January/February Update (a.k.a., I’m still alive)

January was probably the longest month ever and I accidentally disappeared from the blog aside from book reviews. Apparently those are easier to type up than life updates?

Between January being 79 days long and being super busy with life, I finally have a moment to post a life update from the beginning of 2020 today. Hurray for long weekends! I’ll break everything down into categories so I don’t forget anything …

The Girls

Norah took a month-long break from preschool in January because her part-time program was cancelled due to a lack of enrolment. She returned earlier this month to a full-time program (more on that later) and she’s doing really well! Isla got her first report card of the year back and she’s turning out to be quite the student! Kyle and I are both super proud of them both; even though they’re so different they are both striving.

Norah is all registered for kindergarten starting in the fall, so there’s a lot of emotions surrounding that! I still can’t believe she’ll be 5 in a few short months and that she’s off to school with her sister in September! Where did the time go?! Really though, she’s SO ready and SO excited to finally be going to the same school as Isla; she’s been waiting for this day since Isla started kindie, so it’s been a long time coming!

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Isla and Norah both started swimming lessons at the beginning of January! Norah was going 2x week and finished up after four weeks, and she did amazing! To be honest, I wasn’t 100% sure she was going to pass because she has a lot of energy and just wanted to swim around, but after a few reminders to listen she did awesome and got her badge. Isla’s lessons are only once a week, so we have a couple more to go before she’s done, but so far she’s looking strong.

This past weekend Kyle worked overtime one day, so we spent the day hanging out – we went and did the grocery shopping, and then after lunch we saw a movie (Dolittle) and went out and had sushi for dinner! It was a lot of fun and while they drive me crazy sometimes, it was nice to spend some quality time with just the two of them.

The Dogs

Campbell and Lars are … Campbell and Lars! Lars is growing like a weed and probably needs more exercise, which will be remedied soon as he’s going to go off to bootcamp within the next couple of weeks.

They are still getting along so well and Campbell is such a patient older brother to Lars, haha.

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Back in October I had mentioned briefly that Lars was suffering from a bit of a limp, and after Kyle and I had it checked out by two vets (the original appointment and a 2nd opinion), it turns out that he blew out his ACL somehow. (Likely playing too hard with Campbell.) We had the option to send him for surgery, but with him being so young it may or may not have worked, plus he’d need more in the future. (Read: $$$$) We opted to make him lay low and see how it healed on its own, and while he can’t put 100% of his body weight on it, you’d never think he’s injured. Lars is very much a typical Labrador retriever and acts like a doofus

Running

I took a solid bit of time off between the last race I ran and February, aside from a Mile-a-Day challenge I did in December. Race season is starting back up in a month or so, so I need to get my butt in gear! I’m hoping to conquer more 10K distances, even on the trails, so we’ll see how it goes! My shoes are two years old now, so I may or may not treat myself to a new pair soon. I just can’t decide if I want to keep wearing my current ones for the road and get trail shoes, or just get a new pair of road shoes for everything. This is the toughest decision by far because really, I can’t afford both. (Even though I really want to!)

Life

Overall, life has been pretty amazing. Kyle and I have been working together to hash out a lot of “life’s plans” and it seems to be going well! We have some big goals for ourselves and for our family, but I think we’ll definitely be able to accomplish them if we stick to the plan and life doesn’t throw us too many curveballs. (Because there’s always curveballs!)

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Last year when I finished my Administrative Assistant certificate I said I was going to reward myself with a new tattoo, and I finally got around to it at the end of January. (I finished school at the end of June, haha.)

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In a nutshell, I got a lupin tattoo in honour of my grandparents. Once upon a time they had a cabin, and the trail to get there had crazy amounts of lupins growing wild. My brother and I used to spend a lot of time there with my grandma and grandpa, and have so many fond memories with them there. Lupins seemed like a logical choice to honour them.

Work

Oh yeah – I got a job! I didn’t really plan on going back to work until Norah had started kindergarten, but a position for a part-time administrative assistant was posted for a local business and I couldn’t help but apply. The hours were perfect to accommodate drop off and pick up from school, so why not, right?

I ended up getting a call to interview a few days after I applied, and was offered the position a few days after that! I was thankfully able to get Norah back into preschool full-time, just at a different campus (the school she was going to has four locations) and nothing else really changed.

I’ve been at the position now for two weeks and I’m really enjoying it; there’s a lot to learn and do, but I feel like it’s going well. It really fell into my life at the perfect time and it almost seems too good to be true, especially with being able to get Norah into full-time preschool right away.

So that’s pretty much what’s been going on since my last update! The days are getting longer and I’m looking forward to what the warmer weather is going to bring. (Camping! Waterslides! Races! Slo-Pitch! Pool Days!) I’ll try not to go so long between updates this time.

From 9-5 and everything else

Quite some time ago, Stephany¬†wrote this fun post on all the different jobs she’s had in the past. While I’ve essentially been a stay-at-home mom and occasional freelance writer/blogger for the past 6 years, I’ve worked in a bunch of different places doing a variety of different things! As it turns out, the list is long, so bear with me!

Gift Shop Sales Associate

The first summer I decided to get a “real” job I actually ended up working two jobs, one during the day and one into the evening. For Job #1, I was a sales associate for a gift store. While it wasn’t a stimulating job it beat flipping burgers. (Not something I wanted to do AT ALL when I was 15.) I got to meet a lot of tourists as well since the store sold a lot of precious stone jewelry, including jade which is abundant in BC.

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Job #2 for that summer was at a Chinese restaurant where I bussed tables (mostly) on the weekends. I actually preferred working here over my daytime job as I interacted more with my coworkers, plus I went to high school with a couple of them so we had more in common. (Job #1 I had maybe 1 or 2 people working alongside me and they were adults so angsty teenaged me didn’t relate so well.) The pay was only okay, but the waitresses always tipped me out at the end of the night, which was great. Anyway, I enjoyed my stint here so much that I worked there for a second summer; while I wanted to waitress the owner wanted me to bus tables again, so I didn’t argue. I got to try my hand at waitressing a couple of times when it was super busy and learned that it wasn’t for me, so yay for that!

Sandwich “artiste”/Kitchen crew member

This job was by far my favourite place to go to work. In a nutshell, it was a farm market that had a little country kitchen attached to it. We made homemade breads, pies, cookies, soups, and sandwiches, and while I did a little bit of everything, my main responsibilities were either running the cash register or making sandwiches. It was a long and usually hot day of work (12-hour shifts with no A/C, and stoves and ovens going all day!) but it was so much fun. The owners were amazing and I loved everyone I worked with. Heck, even Kyle worked there! We have so many great memories at this place and it’s so surreal when we go back because while it’s changed so much it’s still very much the same. I worked there for three summers before I decided to hang up my apron for good.

Grocery store cashier

University expenses made me realize that I needed an evening and weekend job, so I applied at one of the big grocery stores in town and hoped for the best! It was the first time I had EVER had an actual job interview and I remember being terrified. Thankfully, I got the job and I ended up working here for about 5 years on and off. The job definitely had its moments, whether it was coworker drama or crazy customers, but overall I enjoyed my time there and still chat with many of my ex-coworkers when I go buy my groceries. I also made some of my closest friendships there, so I have no complaints!

Student labourer at a copper mine

My dad worked at this mine and most summers they offered up student labourer positions to the children of their employees. It was a dirty job but the pay was amazing, so I had a hard time complaining about most of it. There was a lot of shovelling and hosing, but there were some coveted departments that I got to spend time in as well – Mine Rescue and Environment. While helping with Mine Rescue, I got to play a fake victim so the rescue team could practice for their competitions coming up. Environment was a cinch because we got to plant wild grasses and go fishing!

News editor

During my last year of journalism school I was hired to be one of two news editors for the student newspaper. It was relatively easy as I only had to pump out a minimum one story/week, and the various editors took turns writing columns. The best part about working for the student paper was that we got to go to the annual Canadian University Press conference. While it was in Saskatoon in the middle of February, it was still a really fun trip!

Election officer

This was a sporadic job as it came and went with both Provincial and Federal elections. Essentially I was responsible for giving people their ballots for voting people into office, and then when the polling stations closed myself and my partner had to count all the ballots and tally the votes for each person running. Talk about putting the future of the province and country in your hands! Counting was super stressful, and we weren’t allowed to leave the polling station at all while it was open, unless we had to use the washroom. It was a long day, but it was a good experience overall and I appreciate all the work that goes into making our civic duty as easy as possible.

Editor

Right after university, I somehow managed to land an editor position at a little indie newspaper right in Kamloops. I was still pretty apprehensive about my journalism skills, but this fun little publication really let me work on developing them a lot more! Aside from pulling content together for the paper, I also was able to do a bit of layout work and got out on the streets for “streeters”. (Basically Q&A’s with random strangers, which usually gave me huge anxiety but I managed okay.) Working here also provided me with the opportunity to be a panelist for a writer’s conference, which was terrifying, and also to be on TV to promote said conference. (Also terrifying.)

Classified clerk

A position had opened up at the local daily newspaper, and it was my dream to work there and move my way up the ladder, so I applied. While I didn’t get the job I applied for, I was offered a part-time position in the classifieds department and took it as a foot in the door. I spent my hours taking calls and entering classified ads into the system, and I was occasionally left responsible for closing out everything for the day and sending everything to print. The toughest part of the job? The obituaries. I didn’t enjoy having to tell people how much it was going to cost to run the obituary for their loved ones.

Editorial assistant

Just over a year after I had started at the daily newspaper, this position opened up in the newsroom. I had just returned to work after Kyle and I got married, and I eagerly applied. During my interview the editor-in-chief asked me why he should hire me, and I told him quite simply that I wanted to have his job one day. I don’t know if that’s what got me the position, but I was so happy when I was told I got it! I loved every aspect of being in the newsroom and soaked every bit of what was going on up.

When I was let go after my maternity leave because of cutbacks, I was devastated, but it allowed me to stay at home and be with Isla. In the end, the paper shut its doors in 2014, but the paper will always hold a special place in my heart.

Auxiliary writer/editor

I had a short stint as an auxiliary writer/editor at the university, where I wrote a few stories and helped develop web content for the different programs at the school. It was a good glimpse of what working there would be like and I’d happily go back if the opportunity came up, even if it wasn’t in the same department.

So there you have it! I’m pretty sure I’ve covered every place I’ve ever worked, and it’s interesting to see how things have changed since I’ve left each place. Two of the places on this list don’t even exist anymore, which is sad in a way. It will be interesting to see what happens when I finish my certificate and start working on reentering the workforce. As much as I love being able to stay home and manage our household, a part of me still misses being out there and doing the daily grind.

Where was your favourite place of employment?