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Here in Ontario, more things opened up this week. Basically, if you can do curbside/delivery or (in some special cases) adhere to the rules that pharmacies and grocery stores have been following, you can open, regardless of what claim you may have to being essential.

Essential. Like, say, liquor stores.

I hadn't been to one in a couple of weeks, but now that they're taking back returns again, I gathered up our accumulated bottles and cans and went to the nearest Beer Store. I was third in the returns line. I might have just passed them off to someone. The grizzled, weathered-faced man ahead of me could have used them. However, they're only taking one load at a time from any one person, with a load loosely defined by plastic garbage cans they set up outside for our use. The man ahead of me was clearly pushing the limit.

First-in-line scavenges, collecting cans from wherever he can get them. Some of the university students remain in town, and he knows, he told us, certain porches. He was interrupted at one the night before, by a young scholar who thought someone was trying to break into the house. "'I'm just collecting yer empties,' I told the guy." Apparently, the tenant accepted the reasoning, and he went inside. Doubtless they'd left their empties on the porch because the thought of returning them was now onerous. "I don't take the bottles, though," said the weathered-faced man. "Someone else can get those. Too heavy for what ya get. Hard to walk with a lot of glass bottles." I nodded. "Hey, how much longer?"

I looked at my cell-phone. "Four more minutes." A couple of those passed. Security provided instructions for the new arrivals.

"They gotta open the schools back up," first-in-line said, decisively. "Not right, kids being out of school."

"They have online learning."

"Yeah, that ain't right," he said, "Kids need guidance." He paused a minute. "Good haul," he said, indicating his plastic garbage-can. "I probably got enough for a six-pack in there."

I returned my cans and bottles but made no purchase. It's a smaller outlet with limited choices. I went instead to the LCBO, and was surprised to see no line-up. Of course, with the changes this week, a lot of people are either going to work or purchasing previously-unavailable items.

At home, I logged back on to work. I will continue from home until at least the end of the month. We have an online meeting tomorrow that (rumour has it) will provide information on the likelihood of returning to the physical building in June.

In the evening, my department held a small Zoom party. It was good to talk to them in a social setting again.

Outside, I suppose, somewhere, the intrepid forager made his way along the streets and down the alleys, collecting cans (no bottles, please!) for the next morning's run.

Today was tough. I woke up early enough to get to work ahead of schedule, and ended up being three minutes late. While not the end of the world, it threw me off balance, and I felt bad about it. Since I have started so many jobs, you might think I was a pro at it, and maybe I'm ahead of others, but I still feel the same apprehension, nervousness, and anxiety that I've felt in the past. The woman who is supposed to be training me is very busy, she's a hard worker who has way too much on her plate. The other day she said she was the most grateful that I had been hired, and I strive to be an asset to the company rather than a liability. Some time ago I was reading about birth order, and I felt like I could identify with a lot of what the post said about being the first or oldest child. I was on edge the entire day, went for a short walk during lunch, and almost ended up in tears several times.

The next time I feel like that I'm going to have a strategy in place to deal with those feelings so I avoid doing what I did today, hit the store and spend too much. I can justify some of the purchases and treats, rather than the amount of money I spent, or the items I purchased, it's the motivation behind the behavior. It was escape, and for a very short while, it worked. I now have ten boxes of cereal I wouldn't have bought in other circumstances, the one thing I really wanted, coconut milk, never made it into my cart. I also bought myself some tea, candles, two more silicone ice cube trays, two cupcake trays prefilled with silicone liners, a silicone baking mat, half quart Mason jars, trail mix, a bottle of olive oil pressed with Meyer lemon that I'm going to take into work, four rock hard avocadoes, and a fresh bottle of melatonin

Rather than dwell on how I felt, I want to reflect on what has been going well. Having off was one of the best things that has ever happened to me. A good friend had a complimentary thing to say about how I used my time, and I'm going to agree with her. While there is always room for improvement, I did a lot to focus on what I could control. I looked for a job without letting being out of work consume me, I was more active, I spent more time cooking, and I started thinking about my self, and my life differently. I solidified a morning routine, and I'm not going to get upset by being thrown off during a first week of work. I remember going back to work after getting divorced, the last couple of jobs I started, and now I want to go back in time and throw my arms around that poor person who was so unprepared for just about everything.

Even though I had my doubts about receiving a job offer, I walked out of that interview feeling as if I had nailed it. I'm really glad I ordered some new clothes, I'm smarter about my wardrobe now, I'll get some clothes from work, and I love being able to wear virtually whatever I want into work. Today the woman I work with was wearing these black pants that weren't leggings or yoga pants in my book, but not far from it either. She had a Harley Davidson tee on under her ripped jean jacket, and I felt very overdressed by comparison. I feel like she tends to be a very in the moment type person, and I appreciate that about her. I feel bad that her desk is piled high with papers while mine is comparatively organized, but also realized that this situation can potentially change, and sometimes, people just have their own style, and it doesn't necessarily mean that they are inefficient.

I feel good about the company in general even if some of their hiring decisions frustrate me. They gave me a job, and I'm incredibly grateful for that, more so now that so many are out of work. I've already made an impact by rearranging some office furniture, cleaning out some old files, and in general being a cheerful, amusing, and playful employee. I'm happy that we provide the services that we do, I feel needed, wanted, generally appreciated, and as if their hands off management approach is a good fit for my distaste of being hovered over and told what to do. One thing I really like about the main owner of the company is how even though he doesn't really stand over people telling them what to do, he does keep up a fairly steady stream of conversation. He's pretty candid, and openly shares his thoughts on other employees as well as customers. I much prefer that to some passively aggressive people I've worked for in the past.

They told me that I can expect a raise in thirty days, depending on performance, I'm also supposed to take a mandatory drug test, but suspect that's on the back burner since we are busy, and they're pretty good about sizing people up. While I could be hiding or harboring a hard core drug addiction, it's probably a low priority on their list, and that makes me feel good about the level of trust they have in me. Today they left me alone for about an hour and a half. I was also given a key and instructions on how to lock up since everyone else would be gone when I left. It was nice to have the time alone when I was feeling fragile, it was also super nice to have the peace and quiet. I tried to maintain a high level of productivity and thankfully they seem to be the types of people who realize that someone who is on their third day is not going to accomplish earth shattering amounts of work which is good because this planet would no longer exist. 

I'm exhausted, but thankfully there are only two days left, and we get off at 4:00 PM on Friday afternoons which I love.

Until next time,


P.S. These new candles are wonderful, I really hope this store keeps stocking them, and am glad I indulged. Mahogany and vetiver would not have been my first choice, but it's so warm and comforting...





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