I am extremely relieved today. Relieved this is the first day of three days off. Relieved it’s not hot and humid so I can open my windows; hear the birds and feel the breeze.

Last night I worked until 10:00 p.m. That extra hour at night seems so long and late. I started my shift at 4:00 and relieved the day person leaving her shift. She had been on alone for several hours and was in a frenzy getting her work done, not leaving it for me. I love her.

There were two birthday cake orders to fill then I made Fudge Brownie Bar cakes. That’s chocolate cake covered with fudge icing, sided with chocolate curls, nine halved brownies stuck in the top and drizzled with caramel sauce.  Yeah, it’s a tough job but somebody has to do it. I ate a little too much fudge icing: its in a huge bucket and doesn’t need refrigeration but it’s, oh so good.

I usually do the ‘dishes’ before I go for my break but there was a big stack of trays and it was already close to 7:00 p.m.  When I get a half-hour break I’ll go sit in my car. The employee parking lot is beside a small wood lot making it so much better than the refrigerated lunch room with the announcements, music and talking people. They have these vinyl chairs that are like sitting on ice only sweaty.  To my great relief the heat and humidity had broken and a cool breeze blew through the open windows of my car. It was a very pleasant break.

So I didn’t feel too bad when I went back in to do the dishes, clean work counters, break down cardboard boxes and take them to the compactor, wash the floors, count and toss the leftover bin buns…. etc. Relieved I was done at 9:55 and had the last five minutes to ‘face out’ the commercial breads (tidy and bring forward).

Relieved driving home that I got a lot accomplished and didn’t have anything weighing on my mind. A job well done.

So that’s why today I am extremely relieved. No worries, no dramas to turn around in my head, no feelings of inadequacy. And it’s nice out! The last few days have been so hot and humid I’ve had to keep my windows and curtains closed. It’s so frustrating to see its breezy outside, then open the window and get slapped by hot, wet air. Today all the windows are open and hopefully can stay open. I even feel good enough to do some things outside.

Yes, relieved is an understatement of how I feel today.

Signing Off

Last night I got a laugh at work when I found two signs written on the back of old price cards that read “NO”. I could imagine my boss standing at the work table, a customer comes up to the counter and he just holds up two “NO” signs.  I don’t really know if that’s what they were for.  I hid them in places my co-workers will find today.

I have all the signs of aging. Yeah, yeah, you are only as old as you feel: well, I’m feeling pretty old today. Two 7-hour shifts back to back and I’m shuffling. Good thing I’m off today because I would be no good at all. I can’t imagine having to do that 5 days a week. This old horse is lying down today; kicking will do no good.

Signing off for the day.


Enter; Stage Right

The drama continues. No prompts here today, only an update on the drama that is going on at my job. This serves two purposes; anyone who read yesterdays SoSC prompt and wants to know what happens can find out if they are curious. The other purpose is to get it off my chest so I don’t drive my sister crazy on a beautiful weekend.

We enter Scene 2 when I go into work, not knowing if my co-worker went in the day before or called in with a ‘headache’ as she told me she was going to.

She did go in but left early with a headache. She did the most important cake orders but left a doozie: six six-packs of cupcakes, with white and purple icing. A custom purple: the woman who ordered brought in a piece of purple paper for us to match. She wanted half in whipped icing and half in buttercream icing. So that’s two different batches of custom purple icing that match perfectly, and two different kinds of white icing. This was to be alternated on white and chocolate cupcakes. Confusing? It was much worse scribbled on a cake order.

My boss made the custom purple icings the night before along with a lot of specialty cakes we needed for this weekend. He had been in the day before at 4:00 a.m. to unload a truck order we needed for buns. Then he went home, rested a few hours and went back and worked noon – 11:00 p.m. because he was MIC (manager in charge) for that night.  Yes, she did it when he had this much work.

He was already in the next morning when I got there and was not in a good mood. He snapped “You have one hour to refill the cakes and pastries then do this order before noon!” Everything in the pastry counter was expired.

I couldn’t ask if she went in because I don’t break confidences. He started to tell me all that he had done the day before, so I could innocently ask, “Wasn’t ___ here?”  He said she went home early with a headache.

It was very busy at the store…. the whole town was hopping on a hot Saturday. I worked as fast as I could which is never fast enough for my boss. There were constant interruptions to slice bread, write on cakes, replace cakes, etc. so I had to stop and change my gloves every few minutes then get back to the white and purple cupcake order.

I got through the day OK. Got the order done on time and well done I might add. She was very happy. My boss made me feel adequate which is good enough.

My co-worker came in on time and there was tension but she acted as if she was OK with me. I had two cakes orders done for the next day putting her ahead of the game. She’s good at her job, better than me, I wish she would just do it and leave the drama at home.

My boss still had two more hours of work after I left. The poor guy is so tired; I’m glad he has today off.

I’m working 3:00 to 9:00 p.m. today. Soon we will  have to keep the bakery open until 10:00. I’ve got to admit…… this job is getting to me.




SoCS: I’ll admit

I’ll admit I’m a little apprehensive about going into work today. I haven’t much time to write as I’m working my favourite shift; 10:00 to 3:00. My co-worker, the main cake decorator is spitting mad (what else is new) that she has to come in after me and do the closing shift.

Last week she confided in me, “Don’t tell anyone, but I’m going to call in sick with a migraine on Friday.” This is along the lines of ‘I’ll show him’.  Friday is the most important day for cake decorating because most of our orders are for the weekend. She had quite a few difficult orders hanging on her hook for Friday. It was also my day off.  She said if my boss phoned me in, “don’t answer the phone”

I stewed about it all week. I hate two-faced back-stabbers so much. She was going to work with him and be so nice knowing she’s setting him up for the kill. And she would advise me to screw my boss over because she doesn’t like her schedule.

We crossed shifts on Tuesday and I’ll admit I was angry and didn’t say it nicely, “You’ve put me in a very difficult position!” I said.

She starts to leave, “Have a nice night.”

“It’s shitty thing to do!” I called after her.

I haven’t seen her since then and don’t know if she went in yesterday. My boss didn’t call me. I honestly can’t see her admitting to be wrong; she’ll have to do it now. I think he probably did the orders himself as I’m just not that good at it. I’ll admit that.

I should be so happy about having a 10:00 to 3:00 shift but she has soured it. She’s soured the whole staff with her anger and drama. The conversation I want to have with her is going around and around in my head. I have to try to get her to discuss a problem rather than getting angry and plotting revenge. She doesn’t know how: she only knows how to be angry.

It’s time to get ready for work now. I don’t know what to expect. I’ll admit I’m more than a little apprehensive.


SoCS: whether/weather

Yesterday the weather was perfect for working outside, not hot but sunny and breezy. I did some mowing, a lot of weed-whacking and dug out sod from an overgrown bed I’m preparing for some tomato plants. I thought it was about 4:00 when I ran out of steam….. it was 2:40.

This week I’ve been questioning whether or not to retire after all. First, the Ontario government announced they were raising the minimum wage from $11.40 to $14.00 on Jan. 1.  Never in my working days have I seen a jump in minimum wage like this! When I started working, minimum wage was $1.15.  For forty years I have seen it raised 10¢ to 25¢ at a time. Just my luck! I’ve been saying I’m retiring Dec. 31 and now this. Sonofabitch!!

Then I discovered I wasn’t getting as much Old Age Pension as I thought because I’m not a widow.  I have to go after my ex-husband because he’s supposed to share his CPP with me. I spoke to him recently and he hasn’t even applied. Now I’m thinking that’s probably because he found out he has to share it with me. Whether or not I’ll get something from him is 50/50.

So whether or not to retire. I’m dreading summer because all I can do is work there and nothing else.  35 minute long hot rides in the car (no air conditioning) because I  have to go around town there’s so much traffic then go into freezing cold and work in a frenzy……. the only thing making me feel better is that it’s my last summer there. The thought of missing another summer, working to exhaustion for the money, makes me want to cry. This last couple of days I’ve had that chest-crushing feeling of defeat.

The weather is even better today but not for gardening. I’m going to Canadian Tire to pick up my new toy….. a manual lawn mower. They are making a come back. I have a large lot and a rider mower but there are a few spots that are too small to get in. I’ve been using the weed-whacker but its hard on the neck and I can only do so much at once. Today I’ll put it together (I hope) and try it out in front of my house and flower gardens.

Its been so nice having 5 days off but the party’s over tomorrow.  I have five days of work next week, well, one day and four nights. I’m training a new guy for this shift…… I sure hope he wants to work nights. Next Saturday I’m on 10:00 to 3:00, my favourite hours. That’s what I was working when I was hired…… 10-3 making cakes……. aahh, those were the days.  I may get that back depending on whether or not this guy will take on the dreaded closing shift.

Well, I’m off to get my new toy, a Husqvarna reel mower. Then I’ll drop in at The Herb Farm to look for some Thai basil. It’s important for the front of my home to look nice when I come home from work and have fresh herbs for my meals: it’s those little things that make me feel better; like I’m not missing out on life.

I love not having a job……. whether or not I can live on my pension and not be seduced by $14 an hour remains to be seen.


On Smelling… SoCS

Today’s Stream of Consciousness prompt is ‘smell’. My stream of consciousness goes into babble mode immediately.

A few months ago I wrote about a phantom smell that drove me crazy for days, washing all my throws, work clothes….. anything washable that might be stinky. Finally I recognized the smell as cat-come on my firewood that I was bringing in and the ceiling fan was gently wafting the smell around as it warmed.

The worst smell I work with is seafood and the lobster tank. Oh, please people, stop the demand for live lobster. That tank is so disgusting. And they have to be alive because you need to boil them alive!? Seriously!? Sometimes the tank stinks so much you smell it when you walk in the store. That’s when they clean it and take out dead ones. Gross.

Sometimes I see adults showing little children; “Look at the lobsters piled up on top of each other in the corner of this tank with rubber bands on their claws!” They tap on the tank to scare them some more. The look on the kid’s face is always bewilderment, not being able to formulate words to all the questions going through their head.

We, in the bakery, have noticed an horrific (yes, its ‘an’) smell coming from the drains. My boss suspects we are down-drain from meat and seafood and so the water flows through rotting flesh that sticks to the sides of the drain pipes. I regularly hose the drains with drain cleaner which is a real hassle. It’s a little plastic bottle that ‘snaps’ onto the end of an industrial size hose and blasts harsh chemicals. It’s impossible to not get sprayed taking it on and off the hose nozzle.  This makes my list of “Reasons to quit when I turn 65”.

Sometimes good smells can drive you crazy, too. Even though I dry my clothes outside in the summer and by the wood stove in the winter, I still fluff them in the dryer with dryer sheets. I used to buy unscented generic dryer sheets and sprinkle on essential oils but they stopped selling them. Then the Big Brand name came out with unscented dryer sheets at a premium price. Screw that, I’d suffer with ‘linen’ or ‘spring fresh’.  However, recently I bought “Aromatherapy” because I almost like the smell. Holy Moly, I had to put them in a plastic bag, the smell was so overpowering it filled the house!

I love patchouli. You know, the hippy smell. It’s funny how many people either love or hate patchouli. It probably conjures up a memory of someone they loved or hated. I wish I could buy patchouli dryer sheets.

My B.O. smells like onions.


Beyond Survival

Today’s prompt is ‘survive’. I feel compelled to write a post since my blog is about surviving. At least it was when I started this blog five years ago.

Five years ago I asked ‘what’s a blog?’ then said, “I want to do that!” I wanted to talk about my troubles and woes without bothering my friends on Facebook. I knew there must be other women out there, my age and on their own, who would like to complain and compare notes, also. Really, this blog was just someone to talk to; somewhere anonymous to vent.

I went back to look at my first blog which is mostly about my marriage ending and starting all over again. I have hashed all that out over the five years and the story gets shorter and shorter.  The second blog, ‘why am I doing this?’ is a better entry into the world of blogging.

When I started this I was just surviving. Sometimes paralyzed with anxiety, sometimes just plain depressed, I put one foot in front of the other, went through the motions and looked after responsibilities as they came up.

I tried to make money on my own selling lamps, aprons and spring rolls.  My savings ran out quickly. Job prospects at 60 years old was bleak then I got this job. I was hired to work 10:00 to 3:00, three days a week, making and cakes and pies. How lucky is that? Then they added cashier to my job and filled my week in with work. It was too much but I did it anyway.

Slowly, and without realizing it, I evolved from surviving to living. Not much has changed except my perceptions. It was very hard but by just doing it day after day I’ve made a life for myself that I’m quite happy with.

Recently I had the epiphany that I have become the person I always wanted to be. It may not seem like it from the outside but I was never interested in money or career (to my own detriment!) My dreams were to live a peaceful, spiritual life surrounded by nature. I didn’t plan on doing it alone but, hey, it’s a whole lot easier to be peaceful alone!

The Job was largely responsible for relieving anxiety. Knowing that pay cheque is coming helps tremendously. And having worked for myself for years, I love these official Days Off! Not having to hustle and worry where your next dollar is coming from is great! ‘I have earned the right to take a day off’…… that was a new concept!

Being alone isn’t the greatest but I love my house and my life. I would like to have a crush on a boyfriend but he would have to be really exceptional to be allowed to move into my house. In all honesty, I can’t imagine it. I want someone who isn’t going to be there in the morning.

Yes, I’m surviving all right! I’m really quite proud of myself. I’m even proud of being humble! ha!

SoCS; All or Nothing

It’s all or nothing when you work in the summer in a tourist/beach town grocery store. You must be prepared to work weekends and nights with just a few spotty days off here and there.

A couple of weeks ago a notice appeared where we punch in. “Black out for vacations for Victoria Day Weekend and all of July and August.” No one can ask for holidays.

This weekend it’s all hands on deck. I have four days of seven hour shifts. Yesterday I worked 2:00 to 9:10.  We are now open until 11:00 but we close down the bakery at 9:00.  Today I’m going in for 11:00 to 6:00 but I don’t have to close which means not cleaning the whole damn place! I am walking out of there at 6:00 leaving all the mess behind!

I hope. When it comes to cleaning, I’m all or nothing. I can’t do a half-assed job; that’s why I’m always staying later. The new girl is 19 years old and so s…l…o…w   its excruciating watching her. It’s obvious she doesn’t understand what CLEAN is. I tried to show her the right way, and I mean the way we were trained, but she does it another way. By that time I could no longer argue with her and just cleaned the work tables again when she left. Tonight she can do it as bad as she wants because I won’t be there!

But I am closing Sunday and Monday afternoon/ night.

The money, I’m doing it for the money. It’s all or nothing: I can either do it or I can quit. I have six months to go…… I can do this.


Something funny happened yesterday. I wrote on Facebook that I was working all weekend (yes, everyone has to know) and a friend wrote back to “watch my ps’ and qs'”.  When I went into work my boss told me to “watch my ps’ and qs'”!  How often does anyone say that? And by two people thousands of miles apart at almost the same time!  And I don’t really know what it means! My boss said it meant we can’t be negative to the new girl because she telling the owner we are mean to her. (Another reason I didn’t argue about her cleaning methods.)

So…. anyone who got this far…….. what does “minding your ps’ and qs'” mean to you?