A Different Life

It’s Friday night. You’re home alone.

This prompt reminds me of how different my life is than the ‘average’ life. It also has that irritating premise that everyone works Monday to Friday 9-5 and has friends and a social life.

TGIF is a popular term but if you are going to enjoy your weekend then just think about all the people who are working at stores, restaurants, theatres and bars. Cops, librarians and countless others work on weekends to make your weekend ‘a great experience’. (Our mission statement at Sobeys)

It’s Friday and I’m working tonight 5:00 to 9:00.  The sun is setting when I go in because it’s January which makes it extra depressing to go into work. When I have to work at night I’m like a little kid crying, ‘I don’t wanna go’ but once I get in under the blaring fluorescent lights and ‘popular’ music, I get into my routine and I’m OK.

If I wasn’t working Friday night I would be home alone and watching TV.  I’m a 62-year-old homebody and haven’t made any really good friends in the 7 years I’ve lived here. There are three woman in my neighbourhood who get together for ‘girls night’ every Friday and post their fun on Facebook the next day. I’ve never been invited. It hurts a little but then I remember that I don’t drink, which is the basis of their ‘fun’, and I’ve heard them all say nasty things about each other to me. Not missing much. Even if they did ask me, I’d be groaning that I didn’t want to go but I better get ‘out there’.

But tonight I’m working. It’s a four-hour shift which means I’ll make $44 dollars for all my efforts. The night shift at the bakery is cleaning and doing all the dishes. We still call them dishes when actually they are large baking trays, muffin trays and all the scoops, spoons, knives, spatulas and the like. All work counters are sterilized, bread slicing machine cleaned, floors swept and mopped, garbage taken away…… there’s more but I know its boring. My point is; people work hard behind the scenes in ways many overlook or take for granted.

I’ll get home tonight around 9:30. I started programming my heat to come on before I get home because it makes me feel happier to come home to a warm house. When I take off that uniform and put on my pajamas it’s a sensual delight.

If I was home all night, every night, I’d be depressed. When I come home from work I feel happy and proud that I can do this. I appreciate my home, heat and TV so much more!

So don’t cry for me, all you average and normal people. Just be cognizant of the people who are still working around you. Smile at that cashier, tip the people who serve you…… and enjoy your weekend.


New Year’s Eve; whoop-tee-do

It’s New Year’s Eve; I’m working this afternoon and evening 2:00 until 7:00 when the store closes. Luckily, they aren’t open until the usual 9:00 p.m. Not that I care about working New Year’s Eve, I don’t, but it still would be more depressing to work until 9:00.

Closing shift in the bakery means cleaning the entire bakery, utensils and floors. This afternoon will be very busy with cakes, breads and all the little goodies in the display case. My counterpart cake person will be there until 5:00 along with my boss, who also leaves at 5:00.

These two people are mad and bitchy all the time: its part of their personalities. Working together they have perfected one, long continuous bitch that ebbs and flows between them. Make the tiniest mistake and they give each other meaningful, silent-groan looks that says, “she’s useless”.


I’ve learned to live with this. First of all, I try not take it personally because they are just like that. Secondly; So glad I work on cash, too, with a different set of people who are nice, seem to like me and don’t think I’m incompetent. I’m starting to be friendly with people from other departments who can smile and say ‘hello!’. It seems their reputations for being bitches are well known amongst co-workers and customers, too.

Another thing I’ve realized about them is they have not had it bad enough in life to know this: what they are mad about is nothing.  A minor irritation, perhaps, but not finger-wagging, spitting anger. They haven’t had enough loss or heartache to see how good they have it.

So I’m going in, in a good mood which really pisses them off, and feel just fine about cleaning and mopping then going home alone on New Year’s Eve. To tell the truth; its less depressing than staying home all evening.

On my last shift I made a tray of chocolate fudge bar cakes and a  ‘Frozen’ theme cake; air-brushing a cake with pink and blue then drawing on mountains and trees with coloured icing. Yeah, it’s a tough job but somebody’s got to do it.

Now I’m going to prepare my home for my own home-coming tonight. It’s the last night for the Christmas tree; the decorations come down tomorrow when I start a new year. I’ve lived on my own long enough to have my own traditions.

Last year at this time I didn’t have a job and was worried about how hard I could work. It was a tough beginning but in a few weeks it will be one year since I was hired. Now I have two jobs in the same place with totally different people. This job has given me security and validity. That’s means feeling good about doing absolutely nothing on my day off. I earned it! In fact, I have three days off after tonight!

So, yeah……. I’m OK working on New Year’s Eve!


Daily Prompt; Wake up and go to bed!

Thank you for posting the article on Sleep Procrastination. Now I can put a name on my nightly battle with myself to go to bed. I didn’t know I was so normal!

First off; procrastination is my middle name. Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow. I do the things that are bothering me the very most, the things I have to do to keep myself healthy and financially safe but my main objective is to get to the couch and watch TV. I’m not a couch potato or really lazy but I love to end the day in my spot.

I used to be married so I had someone to say, “Wake up and go to bed!”  which he did several times every night before finally I went. Now I live alone so I just pass out and stay out.

One problem is that I hot flash more heavily at night. They start flaring up around 7:00/8:00 p.m. and gain in intensity towards midnight. There is not much use going to bed because I will wake up soaking wet within the hour. I take off my top and have ‘sweat’ towels to catch the dripping sweat. If they are bad I make a sound “whooh, whooh, whooh!” and dance around something like a chimpanzee. I especially like the little jig while holding the towel under, and bouncing my breasts. That’s when I think; “I’ll never be able to live with anyone else ever again.”  It would take too many years to ease them into this experience.

Around 10:00 I start falling asleep. If there is a show I really want to see at that time, I tape so I can safely fall asleep and pick it up the next day. But there are plenty of shows I can sleep through because they are so mediocre I don’t care what happens. Mostly cop shows. Whodunit? Who cares?

Jon Stewart: The Daily Show is the show I missed too much so I started taping it to watch during dinner the next day.  I wake up every once in a while in a hot flash and tell myself to go to bed but flop back down. I would get snippets of guests I wanted to see; bits of Stephen Colbert then wake up sometime during Conan.

My ‘absolutely have to’… rituals at night are setting up my coffee for the next morning and flossing and brushing my teeth. I have to do that. So that makes me flop down again. I have to do all that before I can go to bed? And if I forgot to take off make-up….. yuck! I can sleep on the couch with make-up on but not in my bed! Easier to flop back down.

The bottom line is; I don’t want to change this! This is one of the pleasures of aging. I do this because I CAN. My husband was a nag and a bully. He really hated to see me relaxing or reclining. Now I even take afternoon naps; this would’ve driven him to fury!

I don’t have to get up early; my shift is 10-3 (sometimes 1-6) and I wake up at 6:30 anyway. I figure with all that time sleeping on the couch I get in about two hours of sleep before I actually go to bed.

I have Sleep Procrastination but I certainly don’t have Sleep Deprivation! Going to sleep and waking up whenever you damn well want to is definitely one of the rewards of aging!


Daily Post; why can’t we be friends?

Do you find it easy to make new friends? Tell us how you’ve mastered the art of befriending a new person.

I’m going to have to link to this prompt so I can get some pointers on how to make friends. I’m not very good at it.

This is something that comes easily to young people but gets harder as you get older. I moved into a new area 7 years ago and still haven’t made a close friend. Oh, I have 65 friends on Facebook, friends that live somewhere else, and acquaintances that I run into. I have friends at Zumba but no one to just hang with, like ‘hey, do you want to go to WalMart’ or the movies?’

The reason why it’s so hard as you get older is because your life gets filled up with family and friends. By the time you reach your 50’s you are trying to cut back and get some down time. Then the grandchildren start coming and your life is full enough.

My husband was my best friend.  That was a huge mistake. We didn’t have children; we had our business and we caved; No, I don’t mean our business failed; he still has that along with all ‘our’ market and caving friends. I mean we travelled to West Virginia, Tennessee and Alabama several times a year to go spelunking. So I had friends at work and caving friends but my husband was who I hung out with.  At 55 years old I was pushed out of it all and ended up starting all over in a new area.

Another problem is that I moved into a beach/party community of pig roasts and kegs of beer. I’m a vegetarian and don’t drink. They wave politely. I feel compelled to say, “but I smoke pot……”  but I could get in trouble for that soo…. NO I DON’T.

And then there is the hermit factor. Hard to make new friends when you just want stay home as much as possible. (Hmm, maybe there’s a correlation there somewhere.)

Anyway, I’m looking forward to reading some tips tomorrow on how to make new friends. How do you do it?


Daily Prompt: Obstacle Course

Think about what you wanted to accomplish last week. Did you? What are the things that hold you back from doing everything you’d like to do?


Last week I wanted to prove (to myself) I was competent at showing up to work on time and icing a cake. Sounds easy perhaps but I’ve had two major obstacles this week; age and weather.

Age, mostly! I could probably deal with the weather better if I was younger.  I would really like to make the money full-time would give me but I just can’t work that long anymore. I get tired and my brain starts to turn off. It reverts to childhood; sits down and says, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore and you can’t make me’

Then there’s the Polar Vortex to deal with. In yesterday’s post I wrote about the scary drive to work and what it takes to just get dressed for this weather. I own a house so the shovelling is all mine, too. Yesterday I had the day off so I shoveled my driveway which is two properties long as I live behind someone who doesn’t shovel or have to go out to work. This morning I had to take out my recycling box at the crack of dawn as the garbage truck comes very early Monday mornings. The windchill was -26, (yes, really) so I put on my ski pants, fleece jacket under my winter coat, hat under the hood, snow boots and insulated gloves and trudged out to the road with my blue box. (one thing I Iove about this weather is the squeaking snow) The winds last night have blown drifts into where I shovelled yesterday.

I have a wood stove so there is wood to bring in everyday or two. It’s worth the work. I have a propane furnace, also, but it would cost a fortune and I would still be cold if I didn’t have my wood stove. Besides, I love the wood heat thing. I like getting it and stacking it.

006this is September.

002this is now. I shovelled it out yesterday.

My shifts are 5 hours long, three days a week and that’s all I can handle. I only get a 15 minute break which is OK because the lunch room is cold. After 5 hours I’m tired and a fog starts setting into my brain.

Today I’m in from 1:00 to 6:00. I’m worried because I tend to fall asleep around 3:30.  I had planned on relaxing this morning, having an early lunch, then coffee and sweets at 3:00 that will take me to 6:00. But I’ve got shovelling to do again and need to bring in enough wood to last until tomorrow. In usual winter weather the wood stove would keep the furnace from coming on all day but in this weather I come home to the furnace holding at 18 degrees.  I turn the thermostat to 22, turn on the infrared space heater in the kitchen, bathroom electric heater and stoke up the fire. I change into my dirty work winter wear, feed the birds (outside) and bring in more wood if needed.

Then there is the ‘icing the cake’ incident. I worked with my new cake boss who is a young man. He was showing me how to ice the large birthday cakes and was getting frustrated I wasn’t doing it well and fast enough. It was my first time and I’m sure I wasn’t that bad so when he said “here; you should be doing it this fast…… [slap, slap, slap, he’s done]” I felt somewhat incompetent but it was my first time for Pete’s sake! I’m sure I’ll get better.

This week I’m only scheduled for two days and I am glad!  This winter is a huge barrier and at my age it’s a lot of extra work. Enough is enough already!


Daily Prompt; Express yourself!

I was raised by parents who cared very much about how they dressed.  It was all about how you look. School or homework didn’t matter much but what you wore was major. I can remember my dresses. How itchy they were; starched nylon pulled in at the arm with elastic.  The crinoline had to be extra starchy to stick out so I had to wear a slip underneath because it was so “picky” on my legs.  I can remember crying with arms held out, “it’s picky!”  But if it was beautiful, I wore it.

My parents wore nice clothes. My Dad had his suits made at John Bullock and his shoes custom made.  My Mom shopped at Holt Renfrew and Harridge’s.  Did we have ‘money’? No! And now that I look back on it and know a bit more, I can hardly believe they would even go there let alone have credit cards.  We lived in an apartment in Don Mills and there were many things I was told I couldn’t do because they couldn’t afford it. Like go to college! Clothes….. now that was important.

But my sense of style was not to their liking. They didn’t care what I liked…. they cared how I looked because it reflected on them. The first of many teary fights started with a blanket coat and a John Lennon hat.  That’s what I wanted so much but was refused both. That Christmas I got a ‘jockey hat’; blue velvet with a rabbit fur pompom on top. I hated it. I felt humiliated wearing it, which was only once, to the Christmas dinner at my aunt’s so she could see how cute it was. We had a family picture taken and I still just see that stupid hat and how unhappy I was.

That’s when I started to babysit.  Living in a large apartment building gave me lots of jobs; enough to save up and buy clothing on sale or at Good Will (before Value Village came into being). I developed a style my parents hated.  “You look like hell!” my Dad would say. That only confirmed how good I looked.

Clothes remained a priority until I met my future and now ex husband. We were hippies.  He liked overalls, t-shirts and no make-up. I wouldn’t wear anything he didn’t like and that list grew over the years. My mom hated the way I dressed and continually asked me why I never wanted to get ‘gussied up’.  She bought me a curling iron one Christmas hoping I might be inspired but I just stared at it in disbelief.

This went on for way too many years.  My sense of style died along with my sense of self.  I tried to please these two people more than myself because pleasing myself would be selfish. I bought the cheapest, generic clothing I could find.

But in my forties I started to realize I could not make these people happy because they were never going to be happy.  I started to go to counselling and everything changed,  but that’s a whole other blog. My mother passed away, my husband couldn’t or wouldn’t change his abusive ways and tossed me out….. this time I went for good.

It took a few years to get right.  I didn’t just find my new found freedom and fly. I was depressed for a long time. I had lost my identity; everything I used to be was over.

TV became my new friend.  Now I could watch as much and whenever I wanted. I had never even heard of What Not to Wear but quickly became a fan.  I realized I still had those old voices in my head.  I was saying things to myself like; “I love that but I would never wear it”.  Why not? Too “gaudy”; my mom’s voice. not tasteful enough. When I had this realization, I went back and bought some sandals with rhinestones on them that I had loved and rejected. My ex would’ve hated them, too.

The other one was, “it’s an old lady’s store”.  I’m still laughing at myself…..  60 years old and I’m calling it an old ladies store. How much older do you have to be? Women half my age shop there, for Pete’s sake!

We don’t like to be judged by our clothes but it can’t be helped.  Clothes really do express you even if that message is ‘I’m depressed and have no self-esteem’ or just ‘I don’t give a shit’. That’s still expressing yourself.  I’ve been paying more attention to what I wear now and enjoying it.  I’m expressing my Self.

And there is no one to put me down…… only those telling me I look great.