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A Day in the Life of a Canadian Girl: June 2005

Monday, June 27, 2005

Duking it Out at Work

I have been around the block and have seen pretty much every situation that can happen at work. I work with all women so I try to stay out of other people's squabbles and I don't get invloved in gossiping or cause shit. 99% of the time it doesn't concern me anyway. Until this time. And I did cause shit.

"Jane" at work is a poor me women. She always wants more from everybody (usually shift changes or switches) due to doctor's appointments, being able to visit with her granddaughter or just whatever. Most people switch from time to time but she does it constantly. But the thing is that whenever someone asks her, she never says yes. All take and no give.

Now her mom had a stroke recently (say 3 months ago) and it was touchy for awhile. We changed her schedule around for weeks and when she called in sick several times we tried to cover but most often we worked short. Never a sorry. Never a thank you. Always wanting more from everyone.

Then there is me. Just to fill you in on my work ethic. In the two years I have been there I have called in sick twice. Once one one day, the other was 3 days. Both times was when I had a sever case on bronchitis. If someone asks if they can switch for me, I have never once said no. When they call me at home on my day off and ask if I can come in, I have never said no. This year I am working 3 holiday weekends in a row (the way the normal schedule went) but I never complained. As for holidays, none this year. I did take 2 individual days but then some full timers wanted holidays and we would be short so me, being the way I am, I gave up those 2 days so we wouldn't be short. In the two years I have been there I have worked every Friday night. No exaggeration. I have never had a day shift on a Friday. I am the only one. And I never complain about it. It is just the way it goes.
So why did I duke it out at work on Friday? I come to find out that "Jane" has pulled another one of her schedule stunts and this time it invloved me. She has been caught before changing the schedule before it has been posted so she works what she wants to work. In two weeks, I was scheduled to have a day shift. On a Friday. There are several people off and one person has a meeting so that is how I got it. I guess Jane took it upon herself to swtich it so that she would have it and I would work afternoons. Of course I didn't know about it because it hadn't been posted when it was changed, but someone higher up mentioned it to me. The scheduler knew nothing of this and that she hadn't asked her if she could have it. And the switch is in Jane's handwriting. So I called her on it. I first said that I noticed that she had switched my shift that day. She wasn't looking at me and didn't say a word. This made me think I was on the right track. So I ask her why she switched it without asking me. She goes on to say that this was planned even before the schedule was made and that it has already been cleared. I ask her why it is in her handwriting. Aagin she says that it was already cleared. When the scheduler has no knowledge of this and the change is made in Jane's handwriting it makes me seriously doubt her. It is always poor Jane so of course she lays the guilt trip on me later, twice! She says that sahe is hurt that I would think she would do something like that, yada. yada, yada. Well if this was coming from someone else, I could see it. But from her, no. She has pulled stunts so many times she is not laying the guilt trip on me. She says she will speak to the scheduler today. Of course she will. And I am sure she will speak to the supervisor who has no balls when it comes to shit like this. She always gets her way with him and she knows it. But the scheduler is talking to him today too as she had had enough of her. She will twist the situation and try to get herself out of it. Don't worry, I will be talking to the scheduler too. Jane said that plans have changed and that she doesn't really need the day shift anymore anyway. I said good. If you don't need it I will take it back then because I want it. She looked shocked and didn't say a word. I think she was surprised that I said that. Too bad. I am tired of her games. And I want a Friday night off for once! I will be talking to the scheduler today and telling her that I will be taking my shift back.
Causing shit every once in awhile is fun!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Up and Running

Well I think I finally have my computer up and running where I want it to be. It feels strange as it is like I have a brand new one! All this free space and speed!
The technician that worked on mine saved not only the pictures and fonts that I asked for, but he also saved all my files! Yippee! I thought I would have to redo some of them! I also found all my drivers, my antivirus programs are running and some of my other favourite programs are also installed. It wasn't as bad as I thougt it would be. But I guess I should start backing up for frequently now.

Sunday my sister had the family over and we spend father's day together. Dad liked his gift but was more excited I think that we were having KFC for dinner! It is his favourite and mom isn't a huge fan so they never have it. The men sure went to town on that chicken where I had one piece. I like their sandwiches better.

Work has been steady all week and tonight is our fundraising BBQ. We have them several times a year and this one is going to The Relay for Life for the Canadian Cancer Society. Yum!

Saturday I am going down to my mom's where we are babysitting my neice. My BIL has a baseball tourney all day in Dorchester and my sister was asked to work all day so that leaves Paige in our hands. I love babysitting her. She is a great baby and I don't get to see her as often as I would like. My sister is leaving her car with us so we have the car seat. I think we will go out to a local farm and get some fresh strawberries. My mom also has a stroller so I think a walk would be in order. It will be a busy day!

My sister had Paige's 6 months photos done and asked me to do something creating with a shadow box frame and the pearl pins that came included. She has no idea I did this instead:


I put June stead of May in the date so I just have to change that.
I hope she likes it!
She gave me a picture of all 3 poses she had taken so I have them already framed. She looks just adorable!

I also mentioned earlier that I was working on some coasters. Here is the first attempt:



It didn't turn out bad but I have to be careful with the glue as it doesn't dry totally clear.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Update on the PC

Today I got a call from my PC repairman and the bad news is that they were unable to remove the virus and they think that is what is causing all my other problems. So for the first time, I have to reformat my hard drive. Since I bought the PC from that company, they only charged me half of the full price for formatting and re-installing windows. So for doing that and the 3 hour diagnostic scan it is going to cost me $179. They are saving all my photos and fonts for me since I didn't back them up for no charge. My repairman is great and doing a lot extra for me. So it could have been a worse situation.
Now I have to remember where I pull all the drivers...

Thursday, June 16, 2005

AFK

(Away From Keyboard)

My hard drive is in the shop right now... the first time EVER in my life I have had to take one in. Lots of internet problems and also a virus so hopefully they won't have it too long. They are doing a 3 hour diagnostic scan and I also told them to give it a good cleaning.
Hopefully it runs like a top when I get it back.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

In-laws, Showers and Crafts

My machine is down right now so while the other experts are trying to fix it, I have time to post an update.

Well it was another busy weekend. Friday night I met The Man at our neighbours across the street after work where a few others were also there. We just had a few drinks outside and got to know everyone a little better. I totally lost track of time and we ended up leaving there around 2:30am. Good thing we lived across the street as I drank a little too much wine.

Saturday it was cleaning the house and getting it ready for the FIL's inspection on Sunday. We also did a little yard work and chatted with the neighbours. It was after 8:00pm when I realized that we hadn't started supper yet so Pizza Hut it was.

Sunday the in-laws arrived around noon. We had a quick visit before I had to go to a bridal shower. I met my mom there and it was really a lot of fun. We were there almost 3 hours before I had to go to the FSIL's for supper. We had a wonderful BBQ and while that was cooking, the boys had a great time swimming. After supper we sat outside and enjoyed the weather. To me this is summer.

Monday was pretty quiet but today the in-laws were back over as well as the guys that installed our flooring. Turns out they put the wrong finshing trim on so it all had to be replaced. The FIL was there giving directions and asking questions. Did I mention he is a control freak who likes everything done the right (his) way? I managed to get out of there at 1:30pm to go to my weekly plasma donation. I have had to miss 5 weeks in a row due to my bronchitis and when I go today what happens? The new girl missed. So I have to wait again to next week.

I am really into crafts. All sorts really. But I especially love scrapbooking, crocheting, cross stitch and simple crafts. I was looking through my Martha Stewart magazine (yes, I do love Martha!) and they had a neat idea for coasters. You wind thin cord in a circle starting from the centre on a circle of cork. I though they would look neat on the patio. I found some black cord but am on the hunt for some sheets of cork. I also have made coasters out of tumble tile. You just glue felt on the back and voila! They look very chic. Pictures will be posted.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Patting Myself on the Back

It is not very often that I get a chance to brag about my job. Is it shameful self-promotion if I do it right now? It is? Oh well.

As some people know, I work in a medical lab. We do many different kinds of testing such as blood counts, chemistry tests such as glucose, liver enzymes, electrolytes, monitoring patients on blood thinners, and the usual pregnancy and mononucleous tests. I love my job and although I feel that they job I do is very good, I also feel that I don't have a lot of the expertise yet when it comes to some of the instruments. Don't get me wrong, I am quick learner when it comes to the way machines work and I am a good problem solver but with only two years of experience on these machines, I don't know them inside and out yet. Most of the time our chemistry analyzer runs like a top. We have had this $250,000 machine for about three years now and it is pretty reliable. Until last night. Or so we thought.

We run our quality control (QC) twice a day on this analyzer, at the start of each shift. I was not running this analyzer yesterday but a fairly new technologist was. Her QC was all fine but when she went to run patient samples, one of the meter arms that is used in the testing of electrolytes was not functioning. She tried everything she could think of she called over one of the senoir techs. I am assuming not me because even though I have been there much longer then she has, I figured she wanted an expert opinion. Well she couldn't get it going either. After many calls to help lines, the manufacterer and our service rep, it still wasn't going after being down for almost 5 hours. Although we couldn't test electrolytes, we could still test everything else. That meant scanning of the of the sample's barcodes to determine which ones didn't have electrolytes so we could run those.

After our 10:30pm break, I was the first one back in the lab so I decided to take a look. My opinion hasn't been asked for but I know this machine pretty well and it sounded to me that something was blocking the arm physically as the QC was fine, then right after that it wasn't working. There is a bucket that needs to be emptied after the QC is run and this was another reason why I thought something was blocking the arm. No one has bothered to get a different perspective at it by going around to the back of the analyzer. I did and started moving the arm and it was just then that I saw one of the small electrical cords that connects the arm to the motor was ever so slightly caught in the teeth of the motor that allows it to move both up and down and side to side. I pulled it out and manually moved the arm around. I decided to test this and I put on a sample that had electrolytes ordered. It was just then that my coworkers came back from break and saw that I was putting on a sample. I explained what I had found and I was testing this theory. Well sure enough the arm worked perfectly! I got some "way to gos" and "thanks a lot!" We were back up and running.

But what really made it sweeter for me was when the head technologist for this analyzer came up to me the following day and said that the senoir tech should have found the problem and that next time there is a problem and she is called at home, she wants me to handle the situation. She said that I did a great job and was very disappointed that I wasn't consulted. It was great to hear that she has more confidence in my problem solving abilities. This sure gave me an ego boost!

*End of shameful self-promotion.*

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Slip Sliding Away

So our new floor is installed and I must say it is quite the change from what be had before. But we both really like it. Before we had a very pale taupe and white acolour with a smaller pattern. This pattern is 1 foot by 1 foot and looks like slate or stone with the dark colours. And it is so smooth! I could almost skate across it in socks! They guys did a fantastic job and actually did extra like removing the old flooring. The plan was to go over top of the old but when they saw the holes and found out that there was hardly any glue holding it down, they decided to rip up the old. It took a little extra time but it will last longer and look better.
Now to get the kitchen back in order.


New Kitchen Floor

After sleeping in this morning (I was so tired yesterday as I had to be up at 8am when the guys came over) I decided to throw in a load of laundry. I am stuffing the machine when I hear a drip, drip, drip. I look around and I see wet spots on the floor. Looking up I saw it dripping but couldn't tell from where. I have no idea what could be causing it. But whatever it is we have to fix the problem. The Man called to say he was on his way home and I told him about the leak. He said it may be condensation. Maybe, but that is a lot and if so we have to get the water into the drain, not the floor.

The Man picked up the dog yeaterday afternoon and got home after I went to work. I wanted to see her before I left. I missed her while she was gone! But she was happy to see daddy, happy to be home and she always has a good time out at the farm playing with the other greyhounds waiting for adoption. I was going to out and get her nails cut but it is just too hot! I think I will stay where there is central air.


Milly This Morning

Monday, June 06, 2005

My Stove is in My Livingroom

The last few days have been hectic around here as we are getting the house ready for the new flooring that is being installed today. We have removed all the baseboards and everything out of the kitchen, bathroom and front closet. Now our livingroom is a disaster and will be worse when the stove and fridge get moved in there. I think I will be hiding upstairs for the day. But I can't wait to see it finished. Like I said in in previous posts, our house in only 4 years old but it was trashed. The flooring has stains and holes in it, holes that go right through to the subfloor. This was something that definitely needed to get done. I would have loved to get tile, but it would have cost us twice as much. So we picked out a laminate that looked like stone. I will post pics of the final result.

Yesterday was a fun day. The Man was going to be gone all afternoon so I decided to have a me day. First, I went out for lunch at Wonder Sushi, and all you can eat sushi restuarant where I proceeded to stuff myself silly. Then I went to Costco down the street and picked up some of our usual necessities and also a pair of beautiful solar lights. I couldn't resist them. I thought our little front garden would be the perfect place for them and they do look great. Once our shrubs get bigger, I think they will fit in better.

Next it was to Angelo's. I have never been to that one before and it was huge. They are a wonderful deli/bakery that also sell imported European items and yesterday it was a mad house. I picked up a wonderful caeser salad for supper. I would have bought lots more but with out kitchen being out of order for a few days, it wasn't worth it.
My next stop was Linens 'n Things to pick up a shower gift for a shower I am going to next Sunday. I bought her an 11 piece margarita set that she wanted. They also had a neat glass rimmer set so I bought that too. I am including some of my favourite margarita recipes with her gift as well.

I got home around 3pm and set up my new solar lights and started on dinner. I wanted something simple as it was so hot out so we had BBQed asparagus and lemon/garlic shrimp and a caser salad. So was very good and certainly hit the spot.

Last night we finally got ahold of the kennel and took out Milly last night for her two night stay there. We figured that it would be easier if she was out of the house while the floor was going in as no one can walk on it while they are installing it. She hates being locked in a room so at least in the kennel she can run around. We board her at the place where we adopted her from and she has a good time out at the farm. Everytime we go out there, I want to bring 5 greyhounds back with me. They are just so beautiful and when I see them in their crates and their big brown eyes looking at me I just melt.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

My Favourite Family Recipe With Memories Included

Well it is finally that time of year when stalks of rhubarb are waiting to be cut.
My parents have always had a large batch of rhubarb growing in their backyard. As a kid, I can remember taking a freshly cut and cleaned stalk and dipping it in sugar and eating right in the backyard. Sweet and sour at the same time. My mom would also stew it by cooking cut rhubarb with a little bit of water and sugar until it was like jam. It was wonderful as is or over ice cream.
But my all time favourite recipe has to be my great-grandmother's rhubarb pie recipe. I can remember having this pie all summer long, every single year for as long as I can remember. When I got older, I started making them myself and delivering pieces to her in the nursing home. It always brought a smile to her face. After she passed away in 1993 and my grandmother was on her own, I would bring pieces of pie to her at her house, and later to her in the nursing home.
This recipe is one of those recipes that brings warm memories everytime I make a pie. I can still remember sitting on a high stool in my grandmother's kitchen watching her make this pie while my great-grandmother sat in the kitchen, just watching the two of us. My sister was to little to enjoy the cooking part but we could hear her watching cartoons in the living room. The four of us spent many days like this. How my sister and I loved to spend the day or the weekend with our grandmother and great-grandmother.
From when we learned to speak to the day she passed away, we called our great-grandmother "More Gram". We just couldn't understand what a great-grandmother was. We knew that she was our grandmother's mom and my mom's grandmother, but after that we just didn't get it. Mom tried to explain that she was more than a grandmother and after that, the name stuck. More Gram was a wonderful woman and I was so lucky to have her in my life until I was 21. She loved having her only 2 great grandkids over any time, any day. We played cards together, made meals, went shopping or just visited. She had a very large impact on my life and how I live it. She taught me the importance of family and of being together. One of the last things I told her that if I was to ever have a daughter, she would have the name Katharine.
I miss you More Gram.


More Gram's Rhubarb Custard Pie

4 cups cut rhubarb (or 3 cups + 1 cup cut strawberries)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. flour
pinch of salt
1 bottom pie shell

Mix all ingriedents together and add to an unbaked pie shell. There is no top crust to this pie.
Bake at 350 degrees for at least 70 minutes. In my oven it takes about 80 minutes. It will be done when the custard it set, and the top of the pie is golden brown and the rhubarb has dark golden brown edges.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Men Will Be Boys

I forgot to mention this yesterday but after reading Sylvana's post about watching a bar fight, it reminded me of the little excitement and fun we had Sunday night.
Our backyard looks out to a soccer field that is used for rec. leagues; girls, boys, and men. Sunday morning I was woken up by high pitched shouting from the girls teams that were playing. After the hockey game, we started BBQing our supper. I was inside getting something ready when I hear shouting, not at all unsual when the men play. Just then The Man shouts in that there was fighting going on. By the time I got ouside, the shoving match was over. I was sitting outside, waiting for supper, when the shouting starts up again and all of a sudden both benches clear, everyone is shouting at everyone and the poor referee is blowing his whistle, trying to diffuse the situation. The shouting and the shoving go on for at least 10 minutes, men are being carried off the field, spectators start yelling at the players and all the while we can hear the whistle of the referee, like that will work. All of our neighbours are outside watching at this point, having a good giggle. One of our neighbours yells down to us "Is this a hockey game"? More laughing from all the neighbours can be heard.
Finally after a few more shirtless guys are carried off, things start to calm down, everyone is walking away... until one dumb ass starts up again and both teams get back into it. The Man and I roll our eyes at each other and we can believe how out of hand this has gotten. Just let it go and walk away! What was really getting to me was watching the kids in the stands and the neighbourhood watching all of this. What does this teach them?
Sometimes it takes a real man to let it go and walk away. Better than staying and looking like an immature child.

A quick congrats to Christine for getting her caramel corn recipe published! I haven't tried it yet but it is copied and ready to go. ;-)

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