Cleaning house

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


That's me.

I, today, went to work and put in a full 11.5 hour day. I moved flooring; I hauled showers. Then, I went and got groceries. I did laundry. And then...(may wonders never cease!) I went to the gym.

I did 20 minutes on the elliptical (2 of those were backwards--that's freaking HARD!) and almost 100 crunches. I am so proud of me! I was productive. Scratch that--I was Productive.

I feel great. I hate going to the gym, but I always feel good afterward. Luckily, i can block the 'afterward' endorphins most of the time so I don't feel compelled to go there very often. ;)

I have arranged with Heidi from work to be my new gym buddy. She rocks, and she's freaking disciplined. We both need to be there--but she's more determined than I am, so I'm really glad we've teamed up. She's going every day, but I'm hitting about every two days. This is trip number three in a week--and I"m pleased about it. I've only been paying for the membership for two years.

When I was in Saint John I went to the gym more often because there was nothing else to do. I have been throwing myself into my work so much here, that I didn't realize how long I've actually been in Halifax. I've been here for 10 months now, and I haven't really done much of anything. I mean--paying $40 a month for a membership that I"ve used 6 times in a year is a bit stupid. So now, I will make it begin to pay for itself. And get buff at the same time ;)

I'm planning to get a 'trial' membership at a gym or two when I go home for Christmas so I can work out for two weeks for free. Hey, they don't have to know I don't intend to sign up! :)

I have planned out all my Christmas shopping for my mother for this week--I just don't know what I'm supposed to get my sister. Jen wants a Razr phone, so Amy and mum and I are all pitching in to get her the best one we can afford communally. They cost up to $400 a piece, so....starting at $97 is a good entree. Amy hasn't said what she wants. This year, my mother actually had a list for once in her life. I've got 3 things covered on it.

I got my first Christmas card today-- (Thanks, Chrissy!)--and it made me start to feel a bit festive. Tomorrow night I'm going to crack out the Christmas decorations and start festing it up. I'm heading home for the holidays on the 14th, and I get to stay in Ontario until the I'm very excited. Also quite scared because it's only two weeks away and i'm SOOO not ready, personally or work-wise. I'd better get my arse in gear!

Well--it's time to go post my exercise on my exercise boards and then put the clean sheets on my bed. Such a great feeling, clean sheets. I should shower before bed to get the full benefit of the HappySheets. Ooooh yes--that is the Plan. Clean me, Clean sheets, healthier, more fit and focussed me. Wait two weeks for results.

Sunday, November 27, 2005


I intended this to be a cheery, happy post. But I think that it will not end up that way.

I was just going through some very old emails from people I have lost touch with over the years. I feel very guilty about this, as I look back and see that the reason I have lost touch is because I'm an ass. I realize that communication is a two way street, but I still feel that the main reason these WONDERFUL relationships have not endured is because I dropped the ball in some major way and let these girls down.

I have never been good at being girlfriends. Women have always mystified me somehow. We are so demanding and expectant of one another. Men's needs are simpler for me to understand. I tend to be more 'manly' in my relationship requirements. I try to tell people when and what I need. And if I don't say there's something wrong, there's generally not. If I show concern, it's because I"m concerned. I'm pretty straightforward. Most of my (very few) girlfriends are the same way.

But I still can't help but feel I've failed somehow in letting some wonderful friendships with some very strong and wonderful women fall by the wayside. I'm going to try to repair this. I am going to apologize for my selfishness and my lack of responsiveness, and hope for forgiveness. But even if granted, I still know--deep down--that I'm more than a little bit of an ass.

I spent today at work with James counting countertop. It was good. Stinky because I spent 12 unpaid hours at the store, but good because I was able to spend some enjoyable time with James. We used to be friends, but now that I'm his boss we have issues. I try to be consistent in my manners toward him, because he is incredibly inconsistent toward me.

James is VERY clever. He's also VERY pessimistic. I find this very difficult to deal with in a workplace setting. It's funny in a friend. We used to be friends. Sometimes we are still friends. But I need to be his boss at work and he doesn't seem to understand that. I don't treat him any differently than my other department managers--and I expect the same results from him as I do from them. Sometimes I get it, and sometimes I don't. Sometimes I get a 20 minute 'discussion' about all the reasons that moving a pallet from one place to another 'simply won't work' or is 'completely ridiculous'. He doesn't argue this way because it's me, but rather because it's his nature. I just find it difficult to manage. If he had not been my friend for so long, I would simply say (and I sometimes do) "Stop arguing, and just do what I asked you." But I don't like to manage this way. Bleh.

But today was good. We had fun and got a lot accomplished. I wish I'd accomplished sleeping in and going to church, but hey...can't have everything. :)

I talked to my mom tonight about my plans for Christmas, and I'm very much looking forward to going home. I won't get to spend much time with my mother--as she will be at work while I am on vacation. But I'll get the evenings and I can meet her for lunch or something some days. Frankly a week and a half stuck in my mom's house with nothing much to do sounds dreary, but I'll likely get lots of baking done, and hopefully a trip or two to IKEA. *bounce*

I'm also hoping to meet up with Christine and some other old friends. We shall see. I am hoping to take my mom out on the town one night--she could probably use a girls night, and we've never done that before. Here's hoping--it could be fun!

Don't know what's going to go on with Dad over the holidays--I'm sure that will be a sad time too. I have a feeling he'll be at Christmas dinner, becasue my mother's got a kind heart and a soft-spot for stray puppies. But I hope he's not, for her sake. I may go over to his house and cook him a dinner on Boxing day before I leave to come home. We shall see.

I am getting my plane ticket this week, and my eyes checked on Friday. I'm very happy. :) 'tis all.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005



Is this thing on?

Yeah.'ve been having a life. Some of it interesting, some of it not. Apparently it's been far too absorbing to type about.

Went out on Saturday night. Had an okay time, but nothing spectacular. Well, only the volume of liquor I consumed, but even that was only spectacular in its predictability. I have made several notes to self though, about not drinking hard liquor at bars. It leads to mixing, which, as we all know, is VERY BAD. Just say NO to mixing, boys and girls.

Work has been okay. Now that Peggy's back from her 2 week battle with pneumonia and things are beginning to get back to normal, life is settling down. I got so far behind in my own stuff while she was away, that it's taken me over a week just to get ALMOST caught back up.

I was off today, but I went in to the store to paint the kitchen display. One of the walls was banged up, and it's been on my ToDo list for a while now to fix it. Last night I had someone patch the drywall, and today I went in and primed and painted. It was actually quite fun. It's amazing to see how quickly you can actually see results when you set to a task. Makes painting these bedrooms look a lot less daunting. I may do that after Christmas. Assuming I am still here in the spring. And I think that's a fair assumption at this point.

I finally bought a bottle of water for my water dispenser. I had forgotten how much I love that machine. It is by far the best Christmas gift I have ever received. Thanks, Kzel. I realized that I have not been drinking nearly enough water for some time now. I tend to prefer hot drinks in the colder weather, and my water machine produces enjoyably hot water. (Also cold, but I don't enjoy that as much.) I have now successfully upped my water intake by about 2 litres per day. Yay me.

In other Yay-Me News--I went to the gym last night. One of hte girls that works in our flooring department was talking about joining a gym. I told her that if she went to Nubody's that I'd love it if we could be gym buddies. I really need someone else's encouragement in order to make myself go. And it worked! Last night was EVIL weather-wise. The rain was flying sideways--the puddles were 3 and 4 inches deep on the highway. My poor little car was like a badminton birdie. But I made it to the gym! Because Heidi was there and I felt obligated to keep my commitment to her. If only I could feel so committed to myself! Anyway--this bodes well for days to come.

I've been trying hard to eat better. It's easier on my wallet as well as my digestive system. I've been forcing myself to eat breakfast every day--although this has, so far, meant that I've been late for work every day that I've had breakfast. But we can't have everything. At least nobody notices when I'm late, as I pretty much live at the store. (Or I appear to--it's all tricks with smoke and mirrors though--just don't tell anybody!)

I was there today painting---and I went upstairs to the office where I keep my stuff. My bag was there, and I wanted a snack while I waited for the paint to dry. (AllBran Bar for those of you keeping track.) Verge--the most lonerific, sad-sack, woe-is-me person I know--asked what I was doing there. I told him, and he said I needed to get a life.

Now, if he had said this in a jokin manner, I wouldn't have minded. But since he's such a down-in-the-dumps kind of Eyeore-like creature, and he said it in such a dirisive manner--I got a little bit offended.

I don't think he's ever wanted anything in his life except a girlfriend. And she has to be perfect. Skinny, pretty, a perfect homemaker. Smart, but not too smart. Independent, but needy. Oh yes, and she has to have "no baggage". For those of you at home trying to play along--this means 'no kids and no ex-boyfriends/husbands--no history at all would be preferable'. He's 38 and has just recently moved out of his parents' home. He tends to like girls in the 23-27 range and is surprised when they don't immediately want to get married and have his babies. Don't get me wrong, he's actually a very nice guy. A bit shallow and insecure, but a very nice guy. He will make some girl a wonderful husband some day. He'll adore her and want to do everything for her.

But he's in NO position to comment on my life.

At this point in my life, I have nobody waiting for me to come home. I have nobody who requires me to launder their clothes, drive them to soccer practice, or even cook their dinner. If I want Cheerios for lunch, I have Cheerios for lunch, and nobody cares or calls the Children's Aid.

What I want right now is to advance in my career. I will never again in my life have the opportunities that I have right now in terms of my own ability to pursue my goals. If you wanted something very much, and you felt that there were things that you could do in order to improve your chances of attaining that goal, would you not do everything in your power to give yourself any possible advantage? I don't feel that working late and spending some extra time at the store is a sacrifice for me, at this point. So because I don't view it that way, I really do not begrudge the time and effort. But I resent being judged negatively by someone who has no life and no goals because I do so.

Verge doesn't appear to have any career plans, aside from the position that he holds now. He doesn't want to move anywhere, and he is very married to his 8-5 Monday to Friday job. His spare time, he spends in his apartment, or in the woods. Yet he laments to me on an aolmost daily basis how lonely he is and how sad his life is because he never meets girls.

I've suggested that he join a club, or pick up a hobby. He points out that he hunts. I asked him how many women he met out in the bush the last time he was in a duck-blind. (yes, the answer--predictably--was zero) He wants the perfect woman to fall into his lap; however, he is not prepared to make any changes or slight alterations to his current life-plan in order to accomodate that. Why do people choose to live in a rut when they see that their chosen course of action is not giving them their desired results? Do we really fear change that much? What a bizarre species we are.

Enough of that. :)

So...question. I may send it over to Mrs.Belle for etiquette week--I need serious help with this one.

My parents had their 35th wedding anniversary last December. They split up permanently in January. My mom's been going through some pretty rough times--and my dad hasn't been making it any easier on her. I know this anniversary is going to be a tough time for her.

What is the appropriate way to deal with this date? Do I ignore it altogether? Do I ignore it, and just call her to chat--pretending I don't even know the significance of the date? Do I send her a (not-quite)random 'Thinking of you' card, reminding her how much she is loved? Do I call her and acknowledge the date and hope it doesn't knock her flat on her ass? I need your help.

Keep in mind, that dealing with my father is an entirely different issue. I will call him, and pretend there's nothing special about the date at all. This way, he knows I'm thinking about him, but he is not given any more ammunition with which to bludgeon my mother and her storm-tossed emotions.

I promise to do better folks. I'm sorry you've been stopping by to see the same sad excuse for a post. If only my computer were faster, this wouldn't be such a time-consuming process! I type way faster than my keyboard/monitor combination will allow me to view on the monitor. And as we've discussed previously, editing is a bitch.

Shalom, and goodnight.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Live, from Baghdad--

I am beginning to feel like a foreign correspondent, with all these remote posts. It seems that the only way I can get a post done these days is to do it from work. That’s a bit scary, considering how busy things are at work lately!

Our Re-buyer has been out with pneumonia, so I’ve been trying to do two jobs for almost two weeks now, and I tell you it’s wearing thin.

Today has been an insane day at the store—we were closed yesterday for Remembrance Day and you can tell. People always seem to think that the world is coming to an end if there is one day that they cannot spend money. Not to mention that the full moon is coming up, so they are particularly crazy and cranky.

The mother of a friend of mine died on Tuesday, so it’s been a rough week anyway. Visitation last night and funeral today. I left for about 3 hours in the middle of the day and then came back to close up. It’s very odd.

There don’t seem to me to be any more rituals more barbaric than a visitation. My friend Tamara is an only child, and while she has a lot of extended family, she has been pretty much alone having to organize everything and placate two families. Her mother was a Foster child, and Tamara’s grandparents are her mom’s foster family. Tamara knows her mom’s birth family, and they were involved, but it has been a tough week trying to play intermediary. She is having a hard enough time dealing with the death.

The death was a surprise to everyone. T’s mom was only 44, and a very busy, vibrant 44. She had had problems, which were complications from a couple of car accidents, but nothing that was really pressing at the moment. She committed suicide by overdosing on her pain medication. It was an intentional act.

T has been having a rough time, as you can only imagine. The good news is that she has a really strong network of friends to look after her. The anger portion of the program hasn’t hit yet—right now, it’s just the terrible, terrible loss.

Grief is such a bizarre emotion. It’s so overwhelming. All encompassing. It can take over every aspect of your being. And if it doesn’t, you wonder what’s wrong with you. People assume that you will react in a certain way, and if you deviate from their perceived notion of ‘the right way to grieve’, they think there’s something wrong with you.

I guess I have a bit of a different perspective on today’s funeral, as I didn’t really know T’s mom. I’ve been a friend of T’s for 10 years, but it’s always been as an adult. I’ve only met her mom once. I went today as a sign of respect for T…not out of my overwhelming sense of loss that her mom is gone.

I watched people in varying stages and types of grief today, and felt bad that I did not feel more. I was moved by portions of the ceremony. I was appalled by how quickly the minister sped through the 23rd psalm. I was amused by the musical choices (Phil Collins, John Cougar Mellencamp). I was intrigued by the clothing choices of the attendees.

I realized that the ceremony was everything that I really did not want my own ceremony to be. I do not want to be eulogized by some strange minister that does not know me or know my history. I do not want to have bad 80s rock played between half-assed prayers. I do not want people to be racked with grief.

I realized that I might not have made my wishes clear to the people that matter most. To the people that will be making these decisions on my behalf at some point in time. I know what my mother wants, because we’ve discussed it. But I don’t know if she knows what *I* want. Frankly, we never talked about it, because who expects to outlive their parents, and who expects that they will have to bury their own children?

I want a formal church funeral. I want it to be high Anglican. By this, I mean that I want all the bells and whistles. I want it to be BCP, not BAS. I hate the newfangled wording that simplifies things for people who cannot read. I want the music to be cheerful, but traditional and religious. The one hymn I want more than anything is “Lord of the Dance”. It’s cheerful, happy, and it’s been my favourite hymn from the first time I ever heard it.

‘Dance then, wherever you may be.

I am the Lord and the Dance’, said He.

‘I will lead you all, wherever you may be—

I will lead you all in the dance’ said He.

I want people to tell happy stories, not sad ones. AND I DO NOT WANT SOMEONE WHO CANNOT USE GOOD GRAMMAR TO GET UP AT ALL. Those of you that know me well know that nothing irks me more than someone who says ‘youse’ and ‘yourn’ and ‘din’t’. If you want me to come back and haunt you, then get some moron up to eulogize. That’ll make me happy. Forget kicking the bucket, I’ll come back and hurl it at you. Or, alternately, chuck someone upside the head with it.

Tired. Busy. Cranky. Must go back to work for another few hours. I’ll try to post more when I get home tonight.

And have no fear; you will not have to share this post with my mother any time soon.

Monday, November 07, 2005


Gawd, Christine--getting all uppity for the end of the post. Can't you just be happy I posted at all and move on? *grin*

I actually wrote the last one on Saturday and mailed it in, but when I got to work today I found that it had bounced back. Apparently you need to mail your posts to the right address if you wish them to be magically posted for you. Who'd a thought it?

I really don't recall what else happened on Saturday. I actually remember though that the screaming crazy paint lady was NOT the most bizarre thing that occurred on Saturday. My life is just a bowl of cherries, I tell you.

Crazy paint lady calmed down considerably when I went to speak with her myself. There's something about speaking to 'The Manager' that causes crazy people to have moments of lucidity. Long enough to attempt to convince me that they are not, indeed, psycho. It seldom works, as I generally believe that people who demand to see 'The Manager' have their own club and sane people are denied membership on a consistent basis.

This is not to say that I don't feel people should complain, because I really DO. I just think that people should complain about things that are rational and that have some aspect over which human beings have any minute degree of control.

I cannot regulate the temperature of the sun in order to accomodate your family vacation. I am unable to make it stop raining hurricane force rain in order that you can take delivery of your drywall. I am unable to change the odour of deer feces in the middle of a wildlife petting zoo. And I am certainly not able to train a 10,000 pound whale to not defecate in the middle of the show-pool during your child's class trip. These are all things about which I have received complaints in the last 15 years of customer service jobs that I have held.

Complain to me about the rude cashier. Explain to me how you wasted your entire day waiting for a delivery truck to arrive--when it never did because you were too stupid (oops--my bad--*CONFUSED*) to give the salesclerk your correct street address. These are things which I can fix for you. I will even pretend that your inability to know with any degree of certainty WHICH HOUSE IS YOURS is the fault of the sales-person. Not that they were stupid and got it wrong, but that they should have asked you more questions and actually ascertained that what you were telling them was TRUE and ACCURATE.

I am a professional fixer. It is what I do ALL day long. Some days are easier than others. These are the days that are not filled with psychotic people (henceforth referred to as 'customers'). The tough days are the ones filled chock-full-o-crazies (henceforth referred to as 'customers'--you see my dilemma, sometimes even trained professionals have a difficult time telling them apart).

The days that are chock-full-o-crazies are the most trying, but these are the days that remind me how damned good at my job I am. It's one thing to take a rational person with a reasonable problem and solve that problem to your mutual satisfaction. It's another thing altogether to be able to make a crazy-freak (i.e. 'customer') happy.

We have a lady who stops into our store on a regular basis trying to return things without a receipt. Now, we have an *insanely* flexible return policy; however, we do require a piece of government issued photo-id if you do not have a receipt. Even so, depending on the item/circumstance/phase of the moon we may put a 24 hour hold on said item while we research the sale. This way we can ensure that the item did indeed come from our store/company and that we are not being scammed.

This 'customer' comes in at least once a week trying to return old, used crap that she has found in her house. I may be overly generous here, using the term 'house'. I think that she likely lives in a tin-foil coated cardboard box that she stole from our dumpster--but I shall try to be kind. The 'stuff' that she brings in to return is garbage. Always. Nevertheless, we will take it back if we can find some record of sale.

The problem that we run into occurs at the point when we ask her for identification. I believe that she may be in some sort of Econo- version of the witness protection program. She thinks the feds are out to get her. She will not give us governement issued ID. She tries to get refunds with her library card. She has several different library cards, with different names on them. She has also attempted to use her Airmiles card, and her Second Cup frequent buyer coffee card. She is summarily shot down each and every time. She ALWAYS causes a scene.

This woman, although quite likely certifiable, is a waste of my time. She is attempting to defraud my company, and steal from the pockets of genuine customers. People who return things that are garbage, or that they have 'acquired' elsewhere, are STEALING. And they're STEALING from you and me.

I have to be kind, and polite, and respectful, and considerate of this woman's feelings each and every time that she comes in to perpetrate this fraud. Because she's at the front of my store making a scene in front of the real customers. The ones that actually PAY for stuff. I need them to see that I am the rational one in the discussion, and that SHE is the crazy. I need to test myself against the forces of evil, and come out triumphant each and every time.

Exhilerating. Draining. Sometimes downright irritating. But always challenging.

As for the crazy, screaming, swearing, returning-shite-all-the-time-that-she-bought-on-clearance-and-tries-to-get-full-pop-for-with-no-receipt Paint Lady--Security forces are currently moving in on her location and will soon have her banned from returning ANY product without a receipt. Doesn't sound like much to you--but it makes a hella difference in my world.

Remind me to tell you about our security guy one day--he's ex-KGB. He's a real hoot. Freaking obsessively paranoid and camera-happy---but a hoot nonetheless.

FW: Posting

Posting becomes harder and harder the more you don’t do it. However, in order for me to have something to post about, I need to be out having a life. The more I’m out having a life, the less I feel like posting. This is the crux of my problem.

So… I was leaving my apartment this morning, and my senses were assaulted by a number of glaring* items. (make note of this word, it will be a recurring theme!)

We had new carpet installed in my building yesterday. It’s lovely. Dark blue, with flecks of burgundy, etc in it. Lovely commercial stuff. Even though it didn’t come from my store, and to the best of my knowledge we didn’t even get to quote on the job. But that’s irrelevant to my story at this point.

I was admiring the carpet, which is incredibly smelly. I was trying not to spill my coffee on said carpet as I locked my door and juggled my personal belongings from hand to hand. The smell of carpet adhesive was overwhelmingly icky. Nauseating, in fact.

We also have pale blue painted walls…a fact I had (until today) been somewhat pleased about, in a rather understated way. Most condo buildings and apartment buildings I’ve previously lived in have that lovely shade on the wall known as ‘builder’s beige’. I was pleased that we were a bit different and that someone had actually ventured out of their comfort zone enough to paint the walls a very pale sky-blue colour. But. They used semi-gloss paint. Which is very shiny, and can be very reflective in certain lights.

This is the part of the story where it takes a turn for the worse. In the theme of home improvement, the condo-corp also took the opportunity to change all the light-bulbs in the hallway. Compact fluorescents were installed. I understand that they are energy saving. I know that they help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. I comprehend that the Great Marketing Machine is all horny to get people using these bulbs at every opportunity. I hate them. They are GLARING, people. They GLARE. Compact fluorescent bulbs when combined with glossy paint finishes create a blinding effect that can be equalled by no force—either natural or man made. To be quite honest, I believe that they may induce strokes. (I have no scientific evidence to support this claim. Just trust me on this--I nearly passed grade 11 Chemistry. I'm a reliable source.) To clarify:

CFL bulbs + shiny paint = BLINDING GLARE.

Since I can’t seem to find the time to post at home, I’m testing out the post-via-e-mail option that Blogger is offering these days. We shall all find out how it works out, I’m thinking. Although, as I am currently at work, I think you’ll find out before I do.

I lost track of my narrative up there. I forgot to mention the other surreal thing that happened as I was leaving my apartment. (I was distracted by the shiny things!)

So…after I make it out of the Glaring Hallway of Doom (henceforth known as the GHOD) I manoeuvre through the two other doors leaving my apartment building (I’m on the first floor!!!) and make it into the exit vestibule.* There, I nearly lost my coffee. Staring up at me from the floor, was an head. This had was a carved head—some African goddess head or something of the sort. It was nifty.

I kicked it with my toe for a better look. I nearly picked it up and kept it in my pocket for a good-luck token for the day. Then I realized that it hadn’t been so lucky for neither the person that lost it, nor the person whose head had been shrunken and strung on a necklace. Thus, I decided to leave the unlucky deity lying on the ground where I found it.

It’s been a busy day here at the store and I’ve been having a challenging time getting anything done with so many customer ‘concerns’. What the hell is it that gets into people that they think their petty little problem is the end of the world? Allow me to give you an example.

For the record, I do not work at Colour Your World.

A lady came into the paint department today. She brought her can of paint from CYW in with her. It was light beige. She wanted us to tint it to a very dark brown colour. Our paint department manager has explained to this lady several times prior to this that there is only so much tint one can of paint can take, and that once you begin deviating from the colour formula, you do not know what you may end up with. She patiently explained this to the customer once more. She also indicated that we do not tint paint from other companies.

The woman LOST IT. I mean yelling and screaming. “Why the fuck can’t you tint it? It’s fucking PAINT isn’t it? Your attitude sucks. Why are you such a bitch? You think that mixing fucking paint all day makes you some kind of fucking EXPERT?” And so on.

She then wanted to talk to a manager—which is me.

Duty calls—more when I get home. We can find out together if this works!