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?



Speak My Language


SoCSNobody at work speaks my language. Last time I was there I was so disappointed listening to my co-workers criticize and laugh at other people and generally talk about small, petty things.  Everything I had to say was a joke and I really hate double entendres.  Being a vegetarian and liking nature makes me a weirdo. I can feel the eyeballs rolling behind my back.

I’ve been working there for 3½ years and haven’t made any friends I can hang out with. I’m just too different from most people and I really don’t want to hang out with people who talk shit. I’d rather go for hikes in the woods than to a mall shopping. I don’t drink alcohol. I almost feel like I have to say, “….but I smoke pot…..”

Good thing my mom taught us this when we were young: “learn to enjoy your own company”.

That’s one reason why I appreciate you fellow bloggers so much; YOU SPEAK MY LANGUAGE!!!!!



Bathed in Pink

For a person who doesn’t usually like pink I’m loving it now!

First I’ll tell you why I rarely, if ever, wear pink: one of my pet peeves is grown women who act like little girls to be cute. It’s not the colour itself but what it represents. Same feeling when I see a grown woman wearing pig-tails……. god, I hate that.   I can tolerate dusty rose and fuchsia but rarely will a pink piece of clothing catch my eye.

However, these days I’m swooning in pink because I have an old crabapple that is in full bloom and I mean FULL bloom. It is completely covered in blossoms. There are other apple trees nearby that are a soft pink so my yard is a giant bouquet!

Today is cloudy but for a couple of days the sun shone on that tree and reflected pink light into the house. I walked into my living room, bathed in pink and the TV was reflecting the tree from the window; I was blown away by beauty!

The room that is right beside the tree looks out at just blossoms and everything had a pink hue. It was literally like looking through rose coloured glasses. Too bad it’s the storage/ back entrance but it sure made an ugly room beautiful.

It was so hard to go into work yesterday. Flowers all around, birds merrily chirping ….. you could almost hear angels singing! Then I had to put on that stupid uniform and go into the back of the grocery store; it feels like doing penance.

I’ve been taking photos of my crabapple and posting it on Facebook because I have to share it! Soon it will be gone…… pink petals raining down and collecting on the ground.

I’m not working today; this is a fairly easy week but next week I have four work days with some 7 hour shifts. Starting next Friday (Victoria Day Weekend) the bakery will be open until 9:00 pm. I’m going to get very grouchy next week.

Good thing I have this beautiful tree to soothe my soul.

blal, 001

This taken from my bedroom window overtop the woodshed.



The Temp

After graduating high school in the late 1960’s in Toronto, jobs were easy to get. You could get a job and look around for a better job which might give you leverage to get a raise.  For a year or so I worked for the Ontario government as a temporary file clerk in any of their Toronto offices that needed extra help.

One of those jobs was at the Ministry of Transportation/ Aviation. Someone had three months maternity leave and I was filling in for her. It was good money, $3.65 an hour, way above minimum wage which was around $1.15 in those days. I remember my fancy hot-pants (with a tasteful open dress) outfit I paid a lot for; around $80 I think.

It was a gigantic long room filled with rows and rows of filing cabinets which held files of all the pilots in Ontario. My job was to get the files from the in-coming request forms and put away a stack of files that were finished being looked at.

Two more women worked at my station but I can’t remember what they did other than give me the numbers and the files. I would have kept that cushy job if I could have but whoever-she-was came back.

There were some dismal filing jobs after that. One was for the Ministry of Correctional Services.  There were stacks and stack of files that were being reduced in size to the bare bones of information. We were to keep certain forms and pages and throw out the rest. As fate would have it, I came across a file of a friend of mine who was busted in a boat, fishing and smoking marijuana. I threw out the whole file.

Another job (can’t remember what ministry) was a small room full of files that had been filed away so badly they had to get two people in to put them back in alphabetical order.

Can you see how many people were employed before the computer? The gigantic rooms of files and people is now all on computer. File clerks? I wonder if there still is such a thing.

When I was ten years old my Dad was transferred from Sarnia to a new Imperial Oil office in Don Mills (Toronto). He was one of hundreds of accountants that handled all the money of Imperial Oil. All this would be done by a hand-full of people now.

With the advances in robot technology people are becoming obsolete. They are too expensive, too needy. The whole human race may be just temporary.



I am so uncomfortable with being exposed it would be very easy to get agoraphobic. I’m already fairly reclusive: it’s the top, #1 reason why I wanted this house. It’s surrounded by woods on three sides and behind a house on the road so it’s hidden from view. It’s very humble, built over and around a trailer. Some people who live around here still call it The Trailer but I never saw the original so it’s a house to me.

Even though you can’t see it from the road,  I still have to close all my curtains at dusk because someone might be able to see in. Even my bathroom window which looks into the woods has to be covered at night. Just in case someone is standing out in my yard, in the rain, waiting for me to turn on my bathroom light hoping to catch a glimpse of me.

I’m always amazed when I drive by people’s open curtains at night exposing them to being looked at by people like me. How can they stand it? Someone might see them walking through their living room!

It’s the main reason I was so happy to stop working on cash and stay in the bakery. On cash you are so exposed. Everyone is looking at you, staring even. (that’s supposed to make you go faster). When you don’t have a line-up, staring at you, you have to go out in front of your cash further exposing yourself to shoppers. It’s hell, hell I tell you! The bakery is the best place to hide….. you can see them coming.

I have fought against this tendency. I’ve even done public speaking and conquered that fear. I can walk around in public with ease. At this age, 64, I’m invisible anyway.

Last night I was brave. I walked into a party all by myself and looked around for the hosts. Everyone was staring at me (no, they weren’t) until I spotted them, said hello, and found a seat. Phew! And I stayed for almost an hour! (pat myself on the back)

I could get crazier but I expose myself to people regularly. It may, however, become a problem when I retire. I’ll be the crazy old lady in the trailer.


The Rustic Lifestyle

There was something my ex said, on his visit here recently, that stuck in my head. He lamented, “I’m all alone because this lifestyle is so hard…. you know how hard it is.”

Yes, I sure do know. It wasn’t just all the physical labour that went into beekeeping and harvesting honey, it was the ‘rustic’ home that was so much damn work. No flushing toilet, for instance. We were young and naïve when we bought the composting toilet. We lived on a flood plain so our septic system would not drain twice a year. At that time it was the state-of-the-art composting toilet…. the water-saving hope of the future.  Just take out a tray of compost once a month!  Sure; keeping it from not stinking was a chore.   A few years later, digging out the toilet and burying shit was a chore every few months.

We never had a shower. We put in a bathtub and had a sauna. The shower was supposed to go by the sauna but it was never put in. I did a lot of hot, sweaty work over the years and never had a shower, I would wash in a luke-warm shallow bath. When visited here he asked to take a shower because he still doesn’t have one. Now the sauna is used for honey storage. “It’s so hard to clean up there.”

We only had a wood-stove for heating. It was so cold in the morning and would take hours to warm the place. I wore layers of clothing and shoes all winter. Whenever you went out, you came home to a cold house.

The renovations just stopped at some point when other interests took hold. We got as far as the sub-flooring but never covered the plywood so keeping it clean-looking was really hard. It looked like hell. I often said ‘let me at least paint it’ but no, he would do it in the fall….. in the spring….. in the fall…… in the spring…… year after year.

One of those interests was caving so he regularly drove down to West Virginia, Tennessee and Alabama. I joined him for about 10 years because it was only place I could have fun, be with people and go on vacations. But the trips were exhausting and we would come home with muddy cave and camping gear and dirty camp dishes. After 10 years my vacation was to stay home when he went caving, try to clean my house and get at least one day off to rest.

At that time my mother, who had multiple sclerosis, lived four hours away from me and always had a list of things she needed me to do. Because I didn’t have a job or kids she felt I had lots of time off.

I also got caught up in volunteering my time gardening and they became more and more demanding thinking I didn’t have to work. Meanwhile, with our own farming business and no kids, I worked 7 days a week. There were no fun times. Weekends were just more work as we each did separate Farmer’s Market on Saturdays and ‘volunteer’ work Sundays.

That’s the ‘lifestyle’ he was talking about, its was very hard. But it isn’t why I left.

That’s what I keep thinking about after he said he was alone because it was too hard for any woman. I will bet anything that is the story when he’s talking about why his wife left…… that the lifestyle was just too hard.

Not that he was abusive. Not that he yelled and called me names every day. That he was so negative and angry I lived in ‘fight or flight’ mode for years. That he finally threw me out of my own home because I couldn’t work hard enough. I was “a parasite”. I was worthless, nobody liked me…… on and on until he dropped me off with suitcases on my sisters doorstep and drove away.

Now I can just imagine him talking to some other woman the way he used to; so soft-spoken and ‘enlightened’.  “It was just too hard a lifestyle and she couldn’t handle it.”

Well, let him say it. Let him save face for some woman he’s trying to impress or make her feel sorry for him. I know the truth and I don’t have to endure that ‘lifestyle’ any longer.