar code stickers attached.  So I would have to manuver the leg to scan the bar code, but let me just tell you this other little piece of information, pig legs are really quite hairy.  Not hairy like mine in mid February, no these hairs are like little metal spikes, breaking open the bags and quite often scratching up my arms.  You might think this is disgusting enough, but once the bags were filled with these little hair holes all of the pig juice would come dripping out all over me.  I would return home from these pig leg sale shifts covered in all sorts of bodily pig fluids, while they seeped into my open wounds from the pig hair, exhausted from the strenuous activity of even lifting them.... 

Gag if you must, but I lifted this dang things for a whole week to satisfy the resident's of Niagara and their sick porky fetishes.

So it was time to move on.  In grade twelve my job criteria was no job interview, only on weekends.  Here is when life tricked me, I was taught if you said what you wanted enough times then you could be given it.  I repeated my request approximately four times before a class mate offered me a position as gift shop girl in a motel/hotel where the rooms were rented hourly and nobody bought anything from the giftshop but the owner's son took a liking to me because of my extreme and obvious contempt bordering on hatred for his entire family including his wife and kids.  Did I mention I was often called on to babysit?  Sometimes to waitress during breakfast or stand at the front desk while they went for cigarette breaks?  I ran food to the bar.  I cleaned rooms.  I delivered room service or extra towels or answered the phone.  What I rarely did was sell anything from the tiny little nook that was the gift shop.  I dusted meticulously, frequently showed up so hungover I could barely stand, and rarely smiled.  They had a policy about employees paying 50% for their food.  I refused to eat there or give a single cent of my hard earned (well maybe just earned....) money back to my employers.  It got so extreme that the owner's son became obsessed with forcing me to eat his food.  If you know anything about me it's that I don't eat when I'm uncomfortable.  And I especially don't eat when I'm trying to prove a point to a giant asshole.  He went so far as to tell me to order anything I wanted off the menu for free.  He would leave plates of ribs for me, or have steaks cooked up just as I was walking in.  As someone who spent a while as a vegetarian, and continues to not eat beef or pork, he clearly went the wrong way about getting me to eat.

I tried to find you a picture of a gift shop without disclosing my actual place of employment, but all that came up was Zoltar.  I thought that would be more entertaining than my past anyway.....

In conclusion, that was not a good job.  But that year I went on my very first airplane at 17 to Mexico to build houses in Ensenada and get extreme pink eye.  This opened my eyes (although not literally, literally my eyes were stuck completely closed for most of the week because my whole face had swollen shut because of the infection), to a world outside my own that I wanted desperately to explore. 

I quit my job for another summer at camp and then was off to Hamilton for my university years at McMaster.  But that....  is a story for another day.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

The Beginning

Here we go, delving into the history of my career, or lack of career more accurately.... 

I began, as many 16 year olds do, working at a grocery store. I was a cashier at the IGA.  If I must be truly honest, this has been one of my favourite jobs.  I loved scanning and chatting with people.  I was quick with processing orders, and was sometimes even allowed to work on the express check out lane.  I liked memorizing vegetable and fruit codes.  4011 was bananas, 4060 broccoli.  I started refering to them at home by their numbers instead of their names.  Occasionally when trays of cookies were broken they were brought up to the front for us to eat.  My best friend worked in the deli and would make me delicious turkey sandwiches.  Yes, life was good at the IGA. 

But this is not how I started working there.  I had been at camp for the summer volunteering and came home to look for a job.  My Mom knew a manager and got me in at the IGA.  Although I had been home in August they wanted me to start in September.  They scheduled my first shift for the second week of grade eleven, to start on a Monday.  Unfortunately, that morning I woke up with a raging fever, horrible, awful couldn't get out of bed, too woozy to stand.  Absolutely no way I would be able to go into work.  I pitifully had my mother call me in sick, and then crawled back into bed with a bottle of advil, a carton of orange juice and some sad little tears.  I felt foolish for missing my first day of work, for having my Mom call me in sick, for getting sick.  Little did I know, the universe had a plan.  The universe wasn't satisfied with me starting work on that particular day because it wanted to use the most ultimate foreshadowing this side of the globe has seen in a long time.  Horrified by current events it would be years before I saw the connection between my first day of work and the rest of my professional life.  But once I made the connection, it was clear my fate had been written.  I was destined for a long and uphill battle to build my career.

That's right.  If you haven't guessed it yet.  I called in sick to work on Monday September 10, 2001.  Tuesday morning I went to school for just the morning so I could rest up in the afternoon to start work.  We know how the rest of this story goes.  Needless to say I did not rest that afternoon.  I sat alone, with the rest of the world, in my basement watching the towers crash and the people and the ash and rubble.  Then I cleaned up, put on my brand new green IGA shirt and headed in to work. 

I read a book where the main character makes the big move to NYC to have a glamorous new start and instead ends up moving in to her new apartment on Black Friday and watches the entire world collapse around her.  At the time I had felt badly for her as she tried to navigate her uncertain future and find work in a world where there were no jobs.  Little did I know, I started work on the very day that would work as a catalyst for an economic downward spiral for our American neighbours and ultimately for my own career.

I have no conclusion.  I am here to state facts.  You, my wonderful readers, are the ones to draw conclusions from my stories of employment and help me to determine where I went wrong and how to right my wrongs and lead me to the path of success and vacation time and sick days and weekends and pay that is high enough to buy me groceries.

As an aside, I also had a book review for you.  If you are fascinated by the events of September 11, and are interested in a look at how the survivors started the huge task of rebuilding their lives and families and their own jobs, there is a fantastic book called, The Woman Who Wasn't There by Fisher and Guglielmo.  It is also a documentary which I am having a hard time finding but would love to see.  Here I leave you to enjoy the rest of your Wednesday.

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Summer Update!!

I'm back.  I was recently inspired by a sangria filled dinner on a patio with friends to begin a new series of posts.  These posts will focus mainly on past places of employment.  For most people this might be 3 or 4 posts, but I have had, at last count, somewhere around 30 jobs. 

My friends and I determined that I am not a failure in all aspects of life.  I am really only a failure in the employment arena.  Hopefully, with your help, and my determination to share with you the ups and downs (mostly downs) of my so called career we can figure out what has led me to this place in my life, and maybe how we can fix it! 

See you soon.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Conclusion to my Sneaky Plan.

Well in ultra-shocking news, my plan to trick the universe into giving me what I wanted (aka a career I could care passionately about and work my little head off for the next 40....  well maybe 35 at this point...  years) did not actually work out as planned.

In fact, I am just an idiot, as always.  But now I will fill you in.

So, my brilliant plan, was to give up on wanting to help anybody in the world and start applying for jobs with only my own financial gain in mind.  That's right.  Give up on the children.  Give up on the 5 years of post-secondary.  Give up on all of my part-time jobs and sacrifices and extra training and courses I have taken.  Just switch over.  No problemo. 

Not only did I apply for the most boring/high paying job I could find in manufacturing, but I sent in a good application, and spent an hour filling out a survey on myself.  Take that universe.

The universe did not like this plan.  In fact, the universe was like, "O dear, we have made a horrible mistake, we've only been toying with you in some sick cat and mouse game for the last thousand years, but really, we would like you to work at a job you would be good at instead of a job that makes your soul die."  *aside - news flash universe - that is already my life right now, currently my soul is dying, slowly and surely, day by day.

The fates, or powers that be, threw me a bone.  A little teeny tiny baby chicken wing of a bone.  Or, more accurately, you know when you are eating fish and you accidentally choke on a little invisible fish bone?  Yes.  That is what I was given.  Fish bone to choke on.  But if I don't die, at least I had some fish?  I have gotten quite lost in my own metaphor here people.  I apologize.  Back to my actual story.  What really happened is that I got a call for an interview for a part-time 8 week contract job that I would LOOOOVE!!  I got all excited about this, thinking it would be my way in to what would eventually lead to my dream job.  I know, I have thought this before, but it has never panned out, I am an eternal optimist, what can I say? 

I went to the interview and felt it had gone well, and was told to expect a call in two weeks.  Around this time I was also given an interview with the manufacturing company I had applied to.  Here is where my crazy logic came in.  I thought if I also went to that interview I could once again rile up my fate and scare it into giving me a job to prevent me from throwing away the last six and a half years of my life to work in a factory. 

And, you know the end because I started this post with the end.  That plan did not work.  In fact, just to screw me over a little bit more, I not only didn't get called back for a part-time 8 week contract, I also did not get called back from my manufacturing interview. 

I am now welcoming suggestions for other ways to trick the universe into accidentally giving me a job!  I need to step up my game a bit here I think. 

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Waiting waiting waiting....

As you may have guessed....  I am still waiting for a job.  But this time I have a plan.  A sneaky plan to get back at the universe and to trick it into giving me a job.  A whole new level of desperation.  But I can't tell you about it until I find out if it has worked or not.  I will give you a sneak peek and let you know that it involves me giving up on ever doing anything useful in this world and just allowing myself to wallow in massive amounts of self-pity. 

But for now I am just waiting.  Waiting to live.  Waiting to die.  Waiting for an absolution that would never come.

Nope, that was Rose in a lifeboat in Titanic (still haven't seen the 3D version, if you were wondering).  But soon you will find out if my waiting has been successful!

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Terrible Twos

Well blog readers, the time has finally come.  I am the mother of a two year old (dog).  My baby turned two on April 1st, forcibly shortening my birthday celebrations.  My birthday is my favourite holiday.  April 13.  In case you wanted to get something in the mail, there is still time.  But be quick!

When I was a very small child, I must have gotten out of hand with birthday celebrations because right before my own second birthday I was given the glorious gift of a little sister.  In mid-February.  No longer could I start planning my own parties and themes and joyous celebration in January.  She had stolen my spot light.  Understandably, I hated her for many years.

Then, right after I turned five, ANOTHER SISTER!  This one in mid-May.  Do you see how they neatly curbed my creative process?  My birthday party was effectively cut down to be slightly under eight weeks.  How is a girl to live like that? 

Then, almost exactly two years ago, I did myself in.  Adopting a dog/son whose birthday was practically the same as mine.  It must have been his snuggly little body, his puppy dog eyes, his slobbery little self, only true love could ever infringe on my favourite holiday and get away with it the way he has.  (I know, you are asking yourself, how much attention could a dog birthday get?  I am getting to that part.  Please be patient.)

If seeing dogs treated better than most of the humans on this planet makes you feel ill - well you better skip these next few pictures because it got a little out of hand!

A trip to the cottage for the most spoiled dog in the world.

His cage was decorated!

Dog cupcakes of course!

He might be all grown up, but he will always be my little baby!

With the dog's birthday as my benchmark, I hope you have a birthday that is at least this good, and maybe a little bit better.  Rainbow chip cupcakes anyone?? 

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Ways to Find My Blog

So you know how you can put fun little search words and then strangers can find your blog while they are trying to find actual information.  For example, because of my Leon's story people who search for information about Leon's can now find my blog.  Which I angrily pointed out to Leon's in my final email to them.  I didn't tell them they had received a face punch because that didn't really seem appropriate.  A rant about Leon's is not my point.

My point is that I was checking out all sorts of fun things and most of you are just my friends coming to read from my facebook page because I keep harassing you.  Thank you.  I really appreciate it, keep up the good work friends!  You make me feel validated and hopefully if you get some enjoyment out of this then my time is not completely wasted.  Hey - feel free to comment and say, "Karen we think your fantastic, we love your blog, we laugh and laugh and love every minute of it."  To which I would say, "Yea but you used the wrong 'your', so your comment is now void.  Learn to spell and come back and leave me an even nicer comment."  But if you would like to leave me a gramatically correct comment filled with love then I would definitely appreciate it.  I do realize this now leaves me open to your critism for every small mistake I make, but don't worry, no matter what you say it can't be worse than Husband's constant critique (love you sweetie!). 

Still not my point.  I'm getting there though.

So I was checking all those numbers, like the four people from Germany who've read my blog this month, or my tiny Ukrainian following.  Impressive.  But how about the hot link from 'premature ejaculation help line'?  Now that one I just can't understand. 

That was my point.  Somehow some creepy creeper of a website as accessed my blog and I don't know what that means or how to make it stop.  Yucko!

Monday, 26 March 2012

Escalator Madness

Well I had meant to keep up with this blogginb but the beautiful weather last week threw me off schedule.  There was so much reading and tanning in my bikini in my backyard (while a creepy guy rang the doorbell, but that is a story for another day), and there was a ton of wine to drink.  So I know you all understand why I couldn't be online.  Now that I am back inside I have an observation/face punch for your enjoyment. 

I am trying my very best to adapt to this crazy crazy city of Hamilton.  I know to many people Toronto seems like the big crazy city, but to me it is organized chaos.  In Hamilton there is no method to their madness, there is no reasoning.  They drive their cars like street lights are a mild warning, they never walk anywhere, but perhaps most infuriating of all, they refuse to obey the simple rules of the escalator.

I will admit, I was once upon a time also naive to these rules.  But there are only two real rules, and they are easy to remember and just as easy to follow.  They bring order and meaning and a wonderful sense of organization to the world.  You know where you are going and what you are doing and how long it will take you to get there.

I was introduced to these rules when I first moved to Toronto.  I had hopped on an escalator.  Who knows where, the details are foggy.  Possibly at the mall, maybe coming out of the subway.  It doesn't matter.  What I remember clearly is a voice, loud and demanding, shouting at me, "STAND RIGHT WALK LEFT STAND RIGHT WALK LEFT".  That was how I learnt.  Never again did I forget.  But here in Hamilton, every day at the mall I encounter the uninitiated.  They refuse to learn the method.  It only makes sense people.  Think about it.  You want to walk up the escalator, you are in a hurry because you left your baby in the car while you went to do some shopping and the sun just came out and they are probably dehydrating as we speak.  There is a sudden announcement that pajamas are on sale at Old Navy and you look down and realize your going out pjs are looking a little ratty (just kidding - this never happens in Hamilton, no jammies are too disgusting to save only for wearing inside your house!).  Or you have just worked an entire shift and your feet are tired, you can't possibly climb the elevator and yet the people behind you are pressuring you to move.

O Hamilton, there is a way to solve these problems.  Please.  Please.  Just listen to reason.  It only makes sense.  If you are tired and feel like a rest and want to enjoy a leasurely ride down or up to the next floor, just stay to right.  Hold the railing.  Relax.  If you are in a rush, or just feel like using your legs a little extra, go to the left where there will be a free and clear lane to walk up. 

To illustrate my point I have a real live picture of my ride down the escalator of the way people were standing. This is madness.  Pure madness.  Also it might be madness to pretend to be texting when you are actually photographing people because you are having an attack of rage because they cannot properly use an escalator.  Please note the lady with the cane exiting on the LEFT.  There is no way she was walking down the escalator. 


Tuesday, 20 March 2012

The Greatest Day of All - Ever!

Yesterday the most fantastic wonderul thing, in fact the best thing that can happen to a person, happened to me.  I was walking to work (sort of running actually because I was a little late), when from across the street I heard a little scream.  I looked over to see a brother and sister standing on the porch of a house, and a little tiny black furry blob go streaking out into the middle of the road.  The brother, who was the smaller of the two, stood on the porch screaming for his mom.  The sister, who was maybe about 7, went to the edge of the curb.  By now I could see a tiny puppy standing in the middle of the street without a care in the world, thinking she was quite hilarious for escaping from the house.  I know the look well.  Regis still frequently thinks he is hilarious when he manages to do something really rather bad.

Then the unthinkable happened (or maybe the expected?!?!).  A car turned onto the street.  I had been watching this scene unfold as a casual observer, but then I saw the little girl see the car and in a moment of clarity I could read her mind and it said, "My puppy is going to get hit, I have to save her."  But, my mature mind thought, let the puppy get hit, not the girl.  Her mom came out on the porch at the exact same minute and saw the exact same thought that I did, but was much further away.  The little girl started to run.  The mom yelled no at the same time I walked into the street.  I held up my hand to warn the car something was happening, the girl waited and watched, and the little furry puppy with a sweet pink collar ran right over to my arms.  I scooped her up, waited for the car to pass (it still is Hamilton afterall, and even an adorable puppy's safety can't be expected to stop these people from driving like complete maniacs!), and then crossed the rest of the way over and handed the puppy to the girl. 

That is right.  I am a rescuer of puppies.  I immediately texted both my sisters who both immediately texted me back with the same message saying, "You are a hero!".  Sometimes there is not a lot to validate me in my life of being under employed and doing pretty much nothing.  But on that day, I was a hero, a courageous woman who stepped out in traffic to save a puppy and stop a little girl from being hurt.  Yes, this is the highlight of my week, and probably of next week, and maybe even the week after.  But, really, who can blame me? 

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Just checking in....

Sorry folks - somehow an entire month completely escaped me and I never once found the time to blog anything.  Could be because I am horrifically busy doing nothing, or maybe because no matter how many times you think to yourself, "It can't get any worse" or "How much longer can my unemployment go on?" life proves to you that in fact you can stay unemployed for another whole month and you can not get any interviews.  Then your job at the mall offers you a manager position and a 50 cent raise and you have no choice but to accept it, even though it kills a large part of your soul and you begin to wonder how long it will be before you are entirely soul-less.  But you are also encouraged because in four months they have obviously seen manager potential in you.  But then you wonder why nobody else even sees 'interviewing potential' in you.  Plus also you feel vaguely guilty writing this blog because after four months at your 'seasonal part-time' mall job, which was become your every season, full time job (without full time hours, vacation or benefits), with a not so bad discount on the products you sell (if only you could afford to actually buy them), you have started to appreciate what it is like to work hard for a company that can decide to screw you over at any minute and has a proven track record of doing that not only to its lowliest sales staff but also to the senior management team.

In conclusion, we lost February completely to a whirlwind of depression and promotions and another long and bitter winter, only this one was without the cold and snow.  But who needs snow when life is raining all over your late 20s with no career or savings or vacation plans parade?!?!  Ahhh it's good to be back.  Please join me here again and forgive my absence.  See you soon!

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Resolution Update/ More Money Saving Tips!

Like 300 million other people, this year in January I joined a gym.  Definitely spending money that I don't have rather than buying groceries.  I know.  Counter intuitive to how very very poor I am.  But, it goes with my resolution to be more positive, and nothing makes me happier than running until I feel like I am going to throw up (on average about 5 minutes on a medium/low speed). 

I'm nothing if not honest with you all, so I will tell you that I joined Goodlife.  In order to sell me their package, I went on a long tour of the women's only facility.  The one closest to my house is women's only, and let's be honest ladies, these types of gyms seem to be more about socializing than actually working out.  On my tour the Goodlife rep said to me, "Now don't worry about attending these weight lifting classes, they will not make you bulk up and have too much muscle."  Uhmmm  okay...  Thanks Goodlife.  I am definitely coming to the gym to make sure I never gain muscle.  Do you have programs that help me maintain my flabby stomach too?  O, actually, at the class I was in yesterday they told us if you went to the gym this weekend there was going to be free cake....

Goodlife also loves to pressure me into getting skin cancer through their over enuthusiastic sales of indoor tanning.  They are forever offering me my first tan free, or trying to get me to tour their claustrophobic little death chambers.  Holy moly, no thank you Goodlife!  Although here's a good business plan - why not offer botox as well?  Because if people really tan that often soon they will be wanting to get rid of their wrinkles!

Nothing says sexy like a big box of death.  Come on baby, light up a cigarette for me.

Ooops, a rant on Goodlife business practices was not the point of this blog.  Have you missed my rambling?  My point is that I have cleverly taken to showering at the gym to avoid having to pay for showers at home.  The logic is that I'm already paying for the gym, so why not take advantage?  I now take all my showers in the comfort of a disgusting public stall where my dirty water mixes with all the other ladies and where my towel has the option of hanging in the shower and getting wet with me, or hanging on the hooks in the public area where I have to run out naked to get it.  I alternate between with two, if you were wondering.

In conclusion, I like to bring you to the new lows of my life.  I'm trying my best here people!  As always, I am open to your money saving suggestions.

Oops I was looking for a picture to show you have horrific my Goodlife showers are, but instead this cutie little beast popped up and made me smile.  Yay for baby hippos!

Friday, 20 January 2012

Assertiveness Resolution Attempt #1

Dear fellow readers, thank you very much if you ever come back to this blog.  I have to admit I have lost interest a little bit.  Not in you, and certainly not in writing, but more specifically I feel like this blog is a reminder of my failure.  When I started doing some research (I know, this seems like haphazard babbling, but I promise it is also, at times, well informed), the main problem with unemployment blogs was they seemed to all abruptly end when the person who was writing found a job.  That will totally be me, I thought to myself.  I will immediately get a job and never write on the internet again because my life will be filled with things like work, and getting ready for work, and travelling to and from work, and talking about work, and going out with my new cool dude work friends.  Alas....  we know how this story ends....  and here I am still  unemployed.  So I will update you in my latest attempt at assertiveness. 

I was at Walmart.  Two days ago I dropped off a prescription for birth control, mistakenly thinking for some reason the pharmacy would fill this prescription and I would be able to prevent myself from having an unwanted and absolutely unaffordable baby.  *side note - I accidentally read a description of labour in a book the other day, well actually only about 3 sentences of 'what to expect' then I threw up in my mouth  and almost lost consciousness and am now uncertain if I even want children, although my inclination has always been to adopt but Husband says no way to that dream.*

Back to my actual story - Walmart did not have my prescription ready.  Seriously.  I dropped it off on Wednesday and it is Friday and they didn't read the number of packages properly.  Then they promised they would fix it, no problem.  Only I would have to wait half an hour.  Even though I had already waited two days!!  I was frustrated, especially because I had just attended a wonderful yoga class and was feeling relaxed and happy in the world, and Walmart succeeded in ruining my happiness.  I started to walk away.  Then I thought to myself, 'be assertive.  Walmart doesn't get to ruin your day.'  So I went back and very politely said, "I would like the prescription back, I am going to go somewhere else."  The pharmacist said, "well you should have said specifically what you wanted, sorry for the confusion, but I am already entering the information in the computer."  "No." I said on my assertive power trip, "I would like it back.  I am going somewhere else."  With many apologies she gave it back, but at this point I didn't need her apologies, I felt like the winner.

By the time I got back to the car I realized I was not the winner because I didn't have any birth control, which was what I had gone out for. 

You know who the real winner was here?  Shoppers Drug Mart.  Because that is where I immediately went afterwards to fill my prescription.

I have no conclusion today.  Was this achieving anything towards my resolution?  Did it really make me a better person?  I can't tell.  I did come up with a new, more concrete resolution.  Take up smoking.  Then next year I can quit it. 

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

How I'm Going to Make 2012 My Very Best Year

My family is sick of hearing about the Mayans and how this might be our very last year to make resolutions.  But I am resolving to continue bothering you all about it for the next year.  Just in case it comes true.  Then my dying words can be, "Told you so."  Which they probably will be regardless of how I go...  but this one seems like an especially big argument to be on the right side of.  I only hope I make it to the very end and don't get taken out early in some sort of flashflood or earthquake or rabid cat attack or whatever is supposed to be coming in these end of days. 

If this picture doesn't scream happliy married and glad to be starting a new year together.....  well I just don't know what does then......

I am also making more practical resolutions, in case this whole thing doesn't pan out and I go on living my mundane life.  I know I told you in my last post I was going to stop prcrastinating, but that was not very serious.  I am not really a big procrastinater, I never miss real things, just put them off until I get inspired to make changes in my life and then I am rather effective and can do ten thousand things in one day.  Then my enthusiasm wanes and I go back to doing nothing more than lying on my couch watching Four Weddings and eating chocolate for breakfast.  Side note - Four Weddings Canada comes out now??  After my wedding?  I would have kicked ass at that show.  My wedding would have definitely won, mostly for the open bar and my beautiful dress.

Maybe what I need is more focus in my life?  I'll put it on the resolution list for 2013 (assuming we make it).

Here it goes for 2012.

1.  Stop apologizing for things I am not sorry for.  I say sorry for everything.  EVERYTHING.  Someone bumps into me.  I apologize.  Someone pushes me purposely, I would say, "I'm so sorry for being in your way."  Someone steals money from me.  My response?  "I'm terribly sorry, but that belongs to me, may I have it back?"  Someone comes into the mall where I work and we don't have something they want in stock.  I apologize.  Did they come looking for me to apologize?  No of course not.  Do I need to be sorry the store I work for doesn't carry what they want?  Do I personally ship the items late?  Do I decide on the stock that is carried?  Or make deliveries?  Do I ruin items leaving them with the choice of one crumpled item or having to find something else?  No, No and NO.  Do I apologize for all of these things that I am not at fault and, also, not sorry for?  Yes.  Every time.  Does it weaken my apology?  Cheapen it?  Make it lose meaning?  Of course it does.  Would I tell every customer I love them?  Would I say I love you to the person who cuts me off in line at the grocery store?  To the driver who almost runs me and my puppy over?  No, never.  Therefore, when I am not sorry, I must stop saying it. 

2.  Be more assertive.  Some people might think I am assertive enough.  Or too assertive.  But I feel like I defer to avoid a fight in situations where I should stand up for myself.  For example, I have an ongoing battle with Sears right now because our hot water heater isn't working properly.  It randomly goes from very very hot to freezing cold with no warning.  My argument is that it isn't safe to be showering and not know when I am going to be blasted with water too hot to stand under.  They said 120 degrees isn't too hot.  I love hot showers, to the point where I come out the colour of a boiled lobster and my body is overheated and I need to drink gallons of water to counteract the dehydration.  120 degrees is too hot for me.  I let them have the weekend off from calling and wasn't going to call yesterday either because they might be busy just coming off their holiday.  Then I had a shower that not only was unpleasant, I could have received 3rd degree burns from it.  So I called.  Their new argument was the heater worked, just not the way I want it to.  Just like Leon's, this is frustrating and stupid and they should be able to fix the problem easily and instead it is turning into a huge issue.  Just like Leon's, I will probably lose, after hours of work on my part and millions of dollars in long distance bills.  I believe I need to be more assertive in this situation and many others.  It starts today (or rather yesterday). 

3.  Stay positive.  You may have noticed at times I can be a little negative.  In most cases my negativity is hilarious.  No seriously.  I love an awful experience because I am willing to laugh at myself about almost anything.  The more mysterious the illness, the more horrifying my drive home, the closer I come to complete and utter failure, the funnier it is.  Once, while waitressing, I walked into a closed glass door with a full tray of drinks.  I was chased by a goose as a child.  My godawful inability to find a job.  The time my dog got scared by a bag of garbage and dragged me so I tripped and ended up stuck in a recycling bin.  These things are hilariously funny.  Very few bad days have no humour.  But, I also find this horrible black hole of nothingness sometimes fills my brain.  When I count how many jobs I've applied to without hearing back.  When I think about the very few interviews I've had, and how they have also amounted to nothing.  When I think about my life goals and dreams and realize none of them involve being unemployed and unsuccessful and closing in on thirty.  These are the days and thoughts I am going to try and banish.  The ones that make me feel depressed, that effect my health, my marriage and most importantly my sense of humour.

That's about all for now.  I never like to come up with a huge list because I get overwhelmed and don't know where to start and it takes me until April to even attempt anything.  But these I can start right now.  This very day.  Watch out world.  No seriously, watch out.  A meteor is probably on it's way right this very second to obliterate the planet.  I'm ready for it 2012.

Regis' resolution?  To look more dapper.  Hence the bowtie.  Thanks Sam!