October 19, 2013

boo humbug

Confession time: I don't really like Halloween.

I dig the candy angle. Who could say no to bite-sized Mr. Goodbars? Crazy people, that's who.

And those green apple lollipops dipped in caramel sauce? Yup.

But I'm not really a fan of haunted houses, scary movies or potential rapists running around in masks. So, candy aside, this holiday really just doesn't do it for me.

Still, I feel the need to decorate at least a little bit for each holiday, even if I've had the same two Halloween decorations for the past five years - ghost garland from Michaels and a stuffed witch dog from Hallmark. This year I decided to throw a couple small pumpkins into the mix too. Crazy, I know!

My mom mailed me a cute card and a bag of Brach's candy corn last week so that should be good enough to hold me over until next year.

I suppose the best part about Halloween is that once it ends, the official holiday season begins.

I'm so looking forward to Christmas. There's presents. And pine trees. And advent calendars. And Julie Andrews singing about whiskers on kittens.

And there's bite-sized Mr. Goodbars wrapped in gold foil. Halloween candy is great but you just can't beat Christmas candy.

Okay, it's official - I'm ready for Christmas. But we have to get through Halloween and Thanksgiving first.

Boo humbug.

October 18, 2013

like young seagulls to old bread

Well, that was quick.

The new job I began two weeks ago is now my old job. I gave notice to my manager on Tuesday and worked my last shift on Wednesday.

It didn't take long for me to realize that working for Ann Taylor wasn't for me. I'd done it seven years ago when I was in college, but this time around I just felt lost.

I think it was midway through my first shift that I was searching for the exit door. I looked up from a perfectly folded pile of sweaters and realized that I'd just wasted an entire hour of my life smoothing the creases out of cardigans that would likely end up crumpled on a fitting room floor.

I also became acutely aware that I was the only adult in the room.

The only one not living with parents.

The only one with a college degree.

The only one with a massive amount of bills to pay.

The other girls found my age endlessly entertaining. During a casual conversation in the stock room, someone asked me how old I am and if I moved to Canada with my parents. I laughed and told her I moved out of my parents' place more than 10 years ago.

It was as though I'd dropped a breadcrumb on the beach. The other girls swooped in like seagulls, cawwing rapid fire questions. I imagined Ride of the Valkyries playing in the distance.

Am I really 28? Am I married?

Do I have kids? Why not?  Do I realize that most people my age already have kids?

They giggled at my answers, marveling at how someone "so old" could look so young. I looked for the nearest rock to crawl under and die.

Then came the crushing blow - someone asked what I'm doing working part-time at Ann Taylor. Don't I have a degree? Why am I not using it?

I didn't sleep much that night. And when the call came from a competitor's store for me to interview for a proper management position, I lunged at it.

I got the job, which starts Sunday.

I will not be sharing my age with anyone there. Only pearls of wisdom. You know, since that's what us old folk do.

October 17, 2013

first thanksgiving

My first Canadian Thanksgiving was this past Monday. It was a low-key affair between Bobby, his mother and myself. And Maple - can't forget about the little turkey monster.

Nancy took the train from Montreal a few days before the holiday and stayed with us over the long weekend. It was her first Thanksgiving in over 50 years without her husband, so although we were all happy to be together, there was a somberness that couldn't be shaken. 

Maple brought us some levity. She was in prime begging mode all day, particularly when Nancy was dressing the turkey.

Being as we don't have a dining room (and, subsequently, a proper dining table) we dragged the patio table into the living room and covered it with a tablecloth and a few candles to spruce it up. 

We had the usual Thanksgiving fare - turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans and biscuits with plenty of gravy and cranberry sauce - and watched Dancing With the Stars while we ate

There were solemn moments but there were also a few good laughs. After the year we've each had, I don't think it was lost on any of us how important it was to be together as a family, safe and well.

That is what I'm thankful for this year.

October 4, 2013

converted barn

When I couldn't make it to my cousin's wedding this summer due to immigration woes, my mom and I hatched a scheme to get the family together later in the year, once I could freely travel across the border.

We decided that my parents, Bobby and I will meet up in New York the week after Thanksgiving and split our time between Manhattan and Long Island. Hanukkah happens to fall during that week (unusually early this year!) and so does the Rockefeller Center tree lighting, which my mom really wants to see.

The timing is perfect and I think we all are desperately in need of a vacation.

Our biggest obstacle so far has been finding proper lodging, since I'm phobic about hotels and Bobby wants to stay in a B&B or some sort of colonial inn on Long Island.

After much trial and error, and learning just how expensive B&Bs on Long Island are, we finally decided on a converted barn in Bellport.

This place looks amazing. It's 3-bedrooms/3-baths spread across a barn that's been transformed into a living space with an attached cottage.

I'm so excited not only to see much of my family for the first time in more than a year, but to stay in such a lovely place.

Now for the really fun part: choosing a Broadway show, museums and activities!

October 3, 2013

first day

Today's my first day of work in a whole year. I'm feeling nervous about who I'll be working with and whether I'll like it or not.

The job isn't in my desired field and doesn't utilize my college degree at all. But money is tight and we need a second income. I'll continue to look for another job but for now this will have to do.

The hours vary from week to week so my days of hanging out with Maple from morning 'til night are over. For the last four months, since the day we got her, I have been something of a homemaker and that included taking care of her.

I decided to take her for a nice, long walk this afternoon, before I had to get ready for my first night shift. Thankfully it's just a 5 hour orientation so I won't be away too long, and Bobby will be getting home around the time I'm leaving.

But still, I wanted to take one more stroll with her down her favorite walking path.

I'm excited to meet new people and hopefully make some friends at my job, but my heart is heavy at the thought of my routine with Maple changing.

Watching this little dog's spirit blossom has been the highlight of my time in Canada so far. I'm glad she'll be there to greet me when I come home tonight.

October 1, 2013

vet visit

Today Maple went in for her yearly shots and a nail trim. An emergency came in right before us so our appointment was delayed 30 minutes. 

While we sat in the waiting room, one of the receptionists brought out a kitten named Bosco that the hospital was trying to adopt out. They handed him to Bobby who cradled him for the entire half hour. (If it wasn't for my severe allergy to cats, I'm fairly certain we would've come home with a new member of the family).

When they were finally ready for us, the doctor gave Maple a thorough exam. We asked about a hundred questions, like what happens when a dog goes into heat, how long we should let Maple's coat grow and what's involved in crossing the border with her in tow. She patiently answered all our questions before preparing the vaccinations. 

When it came time for the shots, Maple freaked out and flung herself off the table, kamikaze style. Luckily Bobby caught her before she hit the floor but she did hit the exam table's support bar on the way down. 

I stood, horrified, as I watched it happen in slow motion, but after we saw she was okay we all had a good laugh. Maple's kind of a schmuck sometimes.

On the way out we were informed that we wouldn't be charged for the nail trim because of how long we had to wait. I'm thinking they just pitied us for having a batcrap crazy dog.

Just another day in the life of Maple, our 10-pound bundle of nerves joy.

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