Monday, March 31, 2008

Work to Live

Some people in this world live to work. They are workaholics who are first at the office in the morning and last to leave at night. They come in their own time on weekends. This is definitely not me.

I work to live. My life is #1 and my work is just the means to support it financially. I arrive at the office at 9am and leave at 5pm. I don't take the two 15-minute allowed breaks and I find I am working through lunch more & more. My team at work rarely takes lunch. I don't know why. They seem to be content to sit at their desks through lunch and nibble on food and continue to work. It's not like we're that busy. We're busy but that's insane.

I like to take a break at lunch and go for a walk; meet a friend or go to the little gym (when I can coax my butt into gear). But sitting at my desk non-stop for 8 hours is just too much. I don't even smoke so I'm missing out on all sorts of breaks there too!

But I am just rambling now. The real reason I started this post is because my DH is miserable at work. He transferred work deparments six months ago to one of the most elite/hard-to-get-into departments in his organization. He was thrilled to get into this unit but it unfortunately turned out it was more like jumping from the frying pan to the fire. The work part is interesting but the team he got placed on are a bunch of a$$holes. I don't usually swear that much but that's how bad these people are. They are purposely mean and unhelpful to him and go out of their way to make him look bad.

I know he's my husband so I might be called bias, but he is intelligent and really good at his job. He's a hard worker at work and is a friendly guy who could easily fit into any team. Except this team. I can't believe some of the things these people do.

DH hated this team from day one. He kept an open mind and thought he'd at least stay for his probation period (6 months) and see how things progressed. It's been 6 months and there's no progression. He's tried to be as flexible and "cool" as possible and this team is still driving him insane.

This past weekned, I finally snapped. DH has been miserable for six months now. Everything is negative in his world because he is so unhappy at work and it's seeping into the rest of his life. I try to point out or plan fun things and he's just inconsolable. So I finally had a mini breakdown. It's exhausting being around someone so unhappy all the time. You start thinking maybe it's you causing the unhappiness.

DH recognized that he has to do something. He made a phone call to a friend in another unit and asked if they need people and how their unit is. He's planned in his head to talk to his manager next week (he's away this week) and figure out a plan. He talked to his manager before and I think he realizes the problems but doesn't seem to be able to address them.

I hope things turn around for DH at work. Not to sound like a whack-job, but I promoted positive-thinking to DH because all he does (literally) is grumble and complain alot of the time. He tried it for one day yesterday and said it wasn't working too well. I said "well, it took you six months to get this depressed and down so it's going to take a lot longer than 24 hours to get undepressed!".

It's amazing how much of an effect your job can have on your entire life. You spend so many hours a week at your job that if you're not happy (ok, at least content) there, then how are you going to be happy at home?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Country Mouse and the City Mouse

I liken myself and my DH to this children's story somedays. I was born & raised in the city and absolutely love it. My DH was born & raised in the country and moved to the city in his early 20's to pursue his career.

When I leave the city to visit the country, I enjoy my time there but miss the city. I sigh with relief when I see the business towers when re-entering the city. My DH has climatized to living in the city but still gets rather home-sick and frustrated with city life. I think this is especially true when there's crazy snowfalls and the simplest things become quite complicated. He also missed the vast amounts of space that he grew up with. In the city, you have to be quite a good organizer and not a crazy pack-rat (which is something we're slowly getting better at!) and learn to make do with less space.

This got me to thinking about the variety of people who live, work in or visit the city. There seems to be 4 categories:
(1) born, raised and live in city
(2) born, raised in city and now lives in suburbs (possibly commutes into city for work)
(3) born, raised and lives in country
(4) born, raised in country and now lives in city (very rare group).

I think this last group is the rarest and also has the hardest transition. Most people who live in the country can't STAND the city! They go on about how dirty, overcrowded, dangerous and congested the city is. When my in-laws do this, it gets my blood boiling. That's my home that they're cutting up!!

I used to not say much when they got started but then I gradually started defending the poor city. Then one day, I snapped. I said "hey, that's my HOME you're trashing. Do I ever sit & trash where you live? Have you ever lived in the city? (no) Then all the things you're saying are based on what?" Yeah...that shut them up. Haven't heard much in the way of city-trashing in quite some time!

Early in our marriage, the parents-in-laws worried about my safety at night when my husband would work late. They'd call me at home to check on me. It was rather sweet of them but the more I thought about it, the clearer it became that I feel safer in the city than anywhere else. There are literally millions of people around! We live so close to our neighbours that I could literally drag myself to my next-door neighbour if I needed to. And I like that. I like that my neighbours are literally a few feet away from me. Our emergency services are top notch - I've had to call a few times and they show up very quickly! I think I would feel unsafe in a house in an isolated place. That would freak me out. But give me a few million people, some crackheads and neighbours living on top of me, I'm at home!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Thank You

I'm slowly starting to feel human again. That was quite a mini meltdown I had over the past couple of days. I think everyone has them. Every so often, life just gets overwhelming and you just can't cope. Despair and sadness set in and you're soon bawling your eyes out. I was wishing I could just run away from everything - my family, my work, my life. I was thinking life would be so much easier if you just hit re-set and start a fresh one.

Nothing has really changed from my last post except for my ability to cope. My mom's nursing home is still not open to visitors, I'm still a lost little child in some ways and my DH's ex is still a very touchy nerve for me. But I've talked to friends and my sibling and sat and blogged my heart out and I'm starting to feel better. My sibling pointed out that I have a lot of little things going on and that stress/sadness are cumulative and sometimes creeps up on you and BAM! You're a basketcase before you can even reach for a kleenex (make sure it's 2 ply).

Last night, I did relaxing things at home. I soaked in the hot tub, I had a glass of wine... I watched my soap opera...I read (I finished my latest bookclub pick so this was extra-curricular reading!). It was a much needed, therapeutic-type of night.

And lastly, I will talk about the title of this post: Thank you. I'm not sure how many reader(s) I have. I'm not sure if anyone I don't know reads this blabbering blog. But blogging helped me through these past couple of rough days. I wrote in my blog; I read other blogs. And I want to say thank you for reading and thank you for writing. It's really helped. :)

Monday, March 10, 2008

It's a wedding. It's a funeral. It's a ???

So, I went to the G*d-forsaken, dreaded event this weekend. Despite having the worst snowstorm our city has seen in years, we went. Some people that I was really counting on to show up, didn't. I think their quiet support would have helped a bit. Snowstorm was their scapegoat. WE GOT THERE...why couldn't they?

It was a bizarre event. My DH's ex was the guest of honour ("GOH") and several people commented that it felt like we were at a mini wedding and or funeral. There was a mini movie presentation on the GOH followed by speeches from friends, her mom and herself and to top it off, there was some sort of bonbonierre take-away. How bizarre!! Upon reflection yesterday, I felt like I had attended a 5 hour informercial/timeshare info-session on the GOH.

Emotionally, it was hard. How would you like to sit and listen for 5 hours about how amazing your SO's ex is? Christ, by the end of it, I wondered why they had broken up if she's so awesome. I felt pretty lonely at this event. The GOH had a ton of friends there, including an army of gays who were constantly fawning over her, fixing her hair and makeup and boosting ego every 30 seconds.

I smiled through the evening and kept a vision of Princess Diana in my mind. That woman had grace. She went through some crappy situations in her life and always kept a polite smile on her face. My Princess Diana routine continues today as I see little snide remarks made under photos of me from the event on facebook (I keep my profile pretty privatized so I don't think the culprits even know I'm on there/can see their pics and remarks). Can you imagine being in the tabloids like celebrities? I couldn't take it!

I had a complete & utter breakdown yesterday. Not just about this stupid event. About life in general. There are days when a girl needs her mom to run home to and sit and bawl her eyes out over a cup of tea (or a nip of wine as my mom used to say "here dear...take a sip of this, it'll calm your nerves"). I don't have that luxury. I don't have the simple luxury of talking to my mom. I would have gone to visit her in the nursing home, but it's in lockdown this week due to an influenza outbreak.

So that leads to another thing to have a meltdown about... I worry about my mom when there's a lockdown because I can't see her and see if she's ok. There's been a few times where I've had to point out to the home that she's sick and needs medical attention. Don't get me wrong...the home is wonderful and I couldn't ask for my mom to be living in a better place. But somedays, they're understaffed and don't notice every little sniffle that every resident has right away.

Those thoughts lead to thoughts of despair about my dysfunctional family. After my dad passed away when I was in high school, my family became quite screwed up. My siblings are constantly in battle or not talking to each other. Meanwhile, our mom got sick and we had to co-ordinate our efforts in her care. It's been a brutal road. It's hard enough to handle a parent being sick but never mind when your siblings are ready to strangle each other. Being the youngest (by a long shot) child, I've always fallen in the middle of the battles. I always try to promote peace to deaf ears. I always try to coordinate holidays at my house so it's on "neutral" ground. But I get tired of this role and how things have not improved over the years. With Easter coming up, I'm lamenting how whacked things are and how I wish things could be better.

Which lead to another round of tears about how I feel so alone in the world somedays. Having your parents ill/pass away starting when your 10 years old is hard. You grow up overnight on your own and basically don't have anywhere/anyone to turn back to if things go wrong. It made me mature faster than my friends but at the same time, I feel like I missed out on parental guidance. And now, somedays, I wish so much that I had real, alive & well parents to go home to. I feel like I was kicked out of the fabled nest too young and too early. I had to deal with things that you usually don't deal with until you're an adult. And now that I am an adult (well, at least biologically), I feel like I want to be a child again and run and bawl my eyes out to my mom.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Attention all passengers...

Get this - I go to catch the 8:20 bus this morning. I'm out there at 8:10am because we had yet another snowstorm overnight and it was continuing this morning. I wasn't going to miss my bus.

My neighbourhood is an "up & coming" area of the city. Read: we live in an iffy part of the city but at least we could afford a house there and we hope the neighbourhood is turning around. My bus stop has 2 routes that stop at it: "Bus Route A" (aka crackheads-express) and "Bus Route B" (my bus route that caters to more of the downtown office crowd). The two routes go to distinctly different subway lines ("Route B" going towards the line that's more direct route to downtown).

So crackheads-express arrives at the bus stop first and is loading passengers. My bus comes along behind it and decides to bypass the stop and just keeps going (it's HALF EMPTY!!). I jump, scream & wave my arms and he keeps going. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR..... this bus only comes once every 20 minutes if you're lucky.

Looks like I'm getting on the crackheads-express. But no....the crackheads-express bus closes its doors (probably thinking I'm the biggest crackhead ever!) and zooms away. I'm standing there with no bus and it's now 8:22 am. F__K.

So now this is where you'd be proud. I'm wearing my old runners b/c I find I get better traction on snow with runners than boots. I sprint 2 city blocks to chase the crackheads-express and get on it at the next stop. Yep, I caught it. I told the driver that the other bus bypassed the stop and missed me and he just shrugged his shoulders. In the first 2 seats, yep, you guessed it. A crackhead couple fighting over something. Next stop is "I hate public transit"..."I hate public transit" is next.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


I have a hair appointment tonight. Part of me is happy because I haven't got my hair done since mid-December so it's starting to look a little ragged and dull. Part of me is dreading the appointment because it takes so long, my highlighter is a freak and it costs so much money. I used to enjoy going to get my hair done when I didn't have a mortgage (and this expense...and that expense...). I also used to enjoy conversations with my previous highlighters - the new guy just isn't so fun to chat with.

I feel a bit guilty and spoiled for even daring to complain or blog about this. There's plenty of people out there who are sick or poor and will never have the luxury of going to a nice salon to get their hair done. But for women who do get their hair done at a nice salon, you KNOW what I am blogging about.

I mentioned to my DH that I had an appointment tonight and how I've been trying to stretch out the time between appointments because it's so expensive. He, like most men, are completely clueless when it comes to women's hair. They have NO idea how expensive it is. His jaw dropped when I told him it costs approximately $200 for highlights, a cut and a manicure. I know that's alot. But I try to go only 4/times a year. And I really don't trust cheapy places - they could butcher my hair and burn my scalp. I know that in his mind, he was thinking "why don't you just go to Top Cuts like me for $12 cuts?". I've witnessed other couples have this EXACT same conversation. Guys just don't get it.

My DH would never tell me that I can't go. I have a job and a budget (kinda) and my hair appointments are one of my luxuries. But I think I felt myself looking to justify the need (to myself...not to DH). I said my hair needs a cut and highlights because it's looking ragged, dull & limp. My DH tried to say my hair didn't look too bad. He questioned how colour is going to help the limpness. I said that colour boosts hair volume and texture. This fascinated him. It was quite funny to watch him digest this newly acquired information. Again, it confirmed that DH has no idea when it comes to women's hair appointments. He's completely in the dark when it comes to this.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Early Spring Cleaning

This weekend, DH was working so I took it upon myself to get the house in better shape. Yes, I know we have a cleaning lady, but she's not a miracle worker. She does dusting, bathroom & kitchen cleaning, washes floors and vacuums (99% of'll see what I mean later in post). But she doesn't organize the loads of junk that we have around.

DH and I are a little pack rats. He is much worse than me. Together, we create mounds of clutter. This weekend, I attacked it full speed:

-I collected 2 garbage bags full of crap from around the house this weekend. I read it on some website that if you feel like your house is not organized and is cluttered, to go around with a garbage bag and collect 27 items to throw out in one swoop. Even a pen that no longer works. Pick anything to make 27 items. If you do this now & then, you'll de-clutter. I can't remember the website right now but I'll definitely edit this post when I remember. I read it ages ago and kept this little gem from it.

-I took down & washed heavy curtains in our bedroom and rehung them (was prepared for them to fall apart in wash and have to go buy news ones - they're over 5 yrs old and from a discount place, what can you expect? but they lived through it and look pretty good). You wouldn't believe how dusty/dirty they were.

-I vacuumed under our bed and behind our heavy, awkward nightstands. WOW. Huge dust accumulation. Gross.

-I scrubbed our shower with a Mr. Clean pad and some BAM! with great vigour. This is one area that I think our cleaning lady could do better in but I have to admit that I'm a little scared to bring up any faults with her. I don't want to tick her off!

-I found items around the house that have been "missing". They were actually just misplaced and needed to be located and put in their rightful spots. DH is pretty bad about putting things back in their spots much to my dismay.

-I started to fold up my side-business. I've been selling direct-sales for a couple years and honnestly, it's hard to keep up with the quotas for the little income/tax benefits. So I sent out an email on Friday night letting my customers know that I'll be closing shop in 2 months (gives time for customers to order those things they have been waffling about!). I also sorted out a lot of stuff (inventory, paperwork, etc.) from my business that I've just been dumping in a spare bedroom.

DH also did some de-cluttering last week on his days off. He finally organized his workshop. It's been a disaster since we moved into our house over 5 years ago. I can't tell you how happy this made me. I used to cringe when DH needed a tool and had to go look for it in the workshop. It usually ended with DH totally frustrated and tossing things in his workshop around while cursing. I am SO amazed at how good and organized his workshop is now.

Now that I think about it, I think he actually inspired me to do some spring cleaning!

Edit: I remembered the website that taught me about finding 27 items to throw out -