Perspective

A.M.

Last night, I received a missive that put my own small troubles into perspective.  A friend wrote that her husband, also a friend, has entered palliative care.  He has been battling cancer since the summer months.  Attila and I are thinking of them both.

Attila and I are getting ready for work.  We have had our coffee and cuddle with Mist in front of the morning’s fire.  Time to get down to the business of breakfast, shower, making lunch, getting dressed and gathering all the paraphernalia needed for a day away from home.  Attila has cleared the snow from my car, and warmed it up for me; such a nice perk in the morning!

In theory I’ll be home to watch a midday firing of the masonry heater.  This is needed as the temperature is now dipping below -15C at night on a regular basis.  Mist will be waiting for me, I know, sitting strategically in front of the fireplace with a enquiring look on her face.

Morning Inspiration

P.M.

Cold!  The house is getting chilly.  Attila is out chopping wood to build a fire in the little wood stove downstairs, and for the third firing of the masonry fireplace upstairs.  When I came home at lunch time Mist came and sat down beside and yelled her concerns.  Mist is deaf you see, she yells as loud as she can and apart from the vibration of her own voice, I don’t think she can fathom the decibels.

This afternoon I received a call in regards to one of the resumes I sent out last week.  The call came as a shock, I can tell you.  At first I was pleasant, polite and very confused.  Recovering quickly I responded to questions and arranged to write a test and attend an interview later this week.  This is temporary employment, evenings and weekends, not ideal, but it might work out.  In reality anything that pays the bills might be considered as “working out”.

All in all, a very good day at our house.

Clogged Ink

The month of December has seen me attending a program for old workers.  As result I am not home during the day.  That means we have only two fires in the masonry heater (fireplace) each day.  Nights have been cold, below -15C, for quite a while now.  We need a third fire during the day, from time to time, to keep the house reasonably comfortable.  This has not been happening.

I am working from home today.  It is 17C near the masonry heater, the temperature falls as you move toward the perimeter of the house.   It was when the ink refused to flow from the pen that the cold became an issue.  One pen after another refused to give up its ink.  The pens must be warmed by the fireplace before they will work.

There is a silver lining to this chilly cloud; sleep conditions are optimized.  The eiderdown makes for cozy, deep slumber in the cold bedroom.

The old workers program did not find any work placement for the two old women who participated.  Even temporary subsidized positions are non-existent in this area, at least for the two old women in the program.  This does not feel good.  The bright side is that resumes are polished and interview skills are honed, so that if any positions materialize, one might apply for them.  However, nepotism is probably the main (perhaps the only) method of attaining positions capable of sustaining life.  All in all, the program “giveth and taketh” away.  It gave me better resumes and interview skills, it took away almost any hope I had of using the interview skills or gaining any kind of regular employment.  I am still sending out applications.

I feel downhearted about the results of the old workers program; only because I allowed myself to buy into their enthusiasm and premise that  having a great resume and doing well in interviews might solve the non-employment problem.  More employment opportunities would solve the non-employment problem.  Unemployment in Canada only means recently without work and still receiving a steady government insurance income.  Attila and I have both been there and appreciated the income when we were both out of work in 2005.  Non-employment means that one has no income at all when the government income runs its course and ceases.  I would not be surprised if the non-employed outnumber the unemployed significantly.  The Canadian government ignores people who are non-employed, interested only in the unemployed when it comes to keeping statistics to use in drafting economic policy.

Well, enough about that!  My time was not wasted and I survived financially for one more month.  Small mercies.

It is snowing again today and, since I don’t have to commute, I am enjoying the beauty of slowly drifting snowflakes.  I like working at home, beautiful scenery, familiar tools, nearby food and washroom, no interruptions and I can burn that third midday fire to make the house cosier.

Southwestern Ontario was hit by serious snow storms this past week, closed highways, military rescue units removing people from closed roads, icy, slushy, zero visibility conditions on most highways and roads… we feel lucky by comparison.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-10 °C
Condition: Snow
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -10.0°C
Dewpoint: -10.8°C
Humidity: 94 %
Wind: SSE 5 km/h
Wind Chill: -13

Quote

“We are able to laugh when we achieve detachment, if only for a moment.”
May Sarton

Let It Snow

Driving can be fun, it all depends on the context.  Lately the roads have been bad, and I’ve needed to arrive in places on time.  This morning the roads were snow packed, packed down into sheets of white ice that is.  Driving was very, very slow. In addition to icy roads were snow squalls, which reduce visibility considerably.  I arrived safely, but it took me almost an hour and a half to get there.

The trip home had me worried.  My day was spent at a course to obtain my CPR and First Aid Certificates.  The drive to the course was not much fun, as I’ve described, and the snow kept billowing out of the sky during much of the morning and afternoon.  As four o’clock neared I began to fidget, I just couldn’t stop worrying about having to drive after dark on those icy roads with poor visibility.  I wanted to go home.  At 3:45 the instructor dismissed the class early, much to my relief.  The drive home was very, very bad for about 20 km and then gradually the roads improved and the snow diminished and then stopped altogether.  I arrived home safely just as it was beginning to get dark, around five o’clock.

Tomorrow the weather will be much less severe, if the weather reports are accurate.

On Saturday I am working in the morning at a new location.  This is a big deal, because there are a lot of new procedures I have to learn and employ in the three hours I’ll be there.  Still, it is a very positive atmosphere at that location and I am looking forward to it very much.  I’ll get three hours this Saturday and three hours next Saturday, and that is all the work on offer for this month.

Comfort food is very welcome this time of year.  Macaroni and cheese is one of my favorite comfort foods, and tonight it was the perfect solution to a long day.

Attila has the fire lit, Mist is sleeping in her basket and I am entering some family history information into my database.  A perfect evening so far.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

Snow Squall Watch In Effect
-1 °C
Condition: Snow
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Visibility: 5 km
Temperature: -1.0°C
Dewpoint: -1.4°C
Humidity: 97 %
Wind: SW 9 km/h
Wind Chill: -4

Quote

“The smaller the mind the greater the conceit.”
Aesop
620 BC – 560 BC

Huh?

Where did November go!?!

Other than my negative co-worker, I have had the opportunity to meet a lot of nice people who work for the same company.  One of them told me about a program for older workers, which I investigated and signed up for.  I attend the program full time, it is very rigorous.  There is even a small amount of remuneration, which is going to “save our bacon”.

There is always something new to learn.  I’ve written resumes for years and years and have been searching for work for almost two decades.  The program covers all of these topics and more, from a new and interesting perspective.  I feel invigorated by the experience and truly welcome the opportunity to meet other older workers who are also actively looking for new employment opportunities.

The program keeps me busy Monday to Friday and I’ve been working Saturday mornings for the company.  That is six days a week for me right now, busier than I’ve been in a while.  At least twice a month Attila and I head down to our little house in the city.  That leaves two days off work during the month where we are at home.  There isn’t a lot of downtime right now.

Harriet and Hogan stopped by for a visit on Saturday, it was wonderful to see them.  They were up in our neck of the woods to do some winterizing at their cottage.  They had purchased laminate flooring for their cottage, and subsequently decided upon different flooring.  It is our good fortune that they have given us the laminate flooring for our little house!  Christmas in November!  This kind of generosity is typical of Harriet and Hogan, they are just like that.

Luna and Janus and Imp and Elf and Tink and Benny and Bim are on their way to their new home.  Well not directly on their way, they are spending a week at Janus’ sister’s home, taking care of their niece and nephew while the parents take a holiday.  Soot the cat did not go with them, nor did their house plants.  Soot and the house plants have taken up residence at our little house in the city, to join Luna and the gang later, at the new house.

Apparently Tink took a tumble and now has stitches across the bridge of her nose.  Now this is interesting, because when I was a little tyke I too took a tumble and required stitches across the bridge of my nose.  I have a scar to prove it, perhaps Tink will too!

Terra and Lares are missing their nieces and nephew already!  Terra and Lares are really family oriented, which delights me no end.

This time of year, at the cusp of winter, the weather is unpredictable.  Last Friday I drove 125 kilometers round trip, through white-outs and snow-packed icy roads.  I passed four accidents on the return trip, all caused by drivers who refused to acknowledge the dangerous driving conditions.  Luckily there were no personal injuries as a result of these accidents.  When the roads are bad it is the other drivers that terrify me, not the driving conditions.

I am home a little early this evening.  As soon as I came in the door, after my long drive, I changed into my pajamas, concocted a juice spritzer and put my feet up!  Ah, home sweet home.

Clearing Things Up

Last weekend’s project was cleaning out my filing cabinets.  Unbelievable!  The stack of material to be burned was about three feet high, and I hadn’t sorted everything.  I did find a cheque made out to me, for the amount of $186.15.  I had suspected the company, that I worked for many years ago, of pulling a fast one on the insurance company, and so filed the cheque, to investigate at a later date.  I forgot about it.  No surprise there!  I gave the insurance company a call and explained the situation; they will trace the check and reissue it if that is appropriate.

At work, last Friday, a senior management person appeared at the workplace.  I got my wish, she came sooner rather than later, a great relief.  She held a conference with the negative coworker and myself.  The outcome of that discussion is uncertain, but the manager did offer to return if one of us felt the need of her guidance, and I will take her up on that if I need to.  She encouraged me to “speak up”.  I’ve taken her advice to heart.  My speaking up has not been well received.  Feathers are ruffled.  Better her than me.  Perhaps that is what the senior management person anticipated, because I feel better for it, not good, but better.

I talked with Caitrìona last Saturday.  She was having a quiet day, we chatted about the weather, teenagers cooking pasta and the ins and outs of purchasing a new vehicle.  Caitrìona purchased a new vehicle in September and is still waiting for it to be delivered to the dealer.  She is planning a visit once the new vehicle arrives, I am very much looking forward to it.

Today was cloudy, and bit chilly.  Still, the weather is relatively mild for this time of year.  That means that Attila can keep the house warm and toasty with a minimum of effort.

Mist enjoys the fires.  I’ve set out a basket for her to sleep in, over by the hearth.  It has become one of her favorite sleeping spots.  Attila and I have come to the conclusion that our Mist is totally deaf.  Poor old girl.  She doesn’t seem to mind though, and it hasn’t really changed her life very much.  We just have to be careful to let her know we are in the room, so as not to startle our old girl.

Mist In Her Basket

Mist In Her Basket

I have heard through the grapevine that my employer is cutting staff hours, in all the offices.  This means that after next week I will not be getting much work, perhaps no work for the next month or so.  An acquaintance tipped me off about a program for older workers in economically depressed areas, I qualify on all counts.  I’ve an appointment with the program delivery people tomorrow.  It is a long commute, an hours drive, one way.  If I can find enough work to cover the gas money and some of the cost of the car payment it will be time well spent.  I may or may not qualify though, this appointment is just to establish my eligibility.

It is only 5:15 p.m., and daylight has already faded away.  Atilla will arrive home soon, and our evening will begin.  We will make dinner, Attila will chop firewood and build a fire, we will sit in front of the crackling fire and plan our next visit to the little house in the city.  An evening to look forward to.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

1 °C
Condition: Light Snowshower
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 1.0°C
Dewpoint: 0.6°C
Humidity: 97 %
Wind: WSW 9 km/h

Quote

“Life has no other discipline to impose, if we would but realize it, than to accept life unquestioningly. Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate or despise, serves to defeat us in the end. What seems nasty, painful, evil, can become a source of beauty, joy and strength, if faced with an open mind. Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such.”
Henry Miller