mini weather scare

2003-11-14 - 1:31 p.m.

Living in Montreal, we dont' get too many crazy weather-related stories and tragedies. Save for the icestorm of 98 (11 days with no power at my condo, my parents went almost 17 days... in January!) I have no sense of what it would be like to live in Tornado Alley, or battle the wild fires of CA.

Except we got a tiny little taste of it this morning... The wind has picked up something fierce over the last 24 hours. Hubby had the hardest time walking the dogs last night, Mortimer was totally scared and Lucy just wanted to go home. This morning, I took them, and their leashes kept getting tangled because they were walking while leaning against each other for support (quite a sight).

When I got back home, I noticed that our lovely gazebo, which we purchased at the beginning of the summer and looks just like the one they used on Survivor last night, had been "repositioned" to the back of our yard, against the fence. The canvas roof acted like a sail and the whole thing got picked up and moved around. We rushed outside to try to salvage it, or at least untangle it from the fence and keep it from our neighbours yard (readers will remember my "lovely" back neighbours from the fence lawsuit earlier this year...)

It took more than 30 minutes to take off the canvas roof and curtains, and then try to wiggle the mangled support back to the house. I don't think it's salvagable, but it was way too cold and windy to try to find out....

I have lots to say about TV this week, but I've got no time now, will do it on Sunday

Anything to add? 0

my first real job

2003-11-13 - 12:38 p.m.

after reading Fluid Pudding's entry about her first job, I started reminiscing about mine.... My first actual full time, post university job. I've been working in some manner since I started highschool: paper route, ski instructor, filing at my dad's office, video store clerk, store clerk in too many stores to count, bookkeeper's assitant, name it, I've done it!

In my last year of university, I worked part time as a bar tender and part time at The Body Shop (the smelly lotions place, not some lude strip joint!). While at the Body Shop one night, a rather chatty customer asked me what I was studing (major in German, double minor in Spanish and Russian), what I planned to do with this obscure degree (Work til I raised enough money to do a Masters), what type of work I wanted to do (anything that would pay the rent and the school loans) and then, she offered me a job!

I ended up working as a customer service rep for her company, which manufactured polyester straps used in train wagons to hold back merchandise... That's right! What a sexy first job! I helped shipping managers select from the various widths and lenght of polyester strapping. The exciting part of my job was when we signed up Home Depot to carry this product for contrators to tie down stuff in the back of their pick up trucks. For some reason, back in 93, Home Depot didn't have central ordering, so I got to talk to ordering manaers from all the Home Depot stores in the US.... Most of them had no clue how to use the product, so I had to try to explain in over the phone. The internet was but a mere buletin board back then, so lots of faxes had to fly back and forth to get orders done, brochures sent.... it sucked!

The worst part of this job is that the company was located in the industrial park in Laval, which is a suburb of Montreal. On a good day, I took the subway for 30 minutes, then switched to a local bus for 15 minutes and finally either the industrial park bus for 8 minutes or a 20 minute walk.... In the morning, it wasn't too bad, It was rush hour and the buses were pretty regular. But they often made me stay late at night. Like 6:30. Not very late, I know, except in an industrial park, where all the shift workers finish at 4, there would be no buses by the time I was done. I had to walk the 20 minutes to the nearest big boulevard and then wait 30 minutes for the bus to come by. It would easily take me 2 hours to get home. What totally sucked, is that both my boses lived within block of my apartment. They knew it too, because they would comment on seing me at the grocery store, or the video store. But they never offered to give me a ride home. Not even to the bus stop of subway station. Inappropriate I guess. The thing is, 10 years later, when I think about it, they weren't very old. Probably in their early 30s, neither had kids yet, only one was married (brother and sister team), so it's not like they were big shot CEO's, it really wouldn't have killed them to offer to help me out, especially since I was staying to be at their beck and call.....

I didn't last long at that job. Only the summer. The crasiest thing of this entire job is how I ended up leaving. I hated the traveling, so I was thinking of leaving to work somewhere closer to home. I read the wanted ads religiously. And I saw an ad for a job that sounded an awful lot like mine. The address to apply was not the company's address, but my bosses home address. So I had a friend call and find out more. She was told discretion was the key, as the person being replaced wasn't aware they were looking.....

I quit the next day. Told them I knew all about their plan to let me go at the end of the summer (I had been hired as a student, with a government grant, but they had promised to keep me on after the grant ran out.) They begged and claimed I wasn't the one being replaced, it was the other girl, and they really wanted me to stay. But when I asked for a regular departure time or taxi money to get to the subway station, they refused. I left.

I never told potential employers about how or why I left. Simply said it had been a summer contract that had come to an end, didn't encourage people to call for references (I had a ton of better ones) and nobody ever said anything.

I wonder what's happening with these people now. I just Googled the company, they still exist, with a really basic website, still using a graphic I did for them 10 years ago.

I went on to much better jobs, better bosses who not only gave me rides when I worked late, but one used to lend me his car to do my groceries! I promised myself I would always be nice to my employees. I give them rides when they need them, hubby and I are even invited to dinner at our previous employees apartment next week! Can't imagine that would have ever happened with my bosses!

Anything to add? 0

a friend in need, a friend indeed

2003-11-12 - 5:29 p.m.

It's tricky, doing business with friends. You want to help out and give them business, but sometimes, you worry about problems that might arise. On the other hand, friends will feel a sense of responsibility a stranger might not.

Over the last 2 months, we switched from an old fashion cash register to a computer based software. We bought it from the husband of a good friend of my hubby, who quit his big-company job to start his own business. The software was right for us, the price was good, and I liked the idea of helping him start out, knowing he would be only a phone call away as I learned the intricacies of the program.

It took forever to migrate to the system. Not because of any problems, but the sheer logistics of entering all the items, UPC codes, while still being open and functioning is quite a feat. Finally, we started using the new system two weeks ago and we LOVE IT! It's Cash Register For Dummies. Lots of windows and help features, little self-evident icons, honestly, it's a great program!

We had lots of sales at lunch time, yet when I tried to open the cash drawer early this afternoon, it wouldn't open. When I tried to make a fake sale, it wouldn't go through.

Being a computer user, I tried what I know: Ctr-Alt-Dlt, restart the program, shut down windows, unplug the printer and restart, everything I could think of that wouldn't damage anything further while trying to diagnose the problem. No luck.

So I called our friend. He talked me through a few tests, understood when I had to hang up and call him back to deal with customers, called his tech to see if that guy had any ideas. Finally, we figured out the printer was the problem. What the problem was, we didn't know, but that's where the problem stemmed from.

He had to go pick up his kids from school, but he gave me a list of things to try (change the cable, change the power bar, unplug the printer alltogether, etc) and said he would call me from home when he was done carpool.

Turns out, a customer put down a shopping bag in the corner this afternoon (the last sale that actually worked!) and accidently teetered the on-off switch of the power bar. Power was still going through (I checked!!!), but not steadily enough for the likes of my fancy little receipt printer. Once I shut down the computer, fixed the power bar and re-booted, everything was fixed.

I was able to call my friend to tell him he had nothing to worry, it was all fine now. I could hear the relief in his voice. I know he would have been here first thing in the morning to help me figure it out. He would not want me to have any problems.

Turns out, it's sometimes really good to do business with friends. They'll take the time to figure things out, and be truly happy once the problem is resolved.

Anything to add? 1

getting back on the roller coaster

2003-11-11 - 10:54 a.m.

Yesterday, I came to work even though the store was closed. Hubby and I emptied out the incredible mess in the store-room and started from scratch. We moved all the bookshelves around, restacked the storage cubes, installed to free standing shelves and restocked everything. It's amazing how much more room there is in there now! I was totally inspired by Clean Sweep! It has gotten so bad back there, we couldn't even walk to the back to get stock when we ran out.... The problem is, I know we won't keep it up. When 5 or 6 orders come in at the same time, it's totally nuts, and we just stack stuff anywhere it fits, just to get it off the store floor. With the holidays coming, we'll be doing tons of gift wrapping, we won't have time to keep it organized... But at least we started well!

That's what I did with my day off. Organised the store room. What an exciting life I lead.

I've been trying to psyche myslef up for our upcoming round 3 of invitro. This is technically our last chance. At the hospital, they encourage you to stop trying after 3 rounds, to avoid depression and stuff. Technically, you can move on to another, private facility. But honestly, if it doesn't work again, I don't know that I would have it in me to keep trying.

This time around, we will have documentarians following us. They are making a documentary on genetics. I've heard from another couple involved in the project that you end up getting preferantial treatment from the doctors and nurses, who are eager to show their best side on film. It seems wrong that we will get better rooms, better apointments, maybe even better treatment. But on the other hand, I feel excited to know that by participating in this film, I might acutally increase our chances of getting pregnant. If they follow us just a little more closely, they might be able to get a better result.

But I'm still having a hard time psyching myself up. It's hard to get excited about something that brought so much sadness until now. The needles don't bother me so much (the progesterone int ehbutt is another sotry, but the daily hormones are OK). I don't even mind the numerous vaginal scans (somethign must be wrong with me!), but I do mind the emotional roller coaster, the extreme exhaustion, the crazy schduling of appointments and work, and utlimately, I'm petrified of negative results. I *now* I must be positive. But how do I do that? How do I keep hoping after we've had two failures?

I'm a person that only does things I'm good at. I'm an excellent downhill skier, but you wouldn't catch me dead on a snowboard, because I'm not good at it. I would have loved to be an architect, I love design and houses. But I suck at math. So I studied languages instead. In my past work experience, I've always delegated parts of my job that I couldn't do better than anyone else. Seemed logical: If someone can do it better than me, let them do it. I'll stick to what I do better than anyone else. So for me to put myself through hardship to do something I haven't succeed at in the past is extrememly difficult. I know it will make me a better person, and I trule believe g-d has a plan, but still, it's hard to put myself in this vulnerable position.

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