The Summer of My Discontent

September 6, 2011

So, back in April I got a new job.  It was doing the same thing I did at the College, but with better pay and much closer to home.  The interview process was annoying, my boss seemed to be a bit on the dramatic side but you know, more money and closer to home.  Even though I knew something was wrong with the place, I couldn’t see anything obvious so I accepted.

The first month and a half was great.  My boss, while on the dramatic side, loved my work, told me I was awesome and things seemed to be going well.  I got along with my co-workers and actually liked some of them.  Plus, I was significantly closer to home and making more money.  Did I mention that part?

In early July though, things started to go south very quickly.  My boss gave me a hard time about vacation, even though I had days to use up.  She didn’t understand how the fundraising database worked and couldn’t understand why I couldn’t pull information out of it.  Here’s a hint, if it was never put in, NO ONE can pull the information out.  Just saying.

The HR head honcho decided to cut summer hours and decided that jeans couldn’t be worn to work.  I was working at a high school and despite the facts that a) I never saw donors and b) the kids weren’t there so I didn’t see parents either I didn’t see the point of no jeans.  But whatever.  You have to pick your battles.

So.  The staff that worked through the summer was in revolt due to having to work a full week (First World problems I know) and morale was in the toilet.  The rest of my group (me and my boss were our own “team” in the group) decided to take turns working a full Friday, thus ensuring one person was in the office while the rest of them went home early.  My boss refused to let me do this.  She got to leave early…on “visits” or she “worked” from home.  Sometimes she took Fridays off.  Let me tell you, when no one is in the office after 1pm on a Friday and you don’t have much work to do, those afternoons can really drag out.

So, as my workload lessened and lessened and as my boss stopped speaking to me outside of our weekly meeting, I saw that the writing was on the wall.  She needed a direct report to bump up her salary but it was pretty clear that we were not getting along.  I’m not sure if she’d ever managed staff before but if she had, you sure couldn’t tell.

And there were other things about the place I didn’t like.  There was a huge double standard between the teachers and the staff.  Internet usage was watched.  Which was doubly annoying for me because internet research is a big part of my job so my web history was all over the place.  And the staff was just really unhappy.

It came as no surprise when I was called into HR three months after being hired and was told my services were no longer required.  In fact, it was a welcome relief.  While working there, I was angry every night when I came home.  I’d started having trouble sleeping at night and Sunday evenings put the fear of God in my heart.  I did not want to work there anymore.

So when the choice to not work there was made for me, I was happy.  Sure it sucks having no money but EI will cover the basics.  For a while anyway.  And there are enough jobs out there to keep me busy applying for a while.  Also, it’s really nice not to have to go to work every day.  Really nice.

I’ve finally cleaned and organized my office/yarn room.  Which only took three years.  I’ve baked and cooked and am slowly catching up on my sleep debt.  I’ve also read 16 books this summer.  And finished a bunch of knitting projects.  My house is clean on a regular basis and I’m (mostly) keeping up with laundry.

Sure I’m kind of bored some days but I’m spending a lot of time with the cat (she loves having me home) and getting some time for me.  Eventually I’ll work again, but for now, for now I’m just going to enjoy myself and see what happens.  The next job will come along soon enough.

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Q1 progress

April 1, 2011

Ok, one quarter down, a short break in the yarn fast and a quick progress update.

From January 1 to March 31, 2011 I have knit 33 FULL BALLS OF YARN.  ahem.  Yep, 33 balls of yarn.  That’s 3660 metres and 29.72% of my goal.  I am AHEAD OF SCHEDULE.  Which is surprising and makes me happy.  It’s also a good thing to be slightly ahead when the inevitable “knitting injury” happens or I just don’t feel like knitting during the dog days of July and August.

I had a little fall off the “woolly wagon” in early March when I bought six balls of Lion Brand Wool Ease and a ball of LB Homespun.  But the Homespun was to finish a project that ended up not fitting me but looks AMAZING on my massage therapist.  So it wasn’t a total waste.

I’ve started 19 projects and have finished 16 of them.  Granted most are small things like mittens but they are eating up yarn like crazy and I’m making a scrappy blanket out of the remainders.  Which is also eating up yarn.  When it’s all over I might even add a page here outlining what I’ve made and how much yarn it used up.  Maybe.  If I’m not too lazy.

April is also my month to take a break from stash knitting.  It is my birthday month, but it’s more likely any birthday money I get will go to fill up my gas tank than towards yarn.  But I am going to the States in 13 days and I know I’ll buy some of that big-box-yarn-we-don’t-have-here-in-Soviet-Canukistan JUST BECAUSE I CAN.  Also because my parents will be driving my suitcase and anything bulky I buy back home.  So the incentive to keep my purchases to Air Canada luggage weight allotments has literally flown right out the window.  And, as if US big box stores and Florida LYS’ weren’t temptation enough, Webs is having their annual two month anniversary sale.  BUT, I can only buy yarn in April.  So there are some small mercies.

Overall though, I have to say that it’s kind of fun to knit from the stash.  Yes, thank you I am feeling ok.  No, I’m not suffering from a fever.  It’s very liberating to go through ALL THE STASH (and believe me there is a lot of it) and remember what I bought and figure out what I’m going to do with it.  I try to do this at least once a month.  My queue changes constantly and I don’t have nearly enough acrylic or mostly acrylic for the scrappy blanket I’m making I have noticed. 

It’s also liberating to give yarn away.  I’ve donated a few skeins to my knitting friends and I have one skein that is awaiting postage to a far away friend.  As the year goes on I’ll likely donate some to the onsite day care or people who will love it more than I do. 

Three months down and I’m still excited about this project.  Maybe I’ll do it again next year.


Ah, it all makes sense now

March 16, 2011

So this past weekend’s outlaw drama (f’ing link won’t insert….scroll down if you want to read about it) was sort of resolved on Monday night in a rather surprising turn of events.

My MIL, who annoys the snot out of me most of the time, was not to blame for most recent bout of outlaw asshattery.  Whaaaaaaat?!  I know.  While the MIL is responsible for about 93% of the drama in my life, I can’t pin this one on her.  This time it was the FIL.  Yep, the FIL.

Turns out, unbeknownst to me of course, that I’m in the wrong.  I don’t show him the proper “respect” that a daughter-in-law (or Mafia capo apparently) should.  I don’t enter their house with gandiose “heeeeellloooooos” (think that Seinfeld episode with the Big Ball of Oil…ya, you know the one).  Instead of taking my coat and shoes off upon immediately entering their house, I should instead be rushing (with dirty outside shoes) into the living room and genuflecting in his presence.

Well, ok, the genuflecting probably is going too far (only a bit though) but I should be IMMEDIATELY offering my greetings.  I should also ask about his day, what his plans are for the remainder of the week and I DEFINITELY have to sit, in rapt attention, while he pontificates about things I could care less about or tells my husband he’s an idiot for not agreeing with him. And I should not expect the FIL to ever ask about me, my day, my job, my friends or my family.  None of those things matter now that I have married into his family.  Oh, also I’m forgetting that it’s also my fault that we have no children.  Also, as a woman, I am automatically a lesser being and forget the fact that I have three degrees and eight years of post-secondary education, I am an idiot, I am always wrong and I never know what I’m talking about.  That last bit wasn’t exactly stated this time round, but it’s pretty obvious how my FIL thinks.

You know, as my dad says, you can’t fix stupid.  Arguing with it doesn’t work either.

Can we go back to the MIL being the dramatic one?  That was much easier to deal with.


Again with the drama

March 14, 2011

It’s been a while since the outlaws acted up so I guess I was due. 

Let’s go back to Friday shall we?  After some annoying (yet thankfully still under warranty) car trouble and a very very VERY long week I was exhausted and fell asleep, without dinner, at 6:30 pm on the office futon.  With the cat.  Around 9pm I went up to bed (sans cat) and slept until midnight.  And of course, after sleeping for nearly six hours, I couldn’t fall back to sleep.  After lying in bed and listening to the Hubs snore and groan and mumble I got up, went downstairs, knit a while, read a while and purged some recipes and patterns that I’ve had kicking around forever, before going back to bed at 4am.

I woke up around 9am Saturday morning and came downstairs for coffee.  I’m still more tired than normal given my weirdo sleep the night before but I spoke with the Hubs for a bit and then settled in the living room to knit a dishcloth while I waited for him to leave for the day.  Along with his parents, he was going on a visit-ALL-the-cousins-north-of-the-big-city trip and would be gone all day and for much of the evening.  The outlaws were told to arrive for 10am and the three of them would leave post-haste.

As an aside, for the past few years I’ve refused to go on these jaunts as a) I don’t want to give up my Saturday visiting his family b) I don’t like many of these cousins and c) figure if I’m going to get insulted or told what to do by virtual strangers I’d rather have it happen at work where I’m both getting paid AND not giving up my valuable free time.  Yes the Hubs was a little pissy he had to go “alone” but he’s finally figured out how far he can push me when it comes to non-command performance family events so he was sucking it up.

At 9:25 I heard a soft knocking on our door (we don’t have a doorbell and the Hubs hasn’t been “in the mood” to put up the door knocker yet) and I told him to answer it as I was in my pj’s and I couldn’t be arsed to get up or put aside my knitting.  Besides, at that time of the day it’s likely someone we didn’t want to speak to andI’d rather he give the Jehovah’s Witnesses/door-to-door marketers the brush off.

How right I was.  It was someone I didn’t want to talk to…it was his mom.  She’s standing on our front porch, telling him that they’re here (35 minutes early) and that they’ve parked on the next street (instead of in our empty-for-this-reason) driveway since they didn’t want to “inconvenience” me.  WTF?  Hubs tells his mom not to be silly and to come inside. She refuses.  He raises his voice and tells her again to come inside.  She once again refuses.  She then asks him if he’s ready to go.  He’s standing in the doorway wearing warm-up pants and a sweatshirt and he tells her no, he’s still eating breakfast and has to shower, shave and get dressed, all of which he was expecting to do in the next 35 minutes before they were supposed to arrive AT 10 AM.  She tells him she’ll be in the car with the FIL.  From my seat in the living room I do a mental eye roll and keep knitting.

Hubs comes in and we give each other the WTF look and he proceeds to finish eating breakfast before getting ready.  He leaves 10 mintues early, kisses me goodbye and tells me he’ll be home around 10pm.  Which is fine with me since I’m going to my sister’s house to help babysit my nieces and don’t expect to home until then either.

My day progresses nicely.  I knit a bit of a pair of socks I’m making, I sort through some yarn, I look at some patterns in myqueue, I eat a leisurely dinner.  It’s a delightful day.  Then I drive off to my sister’s house, get greeted like a rock star by three little girls, proceed to have two of them “help” me knit and play some Angry Bird on my sister’s iPad.  It’s a nice night all around.

Turns out the Hubs came home much earlier than anticipated and I got home much later than anticipated but whatever, we had no plans and neither of us was particularly put out.  We go to bed and I sleep and sleep and sleep.  DST always knocks me for a loop..

So, we’re sitting around the living room later in the morning on Sunday and I ask Hubs what the hell was up with his parents yesterday and why didn’t they a) park in our driveway and b) come into the house and wait.  Not that it was super cold outside but why wait in a car when you can sit on a comfortable sofa and drink coffee?  He tells me that his parents didn’t want to inconvenience me.  What?  Again with the not wanting to inconvenience me business?  Yes, seeing them is an inconvenience but really, they couldn’t sit in my house for half an hour?  Sure it’s not super tidy but whatever.  There was fresh coffee and I could have scraped up bagels or cookies or something to nibble on. 

Nope he says, they didn’t want to bother you.  Which is weird.  This is the second time this year they haven’t wanted to come in our house.  Clearly I’ve done something to annoy them, but in her classic passive-agressive fashion the MIL won’t tell me what it is and now I’m being “punished” by not seeing them.  Which is ironic and hilarious but whatever floats your boat lady.

Then, and here’s where the real drama starts, Hubs tells me that I should ask them tonight (at our twice a month scheduled dinner) to come to our house for dinner. 

I’m surprised you didn’t hear the F#CK NO! in your town.  I reminded him that we asked his parents over not so long ago.  Together.  At their house.  His parents refused.  Several times.  He argued with them and they dug their heels in and said no.  So we left it.  For whatever reason they didn’t want to eat with us in our house.  No skin off my nose. 

Now Hubs says, they don’t feel comfortable coming over (despite having been over for coffee AND dinner several times in the past three years) and need to be invited over several times before they say yes.  Umm are they vampires?  Is this is a scene from The Lost Boys where Max the Head Vampire has to be invited to cross the threshold?  Can I expect my inlaws to want to suck my blood the next time I see them?

So the Hubs tells me to just ask them and I tell him fine, seeing as how I’m not going to win this argument, but if his mother says no, this is THE VERY LAST TIME EVER that I will invite them to our house.  He can invite them but I will never again issue an invitation.  Ever. 

And since we’re scrapping I figure hey, I may as well make this a full blown fight, and tell him that I’m actually insulted that they preferred to sit in a cold car rather than come in our house and talk to me.  And he says ok, tell my mom that.  Fine.  I.  Will.  And you can bet, with his blessing to let it all out, I won’t be subtle about it either.  Six years of slights and passive-agressive BS is coming to an end.  Either she backs down or I do.  And I’m not backing down.

At the very worst, they  accept and come for dinner….in June which is the next time we have a free Saturday.  And at the very best she says no and I am forever off the hook for cooking for them ever again.  Best of all though, the Hubs will be sitting there watching.  I’ll mention it over dinner.  Captive audience and he can watch his parents squirm when I ask them if my house is not good enough to sit in and my coffee is not good enough to drink. 

Oh my darling husband.  Be careful what you ask for.  I didn’t work with a thousand lawyers in my former life and not pick up a few tricks.  Cross your fingers for me.  And watch the news at 11.  Hopefully the lead story isn’t about a 30 something Librarian who has gone postal.  I don’t look good in orange.


A momentary lapse

March 4, 2011

So, I’ve been on a yarn diet since October.  It’s actually a yarn fast since I haven’t actually bought ANY yarn but a calling it a yarn diet works.  It doens’t sound so severe and painful.  Actually it’s not been that painful.  I’ve avoided yarn shops and opening emails from Webs and other stores I used to frequent while I was online.  I bypassed the Spinnrite Winter Sale.  I haven’t missed buying yarn all that much either.  I’ve looked through my stash (several times) and my pattern books and I’ve got probably ten things I want to knit RIGHT THIS  MOMENT.  I also have the suggested yarn for those projects too, which is serendipitous.

During one of my stash shopping trips I found a lonely ball of Lion Brand Homespun (in Edwardian) and remembered that I had bought it with the express purpose of making this shrug.  The Hubs and I are going to a wedding this weekend and I figured it’d be easier to knit this than wrestle with a pashmina-type wrap all night.  Plus I get to add another ball of yarn to my 111 in 2011 project.  So I cast on Monday night.  Wednesday night I knew the yarn requirements were wrong.  Even if I didn’t add another five rows of garter stitch to the back I’d be hooped and have run out of yarn midway through the back.  I wasn’t about to frog the Homespun (ugh) and I didn’t want to toss it. 

So, a trip to Michaels.  For one ball of yarn.  One.  Ball. Of. Yarn.  That turned into seven.  That F’ing Michaels had Wool-Ease on sale for $2.49 a ball.  $2.49!  I had to restrain myself to six balls.  If I didn’t have to meet the Hubs at Staples in five minutes I would have done a lot more damage. 

But it’s just a momentary lapse.  A slight bump in the road.  For $15 I got my fix and I know it’s something that will get used very shortly.  Today, I’m back on the woolly wagon.  It’s just a bit sad that I fell off for Lion Brand.  Why couldn’t it have been Noro?


Checking In

February 22, 2011

After I decided to do the 111 in 2011 project and posted about it, I got a little stressed.  111 skeins/balls/units of yarn is a lot of yarn.  Even if you decide to use 111 skeins of bulky yarn in 55 m skeins (not that that had crossed my mind no siree it hadn’t) that still works out to 6105 m to knit up.  Or 6.1 km.  Not far but not really close either.  And since I’ve gone public with it, what if I don’t make my goal?  It’s enough to make a knitter lose sleep.

So, to ease my nerves, I tossed my stash a few weeks ago and pulled out several projects worth of yarn (hats, coats, shawls, sweaters, socks) in various weights and piled them up on my desk.  As incentive.  I still don’t have one empty storage bin but I’m getting close. 

I also pulled out several mill end bags and figured out what to do with them.  Sometime last year I went a little crazy got a great deal on Patons SWS mill ends at my local Zellers.  I bought nine bags.  Maybe 10.  No, definitely nine.  Ok nine that I’m admitting to.  Each bag has five balls of yarn in it.  I used 2/3 of a ball to make a hat.  And the rest of it has sat, silently reproaching me.  So I measured it, caked it and knit a French Market Bag out of five more balls.  To be honest, I’m a little disappointed with the bag.  It’s not as big as I’d have liked it to be (even though I knit the body another 7 inches longer) but that’s my problem.  But, I used up nearly a pound of yarn and I’ll use the bag for something.  And that’s what got the blood flowing.

I knit up a pair of fingerless mitts for me using yarn that’s been kicking around for a few years.  I knit up some dishcloths for the house and cottage.  I’m working through some Loops and Threads  for kids mittens as well.  I blew through four balls of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Superchunky last month and I’ve finally started that Lopi sweater (#18, Design 1) for the Hubs.

So, in nearly two months, I’ve used up 18 balls/skeins of yarn for a grand total of 1631 m knitted.  Which is 1.6 km.  Which is about the distance from The Money Pit to the highway on-ramp.  Which is exciting.

I’ve got 93 balls left to knit and I’m just getting going.  I’ve got some chunky blankets to make for the cottage, more felted clogs and lots and lots of socks and mittens.  I am finding it kind of empowering to shop from my stash as well.  I have a lot of yarn and most of the time I can make it fit the pattern I want to make.  And if I can’t, well, the pattern is filed for future use when the stash is smaller and I can justify buying more yarn.  I might it at that point.  If I still like it.

And it’s nice to see some space emerging.  No empty storage bins yet but I cleared off a shelf in our spare room closet last night and slowly but surely that giant pile of yarn on my desk is getting smaller.  I also have fewer projects on my needles at any given time and I’m more organized about what I’m making.  But the best part of all of this is the incredible sense of satisfaction I get when I can “x” out the numbers on my count down chart. 

I’ve gone from I think I can to I know I can.  I’ll update again in a month.  And when I hit 5k, I’ll have a little something special planned.


111 in 2011

January 28, 2011

I have a lot of yarn.  A lot.  I can’t fit it all in one room anymore.  Well, that’s not entirely true, it can all fit in one room, if I emptied it all out on the floor or just stacked up all the boxes and baskets and totes in that room and forgot about furniture. 

Mostly it’s stored in what I call my home office (which co-incidentally happens to be the smallest room in the house…outside of the 2nd floor bathroom) and what the Hubs calls the Hoarders Episode.  But I also have yarn in the spare room closet and a bit in our bedroom.  Oh, and our actual home office.  Crap I have a lot of yarn.  It’s frightening when I think of it.  I’m not at Hoarders level yet, but I could easily get there.

So enough is enough.  Also something I’ve had enough of is the Hubs bitching about it.  Oh sure I’d bitch about his stuff, except that he doesn’t really collect stuff.  Except for bottles of Diet Coke.  But he drinks those as fast as he buys them so no dice.

I don’t know where I came across this idea, probably on Ravelry since I’m not this imaginative, but it struck a cord.  Someone was going to go through 100 balls of yarn in 2011.  Neat idea, but for me 100 balls in 2011 didn’t have a nice ring.  So I’m going for 111 in 11.  It has a nicer ring to it.

And I don’t imagine it will be all that hard.  I’m not putting a distance requirement on this project, one ball is just as good as another.  Obviously laceweight is going to bite since it’s so thin and there’s so much of it but even still, it will be nice to get a few skeins of that out of the closet and made into a shawl.  Or three.  I have just over 11 months to go.  I’m pumped.

I just used up five balls of yarn (365m) as of last night.  That means I have 106 balls to go.  And I’m about to start the Hub’s Lopi sweater which will use up 22 more balls.  And there’s my self-imposed-sock-club (post to come on that one of these days) which will knock off at least 11 more skeins/balls and maybe more.  I have a few baby blankets to knit and several hats to make, Lizard Ridge  (21 more balls) and my mom wants a shawl as well.  I hope to reach my goal in the fall but that’s likely tempting the fates so I’ll keep my mouth shut. 

It will be interesting at the end of it all to see how many kilometres of yarn I’ve used.  I can’t wait to tell the Hubs how far we could have driven overall with the amount I will have knitted.  That will be supercool.  Well for a knitter it will be.

And I can’t wait to see how much free space I’ll have at the end of it.  I’m hoping to free up at least two 76L totes.  But who knows.  Maybe it will be more.  Maybe I’ll be able to finally fit another chair in the Hoarders Episode room my home office.  Maybe I’ll be able to fit a chair under my desk.  Oooh the possibilities.

I’m also on a yarn diet too.  In conjunction with using up these 111 balls.  The diet ends in April (when I take a brief visit to the US and all their glorious and well stocked craft stores) but I’ll be back on it in May. 

Wish me luck.  And send suggestions on yarn eating projects.  I’ll post sporadically about how many balls I’ve knit up and how many kilometres I’ve knitted.  I’m guessing that by the end of it I will be able to get from my house to Toronto.  That’s 70 kms.  About a marathon and a half.  I can knit it.  Now if only I could run it!