Mastering

It is cold outside this morning: -19C. It is a little chilly in here this morning, but the heavy socks and down vest are keeping me comfortable.

Yesterday the temperature soared to above freezing during the day and the snow came down from the roof on the south side of the house, right onto the deck. Attila had to shovel it off the deck before the big freeze, which only took a few hours. When the snow comes off the roof it lands in incredibly dense and heavy banks, which are a lot of work to move.

We have left our Christmas tree up, and it is doing quite well. We keep the water in the stand topped up and this is Mist’s new watering hole. She has claimed the tree as her own, lying under it for her naps, staring into the lights, drinking from the tree stand with great enthusiasm, and playing with a Santa Clause ornament that dangles low, just for her. We all enjoy the tree!

I worked five days last week and will work six days this week. Of course many of these “days” are only two or three hours long. Sometimes the drive to work is almost as long as the number of hours I work in that day. If you consider that a car takes money to operate and then add the cost of fuel, then add the hour of travel time to the mix, then the two hour days are break even days, I don’t come home with any money in my pocket. On the three hour days I have a little left over after expenses and the six hour days leave me with substantially more in my pocket.

This job advertised as featuring “opportunity for advancement”. I have been working there for three and a half years and there has been no opportunity for advancement at all. In fact, there are people doing this same job that have been waiting for regular hour, part-time work for fifteen years. The whole “advancement” thing seems like a ruse to me, useful in getting people to work ridiculous hours, at a personal loss, for long term gain that does not really exist. This corporation has a large proportion of “term” workers, as I am called, who receive no pension, benefits or regularly scheduled hours, are “on-call” six days a week, every week of the year and have been promised “opportunities for advancement” that fail to materialize.

The working conditions are decent for the part-time and full-time workers at this company, full benefits, pensions and regularly scheduled hours. They are the people who represent us all in the union and are the “bosses” on site when we “term” people work. The “term” workers for this large Canadian corporation remind me of the stories I have heard about the “untouchables” in India. The difference is that the “term” workers are not a cohesive social group and are organized to compete with each other for the few available hours of work and the rare opportunity for a part-time position (which I suspect are awarded according to nepotism).

Can you tell I do not admire the company that I work for? They claim to be one of the “best employers” in the country. Clearly they are not consulting a significant number of their own employees about this designation.

This company has been around forever, and I know that in previous generations the job did not employ a legion of no-contract, on-call term employees who are available only because the economy is in deep trouble. There was a time when working for this company was a good thing. That day is done.

These are the thoughts that run through my head during this work session, with a well paid full-time employee. I have been fielding a constant stream of “instructions” (like how to put a five dollar bill in a cash tray), comments, and criticisms from the full-time worker with whom I am presently working during the day. I tried using a sense of humour, which was disastrous. Her schadenfreude requires an outlet; that would be me and occasionally a customer. This woman is collecting some serious karma!

I am only going in for these short days to cover hours for an extremely nice woman who needs time off for personal family reasons. Unfortunately, in helping her out, I am exposing myself to an unpleasant environment, one that she has to work in all the time. I know this nice worker struggles with the environment too, and in spite of it is always pleasant and helpful towards me and the customers. What a gal!

Nothing for it but to hold my nose, freeze that smile on my face, and keep patting myself on the back for staying pleasant each minute that I spend under “surveillance”. In this way I hope to master the next few weeks.

The hero with a thousand faces“; I might need all of them in the month of January, 2013.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-19 °C
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 102.7 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -18.7°C
Dewpoint: -20.5°C
Humidity: 86 %
Wind: N 4 km/h
Wind Chill: -22

Quote

“We should every night call ourselves to an account; What infirmity have I mastered today? What passions opposed? What temptation resisted? What virtue acquired? Our vices will abort of themselves if they be brought every day to the shrift.”
Seneca
5 BC – 65 AD

9 Comments

  1. Bex

    When you said Mist drinks from the water in the tree stand, my heart beat right out of my chest. That is not good for an animal, pine seeping into the water is not a good thing for them to be ingesting. I implore you to cover the top of that water container!

  2. Bex

    A quote from a site on the subject of toxins:

    “Natural Toxins
    Pine tree resin contains oils toxic to cats. Pine oils cause damage to a cat’s liver because the liver cannot produce the enzymes necessary to detoxify the substance, according to Cat Health. The Cat Channel adds that even the water in which a pine tree stands can poison the cat if the pine resin dissolves into the water.”

    See: http://www.ehow.com/facts_7378949_pine-trees-poisonous-cats_.html

  3. Hello Bex, thanks for the alert! Indeed, that water can be hazardous to cats!

    Vets say that any additive to the water is truly dangerous to cats, and that is the primary danger. Pure water can be contaminated with some irritating toxins for cats, and if it is a problem they will drool and vomit, but this is less common.

    Since we have pure water which is topped up daily, so it is usually quite fresh, and Mist is not vomiting, or drooling, I think we have avoided problems described by the vets.

    http://www.gentledranimalhospital.com/how-to-stop-dogs-cats-from-drinking-christmas-tree-bowl-water/

    http://www.njherald.com/story/20368715/2012/12/18/ask-the-vet-poinsettas-poisonous-christmas-tree-water-safe

    Good to know!!

  4. Fire retardents on the tree, now that would be in the water! Can’t be too careful when it comes to consumer goods these days!

    I wonder if it is the same substance that they have started putting in table salt? It is hard to find good table salt these days!

    Thanks Bex!

  5. Bex

    I didn’t mean to go ballistic up there, Maggie. It’s just that if a cut tree is sitting in a tray of water, some of the oils from that tree are going to leech into the water and that was what I was referring to. It doesn’t matter what kind of water you put in it. Liver problems can be very slow-evolving over time and I just didn’t want to hear that kitty was sick for an unknown reason when this is a thing that can be controlled.

    I am a fanatic about toxins and pets as I think our beautiful collie dog Whitby may have died as a result of ingesting onion juice in some juices from a meal I had cooked. I don’t know for sure but she was OK one day and with 48 hours she had died and she was only 8 years old. It devastated me so badly that I am now a fanatic about what the dogs get into their tummies now!

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