Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Blogging out the Old Year

A lot of people get hopeful and philosophical this time of year about the year to come. I prefer to reminisce. This is gonna be a long one.

So here we are. The end of 2008. Tomorrow starts 2009… a year all shiny and new. My hope for 2009 is that it will bring great things to the people who matter in my life… and that for D and I it’ll be better than the 2 years that precede it.

What does that mean? That means healthy relationships, marriages, and kids for my friends who are on those paths. It means prosperity for all our friends. It means the absolute minimum of grief. It means hopefully finding a job (or two or three or whatever it takes to not lose the house). It means steps forward on our personal project (in whatever direction necessary) with no more disappointments or losses.

The last few months have been an unusual mix. I’ve been out of work since the end of May, and have yet to uncover any realistic prospects for employment, it seems. There have been a few positions I’ve applied for and been excited about… many more that have been applied for as “at least it’s something”… but nothing’s panned out yet. So it’s looking like I might have to let go of the ideal of finding work close enough to stay living where we currently are… which brings a whole other bunch of complications with it. Like not wanting, ideally, to try to sell our house in the current economic climate. Like not wanting to abandon the kidsicles. Like D having a good, fairly recession-proof job and it’d be better if we didn’t have to give that up, too. (I say “Fairly” because I doubt that any job these days is truly recession-proof… but he’s got a good reputation with the company, and people aren’t going to stop dying any time soon, so that’s an advantage).

I’ve been attacked verbally. I’ve come to the unfortunate conclusion that someone I counted as a friend has said some pretty harsh things behind my back that they’re too chicken shit to say to my face, so they let someone else act as their mouthpiece. I’ve seen friends welcome new additions to their families with the mix of joy and sadness that goes with that… but I’d like to think I’ve been happier for them than I’ve been sad for us. I think. I hope.

But I’ve made some new friends who I think are truly wonderful people, too. And possibly acquired a new pastime. And this is where I sing their praises ;)

I think I may have mentioned that back in spring D took up a new hobby. Paintball. Now, those of you who know me from University days will probably remember I had a stalker. And those of you who were familiar with the situation will remember that he was an avid paintballer who, along with his paintballing friends, had serious issues recognizing boundries… any kind of boundries. And he did stupid-ass things like shooting up my residence house with paint and pellets after I went to the campus cops to report him etc. etc. etc. As a result of that, I developed a very bad mental association where paintball was concerned. I figured if this guy and his buddies from the sport were all asshats, then chances were pretty good that most people drawn to the sport were asshats. Ah, early-20s logic at its finest!

Anyway, D took up the sport. I made it clear to him that I had absolutely no interest in anything paintball related. At all. None. Zero. But he started talking about some of the people he met… and they sounded almost normal *laugh* (whatever ‘normal’ means ;) ). And then he joined a team… but not a competitive team… one that’s all about making it a safe and fun outing for everyone. And he went to their end-of-season banquet and came home with more stories. So I figured I’d like to meet these people. So I signed up on a forum they frequent… and I poked around, and observed (‘cuz it’s what I do), and posted a bit (‘cuz that’s also what I do ;) )… and attended an event with D that these guys run for kids to introduce them to the sport and train them right from the get-go. And I felt like a complete outsider, but I was intrigued, too.

Well, a month or so has passed now… and I’ve gone to a couple more of these things, once even without D! And I’ve met a bunch of the guys, and some of their better halves. And in another couple of days, I’m taking another step and taking the field with D and these guys (and some of their ladies). The mind… it boggles *laugh*. But as I said to D the other night… I already feel like I’ve inherited a bunch of “big brothers”. These guys have made me feel welcome… they’ve made me re-evaluate my view of the sport and the people who play it… they make me feel like part of the family. And that’s pretty damn cool.

So, in spite of all the bad of the past 18 months, I think I can say that 2008 is ending on a higher note… and that’s a nice change.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Huh... interesting....

I understand that companies run contests and give-aways to get information for marketing purposes.  I also understand that some companies "share" (read: sell) the information to other companies for cross-marketing.

However, I thought that the technicalities were that you had to be able to opt out of the selling or sharing of your personal info.

Seems not.

I was just on a site offering a freebie.  There was a spot to enter your email address.  Below were two check boxes... the first saying that you agree to comply with the rules of the give-away... the second saying that you agree to the sharing of your personal info with a third party for marketing purposes.  I, of course, unchecked the second box.  I want to have some control over where my contact info goes.  So, I unchecked the box and hit "Continue"... only to be confronted with an 'error' box telling me to check the box again.  Seriously, it said "please check the box verifying permission to share your information".


So... no freebie for me.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

5 years?? 5 years!

So.  November 8th.  Happy Anniversary to us!  5 years... how did that happen already?

It's been quite the ride over the past 5 years.... lots of ups (fun trips, new house, fun car...)... lots of downs (burst pipes, flooded basements, car crashes, feline emergencies, lost job, lost loved-ones...), but I think we're doing pretty well.

So, although D's working today (poopy), we've got a decent plan to mark the event, I think.

As an anniversary gift, my parents are treating us to a "romance package" at a swank downtown hotel... and we've got a dinner reservation at 360 restaurant (in the CN tower).  Here's hoping for a relatively cloud-free night *laugh*

But seriously... how has it been 5 years already?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!???

Monday, November 3, 2008


So... those of you who might be reading and aren't in Toronto might need some 'background'.

We have city issued Garbage and recycling bins (and green bins for compostable materials).  Recently, the city began charging an additional fee for garbage collection based on the size of garbage bin selected by homeowners.  We also alternate garbage and recycling collections (i.e. last week they collected garbage, so this week it's recycling, and next week is garbage again).

Last week, D rolled our garbage bin to the curb for the weekly pick-up.  I completely forgot what day it was, so I didn't think to go out and bring it back in.  In fact, I completely forgot about it until 8 p.m. when he turned to me and said "Thanks for bringing in the bin!".  Oh crap.  I didn't.  You mean it's not there?  Yup... that's exactly what he meant.

Somebody stole our farking bin!

Seriously?  You've got nothing better to do that steal someone's city-issued garbage bin?  What... it's got wheels and therefore must be stolen?  WTF?!?!?

So... now I have to wander the neighbourhood to see if there's a stray garbage can sitting at the curb somewhere (since this is recycling week, it should stand out), and approach the residents of the house where it might be before taking the damn thing for a walk through the neighbourhood to bring it home.  OR, worst case, I get to call the city... get bounced around (because inevitably I will call the wrong department first, or no-one will know how to answer me)... and get to argue the "no, I don't remember what size bin I ordered, but you should be able to tell me that, since you're charging me based on a particular bin size" point.

Who steals a garbage can?

Wish me luck!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Learn to drive!!!

Ok, so after my adventures on the roads of Toronto yesterday, I firmly believe that a frightening number of drivers got their licences in boxes of CrackerJacks.

Asshat #1:  I'm at a set of traffic lights with 2 left turn lanes.  I am in the right of these lanes.  In other words, the lane immediately to my right is a lane designated for travel onward along the road from which I am about to turn.  Light turns green.  Car to my immediate right  begins to move... only he's not going straight.  He's turning.  And since there are no lane markings for a turn from that lane, he's IN my lane.  Insert several seconds of standing on the horn and much cursing audible inside my car.  It gets better, though.  The road we're turning onto has 3 lanes, but the one on the right isn't really a lane, so much as a really long on-ramp.  It runs for slightly less than 1 block, and ends in an on-ramp to the 401.  So, numb-nuts clues in that I'm not surrendering the lane I'm in to him, and he's not actually in a turning lane... so he finishes his turn into this extreme right lane... but he's slightly ahead of me because I value my car too much to really force the issue around the turn.  I move to pass him, but he decides he doesn't want to be on the on-ramp... so he moves over.  NOTE:  this does not mean he changes speed or shoulder checks.  This does not even mean he looks in his goddamn mirror.  This means he moves over.  Blindly.  While my car is 1/2 way up the side of his.  Cue horn.  Cue foot to floor.  Cue more cursing.


Asshats # 2 - 279,329,562:  Does anyone check their mirrors any more?  Or their 'blind spot'?  Or their freakin' speedometer?

If the car immediately behind you on the highway is larger and heavier than yours, and the vehicle in front of you is a transport truck... it's safe to bet that both the vehicle in front of AND BEHIND yours will take longer to stop than you will.  Ergo, no need to slam on your brakes when the transport truck you're following eases onto his brakes.

If you're in the left-most lane on the 401 and traffic is flowing well, there's absolutely no reason or excuse to be travelling at 75 km/h.  None.  That's a ticketable offense, so unacceptable is such behaviour.

If you are incapable of maintaining both a conversation and your lane on the highway, guess which one you should forgo?  Yeah, the conversation, dumbass.  Or better yet... forgo driving completely.


And this is why I try not to drive on the 401 in Toronto.  Outside Toronto... not nearly as many problems, really... yeah, there are still a few idiots, but not nearly as high a concentration.

People are dumb.

And they eat a lot of CrackerJacks ;)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Theme Songs

Do you have a 'theme song'?  A song that resonates with you more than others?  A song that inspires you?

I've had a few over the years.  Some of them have come around more than once.

Back in High School (when I was a social outcast... ok maybe I'm STILL a social outcast ;) ), it was "I'm Going Slightly Mad" by Queen.  Self-explanatory, really.

In University is was "So Alive" by Love and Rockets... and that one still resonates, as long as there isn't a mirror in the vicinity.

After the catastrophic failure of my first engagement, Kim Stockwood provided my anthem-du-jour with "You Jerk".  Conveniently, it was still in my collection for the next Jerk... and the next... and the next. ;)

Lately it's been an oldie that's been around the 'theme song' track a few times.  Another Queen hit... "The Show Must Go On".  It panders to my inner whiny little drama queen, but also reminds me that no matter what kind of shit happens in life... well... shit happens.  You pick up the pieces, you move on, you hold it together.  Or at least, I try to.

If you're curious about any of these songs which have been 'themes' for me, google "lyrics bandname song title" and have a read.  Who knows... one of them might resonate with you, too.

So... do you have a theme song?  Care to share?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I'm coming out of the closet...., not THAT closet... the one down the hall. Another topic that nobody talks about, to the detriment of society, I think. I've been holding off posting about it here for several reasons (privacy concerns among family that they won't spread the info indiscriminately, a certain amount of shame, grief... ), but the time has come.

I am a mother of 12 with no child to hold.

Yeah... I hear ya... WTF? What's she talking about???

Well, this is what I'm talking about.

D and I have been struggling with fertility challenges for a few years now. Over the past year we've been stunned by our diagnosis, come to terms with it, I've gone through more tests, scans, blood draws, and injections than I care to contemplate, we've done 2 fresh cycles of IVF (in vitro fertilization... about as invasive as it gets in this game) with ICSI (which theoretically upped our odds), we've done 1 frozen cycle. And still we have no child to hold.

But we have children we love.

We've transferred 2 embryos every time we've transferred.

The first fresh cycle worked. Sadly, it didn't stick, and even before we'd had a chance to enjoy the good news or seen our child(ren), I miscarried. We didn't have a chance to enjoy being pregnant, but we love those children.

The frozen cycle didn't take. That was great news to get on New Years Eve. They didn't stay, but we love those children.

The second fresh cycle also worked. But when we went for our "viability ultrasound" at about 7 weeks we discovered that not only were we facing a missed miscarriage (where the fetus stops developing but the body doesn't clue in), but also an ectopic pregnancy. We love them, too.

It's been a rough ride. Losing my job hasn't helped, because now we're stuck spinning our wheels until I am established in a new job (after probation). We have 6 little babes waiting in cryo-preservation for us to be able to give this another go... hopefully sooner rather than later.

I'm tired of hiding. I'm tired of dodging questions. I 'came out' on a forum I frequent a while back... so now I'm coming out here (now that D has finally said I can).

What do I hope to gain by 'coming out'? I hope that people who know me might understand me better. I hope that people who have a high opinion of my strength will have a better idea of some of what's made me the way I am. I hope that some people will be more compassionate in dealing with people battling fertility challenges... that they won't make assumptions about when or whether people who are living childless want children... that they'll think before they speak... before they ask insensitive questions... before they make comments that might be hurtful. And I hope that when my friends become pregnant, that they'll try not to be hurt if I don't seem thrilled for them... I am thrilled for them, but I can't separate that happiness from my own sorrow. That pisses me off, and I'm truly sorry that I can't share in their untainted joy. And I hope that through this I can raise awareness and help someone else through my experiences. Because the pain in life is only meaningless if we don't use that knowledge of pain to help someone else in the same place.

So... there it is.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Seagulls and Turkeys and Bears.... oh my!

You know, I used to think you knew when you were in Northern Ontario when the roadkill changed from raccoons to porcupines. After this weekend I've decided there are other indicators that are perhaps more accurate (ok, so part of that is because we didn't see a single porcupine until we were already well on our way home).

Like a black bear sprinting across the 2 lane highway in front of your car. Like seeing Wild Turkey and not being in a bar (yeah, I know... bad booze reference). Like being the only car visible on the Trans-Canada (yup, seriously... no cars visible ahead or in the mirror). Like bare Canadian Shield. Like glass-smooth lakes sprinkled with islands of bare rock with a single pine tree and no other vegetation or dirt.

I love the parts of this province North of "cottage country" (well, what Torontonians consider "cottage country")... if it weren't for that pesky winter element, I think I could be quite happy living up there. Well, winter and income... but since I still don't have a job, that's not necessarily so much of a concern *laugh*

Now to wade through all the pictures and see if we got anything good!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

$0.01? Seriously?

So, D and I are off on another random road trip (yesterday's excitement really started when we saw a black bear run across the road right in front of us). Having reached destination #1 last night around dinner time, we thought we'd treat ourselves to a little slot-machine action and then grab some dinner. Yay! Slots! Gotta luv 'em... you get the thrill of gambling without risking large sums of money (which is good, because we don't HAVE large sums of money ;) ).

So, we played the machines for a while and won ourselves a tidy little bonus.

Now, for those of you who haven't played the slots in a while, around here, they've moved away from tokens (thank gawd, those things were hideously filthy) and now have machines that print out vouchers for your winnings. This means that you don't have to go see the cashier to collect your money from the machines any more, either... they have machines scattered through the hall which you feed your vouchers into and it spits out real money.

So... we're on a high from having more than doubled our money for the evening and we head to the nearest cashier-machine. There's a woman ahead of us, but we're still thrilled about our haul, so we just did a little happy dance in line. Until we heard the coin drop. Literally. One coin. A copper one.

Yes, boys and girls, this woman had a voucher for $0.01. Ok, so maybe she just didn't want to see ALL her money go down the drain into the casino's pocket... I get that. BUT, the only way to end up with that kind of voucher is if you're playing the penny slots... so why not just give the darn thing that one last spin?

It gets better. She had several vouchers that she was cashing in. The highest denomination, though, was $0.30. I think in total she walked away from that machine with about $0.60 from about a half-dozen vouchers. But man did it feel good to go up after her and walk away with paper!

Our seafood dinner was lovely... and effectively paid for by the house, since we dug into our winnings to cover it. :)

And now... off on another adventure in the Wilds of Ontario.

(still waiting for the go-ahead to discuss the other topic on here)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


So I have a topic I want to share... but right now I'm waiting for permission from the other person it directly involves. *sigh*

Don't ya just hate when that happens?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What ever happened to "Customer Service"?

Yup... you guessed it... another rant coming.

What ever happened to the notion of Customer Service? Did it fall victim to the same killer as "company pride", "pride of work", and the notion of employees being more than mere numbers? Or do people just not care any more?

My most recent dealings surrounding my car are what prompt this wondering.

Those of you who've known me for a while, or read past blog posts (not sure if I wrote any of them here, but I'm pretty sure I did at least once on the old blog), will know that I lovingly refer to my car as my "citrus fruit on wheels". This is not really fair to my car... there's remarkably little fundamentally wrong with my car, other than it being a Ford ;) I just had a series of very bad experiences with the dealership where I purchased it and who were responsible for its maintenance until we moved.

Our move pretty much coincided with the expiry of the extended warranty, so after that I just got into the habit of having the bare minimum maintenance done on it until I could find a decent mechanic.

Well, things reached a 'crisis point' when I realized that there was a distinct possibility the car wouldn't pass the emissions test required to renew my plate due to an exhaust issue that I was pretty sure existed, but which hadn't been diagnosed. So, I bit the bullet and took it to the dealership my parents deal with.

That was yesterday. And yesterday went well... they seemed to accept that I might have a brain and know what's going on with the car of which I am the sole driver. They were kind enough to give me a ride all the way home (they're not the closest dealership to me... there are 3 that are closer, 2 of them between me and them), and when they diagnosed my exhaust problem, the actually used the words "you were right" (I had suspected a small hole forwards in the exhaust system... the actual problem was a flex hose from engine to exhaust). BUT... they had to fix it before it could go for an emissions test and they had to order a part and wouldn't be able to fix it yesterday. I explained that it had to get done, because the plate expires on Thursday (yup.. .that's tomorrow).

Not a huge inconvenience for me yesterday, as D was going to be home in the evening. I did, however, want the car back in time to get the sticker today, so that I could treat myself to some birthday pampering tomorrow before heading downtown to meet up with D for a Cirque du Soleil performance.

Yeah... not going to happen.

I called the dealership at about 10:15 this morning to get an update. I'm told my Service Advisor was with a customer and would call me back right away. So I got involved in some other things and at 1:15 called again. Told the receptionist that I had called 3 hours earlier for an update and Dino (the SA) hadn't gotten back to me. She said he was on lunch, but she'd talk to the service guys to see what was happening.... came back and said she couldn't get in touch with "the tower operator", but she'd call me back "in a couple of minutes". 90 minutes later I FINALLY got in touch with Dino (having explained to the third receptionist of the day that I had called 90 minutes and 4.5 hours earlier for an update on my car and still had no info)... upon me identifying myself, he immediately said "they're working on your car now, so that should be done soon and then we'll send it for the emissions test". Hrmm. Yeah... Excuse me for not quite believing that, 'cuz I know you can't see the bays from your desk. So I asked if he'd gotten either of the previous messages requesting an update. Or at least, I tried to ask... but was interrupted with "I've been really busy and haven't checked my voicemail". Nice one... if you were that busy, then you would have been checking your voicemail on your lunch break if you had any sense of customer service. So I told him they weren't voicemails, they were messages left with reception.

Yeah... 30 minutes later he calls and tells me they're just working on it and it'll be done "in a bit" and then they'll send it for the test.

Well, since D isn't home tonight, they'll have to come pick me up to get my car... it'll take them 30 minutes to get here, and 30 minutes to get back (assuming traffic doesn't become an issue) then another 30 minutes (i have no faith in speed) to process the paperwork and my payment. It's 3:30 now... the sticker isn't getting done today, methinks. Which means I now have to make another trip tomorrow morning to get the damn sticker.

So what? So now I don't get to do the majority of my birthday pampering because of where it would have to happen, not having been able to make an appointment because of this fiasco, and when I'd have to leave to meet up with D. It was also something I wanted to do before an event I'm going to on Saturday... well, D and I have had longstanding plans for Friday, so that puts a crimp in THAT plan, too... all because these fucknuts couldn't grasp the notion of customer service enough to return my first call of the day and get my car in BEFORE the ones that came in today (since it was there since yesterday morning, I figure a little "priority service" isn't an unreasonable expectation).

CUSTOMER SERVICE, people... it means providing SERVICE (fixing my damn car) to the CUSTOMER (the person paying the not small bill... that'd be ME!). Gah!

3:45... still no word on it being done.... *sigh*

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Intimidation Tactics

So... I thought I was going to be a Road Rage statistic today. Fun, fun, fun!

Those of you in the GTA will be familiar with the 401/DVP interchange. I, from experience, chose the correct lane when I left the 401 to get onto the DVP without having to merge. The merges are pretty clearly marked. I have little to no sympathy for people who insist on waiting until the last moment to merge.

Traffic on the DVP was backed up and moving slowly... as a result, there was a fairly orderly merge going on... each car let a car in front, the next car was let in by the car behind, etc.

Well... I let in a very large truck and then closed up behind it. The minivan that was trying to force its way in behind the truck didn't appreciate that.

How do I know?

Because first the driver laid on the horn. Then he pulled up beside me (fully on the shoulder at this point) and had his passenger call me (and I quote) "Stupid Fucking Bitch". He then pulled in behind me and tailed me (closely) all the way down the DVP. Mirrored my lane changes. I know for sure that this was an intimidation tactic, because at one point I was behind a slow moving truck, doing 70 (in a 90 zone) and inspite of the lanes on either side being clear, this minivan did not pull out and pass... he stayed on my tail. Right until the last moment at my exit (my lane exited before he really wanted to, but he waited until he actually had to cross solid lines at the bull-nose to change lanes.

I speculated to my friend (male) at lunch that if they had seen a male driver I have little doubt that retaliation would have been to swiftly pass and cut me off and that would have been the end of it... but because they saw a woman they resorted to the kind of intimidation tactics used by stalkers and rapists. Nice, no?

Too bad I couldn't get a plate number.


Saturday, May 31, 2008


Ok... so it's been a while since last I wrote. In the intervening time, my parents went to China (and were there during the earthquake... thankfully they came through unscathed and in fact didn't know there'd been one until I texted them to ask if they were ok), D and I went on a cruise (one quite different from our previous Caribbean experiences), and I was humiliated by my former employers.

Yup. You read that right.

And yes, you did read a few posts back about me marking my 10 year anniversary with my employers. These would be the same ones.

I returned from vacation on Monday May 26th. Had some computer issues, checked in with my manager, went to start some testing for a project due to launch in August for which testing must be completed by June 20 to launch on time and for which they do not have enough testers. Waded through a week's worth of emails. Went home at the end of the day.

On Tuesday the 27th I went in at my usual time. Got to my desk at 7:30. Before I even had a chance to check email, my manager appeared at my desk. Odd, I thought, he's usually a 9:00 starter. He said "can I just see you upstairs for a minute?", so off I went. Walked into a meeting room in which sat our Senior Manager. Alarm bells. "OK... now I'm nervous" I joked. Ha. Joked. They proceeded to tell me that as a result of the recent restructuring of the department, they had re-evaluated the requirements of the Channel Management team (me and my manager) and had decided that they did not require 2 people on the team. My position was being eliminated.

As if that wasn't bad enough, they proceeded to tell me that my employment with the company would cease, effective May 27th (yup... that same day).

No warning. No notice. No opportunity to review internal postings. Because obviously the department I was working in is the only one in the company... so if I don't have a job with them, there's no hope of me finding one elsewhere in the organization. Arrogant idiots.

I had to ask for my damn 10 year anniversary "gift", since my manager has been holding it since April and didn't volunteer to give it to me. I now see it as my "lovely parting gift" (a la cheesy 80's game show).

They delivered the news and immediately left. Left me alone, crying, wondering what the hell happened and what the hell I was going to do. The "employment transitioning" rep who came in was the one to offer comfort. The one to even do the simple thing like hand my a freakin' Kleenex.

It was humiliating to be treated like that by a company I had given 10 years of my life. Humiliating and insulting. As was the severance offer and it's contingencies.

So now, after 10 years with one company... all my post-scholastic working life... I now have to start all over again. I have to draft a resume that includes my most recent employment in a position for which I never had a title or job description. I have to try to sell myself without saying "I know a little about a lot, but not a lot about anything". I have to figure out how to go on interviews (assuming I'm lucky enough to get one). I haven't done this for 10 years. Yes... I've done something of the sort, but really, my job changes inside the company were working connections more than formal application, or were the results of re-structuring and re-organization within the same executive areas, and the 2 interviews I've had in that time were either with people who were familiar with my father (which is how I got into the company in the first place), or someone who effectively recruited me.

I don't even know what I want to do. What I'd enjoy. This sucks.

10 years. With a large, international bank.

9 years in IT (Mainframe System and user Support, implementation and support of a fraud detection system employing 3rd party software and an MS SQL database, user and technical support for a Data Warehouse running on a TeraData platform (you'd be amazed how much information is available for clients of a bank with divisions for US operations, insurance, investments, US investments, US mortgages, and Canadian banking)), then 15 months on the business side of things in Online Strategy & Client experience (first as an online marketing coordinator, then, as a result of a re-org, as a Business Analyst (which I hated, but I suppose wasn't bad at), then as a result of management attrition and re-structuring, as part of the online Channel Management team.

Education history is predominantly in technical theatre with a focus on stage and production management.

I'm not sure where to go from here. I'm not sure if we should even stay in Toronto, or consider moving somewhere slightly less expensive to live.

I have no idea how I'm going to get the same salary I'm losing (and we need me to bring in at least as much). I have no idea if I'm going to be able to go to my friend's wedding up North in July if I manage to find something else before then. I have no idea if we're going to be able to spend the vacation time we had booked for September together or if D is going to be alone, assuming I find a new job.

I'm not even sure how seriously I should be looking right now.

To explain that. They've offered me a certain number of weeks of "Income Protection" where they pay me the same salary I was getting, and continue benefits... or a lump sum equivalent to roughly half the amount. If I decline the lump sum, I have to submit monthly reports indicating that I am actively seeking alternate employment... otherwise the pay out ceases. If I find alternate employment, payments and benefits will cease immediately and I'll get a lump sum equal to HALF the number of weeks remaining. So, the incentive seems to be... to try to look for work and fail miserably until the end of Income Protection. A challenge... and not one I'm sure my personality will accomplish. I don't think I could stand being off work that long.

Gah. I don't know what to do.

I'm just so pissed off, and humiliated by the whole thing.


Saturday, May 3, 2008

Pot Holes

You know... I'm told it was a really bad winter and that's why the roads in Toronto (and surrounding areas) are so bad. But somehow, I don't buy it. Why not? Because we've had worse winters... I remember worse winters. And there are areas that get rougher winters than we did and don't have crap-tastic roads like ours.

To give those of you not in the GTA an idea of what I'm talking about, I'll tell you about the current road works.

First... our roads. Our roads are built roughly like this (and this is both city streets and highways): gravel & sand, then reinforced concrete, then asphalt, then another layer of asphalt. When the crews go out to resurface the 401 (as an example), they grind off the top layer of asphalt, let it sit for weeks on end and then resurface (nobody's really sure why... in some areas they grind and resurface immediately).

Well, lately, the summer road-work pre-season has started to 'fix' the potholes. Except this year... they've ground off BOTH layers of asphalt and there are STILL potholes!!! Yup, that's right, the potholes this year go right down into the reinforced concrete. And it's not just on the highways where there are heavy trucks increasing the problem, but also on streets that see almost exclusively passenger vehicle traffic. Right down to the concrete.

Madness, I tell you... sheer madness! I'm so glad I pay taxes for these outstanding quality roads. *sigh*

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Poor little princess….

This is going to be a long one...

First, let me introduce you to Chloe. Our Princess. She’s cute and she knows it and will use it in any way she can. She’s a nut… she’s a spaz… she’s super affectionate and gravity-defying.

Why do you care? You don’t. I get that. But we love her and this entry is all about her, so :p

Sunday, our poor little princess slipped going up the stairs. This may or may not be relevant to anything that followed, but it’s what we pegged as the start of the odd behaviour. She started being very careful going up or down stairs or jumping onto things. Sunday night she did not curl up between D’s ankles as she usually does.

Monday dawned and she seemed mostly ok, but was still being very careful on stairs and just didn’t seem quite herself. But she didn’t complain when she was picked up, didn’t complain or squirm when I did a quick check of her abdomen (she had some liver problems a couple of years ago, so that’s our first concern when she’s not herself), didn’t seem to have any physical problems or sensitivities. But she also wasn’t jumping up on things much… even when she did jump to my lap for snuggles it was very careful.

Tuesday morning I noticed a lump on her right rear that seemed to be causing her some mild discomfort. But since she wasn’t complaining loudly, I figured I’d be ok to go to work and check her again when I got home. In retrospect, I feel like a bad kitty-mom.

When I got home yesterday I immediately went hunting for the little fluff-ball. No swelling… good sign, right? But she didn’t want me anywhere near her back-end, either… not even running her tail through my fingers. Bad sign.

So I fussed with her a bit until I could get a visual on her butt. Hrm. That fur looks damp and matted. I teased the fur aside and was upset to see an open, weeping wound about a half centimeter to the right of her third eye (hey, she winks at people with it, why not?).

So, when D got home we bundled the very unimpressed princess into her carrier and headed off half-way across the city to the only 24 hr vet we know of (there’s an “after hours clinic” that’s closer, but they don’t open until 7:30 p.m…. by going half-way across the city, we were done and heading home again by 7:45). As it happens, this is the same clinic where we rushed her in February 2006 when her liver essentially shut down. Thankfully, this trip was considerably less stressful for all 3 of us, and did much less damage to the bank account ;)

So, we were put in a room and the poor little girl was weighed. And then we waited for a vet. This poor little cat, who had been trying to avoid me for days because I kept palpating her abdomen and checking her ribs and such, curled up in my lap and hid her face in my elbow. Nearly broke my heart. But, apparently, when she’s sick or scared, I’m her “safe place”. So the doc came in and we put her up on the table so she could be examined. Yup, as I suspected, she had an abscessed anal gland that she had managed to open at some point during the day. As soon as she was released, she was back in my lap… poor kitty. Off the vet went to get a sedative/pain-killer shot to calm her down so they could do what needed to be done.

What needed to be done turned out to be shaving the area, irrigating the wound, and treating with topical antibiotics. Then she was brought back to curl into my lap again until we could get her back into the box. After discussion with the vet, we decided it’d probably be a good idea to get her a ‘satellite dish’, to keep her away from the wound, and we also need to get some canned food to give her after the pills we were also getting. So while I was paying, D took her back into the exam room to learn how to put on the collar. She was not impressed. Not at all. And in the end we took the darn thing off because she was so unhappy about it… she couldn’t eat or drink easily… she couldn’t figure out how to climb the stairs because it kept banging off the next step up… and Grimm thought she looked like a fool and decided he’d take advantage of the situation to beat up on her. We were not impressed with his efforts. Crotchety old man.

She’s much better today… to the point of running away and fighting the pills. It’s going to be a long 10 days of trying to throw a pill down her throat twice a day, I think. But thanks to 2006 we’ve reached an understanding: I understand that she needs the meds, and she understands that it really doesn’t matter how much she fights, I’m not going to give up until she GETS the meds… so why bother fighting? ;)

She’s slinking around with her tail at half-staff, though, in shame at having a half-naked bum. Poor girl.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Above the law?

Alrighty... this'll probably get me in trouble, but it's something I've observed and felt I'd comment on (because it's been far too long since I've written anything ;) )

A few nights ago D and I were sitting in the car waiting to make a left turn. At this particular intersection and on the side of the street we were on, there are 2 left-turn lanes, three lanes going straight, and one right-turn lane. The left turn lanes have their own signal, that turns green at the same time as the one to go straight (on that side of the road), but doesn't last as long.

We were in the right-most left turn lane (right beside a lane going straight).

Now, often there's an issue at this intersection when the left lanes get their advanced signal because people going the other way turning right just make their turn anyway. I guess they figure that there are 3 lanes to turn into, so they make the turn, then immediately realize that the right-most lane on our target street is actually a 401 on-ramp and dive into the centre lane (the target lane for the turn-lane we were in the other night).

The issue I encountere, however, was a different, and unexpected one.

As we were waiting for our signal, an OPP motorcycle cop pulled up beside us. It seemed a little odd to me that he was on the extreme left of the lane (practically on the line between my lane and his), and I asked D "Is he giving any indication that he's turning?". For this, I got a look as if I had three heads. Why would I ask? He was in a lane going straight. But, he looked out and said "Nope, no signal".

Sure enough, the light goes green and the motorcycle cop launches into a left turn right across in front of me. Good thing I was paying attention, I guess.

This is not the first time I've seen cops, particularly in and around this lovely city (why yes, you do detect a slight note of sarcasm there) ignoring the rules they so lovingly enforce on the rest of us.... driving without proper safety restraints (what's a seat-belt?), running lights and stop-signs (without either lights or sirens), making illegal turns (that "no left turn" sign can't possibly apply), not signaling lane changes, showing complete disregard for speed limits, and being generally un-safe on the roads. So often I've wanted to pull one over and say "I'd like to make a citizen's arrest... can you write yourself a ticket for making an illegal turn, failing to indicate a lane change, lane change in an intersection, and speeding?"

Somehow, I don't think it'd go over well.

Monday, April 7, 2008

10 years??

ok... so I never did go back and re-write that employer loyalty post that got eaten... suffice it to say the whole thing was started by seeing a guy in a Sobey's jacket shopping at Loblaws. I'm sure you can probably imagine where it went from there.

Today, though, I feel it bears mentioning that yesterday marked my 10 year anniversary with this company.

10 years. How the hell did THAT happen???

My manager is on vacation this week... I thought that'd mean he'd just leave me my "gift" and that'd be that... but apparently he's determined that 10 years should be marked, not just swept under the rug and hope nobody notices (which is usually how I live my life ;) )... so he's insisting that when he's back next week we do a big presentation. Dear god I hope he doesn't expect me to make a speech. Must remember not to wear red that day, you might not be able to tell where I end and my shirt begins *laugh*

In other news... I'm "in charge" this week at work. Danger! Danger Will Robinson! Never a particularly wise choice to leave in charge the one person who doesn't know what she's doing... or indeed what her job technically IS. but... there you go.

And... spring is officially here. I don't base this one some arbitrary calendar marking or lunar event... I base this on the fact that most of the snow is gone, the bunnies are back in our garden, and my crocuses have bloomed :)

Next up: Tulips & Daffodils.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Employer Loyalty

Sorry... this entry has been blown away during attempt to upload (stupid blogger editor... if the upload fails it should at least keep the draft *grumble*)

I'll try to write it all up again later. Sucks, though... it was a good post. I was on a roll with my prose. The second attempt will likely be far less impressive *sigh*

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Testing a new editor

So... I finally went and added a blog editor to my browser so I can post to whichever blog without having to go there, log in, type it all up and post. Now I can just type it up in the editor and upload to whichever of the blogs is appropriate. So... this is the test.

ScribeFire... let's see how you do! :)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter-y stuff

So... Easter is over for another year.

The Easter Bunny was very good to D this year... brought him a half-dozen dark chocolate Lindt Easter Eggs. He ignored me, though, which is probably for the best *laugh*. My SGF (Secret Girl Friend) from the weddingbells forums was very, very good to us for Easter, though... lots of goodies to munch on and some very cute extra items :)

And... for the first time in the 6 years we've been together, we actually did a 'festive dinner' ourselves! Since the in-laws were out of town and only arriving back yesterday and my mother's been a bit stressed out with dad being sick (lung infection of some sort, I think), we cancelled the big Easter festivities with both families. No big Easter Dinner with my folks... no big Easter Brunch out in Kitchener with D's whole family. I got up yesterday and made us a nice big Easter Breakfast (maple sausages & scrambled eggs with cheese)... we chilled for most of the day... and then I cooked us a nice big dinner... stuffed turkey breast (got bless you, Butterball!), glazed carrots, peas, biscuits, gravy... and cheesecake for dessert (I can't claim credit for that... the cheesecake was thanks to SaraLee *laugh*). Yum! And we've got leftovers (of course, 'cuz the turkey serves "6 to 8" and there's only 2 of us)

The cats got an Easter treat, too... busted out the Fancy Feast that they love so much (but shouldn't have because of Grimm's history of UT crystals and Chloe's history of liver issues). Much purring ;)

And then we woke up this morning to... snow. Snow? Snow! Yup... 5th day of spring and we've got snow. And apparently it's in the forecast for every day this week. So we might hit that all-time record this year after all. Kind of sad, though, 'cuz we could finally see some grass in our yard (not a lot, just around the edges) and the birds have been back and singing up a storm lately and now they'll be huddle shivering somewhere wondering what the hell they were thinking. Ah well... the month is almost over... it definitely came in like a lion... looks like its planning on going out like one, too.

Wiarton Willie... in the now sadly immortal words of Donald Trump... You're fired! ;)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Way Cool!

Ok... I'm a Toronto gal. And I get up early for work. So... I kind of got hooked on Breakfast Television... and from that developed a mild addiction to the BT blog. I'm also occasionally inclined to write to complete strangers (in case the blogging didn't give that away) to tell them what I think about something they've said or done.


Last week Tracy Moore, one of the BT gang whose Mat Leave is imminent, announced in the BT blog that she's getting her own little corner of the City blogosphere for a blog about all things baby-related (blogging the first year+, if you will). She posted in the blog entry asking for viewer suggestions on what to call the blog.

Now, I know that I don't really get to see BT much any more (since we leave the house shortly after it hits the air in the morning), but I sent an email anyway with a few suggestions... and today discovered that one of my suggestions has been picked... and I'll get a 'prize' of currently indeterminate nature. How cool is that?! Very :)

On the less cool side... I'm on book 5 of a 7 volume boxed set D got me as a gift and have discovered a printing error meaning some 50 pages are missing, and the next 50 pages are duplicated. Poop. So I contacted the publisher (I've had this happen before with a different publisher and they mailed me a new copy of the book... obviously I didn't expect that in this situation because it was part of a 7 volume set)... who said to bring the book in question back to the store where it was purchased and have them exchange it. Great. Awesome. Tiny little potential problem... it was purchased online, so the brick & mortar store might not accept it for exchange... Tiny little potential problem #2... it has an alternate cover and I'm not sure they sold that cover as individual books or if it was just the boxed set.

So... my plan is to finish reading the darn book (Yes, I've missed stuff in those 50 pages, but I think I've got the general gist of what I missed), and THEN worry about trying to bring it back to a brick & mortar store for exchange... and hope for the best. Otherwise, I get to email the publisher again and say "they wouldn't exchange it.. help!" and see what's what.

But I get to look forward to a 'prize'! :)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Doctors... it's nothing personal, but I hate you.

So... just got back to my desk after a trip to see my GP. Unfortunately, he's my GP by default because after years of searching and finally finding a GP I didn't despise on an instinctive level, he went an took a year's sabbatical and never came back. Don't get me started on that one.

Anyway... went to see my GP. Why? Because in an effort to bilk OHIP for as much money as possible, he refuses to give me refils on any of my prescriptions. His thinking is that he's giving me a 3 month supply and I should be happy with that. My thinking is that (for example, today's visit) I've been on this asthma controller for 2+ years, it works well, if it stopped working I'd seek an alternative, it's a pain in my ass and a very obvious money grab by him to force me to come back to his office every 3 months for a refil. I have another medication that I've been on for 2+ years... I will be on it for the rest of my life... however, since it's something that may occasionally need to be adjusted, I can see having me come in for that... but it'll only get checked ever 6 months, so why bring me back every 3????

But that's beside the point... not actually the reason for my rant, other than having been the impetus that brought me to the doctor's office.

My appointmet was set for 11:15... I left work at about 10:45 to allow lots of time to navigate and get lost in the P.A.T.H. (if you're not from TOronto... google "P.A.T.H. Toronto" to find out about the huge, labyrinthine underground mall). I arrived at the doc's office at 10:50 (aproximately). I reported to the receptionist, presented my health card, she pulled up the appointment grid on the computer and sent me to sit down. And that's where I stayed from 10:50 until noon while my doctor saw 2 patients, went for coffee, and wandered aimlessly around the clinic. Why? Because the stupid-ass receptionist checked me in, but didn't pull my damn chart. And apparently the doctor doesn't get a list of when he's got appointments booked for the day.

Anyway... got called in at 12:00, and 12:05 I was handing my prescription to the pharmacist across the hall, and at 12:15 was on my way back to work. Now if only that sort of efficiency hadn't been kocked so firmly off the rails by one stupid bint forgetting the most important step in her job. *grumble* (ok... I'm willing to admit, I don't know that much about her job, but C'mon... patient shows up... patient checks in... PULL PATIENT CHART and place in doctor's call box... it's a pretty freakin' important step in the process!!!!!!)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Spring? Are you out there?

So... over the weekend we got pummelled with yet another large deposit of cold white stuff. I shouldn't complain, we got less than the folks in Ottawa... but the snow banks at home hide our cars completely from even right next door... and they'd be even worse if we didn't take advantage of the house next door being vacant to put half our snow on their front yard (I know... we're horrible people.. but since the 'new' owners razed the entire front yard before turning the place into a grow-op, I don't feel all that bad).

So... imagine 5 - 6 ' piles of snow everywhere in suburbia. Imagine these piles of snow takeing up the space roughly 3' out from the curb. Imagine these piles of snow covering every single storm drain.

Got that picture?

Good... now imagine the temperatures for the next 3 days being +3, +5, +7... and imagine rain. Should be fun, no?

Got THAT picture? Excellent...

Now imagine the high for the day after that being -2.

I see the need to dig out the ice skates in my near future.....

I know Spring is out there somewhere. I can 'smell' it... the trees are starting to sprout (resulting in my mother calling them idiots... seriously! ;) ). Next week is the Spring Equinox. One would hope that we'll be able to send the winter coats to the cleaners soon.... but I fully expect at least one more significant snowfall. On the plus side (if it's a plus side)... we're only about 15 cm shy of setting a new snowfall record for T.O.... breaking the one from 1929 or something like that.

In comparison, and proving that I REALLY don't have anything to complain about... Ottawa has currently recorded over 400 cm of the fluffy stuff and is not that far from breaking their own record of 444.1 cm. Yes... that's right... they've already had over 4m of snow this winter... that's a bit more than the average building storey, I think.

So... the groundhog said "early spring"... mostly because we had a storm rolling in on Feb. 2nd (you have to wonder about that logic... if it's a sunny day, we get a long winter... if it's snowing, it's a short one?)... but I think our little albino friend in Wiarton needs to think about looking for a new job ;)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Confusion, irritation, and humour

So on my way home yesterday I did something. I didn't think much about it before I did it. I didn't think much about it while I was doing it. It was an impulse. A simple action. But through it I confused, and possibly irritated a driver... and confused and definitely amused a police officer.

What did I do? I took something off a windshield.

Ok... so there's more to it than that, I suppose.

On my daily trek from work to Union Station I pass the exit from the Convention Centre's parking garage. This exit is directly opposite another street and is controlled by traffic lights. Inevitably, traffic at this intersection is a mess from about 3:30 onwards, so there's usually a cop on duty to assist in traffic control. This is especially the case if there's an event happening downtown (as yesterday... I think there was a hockey game? That's what the scalpers seemed to be implying, anyway ;) ).

Anyway... As I was waiting for the signal to cross the exit from the parking garage, I saw the driver of the car that was stopped there was trying to get a flyer of some sort off his windshield. Flipped the wipers. Tried to grab. Couldn't reach. So when the light turned in my favour, I took 3 steps out of my way to grab it off his windshield for him and asked "did you want this?" He took it, and I moved on.

The cop started to laugh and as I passed he said "He thanks you... really".

Now, when I said "Did you want this" I actually meant it... if he didn't want it, I would have taken it and put it in the garbage somewhere in my travels. But the cop's comment made me think... if I hadn't handed it to him, would he have just let it blow off and fall to the street? Probably. I find that annoying. So I'm ok if I annoyed him a little bit.

I KNOW I confused him *laugh*

Maybe I should think more before I do things? ;)

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Public Washroom Etiquette (aka... uncommon courtesy)

OK, those of you who know me, know that public (or shared work environment) washroom behaviours are a source of some frustration and disgust for me. Today’s rant shouldn’t surprise you in the least.

What the hell is wrong with some people????????

I don’t care what the hell you do at home in terms of personal hygiene or “water conservation” or just sharing the joy, but PLEASE grant me my illusions at work?

Example: I just made a trip to answer the call of nature… when I walked in, there was a woman at the sink brushing her teeth. Good sign, I figure… good oral hygiene is always good. So I park myself in a stall and she goes into the one beside me. Problem #1… 5 stalls available and she uses the one beside me? But I can overlook that if I try hard enough. Problem #2… the stall she’s chosen in the handicapped one. Ok, so there’s nobody on the floor generally who NEEDS it, but c’mon… she’s perfectly able-bodied, petite… there’s no need for it. Leave the damn thing free in case there’s actually someone on the floor for a meeting who DOES need it!

She does her thing… walks out of the stall, grabs her toothbrush & toothpaste, and leaves. Problem #3… she didn’t flush. That’s just gross… who wants to walk into a stall and be confronted with that? *spew* Problem #4… she didn’t wash her hands. This is a biggie for me… skeeves me every time *shudder* Problem #5… she used the handicapped button (power assist) to open the door to leave… exposing the people who have to work outside the washroom to the joy of whatever sounds or odours may be eminating from it at any point (not in this particular instance, but still… a little courtesy) AND exposing those in the washroom to the knowledge that people can hear whatever they may be doing (and some people are shy and would rather not admit they ever have to eliminate waste products of any kind) for however long it takes for both doors to close. Plus, it’s a waste of power. Plus it’s wear and tear on the opener making it that much more likely that it won’t work when someone NEEDS it to (bad enough that the doors from the elevator lobby into our work area are automatic doors… you swipe your pass and the door opens… why this is the case on our floor but not other floors in the building with any consistency, I will never understand)

5 of my top public washroom peeves and they were all done by the same person on one trip!!!! Gah!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

What????! Two posts in two days??!

Yes, I am feeling alright, but thanks for asking ;)

As I was sitting in someone's office this morning, I saw something posted on the wall that grabbed my attention and refused to let go. Since I tend towards the shorter end of the attention span ratings, that's pretty impressive *laugh* And now for startling revelation time... I had never before today read Desiderata. I had heard of it, but I had never read it. Funny, though, since I try to live it, it seems. For all that I tend to come across as cynical and jaded... for all that I rant and rave (to vent frustrations so they don't fester)... for the most part, this prose poem (if such a term exists) speaks of my philosophy of life.

If you've never read it before either, you can find it here

And on a completely different subject (I did mention the short attention span, right?)... anyone out there a psych grad/major? Back in first year psych I took part in a hypnosis experiment (an extra credit thing)... I ended up in their "control group" because they determined that I'm "not a candidate for hypnosis". And ever since I've wondered why. What part of my personality or physiology makes me a bad candidate for hypnosis? Is it the short attention span? How easily distracted I am? That I tend to be reluctant to completely surrender control? Trust issues? *laugh* Very little has driven me quite to crazy as wondering why I can't be dragged up on stage and humiliated *laugh* Or the other applications of hypnosis other than stage mesmerism, either ;)

That's it for today folks.... play safe!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Wow I suck at this!

So.. an online conversation today made me realize that I haven't written anything here in 2 months. Which has reminded me, yet again, that I really suck at blogging... and journalling. I have a journal at home that I started for a particular journey in my life that's been going on for the last few months (ok... I started it in September), and I haven't written in the darn thing since November, I think... although the journey continues.

Why is it that some people are able to blog about anything and everything on a regular basis, and others of us find it so challenging?

It's certainly not that I have nothing to say... those who know me know that there's little that could be further from the truth ;) Maybe it's a time thing... there's always something that seems more important. Maybe it's just that I haven't had nearly enough in the past two months to rant about (no, wait... that's not right either....). Maybe it's just that I suck *laugh*

Or could it be that I have a niggling fear that the people who haunt me taking great joy in my misfortunes or lack of photogenicness (I married an English major... I have the right by marriage to make up words ;) ) will stumble across this tiny little corner of the blogosphere and report back every little thing they can think of poking fun at. Considering how hard I try to be a good person and keep things diplomatic in places where my particular sense of humour doesn't carry well, it's amazing to me how many people really don't like me *laugh* Of course, some of that I find highly amusing (like the people who cling to things for years and won't let go... how sad is your life that you can't move on from some imagined sleight 2, 4, 8, 10 years ago? Some things are more important. Really.)

So... let's see the highlights....

D and I are going on an Alaskan cruise in a few months. It's been on our list of things we really want to do since before we were married, and since this will be our 5th anniversary year (yup, we're going to stretch it out for the full year 2008, even if the anniversary isn't 'til November!) we figured what better excuse to treat ourselves! I'm really looking forward to it!

I've recently reached one year in my current desk at work. I say it that way because I'm now on my 3rd team name, and second job description in that year. Not by choice. Stupid re-orgs. I'm now doing nothing remotely like what I left IT to do, but life goes on.

I'll mark 10 years with the company in April... right now that's my goal to shoot for *laugh* Once I pass 10 years all bets are off and if I get too peeved I might just up stakes and move on. Who am I kidding? I'll be here 'til I die... or 'til we win the lottery. I'm thinking the odds are better of the first *laugh*

Yup.. pretty dull year so far... you haven't missed much by me not writing ;) But I'll try to write more often in case there's anyone actually reading this thing.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to anyone who might be reading this blog.

Here's hoping 2008 is better than 2007 was.