Time to Change – Day Seventy-Two

Hey guys,

Once again it’s been awhile since I’ve blogged.  I’d like to say it’ll get better but I’ve got a big month coming up (without even including Christmas) so we’ll see how we go.

So, the last week I’ve spent working in my own store instead of the one I was training in.  It isn’t open yet (that’s tomorrow!) so we spent a week being trained up on absolutely every faucet of the store and how it’s going to run.  First off, I just want to say how amazing the store is.  I mean, it cost $15 million or something insane like that (I feel like that might be an exaggeration but that’s what I was told) so if it wasn’t amazing, I’m sure there would be plenty of people with plenty to say.  Either way, I love it.  It’s two levels and huge and I really think the customers will be very impressed by it all.  My favourite part of the whole place, though, is something the customers will never see – the back room.  It’s seriously bigger than the whole store (shop floor and back office together) that I used to work in.  We each have our own massive locker (only accessible via our personal passcard), there’s a beanbag room, a huge break room and kitchen with vending machines, a slushy machine, a fridge, two microwaves and a fully stocked breakfast bar (including a toaster and sandwich press).  We also have a PlayStation 4 and a table tennis table we can use.  I can’t stress enough how fantastic it feels to have a company truely care and want to look after their staff like this, especially coming from a company that didn’t even want to give us money for a small store Christmas party.

The training week was interesting.  There were parts I really enjoyed and parts that I probably could have done without.  It was awesome getting to know the (giant) team, and I think I’m doing pretty well with names and faces considering there’s over 90 of them.  It helps we all wear name tags and I’ve added a lot of them on facebook as well.  I know I’ve mentioned it in previous posts, but the company do really well in picking really wonderful trainers for these things.  For most of the week I was in a guy named John’s group (I’d been in one of his trainings previously but I’ll admit, I wasn’t sold on him then.  To be fair though, I didn’t want to even be in that training as it was after a long day at work and on a boring topic).  It turns out he’s awesome.  He’s really funny and supportive and he made the week a lot of fun.

After the week wrapped up, we partied up like we were all 18 and our parents were out of town.  We were given access to what seemed like a limitless supply of alcohol, pizza was delivered and we hung out in our giant back room and got to know each other.  Some people headed to the bean bags and set up a make-over area (I didn’t last there very long as it isn’t my scene), others huddled around the PS4 and versed each other in games of FIFA16.  There were people who set up a table tennis competition.  The main attraction, however, was beer pong.  There’s nothing quite like bringing a crowd together like a drinking game – especially when, after a couple of hours, the store manager agreed to play.  Very amusing to watch!

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Booze and PS4

I’ll admit I wasn’t feeling too good towards the end (I probably shouldn’t have mixed drinks…or even drunk at all given I was already headachy before the party started).  That being said, I hung around for quite awhile, until I knew if I didn’t leave, I’d be on public transport at night.  I know that’s an inevitability sooner or later, but for right now, I’m trying to avoid it.

As I walked out of the building, I walked headlong into the last thing I was expecting – a giant protest marching at a snail’s pace down the street.  I guess this shows just how much I’m not a city chick.  If I was, maybe it wouldn’t have come as such a shock, but I’ve never been this close to a protest ever…not one on this scale, anyway.  I had one storm past my old work through the shopping centre once, but that was a couple of people taking an leisurely stroll compared to this.  It was interesting and I was fascinated by it as I was headed towards the train station.  Then I realized I’d have to cross the road…and that was going to be an issue as the protest was going in both directions as far as the eye could see, and everyone was so tightly packed in that I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do.  I think quite a few people had the same issue as me – some just decided they’d hang back and watch, and I guess wait until it fizzled out or moved on.  I didn’t have that luxury as I knew I was already cutting it fine trying to get home before nightfall.  Then I saw a guy with a stony look of determination on his face, his eyes pointed squarely across the street, and he marched into the crowd, weeding his way through.  I decided I’d have to do the same.  I don’t think anyone in the protest was too impressed as I forced my way though, but honestly, I don’t care.  As much as I’m okay with people trying to change the world and show the government what they stand for, I’m not going to miss my train because of it.  Especially not when it looked like it could go on for a long time yet.

I was extremely relieved when my feet hit the pavement on the other side of the road.  As I kept walking, I still couldn’t believe how many people were part of the protest.  If I had of known it was happening, I probably would have left the work party earlier and kept walking to try to find the end of it.  Instead, I headed into the train station, glad that having the work party at least meant I’d missed peak hour so I’d get a seat.  I got home right on nightfall, thankful I’d decided to shove through the crowd when I did!

Public transport in general has been going okay for the most part.  I hate that it means I have to get up at 6.30am (my previous job allowed me to get up at 7.30) but I quite enjoy not having to drive as much.  I am going to try to avoid getting on evening peak hour trains though, even if it means kicking back at work for half an hour.  I had one night where we were so jammed in that people from the next stop physically couldn’t get onto the train (and had some rude bitch asking me to move in more when clearly, we were already on top of each other).  It was extremely uncomfortable, made worse because I had terrible balance so need to hold something if I’m standing on the train, but the only thing I could grab was the rails on the roof, but I’m so short that I can barely grip it even at full stretch.  Not good.  Another night, a bunch of dero teens decided to sit on the seats right across from me, play shitty music on their shitty phones and treat it like their lounge room, including standing on the seats.  One of them beat up another kid in front of everyone, then later the same idiot even played “I just had sex” (not sure if that’s the title of the song but it was repeated over and over) and said it’s his favourite song with a smug look on his face like it was because he’d actually been laid…um, 16 year old shithead, that’s unlikely, and everybody on the train knows it.  It doesn’t matter how loudly you play that song, you ain’t fooling anyone.  I felt bad for the older lady sitting near them, who I’m sure was getting even more annoyed at them than me.  I really wish parents taught their kids train etqteique (particularly if you know they’re going to regularly catch it to and from school), as being young is no excuse to act like that.

Apart from work, I’ve had an awesome three-day weekend.  Seriously, it’s been one of the best weekends I’ve had in a long time, and I didn’t even hang out with anyone.  Saturday I spent catching up on sleep and I redyed my hair to a brighter colour of red (still not entirely happy with it but it’s getting there).  Sunday I went to the shops to get my work uniform taken in, spent the afternoon relaxing (I started re-reading the Hunger Games) and I also purchased FIFA16 which I’m really enjoying.   It was on sale due to Black Friday and although it isn’t a game I’ve previously had any interest in, it looked really interesting when the boys were playing it at work.  Turns out I really like it, and I think I’m pretty good at it.  Sunday night I decided I was going to take myself to the movies.  This is something I’d previously never had considered – I’ve always been concerned about what people think (the fat chick sitting alone in the movies), but I decided I no longer care.  If they want to think that, that’s fine.  I really wanted to see Mockingjay Part 2 and I didn’t want to wait until my friends were free (if they even wanted to see it at all).  I also decided that I was going to spent an extra $10 and buy tickets for a comfy recliner seat.  Ever since the Hoyts Lux experience I had on my birthday, normal movie seats just don’t cut it for me any more – they’re uncomfortable, especially if the movie is long.  The recliner ticket was the best $10 I’ve spent in a long time, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  I didn’t feel too judged (or maybe I just didn’t care enough to notice) and I really liked the movie.  I’ll definitely be doing it again!

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Today I had a busy day.  I headed back to the shops to collect my altered clothing, then I headed to Big W to buy a curling iron (I’d done some research and decided to get a Remington Perfect Curls, as it looked both good and idiotproof).  I got to the register, dug around in my wallet and found a partly-used gift card, went to put $10 on it as I wasn’t sure how much was left but didn’t enter it properly, and it wound up putting the whole lot on it – and it went through!  That was a massive win for the day, as I was nervous spending that much money right now (I wanted curls for tomorrow’s launch so I was just going to suck it up, but it wasn’t the best time to be spending cash).  Seriously, I couldn’t believe I’d gotten that lucky!  After that, I headed to the nail salon to get them redone.  I decided to get matching colours to my lanyard for tomorrow, and they looked really good in the end!  I then headed to the grocery store, then finally home.  A very busy day!

When I got home I cranked up my new curler and put it through it’s paces.  After trying for a week to get my hair straightener to do curls and epically failing, I was a little nervous as to if this would work.  I was extremely impressed with it!  As the reviews had said, it was definitely idiotproof, and it just worked.  There were two curl setting options – bigger, wavier ones or smaller, tighter ones.  As curls tend to drop out of my hair quickly, I decided to try the smaller ones, and within about 45 minutes, I was done and it looked really good.  The next test is to see how long they hold for, but I think it should be okay.  I’m so glad I bought it!

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Remington Perfect Curls 2-in-1 – definitely recommend!

I’m going to wrap it up here as I need to start making dinner (we won’t talk about my shocking diet this week.  Maybe I’ll have some better news next post).  Tomorrow is going to be a super huge day and I’m so excited for it!

Hope y’all had a great weekend too! 🙂

-JD

Time to Change – Day Twenty-Nine

Yesterday I had a good surprise come my way.  I told you my luck is changing!  I jumped on the scales, expecting bad news, as I’ve eaten very poorly over the past week while I was trying to re-adjust to working life.  Instead, I’m at my lowest weight yet!  Not by much, granted, and given that my weight fluctuates so much there’s a good chance it won’t stay that low for long, but still…it was a very happy surprise!  I knew I’d been doing a lot more steps during the week, what with catching public transport and working in the city, but I thought I’d counteracted all that by eating fast food for lunch each day.  I guess not!

Apart from that pleasant surprise, yesterday was a pretty good day overall, although it was a little hectic for my liking (given that’s I’m back to the standard two days a week off).  I slept in a little, then got up, went to get my nails done – purple and sparkly this time! – then hit up the grocery store as I wanted to try banana M&Ms and banana Tim Tams (I’m obsessed with banana flavoured anything), and then across the road to get some “get well” balloons for later on.  [Side note for Australians: Banana Tim Tams are amazing, banana M&Ms are okay but not fantastic.]

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Once that was done, I headed to mum’s and then we headed off on an hour drive to visit my grandma in hospital.  As I mentioned here, she was diagnosed with cancer last week.  They operated on her a few days ago, though with her dementia, she often can’t remember it, as I predicted.  She was looking pretty good when we got there, sitting up in a chair by the window, watching a massive tree slowly get cut down at a property across the road from the hospital.  She was as talkative as always, and just as forgetful.  She switched from talking about the operation and going home, to asking when the operation was.  At one point she was so convinced she hadn’t had it yet that my mum had to show her the scar.  This apparently happens quite a lot.  My parents and uncle are talking about putting her in respite care prior to her going home, as they’re worried she’ll get home and forget all about what happened, then lift something heavy or do something she shouldn’t and do damage to her scar.  As my grandpa passed away last year, she lives by herself, and she’s always been very independent (probably where I got it from!) so her staying with one of us is probably not an option as she’d refuse, and one of us staying there isn’t ideal either as she lives an hour and a half away.  Still, I think she’ll be very frustrated in respite care.  Her independence will feel like it’s in jeopardy.  Not much anyone can do though, really…a bit of a blow to her self-esteem is better than a stomach full of popped stitches.  Plus, once she gets out of care, she probably won’t remember too much about it anyway, so I guess that’s a plus.

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After we got back from the hospital, I headed straight home to go to a house warming.  I’d gotten ready, jumped in the car and gotten all of about two streets away when I get a text from one of my friends I was meeting there saying she’d been held up and would be about an hour late.  As the other friends I knew were going to be as late as that too, I turned around, headed home and killed time.  That’s one of the pitfalls of being shy and introverted…you absolutely cannot be the awkward person at the party who doesn’t know anyone.  It’s way too stressful.  I got a message about half an hour later asking if I could pick my friend up at the station on the way.  Another introvert secret – we love having an excuse to turn up to a party with someone else!  I said yes and headed out.  Even with navigation, I still always manage to get lost.  Sometimes it’s my fault for diverting from the map, and sometimes it’s the nav’s fault for being vague or misleading.  Last night, it was the nav’s fault for being vague.  I missed the turn off and wound up getting stuck for 15 minutes on one of my least favourite stretches of road ever.  Worse than that, because I didn’t know exactly where the station was, I also drove right past it, and where I was isn’t very forgiving when that happens, especially on a busy Saturday night.  There weren’t any parks, I couldn’t find side street to turn down and the roads were narrow and packed which added to my stress levels.  Worse, when I finally found side streets to turn down (kilometres away from the station), they were all one-way.  Seriously?!  My friend called me and asked where I was, and I could only give her vague answers because I legitimately didn’t know.  I wound up driving around some more, and between me basically doing a circle of the block and her notching up her step count, we finally managed to meet up, a good half an hour later.

By the time we arrived at the house warming we were an hour later than we initially planned, but our other friends had only just turned up so it was all good in the end.  It was fantastic to see them all again as it had felt like forever, and we chatted away like no time had passed at all.  Before we knew it, it was time to head off.  I had to drop my friend to her partner’s place right in the heart of the CBD (did I mention how much I hate the city?!), which was fine up until she jumped out of the car.  Then I was alone with my nav again…and my nav hates the city just as much as me.  It basically managed to get me on one side of the bridge, do a massive U-turn through the city, then get back on the other side.  I’m still not sure how it managed that.  I missed one turn but as far as I’m aware, it wasn’t one that led straight to the bridge, so it shouldn’t have caused major issues like that.  Then again, I’m the most directionally-challenged person ever, so maybe it was a bigger deal than I thought?

Anyway, what should have taken me about 40 minutes took me over an hour, but I finally got home.  It was the latest I’d been out in a very long time, but I’d had a great time and I’m so happy I finally got to see those guys again.  They make me so happy.

This morning I slept in a little again, got up, tried to catch up on some of my TV shows that had piled up during my busy week, planning after a few episodes to get some housework done.  Instead, I had a long soak in the tub, then got out, put on another episode and promptly fell asleep.  I woke up 3 hours later feeling refreshed but guilty – I hadn’t exercised, done housework, put a dent in my TV shows or even eaten properly.  I didn’t dwell on it though.  My slept debt had been pretty huge after this week, so it wasn’t massively surprising I’d fallen asleep.  I got up, put some washing on, made a very late lunch and re-watched the TV show I’d fallen asleep through.  Now I’m sitting in the sun, blogging, glad it’s not too hot.  I might go for a walk later, although my foot is still giving me issues.  I’ll see how I feel.  I’d really only be going for the dog’s sake, as if it were up to me, I’d be resting my foot in preparation for tomorrow and the rest of the week.  I just feel bad because now I’m working full time again, the dog is being left alone a lot, which makes me want to take her for her beloved walks.  Decisions.

Like I mentioned, I’m back at work tomorrow, my first full week of being at my new job out of training.  I’m really looking forward to it.  The team is awesome and I feel like within a couple of days I should be right to do a lot of things without help.  I can’t wait for that.  I feel like such a bother having to tag along with other people.  I know it’s inevitable and part of a new-job experience, but it still sucks.  I guess it’s just my fierce independence showing through again.  I hate relying on other people for things!  Hopefully it’ll go well 🙂

-JD

Success!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Success!.”
Tell us about a time where everything you’d hoped would happen actually did.

My favourite time that everything came together like I hoped it would was when I arranged a surprise party for one of my closest friends.  He was really looking forward to his birthday but found out he had to go interstate for a work conference and would be there for the week of (and including) his special day.  He didn’t know a lot of people he was supposed to be attending with, and I knew I couldn’t let him have a birthday with people who would probably forget.

I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I decided I was going to arrange for a group of us to fly up there and surprise him.  This, for me, was a big challenge.  I don’t travel…ever.  The last time I’d been on a plane was about four years prior, and I’d had plenty of help organising that.  I didn’t care though.  This was something I wanted to do…something I was determined to do.

My first major challenge was finding a way to contact his little sister.  We didn’t know each other at all, and neither did any of the people I’d asked to come on the trip.  I had no reason to ask the birthday boy (let’s call him Kye) for her number…that would have lead to so many questions I couldn’t answer that it wasn’t even worth considering.  The only option I had was through Facebook, but of course because I wasn’t friends with her on there, my message went straight to her “others” folder.  I knew it’d mean so much more if she was there, but there wasn’t much else I could do but wait and hope she’d stumble across it.

The next challenge was flights and accommodation, which would have been easy, except the company arranging the conference was keeping everything pretty close to their chest for as long as possible.  The only thing I knew for sure was the dates it was being held, and roughly where.  I decided to ask our area manager, but even he didn’t know any more.  Great! I cursed.  This isn’t going well at all!

All I could do was wait.  The dates were drawing closer and I started to think it just wasn’t going to happen.  Suddenly, out of the blue, Kye’s sister replies to me, weeks after I’d sent it.  She said she didn’t even know that folder existed and found it when she was bored.  She was definitely in and really excited about it!  That was one less thing to worry about.

I then decided to tackle the next thing on my list – the presents.  I arranged for everyone we work with to chip in and get him something he’d been wanting for ages, and I also arranged for everyone to write a special message to him which I made into a scrapbook.  All this took quite awhile to arrange as I not only had a lot of people I had to involve, but I had to do it when he wasn’t there, which proved to be quite difficult.  I managed it though!

Another week crept by.  The conference was only about a week away and I decided we just needed to book everything.  I couldn’t wait any longer.  I had a rough idea of where they’d most likely be, so I just went with that.  I went to book flights (nervously, as I hadn’t booked flights by myself ever and didn’t know exactly what I was doing).  I got right through to the end and it all seemed to be going okay…until I went to process the payment.  It kept processing and processing.  Five minutes, ten minutes.  I started panicking – I’d paid for everyone, and I didn’t know what to do if it didn’t process properly.  In the end, all I could do was close out of the whole thing and start again.  I was freaking out it was going to take the money out twice.  I trawled around the website, seeing if I could find any trace of the first booking, but I couldn’t.  I contacted the airline, and they said not to worry, even though PayPal showed the initial transaction as ‘pending’.  All I could do was wait and see what happened…luckily, it never withdrew, and the second time I submitted everything it went through.  Talk about scary!  I then booked the nicest budget hotel I could find…much easier.  The plan was now locked in – we’d go up for one night, surprise him, spoil him, then hop on a plane back to reality the following morning.  A whirlwind trip.

As fate would have it, Kye received his itinerary the following day after I booked everything.  I fired question after question about it.  I have no idea why that didn’t arouse suspicion…I guess I just ask a lot of questions all the time.  I’d gotten so lucky – the hotel he was staying in was walking distance from the one I’d booked for us, and on top of that, there were no concrete plans for his birthday night!  The area manager had warned me that if something was planned, it would make things more challenging.  So relieved!

The big day finally arrived.  He’d flown up early the previous day, and had absolutely no idea that he’d be seeing us all so soon.  We hopped onto the plane at 5pm, got to our hotel by 7, and were eagerly waiting outside the venue where he was by 7.30.  I was on the phone with our area manager, who told us when to come in.  The wait was excruciating and seemed to go on forever.

Finally, we got the all clear, and we all hurried in.  Apart from one of the other guys talking a little too long, the surprise went off perfectly.  He had no idea we’d come all the way out, he loves his presents and, after the initial shock wore off, we went out and had an awesome night overlooking Darling Harbour.  The only problem was it was over way too quickly!  Before we knew it, we were on our second flight in 24 hours, thoroughly pleased with ourselves that everything had gone so well but sad it was all over.

-JD

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