Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Gainful Employment

I got a job! I had interviewed, probably back in September for a part time position at an international cosmetics* company but, alas, didn't get the job. I avoided the shop for a while but on Friday, when I was in the mall to have my eyes checked, I stopped in to pick something up. The manager remembered me, asked if I was still looking for work, and if I wanted a seasonal position starting Monday (yesterday). Um, yeah! I spent the rest of the day buzzing around, planning celebratory things to buy with my first pay cheque (none of which I've bought yet - see, I have self-restraint).

Yesterday was my first day, a 4hr shift. I'm guaranteed 4hrs a week which is a minimum and the opposite of the US system which seems more geared towards maximums. This week, for example, I have another 4-hr shift scheduled for Friday. The schedule is called the "rota". That was a bit of confusion as my request for the "skedu-ol"** was met with blank looks and I tried to talk my way around what a schedule is ("uh, hours and days when one will be working?") while miming a sort of calendar. Rota. Right. The day was a bit higgledy-piggledy, or as my manager put it, "we're all at sixes and sevens right now."

I spent most of my day restocking shelves, which is generally a good way to learn the product. I have the advantage of having been a fairly loyal customer for years, but things move around and there's a different level of attention given to browsing and knowing the stock. I didn't get any training on register but I did sell a woman two bottles of perfume (for her mother) and ring her up on my manager's till (while my manager stood next to me and told me which buttons to press). I was also taught how to enter and exit the store without tripping the people-counter which corporate uses to track customers vs sales.

As far as dress code goes, we only explicitly covered the need to keep one's hair back off of one's face and wear "five points" of make-up. Five points wasn't clearly defined, but I took it to mean five items of make-up with things like multiple shades of eye shadow being counted as one. So mascara (ma-SCAR-ah not ma-SCARE-a), eye shadow, foundation, blush, lipstick (lippy). This explains the dichotomy between fully made up faces and less than perfectly coiffed hair and a t-shirt. Normally I'd take a dim view of dress codes requiring make-up but, as part of the job is specifically selling make-up, it seems reasonable. Happily I'll be given "five points" of make-up, hopefully at my discretion. Wearing make-up once or twice a week is "fun dress-up" territory, right?

The other dress code we covered (minus a couple of allusions to not wearing flip flops or sandals) was a seasonal red t-shirt exhorting the happiness to be found in giving CosmeticsCompany gifts. My manager said they originally sent out one size of ridiculously small t-shirts that she wasn't confident would fit an 8 year-old and managed to get some larger ones in. The larger ones are "medium" and don't fit over my considerable bosom so it has been suggested that I just wear a red t-shirt of my own and she'll try and get a larger (x-large) shirt for me. I find it somewhat unlikely that I'm the only medium+ employee on the sales floor.

I also got to watch a Health and Safety video which could have been greatly improved had it delivered on the implied promise of potentially dangerous situations ending badly. The video demonstrated the proper technique for cleaning shelves - almost elbow-length rubber gloves and a clear plastic welder-style face mask (the bit about taking everything off a given shelf, wiping it down, and putting it back was merely implied). The not-properly-instructed-in-H&S employee (who was just wiping around the objects on the shelf) cut his un-gloved hand on a shard of glass and then decided to spray the cleanser directly into the open wound - between sucking on the cut and bandaging it roughly with the dirty cleaning cloth. As you do.

I have a few more seasonal or part time things floating around out there, so hopefully this is the start of a busier, less financially dependant, period in my life.

* in the broader soaps, perfumes, lotions sense of cosmetics in addition to the "make-up" sense

** as opposed to the British "shhed-ule

Monday, 7 November 2011

November is not a good month for socks

Remember the Brainless Socks that I knit for my husband? He wore them and gave them back to me for laundering a few times and then he forgot and threw them in the regular wash and, well, felted them. They're much thicker and several sizes smaller than they were, too small for either of our feet. We need a 10yo child to wear them, on a cold day. He's absolutely heart broken about it but fortunately I picked up the yarn at the LYS in town so we went back and bought another skein (plus one for me!) and I'll knit up another pair.

In other news, my Purple Peace socks prooved too small to pull up past my ankle so, after redoing the heel 3 or 4 times, I frogged them and am now using the yarn for a pair of Brainless socks for me (72 stitches, 1.5mm needles). They're knitting up as quickly as one could expect at such a fine gauge. I'll use the (also purple - they only had the green/orange "fern" colourway and purple) yarn I picked up at the LYS for another run at Purple Peace in something resembling gauge. I'd already played with the pattern as much as I was comfortable with my limited (3 pairs finished) sock experience.

I finished my Sheep Heid and it was a joy to knit. I whipped it up in one weekend and could hardly stop myself from knitting one more row so I could watch the pattern progress. At the end I had 75 ends to weave in. Chris counted the cut off ends and gave me a smooch for each one. I was good and didn't cut the ends in half for extra smooches, though we disagreed about the smooch-count so, depending on who you ask, I may have got extras anyway. I apologize for the less-than-stellar photo. I wanted to take better pictures, outdoors and in sunshine, but haven't gotten around to it and I was holding up this post for waiting.

I also finished a Fair Isle hat with ear flaps for Chris. His ears get rather cold and hang out in the gap between his hats and scarves so I adapted a children's pattern for a large adult head. It's a wool/alpaca blend and quite itchy on his delicate skin so we bought a cotton head band for him to wear under the hat. I have one as well and they're perfect for wool-sensitive skin. I still need to knit a pair of convertible mittens for him, and then I will have secured my claim for the title of Best Wife Ever.

I started a scarf I'd been eyeing for years, as part of a scarf and tam set, and it has given me nothing but trouble. I re-knit each section twice to get them right and then realized it was supposed to be knit in garter stitch, not the stockingette I had defaulted to, so I had to frog the whole thing and start over. Now, past the point where I frogged it, I find I'm back to knitting a few rows and ripping back so I'll probably ditch the whole project. The phrase I'm looking for is "Meh.". I'm just not feeling the love, so I'm not really paying attention, and I keep making mistakes. Thus the progress on the Brainless Socks that I can knit while reading.

~ * ~

In other news, our dishwasher is still broken. The repair man came back this morning with the parts he'd ordered last week and fixed the machine and announced that something else was broken and he'd have to order that. Chris, who has been washing dishes twice a day (I dry and put away) declared that if this doesn't do it, he's going to buy whatever washing machine is in stock and can be installed that day and be done with it.

We had Aged Parent*, Chris' father, over for Sunday Dinner last weekend. Oliver and Libby eventually warmed up to his being here and, while they stayed out of his reach, they forgot themselves enough to run around like mad things, much to Aged Parent's amusement. When we saw him yesterday he greeted us with, "how are the maniacs?" We get that a lot, from the very few people who see them with their guard down. We made an Asian-fusion beef and mushroom pie, served with mashed potatoes and buttered Brussel sprouts for dinner. We split the pie filling, freezing half and using the rest for the pie. Of the half we baked we dished out a third and served a third of that to each of us. Chris and I, in our very first forkful, each bit into one of the two star anise seed pods. It's not a very good telling of the story, but I continue to be bemused that, with 1/18th of the pie on our plates we got both seed pods in the first tasting.

After a fortnight of "warm" weather, it's started to be seasonably chilly (happily, given the woollen accessories I want to show off!). Aged Parent called on Sunday to tell us that it was too cold for us to walk over. It was cooler than it had been but still well above freezing. There was a time when I visited Aged Parent on alternate weeks so Chris could have some time with his father and, while Aged Parent would call for the least reason and tell Chris not to risk coming, on the weeks I was to visit, be it floods, fires, or blizzards, nothing would be said of staying home. Guess we know I'm family, now.

* Great Expectations reference