Tuesday, September 28, 2010


I seem to be having a couple of weeks of sitting on my hands waiting for one thing after another ...

Finally made it over to Daughter's place again to use her computer ... I could have gone to Mom's place and used hers, but the constant negativity there really weighs me down.  She just got a prescription for a new anti-depressant, so we're all waiting to see how well it works for her.

The job fair was kind of a bust ... not a total waste of time, but pretty close.  I did connect with a former co-worker who provided a couple of possible leads; I've applied to both, and now  -  as always  -  I wait.  I also got a call from another former co-worker last Friday; she's now managing a shipping agency, and one of her people just gave notice.  She asked for my resume, which I promptly sent her, and said she'll be pushing upper management to let her hire me.  Here's hoping!

After much telephoning back and forth, the retailer has provided me with a readable copy of the invoice for my dead motherboard.  Tomorrow I'll take it in, request the new one, and arrange for the retailer's tech department to switch over the processor and heat sink.  That's a trickily delicate job I'd rather pay a pro to do.  I wonder how long I'll be waiting for that?  And once I get the new one home, I'll be waiting for my friend the computer builder to get back into town and install everything for me.

I guess my frustration comes from not being able to do the things I feel I should be doing, because I have to wait for other things to happen first.  I can't get on with my craft fair projects, or my Christmas gift projects, because there's a disembowelled computer spread across my work surface.  I can't get started on next spring's garden planning until Big Guy decides where he wants to put the camper, which can't come off The Truck because it is waiting for him to locate the parts he needs, without which it can't move.   I finished a knitting project, but can't start any of the next three until I get downtown to track down the DPNs I need for them.  At least I can do that tomorrow, once I'm finished (I hope!) at the computer shop.  Then I can really get moving on gifts.

The craft fair stuff, though, is starting to look a little iffy.  The deadlines for reserving tables are fast approaching, but  I don't want to book and pay for tables when I may not have anything to put on them ... and until my computer is restored I have no space to work on anything saleable.  Then again, if any of my recent job applications pan out, doing the craft fairs becomes much less necessary.  I like doing them, but it would be nice if I didn't have to do them.

In the meantime, I'm working hard on not taking my frustrations out on my loved ones.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sigh ...

My motherboard has toasted itself.  It's still under warrantee, though, so all I have to do is disembowel the computer, take the board back to the store where they will replace it, bring it home, and rebuild the computer.  In the meantime I have limited use of Daughter's computer.  Very limited.

For the first time ever, on Tuesday I will actually be paying to attend a job fair.  Only $5.60, and part of that will go to charity, but still ... it just doesn't seem right, somehow.  How many good people are going to miss this opportunity because they can't wring another $5.60 out of the grocery budget, or the rent money?  Telling myself that the attendance cost cuts down on the competition doesn't make me feel very good either, because anyone who can't afford the entry fee (or the transit fare) is more desperately in need of a job than I am.  So I'm trying to just think of it as a necessary investment.

I've printed a few copies of my resume and references to take with me, since there will apparently be spaces set up for on-the-spot interviews, and I also plan to carry a thumb drive with both loaded on it.  I've learned that when it comes to job hunting, there's no such thing as being "too prepared".  I'll be touching up my roots tonight, and fine-tuning what I'll wear; it will have to be both professional and comfortable, because I may very well be there all day.  The hardest part of the process, I think, will be maintaining a positive, upbeat attitude the whole time.  Even though I have nothing to lose and possibly a great deal to gain.

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Medley Of Updates

Some good, others not so much ...

The garden.   Heavy Sigh.  Our final crop tally (now that summer seems to be over for good and what isn't already ripe never will be):

Four apples.
Three hazelnuts.
A lifetime's worth of chives.  Apparently you can't kill these little suckers with napalm.
Four black currants.
Four stalks of rhubarb.  Hey, it got almost-red, that has to count for something ... doesn't it?
Eleven green beans.
One strawberry.  One.
A gallon ice-cream pail full of lovely Italian prune plums.  Yeah, surprised the heck out of me too  -  we planted the tree three years ago and were told not to expect fruit from it for about five years! I'm most gratified (and the plums are almost all gone already).
Enough small, rock-hard green tomatoes to make a couple of gallons of my great-grandmother's green tomato mincemeat, if someone can find the recipe.

On the upside, we have the fattest, happiest squirrels and Stellar jays you've ever seen.  Next year I think I'll just plant raspberries.  Or maybe chives.

In other news, my daughters have told me that since the job market is still so depressed  -  and consequently so am I  -  I should write a book.  Something along the lines of "Being Dead Flat Broke Is The Best Way To Live Green" or "How To Squeeze A Dollar Till The Loon Lays Eggs" ... Personally, I suspect that a more appropriate title might be "How To Survive Making Horrifically Bad Choices In Life" ... But maybe they're onto something.  I'll give that some thought. 

Men and trucks.  What is it with men and their trucks, anyway?  Big Guy loves his truck.  He bought it new in 1975.  No, that's not a typo.  1975.  He has kept The Truck running for 35 years, he loves The Truck, he will never sell or scrap The Truck; I'm pretty sure he wants to be buried in The Truck.  Or maybe pass it down to our grandson, like a beloved family heirloom.  The running not-so-funny joke around here is that if Moses showed up with another stone tablet saying Big Guy had to choose between me and The Truck ... he'd miss me.

There have been times when my love for him has been all that kept me from taking a cutting torch to The Truck and not stopping until there wasn't anything left big enough to use for an ashtray.  

Big Guy went fishing with a buddy for a week or so.  It was all good, until ... something expensive broke in the suspension of The Truck.  At Lillooet Lake.  Which, if you are fortunate enough to have BCAA, as we do, turns out to be only a $280 towing distance from here.  "Only", he said.  I bit my tongue and did not say what I was thinking, which was I would have just put a bullet through its head and rolled it into the river.  Instead, I patted his shoulder comfortingly and reminded him that in all its 35 years of faithful service, this is the first time The Truck has ever had to be towed home, and isn't that some kind of world record or something?  Cheered him right up.  Men are strange about their trucks.

Nice things have happened, too.

A friend sent me a lovely ten-colour sampler pack of Fimo; she'd heard I was getting back into the craft fair stuff and wanted to cheer me on.  Beautiful, clear, bright colours, and I smile every time I look at them.

I notified the extended family that the only Christmas gifts I'd be giving this year would be made by me, for obvious reasons.  Various requests are starting to trickle in, and I went trolling the internet for patterns ... 

Oh. My. Gosh.

Not only am I overwhelmed with the volume and variety of what's out there  -  and I only googled "FREE patterns"  -  but why didn't somebody tell me how many knitting websites and blogs there are?  Good gravy, I could sit here around the clock for the next century and never get caught up!  The internet, it turns out, is hog heaven for knitters! Who knew?

And  -  I found a local knitting group within a reasonable distance, and when I tentatively e-mailed them asking if they were open to new people, I got such a warm welcome!  They meet every Thursday evening at a local (well, fairly local) coffee shop, so guess where I'll be?  I've been feeling like a bit of an inadvertent hermit lately, and I think this will be good for me.  I'll get out of the house for something besides necessary errands, I'll make new friends who actually understand when I mutter no, idiot, it's k2 then psso, and I might even get some Christmas gifts made.  At least, that's the plan.  

Do you think they'll still like me if I tell them I get all my yarn at Value Village?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labour Day Thoughts And Thanks

Ah, Labour Day.  The day when everyone strives to labour as little as humanly possible.  Especially me ... the most energetic thing I did today was make a pot of coffee.  Oh, and clean up that hairball Big Guy was pretending not to see, but that only took thirty seconds.

This is it, folks  -  the last long weekend of summer.  Our last chance to spend a guilt-free Monday lounging in the back yard with a cold what's-your-pleasure, scarfing down potato salad and whatever's on hand to barbecue.  Our last chance to hit the you-pick berry farms before they all turn into pumpkin patches.  Our last chance to hit the beach and add one more day's worth to the tan we're hoping won't fade until after Christmas (okay, Halloween).  In short, our last chance to hang around soaking up sunshine and doing as close to nothing as we can get away with.  And ...

It's raining.  Worse, it's not even the kind of thorough, windy, driving rain that fully justifies a roaring fire and a gallon of hot chocolate ... no, it's the dull, drab, not-really-really-raining-but-still-soaks-right-through-you stuff that's too nasty to do anything outside in, only you still have to go to the store but it's not raining hard enough to justify taking the car instead of walking.  That kind of rain.

And my car is full of donations I can't take to the thrift store until tomorrow, so my living room is full of bags of donations that I can't put in the car until I drop off what's already in it, and Big Guy (home from the fishing trip  -  don't ask, it got ugly) is complaining because there are bags of donations all over the living room.

And I still have no job and no money, and no working space to make craft fair things because of the Domino Effect (the attic does look much better now, but the workroom hasn't changed much except for the nice neat organized bookshelves), and even though I have no money I have to come up with gifts for three family birthdays in the next five days.

But it's still a holiday Monday, which is still a good thing in my book.

So since I can't get any sunshine outside, I'd like to say a big "Thank you!" to a few of the bloggers whose virtual sunshine has kept me so well distracted from the weather, the state of my house, and the state of my finances this weekend:

Wise and compassionate Donna of Surviving and Thriving , whose encouraging comments never fail to renew my optimism, and remind me that no matter how low I'm feeling, I'm not alone.

Deanna of Crunchy Chicken , whose dedication to the environment puts me so far in the shade, and who is such a terrific inspiration whenever I start feeling that one person can't make a difference.

Abigail of I Pick Up Pennies , who deals with staggering challenges with such grace and determination that I'm ashamed of ever feeling sorry for myself.

Stephanie of Yarn Harlot , who is funny, brilliant, warm-hearted and charming, and who has inspired me to dig all my UFOs out of the knitting basket and actually find a knitting group to join.  I might even get something finished ...

There are a lot more wonderful bloggers out there (see my sidebar for a few of my favourites) but these four ladies in particular have really brightened up the last few days for me.  Thank you, ladies, for turning the grey, drizzly gloom into something a little warmer and brighter!

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Domino Effect

We've all had times where the Domino Effect wreaks havoc with our plans.  You know what I mean  -  you set out to do something, but before you can do it something else needs to be gotten out of the way, but when you go to put it away, there's nowhere to put it so you need to clear space for it, and so it goes.

This week the Domino Effect happened here  -  but it turned out to be a good thing in a way.  I did get a lot more done than I would have if I'd been able to just finish what I started ...

As you may recall, I set out to clean, declutter, and organize my itty bitty workroom (you can see the "before" pictures here ).  One of the things I particularly wanted to do was weed through all the books and get the bookshelves properly organized, so I started by sorting all the fiction into three stacks:  keep, donate, and books I haven't read yet.  The books to be donated are mostly science fiction; they've been set aside for my best book-sharing buddy to go through, and whatever he doesn't want will go to the library or the thrift store.  The ones I haven't read yet went onto two shelves for easy access when I get some free reading time.  The keepers were packed up to go to the attic, where they'll stay until we get the family room downstairs finished.

And that's where the Domino Effect took over.

The attic was a disaster zone.  Between Big Guy moving stuff around last winter to find out where the leak was, and then the roofers moving stuff out of their way to install the new vents, and then Big Guy just opening the hatch and blindly tossing stuff up in the dark, absolutely nothing was still where it was the last time I was up there.  Boxes on their sides spilling their contents, Rubbermaid bins upside down so that when I tried to move them they shed their lids and emptied themselves, sawdust and shingle fragments and shreds of insulation everywhere ... honestly, I wanted to sit down and weep.

I hauled every single thing down out of the attic and piled it all in the living room. Then I re-packed every box and bin and bag, resisting the temptation to weed and purge everyone's stuff and confining that process to my own belongings.  Once that was done, I hauled everything back up the ladder  -  not an easy feat, and that part took much longer than the rest of the process  -  and grouped stuff according to whose it was.  So Big Guy's goods are to the west of the hatch, mine to the east, Youngest Daughter's to the north, and general household stuff, like holiday decorations, winter blankets, luggage, and so on are to the south.

Three days later I can finally cross the attic off the "declutter" list ... but the living room is now worse than before, since I found quite a few things I want to see if I can sell via Craigslist.  Oh, well, I'll get to them once I've finished the workroom.  Besides, I found the boxes of gorgeous slate-blue navy-rimmed Denby stoneware I'd stashed "for when the kitchen gets reorganized"  and decided that now's as good a time as any to dispense with the cheap Chinatown-dollar-store plates and bowls we've been using and get the nice stuff into the cupboard.  (The Denby was a thrift store bonanza  -  I could never have afforded even one place setting new, but I got eight each of dinner plates, lunch plates, and bowls for less than thirty dollars!)  So the Denby is in the kitchen, and the old dishes are stacked on a table in the living room; I don't dare just get rid of them (much as I'd like to) without Big Guy's approval, since the kitchen is more or less his domain.  I have a feeling they'll end up in boxes in the attic ... hoarding runs in his family, and while he's not as bad as most of them it's a major battle to convince him to let anything go.

By the time all the dishes were changed out, I was getting pretty hungry, so I took a microwave chicken pot pie out of the freezer.  While it was cooking, I got fed up with the mess the cookbook shelves over the microwave had become, so I took them all down and re-shelved them properly ... which in turn created more clutter to go through  -  all kinds of odd things had made their way onto the shelves at the hands of Mister I'll-just-set-this-here-until-I-get-around-to-putting-it-away.  Not my clutter, though, so it's all in a box waiting for him to sort through it when he gets home from his fishing trip.

So, the Domino Effect in action:  decluttering and organizing my workroom turned into decluttering and organizing the attic, which turned into decluttering part of the kitchen, which turned into more clutter in the living room and a car stuffed full of stuff to drop off at the thrift store ... but although it may not be immediately visible, progress is being made.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

While You Wait ...

I'm still feeling grumpy and sorry for myself.  But it'll pass ...

In the meantime, check out this week's Festival Of Frugality here .  Lots of good stuff!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Unhappy Anniversary

Yesterday was the anniversary of my becoming unemployed.  I have now been without a paying job for one year and one day.

I'm angry.  I'm depressed.  I feel worthless.  My ego is bruised and bleeding.  My self-esteem is in the toilet.  When I remember how long I originally thought it would take me to find another job, I don't know whether to laugh, cry, or throw up.

Yes, I know there are a lot of people who've been out of work a lot longer.  I know that it's not my fault there aren't enough jobs to go around.  I know I'm doing all the right things to find another job.  I know that sooner or later, I will be working again.

But none of that makes me feel any better right now.

Maybe tomorrow.