And I’m Back.

Maybe for this one post.  Maybe forever.  Who knows?

I’ve been AFK for a lot longer than I realized.  I mean, I know it’s been awhile, but re-reading my last life-related post, it was last year, when I was still fairly new at my job and had just signed my building contract.  That seems like a lifetime ago.  Could it really only have been nine months ago?

So much has changed, and yet, nothing really has.  I’m still at the same job, but in a much different place mentally.  I’m still single, although there is definitely someone new in my life.  I’m living back at home, but only temporarily – my house is well and truely on it’s way to being done now.  More than that though, I feel like I’m a different person to back then.  Can nine months really change you that much?  I’m not sure.  I think it has though.

In my last post, I had only been at my job three months.  I was feeling new and awkward and vulnerable.  I was shy, I didn’t feel like I knew anyone.  I was just another face in the big crowd of staff.  Flashforward to today, where I feel like I have found my place in the store (front and centre!) and have some wonderful friends there.  I feel like I can pretty much talk to anyone there now, which for an extremely introverted person, and given there’s 80+ people working there, is a big thing.  A very big thing.  It took a long time to find a job after I lost my previous one, but I feel like I was meant to work here.  The job definitely has its downsides (I mean, it is retail) but I still love it.

I’m also currently learning the ropes for management.  This has always been on the cards due to my previous job experience, but I’m super excited it’s finally happening.  At my previous job, it just kind of happened out of necessity – I mean, it’s not that I didn’t want to do it, but there wasn’t any formal invitation to it, and I never got the official title for it, or the pay to match it.  I was just kind of assumed to be doing the role because nobody else could, and because I was already doing it, why should they increase my pay?  It was an extremely frustrating situation to be in, and I’m sure not an entirely uncommon one in the working world.

Anyway, while this is similar in terms of they won’t be increasing my pay anytime soon, the title is given and the whole store knows what’s going on.  Ideally, obviously, I’d love to be paid for it, but I completely understand that they want to train people first and make sure they’ll do well before anything is set in stone.  Either way, I feel much more comfortable with this scenario.  I also feel like, in general, I get a lot of recognition in store.  I touched on this back in my last post, but that was only a small taste of what I get on a regular basis.  It is safe to say that while I knew recognition was a nice thing, I never fully understood how far it goes with job satisfaction.  I feel like this is one of the major reasons why I love working where I do.  All the store leaders go out of their way to highlight when staff are doing well, and are full of encouragement to get everyone doing better.  When I say encouragement, I don’t mean nagging, or shaming, or being negative – all things I’ve received in my last job, and in turn, I’m ashamed to say, have probably been guilty of dishing out too – I mean celebrating wins and talking about success stories, and sharing tips and tricks on how to do well.  It’s a very refreshing change from where I was previously, and I wholeheartedly want to take this on board with my management skills too.

Tying in with all this, as I touched on earlier, there is someone new in my life.  I don’t really know how to describe our relationship (I feel weird even using that word) but I know there’s something there.  It came completely out of left-field and I think we are both a little shellshocked by it, which is why it’s hard to describe.  I’ve worked with him since I started my new job, but didn’t really notice him – well, no more than I notice any of the other 80+ team members.  He was always friendly, but still, just another face in the crowd.  Until suddenly he wasn’t.  It was literally just like that.  One day, absolutely nothing.  The next, absolutely everything.

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That’s the thing with me.  It’s always been a bit that way.  I fall extremely hard and extremely fast.  Some of my friends are a bit jealous.  I don’t know why.  It’s not a good thing and has lead to me getting hurt 100% of the time.  The other (or maybe the same) issue is, I’m super clingy.  Like…if you knew me as just an acquaintance, you’d probably never pick it because I’m seriously introverted.  I am happy to not speak to people for a week at a time kind of introverted.  Until my heart latches onto someone, and then suddenly, the second we aren’t communicating, it’s all “noooo, come back, I already miss you soooo much!”.  I can step back and see myself and know it is 100% crazy and not at all attractive but I can’t help it.  I have to literally tell myself dozens of times a day that I need to back off, he’s not going anywhere, you don’t need to be acting like this.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

Which is why we are currently sitting in this limbo status.  It is 100% my fault for being way too overbearing, and I’m working on it.  I really am.  He’s basically told me he’s not interested right now, which hurt like hell, however since then we’ve gone right back to how we were, so it’s just a weird place to be in.  That being said, I’m not complaining too much – it could easily have gone the opposite way and he refused to talk to me at all, making for a very awkward workplace.  Plus, I feel like this is just a learning experience on how to take things slow.  So, learn I shall.  Maybe things will eventually fall into place, or maybe we’ll both drift back to being just colleagues.  I know what I’m rooting for, but I’m not going to push it either.

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The other big update is my living arrangements.  Since my last update, I was forced to move back to my parents place – the landlord of my rental property sold the house and the new owners wanted to move in.  So back to my childhood home I went.  After living out of home for four years (and wanting to get out of home for many years prior to that), it hasn’t been easy readjusting.  I’m very grateful I had somewhere to go, don’t get me wrong, and my dog is loving the fact she has company almost all the time now, but it is still a very hard place to be back in.  I’m fiercely independent, and on top of that, my relationship with my family has always been tense.  It improved considerably after I moved out and got my own space, and now, day by day, I can feel it slipping back to how it was.  I feel very suffocated being back and having to answer to people again, and being told what to do and when to do it, instead of in my own time and at my own pace.

My mum especially doesn’t seem to understand why I get home and lock myself away, but then, she’s never really understood me much anyway.  She’s outgoing and very much a people-person.  My dad is quieter, but also enjoys being outdoors and getting things done.  I’m like my nan, who prefers to be left alone and doesn’t like her routine messed up.  They see me as lazy, and while I’m not denying that, it stems from my need to unwind from a day spent talking to strangers.  As an introvert, I need to mentally recover from that, and if I can’t, I have a tendency to lash out or become very upset.  If that means sleeping all day on my day off, or going for a drive by myself, or watching 10-year-old Simpsons episodes, then that’s what I do.  When I was living by myself, nobody was there to judge me on it, and it felt completely normal.  Now, all I’m getting is snide comments and rolled eyes.  I’ve literally been spending hours and hours at work just hanging out to avoid home – this is something I haven’t done at all since I started working there, and something I swore I wouldn’t do for my own mental health, but now, I’m finding that my mental health is being affected if I’m at home too long.  I’d rather be around my friends at work than being told what to do at home, even if that means sacrificing my unwinding time.

Thankfully, my house is well on the way to being finished.  After so many delays I’ve well and truely lost count, the framework went up a couple of weeks ago, and since then the roof has gone up and they’ve put in the windows and wiring, and the fencing.  The bricks will be getting laid tomorrow and the plastering should be completed by next week.  I’m hoping like hell it will be done before Christmas, so I can go back to living alone again.  My dog isn’t going to like it, but on the flip side, she’ll actually see me more as I won’t be avoiding home like I am now.

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I can’t believe how much has changed in what feels like a short amount of time, but there you have it.  It’s also hard to believe exactly a year ago, I was going through some of the darkest moments of my adult life, and today, I’m feeling pretty positive about everything.  2016 has definitely proven itself to be a great year so far!

How has everyone else’s 2016 been?

J x

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!

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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!

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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

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 Sixty-Four

First off, I know I’ve been away for awhile.  I could say I was too busy but that’s not really true.  Honestly, I just haven’t been in the mood to write.  It’s not writers block…I had plenty of stuff I could have written on, I just had no motivation to do it.  I wasn’t going to force myself to do it because I know that’s a surefire way to burn myself out all together and I really enjoy blogging generally, so I didn’t want to risk that.  I’ll try and write more this week!

Anyway, it’s been so long since I wrote that I feel like I don’t know where to start.  I left off getting ready for an upcoming wedding of one of my best friend’s sisters.  The wedding was really nice, outside in a Heritage Listed property in it’s fancy gardens.  The only issue I (and most people) had was that where we were sitting was in direct sunlight, so it was kind of uncomfortable squinting to see what was going on.  Oh, and there weren’t enough seats, which is kind of weird.  Both things that the venue would have been in charge of, I’d assume, so they probably should have known better and pre-planned to accomodate it.  The reception was held in the same venue but in a hall.  They used wooden Scrabble pieces to spell out people’s names (which was really cute) and had a little bag of custom lollies with their names and their wedding date on them.  The food was really nice too, though in typical Wedding fashion, was really small.  I had prawns as an entree (three of them), duck for main (one small leg) and creme brule for dessert (this was the biggest meal of the three, and the first time I’d had it.  It was nice).  I was worried the whole day I’d get a headache, as big outings like this generally trigger them (I have no idea why) and I’d forgotten to pack painkillers.  Right on cue at about dinner time, the first symptoms had started.  I think maybe my blood sugar was low, and the champagne wasn’t helping, because once I’d eaten dessert the headache went away pretty quickly.

It was awesome hanging out with two of my best friends, and we all looked so dressed up and mature.  Mature isn’t something we really pride ourselves on when we’re together though, so after dessert we headed off to the closest Pancake Parlour to eat a proper meal.  I love Pancake Parlour.  Sure, everything is full of sugar or fat but it tastes so amazing!  Plus, several of the shops are open 24/7, which has come in handy a couple of times in my life.  It was a great day, all in all, aside from the fact it was held on a Sunday night and I had work the next morning.  Surprisingly, despite going to bed hours later than usual, I pulled up okay.  Win!

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My favourite meal from Pancake Parlour – Chocolate Chip Pancakes!

Speaking of food, my diet once again flew out the window this week.  I started buying lunch again and while I could have found a lot more unhealthy options, the stuff I bought still wasn’t great.  I don’t even know why I started buying lunch, as I’d packed food.  It’s a slippery slope though, and once I started, I wound up doing it every day.  My diet over the weekend hasn’t been much better either.  At least my dinner’s (aside from last night) have all been Lite n Easy ones, so I didn’t go completely crazy.

My diet properly starts again tomorrow, to coincide with my starting work at my real store, after training up for over a month at a different one.  It was sad saying goodbye to everyone there, and they all had such nice things to say to me considering I’d only been there for a short time.  I even got flowers and a cake!  I doubt I’d have gotten that at my old job after five years.

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It’ll be really weird rocking up to a new store and team tomorrow.  I mean, I knew it was coming but I’ve gotten so used to the team at the other store.  I’ve met a handful of people from my real store but given how many staff are going to be working there, I feel like it’s going to take my a long time to meet everyone, and even longer to remember their names.

We aren’t opening officially until Tuesday week, so in the lead up to that we’re doing dress rehearsals and dry runs to get a feel for the store and make sure everything works correctly and flows like it should.  I’m glad they’ve included this (even though I initially laughed at it) because it means I’m not jumping directly from one store to the other and had to try to adjust straight away.  I had a bit of time to work out the differences (and there’s going to be a lot of them) and to settle into the new team.

As it’s in the city, I know my step count is automatically going to be higher than it has been while working in a shopping centre, so I’m just going to make sure I eat healthy and hopefully my diet will get back on track.  In preparation, I bought myself a lunchbox and a big glass water bottle.  While I’m sure the new store will have fridges and a water fountain (hell, they’re even giving us access to a free squishy machine in the back room!), I know if I rely on that stuff, I’ll be tempted to leave my lunch in the fridge and go buy food instead, and I’ll forget to drink water.  If I’m lugging it to and from work, I think I’ll be more inclined to eat it.

All weekend I’ve been rekindling my love for SimCity 4.  I know a lot of people think it’s terrible (and parts of it definitely are) but overall, once you get used to the interface, it’s fun and interesting and full of challenges.  I initially played it when it first came out, but got frustrated with their unreliable servers causing the game to drop out and not save sometimes hours worth of progress, and eventually gave up.  I briefly got back into it when the expansion pack was released but that didn’t last long either.  It had been so long since I played it, I initially struggled to remember where everything was (there are so many menus and buttons) and had to google where to find things.  Eventually though, it all came back to me and I started playing properly again.  The servers seem a lot better now (so it should, the game has been out for two years now!) but online isn’t as fun any more because it doesn’t have many active players.  Luckily that isn’t an imperative part of it so it was still fun.  So much so I lost about twelve hours (probably more) of my weekend to it.  That’s also another reason why I didn’t blog – I knew I should, but I just couldn’t switch off the game.  I found ways to make heaps of money so it was a lot of fun spending it all then trying to juggle the repercussions of it.

The other part of my weekend was spent watching YouTube tutorials on how to use my hair straightener to curl my hair.  It’s something I’ve been wanting to learn forever (as my family friend/hairdresser used to do it to my hair and I’d never managed to replicate it).  I had moderate success with it after watching the tutorials, though I’m still not great at it.  I’ll practice it a bit more as I think I want my hair done nicely for the store’s grand opening.  I’ve got a week and a bit to get it down pat!

I don’t think much else is new.  I’ll definitely update you on how tomorrow (and the rest of the week) goes, both with the new store and my diet! 🙂

Time to Change – Day Fifty-Six

Tonight I’m writing this as a redhead.  And it feels great!  I have a wedding to go to tomorrow and the original plan was that I’d go to a salon with my friend (who’s also coming to the wedding) and we’d get our hair done there.  Time got away from her though so that fell through.  I was a bit bummed as I’ve wanted to get my hair coloured for awhile and I finally had the money to do it.  A few years ago I’d always have my hair coloured (I’d been red, blonde, dark brown and even multicoloured for awhile) but then my friend stopped doing hair colouring (she was the one I’d aways go to because mates rates are the best) and so I stopped.

The wedding seemed like the perfect time to get back into it, so I decided that I’d just buy a box of hair colour instead.  I’ve only ever tried this once before, and although the results were okay in the end, it hurt like buggery when I put it on to the point where I had to wash it off early.  Luckily there weren’t any side affects and it stopped hurting after it washed out, but needless to say, I was a little nervous trying it again.  Although it was kind of a last minute decision, I still took the time to do a bit of research first.  I decided I’d try Revlon as all the reviews seemed good (a lot better than most of the others I’d looked up).  Anyway, I headed off to my local supermarket, feeling nervous but excited as well – I was finally gonna have red hair again!

I get to the isle full of boxes of hair dye.  I scan over them, expecting to see Revlon.  The supermarket app said they had them in store (I checked before I left).  After standing there awkwardly for a good couple of minutes, it became clear that they didn’t stock what I wanted.  Great, I cursed, now what?!  I got my phone out and frantically started googling the brands they did have.  I already knew L’Oreal was out as I’d read really bad things about it…which was annoying because literally half of all their hair dye stock was that brand.  After what felt like an eternity (not helped by the lack-of-reception) I decided I’d try Schwarzkopf as this seemed to have decent reviews too.  The box said for long hair, I’d probably need to use two kits, so I grabbed both and headed home.

I was super worried about the mess I was going to make, so I grabbed a towel and an old shirt and headed into my bathroom.  I reread the instructions several times, paranoid I’d make a mistake.  When it comes to hair (especially on the eve a of a wedding), you don’t want to mess it up.  I slowly worked through the steps, then started mixing the red goop through my hair.  It smelt unbearably awful, and made my eyes water.  Next time, I’ll probably try to set up a work station outside so there’s good ventilation.  I mixed in as much as I could, which turned out to be about one and a half packets.  That was probably accurate as one kit does up to shoulder length, and mine is only about an inch or two longer than that.  I then realized I’d forgotten to buy a shower cap at the shops – D’Oh! – so I decided to try using a plastic bag instead.  It kit of worked, although wasn’t tight enough to hold my hair in place, so I put a towel over that and it seemed to be okay (although I looked ridiculous!).

I was so worried the whole time my head was gonna heat up and start burning like it did last time, but it didn’t happen which was fantastic.  I only had a little tiny stinging sensation and I always get that, even when my friend used to do it.  After half an hour, it was time to wash it out.  I’ll admit, I didn’t read the instructions properly, although it didn’t really matter.  The kit comes with a tube of special conditioner, and if I’d have read that part of the help sheet, I would have known to leave the shower running after I’d finished washing the dye out.  It asked me to towel off my hair, then put the conditioner in it, then rinse it out again.  No harm done though.  I’m glad that was the worst mistake I made, because it means I did pretty well!

As my hair is prone to frizziness, I never use a hairdryer as a rule, as that is a surefire way to dry it out even more.  Because of this, it means I have to wait for it to dry naturally to see the full effect.  It’s almost there, and it’s looking pretty good.  My hair started out fairly dark, so I knew it was never going to turn out bright red like the box.  It’s now sort of a dark red, kind of purple, which is fine.  I’d have liked it brighter but this isn’t a terrible colour.  The main thing is, it appears like I got it pretty well covered and it isn’t patchy.  No wait, the real main thing is, I’m not allergic to it!  If I was, there’d be no wedding for me tomorrow.  Pretty happy considering what a potential disaster it could have been.

Anyway, I’ll rewind a little because I didn’t blog yesterday.  I had my last day of work for the week and had to work til 8pm, yuck.  That’s the latest I’ve worked since my previous job, and I can’t say I’ve missed it.  That being said, the time went pretty fast and I had some lovely customers so I ended Friday the 13th on a high.  I had my cheat meal for the week for dinner as there isn’t a freezer there for Lite N Easy (plus, I didn’t really want to eat that on a 30 minute break anyway), so I bought some greasy, delicious KFC instead.  If I’m gonna have a cheat meal, it may as well be something amazing!  I’d skipped lunch in the hope that all the extra calories wouldn’t be quite so bad…though let’s be honest, I probably ate two days worth in one go.

Today I ate pretty well to make up for it.  Light peanut butter on light wholegrain saladas (yes, they tasted about as interesting as they sound) for breakfast, I skipped lunch because I was out (I’ll go into that in a second), then had an early dinner of Lite N Easy Shepard’s Pie, and a couple of mini custard tarts for dessert.  For the day I only went over my calorie limit by 100, and that was because of the dessert.  Overall, an okay day.  The shepard’s pie was nice too, I’d definitely order that again.  Packed full of veggies so you can see you’re eating healthy food!

Okay, so the reason I skipped lunch was because my mum and grandma came over.  My grandma had surgery about two weeks ago (I mentioned previously she’d been diagnosed with uterine cancer).  She had a hysterectomy and seem to have gotten it all, so that’s all fine.  As I predicted prior to the operation, her memory is very fuzzy around it (she’s in the early stages of dementia and gets confused/forgets things a lot).  One second she’s with it completely, the next she’s repeating a question she’s literally just asked.  Normally, other than being an annoyance, it doesn’t really hurt anyone, but the issue is that about 80% of the time, she forgets she’s even had an operation.  She’s also had some complications so the doctor has put her on a strict diet while she recovers, and she can’t eat a lot of food groups.  Of course, she can’t remember that either, so my mum and uncle have taken turns to look after her.  It’s not easy as in some ways she’s like a naughty three year old, always getting into things or doing things she shouldn’t the second she’s alone.  She doesn’t mean to do it, she just forgets she’s not supposed to.  She needs to constantly be reminded not to lift things, to watch where she’s walking, to slow down.  She’s over the worst of it as it’s been a couple of weeks, but she’s definitely not out of the woods yet.

So they came over to my house this afternoon, and we went to the local display village to show grandma the builder I’m building my house with, and to walk through their display homes.  Mum’s idea, not mine, as firstly, the display homes generally look nothing like what I’ve picked, and secondly, grandma isn’t going to remember any of it anyway.  The first display home (as expected) looked nothing like the house I’ve chosen.  We weren’t even going to go into the second one as it was double storey and massive and even less likely to be like mine.  When we walked in we were pleasantly surprised – the flooring was exactly what I’d chosen (well, the majority anyway – it had laminate timber flooring in the colour I picked, the bathroom tiles were pretty much the same and the carpet was only slightly lighter) and the benchtops and kitchen cabinets were almost the same too.  It was really cool to see my design choices in real life, and even cooler that it was put into their biggest, flashiest display home.  Looks like I picked well!

After that we headed up to the estate where I’m building.  I haven’t been there in ages, but that’s because each time I did, there was always roadworks and traffic and although there were always big machines around, they didn’t seem to be doing very much in terms of progress.  I assumed it was probably going to be the same thing again.  The title date had already been pushed back three times, and I was expecting to see nothing again.  Instead, they’ve done heaps!  There’s actual roads now (albiet unsealed ones) and proper concrete roundabouts and gutters and even some driveways!  The lots weren’t marked out yet (which kind of sucked) but it was still so cool to finally see the estate taking shape, and having a rough idea of where I was going to be living soon.  It’s so exciting that it’s finally processing and soon enough, not everything is going to be in writing or drawings, it’ll be in real life!

Tomorrow I have a wedding to go to.  It’ll be interesting, mostly because I’ve only ever been to two other weddings before in my life and they were quite different from each other.  This is bound to be different again, though I’d expect it’ll be probably closer to the first one I went to.  I’m going with two of my closest friends so it’ll be a bit of fun.

Hope your weekend is just as exciting!

PS thinking of anyone involved directly and indirectly with the Paris terrorist attacks.  Stay strong.  They can hurt people but they can’t break spirits.

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 soh12119004_10153175685076570_739979882010388096_nThe Sydney Opera House and Melbourne Cricket Ground lit up for Paris, as many other landmarks around the globe were too.

“When the city of light goes dark, the rest of the world lights up for them.” #PrayForParis

Time to Change – Day Fifty-Four

Today I had training in the city.  Training I’d already done twice before.  Despite that, my day went okay.  I woke up extra early to finish cleaning in preparation for the inspection that was happening today while I was at work.  I then got ready and raced out the door to the bus stop.

The morning was a bit crazy, as I’d gone to the normal building we usually have training in, to find nobody there.  After asking another colleague who was already with the trainer where he was, it turns out they were in a different building up the road (the building, it turns out, where I had my original interview for the job all those weeks ago).  I wasn’t the only person who made that mistake…it seems like half group did.  By the time everyone finally found their way to the right address, the session was already 15 minutes behind.  What a mess.

Anyway, we had one of the trainers that I’d had through my induction and he’s really good (and kind of cute) so that was fun, despite the boring topics that I could practically recite in my sleep.  We had a lot of laughs and, best of all, got let out over an hour early.  I love love love getting out early as it means I’m not crammed into a peak hour train, and I get home quicker.  So much win!

I also got confirmation that I’m going to be at my temporary store for another week, which I’m really happy about as the manager there already told me if I was going to be with them, he was changing my roster to 9-5 every day, instead of the obscure late shifts I’d been given.  So happy!  I hate late shifts so this works out fantastically.  Plus, I’ve come to really like the team there so spending another week with them is going to be great.

My food for the day was pretty good.  After all the early morning cleaning, I ran out of time for breakfast so I grabbed a Boost Juice on the way to training.  I accidentally ordered a large one instead of small, but only managed to get through about half (which is why I wanted a small one in the first place!  Whoops).  I had banana bread for morning tea…probably my worst food choice of the day, but I think that makes today a good one.  I could have done a lot worse!  For lunch, I got dragged out to the local food court (I’d bought lunch but I didn’t want to carry it around with me).  I’ll admit, I was extremely tempted to buy fast food.  It all smelt so good!  But my colleague insisted we eat healthy (luckily) so we got yoghurt instead.  I also got a diet coke, but I couldn’t even manage to get through half the bottle.  I really am turning a corner!

During the afternoon, the guy who was supposed to inspect my house (and whom I’d been cleaning for the past three days for) told me that he’d forgotten to bring the spare keys and would I be home to let him in later?  I told him there’s no chance of that so he had to reschedule.  Urgh, seriously?!  You had one job!  Bring the keys!  Very irritating as now I’m gonna have to do a big vacuum and whatnot next Wednesday too.  Don’t get me wrong, I actually don’t mind vacuuming, but trying to get all the hair up is a big job…and by next week it’ll be like I never did it.  Living with a golden retriever basically means you live in a house constantly confetti’d with fur.  Especially if you don’t have time (or patience) to constantly stay on top of it.

After getting home, I was really craving junk again.  Fish and chips in particular.  This has always been one of my absolute favourite meal choices, so it was very hard to shake the craving.  I just tried to force it out of my mind, and decided I’d just make Lite n Easy Crumbed Fish instead.  It’s basically the boring, healthy version of fish and chips, but with a bucketload of veggies on the side.  This was probably one of the worst LnE meals I’ve had, though I guess that’s more because my mind was wanting me to tuck into greasy, salty fish and chips and it got bland fish and veggies instead.  Anything would seem bad when it’s put like that!

As I caught public transport, my step count finished up at over 7500, which is really good for me!  And on top of that, because I had a decent day, my calorie count was under my daily goal limit for the first time in a long while.  Hells yeah!

Today I also – finally – got my old blog posts back from MySpace, written back when I was 15-19, all 75 of them.  I’ve only had a chance to read through a few of them (they send it to you in a basic format so it’s absolutely littered with HTML code so it makes it difficult to decipher), but it bought back so many memories!  So many adventures, long-gone worries and friends I don’t speak to any more.  Also, so many cringeworthy things I told the world about back then.  I’ve got a couple I want to share with you, but that will have to wait.  It’s really late and I have work tomorrow.  Stay tuned though, they’ll be coming!
(Side note, if any of you used to post on MySpace, I’d recommend requesting for them back.  So good to have access to them now that the website doesn’t show them through profiles or support blogging any more!  Embarrassing or not, I hate knowing parts of me are gone.)

How was your day today?

-JD

Time to Change – Day Fifty-Two

Today was my first working day of the week, so I suppose that pretty much sums up how it went.  No, but honestly, it was average.  Since my car playing up on Saturday, I’m paranoid every time I have to drive it.  I mean, I know the occasional stall is hardly worth getting stressed over, but like I discussed previously, I know nothing about cars, so when something goes wrong, my brain goes into meltdown and I panic.  I can feel my car isn’t running like it should, but because I’m the only person who drives it regularly, I’m sure anyone else would think it’s nothing (like my dad).  Plus, on top of that, it seems to be sporadic in when it happens.  Yesterday it ran okay, this morning on the way to work I could feel it threatening to stall and not going into gear properly, on the way home it was fine again.  Very frustrating, mainly because I feel like even if I took it to get looked at, they probably wouldn’t fix it.  Meanwhile I’m expecting it to break down at any moment.

So yeah, that’s how my morning went.  I woke up, rushed around getting ready because they wanted me at work extra early today because there were a lot of changes happening, I ran out of time for breakfast so ate a donut instead (it was my one splurge at the grocery store and I knew I shouldn’t have grabbed it.  At the time I promised myself I’d eat it appropriately and in moderation.  Yeah, right.), got stuck in peak hour traffic (worse than normal) and on top of that, expected the car to crap out at every intersection and round about.

Stress.

Once I got to work, I started to calm down a little.  Everyone was in good moods, I got a free hot chocolate and I started to relax.  The day got a bit better from there.  It was busy and hot in store – as always – and at times I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath between customers, but I didn’t get yelled at and I learnt some stuff I’d previously not even bothered trying, so I think that made the chaos more bearable.

I finished the day slightly earlier than everyone (I have a good roster for the first couple of days of the week!).  We were supposed to have a work meeting that night, and honestly, I wasn’t going to go.  Don’t get me wrong, I know they’re important and in my last job, I think I missed maybe two or three meetings in five years, including when I was casual.  When I was in management, I got really annoyed when people didn’t show up for them.  However, I made a promise to myself as I started this job that I wasn’t going to let it burn me out, I wasn’t going to get taken advantage of, and I wasn’t going to hang around if I wasn’t getting paid.  This fell into the latter.  I don’t mind hanging around without pay occasionally, or if I think it’s going to be very beneficial.  The reasons I had not to go were solid: this isn’t my home store, I wasn’t getting paid (my shift finished at 5:45, the meeting wasn’t due to start until 6 and would most likely run until 7:30, and I live 45 mins away), I could find out all the information I missed tomorrow (although I think I heard a large portion of it this morning anyway), we had a meeting a fortnight ago that I attended without pay, and I’m just a trainee.  I know I’m a very advanced, competent trainee, but I don’t have set targets and I still ask for help a lot.  All this lead me to the conclusion that it wasn’t worth over 3 hours of my time without pay.  That’s what it comes down to…although I may not have had plans, I need to start valuing my downtime more.  I never did at my old job and it consumed me.  And for what?  I was still continuously overlooked for promotions and treated poorly.  I’m not suggesting that will happen again at this job, but I just need to work smarter, instead of burning myself out.  If I was getting paid then I probably would have gone to it, but given my new store is paying me out of their hours, there was no way they’d cover me for a different store’s meeting, even if everyone at that store was getting paid (I’m not sure if they were or not).

I got home earlier than I normally would have, caught up on some of my recorded TV shows and had dinner – Lite n Easy Beef Tortellini.  Once again, a really nice meal, though probably not quite filling enough.  This is the first one I’ve felt that about.  That being said, I’ve been hungry all day.  It’s been one of those days, really.  I ate crap for breakfast, healthy for lunch, snacked on little chocolate bars that were up for grabs at work, then ate dinner and another donut (they’re all gone now, thankfully, so I can’t be tempted by them any more!).  I really didn’t do too well with my healthy eating today, but I’m trying not to let it bother me.  It’s a process, I have to keep reminding myself of that.  Some days are going to be bad and full of weakness, and some are going to be great.  It’s all about breaking habits, and it’s a gradual thing.  Some people might be able to go cold turkey, but I can’t.  As long as slowly, there are more good days replacing bad ones, then it’s working.  I’ll get there.  I just have to really focus on making each day better than the last, and making better choices.

After dinner, I had a long soak in the bath and caught up on everyone’s latest blog posts.  I love reading everyone’s updates and stories.  There’s so many talented people on here!

After I got out, I finally finished washing the rest of the dishes that had piled up, and I cleaned up the mess that had gathered on the dining table, mostly just stuff I’d neglected to put away.  When I sat down afterwards, I realized I was still hungry.  God, how is that even possible?  Still, I knew I needed to snack on something or it’d just get worse.  I decided to have Savoy crackers and lite peanut butter, and that seemed to do the trick (finally!).  I really like this snack, so I think I’m going to try to replace some potentially bad choices with this option in the future.

I’m back at work early tomorrow, but get to leave the same time again, which is awesome.  I’ve got my inspection Thursday, so I have to finish cleaning tomorrow night.  I think I’ve spread it out over the last few days well though, so all that’s left is vacuuming (there was no point doing it earlier than the night before as my dog sheds continuously), cleaning the sliding door window (again, no point doing it earlier as my dog jumps on it with dirty paws when I get home each day) and wiping down the stove and benches.  I also have to tidy up my room and bathroom but that can be done Thursday morning.  Otherwise, my house is pretty neat as it is, thanks to the work I’ve put in.  Like I’ve mentioned previously, I hate cleaning, so for me, this is quite an accomplishment.  Now I just have to try to keep it this neat!

I hope your day was as productive as mine 🙂

-JD

Time to Change – Day Fifty-One

There’s something incredibly gratifying about having Mondays off.  I’ve always thought this, although after having it as one of my permanent days off at my old job, I’d started to take it for granted.  Today was my first Monday off since starting my new job, and I’ve fallen back in love with it again.  I think it’s the fact that you know you’d normally be at work (and everyone else is) and you have a free pass to sleep and watch daytime TV and do anything you want.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I dislike having Saturdays off, but it’s just so…ordinary.  On top of that, the shops are always busier, the parks fuller, your friends busier.

Needless to say, I had a great day.  It wasn’t anything unusual, but I found it so relaxing.  I had scrambled eggs for breakfast, then spent a couple of hours catching up on everyone’s blogs.  I had crackers and vegemite for lunch, and sultanas.  Then I had a long nap, which was made more relaxing knowing I’d normally be at work.  Ahhh, such a great feeling.  After I woke up, I decided to stop procrastinating and do some more cleaning in preparation for the inspection on Thursday.  I did a couple of loads of dishes (I let them get way out of hand, I admit.  Dishes are my least favourite chore and the dishwasher that came with the rental house I’m in is a weird brand and does a shitty job).  I then made dinner – Lite n Easy Lasagne.  Once again, I was interested to know how this would go, as microwave lasagne is normally pretty average.  It turned out okay.  Not as nice as my previous two meals as the lasagne was a little soft and soggy (as expected without any oven baking), however it tasted nice apart from that.  It was also the lowest in calories of the four meals I’ve had thus far, which was a pleasant surprise.

While I was cleaning and eating dinner, I was also catching up on Bones.  I had the first three episodes of season ten waiting to be watched, and it didn’t fail to disappoint.  I’m not going to post spoilers, but to anyone who has seen it, I think you’d feel my pain during episode two.  So emotional!

After I finished dinner, I headed off to the shops for groceries.  I wish I still got enjoyment out of going like I used to when I first moved out.  Now it’s just a chore, made worse now I’m trying to eat well as there are so many delicious, wonderful options there that I have to walk past.  Kudos to me, my self-control was pretty good.  I did get one naughty thing, but as long as I eat it in moderation, I think it’ll be fine.  Six months ago, it was “spot the healthy food” in amongst the junk in my basket, now it’s the opposite, which is a great feeling.  Plus, now that I’ve got my dinners organised, I’m not spending too much money there any more, and I’m there for less time.  That’s great as the less time I’m there, the less tempted I am to stock up on stuff I shouldn’t be eating!

Once I got home, I put the groceries away, did another load of dishes (seriously, they just never end!) and then sat down to watch the Block.  For the Aussie readers out there, Suzi is actually the most annoying person on TV right now, amiright?  I then washed my hair in preparation for work tomorrow and watched the Biggest Loser.  It’s funny, two years ago I was so anti-reality TV shows and now I watch all the main ones.  I guess they’ve just become so popular and mainstream and normal that I let myself get sucked into it.  That being said, these are what I see as “actual reality” shows (as in, while some of it is probably scripted and planned and refilmed, a lot of it isn’t), instead of “unreality” shows such as Jersey Shore, the Kardashians, Real Housewives, Idol etc.  Those shows I will never buy into or watch, as it’s so fake and scripted it bothers me just watching the ads.  I mean, I get why people watch them…they’re easy to get sucked into, and they’re funny, and it’s so completely different from normal life that it’s morbidly interesting.  I just don’t want to support shows like that.

Tomorrow I’m back at work again, but only for four days this week as technically I worked six last week (I say technically because one was a public holiday that I didn’t actually work, but because I got paid, it is treated as such).  I’m so excited, I love four day weeks.  They always go by so fast.  Sure, it means I don’t get my beloved Monday off, but I think I can deal with this arrangement!

Anyway, time for me to call it a night and hope I can sleep okay.  It was really hot today and my room always struggles to cool down after them.  I have a pedestal fan I can use if I need to, but it’s pretty loud and annoying so I avoid it where possible.  I don’t think I’ll be able to avoid it tonight though.  Oh well, it beats sweating half the night!

-JD

Time to Change – Day Forty-Nine

I’m writing this in my car, pulled into a random side street a few kilometres from my house, waiting for my dad go come and save me.  My car is playing up big time and stalled on me while I was crossing a 4-lane Freeway.  Luckily I had a green light, luckily it was rolling just quick enough for me to get into the street before the lights changed, luckily there wasn’t anyone behind me.  Still, despite all that, I’m not feeling really lucky.  It’s times like this I wish I knew more about cars.  It’ll never happen though because to know about them you have to have at least a basic interest or passion in them and honestly, I don’t.  I can’t even pretend to.  When guys talk about cars my eyes glaze over and my mind starts to do this:

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This is why I either over react about things that don’t matter (like when my car was leaking oil and I dragged my dad 40 mins away to my house for him to say they probably just over filled it during the service it had just had) or I completely under react and assume if I just keep driving, the problem will fix itself (which is basically what happened in this instance…only it did not fix itself).  This is also why I asked my dad to come and look at the car today and not use roadside assist.  It’s one thing for dad to roll his eyes and tell me it’s nothing, it’s different if a professional comes out and has to point out you’ve overlooked something dumb (it’s happened before).

Even aside from the fact I’m stuck annoyingly-close-but-not-close-enough to my house right now, today hasn’t been the best day.  I woke up feeling pretty good, after falling asleep at 8pm on the couch when my time-of-the-month cramps let up for a little bit, then dragged myself to bed at 9.30.  I slept pretty solidly right  through til about 6.30, then remembered there’s no traffic on Saturdays and fell back asleep.  Woke up with just enough time to get dressed and organised but not to eat breakfast (gahhh) and rushed off to work – the first Saturday I’ve had to work in months.  I was dreading it because I know how crazy my old work was on Saturdays, and my new work was always at least double that on a normal day.

I was greeted by the manager who I hadn’t seen for over a week, and he made me feel a little better about the day, though whole heartedly agreed it was going to be chaos.  Despite that, he was so cheerful that it made me feel good.  We need more people like that, I think.  They’re who you want around on hard-to-get-out-of-bed mornings.

Anyway, the day went okay I guess.  Crazy busy by lunchtime but thankfully the floor manager (aka the conceirge) was on the ball and putting everyone on the list and advising of the long wait time.  I can’t stress enough how wonderful floor managers are.  We had a good one at my old work too, but prior to telco introducing them, it was bedlam on busy days.  Everyone just had to cue up and wait, and they never knew how long they’d be in line for.  They also weren’t acknowledged or greeted or thanked for waiting.  As a staff member at that time you were so focused on getting your customer in and out it just never occurred to you to do any of that as people waited.  Then you’d finally get to the people in line and they were already in filthy moods before the interaction even happened.  Now, with the floor manager greeting everyone who walks in, filtering the customers between one-minute jobs (bill payments, recharges, simple tech issues) and longer issues (contracts, bill disputes, more complex tech problems), it means everyone is spoken to, advised of the appropriate wait time, and allowed to leave and come back.  It makes the customers happy they’re acknowledged, and they love that we aren’t taking up huge chunks of their day making them wait, especially bill payers who would otherwise be stuck behind all sorts of longer issues (personally I don’t understand why anyone under about 60 needs to come into a store to pay a bill these days anyway but that’s beside the point).

Having everyone on a list meant that the franticness and pressure of a weekend shift is lifted a little, as there aren’t dozens of people greedily eyeing you off as you wrap up with your current customer.  It also means everyone can take a lunch break without feeling guilty or people huffing and puffing as you walk out of the store.

So that part of the day went okay.  The store got so hot though.  I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it previously but oh god, does this store heat up.  My other store did too, but not like this.  Everyone sweats even on cool days, and it’s made worse when it’s busy as there are more bodies (staff and customers) in the space.  It’s horrible.

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So, I got interrupted because my dad arrived.  And just like I’d fully expected, he drove it to the petrol station then the rest of the way to my place without so much as a hint of stalling or issues with getting into gear.  Trust.  My dad knows a bit about cars (he used to race them when he was younger – which explains where I get my lead foot from 😉 – and his brother is a mechanic) but he didn’t really have much to say except maybe I’d just bought cheap dirty fuel and it was causing issues.  As I was on a bit of a budget until now, this is potentially true.  Honestly, I can’t remember what I filled up with last time.  I know I used a gift card so I’d have assumed I’d have put the high quality stuff in, but I may not have in an effort to stretch the voucher.  I know right back when the car was brand new, bad fuel caused issues as well, so I’m not ruling it out.  Dad filled it with premium (which I generally do) and said the whole way home it ran fine.  Honestly, I don’t care what was causing the issue, as long as it doesn’t keep coming back.  Or if it must come back, not temporarily so everyone thinks I’m crazy!

Oh wait.  I just remembered I didn’t fill up at my usual place last time.  I filled up near work.  And I don’t remember what I put in but it very well could have been cheap stuff.  God, I’m so stupid.  I never really trusted that place (though I never had any issues for the years I’ve been going there) so maybe dad is right.  I hope so.  Easy fix if it is, as I won’t be driving past that petrol station much longer anyway!

Anyway, where was I before the interruption?  Right, work.  So, overall the day went about as well as I expected.  Busy, but under control, and really hot and uncomfortable.  I really hope my new store is wonderfully temperature-controlled.  I figure it probably will be since it’s not part of a shopping complex.  Looking forward to that!

I was naughty on the way home.  I’ve said previously I have very little self-control with food.  I ate well for lunch (after skipping breakfast), but I couldn’t resist Maccas on the way home.  I know, I’m supposed to be dieting.  I am going to eat well all weekend (having very little junk at home, that isn’t going to be too difficult) so I saw it as a cheat meal.  I know my trigger is being in the car, after a long day (and a long week), driving past my regular Maccas.  I know that very soon I won’t have this trigger any more, so this could be one of the last times I let it get the better of me.  As much as I love Maccas, I’m relieved that I won’t have to constantly fight my temptations on the way home every day.  But you’ll be passing Maccas on your way home from your new store!  I hear you cry.  You aren’t wrong.  The difference is, firstly, that’s not part of a bad routine I’ve let myself get into, so the temptation isn’t anywhere near as strong, and secondly, I don’t want to be one of those people eating on the train.  I also don’t want to be the sadcase sitting in a fast food restaurant by myself.  I know there will be times where my workmates want to eat out – and on those occasions I probably will too – but I feel like this isn’t going to be a super regular thing so I’m not too concerned.

I think the first point is the strongest though.  If it isn’t part of a routine or habit, I generally don’t have any issue with it.  A Maccas opened up about 3kms from my house, and you’d think I’d eat there all the time, but I’ve never eaten there.  Although I see it on the way home, I have to go out of my way to get it, which I just wouldn’t do.  I also made a conscious effort to make sure I didn’t eat there so that it didn’t form a habit.  I’m going to try to do that where possible with the places near my work too.  I’m going to bring my lunch each day, and as much as possible, go straight home after work.  The less food I buy there, the better.  I know this is all just talk at the moment, and it’s easier said than done, but I think I can do it.  It’s a chance to have a fresh start.  I built up a lot of bad habits in my five-and-a-half years in this shopping centre and surrounding area, whereas I’ve never worked in the city.

What else is new today?  Well, I woke up with a sore ear (again).  This one I think is self-inflicted.  I have a bad habit (there’s that word again!) of cleaning my ears frequently with cotton buds.  I know, I know, that’s really bad.  That’s why I think it’s self-inflicted.  It happens every now and again, and gets really sore, then clears up within a few days.  You’d think I’d learn but because I’m so used to cleaning them, I find it very hard to stop.  Plus, they get really itchy if I let wax build up.  I need to kick this habit too, but it’s just part of my routine.  Still, if I can shake the fast food addition, I can easily do the same with this!

I’m gonna wrap this up here by saying I’m so glad it’s finally the weekend.  It seems like it was Monday an eternity ago.  I’m getting my nails redone tomorrow, then I have to clean the house as I’ve got an inspection on Thursday.  I hate inspections so much, but at least I started cleaning last weekend so it’s not such a huge job.  It’s still big as I avoid cleaning at all costs normally, just not as big as it often is.  At least the backyard looks nice.  That’s usually the main issue they have, but the grass got mowed on Tuesday so it’s not out of control!

Happy weekend, y’all!

-JD