October 2014: Hello 30, Hannah visits & some cats

November 1, 2014

When life gives you lemons, buy beautiful and expensive cats.

So while I was drowning in shit at the call centre, Roisin spotted a kitten on Facebook while stalking Ragtown Cattery (ragdoll cat breeders). This spurred one of our more ill-timed and yet fantastic purchases: Orlaith (pretentious Irish name sounds like: Orla), a seal bicolour kitten.

But then we went to visit this wee kitten a few weeks before she was ready to come home with us and Sandy, our breeder, was telling us about this boy kitten that she had that was shy and really quiet and how she was worried about which home he’d end up at. Enter: Charlie, lynx-mitted, ill-timed fantastic purchase #2.

The two cats are from entirely different litters, born one day apart and they’re so bloody different. Orlaith is dainty – hella tiny. Charlie is massive, a true gentle giant with the fluffiest fur. I’m kind of in love with them. They arrived at the very end of September, just a couple days before my birthday.

My 30th birthday took place on October 1st, it wasn’t too fancy. I watched Home Alone as I do every year while eating copious amounts of cake. We went out to the Keg for dinner as Roisin had never been, and we had a tasty meal.

While unemployed I was productive, making chili, soup and fish pie to freeze so I could avoid grocery shopping for weeks ;) I also think it helped with the kittens. They were my pals, keeping me focused as I raked the internet for all job prospects.

Thanksgiving came and went. It was my first since 2008 and I was a tiny bit gutted that I couldn’t stick around for the whole deal but cats and Roisin having to work got in the way. We had a short but fantastic visit with Hannah O’Reilly, Roisin’s BFF, and I got to meet her fiancĂ© Roy. Hannah showed us the joy of cats with plastic bags and Charlie made himself comfortable in the bag of Oreo dairymilk bars she brought with her from the UK. We took them to the Twisted Apron for breakfast and bid them adieu at Tim Hortons. Tres appropriate.

Ill-timed and yet fantastic purchase #3 was the fancy manicures we acquired. Roisin had been bugging my mum for ages for her to take her to get her nails done pretty like hers. So we had some fun at From Head to Toe.

Then after months of searching I started to get a few callbacks about some jobs. The Wine Rack came first so I will start working there PT in November. And then I got a call from Indigo as well (a different branch from Roisin’s), for a seasonal contract. So I’m going to try to juggle the two. I’ve done this before in university so I’m hoping it’ll be old hat. But I am really frustrated that I can’t just get one bloody job that ticks all the boxes. Not to mention, if I’m honest, at 30 returning to retail feels like I’m moving backwards through life. And I know I shouldn’t whine… but there you have it. *Insert audible sound here*

I also got a call for a gig as a receptionist for a doctor’s office. But I am so god awful at mathematics that after doing their three-page test, which included an entire page of equations, I never heard back. I am winning.

So it goes.

We also had an ill-timed and fantastic road trip last weekend. We went to Toronto with Holly and Dani to see our favourite Montreal band Diamond Bones play at Rancho Relaxo. We ate delicious food and had the BEST time. I can’t help but feel like we’re not going to be so carefree and slightly frivolous for a really long time. Winter is coming.

And then to cap things off we made ill-timed fantastic purchase #4: fancypants engagement rings from Elaine Ho. We eye-balled her stuff the entire time we were living in Montreal, and we finally decided to just say fuck it and get ourselves rings. Mine is 14K rose gold with a black diamond. Roisin’s got a rough diamond in yellow gold but she has yet to wear it as I plan on proposing. Because we’re gay. And we can make our own rules. Dual propsal. BAM!

In summary: we spent too much, we had good times with good people and now we’re both working two jobs and we’ll never see the light of day.


August & September 2014: Employment Aaaarrrgh

October 31, 2014

The idea of moving to Windsor has always been a bit strange for me. Windsor is the home of the automobile and of course, I don’t drive. I always felt like I was very much at odds with what Windsor demanded of its residents. I would rather walk to get groceries, go shopping… to get to work. I like discovering different neighbourhoods and hidden gems on the way.

This city is built for cars and I thought I’d feel really isolated in my thinking and that I wouldn’t be able to find the things on foot that would allow me to feel at home. But I’m happy to say I was wrong.

The city, yes, isn’t kind to pedestrians but it does offer a lot more in the culinary and retail department than I anticipated. Places like The Willistead, The Twisted Apron, Bubi’s Awesome Eats, The Squirrel Cage, Villains Beastro, George & Alice’s and Biblioasis have quickly made me feel like I’m not so far from the things that help me feel content and happy to live somewhere.

It also doesn’t hurt that our new apartment is a block away from the impressive riverfront and that we’ve got a view of the Detroit skyline from our windows. Not to mention, the art gallery, aquatic centre and the bus terminal are a stone’s throw away too. Aaaannnnnd a LCBO and Tim Hortons. Not bad.

We’ve also lucked out in the social department. I found it ridiculously hard to find some pals in Montreal. I rocked at acquaintances but unlike every other city I’ve ever lived in, I didn’t come away with some kind of BFF – a kindred spirit if you will.

When Roisin was job hunting she met a recruiter named Holly who then introduced us to her partner and fiancĂ© Dani. We both have oddly similar stories with Holly being from England and Dani Canada. So it’s been nice to do the whole double date thing with people who understand the woes of visas, sponsorships and other hoo-haa when you’re trying to stay together. They’re also just lovely people who’ve also introduced us to more lovely people. I think this has really eased this whole transition.

The only thing that’s really tainted the whole thing is my employment situation. Pretty early on I got a gig at a call centre, just like I’d done in Montreal. I knew it’d be a quick way to make some money and I could keep job hunting for something more permanent while Roisin looked too. She quickly found work at Villains Beastro and then followed that up with a gig at Indigo. But I sat in the call centre for two months, with no real prospects.

I did have a shot at essentially my dream job for a local publisher, but after a long interview and an excruciating wait I was told I didn’t get the gig. I was pretty gutted but in all honesty, I’ve got no official training for PR work/Publishing. Everything I’ve learned has been through strange experiences and opportunities. It was nice to be considered though.

But after losing THE job and struggling to deal with yet another call centre gig, I started to feel pretty damn crappy. So one morning on the way to work I felt so anxious and awful that I walked into HR and quit instead of working my shift. Not really my thing… but I couldn’t really cope anymore.

And then I started to apply for all the jobs. Literally… all the jobs. And no one called, not even for a single interview… (to be continued)

Here are some photos from August – a meal at the Squirrel Cage and our afternoon in Detroit with Dani & Holly checking out John K. King Books, the Roasting Plant, Signal Return and a few other places.

And here are some photos from September – my mason jar lunches, our first official champagne toast for our engagement courtesy of Holly & Dani, dog-sitting, the riverfront, delicious fish tacos and my favourite window in the new flat.

More coming soon –

June & July 2014: Sad and Happy Times

October 20, 2014

So after months of deliberation, we still couldn’t quite sort out what we were going to do. Niagara/Hamilton still had so much appeal due to low housing costs, proximity to Toronto and some fantastic friends … and wine. Toronto itself still felt a bit too expensive and in the long term would mean that saving for things like a house or holidays would be a tad trickier, although job prospects were likely to pay much higher. Blurg.

Then my parents suggested they come get us and at least bring us to Ontario to get us that much closer to actually making a choice. My job hunting from Montreal in the hopes that employment would guide us was not proving fruitful and we really did need to shit or get off the pot.

So we moved. And as we were moving I got the terrible news about my friend Awn which I’ve mentioned in a previous post. And being close to family and old friends seemed like a pretty good idea.

I loved my job at Cult. I felt so proud of the work I was doing and being self-employed was lovely. But Montreal wasn’t right for us on so many levels. It’s an incredible and vibrant city. But it was a heart vs. a head thing and it just never felt like home. There was no sense of permanence and I think you’ve got to listen to those cues.

I think to say that the past few months have been a struggle would be a bit of an understatement but I also feel like I’ve had to tackle worse things. The trip back to Essex County to live with my parents came with a sense of relief because we were actually moving … towards something. My parents generosity was really incredible as we’d likely still be hemmin’ and hawwin’ in Montreal pondering whether to sell everything we owned in order to start over or abuse our friendships in order to make our way to Ontario. But it was also sad. Because I wasn’t going to be the *Assistant Editor* of a culture paper. I was back to square one. Again.

We weren’t even back in the province for a week when we made arrangements to get ourselves to Toronto to head to Awn’s Celebration of Life. I found comfort in cozy things like hot dog stands and the Danforth but the weeks following were pretty much a blur of tying things up with the paper, frustrating job hunting and learning a tune for a much happier occasion, my pal Ryan’s wedding.

We were super chuffed to be asked to sing during their ceremony. Together we chose this tune:

But then we sang it like these ladies:

The ceremony was beautiful, the whole weekend actually was incredible. Ryan is one of my oldest pals. We met in the time of ICQ, via the internets, so to see how far we’ve come and to have a few moments to celebrate was sorely needed and an absolute treat. I’ve loved getting to know his wife Val and all her pals at the wedding were hella awesome. All the photos of the wedding were taken by the talented Juliette Capdevielle (including the one where I was enjoying the joys of tobacco (sorry mum!)) – you should probably go and like her page. Maybe she could capture your special day hmm?

So after a ride on the emo rollercoaster, we decided to have a holiday and join my parents up north in Sauble Beach for a week, where a) we chilled the fuck out and b) decided to make some decisions. And this was where we decided to give Windsor a bash.

We figured: Job hunting sucks everywhere at the moment. Windsor is close to family removing costs for planes, trains, buses for special events like Christmas and allowing for many more fam jams. Houses are all kinds of cheap in Windsor so our future goals are actually at our fingertips. Windsor is right next to Detroit so we won’t miss out on sweet concerts/tours and it’s on the same latitude line as northern California so it’s hella warm compared to pretty much the rest of Canada. Lots of wineries live here and a surprising amount of cute independent businesses. WHY NOT?

So refreshed, we started flat hunting and decided to put the cart before the horse and head out to Windsor, move in and then search for employment while residing in our new home. So much more about this move in my next post.

Roisin’s mum also turned 50 in July so we made her a video. I spared you the French Happy Birthday singin’ and such. But in case you’d find it amusing, enjoy:

So much more later…


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