Old Dog . . . No Tricks

When I started at Club Pricey Freeze they said I’d be trained as a cashier after I’d been a cashier’s assistant for a while.

Cashiers are the rock stars of the front end. They get paid more than their lowly assistants…plus they don’t do the heavy lifting (literally) of the check out line. It’s the assistant who hoists huge bags of dog food, flats of Diet Coke, enormous frozen turkeys, etc back into the carts after the cashier scans them.

Many of the cashiers with whom I worked when I first started were new to the big Club Pricey Freeze tills. They regularly made mistakes, often calling the supervisor to get them out of their financial scrapes as they learned the ropes. Practice does indeed make perfect, and they worked through their issues, becoming competent cashiers

I got a till tutorial before Christmas, and finally got some till time during the pre-holiday shopping frenzy.

I thought I did okay.

Apparently the Club Pricey Freeze management team didn’t agree. Since Christmas, I haven’t worked as a cashier. I spend my entire eight hour shift loading heavy groceries while everyone else gets time at the tills.

I’m literally the only front end staff member who never gets to run a cash register.

Surely if I’d screwed up in some major fashion, someone would’ve told me.

To say it’s impacted my self-esteem is an understatement.

Pop Goes the Tire!

Local news sources call them “car eating potholes.”

They’re right.

The other night I passed about a dozen cars on the shoulder of the Island Highway, hazard lights twinkling like a Christmas trees.

Then…a mighty bang and my little car limped forward making a horrible noise. Sensing something was amiss, I pulled over. A quick external examination revealed a flat tire, missing hubcap, broken mud flap and bent rim. Quite the automotive combo.

With only about a quarter charge left on my cell phone battery, I debated who to call.

Toyota Roadside Assistance proved to be more than useless. Although I answered “no” when asked if I was stranded in a safe place, I never actually spoke to a human. I listened to about twenty-five minutes of elevator music before giving up, and googling local tow truck operators.

Local businesses weren’t answering their phones, either. I later learned this was because they were otherwise engaged rescuing dozens of other stranded motorists on BC’s Highway to Hell. Apparently one tow truck driver was struck by a car that night. (See, Toyota, I told you it wasn’t a safe place!)

Eventually I gave up on society and called O.

He gathered up lights and tools and drove off into the night on that unsafe highway to change my tire and rescue me.

I got home safe and sound to begin the process of getting my damaged tire and rim repaired and decompress from my rough driving experience.

Thank you, O!

Nature Gal!

O, the fab new man in my life, is very outdoorsy. Since I’m ridiculously prone to peer pressure, I’ve become one with nature myself.

What does this look like, you might be asking. How does an indoor cat like me suddenly adjust to an outdoor lifestyle?

There’s been lots of camping! O introduced me to the joys of winter camping, something I’d never considered before. We camp when the weather’s good, too. Last summer, we spent almost a month wandering across BC and Alberta–my longest camping extravaganza ever. It was so amazing, we’re planning another adventure this summer.

Woodland hikes have become a regular activity. Most days we’re together involve long rambles through the forest–often followed by a pub lunch.

Finally, I’m slowly acquiring a super practical outdoor wardrobe that includes a water resistant merino toque, Hunter boots and warm wooly mittens.

I’m almost (but not quite!) as at home in the woods as I am at the mall.

Small Town Sunday

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Heading back to work after the long, lazy summer has been…challenging.

I miss blogging, but haven’t had the energy (or any interesting experiences) to share.  I went to yoga on Sunday to combat my malaise.

Yoga has magic properties that make me feel relaxed and healthy.  I always leave the class feeling better than I did when I went in.

It was perfect until the woman next to me started grunting and cursing every time she found a pose challenging.  Judging by her colourful language, she really struggled with the class.

Let’s just say, I didn’t get the calm, peaceful experience  I craved.

Afterward, I went to Starbucks.  It was a crisp sunny afternoon, so I sat outside to enjoy my coffee and unwind from the stressful yoga experience.  I wanted quiet to regroup.

I hadn’t even started my muffin when an adolescent turned up.

“I remember you from elementary school,” he announced sitting down.  “When I saw you, I had to come and say hi.”

I didn’t let on that I couldn’t recall him.  (Although I worked at his school, I don’t think I taught him.)  We chatted about his bike (he prefers riding it to video games!) and his recent transition to high school.

I didn’t get my solitary latte interlude, but I did get a sweet small town teacher moment.  It felt good that a former student felt comfortable enough to stop and talk to me.

Work has been crazy busy this year, but maybe it’s worth it if I’m making positive connections with kids.

 

 

I’m Beet!

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Getting back into the school routine has been…exhausting.

I’m taking a number of steps to promote well being.

I went to yoga on Sunday.  Since I hadn’t been for a while, some of the poses were difficult.  After this challenging class, I almost knocked the instructor over as I left the studio.  It was a physical Freudian Slip.

Then I bought an assortment of vegetables to roast for quick weeknight dinners.  I’m hoping to give myself a dose of energy and the healthy glow of a vegan.

As well as being delicious, the beets had the added benefit of turning everything they touched a glorious shade of pink.

Fun Facts…

Five observations from my recent Victoria adventure:

There are domesticated bee hives smack dab in the middle of the city!  The Empress Hotel produces its own honey from bees in their lovely gardens.

It’s possible to gut a heritage building while leaving its impossibly thin exterior walls standing.  For some reason, this fascinated me and I snapped a few photos every time I passed it.

Urban pigeons are quite aggressive when they see you enjoying a delicious, flakey Danish from Crust Bakery.

Even if you’re not especially into boats, you’ll see one you love in the Inner Harbour.

No matter how many times you do it, it’s no fun leaving your Boy at university.  😦

When Good People Make Bad Choices :(

Victoria is a lovely city.  I wandered around…and quickly became bored by shopping.

Something’s happened to me:  I seem to have lost the shopping gene!

Since I didn’t want to blow the budget on retail therapy, I decided to cross an item off my bucket list–a martini at the Empress.  I’ve never had a martini, but I’ve seen smooth operators like James Bond and Don Draper drink enough of them that I felt like an expert going in.

My martini was crisp and cold and smooth, and went down surprisingly quickly.

The waitress asked if I wanted another.

“I’m not sure,” I said, trying to look suave and sophisticated.  “This was my first ever martini!”

Her eyes widened.  “That’s three ounces of alcohol.  If you have another one, you’ll be a mess!”

I thanked my wise, one martini waitress and gave her a big tip.

Later that afternoon, I had another learning experience:  a martini is not a good lunch substitute, especially if you’ve skipped breakfast.

As I know from past experience, my shopping inhibitions fall away in the presence of alcohol.

The next morning when I woke up feeling buyer’s remorse (and a slight headache), I discovered the small, cutesy boutiques I frequented don’t offer cash refunds like the big chain stores.

Sigh.  I either need to quit drinking or give up the recreational shopping.

 

The Road Trip

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This summer’s ended with more of a whimper than a bang, so I’m doing something fun before heading back to the daily grind.

I’ve booked a hotel and will stay over for a day of wandering and wine after I drop my Boy off for the fall term at university.  He’s not thrilled we’ll be hitting the road at 6:30 AM, but I intend to maximize my time in the capital, so an early start is key.

I don’t want to forget anything in my short time there, so I’ve made a list of my favorite Victoria spots.  Looking at my inventory (Bon Macaron Patisserie, Crust Bakery, Rogers’ Chocolate, Pagliacci’s Restaurant…) I’m shocked at how many of my faves are food-related.

Eating my way through downtown Victoria before meeting an old friend (and my Boy’s Godmother!) for dinner that evening will be a challenge.

Will I be up to the task?  Hopefully, a “can do” attitude and an empty stomach will see me through.

 

 

The Creep Factor

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There’ve been a few mornings lately when I notice the welcome mat by the basement door has been moved slightly during the night.

I push it back into place, assuming it was the neighbour’s cat, or some other harmless animal visitor.

This morning, after shifting the mat back where it belongs, I noticed something…

Someone (probably not the neighbour’s cat) had printed “HI” in chalk on the wall next to the door.  It’s at eye level and wasn’t there last night when I let the dog out for her bedtime pee, so it wasn’t kids, unless they’re unnaturally tall and nocturnal.

Maybe I’m overreacting, but is this creepy, or what?