Archive for January, 2009

Art Imitates Life

Apparently Dilbert is unemployed now.

I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before he starts hanging out with the Maytag repair man too.

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Brrrr

Well, we’re having our second bit of a cold snap here, so yesterday I stopped by the furnace oil company and put some money on the account and asked if I could have $300 of oil delivered…  for the last year or so $300 has been the minimum delivery order (or $400 if you wanted it faster).  The woman looked at me like I had two heads…

“The minimum oil delivery is $351.89,” she stated in a matter of fact tone that implied everyone on the planet knew that.

So I asked for $351.89 worth of oil.

Seriously, who comes up with a number like that?  What genius said, “hey… we need to raise our minimum order price… how about $351.89?”  I understand that in all likelihood that is the cost of a certain number of litres, or many some top secret significant number only memorable to oil company workers, but couldn’t they have rounded it to $350 or $355?  And what would happen if I already had oil in my tank and only $351.88 would fit?

Which brings me to my other cold weather point.  Our house is drafty in certain places… the front door, the corner of the master bedroom, and the entire kitchen are significant heat eaters.  I had to move the pile of sweaters I have against the cold bedroom corner wall and there was snow, or frost, or white cold stuff ON THE INSIDE of the house there.  I have no idea how that’s even possible, but it is. 

So, in my attempt to at least warm up the draft from the front door, off to the hardware store I went and bought some window plastic.  Our plan was to seal it from inside the porch like it was a big window.  That way, the door could still be accessed in an emergency (just break the thin plastic), but the draft would be blocked in a way that is not visible from the living room.  The plan worked beautifully and the living room has warmed up significantly.  It worked so well, in fact, that now I’m wondering…

Why don’t they make really big house plastic so I can just wrap my whole house in it from the outside until winter is over?  They could make it all shrink wrappy for people who care about asthetic appeal, or make the plastic some festive colour or pattern or something for those who like something a little funky or artistic.  They could even make wrapping accessories to boost sales, like ribbon and bows and things, so people could make their wrapped houses look like presents.  And there would be a whole new job market for expert gift wrappers.  It would extend their season significantly.  Some wrappers might even get their own show on HGTV.

It was -23C yesterday… (that’s -9.4 F) … and -31C with the windchill (-23.8F)… I’m only partially kidding about this.

Windows

I went to the laundromat today. Because apparently I am not the only thing not working in my household. My dryer, in a great show of commiseration, has decided to stop working as well. Similarly, since unemployment commenced, my van and the bathroom lightswitch have also shown their loyalty by refusing to work. The last two have been repaired, but among what I really need right now is for the things in my life to stop showing such empathy. Or I need some maintenance skills and some power tools. Or chocolate. Or all of the above. Because wallowing in self-indulgent introspection is all the more difficult when one is up to one’s neck in dirty socks and underwear.

I am not a fan of laundromats… they are boring, and expensive. I also did not come prepared with coffee and magazine as some patrons had. I was lucky to have remembered the dryer sheets. Of course, one would think that the “boringness” and “unpreparedness” would lend itself nicely to the self-indulgent introspection I would otherwise be occupied with….except that the dryers in laundromats have windows, which is sort of distracting and mind numbing at the same time. My dryer at home has no window. I have previously had little need to watch my own laundry.

But now that I think of it, my washing machine does have a window. I’ve also never sat and watched my clothes clean. But it does make me wonder… why would a manufacturer of a stackable set think someone would want to watch their clothes clean but not dry? And why aren’t there windows in things in the house that you actually need to monitor… like how brown your toast is getting, and did you already add the water to the coffee machine?

And how quickly is my mind turning to mush that I actually spent a half hour of my day thinking about this stuff? Then another few minutes actually writing it down. Seriously, will I be making handcrafts from the dryer lint next? I am worried, my friends. I am worried.

Protected: A Revelation

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My life is a fixer-upper

I think I’m losing my ever-loving mind. Now that I am unemployed, I feel like my life is a fixer-upper and I only have certain tools in my toolbox, and I live in a place where there are only so many tools available at the home stores. So I wait for a flyer about a cool tool that I might use to fix my house, and while I’m waiting I’m walking around that fixer upper poking at things and just feeling worse about stuff. I am not well suited for this. But I’ve made a few discoveries…

– No matter how many times you hit refresh, it doesn’t make jobs magically appear on the boards.

– Employment Insurance in Canada is very sloooooow in making decisions on claims.

– Reading economic news is not a good idea.

– Having a weekend job may feel like a bad idea every Saturday morning, but it sure seems like a good idea when you actually have some grocery money.

– Both exercise and ice cream have the capacity to make me feel better. I think I need to get more of both.

Which brings me to a much more lighter topic… exercise. As you know, I have been taking the family taekwondo class with the girls. While I spend at least three hours a week in the dojang, only one of those is for my own actual participation. Family class is free for the families of members, it’s something we can do together, and it is a great deal of fun. This past Wednesday was my first class since getting my first belt in December. And, for the record, while I do have my first belt, I don’t actually have a dobok (the white jammie-like uniform).

So as I was getting ready for class, in my black yoga pants and my extra-extra-large-swimming-on-my-frame black beer shirt (classy, I know, but it was free too), my girls started to nag me to try to find something white to wear. I don’t own white exercise stuff. I have two black pairs of yoga pants, and that is the entire wardrobe. A selection would suggestion that I actually do more exercise….

“Well, at least wear your belt,” they said.

“I can’t,” I said. “It would be wrong.”

“No, you earned it,” they replied. “Wear it anyway.”

“No,” I replied, frantically trying to think of a fashion reason why, but coming up with nothing better than, “because it would not go with my ninja attire. We ninja have rules about these things.”

So now, we have a running dialogue about ninjas happening, and I like that. Somehow in my mind, if I can turn my mental images around from poking about the fixer-upper house to the stealth agile movements of a ninja I think I will be far better off mentally. I think that ninja should kick the crap out of that house. You see how good exercise can be?

Of course, fixer-upper or ninja, there will always be room for the ice cream. That goes without saying.

Protected: 2009 Roars Right Into Town

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It’s 2009

Last night the new year was rung in in a typical lackluster way.  I crawled into bed at about midnight and said to Husband, “Happy New Year.  I hope 2009 doesn’t suck.”  And that was it.  Wheee.

This year will not revisit anything in 2008.  Not resolutions unattained, not wishes unfulfilled.  Nothing.  Farewell 2008.  Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

Step one of the new year in the daunting task of getting my life in order is, of course, to find a new job.  A fabulous one prefered, thank you very much, but I will settle for just plain ok, to be quite honest. 

I guess,  as this new year begins, I feel a little like I’m redefining myself.  It is amazing how, even though one may not like one’s employment, so much of one’s self perception is wrapped up in what one does, or the fact that one even works.  I am a what?  I do whatWhat indeed… I have no answers, and it scares the crap out of me.  What is it I even want beyond just a paycheck?  Or is it just a paycheck from which one can create the what they identify with?

Then, of course, I need to work on creativity… write more, create more, and learn how to sew stuff.  I got a sewing machine for Christmas and, quite frankly, either pattern makers are really bad at explaining things well, or I need to brush up on my instruction following skills, because in the end I just kind of winged it on both projects (doll clothes and a tote bag).  I don’t think we’ll be starting any major quilts any time soon.  Placemats maybe… but quilts are somewhere down the road, I think.  Baby steps all around I guess.

And increasing my writing needs to include blogging.  2008 was not my greatest blog effort, admittedly.  But it is a new year ripe with opportunities to do better, so we’ll include that in my list of efforts…. however rambling and incoherent they may sometimes be.

To all my readers, however few and far between, I hope 2009 brings you peace and fulfilment, good health, and joy.  Happy New Year.


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