Hiatus is a Good Word

I’ve thought about this little blog a lot lately. When I started writing here I needed an outlet for creativity and emotional venting. Also for pondering aloud. 

So much has happened to me since the summer. I said goodbye to daycare due to my kids outgrowing it. I got laid off of my 10-year cube job that I both hated and needed. I decided to sell off our rental house and therefore had to evict my friends who lived there. Then I broke my wrist in early October and am still in a cast. It’s a pretty purple colour but it prevents me from using my left arm very much and I happen to be left handed. 

Much soul searching ensued but not as much as when I was still a full time employee. I was neither sad nor happy about my sudden freedom. Mostly I wondered how I should feel, same as I have after many life events. Divorce springs to mind as one of the more discombobulating experiences that had a similar affect on my daily life. 

Luckily I hired a good lawyer and received a generous severance. Luckily I make money through our basement rental and luckily Husband’s biz is going like gangbusters. 

Yes I need to find a new vocation/focus/activity to keep me productive but until this arm cast comes off and the rental house is finally ready for sale I’m just helping Husband with his work, keeping the house functioning, and enjoying the lack of career expectations. I might work in a cube again if I have to, but only on a contract basis. It’s nice to have that as a fall back plan but I hope I never have to use it.

Meanwhile my midgets get older and I continue to encourage their independence. Boy is a moody 14 and is currently enduring ninth grade. Girl is a young lady, very social and industrious. We 3 are all still very close and I’m doing my level best to stay that way. 

Linked In immediately became irrelevant to my life. So did travel, to some extent. I no longer have a life I need to escape, and so my travel itch has diminished considerably. I’m fucking content, and that surprises me most of all. 

  

Advertisements

Dolla Dolla Bill, Y’all!

dolla

 

I no longer pay a babysitter, starting tomorrow. I will be saving $400 a month, starting tomorrow. This is equivalent to receiving a 5K yearly raise!

I am so effing thrilled I can’t even tell you. Carry on.

Are we? Are we? Are we?

Done, that is? Gah. Daddy issues abound. I shouldn’t have read Post Secret yesterday, because holy crap so much unresolved anger or else deeply missing Daddy.

I have a great stepdad, with whom I have no issues and sent him a nice e-card for Father’s Day. Husband had a great day yesterday with his kids. End of story. It doesn’t need to be an ordeal. 
This aft is boy midget’s grad from grade 8. We did it; we made it through elementary school, something I couldn’t fathom 10 years ago when he started junior kindergarten. 

I’m not one of those moms who laments their kids getting older. I love seeing them grow and change. When I see a random baby on the street, I want to eat it or at least smell its head. But I don’t feel wistful. Maybe sometimes I marvel at how much time has passed, but that’s about it. 

Today we got a parking ticket. This after carefully parking in a real spot and reading the signs to make sure parking there was allowed at that time of day. Oh but we forgot that parking is allowed there only the first 2 weeks of the month. $40 later, I am reminded again how hard it is to live in the city, and how difficult it is to raise a family here. Would I trade it for suburbs? No effing way. How about a small town? Probably not. So we are left with this option, of fighting our way to pay taxes, tickets, and other paperwork to keep our home, vehicle and lives in order with the powers that be. 

It’s Ok to Hate Your Job

Courtesy of Reddit:

Somone I trust and lookup to told me the other day at breakfast that I should write a book on my experiences and how I got off my ass and helped myself. I laughed and said I knew I didn’t have that kind of focus or care to write.

Even this post I’m just dictating into my computer mostly. But I did want to share this with you because it helped me.

You hate your job. You try to pretend like you don’t but you do. You get in the car every morning, with your coffee in hand, and take a deep breath. Right there, in the quiet of your front seat, you have the same conversation with yourself day after day. It goes like this:

“You can do this. Just one day. You can make it through.”

Of course, you know that. You know you can make it through the day. You’ve been “making it” through days for months now, even years, by repeating this very same routine, this coffee and breathing and driving and numbing and “you can make it” routine.

But is this what life is supposed to feel like? Like you’re just “making it” through?

Does everyone feel this way? I fucking did and I hated it. Thankfully I was fired for my diminishing performance at work.

Chances are, you’ve worked a handful of jobs and most of them have felt this way. In the beginning you think, “great opportunity,” or “exactly what I need for now” or even, optimistically, “this one is going to be different.” There’s always such a freshness and excitement and urgency and enthusiasm when you begin something new.

But then, after a few weeks, or maybe months if you can hold out, this old familiar feeling starts to sink in: Exhaustion, depression, loss of motivation, the fear that you’re just pushing papers or running TPS reports or barking at a room full of students to calm down. The feeling you have to drag yourself out of bed in the morning.

What about the thing you want to be doing? The thing that gets you out of bed in the morning and keeps you up at night? Why can’t you get paid to do that?

Never mind, you give up. Nobody really loves their job. Do they?

You worry it must be you.

It must be an attitude problem, or a gratitude problem, or maybe you were just born lazy or entitled. Maybe it’s because you live in a rich country, or because you grew up in a rich family, or because you grew up in a poor family and you always wished things could be different. Maybe this is a “first world problem.”

At least you have a job, you tell yourself. Some people don’t even have that.

I’m writing to tell you it’s okay.

It’s okay to hate your job, and it’s okay to want a new one. It’s normal. You’re normal. You don’t have to hide it or feel guilty anymore and you don’t have to talk yourself out of it. What you want is saying something. It’s trying to tell you something. It’s a special message for you from deep inside your gut.

Don’t ignore it.

When you’re hungry, your body tells you by sending signals to your brain. Your stomach growls. You crave something. Your mouth waters. You respond by giving it food.

What your body craves isn’t always best for you. Anyone who has dieted knows this. Sometimes our bodies are addicted to sugar, or to fat, or to salt, or even to chemicals, and we have to recognize and intervene and feed it something different than what it craves. But we don’t do this because hunger is bad. We do this because we know what’s best for our body.

Because what we really want is to be healthy, to have more energy, to live longer, to lose weight.

The worst thing you could do, when your stomach growls, is give it no food at all.

Don’t ignore your hunger.

Instead, ask yourself what you really want.

What do you really want out of life? What is the most important? You can’t have it all, so you have to prioritize, but it’s okay to want stuff. It’s okay to want a different job, a different city, a different job, a different way of life. Different wants crop up in different seasons (career, family, marriage, friendship, healing, etc.) but wants always help us to zoom in and focus and feel thankful and see progress and find meaning in our life.

So, what do you want right now? What matters most?

If you woke up this morning and are dreading your job, listen up. You’re normal. This is normal. It can be hard to find meaning in what you do, no matter your job title. But it is possible. Everyone doesn’t hate their job. And it’s not irresponsible for you to ask yourself the questions you need to ask to find work you love. (Like, what do you want?) You may discover you need a new job. You may find you simply need a change of perspective.

Either way, what your feeling is not bad or wrong. In fact, it might be trying to tell you something important.

Don’t ignore it.

 

Making Lemonade

This summer was supposed to be our epic, legendary trek to London, Paris, and Reykjavik. However! We also decided, some time after that inital travel plan, to sell our rental property. To sell this property we need to have money for light renos and fluffing that are beyond regular staging. And we will need to carry that property until the sale closes, which will require patience and fortitude. And money.

This summer is the last one in which I can travel for an extended period of time with both of my midgets. Boy is 14 now, and is already at an age when I expected him to have a summer job. But, it’s all just shit talk until you are raising your own offspring. Next summer when he is 15, he will have a job earning minimum wage, keeping him occupied.

So what to do? Time is of the essence. I decided to use Airbnb to rent out our own living quarters, to raise some funds we can use to travel. I also scaled back our plans to make them more finanically reasonable but still adventurous. I tossed around many ideas, from a road trip in Canada or US, to flying somewhere on the west coast or east coast. Once you add plane travel, a trip gets a lot more expensive of course, but cheap accommodation can make up for that. 

I landed on a trip to Central America or the Caribbean. I found a wonderful rental, very close to the beach, in the Dominican Republic. All of us will fly down there for a 3-week stay, the same length of time we have renters in our own house. The flights are not outrageously priced, and the accommodations are cheap and cheerful. We are getting a little bit of adventure, a lot of relaxation, and all at a price that doesn’t stress me out. Our era of family travelling is going out with a bang.

How I Embraced the Cubicle and…who’s kidding who? I hate this shit.

Lately I’ve been called upon to be a personal cheerleader for a co-worker/friend. Usually it’s me who hates being here, marking time and providing necessities of life to my family unit. Last week and the week before that I was home a lot with sick children, and I determined I don’t want to be a stay at home mom (sahm) even if it’s an option, which for me it is not. I don’t know if sahm dissatisfaction is linked to my fear of being ‘unproductive’ or becoming a 1-dimensional drain on our family’s resources, but I definitely felt bored by the end of that period. I don’t even want to use word unhappy to describe myself. That word feels too strong for my malaise and too weak for the stirring I feel inside me that wants to burst out of my chest.

Last week and this week, my friend Anne is going through a phase where she feels unrewarded at work, meaning she feels her work doesn’t make a difference in the world. Normally she feels satisfied by her projects and is content to bang out documents as required. I reject the idea that if she was better paid she would be happier. Same for the notion that her working for a different company in a different cube would provide her with a solution.

This week on the Bill Burr Monday Morning Podcast, Bill puts cube workers on blast and asks rhetorically if anyone hoped as a kid that one day they would be dealing with spreadsheets and other paperwork in an office setting. My answer to that is Yes, I did. The idea of having inside work that is clean and uses my brain was very appealing to this farmer’s daughter. No longer would the weather determine my productivity that day, and I predicted I would receive regular praise for my brilliant ideas and Protestant work ethic. Sure, I’ve experienced this, but now my dreams have changed. Now I want some freedom to explore my new interests and make money while producing meaningful services or products to the public at large. I’ve never wanted to be famous or outrageously rich, so my humble goal should be simple enough to achieve.

My hypothesis for Anne is that, no matter what office she works in, she will ultimately be unsatisfied because she will not be doing work she really wants to do. What does she want to do? She doesn’t know yet and that’s causing her mental discomfort. I was at that point last year, and by now I’ve come to the realization that my discomfort is ok and doesn’t need to be resolved at the moment. I don’t know what I want to do next, and that’s ok. This is the idea I’m trying to convey to my good friend; it’s ok if we don’t know what to do yet because someday we will.

I’ve been listening to many podcasts lately and some of them pertain to entrepreneurs. Sometimes I’ll hear a good sound bite and I try to remember it. Keep in mind I’m always riding my bike while listening to these, so I haven’t a pen and paper nearby to jot down these ideas.

“People put more value on entrepreneurs than they do 9-5ers”

It’s true generally the entrepreneur is glamorized, while the ‘wage slave’ is not.

“We eat at TGIFridays, not TGIMondays.”

Weekends are what we live for, supposedly. But no one’s tweeting about the crappy parts of making a living as a guest speaker or consultant. Mostly all we see are photos of beaches or mountains with the caption, “This is my office today.” What about a photo of a bland hotel room and a picture of a squished cereal bar that will serve as dinner that night? Not so glamorous but much more relatable. That tidbit was provided by Kevin Kostella, who creates The Freedom Lovin Podcast.

I’d like to think I’ve got my eyes wide open about the prospect of being a business owner, not that I have a business in mind yet. One inspiring site is My Wife Quit Her Job. This man blogs about his family’s transition from a typical dual income household of working for other people, to running an incredibly successful online store. His wife was working at a 6-figure job and hated it. She hated it so much that her sadness and anger filtered up to her family life, making Sunday evenings just awful. A solution had to be reached, and so together they found one.

Husband and I periodically but regularly discuss what else I could be doing to earn income for our family besides working in a cube in an office building. We have some ideas but nothing is without risk and all of the ideas take time and effort. I’m willing to devote time and effort in this case but not as much if I am not guaranteed success. Or practically guaranteed. I suppose that’s what holding me back.

 

Hey There, Lonely Girl

Husband works very long hours and has done for years, getting his business off the ground and making it a success. I’ve been genuinely supportive of his efforts and very rarely complain about this. I know it’s for a good cause and he loves what he does for a living. His happiness colours his relationships and outlook. However, In practical terms this means I am alone a lot. I take care of the house inside and out. My kids are my kids and not his, so him not being around shouldn’t be a problem, except when it is. Having a loving union is very important to me as an adult and as a parent.

When is it going to be my turn? Right now I’m a stereotypical quiet strong woman behind a successful man. I’m just as smart as he is, and just as ambitious. I’m delighted by his success; his accomplishments are mine too. Is there room for 2 people in a marriage to achieve success? I’m an ordinary person who doesn’t want fame and is not willing to work 18-hour days to achieve whatever I’ve decided is my goal, because I’m not willing to sacrifice time with my midgets, husband, dogs, beach, home, and tranquility. I’m not that kind of ambitious.

I’m a scaredy cat when it comes to taking financial risks. I’ve made mistakes before and I’m determined not to do that again and so my cautious nature wins out most of the time. And yet, I’d like the chance to find a work situation that I love. Luckily, husband is supportive of me and soon it will be my time to challenge my norm. Soon.

 

Behind the Curtain!

On my mind right now, is:

  • making a decision on a house/pet sitter to live at our apartment during our time away this summer (lots of applicants to wade through);
  • find reasonably priced rain boots for boy midget (time sensitive – he’s going camping soon);
  • stop beating myself up over not taking good care of my physical self over the past 6 months of winter (i.e. too many carbs and way too much wine);
  • keep up with the bike riding in the face of cold weather and husband offering me rides to and from work (today was tough but I persevered);
  • I’m slowly ruining my midgets by letting them eat in front of the tv.  Yes, I know! But I like to eat in front of the tv too. I don’t eat the same food as they do, which already presents a mealtime challenge. I’m also very fucking tired at the end of the work day, and on weekends, and at all times during the fucking day.
  • This year was the last one where I could crawl under the back deck to store the Xmas stuff. In 2 years when it’s Xmas time again at our house, once of the midgets will have to dig it out.
  • We are meeting with an accountant so we can get a realistic idea of how many financial mistakes we’ve made and how much we’ve fucked over our present and future.

Well now I feel like shit. So here is a nice list to lift me up again:

  • My kids don’t eat McDonald’s. They actually say No if someone offers to take them there;
  • My kids don’t drink cow’s milk at my house;
  • I’m biking to work everyday that I’m in the office (4x a week). That’s 7.5 km each way;
  • Quinoa is one of my favourite foods; and
  • My midgets will eat any bread, no matter how seedy and dark.
  • We are being responsible and meeting with an accountant.

My Kijiji problem

I have a Kijiji problem, a very serious one. Most people browse in stores; I browse on Kijiji. Most people who visit Kijiji are looking for something specific. I peruse the furniture section quite often, just in case there is a good deal to be had that I don’t want to miss out on. FOMO at its finest.

This is all rooted in my less-than-average decorating skills. It’s also related to my small decorating budget. I might find a furniture piece that isn’t the perfect colour or size, but it’s close enough and is free or at least very cheap. My search then continues for the correct item, but meanwhile my family has a much-needed piece of furniture. I may have mentioned the dresser, wardrobe, and nightstand we got for a total of $30, simply because the seller was desperate. These pieces are circa 1960s, coloured green with mirrors on the drawer fronts. Soooo very cool and when I get tired of them I can put them out in front of our house for someone else to take, without feeling the least bit wasteful.

I sometimes find items on residential sidewalks. I’ve also left my own discarded items on the sidewalk in front of our house at times for others to pick up. Last week I left a non-functioning dryer (we had tried to repair it and failed) and an under-performing washer out on the front sidewalk. Someone picked them up and I hope were able to use them.

Husband I frequent Restore (Habitat for Humanity) often as well, even if we don’t need anything in particular. I marvel at the old wooden doors there, and full kitchen cabinet sets. There are appliances there too but we’ve never taken the risk of buying them.

Craigslist used to be my go-to, and I still look there occasionally. For some reason, there aren’t as many nice items on that site as there used to be. Most of the items wouldn’t be welcome at a rummage or garage sale; they are full of cat scratches/pee/fur, or very dirty upholstery, or missing important parts, or are already out at the curb. The curb posts are the most unreliable, because probably that item has already been taken and if it hasn’t that’s because it has been rained or snowed on, and so I don’t want it anyway.

Last night Husband and I went to look at a sleeper couch for sale that I thought would be great in the basement apartment.  We often get inquiries for renting the place from 2 adults plus a child, or 2 adults who are not in a romantic relationship and so would prefer not to share a queen-sized bed. The mechanics of getting the couch out of the seller’s apartment, and then into the elevator, and then across the large courtyard out to the street and into our car were so complicated that I said No Thanks. Onward and upward, the search continues…

 

Taking My Concept of Happiness and Putting it on its Ass

Husband runs his own business and loves it. He is gregarious, smart, charming, and witty, and he loves his job. This becomes obvious to anyone who enters his store. I have often found myself to be so jealous of his job satisfaction, because mine seems to ebb and flow. Husband loves helping people and derives a lot of satisfaction from that.

I mentioned that my documents and such don’t help very many people, maybe a maximum of 10, and even then in a very limited manner. Husband replied that to the people in my family, my job helps them quite a bit. I provide a steady income and health insurance, both of which have contributed immensely to my family’s successes big and small. We have a happy, cozy, home, largely due to my beige cube job, and that’s not a small accomplishment. I have held onto my career through motherhood and divorce. I bought my own home and then a rental property on my own. Then I sold my home and with Husband, we bought a cute house in a great neighbourhood. We travel. We drink Starbucks. We do things. We are happy.

So yes, I do make people happy every day, and I do help people every day.

This Fall we are hoping to sell our rental property. Sometimes we think it would be better to sell our own house and move into the rental property, but lately we are leaning toward staying in our current home. This is because our home has a fully separate basement apartment, which provides a nice income stream. Seems like a clear cut decision, except our home has a bigger mortgage owing on it than the rental does, and we would stand to gain much more financially by selling our home.  Aside from that, I hate moving. I hate decorating and getting everything just right, only to have to leave it behind and start all over again. We have tried to take emotion out of this decision, but that’s just impossible.

We still have time to discuss and decide, which we will do.  Meanwhile, I continue making people happy daily.