So here's a bizarre confession: I miss working in retail.
It's strange. I don't miss the bad pay or the long hours on my feet. I don't miss the rude customers or the hectic pace. But I do miss interacting with people - the regulars especially, but also all the charming people I met who were just passing through. (A symptom of working all day in an office, perhaps?) Lately, as I walk by little cafes or shops, I get a pang of nostalgia for my days working one, two or three part-time jobs. Oddly, money didn't seem to be as much of an issue back then, because I had very few things I could spend it on. Tuition, and the occasional (okay weekly) CD. Eventually rent. But because I had very little money, I didn't waste it on crap.
I wish I could say the same today. As much as I try to be a responsible and practical shopper, I still suffer from the occasional bout of MUST HAVE that I usually regret. The only time I don't feel guilty about impulse buying is when it's on something to help me organize. At least then I know I'll use it. I've got a big crush on iron hooks and magazine boxes at the moment. Useful and cute.
Occasionally I'll think something insane like "I could always do a quick shift once a week..." but common sense has prevailed so far. We'll see if my crazy former workaholic self stages a coup and takes over my brain. I'll start stalking the local businesses muttering things like, "I am good at sales. I am good at sales. I can sell your things."
Do you find the news as interesting as I do these days? In between the Democratic convention in the States and election speculation in Canada, I've got plenty to keep me occupied. I'll know things have calmed down when they start reporting on baby pandas again.
My gig in Montreal is fast approaching. I was feeling nervous about it, seeing as how I haven't even unpacked my banjo and guitar since the move, let alone had the time to string together a set list or learn any new songs. But last night, when my BH and I were walking Morty through Centretown, we bumped into the very friend I was hoping to crash with. "Of course you can stay with us!" he said. "You should bring the puppy too!" I wasn't planning on asking anyone if they can put all three of us up, but hey, he offered. Now I'm feeling very excited about this show after all. Time to learn some new songs. I've got an Emmylou Harris song in my head that's dying to get out.
Tonight is Hot Date Night. My BH and I are going to our favourite restaurant for dinner, and then we're heading over to the NAC to see Wicked. Making out! Dinner! Show! Making out!
I love my apartment.
It's been a slow move. Pretty much box by box, on evenings when we had energy. That can get trying, especially when you just want it to be done. You want to come home and not have to wonder where you packed your greeting cards, because there are birthdays and weddings coming up and damnit, you already bought the cards for them. Except they are packed. Somewhere mysterious.
There's also that colour and lighting thing. My moods are pretty strongly affected by colour and light, so the process leading up to finishing these jobs was painful. Do you get the urge to growl at people in dim light? I do. I'm not sure why. We had some sparkly new light fixtures that needed installing, and we had buckets of paint that needed to be slapped on walls. Bit by bit, it got done. Now it's all finished.
So, instead of the crushing stress of coming home to a hallway full of boxes, I am now coming home to a hallway with a lone bicycle that will soon be hoisted up onto the ceiling. The kitchen is functional, finally, with shelves that hold my tea and tea accessories, vintage tea pots, and Russian nesting dolls. The neon green is not neon, and I am understandably happy about that. The purple in the front room looks like a light gray in the dark, which I love. The bedroom is the last holdout, with a few baskets of sewing supplies I don't want to part with. And there's the fact that we still don't have a home phone or internet thanks to the brilliance of my new service provider. I've been stealing random signals here and there, in between strained phone calls with customer service representatives.
Still. It's comfortable. And it's been so nice having a lot with a Vrtucar parked a mere ten second walk from our front door. As long as we're living in this area, or even just in the downtown, I don't think we'll need a car.
This brings me to another point. May I vent? Thank you.
My BH and I decided a long time ago that we wanted to stay central should we ever get around to buying a house/condo/duplex/etc. We figured that because we aren't in a rush to buy, we can save slowly until we have the down payment we need. We also figured that buying in the 'burbs would cost us a lot in transportation, time and happiness, and we'd really rather just wait. Wait until we find the right place, in the right area, when we have the money. Whenever that happens. No rush.
Do you know how much shit we've taken for that decision? For even just saying that we'd like to stay as central as we can? People have snorted with laughter, rolled their eyes, angrily denounced the idea, or made fun of the fact that we'll never have the down payment we need to stay here. As though we have no idea what housing costs are like. As though we think it will be easy. As though it's an impossible suggestion.
Do you know what I say to that? Fuck. That. Noise.
I may suck at algebra, but I can plan anyone's finances. If I need to wait another four or five years to have enough for a very modest centrally-located home, that's what I will do. We don't own a car. We have health coverage. We have debt, but we are paying it down quickly. I have a stable job that lets me do things like throw piles of money into a high-yield savings account every time I get a paycheck. Eventually this will become a down payment - not for an extravagant house in perfect condition - but for something I can afford.
Those of you who know me know that I am one stubborn biatch. Unless I have a sudden urge to move out to the country, I know I can do this. It's not up for negotiation.
PS, Got a puffer for the Mystery Cough. Now I get occasional coughs instead of painful coughing fits. This is good. Not an answer, but good. My head is still full of goo though. Not so good. (Fucking goo)
Aah, the weekend wedding.
A good time had by all, especially me, three drinks in and drunk as fuck. I wrote "boobies!!" in the guest book. Not my proudest moment. But wandering down country roads with Andi, white-girl-dancing to TLC, and taking full advantage of the open bar was very nice. I slept like a log and had a nice drive home in a rented Toyota hybrid. It's quiet! Except when you accidentally drive with the emergency brake on.
Funny story: My BH and I left the puppy in the capable hands of his dad and little brother. They stayed at our place and looked after little Morty so we could enjoy the wedding. When we left for the weekend, Morty was all small and wiggly. Note. Small.
When we got home, a day and a half later, Morty was the size of a basketball.
He did not run up to meet us; he waddled over and grunted in our general direction. Without wanting to sound ungrateful, we asked if he had ingested, oh, say, a basketball. After a little to-ing and fro-ing, we realized that Morty had been accidentally fed the equivalent of about six meals instead of three. For the rest of the day, Morty made constipation noises and crapped in his crate at 3am this morning. Me? I look like a zombie, because I was still washing the poo off my puppy at 4am. He came to bed with me and drooled on my toes for the following two hours, at which point I gave up on sleep and made some tea.
I have that... Not so fresh feeling.
Still, despite all the poo, I feel good. There seems to be an underlying current of excitement in everything I do these days. I feel like something good is coming. Something really good.
Cure for the Mystery Cough?
A full night's sleep?
ALL OF THE ABOVE?
I had a job interview today. Not one of those "charm-them-and-you're-in" dealies, but the government-type interviews that are all done on a point system and are infuriatingly tricky.
Who knows how I fared. It was all a blur, and I remember gesturing passionately about some policy statement or another. That's never a good sign. Or... Maybe it is?
Following the interview, I did what any rational person would do. I went down to the cafeteria, and bought a giant butter tart. Do I even like butter tarts? I'm not sure. But I knew I wanted one. It was without question the worst butter tart I've ever eaten. A waste of $1.25, and it left a terrible taste in my mouth. It was like chewing on a sugary foot.
None of this matters though. The interview is done, and now I can focus on more exciting things. Getting drunk at this weekend's wedding, for example. Or getting the butter tart taste out of my mouth. Even just cuddling with my puppy would be great.
We had a wee scare with Morty last night when we noticed that his tear duct was all swollen and red. Of course, we starting freaking (as calmly as two people can freak) and weighed our options. Is it URGENT or is it an EMERGENCY? WHAT IS WRONG WITH OUR BABY?? CONSULT GOOGLE. DO IT NOW.
We put some Visine in his eye and massaged the area, as per instructions on the internets. Presto! He is fine today and we don't have to shell out money for an emergency vet visit. Whew. Thanks Google! You're the best.
Maybe you can fix my mystery cough...?
Well, what do I know? Apparently my Mystery Sickness is still most likely caused by allergies. The antihistamines aren't working though, so explain THAT, health professionals. I guess the next step is to get the carpet steam cleaned and get an industrial de-humidifier for the basement to reduce any mould/kitty allergies that could be irritating things. Yay, more purchases!
I did a photo shoot for Ottawa Magazine yesterday. It was surprisingly fun, seeing as how I'm not super comfortable in front of the camera. The assistant photographer was very sweet, and contrary to how I was feeling, she said I must watch America's Next Top Model because I knew how the "work the camera." (I don't watch ANTM, partly because I don't have cable or a functional TV, but I took it as a compliment. That's a compliment, right? She seemed sincere enough...) Anyways, I'm excited to see how the pictures turned out, because I think they will be very campy and cheesy. I'm down with that.*
I think this summer has been stressful for my BH. I'm hoping our upcoming trip to see Wicked will be a good way to start the school year. Man, it's going to be great when he's all done and we can have money again. Luckily, he's going into a field that has five million job options. Woot! Job options are sexy!
We're heading into our last wedding weekend. This one promises to be especially fun: it's being held in a huge field, there's an open bar, and the food is BBQ on giant grills. Perfect. I can't believe it's the end of summer already. Am I allowed to say that?
PS: Milan has demonstrated that the comment option is there, it's just invisible. So if you feel like you would like to comment, slide your cursor around where the comments *should* be and you will find it. New template coming soon.
*I'm just starting to wonder if they will photoshop out all the scratches and bruises I had on my arms from Morty's loving embraces.
Oooh, yesterday was a bad day. So very bad. So very unnecessary. But hey! Today is a new day, and I am home sick from work so I can get me to a clinic again. Bastard sickness. Am I going on week seven now? I've lost track.
It's nice to be home. The apartment is finally starting to come together, and the painting is done. Pictures of the finished product will come. The NEON GREEN is very bright, but not so much neon as it is lime. The front room is a very, very light purple. It's a relief to have the painting done, but holy hell was it a lot of work. We have some very patient friends with some very useful edging brushes. And sand paper! Who knew?
Anyway, Morty is thrilled somebody is home to play with him. I was all, "Hey Morty! I'm home after all!" and he was all, "BONER!" I guess that shouldn't surprise me, but he's learning how to gyrate his hips, which is a little unnerving. So much for the innocent puppy look. Next time I introduce Morty to someone, I just hope to God he doesn't start the Slow Hump.
Speaking of Morty, I have found my camera cable! You know what that means. Picture update.
PS: Has anyone else noticed that my graphics have mysteriously disappeared? Is it just me, or are they really all gone?
Last night I stayed home to paint the rest of my kitchen. I had it all planned out. My supplies were sitting right in front of me, the cabinets were washed, and I had my painting outfit (ie pajamas) ready to go.
I took one look at the pile of stuff, grabbed my purse, and headed out the door to go food shopping. My Life Organic order had come in, and with a few extra ingredients, I could try out some recipes that I'd been drooling over. The second I left the apartment, I gave up on painting. I wanted to cook.
Cooking makes me so happy. It's an immediate de-stresser. Since we moved, I've been cooking more out of necessity than anything, and I get almost no pleasure out of that. Sacrificing my evening of painting to slave away in front of the stove made me feel incredibly happy. And oh man, the food.
Pickled zucchini (amazing and easy)
Boiled organic beets
Grilled eggplant with goat cheese and tomatoes (damnit! where did I get this recipe from?)
Sweet pepper salad with organic corn (I used orange, yellow and PURPLE sweet peppers. I didn't even know purple sweet peppers existed!)
It took several hours and a few incidents with the smoke alarm, but it was totally worth it. I also discovered that Morty loves sweet peppers, so we both got our fill of veggies over the course of the evening. The pickled zucchini is waiting for me in the fridge.... It's so good that I think I'll make another batch this weekend.
Speaking of the weekend, it can't come quickly enough. I wait with baited (and strained) breath.
This cough? It's not allergies. Last night I was coughing so badly that I had trouble breathing, and no anti-histamine was helping that.
Which leads me to my next theory. I just ran up a long flight of stairs and had a violent coughing fit when I reached the top. Do I have asthma? Has it suddenly gotten much worse? Aggravated by something, maybe?
All I know is that the cough is bearable throughout the day, but by the time I get home, I am wheezing and hacking up a lung. I'll go back to the clinic on Monday to see if my theory is right. I'd go back sooner, but we're so short staffed at work that I'm doing the job of three people until everyone is back from vacation next week.
I am also very annoyed that I can't find the USB cable that lets me upload my pictures. I have a classic one of Morty with his tongue out that is begging for it's own post. Sad. Come to me, USB.
I'm off to a BBQ with the puppy! Good evening, and fingers crossed that I can breathe by the end of the night. Because right now? It feels like there is sandpaper in my lungs.
My BH and I had a romantic evening planned for last night. We finally hooked up the DVD player, so we figured we'd curl up on the couch and watch some cheesy movies until we got sleepy. I made some snacks while my BH took Morty out for a pee.
A few minutes later, I heard the door open. My BH comes in with a worried look on his face.
"I've locked the keys in the car we borrowed," he says.
"The car we borrowed. The radio is on inside, the keys are in the ignition, and the doors are locked."
Morty grunts with excitement, like he knows we're screwed. Evil puppy. But so cute.
I try to do the math. It's 10pm at night. We're broke. What are the odds of finding a locksmith at this hour, and even if we find one, what are the odds that we'd be able to afford one? Slim to none.
I call my mother, who always has a good answer in times of need.
"Mom, how does one break into a car?" I ask.
"Oh, there are a few ways," she explains cheerfully. She tells me about my options. I make notes. I love my mother.
A few minutes later, I leave the house with my BH and puppy in tow. I am carrying two hangers and a roll of duct tape. My BH had the foresight to leave the window open a crack, but according to my mom, that's all I need.
And you know what? We got it unlocked. It took about twenty minutes and several failed attempts, but we did it. No romantic curling up on the couch, but we did have a victory high five before we headed home and passed out. (Morty does a high five too!)
The moral of the story is: Keep your duct tape handy and your mother on speed dial, and all shall be well.
When you've been sick for a month and have spent half your weekend inhaling paint fumes in the name of a Brighter Whiter Kitchen, you don't turn down an invitation to Le Nordik Spa. In fact, when you do get the offer, you run screaming out the door yelling things like "God yes, take me now! NOW!!!"
And so, yesterday, I crated my enormous puppy, stripped off my paint-splattered pajamas, and hopped in the car with some of my girls. Off to Chelsea! To the land of smooth skin and salt water baths! To the land of the beloved steam room! To the land of chocolate fondue and port! To the land of ginormous implants that boggle the mind!
We weren't disappointed. It was just what I needed, and it was so pleasant that we stayed approximately three hours longer than I expected. Oh yes.
- I have yet to meet someone that loves the steam room the way I love the steam room. I probably spent a total of an hour and a half in there. Of course, I paid for it later with a migraine like a kick in the head because I didn't drink enough water afterwards. Dumb. Not a mistake I'll make again.
- What is the point of getting gigantic fake tits if they look, well, ridiculous? One woman was getting snickered at everywhere she went because her boobs looked positively comical. Like, helium balloon comical. I wanted to go slap them around a bit to see how they'd move, but I figured that would get awkward pretty quickly.
- Spa music is so non-committal. One minute you're floating around a major key, and then you slip into the minor.... Back up to the major, over into the minor..... Happy, depressed, happy, depressed. Pick a damn mood, wooden flute!
- I keep forgetting that I don't like saunas. It's weird, because I love heat, but I honestly can't breathe in a sauna. Not to mention the fact that I managed to burn the bottoms of my feet in there and had to walk very gingerly for the rest of my stay. Steam room all the way.
- The chocolate fondue at the spa is amazing. I would eat that shit on a rubber boot.
My skin is all glowy and silky smooth today, and I am already planning my next escape to the Nordik. I highly recommend a spa day to any of you about to paint your kitchen NEON GREEN. It'll take a load off of your mind.
Aah. The weekend. Usually a time of calm errand-running. This time, I am putting up painter's tape and donning, well my pajamas. I am tackling the walls.
As if unpacking weren't enough, I stupidly went and bought a few gallons of paint last night. I thought it would be fun to slap down some new coats of colour - some green in the kitchen, a bright white near the table, a lavender in the front room.
Well, not only is paint insanely expensive (!!!), it's also hard to get the right shade. I chose this really pretty green for the cabinets, and after it had been mixed, I took a peek at what appeared to be NEON GREEN. Maybe I'm overreacting. Maybe I'm about to paint my kitchen NEON GREEN. I hope hope hope it turns out nicely. Otherwise I may have a seizure mid-breakfast and die in the midst of an eighties flashback.
I also finally went to the clinic for this cough that has been getting me down for nearly five whole weeks. The clinic near my new house is possibly five million times better than the one I used to frequent before. I waited twenty minutes, saw an amazing nurse practitioner, and walked out of there with a better idea of what had been ailing me. The reason I wasn't getting better? It's allergies. Don't know to what, but we did rule out the puppy, thank goodness. We also had a conversation that made me get on a waiting list for a new doctor so I can get away from the quack I've been seeing for the past four years.
Nurse: You've been coughing for five weeks and you didn't go see your family doctor?
Me: It takes two weeks to get an appointment with her, I have to wait over two hours once I arrive, and she has never properly diagnosed me.
Nurse: Oh my.
So! I am now on a waiting list and I will wait until the cows come home (or until I get a new doctor).
I know I have been bitching a lot about the moving process lately, but I will say that we are making progress. I am purging mercilessly. The boxes are disappearing one by one, and once the paint is up, I think this will be one sexy apartment. Pictures are on their way.
Some things on the agenda over the next few days.
1. Get my cough checked out. I've had it for a month, and my BH is starting give me the Worried Medical Expert look.
2. Thank my landlord for the new toilet that was installed today! Did you know our toilet has been broken since the day after we moved in? I probably didn't mention it because broken toilets are gross.
3. Paint stuff. Namely the kitchen walls and my rusty antique milk can. Hello, tetanus.
4. Go to the Nordique spa and sit in the steam room until I am a shriveled prune. Then drink alcoholic beverages! What could possibly go wrong?
5. Cut all my hair off. Oh wait, I did that last night. It was awesome.
6. FINISH UNPACKING. I know I'm being a bit hard on myself, seeing as how I work all day and therefore have very little time to tackle the mess of boxes... But still. I would like it to be over already. A place for everything and everything in its place, right?
7. Buy a full length mirror. Not only do I get dressed in the dark, I also get dressed without the help of a mirror. Considering that I'm not very good at wearing appropriate office attaire as it is, the results have been disastrous.
Otherwise, I'm a bit in denial about the fact that it's already August 7th. Funny, but I've been out of school for three (three?) years now and I still get the back-to-school jitters as September approaches. I wonder if that will ever go away...
I figured that with the move would come unexpected expenses. There's the sudden need for certain cleaning supplies, or pretty green plates, or shelving. Lord knows how much I've spent on bullwinkles alone this past week.
It's really been adding up though, and I've been feeling anxious about all the spending. We're not made of money, and until my BH finishes school, we're working mostly off my income. I've already planned out how my paycheques need to be spent for the foreseeable future. The added financial stress of the move wasn't helping things at all.
But just now? My BH called to say that my insurance cheque came in for my year's worth of claims. $757 worth of claims. They gave me everything I asked for (rare), and I feel a weight lifting off my shoulders. Mastercard? I will get you under control after all, you tricky bastard.
I am feeling a bit better about this whole unpacking business too. We are nearly done the kitchen and the bedroom, so that leaves the front room to conquer. Painting will have to happen later this month, which is a whole other story. Of course, it helps that I have an open bottle of wine waiting for me at home. Bring on the drunken unpacking! (Hopefully I won't find the milk in my sock drawer tomorrow)
An added bonus: Moving has uncovered some long lost treasures.
- an Ikea gift certificate
- a gift certificate to the spa!!!
- my passport
- my favourite Sigg bottle
- Morty's nail clippers
The only thing that really matters in that list is the GIFT CERTIFICATE TO THE SPA. I would say it again, but I think you've got it now.
It's been a while. I am now settling into a new home, a new neighbourhood and a new routine. I know it's going to be lovely once all the boxes are gone. It's already pretty darn nice, although I tire of the looming piles of cardboard. They loom. They are tiresome. I don't know how I've accumulated this much crap, but I have.
*Mental note: Find out when garbage day is. Do not miss the chance to get rid of said piles.*
The move itself was good. I think I lucked out with the nicest moving company in Ottawa. Are you moving? Call Checkers Movers. They will even do nunchucks demonstrations for you, free of charge. They will also not give up on your Very Long Couch until they get that fucker into your front room. They've got dedication. And fancy moving gear.
Morty is settling in well. He was pretty anxious leading up to the move, but he seems to like his new neighbourhood and he definitely likes all the people he meets on his walks. We bought him a few bullwinkles to keep him distracted while the boxes were coming in. This led to some pretty funny dialogue.
"Morty, where's your penis?" (he runs and grabs his bullwinkle, wiggling his little bum with joy)
Also, the classic:
"My dog loves the cock."
Anyway. The bad stuff. I'm still sick. I should not be going into work, but everybody in my office is on holidays and I need to do their jobs while they're gone. I have a dry cough and congestion and all the other crap that comes with a cold. Because I haven't been sleeping well, this is the third straight week I've been sick. It's really not cool.
My neighbourhood. I love it. Right smack central and still peaceful. My BH and I were having lunch yesterday when I looked at him and said, "I never want to move away from here." He agreed. Then we came home to find a welcome card (with a bulldog on it!) and some doggie treats in the mailbox. Plus Lesley came by with a housewarming skeleton key which made me grin from ear to ear. So basically? I am crafting a plan to never ever move more than a few blocks away. I like it that much.
I have a long-awaited appointment with my stylist on Wednesday. When she asks me what I want, I'm going to say "A lot shorter and a lot blonder." We'll see what happens. I'm almost tempted to start shaving the back of my head again. Lately, I feel like I've been hit with a bad case of Boring Hair. Not good, folks.
I'm off for a day of office-ing. I will update again when I am able to steal somebody's internet.