Tuesday, 24 January 2012

I Hate Moving

I'm sure there are people out there who either love the opportunities that moving provides or just happen to be inclined towards a minimalist lifestyle anyway and so moving isn't a particularly traumatic event for them but for me, it sucks. I like to nest, apparently, and it didn't help that I was in my apartment for just over three years and so had accumulated far more than I thought I had. This past weekend was the big day, moving the large items out of the apartment and into my guy's house, and it was not as bad as it could have been, I suppose, but it was still very stressful for me.

It didn't help that I had a bad customer service experience with an idiot at U-Haul Truck Rental on Friday, the day before I was supposed to be uprooting what was left of myself and I was already freaking out somewhat. While I will admit I was not the picture of politeness myself, the tone and responses I was getting from this guy ended up leaving me wanting to cry. That's not something I usually do anymore, so it was not a good sign. At the suggestion of my guy I ended up calling Ryder Truck Rental instead, and for the same price - a little less, actually - I was able to get a truck two hours earlier in the day, with a full tank of fuel (so I wouldn't have to guess how much to put back in there) and a lift gate instead of just a ramp. The woman I spoke with on the phone was very helpful and professional and the complete opposite of the asshole from U-Haul. It gave me great pleasure to call that idiot back and cancel my reservation.

Now that it's all done, all that's left (ha!) is getting everything organised here. This is not going to be an easy task, that's for sure. We have two households worth of stuff, and one small house to put it all in. This is going to require some serious purging on both our parts, and one idea I've come up with so far is "the kijiji box". Anything that is a duplicate or something that is still serviceable but no longer wanted (and is worth asking some money for) goes in the kijiji box. This is Kijiji.  He's purchased some stuff from there, and we unloaded the big TV from the front room on that site last Friday as well, so I thought we could try that first before just donating the stuff. I don't really want to hang on to anything long enough to wait for spring and garage sale season, and besides, I'm sure that would be more work than it was truly worth. My idea is to put together a "kitchen starter kit" with a coffee maker, a toaster, a small crock pot, a juice jug, maybe a couple of baking sheets and some other assorted items we have and ask $50 for the lot. I don't know if the idea will work, but it's worth a shot anyway.

Yesterday I did manage to get some stuff done, and got some of the kitchen organised as well as cleaning the small fridge and the chest freezer so that we can start using them. I let them sit for the required 24 hours (closer to 48) to let the coolant settle and so we were able to plug in the fridge last night before going to bed. It was loaded up with water and some pop this afternoon and is now back to serving as the drinks fridge. The freezer hasn't been plugged in yet, though it's ready to go, because we can't get to the outlet at the moment as it's covered by boxes. I suppose those will have to be the next thing I move. I'd like to get the freezer going to take the pressure off the one on the fridge, and so that I won't have to consider how much freezer space I have when I find a deal at the grocery store that I'd like to take advantage of.

After all that, I need some happy. I spent part of last week cataloging my yarn stash and while it was a lot of work (yes, really, it was) it was also a lovely excuse to fondle great quantities of gorgeous yarn. As well, I received my October and November yarns from Maylin of Tri'Coterie Yarns. I have to say they are truly stunning. I know my camera didn't capture the colours perfectly, but I'll show you anyway.

"Smoke on the Water" - purple and two shades of grey, self-striping, in Aran MCN. I have a third skein of this still coming, and it's beautiful. I'm looking forward to having a matching set of hat, mitts and scarf made from this.

"Violet Vampire" - self-striping royal purple and black, on MCN sock. This was from the waifs and strays selection because there's a break in the yarn according to Maylin's note on the tag.

This is "Glacial" - a graduated double skein of merino/tencel lace, starting at white and going to deep blue. I have a plan for this one, and it's going to be stunning.

 These two are both superwash Bluefaced Leicester wool (BFL) and nylon, a very nice sock yarn. It's pretty fine and requires small needles, but the socks will be great. The top colourway is "Army Brat", and the bottom is "House Stark" - a Game of Thrones reference, for those who don't know it. I've listened to the first book on audio, and have listened to most of the second book as well but the narrator's voice makes me nuts. It sounds like he's gargling rocks while he's reading the story and I can only take it in small doses.

These last ones are "Lunatic" - the top one is a graduated skein of merino lace and the bottom one is merino/tencel and also from the waifs and strays because the skein has very little white in it, mostly the graduated purple. It's also a different shade of purple than the top skein, though both are very pretty.

I've managed to change my address at the post office, so hopefully I won't miss any of my shipments, though I know my upstairs neighbours will watch out for them for me, and John has said that if any arrive after Feb 1 he'll just send a quick email to let me know that it's there. I will miss them, though not the elephant noise of their kids quite so much, but they really are very nice people.

Anyway, that's all for this evening.


Tuesday, 17 January 2012

And There's the Knife...

We got some interesting news yesterday - I say "interesting" and what I really mean is shocking and extremely disheartening - the Region has pulled the contract from our employer so they are no longer running the buses for the Newmarket/Aurora area. In short, we no longer have jobs.

I'm sure there are many people out there who think that this is the least that we deserve, for having the nerve to stand up for ourselves and tell our employer that they no longer get to treat us like crap and that we deserve to make more money for the very real responsibilities that we have when doing our jobs. There is the rumour that we will still have a job with whichever company it is that gets the new contract from the Region, but honestly, talk about getting stomped on. Not only will we not get the raise we were looking for, but will almost certainly take a pay cut, and those of us who have stuck around for a while will lose our seniority and (the only thing we really have that we value) our vacation weeks. I've been with this company since August 1998 and as such am entitled to four weeks a year - with the new company, I'm sure it will be back down to two. Benefits will probably be downgraded, and we'll all be back to split shifts. For me this is more of a dilemma, as I've had to give up my apartment in Newmarket and move an hour away, in with my guy, so with the potential reduced wages, split shifts and the fact that it's a two hour/day commute (and a quarter tank of gas), it's going to be something for me to really think about and decide if it will be cost effective for me to accept the job.

Of course there is also the fact that we're going to be vilified by the passengers for ages, again for having the nerve to go out on strike. They'll happily gloat over the reduction in circumstances and before you think that I'm just not giving people the credit they deserve, trust me. I've been driving in this town for over nine years, and you do not get the people who are happy with the service saying anything. You get insulted and abused by the ones who are nasty and unhappy with the slightest of things - and this is not the slightest of things. We've been out for almost three months and a lot of people are (understandably) pissed off. I don't begrudge them their feelings, but I know the kind of crap the drivers will have to deal with when service resumes and it won't be pretty. If someone is so petty as to call in a complaint that I apparently "rolled my eyes" at her (behind my sunglasses, no less - she must have some pretty sweet x-ray vision going on there), then you can just imagine how it's going to go when service resumes.

I'm still pretty down about this - I truly didn't think it would come to this, and our union leaders assured us that this wouldn't happen as well, so it really came as a surprise. What's even worse at the moment is that our union president is not returning any phone calls, and has not issued any kind of statement to the membership or called an emergency meeting to tell us what the hell is going on and what our options are. Nothing like being left twisting in the wind.

In the meantime, I have managed to get my apartment almost completely emptied of random stuff, with the assistance of a couple of my friends from work. The only thing left to do besides moving the furniture (that's this coming weekend) and cleaning (next week) is to take down the closet fixture, fill the holes and paint over them. I've already  done that for pretty much all the other holes in the walls, so that shouldn't take long.

There's still a whole lot of stuff I have here that I haven't unpacked - I got lazy last week and haven't even finished unpacking the car completely yet. I'll work on that the rest of this week, and then somehow we need to figure out what to do in the front room. We have nowhere to put the stuff that's coming in as yet, so it's a bit of a quandary. I'm sure we'll figure it out, but it's still some more stress.

To have some happy news for once, I've finally managed to photograph a good chunk of my yarn stash and am in the process of cataloging it on Ravelry. I'll put some yarn up here, too, so you can share my happy.

My first Wollmeise yarn! :-) It's a gorgeous semi solid purple. I bought it in a destash from another Ravelry member, and it came in today. The picture is actually pretty representative of the true colour, too. Go me!

Another gorgeous yarn from GothSocks on her Laudanum Lache base, which is my favourite - merino/cashmere/nylon. It's super soft and squishy and I'm thinking will make an awesomely comfy pair of socks.

I'll feature some more yarns in the next post, as my wrist is getting a bit sore from all the work I'm doing tonight (still doing the upload to Ravelry, too).


Saturday, 7 January 2012

January, Week One

I hope everyone has had a lovely first week of the new year. Everyone always goes into the new year with such hope that it will be good, or better or even just different than the previous year, but honestly most of the time the only difference is that you now have to write 2012 at the end of the date instead of 2011. I always screw that up at least a few times :-)

As you may be able to tell, little has changed for me although I have been attempting to set more structure back into my life as one of these days I will have to go back to work (ugh). So I've been zooming about the house, tidying, finding places for things, clearing things out, either into the garbage or into bags to take to Goodwill. Merging two households is a bit of a bitch, I must say. I'm very lucky in that he just says "Do what you need to do," and lets me have my head when it comes to creating space or reorganising anything. Obviously I don't just fling things in garbage bags without checking first, but in some instances (the kitchen!) it does make it much easier. Even so, I still have to go through the kitchen again to reduce the amount of stuff we have - I swear, I have enough plastic containers to store lunch for a small army, but I can never find the size I need when I need it. What's with that?!

One of the things I did on Monday, the second day of the new year, was finally get my crap organised at the front door. I put up four hooks that I had brought from my apartment for our coats, so they're no longer hanging off the back of chairs all over the place, and another little wooden coat rack that I've had for ages was put up to hold the leashes and dog coats and so on. I also swept and mopped, and put down the new mat I had bought so that we won't slip on our butts coming in the front door, as well as boot trays on either side, one for me and one for him.

I went to see The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo on Tuesday night while himself was off at the Tuesday Night Music Club (TNMC for short). He didn't really have any desire to see it, so I quite happily went alone. I wanted to see it because I've seen the original twice (I bought the trilogy) and I was wondering how the English version would hold up against it. It was pretty faithful, though I can't make a comparison against the book because I haven't read it - I'm not sure I'd make it through the books. I didn't like Rooney Mara as much as Lisbeth Salander, there seemed to be a little too much vulnerability in the character that didn't work as well as Noomi Rapace's portrayal as the hard edged girl. I had heard someone say that the English version was even more shocking than the original, but honestly, other than one scene in a nightclub, everything else was on about the same level. There were style differences, of course, David Fincher being the director that he is, but other than the actual casting changes, it was very close. There was one change at the end that I didn't like, and that leads me back to the vulnerability in Lisbeth's character in this one. I didn't think it was a good way for it to go, but I suppose we'll see how that works out. For future instalments I think I'll just wait til they are released on blu-ray and I'll watch them then. While I was at the movie, though I did manage to get about six inches done on a sock ;-) I had done the toe at home, before going out, and by the end of the movie was at the length where I needed to put in the marker for the afterthought heel - lol. You should have seen the looks I was getting from the girls sitting beside me.

Life on the picket line continues. Two of the companies involved (neither of them the one I work for) went to the Ontario Labour Board to force a vote on their latest contract offers, believing perhaps that our union leaders had not been telling us what was in those latest offers (the only difference from the previous offers was the addition of a $350-$400 one time signing bonus, ooooo) and the first of those votes was held yesterday. I am happy to report that the workers told the company to go stuff themselves, rejecting that offer with 83% of the vote, with a 92% voter turnout. That's a pretty overwhelming "NO!" in my books. I'm so proud of them. Believe me, I sympathise with the folks who are very quickly running out of money (I'm one of them, too) but after this long if we go back now, with the current offers that are on the table, we are doing nothing but condemning ourselves to crappy treatment forevermore.

There isn't much else going on, I have been trying to stay organised with lists of things to do and trying to get in the habit of various daily tasks around the house so that there aren't any real omg moments when someone drops by. Bathrooms are wiped down daily, kitty litter cleaned daily, kitchen cleaned, dishes put away, laundry (semi)organised, etc. Also when I bring stuff from the apartment I try to find it a home as soon as I can, that way I can take the boxes the stuff came in back to be refilled the next time I head up that way.

That's about all there is in my boring life. I have been knitting, of course, I just haven't finished anything yet and so have no pretty pics for you to see.