Month: October 2013

A brutal revelation

There’s nowhere left to hide!!!

Last night, I experienced the sort of revelation that Thunks you between the eyes like a wet fish. I was sitting in Beer Brothers with Amy after a fun, impromptu and childless night out, when a complete stranger came up to me saying she wanted to tell me how much she liked this blog! Well, that completely threw me. I had no idea how to react! It was a shock even that she’d recognised me (though I guess with the additional volume that comes with beer drinking, my accent is quite noticeable!). But honestly, I write this stuff safe in the knowledge that few people outside my close friends and my Dad bother to even skim through my stream-of-consciousness drivel, and they only do so when I nag them. I certainly don’t plan, draft, and edit these posts with an audience in mind, so having strangers read it feels very odd indeed.

My fan, if that is the right term, said she liked hearing an outsider’s view of Regina – well, that I certainly can offer! Even after 18 months here, I am still discovering new things to do, which is great. Amy and I were having a drink after going to see the Regina Symphony Orchestra at the Connexus Arts Centre. She and her hubby go quite regularly, but he is sadly suffering the same daycare-plague that Carl and I got the other week, so I got to gatecrash what would’ve been their date night! We saw Tchaikovsky’s Sixth, and Amy gaily filled me in on the stories of cholera, suicide and scandal surrounding the gay dead Russian’s final work, which only added to the experience. I am by no means a classical music aficionado, but I really enjoyed it – very different, and I’m glad I got to see something that it wouldn’t even occur to me to try without a friend waving a spare ticket at me.

Our other recent adventure was going out to Pilot Butt(e) for the Amaizing Corn Maze! Not as sunny as last year unfortunately, but we dutifully got lost and had a lot of fun jumping in hay and rolling around in the pea pit. You also get a nice view of the city from there – you can see my new work! – and I heard The Best description of Regina ever the other day:

“Regina: like an empty carpark, with a pile of Lego in the middle.”

The SGI building is the second tower block in from the right on this photo. The only other blog-reader that I know of (who I daren’t actually call a “fan”) has been asking for an update on The Job. So for her sake, “the Job goes well”. It is not the most fascinating role ever but I am confident that it will get more interesting eventually, but even in the meantime it is such a relief not to have to count hours and worry about whether I have enough shifts to survive the month, and it is considerably easier work for more money that spending 8, 9, or 10 hour shifts on my feet making soy crappycinos for rude vegans. SGI really look after you – there’s all sorts of complicated health and insurance benefits which I’ve never had before, plus a random day off every two weeks (which is lovely!), and even the Timbits fairy who delivers deep-fried sugary goodness fairly frequently to our office. We’re on the 6th floor and the views are pretty good (except my desk is facing out over the railway tracks, not the prettier downtown side) but the cafeteria on the 18th floor has a stunning 360 degree view of… flatness! I can’t quite make out my house, but I can see the Cathedral so I can work out where our street is at least.

The first day I discovered The View, I only had my phone on me with which to take pictures. This is my excuse for Terrible Photography this week.
The first day I discovered The View, I only had my phone on me with which to take pictures. This is my excuse for Terrible Photography this week.

I do get myself up there as often as possible to remind myself that there is a world outside the scanning room, where I am currently stationed. I do have a proper desk too which I have been adorning with photos of Miranda, and then more silly clutter like a china moose riding a purple scooter, and I have an official SGI notebook in which to write daily Scanning Room Haikus. The whole office is now covered in Halloween decorations – NOT instigated by me! and I appear to be working with a trekkie (who ordered herself a lifesize cardboard Karl Urban…), a fellow Whovian who also happens to “try and bring cake at least once a month”, and someone else who owns Rammstein’s entire discography. So, I am amongst friends!

My new workplace. I still think it looks like a giant 9v battery.

We had a staff meeting the other day, and us new folk (there’s four of us) had to introduce ourselves. I did my best but Jim followed up my comments with “and I’ve just learned that Annabel has over 1000 twitter followers, and one of them is sitting in this room!” – yes, thanks for that! Gulp. Another new starter happens to follow me on Twitter, and recognised me from there even though I didn’t recognise her until she told me her name, or at least her twitter handle. Regina is a small town really… (I found out over the summer that statistically, I am the 177th most influencial twitter user in Regina – out of 21000, which is kinda cool, and kinda scary! I think I should have that on a rosette!). I had at least noticed that I’d hit the Big Four Figures on Twitter, but really, folks, why do you follow me?? If you think this blog is pointless, I can assure you my tweets are considerably worse… I think the real reason why the realisation that people actually read my crap is so uncomfortable, is that I am now immediately starting to self-edit, and self-censor. I’m quickly becoming far more conscious of what and how I write (the preceding sentence is grammatically terrible, for instance!) and now it’s all awkward. So, thank you all for reading, but I am now going to try and pretend you don’t exist so I can carry on churning out carefree psychobabble.

I got another amusing message on Twitter recently from Mark and Ange back in Darlington, warning me that my other, old twitter account had been hacked and was sending out spam to people. The other account is @thetinycheese – actually, Miranda’s account from when she used to want to bash the keyboard with Mummy in my cafe, aged about 10 months. I haven’t used it in ages, since Miranda got big enough to actually damage my keyboard! Apparently, people still follow it, but I’ve forgotten the password so I can’t get in to it and get rid of the spam, sorry folks!

Miranda is slowly settling in to her new daycare, but it has been very hard on her, poor baby. I was really pleased that we managed to get her in to the one we wanted – it’s very close, run by a very friendly woman who seemingly has infinite patience and energy, Miri can carry on going to her preschool too, and best of all, our neighbours’ daughter goes to the same daycare so Miri has her big friend Abi to play with there! I know full well she enjoys it really, but she is not remotely impressed by having to get up so early in the mornings now, and we are officially The Worst Parents Ever when we have to shove her through the daycare door and run off quick before she can follow us to work. She’s got quite clingy to Mummy now – probably as a result of having spent the last 6 months with me all day every day, and now barely sees me at all apart from in the evenings when she is already exhausted. I miss her too!! Staying home with her this summer was far, far more demanding and tiring than going to work in an office so in some ways, going back to work is a big relief, but it is very strange not having my big baby around all the time. Waa!

Anyway, November is looking to be a busy month – we’ve got big Halloween plans as always, it’s Nanowrimo, I’ve somehow naively got myself a stall at a craft fair mid-month, so I have to Make Things to sell on it, and I’ve still got lots to learn at work. Oh, and I’ve got my first ever driving lesson (on the wrong side of the road) this week! So, I better get on with things and stop just writing about things, I reckon!


Not Unemployed!

As of Friday, I am officially, erm, non-unemployed, to put it much grammarously.

After what feels like YONKS of job hunting, I finally found something when I wasn’t really looking, in a place I honestly didn’t expect to. Marianne and I went to a jobs fair last week; it was mainly full of potash and construction jobs, and lots of shiny posters of people wearing hard hats and grinning inanely. Frankly, I didn’t hold out much hope of anyone wanting to hire someone with a Phd in coffee, so Miri and I were really just there for the freebies. In that respect, we did very well indeed. Miranda scored herself two rubber ducks from SIAST, a frisbee from CIBC bank, and dozens of pens and a few bribery-flavoured lollipops. It was on a quest for another lolly that we came across the SGI stall (for non-Reginans, that is Saskatchewan Government Insurance. Yep, insurance is nationalised, well, provincially-owned here, sooooooooo much easier than comparing and negotiating with hundreds of extortionate companies in the UK!!). A very friendly guy called Jim asked if I was looking for work, I said yes, but also that I’d applied to SGI back in June and never heard a squeak back. He explained that they usually just recruit at entry level, and then promote people internally. He took a look at my resume anyway, and said he felt “under qualified” in comparison! I can’t help feeling my qualifications are pretty useless though – he has a job, I don’t!

(An aside, and RANT KLAXON! we watched BBC Question Time the other night, with the Tories’ new and inventive ways of torturing the poor: apparently if you haven’t got a job and you’re under 25, you should go back and live with your parents so you can’t claim housing benefit, do community service in order to get your already-reduced unemployment benefit – thus putting people who get paid properly to do community service jobs out of work – and if you are STILL out of work, go back to school and learn new skills. Which is only ever going to result in a lot of drastically over-skilled, over-educated unemployed people chasing low-skilled, part time, minimum wage jobs, and up to their eyeballs in debt from university or college fees. Cos that is the perfect solution, right? Idiots.)

But moving swiftly on… the next day, Jim called me to invite me to an interview, and through a roundabout series of events including doing obscure HR tests for admin work, I got offered a job at SGI! This is brilliant news!! It’s only entry-level, but it’s a foot in the door at least, and could lead on to more exciting things. It being insurance, I’ve had to sign confidentiality agreements and things, so I can’t go in to too much detail on here obviously – fairly easy to agree to since I really don’t feel like I know what I’m doing yet anyway. I start on the 16th, so hopefully all will be revealed then!

Which does mean though, that I have ten days to try and find child care for Miranda again. This could prove tricky. Ugh.

I’ve been doing more poetry! It was Culture Days last weekend, and there was another poetry slam at the Mercury. We actually got to write in advance this time, so I was a little more prepared and wrote an empassioned rant about all the jobs we have to do under the umbrella term, ‘Mum’  This one was *just* before I got offered the job though. Maybe I should have polemicised far earlier!