Vacation: I haz it again!

….well, technically I still have eight hours or so of work left to go, but hey, not sweating that little detail. (Primarily because I’m too busy sweating everything else, it having hit 42*C out there this afternoon. Having to walk home alongside a major highway in a heatwave: just one of the many, many little details I did not think through before moving to Brampton.)

Anyhoo, yeah, it’s been awhile. I’ve taken a few long weekends since this whole stress-o-rama started at work, but those were for, y’know, reasons. My main concern this upcoming week is to have as little purpose as possible, for as long as possible. And in the meantime, there will be chocolate.

And I can start it all early, that’s what really gets me. Back in my old department a week off would require a tense scramble first of all to find someone to replace me, meaning I’d just now be tearing my hair out listing all the things I hadn’t had a chance to fill my replacement in on, because I was frantically trying to get things done to the point where I had time to acknowledge her existence. Followed by an entire week spent fighting the urge to remotely check my email… and discovering, when I did give in around Thursday night, that I’d accumulated about 500 or so. Approximately 175 of which would be my replacement forwarding something and asking if I knew anything about it. Another 98 would involve Extremely Urgent Projects, with deadlines of, say, Monday, that never even got read.

Whereas here in Soft Home, I announced three weeks ago that I was taking this week off, and my buyer was all "Oh…OK."  All the deadlines just naturally resolved themselves around Tuesday noon, so by now I’m mostly about making sure I don’t have much to do the week I get back. With long, leisurely pauses to attend sample sales.
Not that I’ve been devalued, exactly — when I mentioned I was ‘thinking of moving’ the other day I had to add  ‘Apartments! Not departments!" really quick to prevent a major buyer meltdown — only that, well, you find yourself a lot closer to earth when the CEO is no longer just down the hall. Yes, I’m highly respected and completely irrelevant all at the same time! And it feels goooooooood.

So… I’ve got no money ’cause I’ve just paid the rent, but I do have this spacious, well-appointed — and let’s not forget air-conditioned! — apartment as a result… hello, pretend hotel suite!

I wonder how Pizza Pizza guys react when you call them ‘room service’…

Vacation: I haz it.

So I’m sitting here on Sunday night realising that I don’t have to go to work this week.

Truly. A switchover in HR systems about a month back led to the discovery of a kajilion or so banked vacation days, and the All-Powerful Accounting Magic (to which I occasionally sacrifice a spreadsheet by the light of the moon) has decreed that in order to free up the accumulated $$, the days must be taken by January 31st 2010.

I’ve been here five years, that gave me five days. My carpool driver was already taking off this week, so. This is not quite as unbearably cool as the one buyer who couldn’t figure out how to schedule so many days off, so decided she was going to sleep in ’till 10 every single day in January… but it is not hay.

I do not mind that I’m not going anywhere. I am frankly a little freaked out by how much I am revelling simply in having enough time to get everything done that I want to for once. That I don’t have to spend the weekend trying to make every moment of relaxation count, dammit!

Apparently I was a bit more tightly wound than even I suspected.

So let’s see…

I want to check out the newest ebook apps on iTunes.

I want to update & tidy my WordPress mirror blog.

I want to catch up on email correspondence.

I want to listen to my new audiobooks, and maybe actually finish one before the next credit comes through next month.

I want to finally decide whether to sign up for Twitter, & if I do, to get the hang of which feeds I want to follow.

I want to finish culling and sorting my photos.

I want to shamelessly sign up for eMusic just to get the 25 free downloads, which I will then shamelessly splurge mostly on Bob & Ray routines.

I want to finish signing up for the Author’s Den website — OK, OK, I need to actually post some stuff over there. Also find out how to turn off the flood of ‘helpful’ email newsletters. Not necessarily in that order; if many more helpful emails come through, my first piece might just be the touching tale of an author driven to run screaming out into traffic.

Um, move away from the computer? OK… I guess I could play with my kitten, do some baking, sleep in and watch cartoons every morning, read a couple books I’ve been putting off, experiment with my new makeup, go for long walks and just generally chill with friends and family… Oh, and Shoemom and I have booked an afternoon to finally go see the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit at the ROM.

Stress-free relaxation may be a bit tricker than I thought.

‘Tis the season to be snarky

Public-service announcement: Given that you’re all probably writhing in disappointment that I didn’t catalogue Little House’s hilariously blatant anachronisms in full below, I point out that others have gotten there first, and funnie. Here’s the most excellently ranty essay I’ve read on the subject yet.

Albeit it leaves out the one I especially liked: at the blind school, Mary presents her visiting parents with a (quite obviously modern) layer cake she made all by her little self — "I know it’s lopsided, but then my cakes were always lopsided!" D’awwwwww… um, wait. Just how much sugar, butter and white flour was available to a dirt-poor family on the 1880’s prairie, anyhow? Mary was sixteen when she went to the blind school.
I always figured that for what it cost to subsidise his daughter’s baking career Pa could easily have afforded that addition he never put on his two-room shanty. Carrie & Grace probably cursed those cakes with their dying breaths.


Otherwise, it’s Sunday, kinda cloudy, and I got nothin’. Except maybe relief that Hallowe’en is over for another year… another sweet, blissful year of not having to watch the neighborhood struggle with fake cobwebs.
Seriously. We are unclear on exactly why this particular decor choice bugs us more than, say, the plastic skeletons with cheery-boutonniere-wearing-tarantulas in their eye sockets; we only know that it does. It may be the sheer laziness of the thing. "Hey, Bob, we just string this-here stuff onto the hedge and whoooo! Looks spooky!"

No. No it does NOT. It looks like you voluntarily decorated your house in huge wads of dryer lint. Dryer lint is not spooky. STOP DOING THAT.

We also feel the need to point out the seasonal nastiness over on ‘realistic’ comic strip For Better or For Worse. We do not currently celebrate the holiday chez Shoe, of course, but this particular strip we see more as perpetrating crimes against childhood generally. Also we just like ragging on FBoFW whenever possible.

Honestly. ‘Honey, I’d like to throw the rest of that candy away now’? On the morning after Hallowe’en? The hell? Not only is Elly confiscating the candy pile before the poor kid’s even got through the good stuff (which, to a kid being confronted with that choice, is all of it, homemade popcorn included), she’s forcing him to admit it’s ‘the right thing to do’?!

Pre-enrollment as Witnesses, great ceremony attended the post-Hallowe’en candy sort chez Shoe — Shoemom even gave us tips on how to rank the pieces, albeit not necessarily helpful ones. ("You’re not gonna eat those brown molasses kisses? We had those when I was a kid! Those are the best ones!")
At any rate, once sorting and trading was over, the brown kisses were handed over to Shoemom en masse after one sample — leading to Dark Suspicions of her motives — and the rest was left to us. If we gorged ourselves right away, we only had ourselves to blame for the consequences; but interestingly enough, we more often saved them. I think we were overwhelmed by the responsibility of it all. Having all the candy you want, to a little kid, is Serious Business.

As is nicely illustrated by little Mikey’s content in the last panel, having learned that in order to keep his goodies he must not only whoof them down like hyenas on the veldt, but lie, cheat and steal to and from trusting family members. "Survival of the fittest… and besides, it’s fun!"

All of which is the longform version of: Elly may have taken off her pointy hat and nose warts, but she’s still in costume.