Modern Family Life

IMG_0507

Modern Family.

Hmm, that’d be interesting.  I wonder who I’d be?  A long-lost cousin?  A college friend of Haley’s?  A tutor for Manny?  So many options.  Either way, it’d be a lot of fun.  I’d love hanging out with Phil, his dad-comedy would be awesome to watch in real life.  Cam and Mitchell would no doubt be my go-to coffee date buddies.  They’d be hilarious and I’d love hanging out with sassy little Lily.  Alex would be the person I’d go to when I need a break from the craziness…she seems like the most level headed of anyone, and would no doubt have methods of tuning everyone out.  If I was there for the next six weeks, it’d mean I’d be there for Christmas, and that’d be awesome.  Luke would probably have a prank set up, Gloria would say the wrong thing and it’d be the joke of the night, Haley would have heaps of gossip and maybe an awkward boyfriend.  Everyone would be fussing over Joe.  Oh man, of all the shows I could have watched last, this one is certainly one of the best for this question!

What show did you watch last?

– JD

Time to Change – Day Ninety-Two

So, the rain has finally come.  After sweltering through the past three days which all cleared 40 degrees celcius (that’s 104 degrees fahrenheit for those in the US), I don’t remember the last time I was so happy to see the sky grey over.  I’ll discuss this more later, as I’ll try to pick up where I left off last time.

I’d just been to the Taylor Swift concert, and honestly, that’s still probably the coolest thing I’ve done in awhile.  As predicted, my weekend wasn’t particularly interesting.  Neither was my working week really, aside from a massive sale I managed to get after the customer came in with a simple question.  Everyone at work was very impressed, and I got talked about in the next day’s before-your-shift meeting.  That was a nice feeling because firstly, my previous job never really gave any recognition like that and secondly, it makes me feel like I deserve to be there.  Or…I don’t know if that’s right…I guess it makes me feel like less of a newbie.  Don’t get me wrong, aside from asking more questions than older employees, I don’t think many people really see me as a newbie (mostly because there’s just so many of us), but I still feel like one.  It’s hard to shake that mentality, though at some point I’ll have to.  I guess after my probation ends, which will be in three months time.  We’ll see.  Either way, it was pretty cool that I was the topic of the day.  Even the store manager (who I have the occasional two-second conversation with but otherwise don’t have a lot to do with) pulled me aside and introduced me to someone (a higher up visiting the store or something) and said I was “the girl who did the massive sale yesterday”.  Apparently I was the “special mention” on their daily conference call.  Pretty sweet!

I caught public transport all week, and am really starting to get used to it.  I know when I have to sneak out a couple of minutes early from my shift to race to catch the train (or else sit around for 20 minutes waiting for the next one), I know without checking what time the bus comes each morning (keeping in mind my shifts change a lot, so it’s taken me awhile to get used to).  Hell, I’m even managing to keep my balance better on the train when I’m forced to stand up!  Thankfully, this hasn’t happened too often as I generally miss peak hour.

The commute still exhausts me.  I feel like I’ll never properly get used to it.  I know it’s probably way too early to say that but I’ve always needed a decent amount of sleep to function and often, I’m just not able to get that, which leaves me feeling groggy, grumpy and out of it in the morning.  It also means I spent a large portion of my weekends catching up on sleep, which don’t get me wrong, I’m okay with…but I don’t know how I’m going to cope longterm.  Still, each time I think about asking for a transfer, I remember all that I’d be giving up with it…and I just can’t do it.  It’d be like giving up a mansion to go back to a unit.  I’m hoping my roster will be a little better next month, but given how big our normal trading hours are, I’m not holding my breath.

I called in sick for the first time at this job on Friday.  This may not seem too interesting, but I’m one of those people that never, ever call in sick.  It’s something mum drummed into me the second I joined the work force – “save your sick leave in case you wind up in hospital!”.  While she has a point, the real reason behind her anti-sick-leave status is that her and my dad run a business and they’ve gone through a number of employees who use up their sick leave extremely quickly.  She knows what it’s like to be on the other side of them.  I guess, coming from management in my last job, I do as well.  So for me to call in sick, it’s a big deal.  I’d rather go work and try to stick it out until someone looks at me pityingly and tells me to go home.  I did vow, though, that I was going into this job with a different mentality.  I wouldn’t work excessive amounts of hours, I wouldn’t work when I wasn’t getting paid…and I’m not going to kill myself trying to work when I’m sick.  I left my previous job with something like 500 hours of sick leave, none of which I got reimbursed for.  That’s essentially weeks of paid leave I missed out on.  Now, I’m not saying I’m going to call in sick “because I feel a cold coming on” (that was a legitimate excuse someone gave at my previous work once), but I’m also going to acknowledge that sick leave is there to be used.  I think it helps that we have so many staff working that my not being there occasionally isn’t going to wreck havoc on the store for the day.

Anyway, I digress.  I woke up with a headache, but it seemed to go away within about half an hour.  I wasn’t due in at work until 2, and had scheduled a meeting to sign my building contract for my house at 9.30.  It was the first day of scorching heat, and it was already in the mid-30s by the time I got there.  My head started to hurt again, but again, I ignored it.  The meeting was dry, as my parents read through the thick wad of paperwork, pretending to understand what it was saying.  Then I had to sign countless pages, and initial them, and then do it all over again for a second copy.  Oh man, it took so long.  By the time that was done, my head was feeling pretty terrible, though at least the place had air con.  Once the meeting wrapped up, and I had to step out into the heat, I knew a sick day was on the cards.  I’m glad the place was only 20 minutes away from home, because I was feeling weak, dizzy, nauseous and wished I’d bought my sunglasses, because the light was not my friend.  I stumbled into my house, which thankfully was lovely and dark (the blinds drawn and fans already running on high in an attempt to outsmart the heat).  Despite all this, I was still in two minds about calling.  Mum had drilled her ideas into me so hard that it made me feel even more sick at the prospect of making the call.  The only reason I managed to was because I knew I couldn’t handle getting onto a hot train and then standing on my feet, making small talk with strangers for eight hours, feeling like I might vomit on their shoes the whole time.  When I called, one of the guys I feel like I know okay picked up…thank God.  If it was someone from back of house like I’d assumed, I’d have been more nervous as I don’t have much to do with them.  The guy was lovely and told me I’d need a medical certificate (I’d already mentally prepared for that), and told me to get better.  That was it.  Painless.  I then called the doctors and made an appointment for much later in the afternoon, and settled in on the couch, relieved I didn’t have to work.  I slept off the migraine and by mid-afternoon was feeling great.  And guilty, because I could have done the second-half of my shift no problem, but I tried not to dwell on that.  I’d already called in sick, they’d probably already replaced me, and besides, hoarding sick leave didn’t work out well last time.

I went to my doctors appointment, expecting to be sitting around for an hour.  It often happens at the place I go to, but I stick with it because the doctors are really no-fuss-straight-to-the-point…which is great when you just want a medical certificate, and that’s at least 50% of the reason I go to the doctors.  Instead, I was sitting there for maybe two minutes, got called in, and walked out with the med cert two minutes later.  Amazing!

I was feeling great by Friday night, knowing I still had two days off.  I think the migraine was partly from the heat (and therefore, lack of sleep), but also because I’d been running myself into the ground with work and the hour-and-a-half commute each way.  I’d been feeling off for a couple of days.   I think I’m going to have to start listening to my body more now, and using my sick days for the occasional “mental health” day.  I know that’s not what they’re actually for (and my mother would be horrified), but if I ignore my body, it only makes things worse.  We’ll see how we go though.

The last two days have been mostly spent holed up at home, determined to beat the disgusting heat without air con.  The air con as never worked properly in the place I live in, and I know I could get it fixed, but it’s not worth the trouble when I know for the most part I’m not home during the day, and that I’ll be moving out soon enough into my own place with proper air con.  Until then, I survive with lots of fans and the blinds drawn.  I quite like the darkness anyway, but my dog gets a little frustrated.  She loves nothing more than the back door wide open so she has free rein of the house and yard…and that wasn’t happening this weekend.  I’d let her out, but the second she’d come back in, everything would be shut up again.  I think overall for the three days I did pretty well.  I mean, it wasn’t air conditioning cold in the house, but it was manageable.  On the plus side, fans are a lot cheaper to run than air con, so hopefully I’ve saved some money that way!

This morning I had to brave the heat as I needed to get my nails redone.  They weren’t catching on anything yet (my sign that they’re in desperate need of fixing up), but I knew I wouldn’t have time during the week to go anywhere thanks to my commute time and odd work hours, and then it’s Christmas and everything will be closed.  I really didn’t want to go, but I really couldn’t avoid it.  I usually go to a place about 30 mins away, as I really like it there, but I knew that wasn’t going to happen today…if I had to go there, I wouldn’t go at all.  I decided I’d try the place five minutes down the road, and that I’d get there early in an attempt to beat the crowds and the heat.  They were set to open at 10, so I was there at 10.  All the other shops around it opened, and the opening hours on the door confirmed I was there at the right time, and yet…nothing.  There were no lights on inside, no movement, and slowly, other people began to join me in waiting.  I waited fifteen minutes, then gave up.  Even if she’d arrived right then, there’d surely only be one of her, otherwise someone else would already be there to open up.  And if there’s only one of her, how could she possible serve the four people waiting?

I headed to the closest shopping centre instead.  I’d been avoiding going there as this close to Christmas, I was worried it would be flat out.  I guess it was, but I wouldn’t say it was busier than usual.  The shops had only opened half an hour before though, so I guess a lot of people had slept in, or gone to Church, and decided to wait for the cool change to come through.  Whatever the reason, I was pretty pleased.  I wandered into the first nail place I could find, and there were pretty busy, but told me to take a seat.  I waited maybe fifteen minutes, but I received acknowledgement and apologies the whole time, so I didn’t mind.  Hell, I was expecting to be told to come back later when I first walked in, so I was okay with the relatively short wait.  Once I did get served, I found the service friendly and attentive.  The first girl took her time fixing up my nails, carefully removing the old shellac and paint and reshaping them.  Then another girl took her time repainting them, doing 5 layers on each, which was actually really nice as it felt like she cared about how they turned out.  She also made sure they were 100% dry, which is something I’ve had issues with in the past.  My only gripe about the place – and it’s a small one – is that they didn’t take card, meaning I had to quickly run to the ATM and pull cash out.  I could have easily done a runner, but they’d done such a great job I didn’t have the heart to do it.  Still, I wonder how many times that’s happened.  It’s their own fault really, for not taking card in the first place, and for having the smallest “cash only” sign in existence.  I’d definitely go back there again though, even if it feels like I’m cheating on my usual place for them!

FullSizeRender

Tomorrow I’m back at work, but only for four days thanks to Christmas, and then I have a four day weekend, woohoo!  I’m not 100% sure why I have Monday off, though I’m thinking it’s because Boxing Day falls on a Saturday this year, and Saturday is my usual RDO, so they’re giving my Monday off instead.  That’s just a guess though, and I’m not going to question it in case it’s a mistake.  I mean, I don’t think it is, but I’m so looking forward to 4 days off that I’m not gonna risk it!  I also got some goods news yesterday – the store is closing earlier than originally planned on Christmas Eve, so I’m only working until 6pm now instead of 8!  Yaaay!

My diet still isn’t back on track.  I know it’s all just excuses, but when you’re roster is everywhere, you spend 3 hours a day on public transport and you don’t even have a set break time, it’s extremely challenging to find time to eat healthy food.  I’m just glad I’m getting extra exercise in to help make up for it.  I know it won’t do much, but it’s better than nothing.

How’s was everyone else’s week?

– JD

PS I realized I skimmed over the fact I signed my building contract.  I know it should be a big deal.  I mean, it is a big deal.  It’s final and locked in and in six months or so, I’ll be a home owner with a mortgage.  It all just feels so surreal though that it just felt like more paperwork.  It didn’t help I was feeling so unwell, but I think even if I wasn’t, I don’t think I’d have felt too excited about it.  Like, I acknowledge the importance of it…but until the building starts and I can finally see work being done, it’s still just a pipe dream.  It’s nothing but scribbles and words.  I’m hanging for the day when I can move in and see all the stuff I chose on colour day in real life, with my furniture in there.  Until then, I just can’t get excited about it all.

Time to Change – Day Eighty-Four

I’m back again!  Another long gap between posts full of long days at work and trying to squeeze sleep in between.  How’s everyone going?

The last time I posted was the day prior to my new store opening.  Wow, that feels like months ago.  Hard to believe it was less than two weeks.  I’m really settling in and starting to feel like one of the team, and getting used to how everything runs there.  There are still teething problems and small issues here and there, but for the most part I’d say it’s going really well.

Launch day wasn’t as big as I (and probably the company) thought it would be.  I mean, it was busy, but not chaotic like I thought it would be.  It was actually kind of good that it wasn’t, as it gave us time to properly adjust to the new store and take our time with each customer like we’d been trained to.  If it had of been busy, it probably would have been a lot more stressful.

In general, the job is great and I’m really liking it.  One of the phone reps who I knew from my previous job even told me that I look a lot happier here than I did previously, and although it caught me off guard for a bit, I realized she’s right.  I love the store, I love the team, I love how there’s no pressure to get customers out the door.  I mean, they don’t want you wasting time but there’s so many staff on that it’s okay to take an extra five or ten minutes if you need to.  Plus, like I may have mentioned in previous posts, the atmosphere is just more professional.  The management team actually feel like managers.  The store manager actually feels like the leader that everyone looks up to and can trust.  Don’t get me wrong, at my previous job, we tried to emulate that, but really, we were just kids faking it til we made it…and we just didn’t quite get there.  I also find it more professional in the sense that they’re very clear about what their expectations of you are – what your monthly targets are for everything, what else they expect from each sale (eg, leaving notes on the customers account).  They follow up on things if you do something wrong and explain clearly how to do it properly.  It’s worlds apart from what I was used to, and it wasn’t for our lack of trying as managers.  The company itself just didn’t explain itself clearly, didn’t have procedures in place to allow managers to check things, didn’t put enough emphasis on things they should have.  It’s where a lot of my frustration stemmed from, so it’s wonderful to be in a job where all this is not only in place, but seen as completely normal.

I think I’m also doing well in sales.  We have a tracker we get sent each morning and I’ve been up and down a bit, but overall, for my main targets, I think I’m doing better than expected.  I was nervous about this as although I know I can sell, I’m competing with dozens of others who have similar targets to me.  I just wasn’t sure how I’d go up against so many people.  It turns out, it’s not really as big of an issue as I thought it might be, mostly because the store is busy enough for it not to matter.

Aside from work, there isn’t much else new.  I feel like all I do is go to work then come home and sleep, sometimes fitting in a little catch up TV, sometimes not.  It’s exhausting, not just work itself, but the travelling to and from.  I’ve been catching public transport most days, with the occasional exception where I’ll drive.  Either option usually takes around an hour to an hour and a half, depending on how long I have to wait for the bus and/or train.  Driving is sometimes faster if it isn’t peak hour, but then I pay more in parking (and petrol), which is why I’ve been avoiding it.

One of the most painful things about working so far away, I worked out, is that my train doesn’t run after 8.20pm weeknights.  I mean, I know I’ve said previously I don’t want to be on a train at night – and I don’t – but when I have a 2-9 shift, I don’t have anywhere to park that won’t cost an arm and a leg (if I get into the city before 10am, I get ‘Earlybird Parking’ rates, which is basically a flat fee of $17 provided I leave after 3pm).  I looked into Uber, but even that would cost me $40+ each way.  From January, I’ve had to put in that I can’t work after 7.30pm for this reason.  In the meantime, I’ve got two choices – I either go in early and get Earlybird rates and kill time until my shift starts, or I park somewhere close to the city, then train it the rest of the way.  I took the first option last week, and killed time by seeing Mockingjay for the second time.  This week, I’ll probably do the latter option.

Last night, I went and saw Taylor Swift as part of her 1989 World Tour.  I’ve reviewed the whole event here.

Aside from that, I don’t think there’s anything else worth writing about.  I’ve spent a majority of today sleeping (as I do most Saturdays).  Tomorrow I’ll go grocery shopping and wash my hair.  Nothing really interesting, but it has to be done.  I wish I had more to write on, but with all the travelling, it doesn’t leave room for much else.  If I didn’t love my workplace like I do, I’d probably be asking for a transfer to somewhere closer.  Instead, I’m gritting my teeth and dealing with it.  At least I’ve started reading on the train on my tablet, which is making the trips go quicker.  I’m still rereading the Hunger Games, but I’ve almost finished it.  I’ll have to find something else after that!

As for Christmas shopping, I have no ideas and no money.  Standard for me really.  I know I’m gonna have to start making some decisions soon, but right now I’m trying not to think about it.

My diet still hasn’t really gotten back on track.  That’s another issue with working weird hours and all the travelling – it makes having regular meals difficult, and makes having Lite n Easy even harder.  I’ve had maybe two LnE meals in the past two weeks because for the most part, I’m not home for dinner (at least 3 shifts a week I finish around 7), and even if I finish early, by the time I get home I don’t feel like eating.  It’s tough.  I know I’m going to have to find a way around it, but I just don’t see how.  I can’t really take the meals to work because the trip in will cause them to melt.  I’m just going to have to try to pack a healthy lunch (which I have been doing) and actually eating it (which I haven’t been).  At least I haven’t put any weight on, and am sitting right on 90kgs, which is still the lowest I’ve been in a long time.  I just can’t seem to get under it.

Like I’ve mentioned in previous posts, working in the city and catching public transport is at least giving me more exercise.  I’m averaging anywhere from 6-9000 steps a day, up from an average of 4-5000.  I also run up and down a huge flight of stairs many times a day, and each time I can feel that I’m getting slightly less breathless.  Maybe sometime soon I won’t even get winded at all.

Last night after Taylor Swift, I checked my step count and I’d done almost 15000 steps for the day.  That’s blown my previous record of 9000 out of the water.  I guess that’s what happens when you go to work then walk to and from the concert.  I was really happy that I wasn’t even winded after the walk back.  I mean, I know it was cold and we weren’t walking particularly fast, but it would have been a good couple of kilometres (maybe more).  I really do feel like I’m getting fitter, slowly but surely.  Yay!

IMG_0438
Screenshot of my fitness tracker prior to my walk back

Anyway, I think that about wraps up everything worth talking about.  How’s everything going with you?  Hope y’all had a good week too!

– JD

“What is Your Favourite Childhood Christmas Memory?”

Christmas was one of my favourite times of year as a kid (as most people will say).  The countdowns with advent calendars filled with terrible tasting chocolate, writing messy handwritten letters to santa asking for ridiculous things, all the school activities in December leading up to it.  It’s magical.

Every Christmas Eve we’d sit around the TV as a family and watched the Carols (for people outside Australia, it’s a three-hour show where celebrities – I’m using the term loosely – sing Carols and the Wiggles and Santa Claus would come on for the kids).  My sister and I would put cookies and milk out for Santa in front of the fireplace, and shaved carrots for the reindeer.  We’d hang our oversized stockings up and head to bed, with my parents strict instructions “No getting out of bed until 7, otherwise Santa won’t come!”.

I’d always sleep terribly, too excited for the presents waiting in the lounge room.  The second the clock hit 7am, I’d be tearing up the stairs, bowling into my parents’ room, begging them to let me open my presents.  My sister wouldn’t be far behind.  My parents were always way too slow for my liking, but eventually we’d run down the stairs and into the lounge room.  There were always piles of presents, some under the tree (the presents “from my parents”) and ones in front of the fire place (from “Santa”).  I remember one year “Santa” changed it up and left me and my sister bikes behind the couches instead.  Another year, he left us a trampoline in the backyard.  This was probably the most memorable Christmas as within 24 hours of getting that trampoline, my sister (who was about 4 at the time) broke her leg on it.  We were on it together and we must have bounced too close together or something, and the next second she’s howling in pain.  Surprisingly, it wasn’t anything to do with the exposed springs, which is usually how injuries on trampolines happen!

I remember my dad rushing her to the closest doctor’s office – one we’d never been to before – and him coming back, carrying my sister awkwardly, telling mum they’d said it was just sprained.  My sister was still screaming and crying, and I guess mother’s intuition kicked in as she told dad to go straight to our normal doctor’s office instead (I’m not sure why he didn’t go there initially…I guess they may not have been opened that early or something).  I remember the time dragged on and they were there a long time, and when dad came back, my sister had a big cast over her whole leg (right up to her hip) and she had something called a ‘Green Stick Fracture’.  I didn’t know what that was, but it sounded funny.  I now know it means she basically broke the bone clear through.  She was so little that my mum had to hunt around for crutches small enough.  For the next six weeks, she had to have baths with a garbage bags over her cast, she had to go into her old stroller that she was miles to big for, that her kindergarten had to make special arrangements for her.  There was also a new rule that was never broken (possibly the only one to not be!)  – “only one person jumping on the trampoline at once!”


This prompt was found here, along with a whole bunch of others.