Dog on a Bus

Last week was a really hard week. When I first found out about my job, I had a sense of relief because there were some things going on that didn't work for me... and then I had extra energy to run around so ran around all day doing errands...and then I crashed.

Then I started to worry....and get down....and then get even more upset....and I just had a crappy week overall.

Saturday was a complete wash (literally - we had monsoon like storms...), but Sunday I had the task of doing something nice for myself. Have you ever tried to just "do something nice for yourself"? For me, it took a lot of thought. I went shopping....but I don't want to spend a lot of money and I don't really enjoy the shopping experience. I thought about getting a pedicure...but I don't really need one for a couple of weeks and I don't really like the experience of it all, I go for the end result...so I gave up.

And then I was reminded about this little kitsch market that I saw on Facebook that was happening near Old Montreal.

I dumped my collection of change, grabbed some ice packs and water for the dog, my dog carrying bag, and my purse and off we went. It was about 5pm, so it was cool enough in the day for walking around.




It's been REALLY hot here for...maybe a month? So Maggie's walks have been pretty low-key and boring. It was finally cool enough for her to run her little tail off, so she was pretty excited. We walked to the bus stop (ok, we ran because she was super excited to get out of the house), I gave her some water before the bus came, and then stuck her in my crazy dog lady bag.

I can't remember if I've mentioned this, but she knows the word "hide" in French (that I've taught her...so why don't I start teaching her freaking English words! I keep forgetting!). She hid while I paid the bus fare and the entire time we were on the bus.

We got off at our stop and walked to where the market was supposed to be.

If you can read the sign, it's actually a community beach that's here all summer long. They had beach games, sand, a couple of food trucks, and a bar. Because they served alcohol, they had to check my bag before I came in...and that was a little awkward. 'Cause my dog was in my bag?? And I look like JUST A BIT of a weirdo?? Anyway, the guy told me dogs were allowed, so she got out of the bag and we just chilled. I had a drink and then decided to keep walking to Old Montreal, which I thought was only a few blocks away.

It ended up being quite a bit farther than I thought, but I had nothing to do, so we just kept walking. Well, Maggie would take a break in her cooler bag..

As you can see, she's pretty comfortable. I carry it with my arm down usually so she's closer to the ground and not many people notice me carrying my dog in a bag since they aren't looking down.

Unfortunately, my phone was almost dead so I didn't take any photos but the area was bumpin'! So many food trucks, markets, a zipline, boat tours, a pirate ship with some kind of activity. I just walked around and picked out paintings for my house that I will never buy because they are ridiculously expensive.

It ended up getting so late that it was getting dark and since I don't know the bus schedule that well and I had a blister on one of my feet, I walked to a hotel and had them call me a taxi.

Again, Maggie hid in the bag while we were in the taxi. She's pretty smart.

So I found something nice for myself. To just get out of the house and play tourist in my own city - WITHOUT DRIVING (this would have done me in for sure). It was super relaxing and at the end of the day my pedometer/watch said I walked over 12km throughout the day!


I had plans this week to do office/computer/job hunt work in the morning, meet my boyfriend for lunch, and then sit at the pool for a couple of hours, and then at night rest or work on my apartment, but this week has other plans for me. It's been raining every day...I won't complain because I think we needed some cooler temperatures, but no pool time for me this week.

Tomorrow I have a meeting with a recruiter. Nothing really interesting other than a face-to-face requiring me to get all dressed up and network. Oh well. At least it keeps me busy....

Social Media Life

Hey there.

Happy Two Week Unemployment anniversary to me!!

No job leads, but I'm still in the early days. I haven't even contacted every single recruiter or really set myself up to do some serious job hunting. I'm still kind of getting things organized...I was on a roll since last week, running around doing errands and crossing things off of my to do list faster than I thought possible.

Then on Sunday...and yesterday, things came to a halt pretty quick. I had a bad couple of days. Maybe it was the weather. Maybe it was me missing my family - it was pretty cool that they lived a five minute drive away from me....but who knows.

I've had this conversation several times with several people - and I try not to do that on my blog, but in general, on social media, everyone's life is really great and sunny. Ok, maybe the odd bad experience or trying time is posted, but in general, if you looked at someone's Facebook page, you'd see photos of smiles, laughter, and fun times. 'Cause no one really wants to take photos of crying faces, days spent in bed depressed, or whatever "I'm so overwhelmed with life" looks like. In fact, I think if I posted that as a status, many people would be concerned and my phone would be ringing off the hook, when in reality, I think many people have this feeling.

So, if I were totally honest on Facebook, I would write:
  • That I'm officially newly divorced and it makes me sad, relieved, angry, and resentful
  • That I'm very angry and discouraged with a few people that I worked with at my last job, and I feel really crappy that I believed everything that was said to me, instead of going with my gut.
  • That I feel that I've had a few experiences where I've been treated really unfairly and I'm even more frustrated at myself because I think I should have been able to see through these experiences
  • That I have the odd day where my anxiety takes over and I just simply "exist" for the day. My brain is in a far away place and it's not very nice to be around me.
  • That I have so many insecurities right now and I am constantly asking for validation for the simplest of things. I sent a photo of a PILLOW COVER to THREE different people asking if it matched. A PILLOW COVER.
  • That I want to spend more time with friends, but I get social anxiety.
  • That I see a shrink to help manage my life and learn about what's really bothering me.
But my actual Facebook status is pretty freaking cheerful, smothered with photos of the dog doing random things, updates about my apartment, and "shares" of funny articles.

So right now in my life - things are kind of shit. BUT, the difference between having a shitty time now vs. having a shitty time one or two years ago, is that I know I'm going to be fine. I don't know HOW I'm going to be fine and I'm sure there will be some concessions and compromises that need to be made, but I know that I'm going to make it out ok. I have friends, and family, and Maggie, and a better disposition than I did a year or two ago....and I know that this too shall pass.

I don't know what prompted me to write about this now... I guess because I'm not sleeping very well, I'm not eating very well, and my brain is all over the place. When I'm processing stuff, it comes out in my dreams...which pretty much sucks. I dream all kinds of things and lately, I'm fighting with a lot of people from my past (which makes sense given what's going on).

But enough about the shit part of life. I'm off with my new "To Do List" notepad that I got yesterday (from Dollarama, of course) and off to meet that guy at a park downtown for lunch in the park. We don't eat, we just sit and chill, but it's certainly a highlight of my day.

Happy Tuesday everyone.

Sunday Morning

Happy Sunday!

I thought that after my family left that I would be a lazy bones, postponing all of the house "to do" stuff because I pretty much am the best procrastinator for those kinds of things. But nope, I found a drill (borrowed), I took down a bathroom storage cabinet that was the biggest piece of crap and a waste of money, and did nothing but errands yesterday...and am ahead of myself errands-wise. Maybe it's a coping mechanism for being unemployed, but I'd rather think that it's because I have a pretty home that I just want to make prettier.

Yesterday I put together my dining room table which was no easy feat. The instructions were easy, but even with a drill, it was extremely difficult and took A LOT of strength! I've never had to put together something that required so much...brawn. (Yes, I'm pretty much saying I'm strong. So would you if you saw me carry stuff up and down my front stairs). :P

As we speak, I just moved into my "reading area", or I might name my "computer area" because it's where I come each morning with my coffee and read the news online, check Facebook, and check my email. It's the cutest little area. Before that, Maggie and I were sitting outside on my back terrace. Don't think I'm all fancy - Montreal people call patios or balconies, "terraces". The back one has a little chair and table set and Maggie could pretty much live out there, except it's MEGA hot, so we moved inside.


 My downstairs neighbours (the ones that used to live here) have a pretty good little garden going. It's weird....I rarely see anyone that lives here.
And yeah, I rock the morning hair. This is pretty tame compared to some days.

Today is more errand running. I'm still using a box as a TV stand and I need a bathroom cabinet/organizer. I have to be pretty careful with my wallet since I'm not working....but I also don't want to live like I'm in "moving mode" while I'm looking for a job. If I can find some little extras like cushion covers to brighten up my living room, all the better. And I'm still waiting for a lightbulb extender since even if I stand on a ladder, I can't change one of the lightbulbs in my house (and it happens to lead to my front stairs which are very steep...so I figured it's kinda important).

I don't think I've ever been a "nesting" kind of person or a "home" kind of person and I'm actually enjoying it. Ok, so my grandma and aunt pretty much held my hand through most of it and encouraged me to spend my money for the necessities (like a table!!!), otherwise I would be eating on paper plates on the floor with the excuse that I can't spend a dime until I'm working again. I had a moving fund set aside....and I spent it.

I've been kind of....I don't know, a bit sad since my family left. It was so cool, I drove 7 minutes to pick them up and we could see each other as we liked. We didn't live in the same place so it wasn't as overwhelming as living with your relatives for two weeks. I happened to drive near the area they were staying, and my heart felt a little tug as I wished that they lived there all of the time. But they don't.

But I can still call/text them and it's nice to see that my family from way out West can come and visit me anytime (with the only limitation of the price of a freaking airplane ticket....they could have gone to Europe I'm sure for the same price...). There are a few people that I'd like to get out here, my cousins, my uncle, of course my mom since she hasn't really seen "Montreal", and I think my dad and his wife would enjoy it too.

Well, I'm off for the day. I'm meeting a friend and we are going to be brave and bear the traffic/crowds (I'm making her drive because I can't handle it anymore....too much driving....too many insane Montrealers....I can't handle it!!).

I hope everyone has a wonderful Sunday.

Nicole :)

The new place - Part 1


Hey! Remember me? I'm the newly-moved, jobless, Montrealer. That's right. I'm officially considering myself a Montrealer. I think after the last couple of weeks, it's legit! And while the jobless part pretty much sucks b@lls...well, it happens. Especially in Montreal. But I have a feeling that I'll figure things out.

This photo was taken on Wednesday because I had a Skype meeting with a recruiting firm. It's pretty much the only way that I find a job in my field, so I spent an extra five minutes and put on some makeup. I barely recognized myself!! The meeting went good, but right now it's all hypotheticals - nothing concrete -  and I'm the new meat on the market (job wise) so I can expect a lot of action in the beginning from all of the head hunters. But it's better than no action!! And it's good for my self esteem.

But this post isn't to talk about my employment status...it's to show you my new apartment!

It seems like months ago that I took the tour of my empty apartment and left extremely discouraged and overwhelmed. So overwhelmed.
 Blue, grey, green, and RED. Paint all over the floors - in fact paint all over everything!
 Maggie kinda liked it right from the beginning. It's build in the early 1900s and is on the 3rd (technically 2nd) floor. With very, very curvy and steep staircases. I've been impressed that La Maggie has been able to climb them as they seem almost bigger than her!




Looks freaking awesome, hey? I left in tears....I couldn't figure out how I would ever make this disaster my home.

 Before I moved in, my landlords had their contractor come in and redo the patching... but it wasn't great. The laws here are pretty lax, but they said they would pay for white paint or I could use the leftovers that the ex-renters left. I thought white would look a little blahhhh....and this was a "character apartment" after all, so I decided to keep the odd color scheme.

I also came in and scrubbed, scrubbed, and scrubbed!!! Dollarama Spic n' Span  + major elbow grease to the rescue!!!
And then, the movers came. I had my stuff in storage for years and years. I didn't even know what I had. I REALLY didn't know I had such HUGE furniture!!

This isn't a loveseat, it's a chair...it's that big. Plus the wooden chair on the right side which I could never, ever part with it. Of all things, my grandpa found it as it was being thrown away.
 And the couch took up the entire living room...never mind the giant coffee table!
 The movers ($150 an hour) had a hard time getting the couch in.
And since they charged $150/hr, you better believe I worked my ass off!!! I climbed those stairs and worked A LOT. I was COVERED in sweat!

Then the appliances came. It kind of hid the disgusting green color. (It's very common to have washer/dryer in the kitchen here. Either that or the bathroom. Not my favorite thing in the world..)
Even the appliances overwhelmed me. They seemed so big...and I'll be paying them off for the next 36, no, 33 months.

La Maggie was a trooper. Whererver I went, she went. But, the A/C in my car is broken, and some days were +35*C, so I put these bags full of ice cubes on her back and tucked it into her collar so that she would stay cool. Seems silly, but the last time I let her overheat she got really sick!! She honestly didn't mind.
Then, the ladies came. Oh, dear God. What did I ever do to deserve such wonderful movers. They had a plan, or they made up a plan, and by day two we had moved out of the old house, scrubbed it perfectly clean, and moved everything up the 2 sets of stairs into the new place. It was hot, we were already tired, so we all had a beer. I think I drank 1/2 of mine or I would have been tipsy!!
Too bad the photo didn't turn out, but I wanted proof that I was drinking WELL before noon!

I went back to the old place for the last load and sat on the terrace for a couple of minutes. At this point my new place looked like a war zone...and I was sad to leave my...old place. My escape. My cozy little one bedroom that held a lot of memories (and even more tears). I had never really been attached to a place before this one....but I had a hard time leaving it and not breaking down.

I told you, Maggie goes everywhere with me. She's great at hiding in reusable grocery bags or hangs out in the basket. Here we were at Dollarama stocking up on cleaning supplies and random supplies.

We started to unpack boxes....and I found a jewelry box with my first ring. I'm not sure what to do with it, but I want to wear it somehow! There's a little "N" inscribed with my birthstone. So tiny!!

By the 2nd day, grams and auntie had set up my bed so that I'd have a comfy place to sleep! That pink blanket, by the way, was knitted by my grandma probably before I was born. I've grown up with it and I just couldn't let her get rid of it!
 On to my storage. It's a real live bunker.

 The photos don't show how big it is and how it's divide into three areas that lock (since there are three families that live in my building). Just as I was leaving, the wind came and blew the door shut...you better believe I ran out of there screaming!!!
I've been down there twice since...and I freak out each and every time.

Maggie helped to paint too....
And things started to slowly come together!!! (The tag is still on my coffee table....my things are well used, hey?)
 The red was quickly replaced with white and taupe. It looks awesome!!
 And my bedroom was all pretty.
After seven days or so, we went to Quebec City!! This was always on the agenda, kind of like the actual "vacation" part of my grandma and aunt's vacation! It rained the entire time, so the ladies bought the required blue ponchos. I have maybe two photos my family and I. I'm so disappointed!
 We took a tour bus, but they didn't feel like freezing their asses off and getting wet. This reminded me of the time that two friends and I did the open tour bus in Paris in the middle of November. We froze a lot more I think!
I'll save the Quebec trip for a separate post (and I'll try to find some photos!!!).

It was only two nights and then we were back to the new place. My job was to put together a bookcase. Except...I put in most of the shelves upside down (with their supports upside down as well) so the bookshelf ....well, is going to be upside down. I tried taking it apart...but it's going to fall apart if I do that...so we'll just pretend it looks nice.
 And I put together my makeshift linen closet (the brown-black thing) and rehung my Madagascar print. This thing is like five feet long and the most hideous thing that I can possibly imagine. But I paid like a stupid amount of money to frame it, so I've kept it. And maybe...just maybe, I'll keep it here. (Otherwise it's going in the spare bedroom).
And yesterday makes the first official workout in my apartment!! It was all kinds of amazing. I haven't worked out in over two weeks...but that's because I've been doing a good five hours of manual labour almost every day!!
I don't know how I would have gone through this move if my grandma and aunt hadn't come. I was able to share tears, many MANY laughs, and they were the seriously the best moving team I could ever imagine, and they deserve their own reality tv show. I'm not kidding.

I'm slowly finishing the little things. Putting together the dining room table, finding a bathroom shelf that isn't the biggest piece of crap, drilling holes for hooks around the house, and returning stuff. The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind...and I'll show you the final product very soon!!

190000 emotions

My grandma, aunt, and I are staying in the cutest and most interesting apartment in Quebec City. From the back, it looks like a barn and I was kind of worried that Airbnb had let me down...but once we got inside we were very impressed. Ten feet ceilings and clean, with huge bedrooms and big beds to sleep in. I was prepared to sleep on the futon, but my very accommodating ladies decided to give me the bed and share one to themselves. :)

I have about 190000 emotions here.

I haven't been to Quebec City since my split. And...my Quebec City was where my ex's family lived....and where they made me feel like their family while I was so far away from my family. There are also some good memories here had with my ex and his children...that are hard to remember.

And there's the whole losing my job thing. It wasn't a great experience and I'm a little lost, angry, and worried...and I'm feeling pretty fragile.

There's also the bittersweet aspect of my grandpa. We always promised him that we'd take him here when he got better. He never got better. And now here we are. He's here with us...and I had to sit down on a bench for a few minutes and have a good cry. I can picture him asking me how to say a word in French, him totally butchering it, and then asking me sixty more times how to say that word in French and laughing all the way. I can picture him being impressed with the architecture, complaining about the food (he was the funniest of eaters), and just enjoying himself. I'm sad that he's not walking beside my grandma.

But, I'm happy that my family is here. My aunt and grandma could probably have their own reality tv series..., "The Unworldly Travellers", where they'd be filmed on all of their travels. In the last two years, they've been to Las Vegas for a family wedding, Mexico right after my grandpa passed away, driven to British Columbia to visit my mom and a second cousin, and flown to Montreal twice (including this time). I say this lovingly, but I want to record them for thirty minutes and play it back to them, because they sound freaking hilarious. They had a good twenty minute discussion on the way here (if not more) if the green stuff on the left side of the road was reeds or grass and if so, what kind.

As for me, I know that I'll be ok. I feel it in my heart. But I'm sad. I've gone through a lot....and I continue to go through a lot.

But I'm extremely grateful. I overheard my aunt thanking my grandma for bringing her out here. And I thought....my aunt is thankful for flying over four hours to come and work her ass off scrubbing, cleaning, painting, sanding, moving, and unpacking for seven days straight? Now that's family for you.

Tomorrow we'll leave and go back to some kind of semblance of reality....whatever that is right now...

It was a nice visit, I'm very glad I came here, and I'm looking forward to returning to my new home.

quick update

I have no words (& will upload tons of photos) for the amazing work my grandma & aunt have helped me with.


They arrived at a run down "character" apartment....and its slowly turning into a BEAUTIFUL home...room by room.


And some more news....I'll be able to help them for the remainder of their trip....because today was my last day at my work.


No current prospects. Shitty timing. Things were never right from day 1....& things were never right on the last day.


Taking some time to let things sink in, to help my family help make my home, and to be thankful for all that I have.

Home

After nights of worrying, working, and cleaning, everything is out of the old place. THANKFULLY, I had my aunt and grandma to speed up the process this morning....I am possibly the worst packer in the world. But we left my old place spic and span....cleaner than when I moved in.

I'm writing from MY COUCH that has been in storage for years, with my feet up on MY COFFEE TABLE, with the dog chillin' out beside me. She's been doing freaking awesome. As soon as everything was here, she kind of figured out that we are staying here. She even ate and requested more to eat, which is an amazing sign because usually when she's stressed she goes on a hunger strike.

I was pretty....sad to say goodbye to my old place (especially since it's perfectly clean and proper and my place is boxes and dust and needs to be painted), but I feel very well in my new place. Especially after my grandma and aunt were able to figure out how to arrange my furniture and have everything all work out nicely. I certainly don't have the eye for decorating and I would have never figured out how to do this.

My new place has so much character and is so cute, once the boxes are unpacked and my stuff is properly arranged...it will be pretty freaking amazing.

I'm lucky to be able to move on to a new place, and double lucky to have two of Alberta's best movers helping me out.

(And yes, in case you are wondering, if we had cameras following us all day, we would make a pretty spectacular reality tv show).