Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Has it only been two days?

Well, hello there. It certainly feels longer than that as there has been a lot happening since I last blogged. To begin, yesterday morning I approached the "I'm thinking of taking that cruise without you" subject with the life partner who when questioned stated "well, I wouldn't mind going" but I explained that is not even close to getting up every morning and scheming as to how to make it happen (he agreed) so I explained the "I have a replacement for your spot" situation and he didn't bat an eye. Then he lays on the clincher "well it's no different than when you went to Boston" (to explain - this was a tropical medicine course in 2004, bought a seat sale, found a hole in the wall B&B, split the expenses with another OHN, rode the subway and had my cousin take us to and from the airport - not exactly high class travel) so I say "not even close". Mister says "no need to rationalize it" so.... I decide to myself 'if you think you've seen first class travel... you will' sure excised any guilt I might have suffered. So, I left a message for the travel partner saying "let's go" and we were off and running.

This is today's horoscope and you'll see below how I decided to use my artistic creativity - travel planning:

You may find it increasingly difficult to work with other people these days. In fact, it may feel as if those same folks who are usually quite supportive are now standing in your way. However, you could be overly sensitive, imagining the resistance to be more serious than it truly is. Instead of shadowboxing with non-existent enemies, focus on your own self-expression and artistic creativity.

Today my cruise mate and I finally connected and chatted about details - my only stipulation is a stop at the Cayman Islands on a weekday to check out the job offer, do you care about the room? nope, can we change the date as it'll be cheaper a week or so later? yep whatever (quick call to team member to enact Plan B for vacation coverage if needed). So after a phone call to the cruise expert travel agent to clear up some questions (no a side trip to a beach in Haiti does not seem like a bonus to someone who knows about infectious diseases) and yes I agree it is more fun to overnight in Miami than Toronto airport hotels for sure! This afternoon brought a proposal for - April 7th to Halifax via LaGuardia to Miami then departing on April 8th - a 7 day western Carribean itinerary (Belize, Costa Maya, Cozumel, Grand Cayman) on the Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas with a balcony stateroom.

A flurry of activity after that. An email to the Manager of the Cayman Island retirement home with a quick reply "so lovely to hear from you again, I can arrange for our current Nursing Supervisor to show you around etc" A internet check of Miami hotels - can do the stopover for $70 Cdn each night. Things are falling into place - meant to be for sure. And certainly provides immunity from all the angst at the paid employment these past two days!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Do not disturb - I'm having a crisis

Today was a day of crises - none of them mine at least - but it still takes it’s toll. Employees dealing with family issues, benefits, workplace injuries, safety committee meeting, attempting to get some of my course done while covering for Yarmouth and Digby - the last call of the day was an employee not known to me with an accent of some sort who was leaving for the Amazon - Guyana (yes in South America) and casually wondering about antimalarials. Upon checking the CDC guidelines that would be only one of the health concerns with travel to that area. When I asked about date of departure the response was “this Friday” Now some of the pre-travel planning takes weeks so this was not a good situation., one of those ‘I’ll get back to you in the morning’ responses. You know like Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind "I'll think about that tomorrow" kind of approach. All of this interspersed with a Dr. appointment for myself where the Doc confirmed my self diagnosis and so a referral to have a spot on my face checked.. Definitely don’t want anything to interfere with my retirement.

An interesting turn was connecting with an acquaintance who was very keen on a cruise, she didn‘t dismiss it out of hand at all. Now talking about karma she mentioned that she had decided to take a cruise this year, had spoken with a cruise expert travel agent recently who recommended travel was cheaper the end of March or first of April and was most interested in my research (both for Cayman employment and cruise ship speaking) so this was a bright spot in my day. I just have to figure out how to explain my success at attracting a travel partner to the life partner. No, he’s too busy, preoccupied with the business, talking about a trip to Gloucester (yes Massachusetts) to view an automatic baiter while putting the boat into a shop (or not )and not really interested in spending more time on the water but… does he want to be replaced? Hmm.. I wonder?

The phone rang off the wall, the kids were in and out and I had a two hour course teleconference so this was NOT the evening to discuss travel plans. Combined with the fact that mister's beard smelled like diesel fuel (small problem with siphoning he explained) and it took two washes to even raise a lather in the work clothes leads me to believe that he may have been working in the engine room. This does not place him in the best of moods to discuss important topics, so a slight delay. Creation of crises is not needed, there are enough naturally occuring ones in this household!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Wanted - travel partner

This morning I got up convincing myself I was on vacation as the sun was streaming in through the windows with the million dollar view, made myself an omelet, leisurely pursued the Sunday paper, the evening entertainment includes a same gender date at the movies. Within an hour reality was back in place including a hormonally induced headache (one of the joys of my current developmental stage) and several annoying phone calls.

Well now, don’t ask me how much scrap booking I got done yesterday because… apparently because I was making fun of the ‘testosterone’ thing - the karma was affected. When I got out to Sobeys Community Room, dragged my suitcase full of 60 lb. of supplies out of the car, across the parking lot and up the stairs, I found Izetta, her preschool granddaughter and employee who manages the room looking at me with surprise because…it was the kids scrap booking workshop for those under 10. Apparently when I skimmed the email I wasn’t careful with the dates. Izetta suggested I stay but I already felt juvenile enough so I decided I’d pick up my order - not to be, she’d lugged it around with her for weeks (without me appearing) and finally taken it out of the bag. She suggested (since I stated I was coming on Tuesday night) that I leave my supplies as the room is secured and it would mean I would have to come to retrieve it. Now that was something I could opt for as the prospect of another two way trip for the supplies wasn’t on my priority list. It had seemed too good to be true (because it wasn’t) that the session would match with when I could actually plan for, attend and not rush off from something I enjoyed.

While I was not scrap booking the life partner was attending the Fisheries Show in Yarmouth and talking business as he is being courted by Mustad to trial an automatic baiter due to his sizable haddock quota for Georges Bank. This resulted in the review of Norweigan DVDs after supper on the subject - riveting at least for himself - and the adrenalin rush type response with dilated pupils, far away gaze, and fidgeting as he engaged in the ‘next big project’ scheming. If a go, this will likely be combined and run concurrently with the ‘enlarging the boat project’ as he never does things by halves. I have said in the past that I am married to the Martin Luther King of NW Harbour as he has ‘a dream, a dream that one day…’ (insert dream project here) which usually takes twice as long and costs twice as much as he estimates. Or it will cost too much to hire out a project which he feels he can do either cheaper, better or both - this usually results in 12 - 16 hour days for extended periods. There are too many of these since 1982 to count. The price of being involved with a man ahead of his time. The discouraging point was actually reached on Friday when he mentioned that he told the captain taking the boat that he “had to be sure of the captain’s intentions about length of service before putting the vessel in the boat shop”. When I clarified did he mean he was having it contracted or doing the work himself, he admitted he was just generalizing for the guy and planned to start himself next week. Anything more than a one day urgent trip away for supplies will be out of the question with this time table as completion before spring lobstering will dictate - no vacation for him.

However, that is not the situation I find myself in so I am actively seeking a travel partner. Most of my friends either have family responsibilities, no money (or both) or other plans. I’m going to keep looking because my horoscope today reads:

Friendship fulfills your fantasies. Every person you meet might not be ready to take a cruise to an exotic island, but at least one acquaintance is willing to be a real friend in a pinch.

Not superstitious but that one fits really well with the plans for sure! As the publishing workshop I attended last week stated - you don't need 27 publishers, you just need one.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Housework done properly can kill you

A friend mentioned she’d reviewed my blog and enjoyed it but there wasn’t anything she didn’t know - a good thing I’d say as I count her as up to date friend. Lately I’ve been thinking that extra years bring with them rewards. Isn’t it amazing that what drove you bonkers at age 30 (spouse not being around) does not even mildly disturb at age 50 ? (good - need some time to myself) 30 yr. old (doesn’t want to go out in the evening) 50 yr. old (good opportunity for a lesbian date) with apologies to those who choose same sex relationships - in many ways much simpler (communication / sharing clothes) while more complicated (female fighting - a friend’s son commented that female room mates who have a blow up are remembering it months or years later while guys yell, then go out and have a beer, that’s the end of it) However, some situations such as not pitching in with domestic tasks or picking and choosing the ‘fun stuff’ still have tick-off value after 30 yrs of cohabiting.

Friends and coworkers have stated they are envious that I have a cleaning lady but it all comes down to choices - being married or divorced basically. I decided many years ago that if I am going to work - and it only makes good financial sense that I do as I have a career which compensates me adequately - that since no one else residing in the house is going to step up to the plate for the extras, we will engage a cleaner - even if it means eating Kraft Dinner four nights per week. I am able (somewhat and with occasional offspring contributions) to keep up with the day to day living chores - laundry, meals, baking, dishes, general pickup, groceries etc. but I WILL NOT spend my days off vacuuming, scrubbing the floors, washing surfaces, cleaning bathrooms - no one else who lives here does, why should I? It takes me hours longer than any cleaner I’ve ever had, I don’t do it as well, it makes me really cranky, especially since someone usually spills something on a newly scrubbed surface. I get absolutely no satisfaction out of saying “I did it myself” as it’s about the spiritual experience of returning to an immaculate, fresh smelling house (albeit short lived) not about self-torture. And for those folks who say “I couldn’t have anyone else in my house, going through my stuff, or not doing it myself” I simply cannot even respond (might have to serve jail time) to that way of masochistic thinking. So when the life partner mentioned that with the move to the new house we might not need a cleaning lady well… let’s just say - he’s recovering well and the cleaning lady was here yesterday - I‘m still in my ‘zone‘.

Anyway, off to walk the dog before I collect my scrap booking supplies as there’s a workshop this afternoon. Have done three loads of laundry, made brown bread and will pick up groceries after the workshop at Sobey’s so there not one bit of guilt in indulging myself. I feel a testosterone rush actually as I type the words.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Tomorrow is Friday - yeehaw!

Since stress management guidelines say you’re supposed to think of three positive things that happened during the day so let’s see how today was…. 1. The internet was back up at work by mid-morning so I finished my WebCT work on two courses 2. The computer tech came down from Yarmouth today and graced me with his presence at 3:30 and worked on the computer and ‘thinks’ the problems in my system are fixed - it was running much faster 3. I’ve been playing with my razor phone - did you know you can take a photo with the phone and make it your screensaver ? and I’m told (by the one with razor phone envy who was reading the manual last night) that you can program it to respond when you say “home” and it will dial your home number. Pretty new age for a gal who grew up with a rotary party line wall phone - mind you we always had a telephone and that was more the exception than the rule in the neighbourhood.

Actually I can think of more than three good things from today. One of the 'silver lining' situations was that due to no internet access I took an hour and did filing and sorting in the office (feng shui principles of simplifying your space) and boy did it ever feel good! Now I need to adapt those same ideals and find some surfaces for the cleaning lady to whip into shape before I get home in the afternoon.

Tomorrow is Friday (yeehaw) and I’m suffering from Thursday night syndrome (being up early too many days in a row for this non-lark more night owl circadian rhythm type) so it‘s a good thing it is the end of the week. There is a scrap booking session on Saturday and there is nothing that can come between me and my paper crafting this weekend! So many photos, so little time.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

What's the score?

My baby bought supper, treats & drove me home from work
I spoke to my niece as she was leaving the IWK with her new baby
I picked up a new razor phone (which I don’t deserve) the supper buyer tells me
It was a beautiful p.m. for a walk, temperature milder, beautiful sunset

The internet was down at work all afternoon so I couldn’t work on course material
Plow took the mailbox out, I crawled into a deep snowy ditch to fetch soggy mail
I held supper for the man until 8:30

Today was one of those days where (without pressing financial responsibilities like the need to eat) I would have said “take this job and shove it” by about 10 a.m. but you don’t want to hear that whining. I was thinking as I was walking the dog that I’d like to be daughter # 3 who’s just considering starting out in nursing , talking about Australia after she gets a year’s work experience under her belt in Canada. I try not to scare her with the ‘nurses eat their young’ stories if I can help it.

A positive happening this p.m. was the man wishing his brother-in-law a good trip as they are heading out this weekend for two weeks in the sun and saying “she’s got 5 weeks more on that course she’s doing and then we’ll have to see what happens after she gets another piece of that paper to hang on the wall. What’s she studying? Oh you know she’s supposed to be learning to prevent those super bugs, TB, SARS, stuff like that, well it’s really about preventing them but that hasn’t happened yet”. You know if I ever think he’s not noticing that sure blew that theory - he had it down pat. The most exciting part was the ‘still in the running for vacation’ statement tossed off oh so casually. I interjected that “I’m going by myself after the day I had today” just so there’d be no misunderstanding the seriousness of my intent. Got to keep them focused. I live in hope.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Do you ever wonder?

Do you ever wonder what cat's must (or must not) think? When looking for Gary's collar (he manages to get it off occasionally and 'lose' it around the house) I searched in the wooden box on top of the cabinets in the utility room and found... a purple colored-pencil. So I wonder... what was he thinking when he took it up there? was he hiding it from Stanley? was he saving it to color a picture? how did he get it up there (his teeth I suppose)? does he not like the color of the walls? I had visions of him working on a mural while I'm sleeping. Actually today there was not too much whining ... at least I was the cause of it - not personally participating :) It was, as usual,a full day but at least not as frustrating as many lately. The roads were a challenge, the phone store salesperson didn't make it in because she lives in the non-plowed boonies so no phone exchange but... the computer continues to behave itself so I got some course work done and I even got over to the Manor to advise Mom that she was a great grandmother again as my niece Beth had a baby girl named Leah on the 19th. As my 'summer neighbour' advised when reviewing the blog that I should remember that prospective employers are now googling applicants so to be careful of disclosure. I assured her as a nurse who's written on patient records for 33 years I'm pretty careful about what I put on paper (or the screen) as I try to envision myself reading out the line in court as the prosecutor points to it ( a tip from a first year nursing instructor) to see if I should phrase the info that way. But for interest's sake I googled myself (sounds kind of disturbing doesn't it?) and found myself on zoominfo with outdated contact info, some articles I'd had published on tourism in Cuba, nursing in Cuba, a copy of my OHNANS newslettter, the local hospital directory with my job described and a bad photo of me at my desk, a request to a nurse listserv from 12 years ago. So all in all, pretty tame stuff, but it proves I do exist in cyberspace. Mind you that doesn't have much to recommend it when you think of what lurks in the ether eh? Just finished with a course teleconference so must go catch some z z z. Tomorrow is hump day - so there is hope that the week is half over.

Monday, February 19, 2007

What a day!

As you can see from the photo (the caption should read - this old nurse wants to be in bed in this house not driving on the 103) taken by the student participating in a snow day... today we had a winter storm advisory with 30 - 35 cm of wet, blowing, drifting snow which began during the night and was a mess by first thing this morning. All schools on this end of the province were cancelled and lots of other places too. My plans were complicated by the fact that there was a general staff orientation session scheduled for Yarmouth which I was expected to present occupational health and infection control topics (remember the coworker lying on the beach who I'm jealous of). I started calling everyone on the HR list in YRH early and was still only getting voice mail at 8 a.m. so assuming no one made it in, I called the switchboard saying to the receptionist "they must have cancelled orientation for today is there anyone in the conference room?" she agrees that it can't be on but she'll check and the next voice I hear is that of one of the HR staff who sounds surprised that I should question if the session is still on, says there are five people there he and asks me why I'm not coming up? Now on a good day this is a one hour drive and he's really surprised me with the 'what's the matter with you' attitude so I tell him I'll start out and see. Then I phone my counterpart in YRH and ask why the session is still on (we have white out conditions at this point and no plows on the road) and she says "well this is a hospital, people have to know that they have to come to work" and mind you she has traveled less than 5 km to get to this hospital, but she does offer to do both of the presentations for me so I'm not long taking her up on it. So now... I just have to get myself into Shelburne and email them to her. This was quite an experience at 50 km on a very greasy road which means I arrive over an hour late. I have to stop at the phone store because the loaner they've given me has a defective charger and so is almost dead. My original phone is still not reset. I skid into work to find out that everyone, and I mean everyone is really cranky as it looks like they're in for the next 24 hrs. and my computer is just creeping along and the techs haven't even called me back. I found the IT Manager on the phone in his local office (he'd started out for YRH and headed back) and asked him to come fix the machine (he says he knows I 've had a 'ticket' out on that for a couple of weeks) - he tells me it's been about 8 yrs since he's been a tech and I tell him that's more than I have - he has 15 min. to get things operational and unbelievably he does manage to cobble together a partial solution to the almost stalled performance so I can post for my assignment. I managed to hang in until about about 1:30 p.m. when the RCMP were warning folks off the road, businesses were all closing and by then I thought ' there is no job worth risking my life on these roads for, I have + + hours of vacation and time in lieu.. I'm out of here. The sad situation is that I likely got as much accomplished in 4 hrs. today as I do in 8 hrs on others. Now the driveway is plowed, we didn't lose power here and there is no more snow forecast at least for tonight so tomorrow should be better. I need a tropical perspective on this!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Poet for hire

I was amazed to hear advertised on the radio before Valentine’s Day that at the Farmers Market in Halifax, poets with fancy paper and scissors were available to create poems for that special some one. Now how lacking in imagination would you have to be to hire out your poetry needs? The next day another station mentioned that in the Victorian era you could purchase books of acrostic poems to use for valentine sentiments. Guess when you come from a long line of crafters and those who create with words you don’t consider those activities to be external services. Inspired me towards wordsmithing an ode to retirement, so here is my acrostic attempt:

R - Rejuvenating
E - Enjoyable
T - Therapeutic
I - Invigorating
R - Relaxing
E - Energizing
M - More
E - Entertaining
N - Naps
T - Tropical

Surprising how much more fun that topic is than searching for the right term for my course assignment. And to think, that’s just describing it - not participating in it. Mind you the last letter is the most tempting at this time of year. I am suffering from a severe case of sun vacation withdrawal as this is only the second winter in the past dozen years that has been Caribbean free. I don’t have the bonus of enjoying playing with toys in the snow (think Tim plowing the driveway on the 4 wheeler) with pink cheeks and a wide grin. This afternoon I was walking the dog with the bitter northwest wind all but ripping the hair off of her, my eyes streaming as if I’d peeled a bag of onions as I bent into the gusts, with my fuzzy scarf stuck protectively across my respiratory passages and adhered to my lip chap … I was NOT smiling. Couldn’t even say like my western transplanted friend that “it’s a dry cold” because it was raw enough to need cooking.

However, as daughter # 3 informed me - if you want to whine you should just blog on MySpace as pity parties are welcome there. Not even going to mention the hazardous drive to work on Friday, the bill at the garage, scene at the phone store or the work computer which is so slow that it took 3 hrs to do a 15 min. task or the cranky colleagues that made the air as thick as ice at work. So, enough of the frigid descriptions, who wants to remember winter anyway? The Latin music channel of Sirius radio and banana liqueur on ice as the sun streams in through the windows will have to pass for a tropical break this weekend. Hasta leugo.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The score - rats one, humans zero

Well now, today was one of those interesting days in the rat race where it felt like the rats were winning. Let's see... on the negative side my (second new in two weeks) cell phone is still messed up where I have a voice mail message but can't retrieve it because everytime I shut it off, it resets itself. I was so disgusted I left both the new and old cell at the phone shop and said "you have until tomorrow to get one of these working" I had a last minute phone conversation with one of my workteam as she headed out to airport to catch a flight to Cuba this p.m. where I tried (unsuccessfully) to control my envy. Work was an absolute political nightmare, everyone wanted a piece of me (you'd think there was enough to go around eh?) and I struggled to listen to some of the online ICP course material so I could desperately finish. Didn't even have time to visit Mom at the Manor to check on her broken thumb (she told the Dr. in ER on Monday that she'd done it three days ago and they'd been so short staffed she just kept on working :). The roads were terrible today with ice and slush and a loud thumping noise developed under the car on the way home. When I pulled into the garage in Clyde River to see if it was a ice lump (nope) a kind stranger at the gas pump called out that there was a flap of black plastic hanging down behind the bumper that needed to be fastened back up. So I will have to clumpety clump my way into work in the morning, convince someone at Huskilsons to drive me to work then fix the car and catch a ride back in the afternoon. I have done six loads of laundry and taken a shovel to the house because tomorrow is the day I have the spiritual experience when I come home after the cleaning lady has been here. Tim is making noises about enlarging one of the boats (again) which will essentially mean he'll be working 18 hr days from as soon as he can get started until lobstering begins in April. I feel the cruise experience slip sliding away. Will have to solicit a new travel partner for the short term it seems.

On the plus side of the equation however... I did convince daughter # 3 to pick up some groceries for me and run a couple of errands. Guess that doesn't really balance out no matter how you measure it.

But anyway, tomorrow is Friday - always a good day of the week as it's the last work outside the home one. We are one day closer to spring. And I'm really lucky to have all this excitement in my life to complain about. Imagine being lonely, really sick or bored or.... imagine heading out to the airport for a sunny destination!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

I could do that ... if I wanted to

Well hello again. It's the end of a very long day and I'm just checking in after my 'flying trip' to Halifax for the writing workshop. Since I'm not a morning person (when I have blue hair I am NOT getting up before daylight) The man drove on the way down and all predicted snow did not appear. Had a wonderful day at the 'making a living out of writing' workshop, including an excellent lunch, while Tim did some errands and visited with the first born, then he and I stopped for Greek food for supper - first time we'd been 'out to eat' since my big birthday end of September - will have to get a life (well we have one - get a new one I guess). The thought of playing hooky from responsibilities and staying over occured to us, but then we decided we had to be grownups. Sigh.

The workshop was really good, had all kinds of practical advice which will assist me in future plans. Always good to get fired up by attending one of these events, gives you courage to pound away at the keyboard. It was great to get away to an event that was completely unrelated to healthcare in any way. Many of the decidedly eccentric participants were on the track of writing the great Canadian novel and did not appear to be used to getting out much with other humans. Have decided I'd rather keep some of my social skills and work on the writing part :) I have made a commitment to put more effort into a regular writing schedule and start getting some articles published, no good just to continue to be a writing groupie, that's not getting me where I want to be. I could certainly be getting published regularly.... if I wanted to.

Off to get settled in as it's back to the real world (whatever that brings) in the morning.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

It's not so much retiring as running away

I’ve decided that all my retirement planning is not so much because I want to not work but because…. I’d like to be able to just drop all my responsibilities and run away. In fact, I’ll likely always work at something. Sometimes folks who are retired work harder at volunteering, hobbies or second careers than they did their first job. I can’t imagine not working and it’s a different dynamic to be choosing your hours, projects or even type of career. Work only gets called work when it’s not as much fun as a hobby anymore. I’m pasting this funny sent by my birthday twin - it’s one of those warnings you receive about the latest computer virus etc. and looked legit for a moment:

There is a dangerous virus being passed around electronically, orally and by hand.
This virus is called Worm-Overload-Recreational-Killer (WORK).
If you receive WORK from any of your colleagues, your boss, or anyone else via any means DO NOT TOUCH IT.

This virus will wipe out your private life completely.
If you should come into contact with WORK, put your jacket on and take two good friends to the nearest liquor store.
Purchase the antidote known as Work-Isolating-Neutralizer-Extract (WINE) or Bothersome-Employer-Elimination-Rebooter (BEER). Take the Antidote repeatedly until WORK has been completely eliminated from your system.

You should forward this warning to 5 friends. If you do not have 5 friends, you have already been infected and WORK is controlling your life

Now the running away isn’t even a reasonable thought at this point but disguised in the form of retirement planning, it becomes socially acceptable. In fact more than acceptable, socially responsible if you’re planning on giving something back to the planet and it’s people. So, how to be admired while plotting your release - not a bad gig eh?

The escape planning this week takes the form of a writing workshop on Tuesday at Dalhousie. It’s called Writing as a Profession: How to Get Published and Survive as an Author / Professional Development Workshops for Writers in all Phases of Their Career. So you can clearly see that I was sold by the title, that and the fact that the $45 registration included lunch and I have time in lieu to use up - it was meant to be. Tim has suggested that he’ll tag along (Driving Miss Daisy we’ve called it in the past) for the day to run errands and we’ll go out for supper. So, only have to work one day, then a little me-time and then wrap up the remaining three days and it’s another weekend. Doesn’t get any better than that! Even if I’m still scheming.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Things always look better on Saturday

Well, good morning. I should say that things always look better on Saturday if you're off - a nod to my shift working days. And although the stats say that working shifts shortens your life, I must say that there are worse things than working nights and weekends. Working 'non-traditional hours' has something to recommend it. Like being able to shop during the week and not dash to the grocery store, bank machine, and other errands on the way home from work or give up weekend time to such mundane chores. To actually have the house to yourself with the animals to scrapbook while rested or read without falling asleep on the couch (or maybe to do just that without anyone to disturb you) while the rest of your world is at school or work. To go for a walk during the day when the temperature is gentler and not worry about taking a flashlight or what the dog is showing her teeth to and growling at in the bushes. Or when questioned by anyone sharing the house on the mess, where is supper or where are the clean clothes? to simply be able to state "I worked last night and slept all day, when were you thinking I whipped up that cherry pie?" Although 12 hour shifts can be tough, you get to 37.5 hrs per week a lot quicker, leaving more time off and less trips back and forth to work to do it. But what was I thinking - this is Saturday - enough about employment.

Things look better on Saturday because this is the day that the travel section is published in the newspaper. And it doesn't matter if you're actually planning a trip shortly, just dreaming or tenatively planning a future jaunt, this is the day to check out the options. So this morning we (myself + significant other) were chatting about the offerings and we traveled vicariously from the Caribbean to the Canary Islands and then on to Algarve Portugal, (which was selected as the destination of the day). Suggesting that my speaking on cruises might get us there was met with a snort, so I emphasized that this was the plan which I'm presently working on and traveling partners aren't that difficult to find. Made for an immediate retraction of the snort. So, the last week of March is now tentatively open (we'll see what happens as it gets closer) as a 'test run' to check out crusing in general, the Cayman Islands job offer, and a bonus of snorkeling in other than Cuban waters. Yeehaw! Getting a bit closer to reality.

So now off to be a domestic goddess (or at least a good enough cook) find the snowshoes to play with the dog in the snow, finish reading the paper before heading out to see a movie on a girls night out. Yah for weekends.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Do you like your job?

It's Friday afternoon and past time to go home from my day job as an Occupational Health Nurse / Infection Control Practitioner. I've been working at this position for over six months now and in my extensive experience of settling into new positions, that's the acid test, meaning.... you know after trying the job on for six months whether it's the right move or not. You've gotten over the looking everything up, what's next? doing parts of tasks three or four times until you figure out what works best in what order and finally feel like you are (mostly) in control of yourself. If you're going to be bored silly, unhappy with the fit or just plain not be able to handle it... you'll know by now. After the wild first month I had with outbreaks, Tim stopped asking if the situation was getting any better when I flatly proclaimed "no and it's not going to, this is the new reality"

My problem is that I can handle it but I'm not convinced that I want to. When I'm asked if I like my job I say "no" and that surprises people. So I say "well, it's really not much fun right now and the last job I had was great - how can you top working with mom's and babies with Public Health?" Kind of stops them cold. Mostly I think because it's a rhetorical question and the expected response is an enthusiastic "yes, I love my job" If I'm further questioned I point out all the 'interesting times I've lived in' since June and the changes and general pace of my life. But the reality is that I can do this job for five years if I have to as it pays better, I have six weeks vacation, we are still carrying our old house and have built a new one, we are looking at two tuitions in the fall and ... I like to eat regularly. So, enough whining - this is what I'm doing. The infection control /occupational health is also a good preparation for tropical /travel medicine so I look to the future. And I am learning lots - somethings though you just don't want to know!

So as I shut down the computer and lock the door I'm singing "everybody's working for the weekend"

Thursday, February 8, 2007

My middle aged nerves

When I said to my friend this morning "Can it get any better than this?" because it was -12 c, the roads were as slippery as a rink, school had been cancelled so the kids were home, one of the neighbours, a fishermen who sells lobsters to Tim was standing in my front hall at 7:05 a.m. as I tried to get ready for work (I told him he could at least have started my car) and my job is just nuts having just gone from 'bad to worse to back again since you came here' as on of my co-workers told me. My friend said in reply "I can think of ways to get out of this situation but not one of them are legal" So, I am apparently not alone in my middle-aged-female-sandwich generation frustration.

Before I had children I could not comprehend how a mother could leave their kids but... since I have had teenagers I wonder why so many have stayed through those years. And we've really been luckier than others I know of - It's been quite a ride. To see daughter #1 have a wonderful 'writing voice' which her grandfather would be thrilled about and her grandmother's artistic ability. To hear daughter # 2 speak French as if she were from Church Point, not just attending university there. To watch the only son morph into SuperFisherman when on the water. To look in amazement at daughter # 3 as she heads towards nursing - something I never thought any of my children would do but... if anyone is going to do it and thrive, she will. Can't believe that I'm old enough to have these 4 doing all these things!

Friends of my age complain of being imprisoned or having no roots but I just feel like I live life in the fast lane - no time to worry about being stuck or floating. If I'm trying to put a positive slant on my present lifestyle - at least it's not boring. As a former co-worker once said about someone complaining of not being stimulated. "How can they be bored? I can entertain myself looking out the window?" Guess that's the difference between being creative or not.

What would I do if I won the 'retire at 50 lottery?' Well, if I was to spend my time at home it sure wouldn't be doing housework. There are way too many good books to read, too many photos to scrapbook, walks to take, gardens to create and new crafts to learn. And especially, too many plans to make! Now where did I put that atlas??

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Hot or Cold?

Let me see, where would I rather be in mid-February? In Nova Scotia freezing my buns off and driving over treacherous roads to get to a challenging day job or … somewhere warm? Oh that’s a tough one. I always say to myself “next year this time I’m going to be doing that 9 week intensive tropical medicine course in Peru” But… it’s too early (on a number of different levels) to say next year just yet. I need to be doing the course just as I’m ready to start out on overseas work and that’s a few years away. Why would a humanitarian organization think I’m a good catch? Well… I’ve got 30 + years of nursing experience covering everything from Emergency Room, Med-Surg, Peds, OBS, administration, Home Care, independent practice, occupational health, long term care, and now infection control. I’ve worked in Labrador and just about everywhere there’s nursing in Shelburne County, then southwestern and finally all of NS when doing a home office job so… am overqualified for lots :) I’m not afraid of change, in fact I get kind of restless if I’ve been doing the same job for a couple of years, the next opportunity always (well most of the time) looks really good. When I’m thinking of retirement, I’m not describing some blue haired lady having tea parties, I’m planning on taking up a new lifestyle. I kind of like a challenge so doing a really tough mission wouldn't be too scary. And I don't want to look back when I'm in a rocking chair, telling my future grandchildren what I did with my life that I missed opportunities. So, bring it on.

How I'm planning my escape

Since this is my first posting, I'll explain what I'm writing about. Every day I do one thing that will work towards my escape from the 8 - 4 routine. Since I'm at least five years away from release of the offspring tuition induced plan (with the final installment for child # 4) this is a long term goal. Retirement with a pension? That's for someone who worked their whole career with one employer and a pension plan - me? I've had 15 employers in the past 30 yrs, most in the last half of my career, so I have to develop my own plan. This means perhaps I'm mentally organizing (while walking the dog) my presentation for cruise ships where I'll be able to travel for free with a guest. Maybe I'm thinking about studying Spanish (because it's really too much work to actually make myself conjugate the verbs) so I can work somewhere warm. Did I mention I had a job offer from the Cayman Islands? Not a bad semi retirement dream eh? Or maybe I'm studying tropical medicine so perhaps a humanitarian organization will pick me up for an overseas mission. I could be drafting a travel piece or investigating travel writing to assist with expenses when on the move. Whatever it is, it's just one more step to my freedom 55, if I don't do it, I'll get.....old