Okay, so… Christmas.
Christmas was incredibly busy. I started a new job at a motorcycle shop back in October and handed in my notice to my old employer. Then the moto shop owner decided he didn’t need me in full time and told me he’d only have use for me for three days a week. My former employer was very understanding and allowed me to hang on at part time for a while, but that meant I was working six days a week. Six days a week and, somehow, I was taking home less money than I’d been making with just the one job.
Working more and making less meant that Christmas was pretty much cut to the bare minimum. No non trad and no gifts beyond the immediate family. It was a long, cold, and exhausting December. On the plus side I did get several days off around the holiday itself, which meant I had more time to visit with Dianne and the family. The downside of that is that meant I was making even less money. January was, to say the least, fucking poor.
Christmas itself was warm and comforting. I got to play some new games, and some very old games. I gifted the boys with a copy of “Small World” and the adults with a copy of “Pandemic”. We only played Small World once and were working out the rules as we went along, so it was hard to gauge as to whether or not it was fun. There was too much fumbling and thinking about the rules to really enjoy it. I’m hoping the boys give it a few more tries.
Pandemic, on the other hand, was a pretty good hit right from the start. Possibly because I’d already played it once before and there was less fumbling around with the rules. In all honesty, though, I just love the game for it’s own sake. I know I’m late to the table over it as the game was release years ago, but it was still new to everyone else and we all seemed to enjoy it. The game is cooperative with everyone either winning or losing. You either succeed in wiping out the four epidemics threatening the world or the entire world dies. The game inspires a strong sense of collaboration and people (okay, mostly me) can get really excited about it.
I’m going to have to see if there’s a fan group for it. I’m just smitten.
By the time my new boss was able to take me on for “full time” in January I realized he wouldn’t have me for more than seven hours a day for four days and six hours for the fifth. Even at “full time” I was, in fact, working a part time job. My previous employer, trying to be as understanding as they could, honestly didn’t think they could keep me on for just one day a week. So in one swift stroke I was working fewer hours for less money per hour. I could have returned to my former job and resumed making what I was making before, but despite the temptation I set my jaw and resolved to keep moving forward. I’ve spent so much of my life playing it safe and that has taken me to where I am now, and where I am now isn’t terribly happy.
Then opportunity hit with another job I’d applied for earlier. They called me up one morning and asked if I could start in a week. Thinking back, if the motorcycle shop owner had originally hired me on for a real full time job back in October I would have had to have provided him with two weeks’ notice and I would have had to turn the new job offer down. As luck would have it he never did officially hire me on as full time which, while I meant I was earning crap, also meant I could leave at any time. So I did. I handed my notice in the day I got the call and walked out.
I spent the rest of that week visiting with Dianne and the boys in BC. As fate would have it my visit coincided with her graduation ceremony for the photography course she finished last year. Not only was I able to attend but I was also able to help her set up and transport her display. Numerous people commented on her display with great enthusiasm. While most of the other students were content to just put their pictures up Dianne created a presentation that lived and breathed along with her photos. Where other students had frames and easels to hold up their photos Dianne installed her photography amoungst an old typerwriter, a steamer trunk, a black suitcase more than a century old, an artists’s portable work desk complete with pencils and paints. She added accents with an old pair of wire rimmed glasses, a fine fedora hat, a small collection of pocket watches, pens, pencils, brushes… a whole palet of life and art.
I have to say that while the other students had done pretty good at setting up individual photographs, each one illustrating some moment in time, Dianne excelled at setting up an entire novel of memories and storylines. People admired the other photographs. People took pictures of Dianne’s table.
I returned after too short of a visit to start my new job last Monday. The new job is with a large dental supply company with over twenty locations around Canada and a couple in the US. They hired me on for true full time work at more pay and with benefits starting in three months. As an added cherry to the whole package the location I’m working at is a twenty minute walk from my home. Not only will I be earning more money with benefits but I’ll be saving a little on commute costs as well by walking to work. On truly frigid days I also have the option of taking a bus down 17th ave if I just can’t face the walk.
So far I have effectively doubled my daily walking average. The job, while not overly strenuous, is continuous. I’m never idle, and I’m never sitting down. The “never idle” part is good in that it keeps the hours passing relatively quickly, but the “never sitting” part is a bit hard on my feet. I’m hoping the new pair of shoes I invested in this weekend help out with that.
In the last four months I have had a terrible time sleeping. The uncertainty of my world, the constant worrying about having enough work to pay my bills and the ever dwindling supply of my savings had me losing hours of sleep every night. I can honestly say that, since I started my new job last week, I have slept better every night than I have in years. I’m not sure how much of that is due to having less uncertainty in my life and how much is due to my constant physical activity, but I have to say I’m enjoying the restful sleep very much.