Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Busier than before

Things have gotten busy around our house - I've started a part-time job! Last year, I had to take over driving James to school because he just wouldn't behave in the van provided. I thought it would be a big burden, but I actually ended up enjoying it. When I was young, I HATED driving, but now I like it, and I'm a very safe and cautious driver. One of the drivers for the van company suggested I apply to them for a job; since I was doing the driving anyway, perhaps I could earn some money at the same time!

I did, and they hired me - I started last week. They provide the van and the gas. I have a total of 6 kids to drive, including James. The first one of the day is a little 4-year old boy who goes to the program for hearing-impaired children at one of the elementary schools. That requires an EARLY departure, and James comes with me, but after we drop him off, I go along to pick up another 4 boys who live in the same neighbourhood, and all go to James's school. That part is very easy, as they're all very likable.

Trevor is autistic, but not as severely as James. He's really great fun to drive, because he pays close attention to the roads and is always giving me advice on alternate routes. "I'm the direction guy," he told me the first day I drove him! The first day didn't go so well, because I was not prepared for the bad traffic, and was late for everyone. Then in the afternoon, the "You Need Gas" light suddenly flashed on, and I panicked and stopped for gas to make sure we wouldn't run dry on the highway! (It turns out the indicator is broken, so I never know how much gas I have; I just fill it up every 2 days to be on the safe side.) Trevor told me gravely, "Wanda, I think this day is cursed for you." It's gotten easier every day since, though, and now I think I have the feel for the traffic at that time of day.

I was dreadfully nervous before starting, though; I had nightmares for several days before the first day, dreaming that I was lost, or late, or (worst of all) was standing somewhere with one of the kids behind me, and I turned around and he was gone! It's partly because I actually haven't worked for someone else, outside the home, for about 20 years - that produces a fair amount of anxiety, no matter how good your skills are. But now after a week and a half, I'm much more relaxed.

With my first paycheque, I bought a brand-new green iPod. I told Dean it's an investment - I can download music and videos for James on it, and keep him occupied in the van while we're travelling. So far it's working well, though I haven't entirely figured out all the things it can do.

So this is why my blogging has slowed down, though I'm going through a bit of a lethargic period anyway. Rather like The Anchoress, who has fallen back on making cake, even though she's not a big cake fan. There seem to be so many things going wrong, and talking about them does so little, I'm starting to feel a "To Hell with it...and with them" mood coming on. I'm more interested in retiring to the kitchen and making more raspberry jam than pondering out another essay about the suicidalists in Washington and The AIDS Church to toss on the ever-growing pile.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although I am sensitive to raspberries, I understand the impulse to retreat into the kitchen. In our case, we are drying some of the 40 lbs of Cortlands and Lobos we picked at the u-pick.

Safe driving and write as the mood strikes. Glad to see you've recovered from your emergency surgery.

Bill in Ottawa

4:17 pm  
Blogger Tina said...

Congratulations on your job! It sounds like the best of both worlds. It is scary starting something new, so good for you with going through with it despite that!

Maybe all this cooking is a way of pointing out that there is still a normal American Culture and it is alive and well putting up pears! :-)

7:40 am  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

Dean brought home some Cortlands from the market, and they are EXCELLENT! This may turn out to be a great year for apples, what with this long warm fadeout to summer. Next month I'll make another trip to Smyth's Apple Orchard near Iroquois, and see what varieties they have. Never tried drying them, though. Do you have a special machine for the job?

9:13 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We bought a dehydrator - mail order - from an organic outfit in Toronto. My DW found them on the Internet. We got the cheapest one, but it works well. It's about the footprint of a milk crate (?13"x13"?) and about 8" tall and fits on top of our microwave. The 4 trays hold the slices from 4-5 lbs of apples and take about 7 hours to dry to our taste.

So far we have mostly eaten the dried apples as snacks, but they are much more convenient for school lunches.

Of course, we also bought the apple peeler/corer/slicer maching from Lee Valley Tools to make the job easier. This also means more apples are eaten by the boys, who never liked apple peel that much.

We've also dried the basil and rosemary that the ants were infesting. And I did an experiment with pears, which I liked a lot, but everyone else was iffy about.

The instruction book also shows how to dry meats and make fruit leather.

Bill in Ottawa

4:09 pm  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

Dean has always had a hankering for a smoker, so he could try smoking meat. We haven't had pulled pork since we lived in Washington DC, and it would be nice to try it again! There are some barbecues that come with attachments, which would take less room than a purpose-built standalone smoker, but it would mean going back to charcoal barbecuing, and I think Dean has gotten too used to propane to do that.

4:16 pm  

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