Holy writer’s block, Batman.
That was a tough one to shake off. Seriously, I don’t know if any of you out there have been battling a rut lately, but this was a bad one. There’s been a lot of hibernating going on over here. And eating. Lots of eating, too.
I’m blaming this incessant, never ending, brutal winter – the worst one in, what, twenty years? I think that’s an actual fact. Being cooped up indoors and trying to keep a positive outlook and remain all smiley and happy in front of Bee whenever forced outdoors is bloody exhausting, because in this climate all I want to do is bury myself under the covers, snuggle in with my baby and hubby and ride out the rest of this HORRIBLE AWFUL SEASON PLEASE GOD WHEN WILL IT END.
Also, and here’s the kicker, I lost my job.
There was a “corporate reorganization” and I was on the chopping block along with a few others. It’s totally fine, I get it. It’s a numbers game in a tough market, and I hold no ill-will. I was with the company for four years, one of which was taken as maternity leave, and I was treated well and respected the entire time and was let-go with glowing references in hand.
It’s just… dammit.
Being suddenly unemployed with a family and all the bills that come with it… is not a nice feeling.
BUT! Listen, we are going to be fine over here! Bee is still in daycare, my husband is incredibly supportive and encouraging, and I get to take this much-needed time to look for a job – possibly THE job – that is going to make me super happy and challenge me and allow me to grow and be inspired and maybe one day be able to inspire others myself.
Since I’ll be home all day pounding the virtual pavement while Bee is at school – do the math, peeps. That means I will be ah-LOOOOONE. ALL. DAY. *angels sing, heaven shines* – I’ve decided to take advantage of this time and get on top of some of the things that have been eating away at me for ages, things that I have always seemed to have an excuse not to do.
Well, Barnes. No more excuses. Time to get your unemployed butt in gear and do this whiz! I’m going to make the most of this time! Gonna squeeze the pulp out of it til there’s nothing left!! Yeah!
Here is a list of the Things I Want To Accomplish in the coming days/weeks/months I’m looking for work (dear God, please don’t let it be months):
1. FIND AN AWESOME JOB/CAREER THAT MAKES ME HAPPY AND EXCITED TO GET OUT OF BED IN THE MORNING – Obvio.
2. TACKLE THE LAUNDRY – I f*cking hate laundry. I know I’m not the only one out there who feels this way, but I also know there are lots of (crazy!) people who adore it. The fresh smells, the folding, the fluffing, the putting away… I hate it. I hate it all. And the problem is, so does my husband. So we wind up playing Laundry Jenga* week after week, each of us balancing that dirty sock or shirt or towel delicately on top of the pile, just waiting for it to topple over on the other person, now the loser who has to then throw in a load (did I mention we hate laundry?). When someone (usually me. Ugh) inevitably loses, they will typically chuck both whites and colours carelessly into the machine TOGETHER (“GASP,” say the laundry lovers), transfer it all to the dryer when clean, and eventually leave the finished laundry in a totally separate pile on top of or in the dryer, beginning a whole new round of Laundry Jenga! But no more. No more games. It’s time to get on top of these swelling mountains of clothes and sheets and dish cloths and be a grown-up wife and mother and just do it, already! I don’t have to enjoy it, I just have to play catch-up and hope that while on this break I can maintain an empty hamper and a closet full of neatly folded shirts and pants and towels and… blech.
3. ORGANIZE THE PANTRY – One of the things that most attracted me to our current home was the spacious pantry closet at the end of the kitchen. I had big plans for it; I was going to have it neatly organized with tupperware containing cereals and mason jars full of cookies and grains and nuts and flour. There was going to be row upon row of canned goods, arranged by contents and size, a section dedicated to baking ingredients and decorations, and a top shelf where we would store our small but fine wine collection. It was going to be Martha Stewart-worthy, and I was going to be oh, so proud of it. Yeah. That didn’t happen. Not by a long shot. There are mason jars in there full of a variety of flours and grains, but they are all different sizes and teetering dangerously on top of each other. It’s so crammed full of half-empty bags of rice and pasta, shoved into every corner, that nothing actually falls over. It all just sort of… slants. Instead of rows of canned goods, we have our giant roasting pan – a fabulous gift from my sister-in-law – taking up a huge piece of real estate in the middle, which is stuffed with our giant collection of plastic grocery bags. If you move anything, you’ll hear loose Cheerios or chocolate chips or God know what else scatter somewhere deep within, clinking against the metal rungs as they disappear into the madness. What once had so much promise is now a dream lost to procrastination… and a complete lack of knowing where to start! I mean, it’s overwhelming in there! But just a few weeks ago, in a state of frenzy, I cleaned and organized my spice cabinet. Sure, it’s a fraction of the size of the pantry, but the euphoria I felt looking into a tidy, linear spice cupboard… I can only imagine what I would feel looking into a pristine pantry. I don’t even know if there is a word for that feeling. I’m telling you though, friends. I plan on finding out.
4. GET MY ‘G’ DRIVER’S LICENCE – In Ontario, we have something called the Graduated Licensing System, which basically means you can be a 34-year old woman and not have your “full” driver’s licence. It works like this: when you’re 16, you can take a written test and get your G1 licence, which is essentially your learner’s permit. After one year you can take a road test and get your G2, which is your driver’s licence. Essentially. Then comes the full G, which you can get after one year with your G2. Each stage of G licence expires after 5 years, so if you don’t complete the next level within that time you have to start from the beginning. The road test to get your G is supposedly far more “advanced” and “difficult” than the one to get your G2, so I’m not exactly sure what the difference in licence is (does anyone in Ontario know??). All I know is, my driving journey has been a long one – nearly 20 years to be exact – the Cole’s Notes version going something like this:
- 16, get my G1. WOOHOO!
- Shit, I’m 21. Is my G1 expired? Crap….
- I’m 26. “Wait, you’re how old and don’t have your licence?” says my dreamy, tattooed boyfriend who drives a truck. Immediately go out and take written test and proudly present essentially a learner’s permit to boyfriend. We break up days later.
- I’m 31, seconds away from G1 expiring. “Babe, if we’re going to get married and start a family, you really need your full licence,” says my even dreamier, non-tattooed fiancé. Being an obliging wife-to-be, I get my G2. Only pass because I cry to female driving judger/points person/licence issuer that my boyfriend won’t marry me unless I get my licence *SOB*. “Oh, honey. I hear that,” I think were her exact words. Success! I’m a G2 driver!
So here I am. 34, and one step away from being a fully licenced driver… whatever that means. Before I sign my next contract I swear I will have my G licence in hand. Well, wallet. Hear me roar!
5. SLEEP – Because, why the hell not?
6. SEE A MOVIE OR TWO – I used to see a movie a week, at least. Back when I was single, without a care in the world or a 9 to 5 job, I made a point to get lost in cinematic wonderlands whenever possible. It was great come Oscars time, I’d have seen most of the nominated films and have an opinion on who deserved what award and would watch the telecast on the edge of my seat, cheering when my favourites were named. I think I’ve seen three movies in the last year. The Academy Awards are an afterthought – only flipping through magazines in the days after, judging the outfits worn, do I even feel an iota of interest. But… I miss having those opinions. I miss getting lost in those worlds. I miss the experience of going to the cinema, from the ticket purchase to the popcorn to the swelling scores with tears in my eyes, I am wistful for it all. We live in a wonderful neighbourhood that has a great little old cinema, just around the corner from us. They play current films as well as the occasional classic. I’m going to start there, start with the big names on the smaller screen, and eventually – when the snow melts – making my way to the big, loud, electric theatres downtown. I’d like to get a little lost, while feeling a little lost. Maybe it’ll balance me out.
7. PICK UP BEE A LITTLE BIT EARLY FROM DAYCARE, EVERY DAY – Because, why the hell not?
8. READ A BOOK – I’ve been a neglectful reader these past couple of years. It’s embarrassing, actually. I was a voracious reader as a teenager, but somewhere along the way I found interest in other, non-book things, I guess. Now that I have the time, I most definitely want to take up a book again. Not necessarily a Pulitzer or a Man Booker or ‘War and Peace’, or anything. Just, a book. My parents gave me ‘Dear Life’ by Alice Munro for my birthday, a collection of short stories about what one reviewer calls, “the lives of little people.” I figure it’s a good place to start, not only because it’s a book of short stories (which I definitely have time for), but I feel like to read about the lives of other ordinary people, maybe there will be some inspiration there. My mind is open to anything that’ll help me get to this next step in my life, no matter how ordinary or little it ends up being. As long as I’m happy….
9. MAKE DINNER EVERY NIGHT LIKE I USED TO BEFORE I HAD BEE – Oh, dinner. I didn’t just used to make you, I used to make love to you! Hours would be spent at the markets, the best and freshest ingredients only. Weekends would be spent in the kitchen braising and stewing and chopping, listening to Stuart McLean and taking my sweet, luxurious time creating a masterful, sumptuous meal. Even weeknights, jam-packed with working late, gym classes and commuting, I’d come home and spend as much time as necessary to put a fabulous meal on the table. I loved cooking more than anything… no, I love it. Present tense. It just became more of a chore than a hobby after I had Bee. Nights are busier now than ever, and time is of the essence when it comes to making meals. I cherish those few, brief moments in the week when I can throw something quick together, though; I do still get joy out of it. It’s just a bit less than before, unfortunately. But with time on my hands again, I’m starting to feel that familiar bounce in my step when stepping into the kitchen (except when faced with having to open the pantry). I might not be able to pull it off every night, what with having daycare pickup and hopefully interviews to go to throughout the day, it may only be a couple nights a week. But my goal is to pick up where I left off all those many moons ago, and start making love to my kitchen again.
10. WRITE – This was an embarrassingly long hiatus, guys. Longer than I’d ever planned. Keeping this blog has been crucial in keeping me sane these last few months, and leaving it behind these last couple of weeks made me so sad. So, I’m going to write. As often and as frequently as I can. When I first get up in the morning, I’ll write a little. After Bee is at daycare and I’m enjoying my morning coffee, I’ll write a little bit more. After I’ve searched every corner of the web for interesting jobs and applied for them, I will write. After lunch, after napping, before picking up Little Bee. I’ll write. Even just a little. When the books are read, dinner is made and the movies are seen, I will write. I’ll write for you; I’ll write for me. Because, I love it. And that, my friends, is that.
*the term Laundry Jenga came from THIS hilarious bit by comedian Perry Perlmutar. I’m sure a lot of you will find it as relatable as I did.